Okay, when the subject of Gale gets brought up, things can become a bit… heated. I’ll admit I’m not immune to that. And there’s no subject relating to him that’s more controversial than the subject of the bombs he designed, and the impact of their use.
But sometimes, the best thing to do is to approach from a path of reason rather than emotion.
So the question arises: in this war where people are fighting for their freedom against a tyranny, what’s so bad Gale’s tactics?
Before we start, I’m going to be upfront in saying that Prim doesn’t matter. I’m not saying that her death wasn’t a tragedy, and it did have ramifications in Kantiss’ actions. However, in the scope of this argument, she’s one tragedy out of many. I’ve seen too many fics where just because Prim survives, Gale’s off the hook (or at least everything’s better). No. No no NO! BULLSHIT! That is one of the worst applications of the “A Million is a Statistic” principle. So, for all intents and purposes, Prim could still be alive, and this post will still be valid.
Also, Beetee’s not off the hook. He’s still responsible for taking his younger protege’s ideas and adapting them. Hell, he possibly encouraged his D12 counterpart.
Lastly, yes standards were different in the past. Yes, people were tarred-and-feathered and locked in buildings that were to be burned down during the American Revolution; colored folks were also considered inferior even by many people against slavery. And no, in a country where there is a child blood sport and Geneva — much less the laws and customs named after it — is probably unheard of by most of its populace, it shouldn’t be surprising that an uprising would have a distressing lack of standards. The fact remains though that this story was written in the 21st century and its current readers reside in the 21st century; therefore, we are supposed to discern what’s right and wrong with our own minds. Not to mention that several passages point to evidence suggesting that standards close to our level exists with people even on the side of the Capitol in MJ.
So, with that out of the way, here’s the passage describing some of his ideas in Chapter 13 of Mockingjay:
This is what they’ve been doing. Taking the fundamental ideas behind Gale’s traps and adapting them into weapons against humans. Bombs mostly. It’s less about the mechanics of the traps than the psychology behind them. Booby-trapping an area that provides something essential to survival. A water or food supply. Frightening prey so that a large number flee into a greater destruction. Endangering off-spring in order to draw in the actual desired target, the parent. Luring the victim into what appears to be a safe haven—where death awaits it. At some point, Gale and Beetee left the wilderness behind and focused on more human impulses. Like compassion. A bomb explodes. Time is allowed for people to rush to the aid of the wounded. Then a second, more powerful bomb kills them as well.
Now can any of these be considered valid and why? Well, let’s begin: