| Byron, I think the problem with the Atlas Scene is not the fact that Dagny shot the guard, but did so rather calmy with no psychological repercussions such as the ones you speak of. Especially given that Dagny was not a soldier. |
My guess, though, is that Rand was aware of this, after spending 11 years writing the book and deliberating over every word, and also being under the influence of Nathaniel Branden, would have considered the psychological implications. My theory is that a pre-Atlantis Dagny would not have been able to pull the trigger, but after learning what she did, and realizing that John Galt represented the ideal, felt no remorse because she was prepared to fight at any cost. Price no object... My theory is based on something Nathaniel wrote regarding murder...it was a conversation about killing one's parent's, I think, for a rational reason. The other person says he doesn't believe he could do it, and Nathaniel responded, "did you say rationally?" I can't remember the exact passage, but you get the idea, that there was consideration of the implications. And that's probably why Dagny did not just shoot him right away, instead giving him the option to stand down (in addition to the passage being an illustration of the importance of making moral judgements as opposed to blindly taking orders.)
Still, I think in real life, it would not be so simple as to pull the trigger with no repercussions.