Negan’s kills on The Walking Dead sometimes don’t seem to make sense, but they have a logic in his mind as a punishment and a warning for the future.
When we think about crime and punishment, there are many words used in relation to the sentences and the system itself. People use the words deterrent, punishment, correctional system, justice, consequence, accountability.
Negan is running his own system in which he thinks he is training people to live by his rules. Justice is irrelevant in his system, his ways are unjust, but the other words work into his way of thinking very nicely.
It seems as though he would use a punishment fitting the crime method and if you tried to kill him, your punishment would be death, but that’s not the case. He has bigger things in mind for his empire.
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He knows he needs people. And he wants and loves to have people serve him. His biggest weakness is that he loves breaking people down. He enjoys the game.
For a true coward and over-confident kid like Spencer, who just didn’t get it, there was nothing fun about breaking him down. Spencer came at Negan like an equal. He didn’t come at him with fight in him or fear in him. He came at Negan like a business man with something to offer. That wouldn’t do.
There was nothing to gain for Negan by killing someone else to put fear into Spencer. Spencer just needed to go. Killing Spencer could be a warning to the others who did have fear or fight in them.
Now Rosita does have fight in her. She’s worth the fun of breaking down. She’s worth watching the entire town of Alexandria hold their breath as they watch Rosita have a knife to her face. She’s worth warning by killing a random person. Now maybe Rosita will think twice about doing something like that again.
And surely, everyone else will think twice as well. Nobody wants to be responsible for having another innocent person killed because they decided to make a bold, reckless move. That scab on her face, like the iron burn on Dwight, will remind her how foolish it was to defy Negan.