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Context: The speaker is talking to his friend who was surprise attacked by an enemy despite this enemy being the speaker's acquaintance from bygone days, his friend asks him for an explanation as to why this guy is attacking them when they should be on friendly terms, to which he replies:

過去がどうであろうと、今の俺を殺せる奴は殺せるってだけの話

I'm wondering what the author is trying to imply with by repeating 殺せる? All I can come up with is "regardless of what the past is like, a person who can kill the current me, can kill me, that's all there is to it." This doesn't seem to make sense?

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I think there are two ways to interpret this.

You can express the nuance of "what happens happens" or "don't worry about something beyond your control" by repeating a verb, like so:

  • 死ぬ奴は死ぬ。
    Those who will die will die (and there is nothing we can do for it).
  • 他人のことは気にするな、できる人はできる。
    Don't worry about those who are already capable (i.e., think about yourself).
  • なるようになる

So 俺を殺せる奴は殺せる can mean "Whether you like it or not, there are people who can kill me."

Alternatively, you can think the first 殺せる expresses a capability and the second 殺せる expresses a reluctant allowance. "Anyone who is able to kill me may well do it" or "Those who can kill me have the right to do so."

You can choose whichever fits the context. Probably it mainly depends on how seriously this person accepts his death.

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