Friday, April 2, 2010

Better Angels

Do you have any idea how hard it is to steal a fire truck?

Admittedly, since my degree is actually in Fire/Rescue, having firefighting equipment at hand really should have been on my list. But we got to the fire station and back in time to keep the fire from spreading too far back.

The looters have decided to burn us out, since they can't beat us. After we put out the row of homes on fire at the front of the compound, we saw some smoke coming from the next street over. Luckily we had hooked up to the hydrant on the corner and had a full tank, or we might have been in some deep trouble. 

As we rolled up to the next street, we saw that the smoke was actually coming from a dropped molotov cocktail, and that a group of men were running away from it. Our truck was of the pump-and-go variety, so we chased them down and pummeled them with the water cannon on the top. 

So now, prisoners. Not that I am terribly interested in more killing at present; too much blood for me, since all of this started. Maybe this bothers me because people had to die, or maybe it bothers me because it showed me just how many people only lived as civilized beings, with morals and codes of ethics, because society forced them to. 

So now we are faced with the dilemma of what to do with these people. I don't relish wasting my food or water on those that are bent on the death and destruction of what has become my entire world. But I tire of all the bloodshed, if for no other reason than the vast stupidity of it. If the looters had acted like men instead of monsters, we might have no issue with them. You might argue that group hysteria played a part, and while I might agree with you, I still say that a person is a thinking, reasoning creature, and that they always have choice, no matter what others around them may do.

Just ask Oskar Schindler

We'll figure out what to do with them sometime soon. My inclination is to send them packing, with the message that any further hostilities toward us or their fellow man will be met with instant and complete obliteration, whatever the cost to us personally. For now, we will bury our dead, mend our injured, and mourn the loss of human decency around us. 

And start to rebuild. And improve. 

Because that urge, too, is powerful within us. Human beings are violent, hateful things, capable of atrocities that defy words. But just as powerfully, we can hope, and love, create and shape--above all of this, we can plan ahead, and set events into motion to define our future. Not at the whim of fate, but as clay in the hands of a master sculptor. 

Where we end up is not as important as how we get there. Our group has made the conscious choice not to live in such a way that others have to suffer that we prosper. There will be no tolerance for the wanton fulfillment of the base urges to take, to kill, to control. 

Sounds a little severe, maybe a bit too dramatic?


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