Monday, April 12, 2010

Ethical Considerations

A comment was posted on "The Battle of Carbondale". It is repeated here in full, and unedited:

I'm glad that you got all your family and friends out of my area because if you ever come back again it will be the last thing you ever do! Do you even consider the your actions before you go threw with them. Did it even cross your mind that the wall your brother blew up might serve a purpose. Thanks to you the one side that we knew that was free of zombies was breached. They over ran our defenses and my wife died saving our children's lives. You and every one you love and care for should thank what ever god looks over this hell on earth that they still live, if it weren't for them all your lives would be forfeit. You laughed at my traps as you drove away from here, be warned you won't laugh if you ever come back. Pray that my children have long lives. 
I read this, and my first reaction was sadness. But after thinking about it for a while, I came to other conclusions. I have been pondering what constitutes morality and ethics in the here and now. What are the definitions or right and wrong? Are they absolutes that exist independent of the changes in society, in reality? Or are they dynamic ideas that must shift and change to suit the needs of survivors?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am fiercely protective of children. The idea that I would put kids in danger needlessly is insane. I won't sit here and debate the points in this post, because the author has a completely valid argument. From his point of view, I committed a terrible crime. From mine, we took necessary steps to accomplish our goals.

But in general, I can make some statements. My morality is based on practical need to accomplish things. Our overall goal is to keep people alive. To that end, I will take almost any step required. Would I blow another hole in that wall of junk to get back into Marion if it meant saving the lives of people I love? Almost certainly. Would I kill a man who held a weapon to one of them? Yes, without qualification.

Would I kill a man for the threat he posed? Before the fall, I would have laughed and said no. Now, I would have to carefully gauge how plausible the threat was, how capable he was of doing it. If I came to the conclusion that he could or would, I would kill him in cold blood, and probably not feel too bad about it. Because knowing that all it would take for he and I to coexist was simply the mutual desire to do so, and knowing that he would refuse so simple an arrangement would make it clear to me that such a person could contribute nothing to the sum of society.

In short, my view on right and wrong is now, by need, defined by what is best for the tribe. All decisions, all actions, can be determined by that simple formula. Not by religion or any other factor. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I cannot make it any more clear how important this is to me. How deep it runs.

Whoever you are, anonymous poster, please understand a few things. I do feel bad that your wife was killed, that your defenses were breached, that your children were in danger. But while we were responsible for that breach, I don't feel any sense of guilt over it. My family was on one side of that wall, and I was on the other. Simple math. I'm pretty sure you would do the same. So, my condolences to you, but not my apologies.

And for the record--if you come here with vengeance your intent, you will not survive. Others have tried, to our mutual sadness, but we have survived.

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