Thursday, November 25, 2010


Before I get into my Thanksgiving day post, I want to tell you just what happened with the guard that died the other night.

His name was Adam Flynn. I don't know anything else about him other than that. What I do know is that his death is the result of a simple mistake. Evans found some small splinters in Adam's cheek, almost too small to see. When he was found, Adam was laying on his side flat as a board. It seems he fell asleep leaning up against the wall of the guard post he was in, and died that way. The people who walked the wall were fighting the wind and cold, and seeing Adam standing at his post looking out, they didn't think it was necessary to go up and make sure he was ok. From their vantage point there was nothing to worry about. It was far too dark to notice that there was no plume of breath coming from him.

I don't know if there will be any charges or punishment sought, and honestly I think that the guards that were on duty are so devastated by the consequences of their error that one isn't really needed. That's just me, though. I don't get to be the one to make that call, and I shouldn't.

So. Turkey day.

Everyone knows the drill. Today was a time for family and friends to come together and give thanks for the bounty of the harvest. Before The Fall, this was a secular holiday that had many meanings for many people. Since the rise of the zombie plague, most of us here at the compound feel a bit of Thanksgiving every day of our lives.

I want to tell you what I am tankful for, but first just a bit of history. Many of us know about thanksgiving and how the first one happened. Squanto, acting as a translator between the nearest tribe of native Americans and the colony of pilgrims at Plymouth. The local tribe of Wampanoag donated large stores of food to the pilgrims when it became clear that the supplies that came with them from England would not be enough to last.

It was an amazing act of pure generosity and a testament to the human spirit. 

In remembrance of this act, the varied people and leaders of this country proceeded to kill and steal from the native peoples for hundreds of years. Touching, I know. Eventually we saw the error of our ways and made peace, but what we gave back was a pittance compared to what we've taken. 

So, I want to tell you what I'm thankful for. 

I am thankful for the people I have had the good fortune to meet and come to know. Those at the compound and at Jack's, the people out there in the newly discovered enclaves of surviving humanity. Almost all of you have demonstrated that same basic respect for human life, in that you are willing to share and do what you can for others. 

I am thankful that the people I live and work with are willing to adhere to principles and ideals--those of peace and harmony--and that they are willing to fight and kill those who would murder and steal from otherwise peace seeking human beings 

I am thankful for the willingness of so many to put in the time and effort to gather food and needed supplies for those survivors in need. This kind of fits with some of the above, but it's worth looking like an idiot to say it twice. 

I am thankful for our ability to learn from the mistakes of the old ways that society worked. Not only the way that we treated the ideas of giving and sharing, atoning for our past mistakes, but also our willingness to cut through the debate and the red tape to say decisively that what is right is right and move forward. 

OK, that last one might need a little explaining. I've been thinking about the native peoples of this country for a few days, and how badly we have treated them. Every person that I have talked to about it agrees that the best thing that could happen would be for those who remain to eventually spread and move out from the reservations that are a poor replacement for the vast lands they used to own and live as they once did. Yeah, I would be upset and defensive if anybody, native or not, tried to lay claim to this place, but the vast majority of the USA is now open to them as far as I am concerned. It's something that has always bothered me, and for that...

I am thankful for the zombie plague. Though I wish fiercely that it had never happened, I can't change the fact that it did. There are way more negatives than positives to it, but today at least I am thankful for those good things. Bringing people together to work for the common purpose of survival and growth. Giving us the proper perspective to understand just how dysfunctional society was, and the understanding to attempt to avoid those same errors. 

 As terrible as it is, the plague reduced the number of people so much that the effect we have on the environment is now almost zero. Our numbers were increasing to the point where the planet might not have been able to sustain us for much longer...

I know, it's an awful thing to say. The thing about the truth is that whether or not you like it, you have to accept it if you are a rational, thinking person. In the world we live in now, ignoring the truth or pretending that facts are lies leads to bad judgement and probable death. So instead of shying away from the terrible facts, I embrace them. 

The Fall happened, and it nearly destroyed us. The events of the last nine months have been a crucible in which all of us have burned. The pain has been nearly more than we can bear. 

But we've become better, more pure. We have been boiled down to human beings acting as our instincts demand, but that our intellects have more often than not interfered with. We act for the good of the tribe called humanity, as it should be. 

And I am damn thankful for that. 


  1. It sounds harsh, but I'm sorely tempted to agree with your sentiment about the Fall. We didn't seem to be learning our lessons about how to treat each other and the land, and we were running out of time to learn those lessons.

    Really, the old society would have collapsed within our lifetime anyway due to a combination of economic and ecological crises. The down side of this particular form of collapse is that it brutally ended so many lives and traumatized so many of the survivors. The up side is that it seems to have been pretty effective in decentralizing power and encouraging the survivors to band together cooperatively.

    It's not something that I would have asked for, and certainly not something I celebrate. But I'm thankful for the positives: our newfound sense of community, our increasing survival skills, our improved physical fitness, and the fact that we're actually making serious progress toward establishing a loose network of communities peacefully allied and working together for mutual benefit.

    If you had told me a year ago that I'd be living this way, I wouldn't have believed you. Now, we're living the dream — and once we take care of a few more Zombies and chase away any remaining Marauders and other violent individuals, it may actually shift from a nightmare into a dream. We shall see, eh?

  2. I'm thankful for being able to teach the way I always felt teaching should be. I too, never wanted the Fall to happen or for any of the horrible things we've all suffered through to happen. But I am thankful for the positives that have come from it. I'm thankful that now everyone wants to learn as much as possible and that learning and teaching are no longer lost arts.