Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eve of Judgement

I've been pretty religious in making sure that there is something on this blog most days. I used to take Sundays off to spend with my wife, but that went out the window when we had to flee the compound. Now we're back, and I may take up that habit again. Not today, obviously, but I almost certainly won't be posting tomorrow.

As I look back over the the last year, I think about how far we've come since the first days of The Fall. Our community along with many others of its kind have grown and strengthened in that time, we've built bonds with one another that will hopefully last for years. So, too, have the terrible marauders and violent takers banded together, using force when words and peaceful intent would likely have sufficed.

We've changed and evolved. I'm a more realistic and frankly brutal person than I was when this began. Our shared view here at the compound that survival of the group has to be paramount has led us to see human lives in a different light than before society fell. It isn't that we don't value individuals, far from it. Rather, it's a learned willingness to sacrifice a few to save the many. To do what is needed regardless of how painful it might be for the good of the tribe.

A single person might have the will to cut off a finger, a hand, or an entire arm to save their own life. This might be the first time in human history when an entire community would do the same--expect and allow for a large number of their own to perish that the majority may continue on. In that sense, all of us here see human lives as commodities. Numbers that need to balance with reality. The difference is that while each of us might be a figure in the grand equation of our little society, we still love one another, respect one another. We still weep when the loss of a brother or sister survivor comes. We honor our dead for their willingness to fight for the vision we all share.

It's that steely core in us, that one guiding principle, which drives the people of the compound forward. We make summary judgments based on that criteria--hence Will Price's trial, which is happening tomorrow. See, with the Richmond soldiers, there was no other way we could have gone. Death was the answer. They had weakened us, stolen our home, eaten our reserves, and stifled the progress of our people. Invaders are to be dealt with quickly and with prejudice.

With Will, though, things are different. People want to give him a public trial in order to make the facts clear for everyone. Yes, Will did an awful (unforgivable?) thing when he gave us up to the enemy. He allowed all of those things I wrote above to happen. He also probably saved a lot of lives by doing it, and during the occupation of the compound he went to great lengths to help people.

I once wrote, "If what you are is what you do when crisis comes, then they were monsters, worse than the shambling dead that surround us at all times." It's that first part that I look at now, that makes me seriously consider how I have changed and how my perspective has altered over time.

A crisis came, and Will handed us over to the enemy. His intent is the key to it all. Was it to give this place to the soldiers, or to save lives? Intent does matter. Actions matter. And for all the suffering Will caused, he spent a lot of time with us before. Fighting for our lives, protecting our allies. Saving Jessica's life. My wife lives because of this man.

Will Price is one of us. I don't know if that simply makes things worse gives more weight to the act of betrayal, or if it means we should look harder at what he did and the consequences of it. I have the feeling that every avenue of discussion is going to be addressed at the trial tomorrow. Every angle of his actions will be examined. It will take all day, I'm sure, but eventually a decision will be reached, and consequences made clear.

I will be testifying, as will many others. Because so many people (all of us, really) will be at the trial at one point or another, everyone who is physically capable of it will be pulling extra duties on the wall and at the farms while the rest are at the trial. We need it, too--the zombies have been showing up in more numbers at the farms since my post yesterday. They're going after the farmers as well as animals now, and judging by the two sheep they managed to get hold of yesterday while I was out there, we'll need constant eyes on our livestock.

Tomorrow is going to be a rough day for everyone, and it's pretty much guaranteed that no one is going to walk away happy. Those that want Will dead will be furious if he isn't executed, those that want leniency will be furious if he lives, and everyone except the injured will be overworked, underfed, and pissed that it's still chilly outside. As one of the people who is looked at to set an example, I will run between my testimony, guard duty, and regular daily work with a smile nailed to may face so well that it might crack my bones.

If what you are is what you do when crisis comes...I re-read that line, and I can't help but shy away from thinking about that in terms of myself. The things I have done, though the reasons behind them were justified, have been terrible. Is there such a thing as a good monster? A man (or woman) who can do unspeakable wrongs to support the greater right, without falling onto the slippery slope toward becoming what he hates? I don't know, but it scares me. I feel good about that, at least--my own actions haven't scared me in a long time. Looking down the barrel of our judgement of Will, I can't help but reexamine the last year and see so much killing, so much pain at my hands that I wonder if I really have been on the side of the angels.

I've got to get to it and try to get as much done today as possible. Tomorrow is going to be a beast for everyone. See you on March 1st.

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