Maybe I should be a little more careful with my words.
Yesterday I talked about how some of the homesteaders were giving Will Price a hard time. Apparently a few of them got upset that I called them out over this behavior and decided to take it out on Will himself.
You may remember that part of Will's punishment for handing the compound over to the Richmond soldiers was the requirement that he perform any duty asked of him by a member of the compound in good standing, as long as it wasn't illegal and didn't interfere with duties assigned to him by the council or Dodger. We had him doing some pretty terrible grunt work at first, and since Will is only allowed to eat and sleep where people offer him food and shelter, he had a hard time of it. I never heard him complain.
When Dodger's duties coordinating the defenses became to time consuming to allow him to work on new ideas, he asked for Will. No mystery there, as long-time readers will remember that Will has a creative streak a mile wide when it comes to keeping us safe from and killing zombies. Part of that is the pathological obsession Will has with warfare, historical and modern. It's made him very well versed in methods of protecting us from the zombie swarms.
So, for a good while now, Will has been attached to Dodger almost exclusively. It has been very beneficial for all of us, and so far no one has really made to big a deal about it. Until yesterday.
Will was running a report from Dodger's office at the other end of the compound when the small group of extremely angry homesteaders found him. They demanded he do some task or another, something laborious and slow like carrying water. Will explained that he was on a deadline, and that he would be glad to do it after he dropped off the report.
The homesteaders didn't like that. One of them put hands on Will, shoving him. Will backed off, not wanting to start any trouble. So the next time, the guy shoved Will to the ground.
Will, not wanting to get in even more trouble than his current situation, got up and went on his way. That was when the guy who shoved him tackled Will to the ground and started hitting him. The other homesteaders with him, according to the half-dozen witnesses who caught this act, seemed upset that their friend was attacking Will, though they did nothing to stop it.
On the ground, being pummeled, Will finally fought back. He struck his attacker two or three times, aiming for non-vital areas that would cause enough pain for the man to back off. Will says he hit the guy in the temple, the underside of the chin, and in the side of the neck. The attacker became enraged at this, and pulled his hunting knife.
Will, scared for his life, hit the guy right in the throat. Fight over.
Then Will ran the up the block to the clinic, grabbed Evans and told him what happened, and hightailed it back to the scene of the fight. The attacker, a guy named Matt, is alive. He can't talk right now, but his friends swore up and down that Will started the fight. We know this is not true, as those six witnesses all gave identical stories even though none of them were in the same room when they did it.
I don't really care if the homesteaders want to be a group, thinking themselves separate and better than the rest of us. I don't care if they think that everyone outside their number is lazy or weak. I don't have the time or energy to really give a shit what any of them think of me, as long as they do their jobs. What I do care about is people inside the compound breaking any of our few laws. These guys knew that Will was not to be abused, that just like any other person inside the compound, he wasn't a free target for attack. He might be a criminal, but there are lines.
These guys crossed one of them. That's the bottom line. The rest of the homesteaders are in a state of chaos over the announcement that their buddies will be put up on charges because of Will. That he was attacked means nothing to some of them, though many are angry that some of their group would go so far as to attack a man who knew fighting back could be a death sentence.
Will isn't getting charged with anything. He's a living human being, and he has the right to defend himself. He did, knowing what he was risking. It makes me sick that he had to. I hope his attacker gets his voice back in time for the trial, so I can hear his wailing when he gets the lashes he so richly deserves...