Monday, June 20, 2011

Social Contract

The last few days have been terrible ones. I can't even begin to explain the chaos in the compound to you. There's been so much going on that literally every aspect of our lives are out of whack. 

The mass exodus after the attack on the farm the other day didn't go as badly as we had expected. There were no fatalities, which is a miracle itself. The roughly hundred and fifty people that went out looking for the huge swarm that took the lives of some of our kids found their prey. The zombies were apparently concerned enough with such a large group coming after them without hesitation that they tried to run for it. 

That just made the folks hunting them even more angry. I'm told that they kept going after the undead, killing stragglers as they were overtaken, until there were only about three hundred left. Those zombies turned and fought, as our people had pursued them right into a particularly rough area in terms of terrain. The zombies were slaughtered to the last, as far as we know. 

Our people fought with tempers flaring hot, and they were damn lucky that they held it together well enough that they formed lines as they attacked. They didn't give any openings, and there were a lot of archers out there with them to thin the herd down. 

All that being said, I can't approve of what they did. It was irresponsible, reckless, and frankly put the rest of the compound in more danger than we've faced since the Richmond soldiers invaded. Even ignoring the fact that half the walls were left undefended, the basic social order of the compound was disrupted by this populist outburst of rage so much that we're going to be picking up the pieces for weeks. 

And the rest of us, the ones who kept their heads and didn't fly off the handle, can't do a goddamn thing about it. To rub salt in the wound, many dozens of people from the group that went out hunting have made it a point to tell those of us that run this place that we can't do anything to them for leaving. They're showing a high level of loyalty to one another, and once again threatening to strike if any retribution comes to even one of them over this. 

The rest of us that decided to abide by the social contract we have all agreed on are stuck having to suck it up and deal with this situation. They're completely right--we can't afford an extended loss of that many workers. That's especially true considering how many more people we'll have to send out far and wide to hunt now that one of our farms is basically gone. We need a concerted effort by everyone if there's to be the slightest chance for us to keep going as a community. 

And anyway, how in the world could we punish so many? I don't see a way. I also don't see how we could pick one or two of the people that started this mess and make them scapegoats for the whole group. That smacks of the way things were done in the world that was. In the here and now the expectation is that each individual is responsible for their own actions. 

That's why this is so galling for the rest of us. If one person breaks the rules we've set up, minimal as they are, then that person has to deal with the consequences. If it weren't for the lack of violence between our citizens, I'd be tempted to call this a civil war or, to use the favored buzz word of the Bush administration, an insurgency. 

When the people who went hunting the zombies made it back here late Saturday, there were a lot of hard looks and pointed silences. They knew how the rest of us felt, which was abandoned, betrayed, and left wondering how many of them would make it back. The hunters were mostly composed of people that were left here at the compound during the occupation by the Richmond soldiers, so I suppose now we know how they felt when those of us that were able to escape did so. 

I've had this pointed out to me by several of those who left Saturday. Smugly. 

So, here's my response to the arrogant fuckers who want to act as though it was just your turn to leave:

We didn't escape the compound in a fit of anger. Yes, your rage was justified, but your commitment to protect the living should have been stronger than your desire to avenge the dead. If you left the compound on Saturday with the hunting party and you feel absolutely no guilt about doing so, then I hope with all of my heart that you leave this place. Soon.

You know what? Fuck that. I'm not going to play nice with people who used the death of children to justify blowing off some steam, because the truth is that they put all the rest of the children at risk by going. So let me tell you how I really feel. If you left the compound and don't feel guilty, I hope you die. If there isn't the slightest shred of you that feels at least a tiny bit bad that you shirked your responsibilities, then we don't need you here. The human race will certainly be better off without your lack of contribution to it. In my mind, the only difference between you and a marauder is a matter of timing. 

This might seem harsh, but I don't really care. I know many of the people that left, and I know them to be good souls overall. I imagine that most of the folks who left feel bad to one degree or another that they caused so many problems and left us undefended in some areas. I know that they feel justified in what they did, and that such a feeling doesn't preclude them feeling bad about doing it. 

I don't know how things are going to look in the near future. Grim, from what I'm seeing right now. Difficult probably doesn't begin to describe it. I hope to see more penitence than is currently on display. I don't think anyone here is without sin, nor would any in the compound fail to understand the urge to do something you felt was right knowing that it could be seen as cruel or dangerous. 

We need a dialog here, but I stand strong for what I've said: there has to be some sign of guilt. There has to be an admission of wrongdoing, because otherwise that means that they didn't feel like putting the rest of us in mortal danger was wrong. 

That's just not acceptable. 

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