Friday, June 1, 2012

Reality Check

There was a short but passionate debate on my last post. One person thought I went too far, the other thought I was totally in the right. Look, we live in a fucked-up, dangerous world. If you need any better proof that I believe deep in my heart that working together is the best way to outwit and outfight the zombie swarms, just remember where I live.

I said it in that post, and I'm saying it again: Jess and I started this place. What I said in that post about refusing to leave my home wasn't a play for pity or attention. I really meant it. To get me away from my wife, whose strength is slowly beginning to ebb away, they'll need to be super serious about it. Physical violence is the only way I'm leaving her side. I can (and am, because Will realized how serious I am) working from home. Doing double or triple duty, at that, as I'm working on some project logistics, caring for several ill people that were moved in yesterday, and helping Jess manage the food and armor situations.

What the argument boils down to is: how is this different than the Exiles (the ones that used to be citizens here, not the marauders they joined up with) who chose to do their own thing despite the larger needs of New Haven? How can I justify my actions knowing that precisely because I have some influence, others may choose to follow my example?

Don't think I haven't considered it. But my reaction, while angry and probably upsetting to many of you, is what it is. I've given more to this place than any of you know, put up with hardships and put forth efforts that I don't always cover on the blog. Beyond survival, I've tried to do things here that gave people something resembling a real life. Jess has done as much if not more.

Realistically, yeah, things could get very bad if a huge number of people suddenly decided to stay home with their loved ones or roomates. Funny thing is, most people choose not to do that. Most citizens here have some medical training to one degree or another, but not much in the way of experience or education in providing long-term care. It takes a sort of acquired patience. I know many folks who have sick relatives or friends who stop by our new clinic and the old to visit their chums before going out for duty on the wall or to tend our crops. They understand that New Haven needs to appear strong in front of the increasingly numerous zombies outside.

Fact is, they don't want to stay back and care for people. Their viewpoint is that people better trained and suited for the work can do it more efficiently. And they're right.

The crux of my argument wasn't that I would forsake my work for Jess, but that I could do the same job (in fact, more, since I have four other sick people living in my house at the moment, saving that effort from our regular medical staff) from home. Will and the council don't actually care if I come work in the space they set aside for me. I don't think they even really need me to work on most of the stuff Will has assigned to me. It's piddly stuff that isn't really vital.

No, they want me out and about because I'm well-known. Because despite not having an official leadership position, people still follow my lead. Right now things are tough. We've seen tougher, but this sickness thing has the Exiles so bad off they aren't even working their crops. As a threat, they're nullified at the moment. We could be heading that way soon, and there are a lot more zombies on this side of the river. People are scared, and Will wants the leadership to appear strong and in control. That's totally reasonable. Good leaders go about business as normally as possible in a crisis, because it shows people that calm can be maintained in bad situations.

Again, I'm not playing the game. I have no real authority here, despite founding New Haven. I'm fine with that, of course--I don't want to risk letting power get to my head again. But because I'm no higher on the totem pole than any guard on the wall or chef in the mess halls, I don't feel bad about making my stance clear: I won't be forced to leave my wife so I can be paraded around for morale. You want me out there, you'll need to make a serious issue of it.

One small caveat, however: if things start to get really bad, of course I'll help. I'll do whatever needs doing to ensure Jessica's safety. If we have too few people to defend the walls for whatever reason (even if it's because people start wanting to stay home with loved ones after all, though I am not seeing that happen with anyone but me) I'll go out and patrol myself. I won't let the safety of this place be compromised, and the suggestion that I wouldn't care frankly pisses me off.

I'm doing what I'm doing precisely because it's safe and doesn't affect my ability to get work done. I'm not advocating skiving off work or refusing duties, just saying that my own aren't affected by where I am.

Oh, that's just rich. I had to say something about fighting, didn't I? All that up there about why I can't leave, and the attack bell just went off. At least a hundred of them are about to hit us. Funny.


  1. It takes a strong person to stand up for his beliefs in the face of dangers too evil (?) to wrap our brains around. It takes a stronger person to maintain the visage of normality while being compassionate enough to support the needs of others. Niether is a sought-after prospect, but is often thrust upon you. Josh, even though you choose to stay with your beautiful Jess and care for others while still doing your job does NOT show weakness or disregard for others. In fact, I beleive it is a testament to others. When push comes to shove, and shove, and shove, We set our priorities (hearts included) to do what we can an more so. Others aren't leaving their responsibilities. They are digging in deeper, pulling inner strength unknown previously and preparing for battle. Leadership is leadership. Doing the best they can with what they have. Somtimes blinders help make incredibly difficult decisions, but compassion always shows strength and endurance. It's a tough life for survivors every where, including the Exile-type population. But we have survived for a reason. WE BELIEVE IN HUMANITY. God's strength to you and yours

  2. Josh,

    Thank you for the update and explanation. Although since “The Fall” I do not believe you need explain yourself. You are human, and HUMANE, more so than I can say I have been. I am simply thankful for the explanation as it gave me, and hopefully all, a bit of perspective.

    I hope the current attack is quick and without injury. I hope that this blasted “New Virus” leaves without more deaths. And finally, I hope my words did not offend as that was not the intent.

    With Hope and Humanity,