The whole place was built on top of a huge storage bunker. The attack was too rapid and devastating to allow anyone to get in there. The only entrance was right next to the front gate, so it took a while to clear away the mess that covered it.
So much food, so many weapons, and metric tons of other items were cataloged that we had to split it all up among the groups that participated in the raid. No single group of volunteers could have hauled even half of it.
I don't mention this to imply that we've been rewarded for what we've done. I just can't help but see the black comedy in the fact that the Hunters destroyed whole communities specifically to raid for supplies. We destroyed them for those acts, but in the end we did the same thing for different reasons. Still, the mood here in New Haven since my last post has grown somber. When you get news like that, it's inevitable that you start questioning your motives and choices. Lacking any context, New Haven as a group can be labeled killers of children and it's not an unfair statement.
There is context, of course, but any decent person in our position doesn't use that as an excuse. Better to admit that what our people did was both terrible and necessary move on. Second-guessing and running ourselves through possible scenarios won't bring those kids back. It won't do any good at all except distract at a time when complete focus is required.
I should point out that one person close to me is very upset about the whole thing, much more than the average citizen. You could attribute it to having a small child and caring for his nieces, and maybe the fact that he hasn't seen combat in a long while plays into it. Patrick has been over here a lot the last few days, and he's...despondent is the best word I can think of.
I'm so used to seeing him deal with problems pragmatically that it's really off-putting watching him mope around. I don't mean to sound dismissive in saying that, but Pat is usually such a loud and boisterous guy that having to ask him to speak up when you're conversing and needing to push him to speak about what's bothering him is completely alien. He hasn't said so outright, but I get the strong impression that he has become disillusioned with New Haven. The place, the people who make it up, the leadership, even me.
A republican from way back, Patrick has never had a problem advocating a fight when one is called for. But this one seems to have taken something from him. He keeps coming over here at odd times, putting his apprentices and assistants in his place at the forge and just sitting around with me. We eventually get around to his problems, and I understand where he's coming from. I was there very recently. Truth be told, some mornings I still wake up with the monkey on my back. The depression/anxiety double-team takes it out of you in every way.
It isn't that he thinks what we did was intentionally vicious. He isn't under the impression New Haven and Will as our leader have become warmongering movie villains. It's much more broad than that. Pat thinks we've drifted away from the balance point when we used violence as a last resort. That we're allowing ourselves to sink to the level of those attacking us and losing something vital from our character in the process. I remember that feeling very well, having gone through it many times over the last few years.
I've asked him if he sees another way to have done it. Some method by which we could defend ourselves completely from further damage without committing to total destruction of our enemies. The damnedest thing, Pat says, is that he can't. He knows what we did was the only viable option (or at least the only one within our capabilities) but he can't reconcile that with the feeling that it was wrong on every level. The deep-down reaction Patrick has to all those people being burned alive is that it was somehow avoidable.
I see his point. To a degree, I'm there with him. But I can't allow myself to fall back into the old mental habits that nearly broke me beyond repair. I'm still fragile in that sense. I begin to think about all those dead people and feel the overwhelming sadness rise up, the frantic sensation of self-hate forcing me to consider what might have been. If I let myself zone out and walk that mental road, I know where it will lead. So I do what I've done for weeks now. I cut it off, I repeat the facts to myself in a mantra. I distract my brain to save it from itself.
Probably not the healthiest way of coping, and that's why Pat is stronger than I am. He doesn't have to shy away from his thoughts. He suffers them and deals with it. I wish I were that kind of man, but much more I wish Patrick wasn't going through this anguish. Reminds me of a quote from a book I read when I was a kid.
My best friend is worried that we've lost our soul, and I'd like to remind him of that quote:
"Only those with souls fear for their existence."
You're a good man, Pat. My brother from a different mother. I'm here for you.