Today hasn't been a good day. The title of this post is a little strange, but that's because I based it on an impression and nothing more. The sentiment for peace among the UAS clearly isn't universal. There has never been a time in human history when everyone agreed on anything, even the least controversial things. Most of their people who aren't thrilled with the situation are just coping with the will of the majority. They grumble or, when it's a bit more than complaining, get thrown in confinement for a few days. But most of them don't take stands, especially radical ones. They can see which way the wind is blowing.
One man saw the wind and decided he'd go out with a bang. His name never filtered down to me. He was just some guy from the UAS who hated the idea of making peace with an enemy who tried to blow his head off a few weeks ago. He was a Believer, capital intended. He had conviction and the grit to see it through. I can respect that even now.
He stole out of the UAS camp sometime yesterday after a week of angry bitching about how he'd like to stick it to the Union one last time. Armed and armored with pilfered gear, he worked his way through the woods and slipped past patrols. He got inside our defenses.
The local UAS leaders warned us something like this might happen, and again when they realized their wayward soldier was missing. The guy managed to gun down four people working on the perimeter defenses before our sharpshooters took him down. Managed not to kill him, too. His armor kept the worst of it off him, instead damaging his arms and legs enough that fighting back wasn't an option.
The UAS offered to let us deal with him. Will, being somewhat diplomatic, handed the job over to the man in charge of the local UAS. As I understand it, the trial was short and to the point. The man was strung up from a tree and suffocated to death. Our medics did the bare minimum to keep him alive when they arrived on the scene. No one around here would let him walk away from killing four people in cold blood. Patchwork bandages and sutures gave the killer just enough time to feel the rope tighten.
I'm reminded of Omar Little from The Wire. There are many differences between our killer and the fictional character, but what struck me was the similarity they shared. Both of them seemed to have a code. That and a willingness to risk all for a decision made in the name of justice, maybe revenge. What he did was wrong and I'm glad he's dead, but you can't deny the strength it took to knowingly undertake a suicide mission.
Perspective is a strange thing, I guess. From his point of view, the soldiers around him were traitors. In bed with an enemy he believed were the worst kind of people. Murderers at the very least. As sickened as I am that Haven lost four precious lives, I can't hate the man for what he did. I'm angry, sure, but not too long ago many people in the Union thought the same about the UAS. I could name names for an hour without stopping, listing off people I know personally who expressed their urge to kill every one of the enemy.
Those same people are now cooking and serving that same enemy meals on a regular basis. Some are even going on patrols to clear out zombie nests. Working side by side. Every spectrum of malcontents has their extreme examples, and the man hanging from that tree was one of them. Someone who couldn't let evil--evil as he saw it, anyway--go unpunished. A man whose views and feelings were impossible to separated or reconcile from the situation in front of him. It's a sad day all around, no other way to put it. I wish someone could have convinced him otherwise before this tragedy happened.
Now we're five people poorer, and no one is happy.
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