Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Part 78


"What you are going to have to understand is that the infecteds aren't zombies."

I rolled my eyes.  "What do you think I am?  A little kid?  Zombies are nothing but spook stories.  Puss brains aren't dead, they're ... they're sick with an incurable disease that makes them very violent and ... uh ... very antisocial."

He gave me a look and then a very strange grin.  "You have no idea how much you sound like the docs."

That twisted my guts.  "Now just wait a minute.  I didn't do a thing to deserve that kind of insult."

He shook his head.  "Calm down Kid.  I didn't mean it as an insult ... or compliment.  Just saying that that's what you sound like."

"So?"

"So this ... the difference is in what you do with that kind of statement.  For you it is simply a fact.  Sure they're people but they're incurable.  To you putting a violent infected down is more putting the person out of their misery.  You see the pain they're in and you know there is nothing that is going to change that and you give them mercy and make it as quick as you can ... it's not about revenge, or justice, but about the right to defend yourself against an attacker.  You don't go looking for it.  You don't consider it a mission to rid the world of infecteds.  You simply eliminate them once they become immediately dangerous to you."

"Yeah and?"

"And you don't get all freaking philosophical or try to make it something it isn't.  You don't rationalize it or justify it.  You don't glorify it.  You know you are killing a living being and you don't do it lightly."

"And I repeat ... And?"

"DeeDee ... Sweetheart ... listen to me.  You do only what you have to.  That's all.  No more.  You aren't out to save the world or anything else.  There are people out there that are ... are ... geez how can I put this so I can get you to understand without sounding crazy."  He scratched his chin in an agitated kind of way and then leaned over and said to me, "You look at an infected, you see someone with an incurable disease that is likely terminal.  You see that an infected may act monstrous but that they aren't monsters.  At the same time, because you recognize them as people, you also hold them to be accountable for their actions.  If they try and kill you, you feel you have the right to defend yourself.  If they leave you alone you'd leave them alone ... but you've got enough commonsense to know that isn't happening and you prepare accordingly for what will inevitably occur.  To you their lack of intelligence or self control - even if it is because of a disease - is no excuse."

"Well, sure.  That's pretty much it in a nutshell.  I still don't see why you are going all wiggy."

"Because Kid there are people out there that think that you and your thinking is just as monstrous as the infecteds are.  They think that the Constitutional rights of the infecteds are being abused and that they should be declared a protected class.  They are trying to get it put under the Americans with Disabilities Act and are petitioning for money to be set aside to house and care for them."

I just looked at him and then snorted.  "I'd heard something like this was happening out West - not everyone is completely cut off and that kind of news gets around - but are you telling me that its here and not just out West?"

"Yes.  But ... but it's ... dammit.  Look, how much about politics do you know?"

"Enough to know it made Dad swear ... a lot ... and Mom make serious prune face."

He barked a cynical laugh.  "Yeah, I just bet it did.  Damn protected classes and all the handcuffing they did of law enforcement that prevented them from doing their job the way it needed doing.  I got to know Sheriff Berio pretty well and he was about as conservative as those back where I come from which is to say pretty damn conservative.  I'm sure he took a lot of flack from certain quarters."

"Sure, but anyone that does their job usually does ... or at least that is what Dad used to say.  But he always got reelected because people may have cursed him in public but in private enough were always happy with the way he did his job."

I was sad as it sunk in that the Sheriff was dead and Sarge patted my shoulder awkwardly.  "He was a good man and I was proud to know him.  He died the way he lived, trying to protect the people of his town.  Too few people like that in this world.  Too many of the other kind that are jockeying for power.  And that's what we have here.  Try and understand something DeeDee, just about everything comes down to power and the desire for power.  There are people that are going nuts because they've lost the people that put them in power.  The cities were devastated by this virus ... all over has been devastated but especially the urban centers.  The politics of the rural folks and the city folks has always been different but in the last couple of decades that difference has made for some very serious problems as the balance of power kept shifting around.  People would vote for whoever gave them the most never realizing nothing in life comes for free ... and that's on both sides of the political fence.  This pandemic, it has been so devastating that it has left a vacuum.  A lot of people are trying to fill that vacuum."

When he drew breath I said, "Ok, but what has that got to do with me?  What has it got to do with what is going on right now?"

"Girl, dammit, because what gets created today is what you are going to be left dealing with tomorrow."

It has been a lot to think about.  I haven't liked all of the thoughts it has created in my head.

Aggravated I told him, "So I kinda understand what you are saying but that still doesn't explain what is going on right now."

He sighed and leaned back.  "Maybe the picture I've tried to paint is too big for you to take in."  He scratched his chin again and said, "Let's get back to these so-called rights of the infecteds.  You know and I know that the infecteds do not have the mental capacity to do much more than eat to survive and survive to eat.  That's it, for the most part that is the sum total of their existence.  Eventually their lack of ability to plan and prepare for the future ... heck, to think of anything outside of their hour by hour, immediate needs ... will put a period on their existence.  If we can just wait them out, destroy the worst of them that create a safety problem, then the problem will correct itself through natural selection or whatever you want to call it.  But there are people that don't want to waste a good disaster.  They don't want nature taking its course, or natural consequences to happen.  They are taking people's good intentions and they are twisting and using them for their own agenda.  Let's think about this, what do you think is going to happen if they do make the infecteds a protected population?"

I shrugged.  "Well I'm toast because they'll have me up on murder charges and stuck so far back in the halls of justice that I'll never even be allowed to come up for air."

Surprised he nearly shouted, "Well aren't you all damn calm about it."

I shrugged again.  "I've thought about it.  But frankly it is what it is.  I'm not going to go shouting to the heavens what I've done - that would be like bragging about taking your turn as executioner which is just nasty and sick - but I'm not sitting around crying about what I've done either.  And one day it will likely be my turn to leave and go away.  Everyone goes away eventually ... everyone leaves someone at some point ... and not always because they want to."

He was quiet.  "You're right.  I don't want to admit it but you are.  But there is going away and then there is being taken away Sweetheart.  What some people plan to do is make it illegal for people to even defend themselves against an infected for any reason; they are saying that due to illness and environment the infected are not responsible for their actions.  Further, they are talking about rounding up as many infecteds as they can and putting them all in protected zones ... feeding them ... clothing them ... providing all sorts of services so they don't suffer.  Eventually the scientists even think that they will be able to come up with a way to rehabilitate infecteds enough that they can contribute to society in some way but that even if they can't we still have a responsibility as humans to look after the infecteds."

"Sounds nice ... except that it is so stupid it's funny.  Ever watched that move Sean of the Dead?  The ending was kind of like that."

Sarge snorted.  "As a matter of fact I have seen it and you aren't far off.  Makes you wonder what movies the nerdy little eggheads have watched.  And while I can see some people falling for that kind of stupidity the fact of the matter is that there are some people that know it is stupid but they'll go along with it if they think they can work it to their advantage.  There's talk - and that's all it is at this point thank God - of designating guardian ad litems or social workers for each infected to make sure they get their fair share of services.  These legal guardians will then get to know their charges so well that they'll supposedly be able to know who they'd vote for if they were able to vote."

"You've got to be kidding me."  And then I saw it.  "You mean that someone would pick who the guardians and protectors would be and it would be like automatically doubling the ... what's that thing called ... the voting block or whatever."

"Now you've got it."  He sighed.  "Damn, I'm just a simple man and all of this makes my head hurt but now that I know I can't just walk away.  What they are doing is wrong on so many levels.  But what they are doing right now to try and get their way in the future is my most immediate problem ... and yours too."

I crossed my arms though it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to do with my coat on.  "So now we finally get to this horde business?"

He nodded.  "Now we finally get to this horde business."

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