Friday, May 10, 2019
Seven Skinny Cows: Campfire talk, The morality of killing all zombies
John Gault was troubled by the need to kill all of the raiders.
He asked Chernovsky “Why?” and Chernovsky decided it was a good topic for the campfire talk.
“How many of you have younger sisters?” Chernovsky started out by asking after the fighters who were not standing sentry got settled.
About a quarter of the young men raised their hands.
“Keep your hands up.” Chernovsky said. “How many of you have girl friends?”
About three-quarters of the men had their hands in the air.
“How many of you have mothers?” Chernovsky asked.
Of course, all the rest of the men raised their hands.
“OK, you can lower your hands.” Chernovsky said.
“Do any of them DESERVE to get Ebola? Did any of them do anything to earn death?” Chernovsky asked.
After hearing nothing but gentle snapping from the bed of coals for ten seconds he said “I didn’t think so.”
“How about the zombies?” Chernovsky asked. "Michigan is under martial law and has been for a month. Those zombies aren't supposed to be here. They are supposed to stay at their address-of-record."
“If you had to choose between one zombie dying and your girl-friend or younger sister dying, who would you choose? Would it be fairer for all of the innocent girls to die in Kates Store, Pray Church or for a raider to die in Windsor Township?” Chernovsky said.
Gault objected. “But it is not fair. The zombies aren’t any different that we are. They didn’t do anything that makes it fair to kill them.”
Chernovsky stared at Gault. “You did not listen to what I said. You were busy thinking of what you were going to say.”
“I didn’t say ‘fair’, I said ‘fairer’.” Chernovsky said. “We weren’t given any choices that are ‘fair’. All we can do is choose between the best of a bad lot.”
“If we don’t kill the zombies, all the zombies, then everybody in Kates Store, Pray Church and points south dies. Not just us but the truly innocent. Not only does everybody in Kates Store die, but the zombies die anyway. Ebola is out there. Somebody said the infection is running at 10%, that means that in a group of ten zombies one of them is infected, guaranteed.” Chernovsky said.
Math and statistics were not Chasnovski’s strong suit.
“If we kill all the zombies, then your younger sisters will have a chance to live to become adults. There will be a girlfriend to go back to.” Chernovsky said.
“The choice is yours. Kill all zombies now, here in Windsor Township or let everybody back home die.” Chernovsky said.
Everybody could see that Gault was wrestling with what Chernovsky had said.
He started to speak up when one of the other fighters told him to shut up.
“No. Let him speak.” Chernovsky said. “It is beyond important that every one of you: Every single one of you squeeze the trigger when you have the target in front of you.”
“I cannot have half of you going on a morality strike. I cannot have five of you on strike. I cannot afford to have a single one of you not drop-the-hammer when I, and your comrades in arms, are counting on you to stop the zombies.” Chernovsky said."If you cannot pull the trigger, then we all get rolled over and die."
Then Chernovsky decided to take a big gamble.
“What do you think the raw odds are?” he asked. “How many zombies and how many of us?”
The high end of the count was five-to-one, just like Vlad the Impaler.
“You are all wrong. There will be at least thirty zombies for every fighter.” Chernovsky let that sink in.
“That is why I have been a cast-iron bastard. The only way we have the slightest chance of completing our assignment is to take unfair advantage every chance we get.” Chernovsky said. “And we have to be perfect in our execution. Not 90%, not 95%. PERFECT."
Most of these kids had not done well at school. Many of them scraped by with a D on the second test retake...for every single test. Perfection in the field was a challenge but they had seen short windows of perfection, unlike tests that asked about gerunds or igneous rocks.
“The other thing is that Gault is the canary-in-the-coal mine. I gotta believe that some of you have the same questions that Gault has but you don’t have the balls to ask. Either that, or you figure you can count on Gault to ask.” Chernovsky said.
There was some mumbled agreement.
Encouraged, John Gault said, “Christ said we are supposed to love our enemies. I don’t see how to square executing potential hostiles that we got drunk with being a Christian.”
Chernovsky was stuck. He was not a church goer, nor did he read the Bible. One thing Chernovsky was good at was thinking on his feet.
“I gotta admit that I am not the guy to ask those kinds of riddles.” Chernovsky said.
“What I want to do is ask Walt Shaw what he is thinking.” Chernovsky said.
Shaw frequently pulled out his battered Bible to study in moments of downtime. Not only did he read the Bible but he was one of the most enthusiastic fighters.
“Hey, Preacher...what is your thinking on what Gault said?” Chernovsky asked.
Walt Shaw was not used to being the center of attention. He looked across the bed of glowing coals at Gault and said, “I assume you mean Matthew 5:44 when you said we should love our enemies.”
“Yeah, I am not sure what the chapter and verse is but I remember hearing it in church.” Gault said.
“Chapter 5 is mostly short comparisons that highlight the dangers of the slippery-slope.” Shaw said. “Swearing at your brother being the same as murdering him. Divorcing your wife being the same as making her a prostitute.”
“Jesus did not tell us to not kill our enemies. He told us to pray for them.” Shaw said.
“I have been combing through the Bible and I think Deuteronomy 20 speaks to your concerns.” Shaw said.
Gault had to admit that he was not very familiar with the Old Testament.
“I am not going to read it, ‘cause the light sucks. But in a nutshell, cities...and I think that can mean armies...that are in the Promised Land are to be destroyed to every last man, woman and child. Destroyed...killed.”
“Cities that you have to attack for strategic reasons but are not in the Promised Land are to be offered a chance to surrender. If they don’t, then every man is to be killed and the women and children allowed to live.” Shaw said.
“Yeah, but that is the Old Testament.” Gault said. “That cannot outweigh what Jesus said.
Shaw was almost hesitant to call Gault out. He really was a gentle soul. “That same chapter you were quoting earlier, Matthew 5, also has verse “I have not come to abolish the Law”, meaning the Old Testament “but to fulfill it.”
“You can’t cherry pick.” Shaw said. “It may be hard, but it is the mission we have been given.”
Chernovsky took a poll. He determined that the person who lived the farthest north was Gault, and he lived on Rossman Highway, two miles south of the fighter’s current position.
“OK, everybody got it? Anybody gets close to Rossman Highway and they all go down. Between Bridge Street and Rossman, we put up a sign at Bridge Street telling them to turn back. We warn them that everybody who moves south of Bridge Street will be considered a hostile and will be treated as such.” Chernovsky said. “We let families, women and children walk because they might have somebody who will take them in. Any group that looks like an army dies.”