Lessons from The City

The news our nameless girl arrived bearing, in The City, Not Long After, was that an army was on its way to San Francisco in the name of “reunification”–whether the city dwellers wanted to reunify or not.

They didn’t. The liked their freedom–freedom to create and to continue to live as they pleased. Unfortunately, they were going to have to fight to keep it.

This isn’t exactly a new scenario in apocalypse fiction, or in real life. And though we’ve seen it play out in a variety of ways, it’s still worth considering a couple of very important questions:

  • What kind of life do you want to live?
  • What are you willing to do to protect it?

A friend of mine tells me that if the world devolves into Mad Max, he’d rather not survive, and I can see his point. To live in constant fear and/or have to live with with the consequences of killing someone else is a devil’s bargain especially for a natural pacifist. And when the life you are fighting for isn’t one worth living, it may not be worth the fight.

But what if it is? What if armageddon comes and goes and you are happy in your off-grid, bug-out bunker growing veggies and raising chickens? Would you kill for that? Would you kill to protect your life? Your wife? Your child? And if not, might there be another way?

This is where creative thinking comes in–something it’s definitely worth practicing. Because even if you’re willing to kill, what happens if you can’t? Maybe you’ve run out of ammunition. Maybe the attacker is between you and your gun. Maybe the person you’re fighting is a kid you babysat when he was four. Maybe you don’t want your 2 year old daughter to be emotionally scarred by the gore. Maybe there’s a chip in your head that causes you debilitating pain when you act in violence (it could happen…).

So this is where we ask more questions.

  • If killing isn’t an option, what are the alternatives? Flee? Distract? Hide? Subvert? What else?
  • What can I do to prepare for these alternate options?

Because when disasters strike, they don’t usually like to conform to our ideas of how they should go, which means all your best plans probably won’t go as planned. The more ideas and options you have at your disposal the more likely it is that one of them will work.

Add more trusted people to the brainstorming mix, and you’ll have an even better chance. Especially if you make sure their answers to that first question are compatible with yours.

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