Speaking of The Walking Dead, I managed to pick up a cold that has knocked me on my butt for the last day or so. I’m hoping that because it’s such an intense amount of discomfort and suffering that it will burn itself out quickly…the candle that burns twice as bright burning half as long, and all that jazz.
The most recent episode of The Walking Dead brought up an interesting scenario – the hitchhiker. If you havent seen the eipsode you may wanna skip the rest of this post.
No? Ok then…..
So here’s the scene: our three heroes are driving down a two-lane road in the sticks. No buildings, no signs of civilization, nothing. Heavy woods along both sides of the road. As they continue on their way, they approach a hitchhiker walking along the road. The hitchhiker waves frantically at the oncoming car, screaming and begging them to stop. Our heroes in the car ignore him completely, and whip by him without a glance. On the return trip along that same road they find a pile of blood and gore next to the hitchhikers backpack…implying the hitchhiker had succumbed to the zombies. Our heroes stop the car, pick up the backpack, and continue on their way.
As you might imagine, this led to some interesting discussions in other forums. Most of the comments opined that there was no way of knowing if the hitchhiker was merely bait used by ambushers waiting in the woods and that stopping would be an unacceptable risk. One person suggested that the car should have stopped at a safe distance, they shoot and kill the hitchhiker from range, and then continue on past him..the idea being that he would somehow be a threat as you whipped by him at 60 mph. The idea of arbitrarily killing someone just because he’s walking along the road I need to drive on seemed a little extreme.
My take on it would have been to drive past him a quarter mile or half mile so he could see me stop, and then, assuming I could spare it, leave some supplies in the middle of the road for him.
This, naturally, brings up the topic of charity in a disaster/EOTWAWKI situation. There is a school of thought that says there is a ‘Christian duty’ to provide charity. I see this term bandied about frequently when the topic comes up. This kinda bothers me because it implies that non-religious people are naturally non-charitable and that only by adopting some sort of belief system can you be compelled to overcome your naturally non-charitable nature. I, of course, disagree with this. I think that a person can have a charitable nature without a religious or spiritual underpinning. Additionally, if youre being charitable out of some sort of religious mandate or compunction then youre not being charitable, youre simply following orders.
My own take on the subject of charity is that there are far too many people in the world, even outside of disasters and EOTWAWKI events, to help. Every one of us has limited resources and, naturally, our priorities are to ourselves and our loved ones first. (Our ‘tribe’, if you want to put it into simpler terms.) Once those needs are taken care of, there’s a sort of ‘charity triage’. You cannot help everyone so who do you help? Or, since you can’t help everybody should you then help nobody? And if you choose not to help anyone, how do you answer the inevitable pointed question of “Well, what if was you in that situation? Wouldnt you want someone to help you?”
I usually answer that by saying that while I would want someone to help me, I wouldn’t expect it and I’d be quite understanding of someone not helping. One of the reasons I’ve gone through twenty-plus years of being a survivalist is so I dont find myself in that Blanche Dubois situation of having to rely on the kindness of strangers. Invariably, some genius will respond with “Well what if your house burns down and you lose all your stuff and you have nothing and have to rely on charity, then what?” Well, then I mentally kick my own ass for putting all my eggs in one basket.
Certainly, if I had ‘plenty’ and if I thought the person was worth the expenditure of resources and if I could do it safely and, most importantly, if being charitable didn’t increase the risk to my tribe, then, yes, I’d be charitable. I certainly would not ‘give till it hurts’ because, logically, if you give till it hurts than you’ve obviously given too much. I’m certainly not going to engage in charitable giving that loads risk onto my end of things. Sorry youre having a bad apocalypse, dont come any closer, heres a couple MRE’s and some bottled water, don’t come back.
I figure that one year after the zombie apocalypse that hitchhiker must have been doing something right to still be alive. I’m willing to believe he had a run of bad luck and lost his weapons and his vehicle and thats why he was on foot, apparently unarmed. As I said, I’d've dropped off some supllies down the road if I could spare them, but thats about as close and personal as Im going to get to some stranger in a situation like that.