Truth Against the World

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zombie Snake'n a Box

One of the main questions that came up in the discussion about Zombies, over at the Doomstead Diner, is whether killing them is advisable or not. The main concern is that the title "Zombie" is a demonizing title that places blame for the American Hologram in the wrong place. Rather than blaming the rich, sociopathic, Corporatocracy Masters that have the good fortune of being on top of the pyramid, we are blaming the "Zombies" who are too worthless to live. Apparently the Libertarians have co-opted the word to describe retired government workers with pensions. Cause, you know, the retired government workers with pensions are the main reason why we can't get the budget balanced? Never mind the hundreds of billions a year just keeping the military machine kickin' ass and takin' brown people's gas, or the billions in government subsidized CEO bonuses, or the trillions of printed dollars given to the same sociopathic assholes running the too big to fail banks, it's the government pensioners that are the Zombies suckin' the balance out of the budget. Fuck politics...and that concludes my response to the libertarians and their co-opting of the word "Zombie." I've gone to great lengths to outline, describe, and define what I consider Zombies to be, and I will not be doing so again. I want to talk about the possibility of killing zombies in a post-collapse scenario to protect and defend your post-petroleum tribe's resources.

Naturally the discussion about killing zombies ended up in the realm of religion. "Man does not live by bread alone," inevitably came up. True, man doesn't live by bread alone, but he can't live without it either. He will die without the bread, and the zombies want his bread, so what's man to do? Especially a man with children and a wife to keep alive. Recently I've had cause to reflect on the action of killing due to participating in some killin' myself. Basically, best I can tell, life requires death. This is true all the way to the level of virus (which aren't technically considered living organisms). In order for the virus to replicate cells must die. Seems the only life forms that don't directly require death are plants and autotrophs. The rest of us need shit to die in order for us to live. To illustrate my point, I'm going to use an anecdote from my recent life.

I have 3 Rhode Island Red hens, 11 Deleware Hens, and a Rhode Island Red rooster named Archimedes all living in a chicken shack that I've created via Scavenge Engineering named "Eggmahal." It's been dubbed Eggmahal cause that's where my hens poop out the nutritious back yard chicken eggs that I feed to my family and sell. I sell the eggs for 3 dollars a dozen in an attempt to cover my costs for keeping said chickens. This allows me to have a steady supply of better quality chicken eggs then I can buy, as well as fertilizer and stored meat to feed my family (no better way to store meat than on the hoof...or in this case, on chicken feet). Keeping chickens requires you be willing to kill to keep them. If you aren't willing to kill the occasional chicken, or chicken egg, predator, than you might as well not bother keeping them. I'm the only thing that's going to kill any of my chickens or take any of their eggs.

So a couple of days ago I went into my coop to do the daily routine of feeding and watering the chickens as well as collecting the eggs. I walked over to the nesting boxes to collect the eggs and there was Mr. King snake with an egg half way in his mouth. He had found him a wonderful all you can eat king snake buffet equipped with a comfy new home to live in. He couldn't ask for a better set up. All he had to do was lay in the nice cozy nest box with a bed of hay, and whenever he got hungry he'd just reach on over to one of the other boxes and snatch an egg. Hell, he didn't even have to move more than a foot. He had quite literally found himself a snake paradise. Not on my watch Jack. My identifying him set off a chain reaction of immediate snake dispatching. I went straight into the Gypsy House, got my Earth Scalpel (a flat tipped short shovel) and a trashcan. I went back into the coop and jabbed the shovel into the snakes neck trapping him in the nest box. I then began, with my upper body, pushing as hard as I could. My shovel has not been sharpened so I simply broke his neck. This made him a bit more docile, and I was able to get him into the trashcan where I then took him out of the coop, dumped him out on the grass, and finished the job with my machete (which is one I found backpacking a few years back and never got around to sharpening...sooo it was a little messy).

Now, I don't want to kill anything. I really don't. I derive no pleasure from killing, but I also eat meat. Do you eat meat? Cause if you do then you kill every time you eat it. It's not violent for you, you just go to the store and get your sterilized meat that comes from the grocery store refrigerator. Or you go to a restaurant where all you have to do is shovel said dead meat into your meat hole. Eating meat, in the reality outside of the Matrix, requires you to violently kill, gut, skin, quarter, and butcher whatever meat you want to cook. We have lost touch with this reality.

Unfortunately the very next day, I went into Eggmahal to take care of the chickens, and there was King Snake number two...he was an upgraded version of Mr King Snake #1. I noticed that the nest box just to the right of the one the other snake was in, had a new snake in it. He was twice as large as the first as well. I went and got the Earth Scalpel and attempted the same method I used the day before. However his neck was much larger in diameter and so all it did was piss him off. He tried to make his escape by going to the coop floor to rather hurriedly slither off. I jabbed with my shovel and separated his head from his body like Disney's Hercules did to the Hydra of Lerna. It took him about 30 minutes to figure this out for himself. I apologized to him while he was laying there watching his headless body slither around oblivious to it's new headless status. I thought about having the common courtesy to at least remove his head from the he at least didn't have to watch...but failed to do so.

Now I didn't want to kill either of those snakes. In fact, after slaying the first snake, I went into the Gypsy House and announced to all of the snakes in ear shot that they could eat all of the rodents they wanted to, but that if they touched my chickens, chicken eggs, children, or family, that they would end up like captain headless over there watching his headless body aimlessly coil around. It's nothing personal I said, can't have my damn eggs. I'm not starving. I don't have to have those chickens or those eggs to feed my family right now. I may, in the near future, require them to feed my family, but right now just in time truckin' is truckin' along just fine (well it's not fine, actually it's anything but fine...but it doesn't know that...and neither do the zombies). So I didn't have to kill either of those snakes (nor the two I killed last year) for my survival. I killed those snakes because their presence makes a mockery of my chicken keeping. The bottom line is that I'm not keeping chickens to feed the local fauna. I'm keeping chickens to feed my family nutritious food, and to provide them with some food security. You see, when JIT truckin' stops truckin' just in time...I'll have a source of food to keep my family fed.

Only there is a problem with keeping those chickens to keep my family fed in that post-collpase world I see potentially around any corner anytime now. That problem is that I'm not the only one who wants to eat those eggs and chicken asses. In a post collapse world there will be zombies who will want to eat my chicken asses. I'm not doing the work of keeping those chickens to feed zombies. Yet if I were not willing to use force to keep zombies from eating my chicken asses, then they WILL eat my chicken asses, and then what was the point in having said chicken asses to begin with? I don't want to kill anybody, or anything, but I want to ensure my family is fed more than I don't want to kill. My killing the snakes isn't exactly a product of that, since I admit I don't need those chickens right now, but it's still something I must do to make my chicken keeping efforts not pointless.

Now, killing snakes in times of relative peace just on account of my chicken egg count is something entirely different from killing a zombie (or zombies rather) in a post collapse world. I'm not comparing the value of the life of that snake to that of a hypothetical zombie. What I'm saying is that I didn't want to kill either of those snakes. When I identified that there was a "snake in the box"... it ruined my day instantly because I knew that my day now required me to kill something violently (I else does one kill anything really?) and with extreme prejudice. The matter is further complicated by the type of snake. King snakes are a great snake to have around because they eat other snakes (hence the "king" in the title). They are thought to be immune to the venom of poisonous snakes. Also, which annoys me in this case, they are of no threat to humans. This is a good snake to have around if you're going to have snakes around. I feel bad for killing both of them. But they can't have my eggs. There is no way I know of to get them to understand that they can live if they just leave my eggs alone. So they must die. I'm not going to want to kill any zombies either, but I am going to want to feed my family

Man doesn't live on bread alone. I believe that. I really do. There is more to life than this life. There is consciousness beyond my brains. I believe that as well. However I'm a father, and that's in this life. I can't make sure my children are fed if I'm dead, and I won't watch my children starve in this life either. I'll do whatever I need to do to make sure they are well fed. There are grave dangers in labeling the majority of people zombies. They become infected and less then human. It becomes alright ethically to kill something that is already dead. This is damaging to the human psyche. It's really the same process that goes on in the mind of a soldier who's convinced himself that these people are somehow less then people. Or as the Nazi's labeled the Jews, "Lebensunwertes Leben" or "life not worthy of life." When is it ever justifiable to kill people? I would answer that by saying it is justifiable to kill a person whom is trying to kill you, or yours for that matter. So it's justifiable to kill in order to stay alive. We do that every time we eat meat. Granted we aren't killing humans.

In just about every case of a society collapsing there has been cannibalism documented. We are at a point in the history of our species where we are talking about near term human extinction due to run away anthropomorphic global temperature rise. It seems WW111 is lookin' to start up over in Syria, and we have nuclear power plants that are spoogin' radioactivity into the acidifying ocean environment faster than you can say "death by cancer." Our world is in a terrible way just now. Everything we take for granted as normal in relation to our quality of life is built on a network of non-renewable resources that are becoming scarcer by the second. Every day there are less species on our planet than there is today, and that as well can be placed at the feet of humanity. The fact that zombies are real is a sad and depressing fact. But it is a fact. Like those snakes attempting to take up residence at Eggmahal, and therefore forcing me to kill them. I can imagine zombies doing the same in the near future as a reality I will live to see. I can guarantee my sons will see it...if I don't. Those zombies will force me to kill them if my son's starvin' belly is on the line. It will be their decision. I will do everything I can to not kill them. I will give warnings and wait till the last minute. But in the end, when it comes to my children being fed or me killing a zombie...I'm sorry to say the zombie will have to go. Just like those snakes.

The best we can do is attempt to curtail that eventuality by fostering community. Get the zombies involved and try to wake them up. But that's a waste of time. They can't be made to have the Epiphany Now. I've tried. The only zombies that wake up are those that decide they want to wake up. The hard cold bitch of a fact is that our world is FUBAR and getting worse by the day. Life requires death and nature doesn't select organisms whom readily die. The fact of the matter is that we are headed into times that could easily feature such things as cannabalism...just like the last complex societies that collapsed and began eating one another. I'd rather be a zombie slayin' professional than a person eater. Guess what zombies are good at? They're good at turning you into a cannibal cause they ate all of your chicken asses and taters. So maybe I'm an ass hole for talking about such things. Maybe I'm delusional and our society is not doomed to the reality of zombies. What I know is that I'm a survivor. Before I'm eating other people I'm gonna be the meanest, toughest, most calloused, bad ass professional zombie dispatching agent you've ever met. Cause fuck eatin' another human. That's not my idea of a world I wanna be in...or that I want for my sons. Here's to the hope that renewable energy will curtail World War Z. But so far...and this is the most important fact, it seems just now that Zombie Whispering is working just fine. Zombies aren't really that dangerous until the shit hits the fan. 

Here's a video I made after killing the second snake.  Warning...the video features a snake that has been decapitated...although you can't see any blood and it looks like it hasn't been aside from the shovel that's separating the head from the body.  



Harry J. Lerwill said...

If this was the second king snake, and you dispatched the other with a machete, why not put the creature out of its pain with said blade as soon as it was rendered immobile?

I'd have gone for the blade before the camera.

The wife, on the other hand, would have gone for the closest transatlantic flight. She has a phobia of snakes.

William Hunter Duncan said...

You should try some king snake steaks :) Double up on the nourishment, eggs and snake steak. Should there be cannibalism going on, good to have a taste for snake steaks. Those zombies would sooner eat people than snakes.

Luciddreams said...

Harry, both snakes were "dead" before I got the camera. Their heads had been removed. I guess I'd have to get the brains destroyed to be the most humane. My intention is not to make the snakes suffer. I don't know. How much pain could the snake be in with it's head removed? I imagine all of the movement is just nerves. It was strange watching that last snake coil around and move like it still had a head. It was quite shocking actually.

William, I had that thought. The thought that it was an additional harvest from the coop. Cause had I needed to I could have fed the family several meals featuring snake meat. Which I strongly considered doing. My mom's here from Cali and she said "you're not starving...compost it." LOL I couldn't argue with that logic...or rather didn't want to. I was on the fence about it already anyways. Currently both of those snakes are in the deep freezer waiting for me to do something with them. I'm thinking I might just bury them in the new bed I've made.

To be honest, the only reason I didn't eat them was because I wasn't sure how to skin a snake. Can they be degloved? I am curious what King snake tastes like. I suppose I could let them thaw out and then try preparing them for the wok. I'd do fried rice with veggies and sauteed king snake if I do eat it.

Jason Heppenstall said...

I don't know why, but I noticed a few years back that the most gentle, hospitable and sustainable cultures tend to also have the most barbaric killing methods - often inflicting the most pain and distress on an animal before they finally kill it. I've read about this (and even seen it) in Asia and South America. Before Vietnam and Laos were bombed back to the stone age, villagers used to tie up bullocks and then hack bits out of them (kids included) in a party-like ceremony that could last hours.

By contrast, our modern industrialised culture likes to shut out death. One of the things that really spooked me about Denmark was the way they kill pigs - and they kill millions and millions of them every year. The pigs are 'processed' in giant facilities where they are played Mozart before being gassed and then dispatched by giant machines. The result? Everyone regards eating meat as cruelty free … I even heard someone claim 'The pigs enjoy it'.

I don't know why this should be … all I know is that if you industrialise and justify the death of one type of animal, you leave the door wide open to suing the same methods for others - perhaps including us.

Incidentally, the most humane method of killing I have encountered is the method employed by villagers in the arid regions of the Middle East and North Africa. The family goat or whatever is held while an incision is made into its jugular with a sharp knife (facing Mecca, if it's to be Halal). The animal is then let go and usually wanders away a bit where it gets weary and lies down to sleep … never to wake up again. This is probably the most civilised way to kill an animal IMO. Admittedly, it would be difficult to do with a snake :)

Jason Heppenstall said...

BTW as for eating snakes, look no further than Bear Grylls (and, yeah, this video probably should have a warning if anyone is squeamish) …

Luciddreams said...

I watched the Bear Brylls vid. That fucker is crazy. Eatin' raw snake that's just been killed. Funny thing...that snake didn't move one iota once Bear killed it. WTF? I've got I think 6 other videos I took of the two snakes I killed. I'm thinkin' about putting them all up. Both of those snakes continued moving around after they'd been killed. That makes me wonder about the "reality" of what we see in that video. Especially knowing that Bear got caught stayin' in a hotel when he was supposed to be out freezin' his ass off in the bush for the filming of one of his episodes. It certainly looked like he killed a snake and ate it, but that snake didn't move. I'm pretty sure all snakes have the same anatomy with trivial differences due to venom, although I'm not certain. Just curious is all.

Like I said in the blog, I have no interest in killing anything, and I especially have no interest in making another sentient being suffer any. I know my humor and writing style may lead one to believe otherwise but it's not the case. I also don't want to kill any people. I went to great lengths to not kill people when in the Navy which ultimately resulted in me gettin' my ass kicked out. To be honest I don't even like killin' squash bugs (aside from the fact I can't stand the way those fuckers smell when squished). It just feels cruel and unnecessary to kill for no reason (flies and mosquitoes I do derive pleasure from killing...but they are an exception).

However in my case, with the snakes, I have good reason to kill them. I suppose I'm comparing killing zombies to killing snakes, but I do that because not wanting to kill those snakes got me back to thinking about the whole zombie debate we've been having at the Diner. If I don't want to kill a snake how could I possibly kill another human?

I think what I like about this debate so much is how it removes us so far from what we consider comfortable to entertain. I honestly believe I would rather be killin' zombies than eatin' people, and I think that choice is an interesting one to ponder. It is a reality I can foresee happening in reality for me one day, although I hope and pray that it never does.

I suppose the point of the whole thing is that I would kill to keep my family safe and alive.