Destruction Aftermath, Book 2a
Chapter 41

Copyright© 2012 by radio_guy

Jenny and Amy tended to the abused woman finding clothes and helping bathe her to start the healing process. Her husband was the dead man, which didn't help things except for her to know he died defending her. No one else had been hurt other than tied up.

I quietly talked to one couple, Dave and his wife. Marie was a nice looking, older woman about the same age as Dave. I said, "Who were the rapists?" She pointed out two others and said, "The other two are dead by the arrows."

Dave said, "What are you going to do?"

I said, "Where I come from, rapists are executed."

He said, "I don't believe in capital punishment."

I answered, "Then you would want them to take your wife with them?" His head jerked back at that. I repeated, "Rapists are executed. There are no repeat offenses."

He said, "Aren't you worried about executing an innocent person?"

"Not really. You wife didn't know what was going to happen and there's no reason to think she wasn't telling the truth. Are you calling her a liar?"

I don't think Dave was going to like me but his wife looked at me with a supportive smile. I don't think anyone had ever talked to Dave that way before. I said, "Why don't I just give them their guns back and Bennie and I will let them continue on with their plan?" He didn't answer me but continued to look at me with a troubled visage. Finally, I said, "Dave, I honestly don't care about your beliefs but my husband and I rescued you from this mess and we don't allow rapists to go free. I don't believe in prisons. They are wasteful." I walked away from him. His wife came up behind me. "My name is Terry."

"I'm Janice."

She walked with me as I continued to walk toward the prisoners. "Dave's not bad. He's just never had to make harsh choices."

"I understand but, unfortunately, these can be harsh times." I pulled my pistol and said, "Those two are the ones?" She looked troubled but nodded. I released the safety and put the pistol to a forehead and shot him dead. Before he had fallen over, I shot the other one. I looked at the remaining ones and said, "Rapists are executed quickly. You will be questioned. Your lives will depend upon your answers and attitude." I walked away. Terry followed me with tears in her eyes.

When I was twenty feet away, I stopped and looked at the remaining nine. She said, "That was more merciful than what they did to Van when they grabbed Dawn. They gut shot him. He had to watch her being raped as he died."

I looked at her and said, "The real questioning starts now. Bennie and I will handle it. You people really haven't had to suffer before."

She looked at me for a minute. Then, she said, "You were raped at one time."

"Yes, and it was only luck and my foster father that stopped it. My foster father helped execute them. I don't regret their deaths for a minute. I don't regret those either." I gave a headshake toward the two dead bad guys.

She said, "What about a trial and due process?"

I said, "You identified them. Did they rape your friend?" She nodded. "Then, that was the trial and they were shot. There was nothing to appeal. They were guilty and you knew it and they knew it. So do the rest of them. The only question remaining is what to do with the rest of them."

They could hear me speak and they were worried. I thought to myself that they should be.

Bennie gathered the Albers and the rest of their small community as I kept watch. He asked, "What should be done with the rest of these guys?"

One of the rescued said, "What do you mean? We ought to jail them for kidnapping." There were some nods.

Bennie said, "That's fine but who is going to man the jail and who is going to feed them?"

"The government will handle that."

Bennie said, "Where was the government when you were kidnapped? Where was the government when there was rape and murder? Who do you think rescued you?

"You know the answers to those questions. You have two choices. You either set them free or execute them. If they are set free, how do you know they won't be back better prepared to kill and abuse more of you?" They all looked at each other concernedly.

Bennie continued, "Over the years at Preservation, we have taken what our community believes is a realistic approach. We question the members of a captured group. Our experience has been that, when we question them, we find some were just carried along reluctantly. People get hungry for companionship and will accept a bad situation just to be with others. Others are just rapacious by nature and not having government or police lets them give free rein to their worst desires. I would suggest a panel question each prisoner individually and in depth. You can determine whether to set them free, allow them to join you on a probationary basis, or execute them. Preservation has only two solutions to people who do bad things, either they are exiled or they are executed. It's tough but exile is not often used. You don't want to turn someone loose to murder, rape, and steal from someone else ... That's harsh but it's real."

The guy who had told me he was against capital punishment said, "I don't agree. We have a duty to help people see the right way to act. People will do the right thing and violence never solves anything."

Bennie grinned and I knew this would not be an enjoyable lesson for the guy. Bennie said, "Your name is John, correct?" He nodded and Bennie hit him in the face knocking him down.

"Why did you do that?"

"I don't like people named John." Bennie let him get back on his feet and decked him again.

He went down again and stayed down for a while trying to get his senses together. Finally, he stood again and Bennie immediately decked him a third time. This time, he was knocked out. It took a while and a bucket of water for him to come to his senses. He said, "Why do you keep hitting me?"

Bennie said, "Does it matter? I just don't like people named John." The guy was on his hands and knees and Bennie kicked him in the guts. He went down moaning.

He gasped out, "Why? I've never hurt you. I don't even know you." Bennie kicked him again. The surprising thing was that no one came to his rescue. I found out later that he had a "holier than thou" attitude that irritated the others even his female companion. He stayed down for a while this time. I knew Bennie didn't really enjoy this but felt it necessary. I happened to agree. I watched all around including his back just in case someone tried to stop the lesson.

Another bucket of water was applied and John looked at Bennie and said, "Please. No more. I don't' want to be hit again." Bennie gave him a kick in the kidneys. This time, John threw up.

Bennie said, "I wish I could say that I am enjoying the mindless violence you're receiving but I'm not. However, you have a narrow range of choices. Either you decide that you are going to fight or I will eventually kill you. It will be painful but, if you won't learn, you will die."

Tom looked at him and looked at Bennie. He asked, "What's your point?"

"Unreasoning violence can only be stopped by applied violence. Unreasoning violence, by its very nature, lacks reason and must be fought. If a person isn't smart enough to figure that out, then they will be killed sooner or later."

John had gotten to his hands and knees. He said, "Help me! Don't let him kill me."

Tom looked at John and said, "What would you have us to? You are against violence so we can't use violence to stop him. There is no reason so we can't appeal to his reason or finer instincts. There's nothing to be done, John. Sorry." John groaned in pain.

John moaned some more and then he said, "I don't care what you do. Stop him!"

Bennie said, "John, you can't have it both ways. If violence is only okay to stop you from being hurt, then your beliefs are without meaning. If it's okay to use violence to stop me, then it should be okay in all things where necessary." Bennie looked over at the rest and said, "Now, we were talking about the disposition of the remaining raiders. I told you what Preservation does and why. Does anyone have any methods to recommend?"

John grunted out, "Kill them all. They would have killed us. That was their plan."

Bennie said, "Okay, we have an alternative. Kill them all. I guess the alternative would be to set them all free. Is anyone in favor of that?" He looked around and all shook their heads. "Okay, We have two choices. What do you want to do?"

John was starting to regain his feet. He said, "Give me a gun. I'll shoot them myself."

Bennie said, "John, that's some change of attitude. Please understand. I did not and do not bear you any ill will. I was teaching a lesson. The world is harsh now and mistakes in judgment and beliefs can be painful and fatal. Go over to Janice and let her bandage your hurts. She's good on bruises." He hobbled over to me.

I said, "He does teach tough lessons." I smiled gently. "Let's see what I can do to relieve some pain. Let's get your shirt off." I helped him pull it off over his head. He had some colorful bruises around the middle of his body. I had taken my pack off and used some salve that relieved his pain. He sighed with relief. I looked him in the eye. "Please be aware that my loyalty is to my husband. If you make or made a move on him, I will take you out."

He nodded and smiled ruefully. "I sort of figured that. He's a good man, tough, but good. I realize he could have hurt me much worse. Do you think he will let me serve on the decision committee?"

"Ask him. Probably, he will welcome you to it. I will help on it, too. We have done this before and a woman's perspective on a man's emotional stability can be telling." I finished treating his bruises and he pulled his shirt back on.

He walked back over to Bennie and shook his hand. I heard him say, "I would like to serve on the committee to decide."

Bennie said, "Okay, you know what will happen to those who fail."

"Yes, I will shoot them myself if necessary." He went over and talked with his wife or mate in whispers for a bit. They hugged.

Bennie looked at Tom and Vic. Tom said, "I think we need to conduct some interviews. Every person who desires may be part of this process."

I went over to our seven prisoners and picked the surliest looking one. "You are contestant number one." I reached down and cut his legs loose. "Get up and follow me. We're going to talk."

He said, "What if I refuse?"

"Then I will shoot you right now where you are." He stood up slowly and followed me away from his buddies to a little distance beyond where Bennie had initially gathered everyone to talk. Tom looked at Bennie who looked at me. I nodded and said, "Okay." Looking at our prisoner, I said, "You are on trial. There is no appeal. Conviction carries an immediate, mandatory death penalty. Do you understand?" He nodded. "Tell us your life's story and, be aware, I'm good at detecting falsehoods and lying will get you killed."

He told a rambling story filled with his innocence and loving care for his fellow man. I didn't believe a word of it. I didn't try to hide my thinking. May, the young woman who had been raped and whose husband killed, spoke up, "He may be telling the truth about some of this but he's lying about what happened in the control room. He had said he wanted to be next to rape me. I don't want him around."

I said, "He's lying."

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