John Ramsey Miller
I think Cormac McCarthy has already written the best end-of-the world book I’ve ever read. But in the future I may write something about the end of the world from my own perspective. It won’t be about a meteor striking the earth, which I personally believe was the cause of the state of the earth in THE ROAD. Looking into the future with accuracy is impossible, of course, but it doesn’t take a psychic, just an ability to look at the present and imagine what the consequences of our actions might lead to something ten times worse. We’re living in a world where every country with the money is developing nukes, or will buy them from Iran, Russia, or North Korea. Once all of the countries who can beg, borrow, or buy them, have them, it’s just a matter of time before they use them the way they use IEDs or AK-47s. If you’ve been paying attention to world affairs, and not living on an Emu farm, you know that’s not merely possible, but highly likely. So there are a thousand end-of time plots not involving meteors striking Florida.
When I was in Great Britain I went through The Tower, and I visited several museums and galleries because I love art and because studying the masters by looking at the actual pieces is a spiritual experience. One overcast afternoon in March my wife and I walked out of the Royal Gallery and looking down at Trafalgar Square I had a vision of something that could be happening in that very location in the future. My flash was of bearded men in robes who were taking the paintings from the museum and feeding a giant fire with the art. I imagined marble statues being shattered by men using sledgehammers, and bronzes being cut into pieces using cutting torches. I could imagined the streets as far as I could see filled with Brits who had lost control of their country and could only stand by as watch as their history was being destroyed due to a decree from the Islamic British Government who were radicalized after having taken over in stages and were ridding Britain of its graven images. This was only after they had killed the animals in the zoos and turned Windsor Palace into a goat ranch. Great background for a thriller. It may not be so far out as I read the other day that there is now Sharia-based court in London ruling on Moslem disputes. I have no idea where it gets its legal authority, but if it’s Moslems on Moslems, I’m sure (as long as there are no executions), most Brits will let it go on. If radical Islamic extremists have their way, it could happen someday, and someday is coming soon in the Netherlands, France, and Great Britain.
I think about the future a lot these days and how systems can break down, and how that might impact me and those I love. It’s smart to prepare for contingencies as though they could become realities, because they certainly can. For instance for the past two weeks there has been a serious gasoline shortage in the Southeast, and finding gas has been a challenge. The closest station to me hasn’t had gasoline since Hurricane Ike, three weeks ago. There are no five gallon gas cans for sale anywhere.
I have the ability to grow food on my land, and have chickens and guns and the bullets for them and I have the mindset to use them if necessary. It’s dumb to think the police can protect you and your loved ones, any time, but if the system is under strain, forget it. You have the right and the duty to protect yourself from outside forces using whatever force that requires. If you are anti-gun you I guess you’ll have to wait however long it takes for the cops to come shovel up your corpse. I have several friends who believe people should not be able to own handguns, and every time there is a story in the news about some wing-nut shooting innocents they join the herd of people who think the killer would have been peaceable had they not had access to guns. In Jamaica more people are killed with machetes than guns, because it’s hard to get a gun, and they are expensive. I believe everybody is free to believe what they like, even if it’s unrealistic and they end up being a victim.
My books are about violent people, and about people who are touched by violence and react in order to survive, sometimes by employing violent means. My protagonists are not by nature violent people, but to stand around and let violent people do them harm without trying to save themselves or others by whatever means are at their disposal is out of the question. My readers wouldn’t enjoy my stories if evil people ever won. I understand that my personal feelings come through my writing. My feeling (in case you care) are that if someone comes to my home, or approaches me seeking to do me harm, odds are better than 50/50 that they will not succeed because I am not a pacifist and, if I decide I have to draw my gun, I will have already decided to shoot to kill, and I will do that. I have trained with a handgun for most of my adult life. I was trained first in the 1970s by the training officer for SWAT teams. I have carried a badge, and I have had concealed carry permits for decades. So as often as not I often go out onto the world with a handgun concealed on my person.
So, in my end-of-the-world book, many will die, but only the bad guys and gals, and there will be hope that the good guys can start over and succeed, which in the real world may be a fiction-dream. I hope the end of the world isn’t around the corner, and I hope it looks nothing like Cormac McCarthy’s.