I didn’t ask for this you know. I know you did not either but for once let’s not make this about you and let’s talk about me, yes? I never asked to be created so that each and every day I must gather the fuel that is necessary for my existence. Yes, I must eat, I must drink water and I must breathe the air, just as you do, but for me I have another staple requirement of daily living. I must have fuel. Did you choose to always needs food and water? No, you did not. Neither did I. I did not choose to require this fuel either but without it I will cease to exist. What I have created in order to survive in this world will come toppling down and that will be the end of me. How far would you go to eat? At first it is simple enough is it not? You go to the grocery store or you order online from the supermarket and acquire the ingredients to make a meal or receive a pre-cooked one. You chop, you peel, you mash and you stir and you make that meal. A hundred thousand different recipes to choose from. Instead you may remove the packaging, pierce the cling film and pop it in the over or the microwave. Either way you have food, ready to eat and to sustain you. But what if you had no money to acquire this food, how would you quell the rumblings in your stomach? Perhaps you might ask to be given food from neighbours, from food banks or left overs at supermarkets. It is demeaning but you need to eat don’t you, so what does a little pride matter so long as your stomach is filled? However, what if that charity ends? What if the benevolence of friends and neighbours dries up? What would you do then? What if there are no friends and no neighbours? Would you look to survive on berries you find by the roadside, drink the water from a stream? Would that sustain you for long or would you tire of that? Would you scavenge through the bins outside a supermarket for food that has been thrown out but is perfectly edible? Is that stealing? Perhaps not. Would you cope with the stares of pity and disdain from those who saw you surfing a dumpster?
Would you steal from the shops in order to quell the hunger pangs? Snatch a loaf from a bakery, sneak into a house and steal that cooling pie or rifle through the cupboards in order to find something to eat. What if there is no edible food in the dumpster, would you remove the mould and eat what you find, risking illness? What if the supermarkets ran out of food and there was nowhere to steal it from? Would you scavenge from the orchards until that fruit ran out? Would you catch fish or hunt a lamb or grab a chicken in order to cook and eat it over an open fire? What if the usual sources of meat began to vanish, having fallen prey to starving wild animals following the collapse of civilisation, what then? Would you try new sources? Would you, driven by hunger hunt down and eat a sparrow or a robin? How about an owl? Seagull? Would you slaughter a fox in order to eat its meat? Where would you stop? Would you eat another human being in order to survive? When needs must where would you draw the line? How far would you go to feed yourself and your loved ones? Begging, growing you own, stealing, savagery, cannibalism? Do you have a limit or when the chips are down and your stomach is knotted with the agony of starvation would there be no limit? How far would you go? Would you fight another person for a packet of rice? Beat someone up in order to steal their hoard of windfalls? Would you consider their loss of their food source and their injuries an acceptable consequence of your own necessary survival? Would this become collateral damage in the pursuit of survival? Abhorrent as it may sound, I should imagine, when the need really arises, that you would go beyond the unpalatable in order to survive.
Now replace food with the need for fuel and you will understand that I have no choice other than to gather this fuel from different sources and in different ways throughout the course of each day. The consequences which arise may seem regrettable to you but they are purely the result of this need for me to gain fuel. I did not ask to have to do this, but the way I have been created makes it so. In the same way that you would fight to ensure your own survival, rather than curling up and dying in a hole, so must I. Does that make me what would be regarded as a bad person for just doing what I need to in order to exist? I suggest that it does not. I know that what I do has consequences for others. I am not blind nor am I a fool. I understand fully the devastation that I cause as I tear through someone else’s life like a whirlwind, sucking everything in, hurling it about and then discarding it broken and shattered. I have heard the complaints, the stories, the recollections and the accounts. I have heard the cries of dismay, the wails of misery, the screams of terror and the slow sobs of pain. I know what is caused by my actions but what choice do I have? I do not set out to achieve these things but they must always arise as a consequence of what I must do.
I feel no guilt nor remorse. I am devoid of those emotions. Another consequence of the way I have been created. I feel no shame in these actions, no pity for those who suffer from my behaviours and no sense of empathy for those who are remorselessly cut down by my machinations. I am not burdened by such emotions so I do not toss and turn at night, I do not have my sleep peppered by nightmares of torment, I do not sit in anguish and seek absolution for everything I have done and everything that I am to do. Those concepts are not applicable to me. What I do is invite you to understand me. I want you to understand what I am, what I must do and what arises from this and if you were in my shoes then you would do the same. This does not make me a bad person does it? I am a good man who is having to do a bad job. Yes?