It's a blog.
In: Uncategorized6 Jul 2008
We were putting our clothesline back up today (the septic tank people took it out to do repairs, and then forgot to put it back up, and left with the excavator before we could call them on it). I should note, BTW, that putting a clothesline up sounds trivial, but is actually backbreaking labor. The wooden posts are very thick lumber, and that’s probably a good 50-100 pounds of wood each. But there’s also a collosal blob of concrete on the bottom of each to stabilize them. My dad and I tried pulling together to drag one of the poles and couldn’t even budge it. He tried hooking a rope up to his SUV, and the rope snapped. (And he used some decent rope, too.)
But that’s not the point. I did a lot of digging today. That, actually, isn’t the point either, but it leads into it: somehow, I remembered all the horrible stories that get told about people being forced to dig their own graves before being brutally executed and thrown into it.
I came to wonder something: why, exactly, would you comply? Sure, they have a gun, but it’s not as if you have the choice of digging the grave or getting shot. If you get this far, you’re going to be shot. No brutal dictator with any self-respect would ask you to dig your own grave and then say, “What a nice hole you’ve done. I guess I won’t kill you.”
I suspect the answer lies in two things… The first is that people probably don’t think too rationally with a gun to their heads. The other is that people probably want to buy themselves a little more time, even if it’s a couple of minutes.
Of course, there’s a very good reason to act like you’re going along with the plan: a shovel can make a good weapon. And I suppose that, if you know you’re going to get shot, there’s no reason (other than what’s basically irrational fear) not to try to take out your captors with it. Although I’d wager that anyone who’s having you dig your own grave probably has some experience, so they’d see that one coming from a mile away. (But again, you really have no incentive not to try. The worst-case scenario is that you get shot, which, in this case, is what would happen anyway.)
But if you don’t think the shovel defense would work, such as if the executioner/guard kept his distance, the alternative is to simply refuse. If I’m going to get shot to death, I figure refusing to dig the grave is killing two birds with one stone. (Err, no pun intended…) The last minutes of my life won’t be spent doing agonizing labor knowing that I’m going to be killed, and I could die knowing that my death would now be collosally inconvenient for my killer.
If you did it really well, I think you could use this to catch the guard, err, off guard:
“Dig yourself a grave!”
“But, err, with all due respect, what incentive do I have to do so?”
“I’ll shoot you!”
“But won’t you anyway?”
“So I really have no incentive to dig a grave. My death would be quite an inconvenience to you.”
“Perhaps you should just let me go and say I dug my own grave, and you buried me. I won’t tell.”
“Umm, fine. Begone!”