28 September 20XX
My Dear Lucilius:
We have had a bit of a return of autumn – just enough to give a bit more life to the garden – but it feels as if our Winter is returning for good. That is not terribly surprising for this time of year, of course.
The issue of the now-gone truck has haunted me far more than I had anticipated. I had anticipated, of course, that something like this could happen at some time. One would like to believe that I had prepared myself mentally for it. But nothing prepares you for the quiet sound of a velvet demand backed up by force.
It is the question that ultimately undergirds every civilized society, is it not? Will rule of law prevail, or the rule of the tyrant? The law of the jungle – the strong over the weak – or the rights of the individual?
At one time – in my youth – I would have told you that the rule and the law and the individual was the winner. A few years ago and really up to this past summer, I would have told you that the rule of the tyrant – or the tyrannical – was what prevailed (carefully preserved under the name of “the best thing for the people”). And now, perhaps we have moved to the law of the strong over the weak.
I know, I know, Lucilius – you wonder if I have any actual practical advice to suggest in all of this. I may, but it is not the practical sort of thing that makes many people happy.
In my world, the fact that this happened now – rather than later – is a good thing. Now, we still have some semblance of the rule of law. There was no shooting that I am aware of for this incident. No-one – at least here – died. And now, people’s attention is now firmly planted on the here and now with what we have around us, including ourselves. It is clear – brutally clear to any who would think about it briefly – that no help is coming from any of our elected officials.
As I mentioned, Winter is coming soon here – and with Winter will come the virtual end of much activity around here. In years past, the only activity would have been occasionally hunting and those going to their jobs. This year, almost nothing will happen.
But it is not just with us. It is with those around us as well. Those soldiers – and the ones they represent – will not be back until Spring. The cost to benefit ratio of driving here to collect anything is small. There are towns much closer and the cities will demand their attention. Cities fall into disorder far more than the countryside does. And demand more attention. And Winter costs fuel and supplies.
Do not mistake me – I think they may be back, but not until Spring. And by Spring, much will have changed both here and there.
My mental preparations need to be deeper and more thoughtful than they were before, Lucilius. The hard times are no longer coming. They are now here.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca.