Escape from Tucson: Day 39 – Saturday

Escape fromTucson by AH TrimbleWeird, weird, weird times!

About thirty minutes into walking last night I heard this low moan that was pretty faint. I immediately dropped low and had my AR ready to go into action. I was nervous as all get out and straining to hear or see anything. Then again, the low moan. At this point I could tell it was a person and a general direction from which it was coming. My first instinct was to rush in that direction to see if I could help. In the old days that might be the right thing to do. In this day and age it could be a set-up for an ambush.

I crept in a wide arc to my right trying to get a better idea of what was going on. I heard it several more times, saw nothing that concerned me about an ambush, so I moved closer to the sound. Then “boom” I was right no top of this guy before I realized just how close to him I was. I am a terrible stalker. I would have sucked at being a scout for the Army back in the Indian days.

So here is this old man laying on the ground kind of under a mesquite bush. Blood all over his right thigh and the ground under him. He had a belt wrapped around his upper thigh but he was still losing blood. And the wound stunk. The flies around the wound didn’t make it any more appealing. This old guy was in bad shape but he was semi-conscience. I scanned the area one more time and felt good enough about the situation to talk to the guy but he was out of it. I broke out a bottle of water and propped him up enough to get a little water into his mouth. So much for that water bottle…going in the garbage pile!

He gagged on the water the first time but swallowed the second mouthful. He kind of came around then. He was worried about me at first and tried to pull away. Fine! He’s the one who needs my help not the other way around. I sat the water bottle beside him and started to leave. He whispered, “Please help my wife.”

OK, who can refuse that kind of plea. But, I didn’t know if he had a wife, where she was, or even if I could help her is she was nearby and I could find her. I asked him where she was and he pointed in the direction of a pile of rocks. Great! Just what I needed…another diversion and who knows what risks associated with it. I just want to get home.

So I head off in the direction he pointed, fifteen minutes later I found her. She was dead. But, worse than that…she was pretty much mauled. Someone had really beat her up bad. Like the man, she had to be in her 70’s. Who would do something like that to an old woman.

Then it hit me…I immediately moved to my right about 100’ as quickly as I could, took a knee, and kicked every sense into high gear. This could easily be some kind of ambush. I had already fell for the worst of it, now I had to worry about someone moving in on me and getting the drop on me. For about ten minutes I listened, watched, and waited. Nothing.

I went back over to the old woman. She had been brutally beaten. I am guessing kicked by two or more men until she was just a broken body. Then whoever put the boot to her bashed her face and head in with a hard object of some kind. It was disgusting. Birds had already eaten her eyes out.

I headed back to the man to see what his story was. He had helped himself to the rest of the water and had his eyes open when I got back to him. His eyes told me everything, he wanted to know about his wife…and he asked. I told him she was dead and had been for a while. He nodded his head and told me she had last talked to him sometime that afternoon. He had been passing in and out of consciences since then. He asked me how bad of shape she was in. I told him the truth. He cussed up a storm. For being as beat up as he was, he had no issues cursing.

Turns out he had been part of a work party controlled by the Deming Deputies. He said that was the name of the militia that controlled Deming. The had work parties that roamed around basically looting ranches, farms, and anyone else they could find. They would roll up to a house and the deputies would demand food, guns, ammo, valuables, etc. at gunpoint. Most people complied, others who didn’t where killed.

Then the workers would get out of the wagons, locate anything of worth, load them into more wagons, and head to the next location. They would do this all day long for days at a time. When a loot wagon would get full it would head back to town with a couple of Deputies guarding it. When the last wagon was full they would all head back to town. The workers would only get to eat if they found food at any of the homes they looted. And only they would only get to eat once a day no matter how much food they found.

If any of the workers got too sick to keep working the guards would just let them fall out of the wagons, and shoot them or beat them till they were dead. If anyone lifted a hand to help, they were shot dead on the spot.

I described the men and wagons that I saw yesterday, he said that was the group he and his wife were with. They had just confiscated (looted) some food and other stuff from a small ranch house and were headed back to Deming. His wife had been getting progressively weaker on this last trip. They had been out for five days. She hadn’t been getting enough water or food. She was also marginally diabetic.

At one point she fell out of the wagon because she was just too weak to stay standing. A rider went over to her and started to kick her while she lay on the ground. What I found interesting is why he let her fall from the wagon, and I asked him. He got really mad at me but then he realized I just wanted to know what happened. Evidently couples were not allowed to ride in the same wagons. He was in the lead wagon, she was in the last wagon. He didn’t even know she had fallen out.

Another rider had come over to the downed woman and he too began to kick her. She was able to call out his name and he jumped down out of his wagon and was running back to help her when they caught him. They ran him down and the guy had his horse run him over. A couple more riders came up and they allowed the man to get to his wife. But, it wasn’t out of compassion. They made him lay there and watch the men kick his wife until she was nearly dead. He kept begging them to stop and just leave them alone, leave them there together, and leave.

The leader of the group came over and was updated on what the man had just said. This guy just pulled out a pistol and shot the man in the thigh. Then one of the other men hit the woman in the face with his rifle butt. The leader told the man that they could stay together all they wanted now. And rode off leaving them there in the desert.

For a long time she was unconscious and when she came around she could crawl or anything, both of her legs were broken as well as one arm. With his shot up leg he couldn’t do much either, he thinks the shot broke his thigh bone. His wife begged him to try and find help. He thinks she just wanted him to try and save his life because she knew she was dying. He had crawled off the 100’ trying to seek help but fell unconscious. When he woke up they hollered back and forth a couple of times but she stopped. He figured she probably died. He said he knew he would as well.

I didn’t tell him but I knew he was dying right then and there. I’ve been around enough accident scenes, gunshot wounds, and house fires to know where someone is dying. This guy was close to it.

I stayed with him till almost dawn. He woke up long enough to take one last big gasped and he was dead. He never asked for anymore water or for any food. All he did ask for was for me to lay him next to his wife. He didn’t ask me to bury them. He knew it was asking for too much, and he was right, I wouldn’t have. I did drag his body over to hers and laid them next to each other. I even moved their hands together so they were holding hands. Strange, their bodies were just dead lifeless meat at that point. Why the nostalgia on my part?

I walked off about a mile and hunkered down for the day and wrote this.

What has happened to people? I have seen people moving to the extremes of the humanity scale. The ranch folks went out of their way to be nice. One of the women with the scumbags even tried to defend Ashley. But, it seems as if most of humanity has moved to the opposite extreme…cruel and evil. Why?

Don’t people understand that if they would work together, be reasonable, and work for the benefit of each other that would be a far better way to handle this mess? And even if they couldn’t do all of that…just don’t be cruel.

If the old lady was going to die, then let her fall out of the wagon and just move on. There was no need for the men to be so cruel to her or her husband. Seriously! If they wanted to be less cruel they would have shot both of them rather than let them die slowly out in the desert. A fast painless death would have been far less cruel than what they had to endure. I just don’t get it.

Oh, just a little more info…the couple were in there early 50’s…they were not in their 70’s! The end of the world had been unkind to them. He was able to tell me that their last name was Payne and they had a 12o-acre melon farm outside of Deming. After the event there had been a big town meeting. A couple of the local politicians had said they were going to organize for everyone’s safety. They formed the militia and later called it the Deming Deputies because the Sheriff had taken control of it. Everyone knew it was just a bunch of violent thugs to control people. But it was too late to do anything about it. The bad people organized way faster than the good people.

He told me about the only people that escaped being turned into slaves was the local Mormons. Evidently they organized quickly and left the area. No one knew where they went. They did offer to take anyone with them…meaning non-Mormons. Only one family took them up on the offer. Everyone else said they would stay home and be part of their own community. People thought they were going to end up in some cult compound or something. Idiots!

I asked him about the absence of young people in the wagons. He told me pretty much what I already suspected. The young men were being recruited into other units of their militia. The young women were…ah, being assigned other duties. One of the things that I found interesting was “family’ situations. Families were not allowed to stay together in this new utopia that Deming was building. The leaders said that families were no longer needed and were part of the old way of doing things. It was now all about the collective society as a group. They would succeed together if everyone worked together…they would all share in the success.

He cussed up another storm. He went on about how the leadership didn’t do anything but “lead” and performed no work of any kind. Then there were the “troops” which are formally know as the Deming Deputies. They only did security work which meant they were guards. Then there were the workers…like him. And that was the majority of the people. They did all the work, whatever they were told to do. But, they ate less and were confined to their living quarters when not working. He called it prison. Even married couples were not allowed to live together. They were group together in units based on skill sets and abilities.

To me…that sounds like the ultimate Progressive/Liberal society.

He really started going downhill after our little talk. He was babbling for a while but nothing he said made any sense. I hoped he died pretty quickly so I could get on with walking and finding a place to stay that day. I considered helping that process along, or just leaving him. I couldn’t bring myself to do either. He died a few hours later. I’m glad I just waited for the end.

So I started thinking about it. The looting parties would go out for as long as five days at a time looking for places to steal from. Let’s say they would travel 10 – 12 miles a day. That means I am still within their strike zone for another night’s walking…and all day today. I have to be on my toes. I won’t allow myself to be captured. And yet I have to get some sleep today.

Life is never easy any more is it? I should have prepared more mentally and spiritually for these TEOTWAWKI times. Food storage is great, but, being ready mentally for trying to understand and deal with the people…not that would have been invaluable.

 

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