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Taking Food: a Moral and Positive Act

posted by JackSchirmer on - last edited - Viewed by 695 users

I found it interesting, how some folks have just assumed that taking the food from the unoccupied vehicle in Episode 2: Starved for Help was wrong. They may have taken it anyway, but no one seemed to want to argue that in fact taking the food was morally right.

I took the food, and what taking the food does is teach Clementine a utilitarian viewpoint that's absolutely essential to learn in the zombie apocalypse. It's also a positive act in that it makes optimal use of a resource that has been very scarce to at least some folks walking the ZA,

There are three likely outcomes wrt the car and the food in it:

1) You leave it alone, continue on without it, and
a) its owners return at some point and eat the food
b) its owners never return and the food spoils

2) You take the food and eat it.

The result of 2) is superior to the cumulative result of 1) because, with 2), the food never goes to waste.

It's not even the case where by choosing 2) you're implying that you're more important than the owners of the car. It's simply by choosing 2), you're ensuring that valuable food does not go to waste.

And that doesn't even take into account the likelihood that the car owners are beyond aid and won't return. After all, under what circumstances would you leave a vehicle open and unlocked like that? The chances that the food inside would spoil are good.

Finally, there's another scenario in which not taking the food is a genuine mistake, namely: it's value to you is enormous. The value to its owners, if they're even alive and still in the area, may be comparatively insignificant. The food may have been only a modest part of their total supplies, an amount they won't inordinately miss, whereas you are certain of it's substantial, even critical value to you and your group. In short, this food cannot be of greater value to the owners of the vehicle than it is to you.

In contrast to what I've seen written elsewhere, by taking the food you've taught Clementine a valuable, positive, moral lesson that will go some way towards increasing the chances of her survival. Later that evening you will, of course, sit down with her and explain the choices and outcomes wrt the car. You'll also be clear with her that if the owners of the car had been present you would not have done more than ask for some of their food.

I'm morally certain that simply leaving the car and its contents alone and taking the good chance that the food will spoil is a profoundly foolish act.

45 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Stealing would be fine in a ZA and morally could be acceptable.
    But since Duck heard the car and the lights were still burning and the door open it looked like they just left the car a minute ago, maybe looking for a place to stay and then return afterwards to get all their stuff. In that case you would have screwed them over hard.

    And even more so, they had a kidssized Hoodie meaning it might be possible they might have a kid themselves in the age of Clementine.

    I stole it but I can see why people wouldn't. In a real scenario people who choose to not take the supplies would never survive a zombie apocalypse.

  • @Awesoke said: There's a fine line when it comes to "survival above all else." If we don't acknowledge the fact that we're stealing when we take the food, what separates us from the bandits?

    Like I said, it's the smart thing to do (humans can live without food for months, water is much more important) but it's morally wrong. I'm trying to figure out if the OP has morals and pragmatism mixed up.

    What you still haven't addressed is the plain fact that we don't know whether taking the food is stealing. If the people driving the car stole the food, is it stealing to take it from them? In addition, if the people who were driving the car are now dead, the food has no owners, therefore when we take the food, surely we're not stealing it. Further, the group has been on a starvation diet for a while (a fraction of an apple for a meal). You can survive without food "for months" only with excellent medical care. In a matter of days your strength is way down, your reflexes are shot, your judgment becomes poor, you're generally disoriented. Going without food for even a few days in the ZA significantly increases your chances of dying.

    You haven't addressed any of the interesting issues, and are sticking to a simplification the terms of which (does the food even have an owner? for instance) you haven't even been able to establish.

    Another interesting issue is along the lines of, "Even if taking the food constitutes stealing, don't you have an immediate and much greater moral responsibility to the child in your care to ensure she doesn't starve to death?" Also, aren't you obliged to keep her strength up, for her sake, at least?

    It's just way, way too easy (and flat out incorrect in some scenarios) to call taking the food "stealing", and there are scenarios where even if taking the food is stealing that stealing is the more moral, even the most moral, of the choices available to you.

    There are also scenarios where it's flat out immoral not to feed the child in your care. This is much more interesting than you are making it out to be.

  • @thestalkinghead said: as far as i am aware they didn't steal anything, you cant steal something that nobody owns

    haha, what about the car they were inside, Im sure whoever owned that previously put them in there
    but in a ZA, if you leave your stuff unattended, well, thats on you.

    (in the comics there's an exact scenario like this one, except they found the owner of the car hanged himself)

    But no matter the scenario, my group needs supplies and no one is around to claim these so...dig in.

  • I'm still not seeing how it's "stealing" though.

    They're three months into a ZA - it's canned goods and store food.

    Most likely, hell I'd be willing to bet on it even, whoever "previously handled the goods" looted them like any other survivor.

  • i believe the saying goes "Finders keepers, Losers weepers" :p

    In a ZA this is especially true

  • alot of people are taking today's values and applying them to a ZA world (imo), which is why I must seem like the most soulless bastard in here, but I'm just being pragmatic
    When in Rome and all that

  • @DreadMagus said: It's only stealing if you get caught....

    Good point.

  • I'm thinking most people (like myself) didn't take it because of Clementine standing up to everyone in the group? And also because I killed Danny out of anger, and it was something I regretted she had to see. And as my favorite youtuber said when he also didn't take the food: "I already have too much blood on my hands". This is something I like to see, people's different points of view on things =]

  • You call it stealing, I call it salvaging. There's a world of grey between black and white when surviving and ideals are luxuries they couldn't afford.

    I still think those supplies and that Clem-sized hoodie were brought there by Jolene and I saw nothing in episode 3 to prove otherwise.

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