The second of my back-to-back meeting was again with the older men. I chatted with Michele in the short interim. (That’s mi-KEL-ay, the Italian version of Michael.)
“I don’t know exactly what this is, Professor,” using his dad’s old name for me, “but I think it saves lives, yes?”
“Yes, I’m quite sure of that, Michele. Thanks for helping.”
“And thank you too,” he said.
Soon enough the other members of the meeting were present and we all sat.
“So, your thoughts?” the man who seemed to be the leader wanted to get right to the point.
“Well, your kids seem to be on top of this, and I’m convinced that this is a necessary thing. And beyond making money from it, which you will, you’ll be keeping thousands of people alive.”
“Yes, that’s nice,” he said. “But is the plan practical… will it work?”
“Yes and no,” I answered. “Yes, it will work, but if the Feds and the idiots at the top of state government get even crazier, they’ll go after you… and you’ll have to deal with that. You can’t discount the possibility of some losses.”
“And how exactly do we ‘deal with that’?”
“You steal the state’s enforcement arm.”
Their faces showed less than full understanding.
“Look, you know lots of cops. Start bringing them in to your orbit. Take them along for ride-alongs, and let them see decent people being given medical care. Those people will gladly tell them about their persecutions, and so the cops will see real people – just like themselves and their neighbors – being helped. Most of them are terrified of losing their jobs, and so it’s easy for them to believe their bosses and tune out the complainers. By taking them along, you break them out of their shells.
“Actually, you should start by hiring every cop you can who gets fired for not taking the shot. Make them delivery drivers or whatever. Every cop you win over will influence several who remain on the job.”
“Not a bad idea,” one of them said while scribbling it down.
“The Feds have a giant outrage machine, but an army of loudmouths isn’t a direct threat. A frightened cop carrying a mountain of debt is a threat.”
We discussed that for a bit (they had ideas of their own), and then they asked me if I saw any other problems. I reiterated that anything done electronically was a threat, since the Feds had full surveillance of the Internet. Then I added the doctors’ concerns about pharmaceuticals.
“Yeah, we’ve got that pretty well covered,” one of them said.
I wasn’t going to ask for details, but they went on about it anyway.
What they’re doing, in a nutshell, is to buy several pharmacies, and use them, one at a time, for for as long as they can. Then, when the heat comes, they’ll have the pharmacy declare bankruptcy.
“And if the Feds try to get the old records,” one of them added, “there can be an unfortunate fire.”
Soon enough we were done. But as we started walking out, the lead man asked me a very pointed question.
“So,” he said, “you met with our kids… are they trying to push us out?”
I laughed. “Of course they are. These are your kids, after all. In their own ways, they’re as aggressive as you were. But they’re doing it respectfully…. and so I suggest that you let them.”
“They’re going to screw shit up!” Another complained.
“Just as all of us did when we were their age.” I looked at him, holding a smile. He was stone-faced for a moment, then he laughed… all of them did. I went on.
“The truth is that it’s better for everyone if they make their mistakes earlier rather than later. And if they’re comfortable talking to you about things – not having to prove to you that they’re right and you’re wrong – they’ll admit their mistakes before they get too big, and you can help them fix them.”
We all thought about that for a few seconds, then the lead man put his arm around me and said, “For an anarchist maniac, you’re not too bad.” We laughed and hugged.
In the end, we all parted friends, which pleased me. I suspect that the docs will ask for me to play go-between every now and then, merely for comfort, but aside from that, I’m done.
Most of all, however, there will now be a service that supplies medical care to people who are being tossed out as heretics and consigned to death by a system gone mad.
That pleases me greatly.