We had almost made it to the door when I heard a young guy say loudly, "We don't need him. We can do this ourselves." I stopped dead and slowly turned around to face him and the people who, for the most part, didn't seem to upset to see me go.
"You want to know why I said I can't help you?" I paused and waited for the nods, the muttered or shouted Yeahs! "Because I'm not sure you know what you ask. Not only for yourselves but as a people. They will come. They always do. They will be well armed, used to killing, raping, and taking. They will always have the edge until the end, when you, you as a people, have your backs to the wall and you're seeing all you lived for just days, or usually minutes, away from extinction.
You thought the white man was bad? You have seen nothing yet. There will be no reservations for the losers or mercy this time. There is no mercy anymore. No one can afford it now. There is just survival. That is where their edge is. They know, I mean know in a way you can't imagine, that they have to find a place to live or they will die. Oh yes, they will come."
They were silent. Their shadows, thrown from the lanterns that provided the light, elongated, restless, and listening. I was talking to them but seeing other places, other times, and the gnawed bones of children and adults who believed in the lies whispered by fools who deluded themselves to their final moments on earth that mercy was hard wired in everyone.
Before you ask what can be done ask yourself this first; can you kill? I don't mean in battle with honor and against an opponent armed as you are. You will have to slaughter them in battle and the wounded afterward. No mercy. You will need to find their camps and kill every male that can walk. Their women, all but the young or useful must die. You will have to do this until they stop coming because there is none left alive to come.
I can't help you because I can't do that. I won't do that."
I turned away and walked out the door.