As a kid growing up in the beautiful state of California, I naturally learned California history in school. One of the most memorable stories I learned was the story of the Donner Party.
It’s hard to say what of the things I remember is accurate and even if it is accurate to what I was told, it’s hard to say what of it is accurate to what actually happened. One fact I remember is that only two families survived intact and based off what I was able to discover from an internet search, this does appear to be an indisputable fact.
It’s a horrible story of what one must do to survive. In this case when faced with starvation and freezing to death, what choices did they make. It’s hard to know for sure since the stories are conflicting. What I remember being told about that was that in one of the families that did survive intact the parents fed their children the remains of one of the dead, but didn’t tell their children and didn’t eat anything themselves, because they just couldn’t. I don’t know, but I never want to be in a position of making that choice for myself. I’d literally rather die, but I don’t want to know if I would change my thoughts on that if faced with that decision.
In general that’s what this I think of when I see this prompt. Obviously there are other more nefarious things to consider. And the Donner Party might have some of those, too, since at least one survivor admitted to murdering someone else and there is at least one other person who was suspected of murdering another, though according to what I read that person ultimately was shown to most likely be innocent as he claimed to be.
Murder isn’t the only other thing a survivor might have done. Maybe instead of straight out murdering, deliberately not rescuing when they could have to allow a threat to get someone else rather than them. Or they could have convinced someone to give up so that they could survive instead or get someone else to do the killing for them.
What did the survivor do to survive? What was done for them so that they might survive? And most relevant, can you trust them now that they have survived?