…during **one historical **event and **one personal **one, what **one moment **would you try to change and how would you do it, given the following rules:
-You can place yourself anywhere on or about the scene either as yourself, or as one of the people who were actually there*. However, you may not assume the role of “the bad guy” (if there is one); that’d be too easy.
-It would be most interesting if the examples could be small and specific (“I have sinned. I removed this doohickey from the Nazis’ car transmission, Mother”), instead of impossibly huge and heroic (“I’d steal a cannon and blast 'em all to high heaven!”).
-Could your action later cause suspicion? (“Hey, how come you knew what floor that guy with the gun was on?”) If so, how would you explain yourself?
I’m sure this thread idea is full of holes, but maybe someone can figure out a more elegant and interesting way to explore the same notion.
*For example, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center, if I had been in the building that hadn’t yet been hit, I’m sure nobody would have listened to me (as myself) begging everybody to evacuate calmly but immediately. In fact, they’d have probably had me thrown out on my ear.
However, if I could momentarily have taken over the body/person of the Head of Security (or whatever the correct title is), I could legitimately and believably have ordered that the evacuation announcement be made instead of the announcement that tragically was actually made telling people to stay at their desks.
Do I survive the incident after I take over someone’s body? Because I could see leaping into the body of one of Hitler’s most trusted bodyguards and taking out the entire Nazi leadership with my MP 40. Then leaping out leaving the Nazi fuck to be dealt with by the other guards.
As for the personal one, I’m torn. Part of me wants to select any number of instances so I could tell myself “She isn’t worth it, dude.” Another part of me would like to be me so I could handle things better and maybe tell someone to fuck off when they needed it.
Makes me think, a little, of Isaac Asimov’s novel “The End of Eternity,” where time travellers prided themselves on altering events by employing the least possible force. If they could loosen a screw on a car’s engine…and thus stop World War One, that was preferable to, say, blowing up the British Parliament in full session.
On more or less that principle, I’d like to be a highly-placed Chinese diplomat, to arrange a truce between warring Chinese states, so they could unify in opposition to Genghis Khan, and stop that ratbag before he really got rolling. Stop him early, so that a new historical time-line would result, in which Islam was not crushed by the waves of Mongol invasions and much of Europe was spared the second-order invasions, as from the Turks.
In my personal life, I’d like to be a policeman, stopping by at just the right time to arrest the bully who made my life hell, laying wait for me after school. Or a convenient murderer and just kill the little puke.
Anything even as far back as WW2 has way too many ripple effects.
So I’d go back to some time in the Clinton administration and warn Bill Clinton (a) to NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE get involved with Monica Lewinsky, and (b) to delegate someone to investigate butterfly ballots and voter registration purges in Florida.
No way in hell the whole world isn’t vastly better off now if Gore beats Bush in 2000.
Fortunately for the Morgan Stanley employees on the 44th through 74th floors of the South Building, Rick Rescorla, head of Morgan Stanley’s security, ignored the announcements, and had all the Morgan Stanley employees evacuate as soon as he knew about the plane hitting the North Building. They were just about all out of there before the second plane hit.
Or just tackle Princip to the ground before he could shoot. Although sadly, I think that only would’ve post-poned the war by a few years. Everyone was just itching to start a war, and that was just an excuse.
Except even Petrov says he didn’t think it would have happened From Wikipedia “In a later interview, Petrov stated that the famous red button has never worked, as military psychologists did not want to put the decision about a war into the hands of one single person.”