So I’m trying to figure out…

if I were to build a time machine, should my first action be to go back to the 1500s and widely distribute antibiotics to the American Indians…

or should my first official time-traveling act be to go back in time and shoot young Leopold II of Belgium in the face?


I can’t seem to decide which would actually be better for humanity.  Opinions?

Leave a comment


  1. The former. And, lactase pills and vaccines. Yes, definitely antibiotics, lactase pills, and vaccines.

  2. Yeah, but in that case how many folks will I be able to save before I irritate somebody badly enough that they cave in my head? I’m plain spoken and not exactly known for inspiring trust amongst face-based cultures, ya know… whereas I could save 2-15MM (according to Wiki, at least) in under a minute with option 2…

  3. Heh. Depends on how fast you can step back into your time machine after the guy gets whacked.

    As for the former, well — give the stuff to the Scralings (i.e. Vikings)? They don’t have a “face” culture to deal with. 🙂 Makes one wonder how they ever convinced folks on Turtle Island to party and drink milk with them in the first place.


  4. Oh, I don’t know. I would be worried about time paradoxes and changing things way too much. I am not God, so I think that if I had a time machine I would spend most of MY time trying out different beers and wines over the centuries. If you really wanted to shoot somebody in the face, maybe Tamur the Lame would be a good place to start?

  5. Alex

     /  April 6, 2007

    Oooh oooh oooh I know!!!!
    Seriously – if you want to read an alternate history which is very interesting where the Native Americans survive and set up a solid government of their own in North and South America, read “The Years of Rice and Salt” by Kim Stanley Robinson. A very good book The Indians are not major characters in the book, but it is still interesting to see how a disease can wipe out a very different culture which in turn results in a very different world culture.

    And to add to James’ comments above, I’d go back in time and shoot someone else in the face, say Hitler or if you want something more distant in time – Andrew Jackson. Jackson may not have killed as many native americans as disease did, but he certainly ensured their doom to being relegated to reservations today.

  6. Could you just pop by a 7-11 and pick my up a winning lotto ticket while your out? You can off and or medicate who ever you want if’n you do. 😛


  7. Alex, be careful with Jackson. There are a lot of onerous charges for which he’s responsible, but the more you read about Indian Removal, the more complicated it gets.

    I’m not worried about playing God. I just had to explain
    a) why the English who ran the colonies were racist (particularly in the Puritan context), to a Nigerian student
    b) who Leopold of Belgium was, to a Mexican student

    nearly simultaneously. Shit man, at least Hitler had the excuse of being batshit crazy…

    Sal, I could do that, but you’d owe me a beer. Any lottery my friends win results in them owing me a beer. It’s policy.

  8. Alex

     /  April 6, 2007


    I don’t doubt that things are more complicated regarding Indian relocation, but, he had the audacity to ignore the Supreme Court decision and use executive branch resources to assist in the relocation effort. Even if there were other issues at play, had he restrained himself and not lent credence to the whole push to remove the Cherokee and other tribes history today would be much different and many of my ancestors wouldn’t have spent their lives on shitty land.

    The man was a menace – so I stand by my position.

  9. blackpine

     /  April 6, 2007

    If you wanted to fix any one of the above, you should go back with printing press, language books, and a recipe for for durable paper. Then coin the phrase “genocide,” and publicize any one you choose, doesn’t matter which, pick one. Villify the perpetrators ceaselessly and remorselessly. Link their name with the action, sort of like what happened to the term Vandal, or Myrmidon. Sell the books along trade routes. Turn them into fairy tale villains. Turn them into the historical nadir of a civilization. write about it in as many differnet ways as you can, for as many different layers of any society you can think of. Then when it happens in the future, should there be any to oppose it, they will have the cultural leverage to do it with.

    As for shooting people, I would shoot the Monkees to stop the rise of Boy Bands. Everyone except for Peter Tork (he later produced the movie Repo Man, thus saving his life) would get get it twice in the face, with me looking into their eyes. I hate boy bands.

  10. “Eat Mop!”

  11. It’s really a moot point. You won’t ever invent a time machine and do any of this because you haven’t already.. 🙂

    Remember, you can’t change the future because it’s already happened, no different from the past.

  12. That’s like saying that I’ll never get laid because I haven’t yet… if the universe works by multiple timelines, that goes out the window…

  13. Mike

     /  April 6, 2007

    I would have to go back in time to Stop Chaing Ki Sheik Manchurian Offensive in 1948 and push him to split China like Korea ended up being (Capitalists in the south and SW, Commies North) and so have a much different Cold War (Imagine Tawain, but instead of just an island, you have half of mainland China). I think I would shoot Chaing too (several times in the face, along with much of his leadership).

    Now just to go back in time shoot people in general. Bunker Hill with a 30-06 and as much ammo as I could carry. Lexington Green with my AR-15, as much ammo as I could carry and my ACU uniform (try and catch me bitches, I am killing you from over 200 meters away and laying prone). Malvern HIll and Gettysburg (day 3, Picketts Charge) with 30-06 and ammo, and AR-15, bonus points for every Greycoated officer gunned down. Falls Church VA (I think that is the battle), not to shoot anyone, I just want to buy the guy who shot JEB Stuart in the back a drink. And Rittershoffen, Lorraine, Jan/Feb 1945, with my full battle load. I want to see the fight my grandfather never talked about aside from saying “I sent to many men to die there”.

  14. Nah, its a little different.. Saying you won’t get laid b/c you haven’t yet is spurious because that’s talking about a future event with no connection to the past.

    Creating a time machine and going back to change an event that has already happened in your timeline proves that you won’t ever do it, otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting here discussing the historical event you want to change.. Example being, no one will ever invent a time machine and go back and abort Hitler, b/c they didn’t.

    Of course, multiple timelines is an interesting cure for the paradox, but then my statement remains true from my perspective since at that point you’re altering a timeline that I will never be a part of.

  15. That’s true. So YOU have to remain in a dark present, haunted by memories of The Bee Gees…

  16. ewww… I smell unrepentant yankee scum, yech! 😛

  17. Mike

     /  April 7, 2007

    If you are talking about me, you would be correct except I am unrepentant Jawhawker Scum.

    Oh, my bad, that would be unrepentant, VICTOROUS Jawhawker Scum.

    Blue rules, grey sucks.

  18. Mike

     /  April 7, 2007

    Besides, anyone who brought a MINSTRAL along with them on cavalry raids needed to be shot in my opinion.

  19. LOL….we have recently discovered that along one of my family tree lines, there was evidently a Union soldier from Maryland.

    We are looking into an exorcism right now to see if we can rid ourselves of this guilt…….

  20. Mike

     /  April 8, 2007

    Yeah, having so many people on the wrong side is definately a problem…

    Yes, I am Union and proud of it. Now if anyone is thinking I need to pay for this, I will gladly point out that I went to VMI and did plenty of pushups for my unabashed admiration of Sherman and Sheridan.

  21. Always knew you were a faker James. This just proves it.

    Pretty soon you’ll be posting stuff as ridiculous as Mike … 😛

  22. No big thing, Mike. Nobody is perfect, even if they do talk big about the Union side of the Yankee War of Aggression. Look at Sal for example, who will never be perfect!

  23. Mike

     /  April 9, 2007


    On the winning side…(sung to the tune of “Winning Side” by Oningo Biongo).

    And I did do the pushups by the way. One of my corporals was from a town in Georgia that suffered from Sherman’s “Tender Mercies”. He was a re-enactor too.

    Besides everyone knows it started as the Southern War of Aggression on Kansas…

  24. Alex

     /  April 9, 2007

    Who was your corporal Mike? Since I was a member of the D & S society at VMI – I’m trying to remember who from 93 was from Georgia and also a re-enactor and I’m drawing a blank. Thrasher maybe?

    I do remember with fondness the arguments between you and Whitless about the war of long ago. Especially Sherman.

  25. Mike

     /  April 9, 2007

    Yeah, that was fun. Especially since he was from Pennsylvannia. Cripes, what was his nome? I’ll have to get back to you on that, I can remember the face, but I got the mane mixed up with his roommate.

  26. I taught my kids that being a rebel son of rebels was nothing to be ashamed of being. At the same time, it is my considered opinion that the War Between the States was a gigantic miscalculation and a huge mistake for all parties concerned, and I also teach that.

    It was, perhaps, also a mistake for Texas to have joined the Union to begin with, but that is a whole other issue………

  27. Mike

     /  April 10, 2007

    Heh, that is a whole other issue alright. I always thought one of the cooler “What If” Sci-Fi worlds was when the US split in 1848 between North and South of the Nullification issue, and Texas and California were independent Countries. Everyone allied against the British in Canada when they started trying to bully the four weaker countries. The whole theme was that sectional differences aside, the US is powerful when everyone play together as a whole. Not a bad theme really.

    I have nothing against people who are proud of being southern or having “Johnnie Rebs” in the family tree (it always makes for great history, southerns tend to have longer family memories than most Yankee types I have met). My problem was when I get people who make the following comments: “I remember in High School we had a Yankee move into our town. Boy, we showed that kid. All of us true southern men jumped him after his first day of school and beat until he couldn’t walk. That will teach those damn yankees.” Actual quote from one of my colleges less than intelligent graduates. The guy was proud he and his 75 closest buddies ganged up on one kid who was from New York and had moved into town because his dad had been hired as Design Engineer for a local factory. It was even worse when I found out the guy who did it was from Missouri which tachincally didn’t leave the Union. I pointed that out and we damn near had a fistfight during ROTC class. Then I compare it to our Ops Sergeant in Georgia who was a big Civil War Buff, had lots of family in the war (all southern) and when we went out on field problems, he would sneak off to search for a couple of skirmish sites from the Civil War that happened on Fort Stewart. Hell, we even found one once which was really cool, we dug up some bullets and then had to move becuase the Range Control declared it an archological site and you can’t train on those.

    Nothing wrong with Rebs. I just have problems with the loud dumb ones. Of course, that applies equally to Yankees…

  28. You know, growing up I thought damn and yankee were all part of one word. I remember in HS, I became best buds with a guy who’s family had moved him to Texas from Connecticut. My Dad actually told me that I could never trust him because of where he was from. That was the first major blow-out between my Dad and myself. I told him (being an impudent rebel myself) that if that was what southern pride meant, then I wanted to have nothing to do with it.

    Later I married a Minnesota yankee, and from that point forward my Dad has never again brought that up, as he loves my wife and her family now as his own. Then my brother married my wife’s sister and gave him two MORE grandkids. In our little family, the bonds between north and south are pretty well renewed.

    On another issue, I pointed out that politically, Texas conservatives have more allies in NY state and California and Utah than they do in Arkansas or Virginia. The times and issues have changed, indeed.

  29. Mike

     /  April 11, 2007

    Boy isn’t that the truth.


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