1. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

    Jul 20, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Ohio, U.S. of A.

    Not sure how the people in my book should respond to an event

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JadeX, Sep 29, 2015.

    In my novel, a nuclear war on Earth 50 years ago between NATO and the USSR led to an authoritarian extraterrestrial government taking power over the planet. Fives decades after the occupation began, a random twist of fate places my main character in the midst of a global revolution. (a more detailed explanation can be found in the spoilers in this post)

    Earth is split into six "Regions", which are the six inhabited continents of Earth, each governed by a "Regional Minister". Each continental "Region" is split into several "Districts", governed by a "District Governor". At a ceremony marking 50 years since the end of WW3, the Regional Minister of North America is stabbed in an attempted assassination. The Governor of the district in which the attack happened is particularly disliked by the Minister for caring more about the people of his district than enforcing security, focusing more on housing and redevelopment than authority.

    The Event:
    The District Governor is killed in a suicide car bombing at a cafe, and 23 civilians are also killed. The bombing was an inside job orchestrated by the Regional Minister so that he can replace him with a new Governor who will approve the deployment of so-called "Peacekeeper" units (soldiers trained for law enforcement in a manner similar to Martial Law).

    What the Regional Minister told the people:
    - The Governor has been killed in a terrorist bombing
    - The bombing was committed by an organised group also responsible for his own stabbing (cover story)
    - A new Governor has been appointed
    - The new Governor has already approved the deployment of Peacekeepers in the District

    What the public knows:
    - The former governor was well-liked for his emphasis on civil redevelopment, as his programs built many of the residences in which they live; it is unimaginable that anyone would want to kill him
    - When a District Governor resigned some years ago, it took nearly a week to appoint a replacement; to have the new Governor appointed less than 2 hours after the bombing may seem suspicious to some
    - They really don't like Peacekeeper deployments. They really don't.
    - They don't particularly like the government either. The KIA Governor was a very rare exception; almost all other government officials are widely despised.

    So, based on this information, how might a populace react to the sudden change of circumstances involved here? Do you think there might be mildly violent clashes (people throwing rocks, bricks, etc.) upon hearing the announcement? Perhaps a little more serious - rioting, vandalising propaganda displays, breaking windows of gov. buildings? Or might they be too shocked and fearful to give much response? (After all, the government's law enforcement is known to use brutality or even lethal force) Would conspiracy theories abound, or would they be so shocked and scared that they buy into the Minister's lie about a terrorist group?

    I know it's my story and my world and all that, but I really am not sure how the public at large would respond to such an event, given the circumstances are so unique.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  2. Lady Marmalade

    Lady Marmalade Member

    Sep 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I think if the KIA Governor was well liked and suddenly killed in a "terrorist attack" people would definitely be suspicious.

    People would be more willing to believe the Government if they had an actual scapegoat to point fingers at and instil fear into the public for. Kind of like when there were supposedly Russian spies in America and everyone was paranoid that anyone and everyone was a spy selling out America. An even darker example might be when Hitler put all the blame of Germany's struggles on the Jewish people and everyone blindly followed along committing horrible atrocities against them because they were hated and feared.

    If there is no actual scapegoat that people can rally against, then people will make up their own and since the government isn't well-liked they're probably going to develop conspiracy theories on who actually did it since the Government isn't giving any solid answers. Some could blame the Government and try to start a riot, but some might find another target to blame the murder on and try to go after them. Some might even accuse those who are rioting against the government as the terrorists who killed the well-liked Governor in the first place as a huge interwoven plan to topple the government entirely.

    Either way this setup is going to have a lot of tension and conspiracy as the answers to whoever did it are vague at best. According to the government it was a terrorist group, but because they don't have a specific target the people will make up their own to try and justify what happened since the government isn't giving any answers.

    That's what I think would happen anyway, good luck with your story! ;)
    JadeX likes this.
  3. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

    May 11, 2013
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    Virginia, United States
    I don't know any more than you as to how the population would react... But I wanted to caution you about your choices.

    A nuclear war, Districts, Peacekeepers, and corrupt leader/politicians screams The Hunger Games. The plot is different, yes, but just Districts and Peacekeepers together is enough to think The Hunger Games.

    My recommendation is to change those words. Especially with how well that series did, if people read your story and see those words together, I think a lot of people will think you are (cringe) jocking off The Hunger Games. Just be careful.

    Good luck!
  4. Sifunkle

    Sifunkle Dis Member

    Aug 4, 2014
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    I'd base my expectations in the belief that most people are reactive towards politics rather than proactive (i.e. unless politics directly affects them personally, the most it will feature is as dinner-table conversation):

    Most people will be shocked at the suicide bombing, and feel sorry for everyone killed, but (unless there's something glaringly suspicious that the media gets hold of) they'll probably just roll with the authoritarian explanation they're given. They may have some scepticism, and they may wonder what the political upheaval has in store for them and resent the Peacekeepers being put in place, but until it has a direct negative effect on them personally, they won't act. There is likely to be a tense undercurrent though.

    However, a minority within the population might behave more proactively (likely targets: people who naturally err towards cynicism/conspiracy theories, people with personal links to those killed in the bombing). This minority may hit on the truth and spread dissent about the Regional Minister, the new Governor, etc. The majority may believe what they say, but until they're personally affected by the political change, they won't take it to heart. I'd imagine that this active minority will promptly find themselves the target of Peacekeeping actions.

    I think your Peacekeepers are the crux of the situation, as they are the political interface that will actually affect the lives of the majority. I'd imagine they're ordered to quell the dissent spread by the minority (does your world have freedom of speech?), and perhaps their actions will be disproportionate or misaimed. Once the majority start seeing the negative impact the Peacekeepers have on the everyday person (reactive), the conspiracy theories will spread like wildfire, the movement espoused by the minority will grow exponentially, and you may have the grounds for a rebellion.

    If you have any POV characters who are Peacekeepers, that could be interesting. Being on-the-ground amongst the people, I'd imagine any Peacekeeper with half a brain would sense the tension in the air and realise that even the most minor corrective action could be a spark in the fuel-can... but if they have to follow their orders, you have an interesting conflict (and potentially nice insight into human psychology).

    Good luck :)
    JadeX likes this.
  5. DeathandGrim

    DeathandGrim Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Virginia Beach
    Normally I'd give an answer based on how I feel. But if this is a city/state/country of people reacting to the governor dying. It's best to do a wide array of reactions, from left to right and tact to tasteless. That would be the best way to portray it realistically. And the reaction you want to move the story along should be the one you focus on but I don't think that many people are gonna be like minded about this event.

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