A mayor’s hard choice


It is abundantly clear that the mayor had a difficult situation infront of him and he had extremely hard decisions to make. It is clearthat the effects and the deaths caused by the plague weredevastating. The food, water, medicine and other reserves that themayor had were only sufficient to support the remaining 4000 peoplewithin his municipality for only 3 years or even less. It is clearthat the mayor could not afford to accept any more people fromneighboring villages as this would pose as a threat to there-introduction of the disease. The refugees seeking residence in ismunicipality would also mean that there would be little reserves tosustain the entire 4000 and the refugees for any reasonable period.The mayor must be in dilemma as it is inhuman to chase away refugeeswho have suffered the same fate as the residents of his municipality(Karner, 2012). Therefore, the only way that the mayor could allowthe refugees into his residence or deny them residence would be tohave several conditions that all refugees should meet.

To start with, it would be paramount for the mayor of thismunicipality to put all the people seeking residence in hismunicipality under quarantine for a period of 3-4 weeks. This wouldbe a measure or a condition aimed at ensuring that the refugees arenot suffering from the disease. Additionally, this would ensure thatthe refugees have no signs of the disease. The mayor must ensure thatthe refugees who are suffering from the disease are turned away anddenied residence in his municipality. This is a condition that wouldreduce the spread of the disease and prevent more deaths (Karner,2012).

Secondly, it is clear that the disease was brought to Europe fromItaly by travelers through the ships. Therefore, it would beessential to ensure that the refugees who are provided residence arerestricted within the municipality and are not allowed to traveloutside the municipality. The refugees who would agree to thiscondition should be given residence in the municipality and allowedto intermingle with the other 4000 residents. However, if therefugees seeking residence in the municipality want to travel outsidethe municipality from time to time, they should be denied residenceas this would lead to the re-emergence of the disease (Karner, 2012).Border control would be extremely essential in ensuring that thereare no intruders into the city. Thirdly, the refugees must be deniedthe opportunity to import or export any foods from outside themunicipality. One the Black Death occurred in Europe, there were somearguments that the Europeans were poisoned by the Italians andtherefore it would have been necessary at that time for the mayor torestrict any imports or exports since they would be containing thebacteria causing plague.

Considering that there were little food, water, medicine and otherreserves within the municipality, there was need to control the ratesof birth in order to curb population growth. This would ensure thatthe food reserves lasts for at least a longer period. It wasessential even for the residents of the municipality to controlbirths in order to survive for a longer period with the littlereserves that they had. The refugees who would be opposed to thebirth control measures would be denied residence in the city.However, the residents who would be willing to curb population growththrough birth control would be allowed into the city.

Another condition that the mayor would have considered would havebeen ensuring that the refugees had the ability to work on the farmsand would contribute to the production of more food. It was clearthat the refugees needed food, shelter, water and medicine from thecity. However, these reserves were limited and there needed moreproduction to ensure that there was sustenance. If the refugees wouldnot contribute to production of more food, it would imply that allthe people would die of hunger in a few months. Therefore, thiscondition would only allow refugees who had the capacity tocontribute towards the production of more food.

The refugees seeking residence in the city must have had reserves interms of food, medicine or water. As a mayor, the people with anyreserves would be given priority for residence in western Europeancity. It is essential to note that the additional food or waterreserves will be extremely vital in ensuring that the people are fed,sheltered and offered medicine if need be. It would be required ofthe refugees to collect food reserves and any other reserves thatpreviously belonged to the dead and bring in to the city. Anyadditional food reserves would be welcome in the city. However, itwould be essential to consider allowing the people who have noreserves rather than leaving them to perish.

Lastly, it would be essential as the mayor to introduce mandatoryidentification cards for all the residents of the city. The cardswould clearly be marked with the individuals name and where he or shecomes from and where he resides. This should be a requirement for therefugees seeking residence in the western European city. This wouldbe a measure that is aimed at controlling the movement of foreignpeople into the city. The use of identification cards for all theresidents would ensure that the control of the boarders to the cityis extremely easy. Intruders would be easily identified and separatedfrom the residents. Additionally, the use of the IDs would ensurethat the sharing of the food, water and medicine is easily done andcontrolled.

In conclusion, it is abundantly clear that the mayor in thisscenario is faced by a huge dilemma. The mayor, based on humanitariangrounds, has to accept the refugees who are free from the disease.The mayor must share the food he has with the rest of the neighbors.The conditions stipulated above would be extremely vital incontrolling the spread of the disease or it re-emergence. Forinstance, restricting the movement of people from and to the citywould guarantee that the disease does not re-emerge. Additionally,restricting the importation of food from outside the city wouldensure that the residents are safe. It is essential to control thepopulation growth in the city as this would ensure that the food andother reserves such as water and medicine last for a longer period.The refugees must have the capacity to engage in productive workwhich would ensure that they add to the little reserves that the cityhas. The use of identification cards for the residents is a move thatwould have ensured that the residents are easily identified andintruders are identified before the disease can spread to theresidents.


Karner, J. (2012).&nbspPlague and pandemic alert: Disaster alert!New York, N.Y: Crabtree Pub. Co.