There are a few references in Rot & Ruin that make me think of V is for Vendetta. The first I can’t relocate. Tom talks about how fear ruled people on First Night. And if they would have banned together fewer people would have died and changed. Maybe if people would move beyond their fear, Mountainside would start reclaiming land. If you aren’t familiar with V, then you really should remedy that quickly. Fear is the entire premise of V. The government is able to exploit the fear of its people to perpetrate a totalitarian regime. It takes a pretty evil and power hungry person to manipulate and rule through fear and force. Below you’ll see that Charlie Pink-Eye definitely fits the bill. He is a bully and has no problem with excusing away his behavior.
[Charlie] “Hell, boy, I ain’t evil. I’m just the guy that’s in power. I’m a conqueror, like all them great kings and generals in history. You want to call me evil because of Gameland? You think that’s the height of evil? Boy, there are people who conquered half the world, slaughtered whole populations, wiped cultures off the face of the planet, and you know what history calls them? Heroes! Kings, presidents, champions, explorers. You think America was settled by white men because the Indians invited us here? No, we took this land because we were stronger, and that’s how every page of human history is written. It’s just our nature. We’re a predator species, top of the food chain. Survival of the fittest is written in our blood, it’s stenciled on every gene of our DNA. The strong take and the strong make, and the weak are there only to help them do it. End of story.” pg. 419