On Being Prepared
By J Cascarelli
I do believe in planning for the worst and hoping for the best. As a graduate engineer (retired), I try to look dispassionately at data and draw conclusions based on careful analysis. It is folly to engage in wishful thinking. Will we experience “TEOTWAWKI?” Who knows? Like many Americans, I watch the riots in Greece, Spain and Great Briton with a sense of curiosity. Could it happen in America? No one can know for sure. Here is what I do know. When the local team wins a national championship, cities go nuts. Cars turned over and set afire, store fronts are smashed and vandalized and mobs in the street create all kinds of havoc. Add to this the scenes of New Orleans with hundreds stealing sneakers, flat screen TVs and all manner of fence-ables.
We read about New Orleans’ policemen leaving their posts. A knee jerk reaction is, “How could they?” But, upon reflection, those cops saw firsthand all kinds of irrational violent behavior. They had families in the city too. Given the circumstances, I do not blame them for going home to protect their own families and homes. In a real crisis, how many first responders will stay on the job? For how long? Will back-up be available?
Lately, I’ve been watching “Doomsday Preppers” on the History Channel 2. I find it curious that people in condos or apartments are spending thousands on canned goods, bottled water and first aid kits. Often, little or no thought is given to defending their cache. They seem content to sit in their living rooms and wait out the crisis. One can only hope that their neighbors will respect the prepper’s property.
A few of the prepper families do think about defense. I’ve seen all manner of firearms, cases of ammunition and bunkers built under a garage. One guy had a “duce and a half” bug out vehicle. How long can a determined family last if things went nuts? I guess that depends on what they are willing to do and what they can do. Those who prepare for the worst should ask themselves questions before creating a survival plan:
- Who that I know can be trusted?
- Is my place defensible?
- How difficult would it be to burn me out?
- Could I kill to save my own life or that of a family member? Note: Those who glibly say, “Sure,” should read David Grossman’s On Killing.
- What if a mob tried to storm my house?
- Where is the nearest prison? How long would it stay operational if the electricity went out for an extended period?
- What if a stranger holding the hands of two children under five, asked you for help?
- What will trigger my flight instinct? Do I know when to leave the home behind?
- Do I have a place to go?
- Will I be able to walk to the back-up facility safely?
- Can I get to safety with the highways jammed with others fleeing riots and lawlessness?
- How long will the police stay on the job? …the fire department? …the para-medics?
- Could I fight my way to safety with a small child or an elderly relative in tow?
- How long can my community function without electricity?
- Will my prepper plans work equally well in the dead of winter as it does in the heat of mid-summer?
- If I do have to kill someone to protect my family, will I have to answer for my behavior immediately?
- Do I realize that in a world without penicillin and “flight-for-life” helicopters, even a minor injury could be fatal?
- What about a triage plan?
I’m certain that there are more questions anyone could add which are situation and community specific, but this is a good start. No plan should be conceived without a candid discussion with immediate family members regarding the answers to these questions. Remember, the cavalry only arrives just in the nick of time in the movies. Will America turn into The Road Warrior in a day or two? Who knows? The one thing that I’m confident of is that the big variable crisis is how untrained, unprepared average Americans, who are lost without their cell phones, will act when TSHTF.