Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Think, Plan or Fail

This latest round of hurricanes (Gustav and Ike) have got me thinking. This latest round of economic turmoil has me thinking also.

The storms were fairly serious. There is a lot of damage out there. Homes have been destroyed – wiped out. Families have been displaced. The effects are far reaching. Have you heard about Ohio? Ohio doesn’t get hurricanes, right? Tell that to the people who are living with trees down all over the place and a power outage that lasted for days.

High gas prices? Ha! A lot of folks couldn’t get gas at any price. I have a friend whose dad lives in the affected area (an area much larger than just a circle around Galveston). He is some kind of meat distributer – has a whole bunch of meat in freezers. No power? No problem – he bought a generator. Oh wait, there is a problem – he has no gas and can’t get any. Doh!

I tell ya what… The stories I hear, the news I read… Two semis show up at a FEMA shelter in Tejas – one full of ice, (more on that later), one full of water. What does Mr. .gov do? Turn them around and send them away – “we have enough”. Looks like they didn’t have any. Idiot.

Bolivar Peninsula – Galveston County, Tejas. Some folks chose to ride out the storm at home. They chose. They lived. They are still there. County Judge Jim Yarbrough, the top elected official in Galveston County, said the Texas attorney general's office is trying to figure out how legally to force the holdouts to leave. Local authorities are prepared to do whatever it takes to get residents to a safer place.

"I don't want to do it," Yarbrough said. "I'm doing it because it's in their best interests."

Uh-huh. This will set a precedent – a bad one. I for one don’t want a nanny government. I for one want government to be subservient to the will of the people – not the other way around. I’ll look out for my own best interests, thank you. I think local Galveston residents should do whatever it takes to ensure the Judge finds a new line of work. Throw da bums out! They won’t though – sheeple.

My friend’s dad sat there and watched his meat thaw. He knew if he didn’t do something, it would go bad. He spoke with his insurance agent and offered to just have a big ol’ cook out – feed the help, the feed the destitute – I mean, it’s gonna go bad, might as well eat it right? Wrong. For the insurance to pay, the meat had to spoil. I think we are talking about a lot of money’s worth of meat here. I lump insurance agency burro-craps with .gov lackeys...

Ever see the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” about the Crusades? Very cool scene where, after the Christian army has expended itself in the desert – men dying of thirst and what not, Saladin offers a glass of ice water to the defeated general. Ice water – in the desert – and they didn’t own Coleman coolers. His not so subtle point was something like this: “You are so pitifully outclassed, little Christian man. Your men are dying of thirst and I am drinking ice water. Resistance is futile.”

I guess people are using ice to try and preserve food and what not now that the electricity is out and the fridges and freezers no longer work. I wonder though – I really do, how much of that ice is preserving food and how much is cooling Diet Coke. Or beer. But my point is this: is it .gov’s responsibility to provide ice? I hardly think so.

Personal responsibility
Ooh! Is that an “un PC term” yet? The people in Ohio, I can understand – they don’t get whopped with winds and what not like this every year (but they do get winter and should be prepared for stuff nonetheless.) But the people who live all along the Gulf Coast? Why do they buy plywood every year? Is the plywood from last year no good? Why are they so pitiful and needing .gov help every time a storm comes through? Do they not expect one?

No. They all think that .gov is going to come rescue them. They depend on that. And then they complain when they don’t get ice. Or when they are given MREs to eat instead of Whoppers.

Bugging out
Just a quick add on about bugging out. What would happen if, while so many people are displaced - homes destroyed, kicked off their peninsula, living in a shelter, living in a FEMA hotel (paid for by you and I)… What would happen if during this bug out – the economy collapsed? Chaos in the streets. No gas available at any price. What they had with them is all they would have.

I laugh (cry) at the folks who say, “I will never bug out”. Sometimes, Sportsfans, your only two choices are bug out or die. I bet folks in Ohio didn’t think they’d have to relocate. Some no longer have houses.

Please take some time to come up with a viable plan B. You have left your home and can never come back. The world has turned crazy – but there is not total chaos – there are still vestiges of authority out there so this is not Mad Max – you don’t have total freedom to do what you want. But what are you going to do? What is your plan?

Those who fail to plan – plan to fail.
Those who plan to improvise – plan to fail.

Start thinking.

And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. – I Kings 18:44
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Unthinkable

The Unthinkable
Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why
By Amanda Ripley
Crown Publishers, New York 2008
(It's less than $17 on Amazon)

This is a great book. It belongs on the shelf of every person who responds to, studies, or has a personal interest in disasters and how we humans react under the enormous stress that accompanies them.

Amanda Ripley takes the reader on a journey through a wide variety of disasters, emergencies, and other extremely intense situations through first person accounts and then dissects each example looking at it from a variety of angles. Whether it is a hostage event in Latin America, office workers trapped in and escaping the World Trade Center towers on 9-11, or Special Forces soldiers in action, Ripley looks at psychological, physiological, and emotional reactions to emergencies. She considers how such emergencies were initially planned for (if at all) and how those plans either worked or (in most cases) failed.

She leads the reader to the discovery and realization that normal everyday citizens are the ones who will either make or break any response options and that emergency planners consistently underestimate “civilian” capabilities in times of crisis. Because of this, they fail to train Joe Average in even basic preparedness and precautionary measures so necessary for dealing with the unthinkable.

If she read this blog, I think she would agree with many things I put forth here. Things like: when it’s time to move – MOVE!; the fact that we all need to plan and prepare for ourselves because really, no one is going to be there to help us in time; and the reality that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary feats when they summon the best in themselves during times of adversity.

She brings up points that I may not necessarily agree with but that prove interesting and worthy of further study nonetheless. The principle one being that humans formed certain survival attributes back in the dim recess of time (things like literally freezing in the face of predators) that, while useful then, are distinctly unhelpful now.

She discusses how time slows down in extremely stressful situations, how some individuals can become hyper-aware, and how others can become totally brain dead. She discusses theories on determining how one will react to given stimuli – before an event occurs. And she does all of this in an interesting, fast paced manner.

I’ll be honest, at first I thought this would be a mere re-do or copy of Laurence Gonzales’ Deep SurvivalWho Lives, Who Dies, and Why (which is also and excellent book, by the way). I mean, c’mon – the titles are so similar as to be synonymous! But it is a different book. Similar but different. If you liked Deep Survival, you’ll like The Unthinkable.

The book is enjoyable to read. It is also very educational. It is structured in a way that makes it easy to digest by reading and thinking about one section at a time.
I highly recommend it to you.


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

Prepared Americans for a Strong America