Two Letters Re: The Next Pandemic: Starvation in a Land of Plenty

Hi Jim:
Perusing the “blog” the other evening, and, in response to your post of how certain members of our society react when normalcy is interrupted. I would like to relate an experience I had during an extended power outage, with my house being the only house within a two block area having power. As I am the end house on the cul-de-sac, my assumption is I am fed from the next subdivision. None-the-less, quite an eye opening experience.

One Friday afternoon, after some pretty heavy storms, the power goes out. When one of the neighbors sees that I still have power, he walks over and asks if he can run an extension cord across the street so he can use his electric blower to blow the debris off his driveway! I mention how dangerous that is , since he lives diagonally across a fairly heavily traveled feeder road, and offer to let him use my gas blower. He says he will bring it back in 20 minutes. But 20 minutes later, I see him and his wife drive away in one of their Corvettes. (Did I mention that they both have brand new Corvettes?) No blower noise in the meanwhile, and no blower returned to me.

As night falls, and power is still not restored to the rest of the neighborhood: I am in the garage, with the door open and another of my neighbors saunters over, wondering how I have power, and if he can watch the game on the television which is currently on PBS. I try to explain that the cable [television system] is out, and all I have are several local channels, including PBS, but I don’t think he understands. He is really irritated that his power is out, and that he is missing the game. His anger is not directed at me, just directed at the situation in general! So, we are sitting around, having a few beers, provided by yours truly, of course, another neighbor saunters over. He too is wondering how I have power and the rest of the folks don’t ….again, I try to explain power generation and distribution…, after a while, the last neighbor to arrive says his wife, soon to arrive , will know where the candles are, but he needs a flashlight to see to get over to his house. I kindly offer one of my spares , with the admonishment that I would like to have it back the next day. Did I mention this neighbor has garage filled with a fully restored Chevelle, worth about $20K and two new motorcycles? Drives a Caddy SUV, yet he doesn’t own a simple flashlight?

Two days later: The blower: I finally see the Corvette neighbor roll in, after being gone for two days. I drive across the street , park behind the Corvette, and knock on the door and wait. They finally come downstairs, and hand me the blower. No explanation, no thanks. I am a wee bit irritated, and give them both a lecture on being prepared. During the course of the lecture, they mention all the firewood that I have stacked in the back, and that they “kiddingly” mention they know where to get firewood if things get tough. I reply, “Don’t come looking to me for help, I have a family to take care of and you folks are on your own!” Should have seen the looks on their faces. Because they knew I meant it.

A week later: The flashlight: I finally see my neighbor on the following Friday…he is outside washing one of his bikes. I saunter over and ask “Where is my flashlight”..He replies: “Oh yeah”, and brings it out. Again, no thanks offered. I ask whether he found his or has acquired another…he replies, “No”. I then proceed to give him the same lecture about about the three day food and water, and emergency supplies that our government recommends as a bare minimum. I think that it went in one ear and out the other. Of course, when I mentioned that “if the S. really HTF“, he was on his own, and don’t come looking over my way for help”, he looked slightly shocked, again, because he knew I meant it.

The moral of the story: These two neighbors have already shown me what they are made of. Am I prepared to say no to them if the “S. really HTF” Katrina style? Most assuredly. They are nothing more than parasites.Both sets of neighbors have nice houses , good jobs, probably 1/4 million dollars in assets in their homes and vehicles alone…..and neither of them seem to own a flashlight. And , unfortunately, I have a feeling that the rest of the neighborhood are exactly like them, unprepared for even the most minor cessation of services.

Disaster aside, your main threat will be the people that surround you. – Bob in Georgia

The following dates back to pre-Y2K, but I still find it applicable to far too many people [that live] around me:

“The Pollyanna Mantra”
I have always relied upon the complex interdependencies of society
They have never failed me in the past.
They will, therefore, never fail me in the future.
I do not need to prepare for any problems.

* Meat comes to me in shrink-wrapped packages.
* Vegetables have no dirt on them. They are always crisp and shiny.
* Fish is a food product that has no bones.
* Bread is neatly sliced and packaged. It Builds Strong Bodies Twelve Ways.
* Potatoes are long, rectangular cubes that have salt sprinkled on them. I drive my car past a window to obtain them.
* Light is provided to me 24 hours a day by glass bulbs. It is never dark.
* Power for my appliances lives in the wall. I plug into it whenever I want to.
* I have books. They are used for filling the empty space on my shelves.
* Entertainment comes to me in a large box. It has many channels.
* Sometimes I see wars in far away places on the box. Wars do not affect me personally. Wars are entertainment. Wars are not waged near where I live.
* Heat comes to me as I turn up a thermostat.
* Cool air comes to me as I turn down a thermostat.
* Clothing comes to me pre-sewn, in my size.
* When the county fair comes, I go to see the horses, cows, pigs and sheep. I do not know where they live after the county fair goes away.
* Factories are far away places. They make things for me. I buy them.
* I get to other places in marvelous vehicles that come to me in showrooms. I do not know how to build them, or to fix them.
* My children are educated by people smarter than me. I have forgotten all I learned in school.
* Peace is maintained in my neighborhood by good men in blue uniforms. They have guns. I do not. If I press 3 buttons on my phone, they will come and help me.
* Medical assistance can also be obtained instantly, ..via the same three buttons.
* My s**t does not stink. It goes down a porcelain hole. It goes away.
* If anything goes wrong, I will look in the Yellow Pages and call someone to fix it.