I wonder what would happen if a REAL disaster struck
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:35 AM [+]
I was thinking this morning while showering. Yes, some people sing, but I usually ponder unusual things that seem to randomly originate from some synapse that fired off perhaps because of something I ate the night before. Anyway, here in Western Washington (and I expect also in whatever neck of the woods you may live) the news is a good indicator of just how pampered and about darn useless most of us are.
Mail has not been delivered for days. Numerous roads and driveways are unplowed and people have had to work from home for several days. Trash not picked up last week. In rural areas some properties are unable to get propane delivered because of uber-steep driveways. Power outages. All of these are front page headlines. As I unsoiled myself in the spray, I compared and contrasted all of these news items I'd read with the situation in Uganda. Power outages? LOL! Running water? HAHA! Mail delivery? STOP! You're killing me! If Ugandan newspapers were to make headlines (or indeed ANY mention) of power outages there would be no room for other news at all. Indeed they are so common that people actually manage to...survive.
I'd also thought about this while driving out of our horrific snow/slush/ice covered road that virtually no unchained 2WD vehicle could hope to gain traction upon and I noticed my neighbor "plowing" a portion of it with his tractor. You see, our road is private and so the state was never coming to dig us out. We had to figure our own way out of this problem and it was either accomplished by you owning a vehicle that could make it out, having a neighbor with a tractor, or you simply sucked it up and stayed home until it melted (and be PREpared to do so). Remember our first winter here at St. Brigid Farm when we lost power for like 6 days and had no running water for 3 of them...and even after those three days we only had water for a few hours a day and we NEVER had hot water. Could you imagine if this happened in Seattle? In my experience it is precisely in these situations that we can learn how much more effective we can be at helping one another than we can by waiting for the government.
I'm not tooting my preparedness horn here...not at all. But what I'm trying to say is simply this: I think if a REALLY serious disaster were to happen, and I mean REALLY serious (think: weeks without power, ability to go anywhere, or water), that in such a "desperate" situation many people would DIE simply from not being the slightest bit able to fend for themselves - and not because of physical infirmity. I hear the people around here bitch and moan as if they literally had some natural right to the state providing for their every need (let alone desire), to such an extent that it would not at ALL surprise me to see lawsuits against the city/state in regard to this snowstorm. Seriously...you watch.
What constitutes a REALLY horrible disaster? Anything, apparently, that happens that renders the government unable to assist you. And the length of time that this happens is the determinant factor for the perceived intensity of the disaster. The extent to which a significant portion of the population feel angry about the disaster is the determinant factor for the extent to which the state is liable for it.
I'm preaching to myself here: we really need to get back to the spirit of our "pioneer" roots. What a bunch of pansies we are thinking that the worse thing we should ever have to endure is having to wait an extra night to watch "Dancing with the Stars" or worse still to actually have to trade - for economic reasons - a dinner out for a humble homemade meal. I'm quite serious here: a huge economic downturn could be a very profound blessing to us as a people. But I hope the lesson isn't: make government fix it; rather: suck it up and learn to do without or do it yourself.
Not just with yourself though. With your family. With your neighbors. With those with whom you Commune. Disasters can bring out the best in people and can teach us much. Being prepared can be a real blessing to your family AND to your community. It is an unquestionably good thing. You never know...someday we may actually see a REAL disaster here. Finally the newspapers would have something worthy of their hype.