Tuesday, September 16, 2003
A succinct statement of a philosophy near and dear to me:
"BE PREPAREDIt astounds me that there are people who make no preparations whatsoever to deal with any sort of disruption in their daily lives.
And you don’t have to be a Boy Scout to take this to heart. As I write this, it’s not clear where Hurricane Isabel will strike. But as Michele Catalano reports, stores in Long Island are already out of essential supplies:
I just got back from Target, where I bought the last flashlight. They will be out of batteries before the end of the day. They were stocking up on Poland Spring water, but they are out of gallons already, I had to settle for a case of 16 oz. bottles. The lines are long, the cashiers are already grumpy and the hardware/camping department looks like, well, a hurricane hit it. Even the coolers and plastic ice packs were selling fast.
Home Depot has nothing. Not a flashlight, not a battery, not a generator.
There’s a lesson in this: Don’t wait for disaster to approach to get ready. (Yes, I know, that’s a repeated theme here, as shown in this post, this post, and this post.) No, it’s not my preferred theme, but it seems to be appropriate for the times.) Whether you’re preparing for violent assaults of humans, or violent assaults of nature, it pays to be, well, prepared. Stores can’t keep enough emergency supplies on hand to take care of everyone at the last moment.
There will always be people who would prefer not to think about unpleasant things, and who won’t want to spend the time, money, and effort required to prepare to deal with unpleasant things, trusting in luck — or counting on other people to bail them out if things go wrong. But these aren’t times that favor such an approach.
I just had relatives from Memphis in town. Earlier this summer they were hit with a storm that knocked the power out to most of the city. They were without power for 12 days. They were talking about all the things they had to do differently and how some supplies were just not available.
I can't imagine how you could think that you're a grown up without having put some thought toward emergencies.
How will you light your house if the power goes out? How will you heat your house if the power goes out? How will you cool your house? How will you get water if the power is out and the city pumps don't run? If you have no water what will you use for sanitary facilities? What will you do if the gas stations can't pump? How will you connect with your family if the phones go out? How will you keep and prepare your food? Do you have enough food for a few weeks if delivery systems or refrigeration systems aren't there. Do you have enough money to eat and pay your bills if your employer folded tomorrow and you didn't get your next paycheck? If you can't answer those questions you are putting yourself at the mercy of strangers and fate if something bad ever does happen.
This also applies to personal safety. I've had to dial 911. I know how long it can be sitting and straining to hear those sirens, and I wasn't even in physical danger. To rely on other people for my saftey seems the height of folly.
"My earlier posts on mindsets and self-defense (scroll down) are echoed by this column by Mark Steyn on the murder of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. Lindh was stabbed to death in the middle of a crowded store. No one did anything to stop the killer, or to block his escape. As Steyn writes:Part of being a grown up is taking responsibility for yourself and your family. If you don't plan ahead for the unpleasant possibilities, you aren't a grown up, you're just pretending.
You can blame it on a lack of police, as everyone’s doing. But Lindh’s killer didn’t get away with it because of the people who weren’t there but because of the people who were: the bystanders. When I bought my home in New Hampshire, I heard a strange rustling one night, and being new to rural life, asked my police chief the following morning, if it had turned out to be an intruder whether I should have called him at home. “Well, you could,” said Al. “But it would be better if you dealt with him. You’re there and I’m not.” That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given.
This isn’t an argument for guns, though inevitably Sweden has gun control, knife control and everything else. It’s more basic than that: It’s about the will to be a citizen, not just a suckler of the nanny-state narcotic.
One of the worst things that happened to America’s crime problem was the spread of the “don’t get involved” mindset, which suggested that crime was the police department’s problem, not everyone else’s. Why is it that people who are quick to believe that “it takes a village to raise a child” find it hard to believe that it takes a village — or at least a few bystanders willing to take a hand — to control crime?"
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God this weather is great. I hope you're all out enjoying it. Save some sunshine for the long winter.
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