Sunday, May 5, 2013

Daily Briefing for Sunday, May 5, 2013

Foot Coming Off The Accelerator

As the legislatures in the states to which I am assigned enter their last month of session, I can feel in many ways that my work pace is slowing down, which is good.  I really like my job, but the busy season is both busy and a full season.  Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana remain in session, all of whom will shut it down around late May and early June.

I'm already making plans as to what I need to do this summer once we're out of session.  My list of projects, both work and preparedness related, is starting to get long.  But I am looking forward to taking on both.

On West

I had just posted my last blog piece the evening of April 17.  Moments later, I learned of the explosion in West, Texas. 

With two disasters hours apart - Boston and West - we are once again reminded of the need to be prepared in any environment in which we may find ourselves.  The small town of West, with a population of 2,674, suffered a catastrophic explosion, killing a large portion of its volunteer fire department roster.

I visited West the following Sunday in my role as an advocate for the insurance industry.  I wanted to see first hand how insurers were doing at their mobile claims sites.  I was fortunate enough to hook up with Brian, who regularly volunteers his time with Team Rubicon, when I first got to town.  Brian arrived in town within hours of the explosion, and his group was tasked with setting up a command center for the Texas Department of Emergency Management.  Over 72  hours later, Brian was still on scene, helping transition emergency management duties to the state employees.

There are lessons we can learn from this small town.  We should banish from our minds that "bad things cannot happen here," wherever "here" is.  Disasters can happen in Boston, in West, and any town in between.  We should learn to be prepared to deal with emergencies at any time, in any location.  This means making sure we have first aid supplies on us and the training to use them.  It also means we need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a period of time.

Prepping Fallacies

SWAT Magazine has become a prominent voice for preparedness over the last few years.  They have not shied away from taking positions rather controversial to this community, and I appreciate that eve though I don't always agree.

The magazine's June issue is one of many issues that will no doubt stir up some controversy.  In an article entitled "Prepping Fallacies," writer Brent T. Wheat raises seven points of contention with his fellow peppers, to wit:

1. There is no conspiracy. Wheat unloads a high capacity magazine of vitriol on this, the first point of his article.  "This point will undoubtedly elicit some drool-soaked mail," he begins, "but I stand firm in my conviction - there is no grand plan to control your life."

He then asserts "there are small groups of bad people conspiring in government, the media, religion, banking, [and] large corporations."   His theory is that despite these small group conspiracies, the world is simply too random of a place to foster large scale ones.  In his mind, these groups are only focused "on their own self-interest instead of yours."

Wheat's glaring contradiction - claiming there are no conspiracies except "for small groups who are conspiring in government, the media, religion, banking, [and] large corporations" - completely undermines the point he is trying to assert here.  Regardless of whether you believe in "conspiracy theories" as designated by the intelligentsia, I don't think you get to claim there are no conspiracies except for little ones. 

And by the way, for those of you who don't believe there are not small groups of powerful people meeting quietly, making decisions that affect all of us, I suggest you spend twenty minutes this weekend to watch this CBC News documentary and reach your own conclusions (thanks to Jerid for sharing):

2. The world isn't going to go poof!  I tend to agree with his assertion that any full blown doomsday scenario won't happen overnight.  Then he adds this gem: "the obvious exception would be large (typically urban) areas of 'have-nots.'  Considering they often torch their own neighborhoods merely to celebrate playoff games, you don't want to be within the same zip code on the day the government subsidy checks don't arrive."  

I fear his exception may swallow the rule: government assistance recipients are no longer found in a handful of urban zip codes.  When you consider the burgeoning Social Security disability and retiree rolls across all socioeconomic groups, and the utter lack of preparedness in even nice zip codes (the dumpster diving for food right after Hurricane Sandy comes to mind), if there should be a disruption in government benefits, the trouble won't be limited to the bad side of town.

3. You won't go it alone.  He nails this one.  You will need a team.  Doing it alone will be virtually impossible.

4. Stop pestering people.  I guess some of you out there proselytizing to create converts to Prepperism.  If you are, stop doing that.  Everyone hates that guy.  Just lead by example. 

5. Don't let prepping become a hobby.  I think what he's saying here is not to become consumed by your efforts.  For some of us, that train left a long time ago.  I do think he's right here, up to a point - to the extent you can take up hobbies like gardening, electrical projects, amateur radio, your hobbies can help hone your preparedness efforts.

6. Look at the big picture.  This is another point where his message loses me, but I think what he's trying to say here is to keep things simple and avoid the exotic.  Having a super-duper alternative medicine in case you become infected by some rare flu strain may be a good idea, but if in doing so you are neglecting more basic preparedness efforts, it's best to reconsider your priorities.

7. Stop worrying and enjoy life.  Columnist Dave Barry once wrote "there's a fine line between a hobby and a mental illness."  There's a lot of truth to that.  And I agree with Wheat on this point as well - the point of preparing is so that you can enjoy life, with minimal worry and fear.  If you constantly live in fear because of your preparedness efforts, you're defeating the purpose of preparing in the first place.

Boost TV Ratings - Put A Prepper On During Sweeps!

I did an interview here at the house with a local TV station this past week on suburban preparedness.  They are running the episode this week in an effort to improve their odds during the quarterly "sweeps" week which begins today.  I am told it the interview will be on line as well.  I will share it with you when I have more information.

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