It’s time to prepare

For what?

Well, anything.

How about bird flu? Lots of generally sane people seem to think it’s only a matter of time.

If you survive the initial impact of whatever-it-is (and you probably will), your biggest problem is going to be simple – broken supply lines.

Which means that, regardless of the threat, the biggest part of your preparedness plan is going to be stockpiling stuff. Food and water. More water (the stuff takes up quite a bit of space… and when the plumbing stops, don’t forget about the stockpile sitting in your water heater). Medicine (although stockpiling real medicine might involve bending some bloody useless laws, assuming it lasts long enough to be worth the trouble). A generator and fuel, if something you depend on (such as insulin) must be refrigerated. Ammunition (unless you know how to make arrows, and own or can construct a bow). Fuel for heating if you live someplace that gets too cold. Et cetera.

It’d be great if they’d let you stock a respirator and other nifty devices to help you live through an actual infection with bird flu or some other nasty germ, but only doctors get to have real medical equipment. Of course, during a disaster, there won’t be nearly enough doctors to go around. (Hell, there aren’t enough doctors to go around now… that’s a big part of the “health care crisis” people keep yammering about.) And the vaccine, if the powers-that-be manage to create one, will be given out on their terms, not yours. So your best bet during a pandemic is going to be to stay the hell away from everybody and live off of your stockpiled supplies.

If you’re ready to live like a hermit for a while, you’ll probably not be unlucky enough to catch the dread disease before it becomes widely known. (Unless we really do have a government crazy enough to keep a pandemic a secret until everyone catches it, like the one in The Stand. But I seriously doubt we’ll see that government anytime soon.)

If you start now, when nothing special seems about to happen (unless you live around southeast Texas or southwest Louisiana), there’s not much of a limit to the eventual size of your stash, other than the amount of storage you have to work with. You’ll want to-go kits, too, in case your home becomes acutely unhealthy and you’ve managed to lay hands on a means of transport that can actually go places on that dreaded day. Bikes (one per person, of course) might end up being your only viable means of transport, although the cargo capacity is low. Still, if the disaster is localized, it could be a way to get someplace that’s still civilized. And if the disaster is a localized one that you can see coming for a day or two, and you’ve elected to live in an area known to be prone to such a disaster without a car, and you think it’s unhealthy or undignified to wait for your fearless leaders to send you a bus, it’s a way to get out of the disaster’s path. (You won’t be in much danger from speeding cars along the evacuation route!) In any event, it’s still a good way to get someplace farther than the gas in your tank can carry you if it turns out you won’t be able to get more.

And finally, don’t listen to this bullshit. There’s plenty you can do individually to prepare for the day when you’ll have to stay the hell away from everybody for a while and everyone is trying to stay the hell away from you, and the more people that actually prepare and are able to do it as needed, the more of us will end up living through it. Whatever “it” turns out to be. And your political pressure should really be aimed at relaxing or eliminating any laws that stand in the way of your individual preparations – that’s a lot easier for a variety of people to judge and evaluate and agree on than whether the folks at the CDC are cooking up the right vaccine, and whether they have the facilities in place to make enough of it, and the right infrastructure to distribute it, or whether the President is a moron who’s deliberately crippling the CDC because he doesn’t believe in government and would really rather that the poor die off so they can’t bitch when he gives what’s rightfully theirs to his rich buddies.

Crappy Administrations will keep happening (regardless of your politics, you’ll agree they’ve happened several times in the past 30 years). But if you can rely on yourself, at least you’ll know you’re relying on the one person that unquestionably has your best interests at heart.

5 thoughts on “It’s time to prepare”

  1. When Human Events and Technology collide.
    With the Pacific Fleet laying at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, the US Navyís evolution to a carrier based offensive strategy was sealed. After a decade of arguments in doctrinal development, on December 6, Plan Orange called for the Pacific Fleet to sally forth to somewhere in the area of the Philippines and with aircraft carriers in support as an auxiliary arm, conduct a Jutland style battle for the decisive confrontation of the anticipated Pacific War. On December 8th, that was no longer going to happen. The carriers would become the technology by which the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal would create the decisive turn in the Pacific War. And while there indeed would be a massive battle around the Philippines, it was a desperate attempt by the Japanese to stave off their pending doom, but unable to alter their now inevitable end. Today the US Navy operates many carrier groups and not one battleship based combat group.

    As a semi-hermit who ventures out among the masses about once a week, Iím not disconnected from the world. The internet and dish based satellite television keep me connected to the world around me. I have more than enough to keep me occupied in and around my abode. So when the pan-epidemic does show its face on these shore, Iíll just make a major procurement of supplies to tide me over for many weeks. Something many people will be able to do who now commute by internet. Like the aircraft carrier and Pearl Harbor, the epidemic may be the fusion of technology to major human event which will finally kick the technology into serious mainstream implementation and the cultural integration of the disbursed office. As the Navy culture had to evolve from that of the battleships to that of the carrier, business models will also have to evolve for a period of time where disbursed internet commuting becomes the practice rather than the exception. Those businesses which have prepared or are prepared to evolve in this new structure will trump their competitors when the storm hits. Adaptation to environment. Who wrote about that?

  2. IT’S time to take all “no regrets” proactive measures.

    Weeks of food and water, a stock of tamaflu (which may or may not work), and anti-biotics for secondary infections.

    THIS is the smart stuff.

  3. I agree with most of what Ken says except when he gets to the whiney “liberal-victim-speak” at the end (rich vs. poor etc.). I general despise labels like “liberal” and “conservative” but in this case I’m troubled by how more creative and open-minded folks (like Ken) only help to perpetuate the victim approach that Democrats have historically taken. Yes, Bush is an absolute bumbling fool at the helm. Yes, his administration is equally inept (no, you can’t blame it all on George). Mistake after mistake (search for WMD’s while insurgents organize in Iraq; fail to order enough drugs from Roche in case of Bird Flu when the entire free world is ahead of us in line; fail to recognize the enormity of Katrina; etc. etc.)

    I guess I wish that the more eloquent and intelligent among us who recognize that the current right-wing “they ought to think and behave like us because we are moral and righteous” is just awful, should do a better job of selling our postions and avoid whining about how the rich want to get richer. I am a liberal thinker and I can take care of my own pocket book. Those who cannot will assume the roles and lifestyles the market bears. It’s survival of the fittest and that makes people whine and blame. We can’t save everybody and dumbing down the entire planet so we can all be like those who don’t have the genetic code to succeed is retarded. By the way, I know some very very rich morons who should have been thinned from the herd long ago; so the survival tack knows no economic boundaries (although being rich does increase your odds of survival).

  4. My sarcasm seems to have been a bit too subtle. (Unless I’m failing to detect yours…)

    It’s frightening that “the President is a moron who’s deliberately crippling the CDC because he doesn’t believe in government and would really rather that the poor die off so they can’t bitch when he gives what’s rightfully theirs to his rich buddies” is something that lots of people in this country would plausibly say and seriously mean.

  5. Why is everyone so scared of the bird flu which so far has never been transmitted from human to human and which we now have a vaccine for anyway? For that matter when you consider the huge numbers of chickens and people who work closely with them in Asia it’s apparently pretty hard to catch it from a chicken in the first place. Sure it has high fatality rate but so do lots of other rare diseases that are not about to wipe out the world. For that matter the fatality rate could be much lower because people who got a mild case are a lot less likely to be identified as having the avian flu.

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