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Studying Sandy

Seems like I have been dealin’ with bad weather situations for a lifetime.  Thinking back on it, maybe I have.  There were the hurricanes to deal with when we lived in South Florida during the ’80s.  There was that little snow storm when we lived in Chattanooga in 1993.  I met Ike firsthand  in 2008 and of course there was Katrina.

Miss Kathy and I were watching Hurricane Sandy spinning up towards the north last week and I told her this was going to be an opportunity to study up on how folks dealt with a serious disruption in their daily routines.   Taking into account the normalcy bias  and that Sandy was going to take a direct shot at New York City, I figured we would learn a thing or two.  I have been saying for some time now that I believe our future is going to be one of  diminished government resources.  If you haven’t got any money, how are you going to provide police and fire protection and everything else?  I know its’ coming so lets’ just see how the general population in a major metro area reacts and copes with it.

The day after Sandy was predictable. Wide spread devastation, roads blocked, power lines down;  nothing I didn’t expect.  Everything after that first day gets a little weird.   3 days after the lights went out, we have people dumpster diving?  Out of gas?  Hold on just a minute because I am not understanding everything I am seeing here.  Hurricane Sandy just didn’t barrel into town exactly unannounced.  These folks had a good week to get their affairs in order and it looks like a good portion of them didn’t do much at all.

What was different?  That is the question Miss K and I asked each other over and over.  It wasn’t until they ran some stories featuring the blue collar folks that got hit out in Staten Island that the answer dawned on us.  The woman on TV was screaming into the camera ‘We have people dying here.  Why isn’t the government helping us???’  That was it.  That was THE DIFFERENCE.   We (collectively) have become so dependent on Government to provide for us that we are no longer self-reliant to any degree.   In case you don’t realize it, this is the way the Government wants it.

Over 50% of the population receive some kind of Government assistance these days and the Government  actively promotes their assistance programs to get  more  people to sign up.  Why is that you reckon?   Easy enough to figure that one out.  Folks that are dependent on the Government for their well being and survival will do what the Government says to do.  It makes us more subservient and easily governable.  Pure and simple.

Survivalists slash anarchists coined a term for this type of mindset  — sheeple they call ’em.  Personally, I detest the terminology and rarely use it as a descriptor but you must admit it is apropos.  The Sandy events continued to unfold on the screen in front of us and quite frankly it unnerved me more than I had anticipated.  I did not realize we were as far advanced into The Long Emergency as we are.  It was a wake up call for the two of us.   3 days folks…. that is all it took.  People hungry and dehydrated– out of medication, out of gas, out of diapers, out of things required for basic survival  in just 72 hours.  Thankfully, the Rule of Law was still strong.  Police kept the long lines for gas civil,  there was minimal looting and as far as I can tell most of the fatalities were storm related.

I couldn’t tell you what the Government’s end game is or where this will all end up.  Maybe they will tell us to turn over all of our gold like FDR did back in the 30’s or maybe they are going to go house to house and confiscate our firearms or maybe they are going to say our EBT card won’t get loaded this month until we get the RFID chip implant.   I just couldn’t even begin to venture a guess as to how it will all pan out in the end. During the course of our discussions this week,  Miss K and I examined the direction we are headed.  We  asked our own selves just how dependent we were on Government and what we expected them to do for us.   Maybe it would be a good time to ask yourself those same questions.

 End Note:  We Can’t Make It Here by James McMurtry from the Childish Things cd.

McMurtry was on it this night at Threadgills.   At his best, he can be very unsettling.  Listen to it.

 

 

 

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20 comments to Studying Sandy

  • Joel

    Like Republican governor Chris Christie, I applaud the federal government response to the aftermath of Sandy. I happen to think that the federal government does many worthwhile thing. Emergency response is one.

    A great nation doesn’t let its citizens suffer in the face of an act of God.

    Sure, I’d like to see government regulation on how close to a sea shore you can build. In my opinion, there should be no permanent structures on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, save maybe a lighthouse. But, of course, that would be Teh Soschalist Gummint telling Teh Freedom what to do. Jest cain’t have thet.

    I have no problem with reasonable government regulation, either. It has served us well, and the relaxation of government regulation led directly to the crash of 2009.

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    • Andrew

      Joel,

      Nothing in the post talked about the lack of government response. The post focused on what the population expected. Maybe I missed the mark as far as explaining that better.

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  • TexasCruiser

    Great thoughts Andy. I was amazed, though not surprised, that folks were so unprepared with even the most basic of necessities. It’s not like Sandy just dropped out of the sky like a tornado with no warning. Maybe the fact that we do live in tornado alley has taught us to be prepared for anything and everything as much as possible. Then again it could be that I don’t beleive it’s the governments place to wipe my nose or change my drawers. I try not to be hard hearted but it’s difficult at times to watch the ignorance. I hesitate to call it stupidity cause maybe they just don’t know any better.

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  • Joel

    The population expected a federal response. So did I. There many have been some who expected more than they should–there usually are. But near as I can tell, the folks who experienced the damage from Sandy were mostly about as prepared as one could be for an unprecedented storm that exceeded predictions. It does seem a might uncharitable to me to blame the victims. YMMV.

    I played a gig on Halloween with the Bates Street Folk and Blues Band up in St. Charles MO and donated my share of the pay to the Sandy recovery fund.

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    • Andrew

      Joel

      I tried to reverse engineer their preparedness timeline and it looks like a considerable portion of the population failed to fill the gas tanks on their cars prior to landfall of the storm. It also appears fresh water and food became an issue after a short 72 hours.

      Of course, there is a huge population up there and the media could be focusing on a small percentage experiencing shortages and make the problem appear much worse than it is.

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  • Joel

    http://hint.fm/wind/

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  • Ken

    I can’t help but think the folks in urban areas have become deendent on the government for most of everything. The New Orleans debacle and now this Sandy thing. I have seen over the last few days that things are not as rosy as some think. Many relief efforts have been thwarted or put in limbo. Reference the non-union elictrical workers from Alabama sent away because the local union has the local government co-opted. I did hear the Alabama guys were sent to help somewhere else, after a couple of days.
    There always seems to be some people that are found by TV reporters that scream at the TV “Ya’ll need to come hep us”. What ever happened to the “go help someone else, I’m doing OK” as in the tornado damage last summer.
    I happen to live on the south plains of Texas. By and large, the folks here have a “I can do it attitude”. I know of one couple that are retired farmers in their upper 80’s still living independently and refusing to take government assistance except for the SSI they purchased over the years. By the way, he was still farming several hundred acres up til 6 years ago. Then his wife made him retire when he fell off a tractor as he was descending the steps. They are the first to bring food items to church functions and are staunch supporters of missions work. I call that type of person salt of the earth.
    I really pity the people that have no idea of how to care for themselves. My wife and I make it a habit to have food in the pantry that will support us for a miinimum of 6 months. No, I do not care for dry milk, but I only use it for cooking. New years and July 4th we go through all our canned goods and put the old stuff to the front or donate it to the local food pantry and restock. The restock grocery store bill will almost cause a heart attack. I guess our attitudes are based on our parent’s upbringing. They made do or wore it out because they made it through the depression and not once did they accept gov’t handouts. As they always said, give the welfare to someone that needs it. The northeast needs to take a hint here.

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    • Andrew

      Ken,
      You get what I was trying to say. I was not criticizing those folks or jumping on the government. The revelation was that the average citizen did little as far as emergency preps because they fully expected the Government to be there to care for them almost immediately after the disaster. When did that become the expectation of most people???? That is what bewilders me. I am not blaming those folks up there but I find the mindset and the attitude unnerving.

      We know full well don here in Tornado Alley and the Gulf Area that tornadoes and hurricanes can cause such widespread damage that it overwhelms even the best efforts of the Government.

      I just missed the part somewhere along the way where the average American citizen became so dependent on government help.

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      • Ken

        Yessir, I do understand what you were sayiing. Like you, I kind of missed the part about the american citizen becoming so dependent on government halp and assistance. I guess it was kind of a creeping dependency. I am not a “doomsday prepper”, I do ascribe to being responsible for me and mine. I help others when I can see evidence of them trying to help themselves, but I have no use for a lazy bum that “won’t holler sooey if the hogs are eating him”.

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  • Bob

    I live in a more rural part of eastern PA and lack of power and property damage is and has been extensive – this follows last years flooding and tornado. Now we did not see any Govt Help or FEMA photo ops. Wonder what that is about-Oh yeah we got ready for the storm-batteries generators and neighbors helping each other because we did not EXPECT help form the Feds “cause we did not get any before-and along with this we have taken in the folks from NJ & NYC. Amazing what a little distance does for your perspective.

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  • Joel

    It isn’t just the average American citizen, Andy. It is the average citizen in the developed world. Government makes modern industrialized society possible. There is nothing unusual, surprising or undesirable about collectivizing emergency response. Its what a civilized country does.

    I understand how living in an RV in the desert requires a greater degree of self-sufficiency. Countries where most people live under such conditions are economic backwaters. You could make an argument that China and India are exceptions, but that’s an artifact. Yes, most people in China and India do live in rural settings, but what makes these countries growing economic powerhouses is the commercial activity in their cities.

    It is simply impossible for most people in the city to be independently self-sufficient in the case of a breakdown of basic services (water, sewer, food, public safety, fire protection, medical care, transportation). If you’d ever lived in a city apartment building, you’d know how laughable it would be for everyone to have their own water supply, outhouse, food and gasoline storage, etc. Most Manhattan residents don’t own a car. When my folks lived there in the 1970s, they left their car out on Long Island with my grandparents. It costs a fortune to park in the city.

    The US is not gonna become an agrarian society again. Nor can we become a nation of gate guards living in RVs and remain a modern industrialized nation.

    I’m glad you have the luxury to choose the lifestyle you have and that you’re happy with it. It only exists because the US is an industrialized nation that has the technology to frack and to recover, transport, refine and market the product. Enjoy!

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    • Andrew

      Joel,

      Where are all the cars in line for fuel and folks carrying red gas cans coming from then? My first truck driving job was weekly trips to NYC and curb side deliveries in all 5 boroughs — 40 years ago I know but I know how those people live. I watched ’em for the better part of 3 years. They are far from ignorant.

      Knowing that you live in one of the most densely populated areas in the world and the absence of daily amenities would present special hardships, they should have made the extra effort to have emergency preps on hand. I stand by my assertion that collectively we are far to dependent on government assistance almost to the point we are incapable of surviving without it.

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  • Joel

    “I stand by my assertion that collectively we are far to dependent on government assistance almost to the point we are incapable of surviving without it.”

    I’m sure you do.

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  • I don’t want government to “rescue” me! I have always lived by the ethos; take care of your own. I don’t believe it’s the governments responsibility to provide for me. Andy and I live full time in 210 sq. Feet. We have enough supplies to last us 4 months. That includes food, fuel, water and power alternatives. So you can’t honestly tell me that someone living in an apartment in new York can’t do the same. They choose NOT to. That is the difference.
    The sewage can be solved by a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat and heavy duty plastic containment bags. How many people filled up their bathtubs with fresh water before the storm? How many have a simple hand water filter?
    I have all of these items in less than 250 sq. Feet. So excuses are like assholes, Everyones got one.

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    • Ken

      Miss Kathy said, “I have all of these items in less than 250 sq. Feet. So excuses are like assholes, Everyones got one.
      Ever body but him, you just done a major eatin’ his out job there ma’am.
      The ones standing out there screaming at the TV cameras are the ones that did not fill the tubs with water, get non perishible comestibles stocked or prepared in any way. The government is not equiped to be the end all fix all of the universe. Somewhere in there we have to be self-sufficient.

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  • Lee

    As someone who has been following myoldrv.com for several months now, I feel the need to join in the conversation.
    We started full-timing on October 23, leaving Ohio for Maryland to visit with our son and his family, then will move on to Florida after Thanksgiving. On our arrival October 24, we were immediately faced with the prospect of a hurricane that was to make landfall near us. We had a nearly full tank of gasoline and propane in the motorhome, full tank of gas in the car we tow, enough groceries and water to last several weeks, a 5kw built-in generator and a 800 watt spare generator. So, yes, full-timers are naturally more prepared. But, had we still been at our former house, we would still have been nearly as prepared, and would have bought extra if we knew there was a storm due to hit in 5 days. I have never thought it was government’s responsibility to rescue me from my own lack of preparedness or common sense. I would welcome help in the event of something unpredictable, like an earthquake in southwest Ohio, but shame on me if I don’t have the foresight to keep basic essentials on hand. We have an awful lot of citizens who have a strange view of what government should do for us. And, apparently, don’t know what they are giving up in order to receive these “gifts”.
    Thank you, Andy, for your observations.

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  • Joel

    “So you can’t honestly tell me that someone living in an apartment in new York can’t do the same.”

    I can and will tell you that someone living in an apartment in NYC can’t do the same. It would be insane for people in a 40 story apt. building to each be storing gallons of gasoline and fuel oil. It would be crazy for each resident in a 40 story apt. building to run their own diesel generator during a power outage. It is just silly to think that each resident in a 40 story apt. building should have the ability to store 5 days worth of water and a septic tank.

    Good on you for taking care of yourself in the desert. In a city, that lifestyle is impossible. Yes, Americans are dependent on the government; government makes urban life possible.

    The idea that we should each take care of each other is a good one. It is such a good idea that civil societies organize governments to assure that we do take care of each other. You see, government is just a way of organizing people to “insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” I’m sorry to learn that those words have gone out of fashion in some parts of the country.

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  • Joel

    Thanks, Andy. This article clearly documents that there are many solutions to the challenges of adversity. One size doesn’t fit all. That’s what makes America great!

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  • traveling fool

    Should most people be less dependent on goverment services. You betcha!Having grown up in the big rotten apple, and now living on a farm not very far removed by Texas standards. I can say most of the people screaming into the news cameras are from areas were the poverty ratio per square foot cannot be compaired to but few other places in this country. Is this and excuse NO! but it is a fact, this alone will dictate how well they can prepair for such a storm or any event of this magnitude. And watching them suffer isn’t something most Americans are prepaired to do, nor will they.
    As for the farming community and suburbs around me, the citizens seemed very well prepaired. Most having back up generators, alternate heating and alike. We are now on day 11 without power living fat and happy and have opened our doors on day one to some friends and neighbors whom needed a couple days to get things sorted out. What amazed me was how civil things remained and how most worked together to clear roads and get help to the injured. This storm put several million, Yes MILLION out of power for days! I am just surprised at the civility that still remains. Remember the news is drama, drama, drama to keep us watching.

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