L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 337, September 18, 2005
"Prison Time For Gun Confiscators!"
Lessons from the Debacle
Exclusive to TLE
It's been two weeks since Katrina and its attendent devastation hit New Orleans, and I think enough time has passed to allow us to consider some of the lessons learned from that debacle.
I won't belabor the obvious faults, shortcomings and blame casting going on right now in the political arena. What I am doing in this article is pointing out what we, as individual citizens, can do to prepare for a natural disaster or other calamity.
The first lesson, and one of the most obvious, is to not live in an area at risk of a natural disaster, if you can possibly help it. Yes, I know that no place is totally safe, but some areas are more hazardous than others. Those who choose to live on the Gulf Coast, or on the coast of Florida or the shores of the southeastern states have live in an area at high risk for hurricanes. Those who live in southern California live in an area at high risk from earthquakes. Those who live in the Great Plains live in an area at high risk from tornadoes.
The second lesson, and one just as obvious, is that if you do live in a high risk area, you can not depend on government, at any level, to help you, at least not in the immediate aftermath, the critical 12 to 24 hours immediately following a natural disaster. When Katrina hit, FEMA wanted 48 hours to even begin responding, in order to "train responders." How many people died in those 48 hours? How many homes were destroyed? How many relatively minor injuries or illnesses became serious or life-threatening, due to lack of immediate care?
As a direct corollary of this, it devolves upon each of us to be prepared to take care of ourselves. Ideally, you should have an emergency kit for each member of the family, with another in the trunk of your car if you are caught away from home. If you have medical needs, make sure you have at least three days of your medicine on hand, preferably stored in a backpack or some other easy to carry item. Three days of food and water, clothing, and any other items you may need or desire in an emergency should be kept on hand. Now, this is obviously not enough for a major catastrophe, such as we have just seen, but you have to start somewhere, and three days supplies are easily affordable, easy to carry, and you probably won't even run afoul of the government for keeping three days worth of medicine stored away.
The next lesson is to have a plan. If you wait for the government to tell you what to do, you're up that well-known foul-smelling creek when it all comes down. Do you have friends or family who live in a relatively safe area? Plan on visiting them for the duration of the emergency. (With their permission of course!) If you don't, get together with your friends and neighbors to defend your homes and neighborhoods. One person, even one family, is vulnerable. There is safety in numbers. Thugs, looters, and criminals of all stripes will hesitate to attack large numbers of prepared folks where they would swarm a small group.
The final lesson, and one of the most important, is this: The government is not your friend. As we have seen in New Orleans, government agents will evict you from your home, steal your property, threaten you, arrest you, and in general treat you like scum for the crime of surviving without government aid. We have seen reports that indicate that survivors are being put into refugee camps, which they will not be allowed to leave for months, if ever.
In summation, it is up to each and every one of us to make preparations and plans to take care of ourselves, should the need ever arise. I strongly urge all of you to read Tappan on Survival, which is available free online at: http://www.thedisease.net/arcana/survival/Tappan.htm
Written over 25 years ago, some of the information is dated, but it still serves as an excellent basic outline and guide to preparedness and self-sufficiency.
Government is not your friend, and in this type of emergency, could well be considered your active enemy. Don't trust it.