So my series on disaster prep obvious did not get wrapped up in September -- hey, I've been busy -- and when I managed to grab some time, a hurricane struck the tri-state area and horrific things happened and telling y'all what to put in a home emegency kit seemed creepy and opportunistic.
I'm still going to tell you all what to put in your home emergency kit, and the ten reminders to program into your calendar, and the eight things to put in your written emergency plan. But with the coverage of the people killed by Hurricane Sandy and the random, senseless ways that they died? What those stories showed, again and again, was how preparation is a privilege.
People who don't live in safe neighborhoods don't want to leave their houses because they might lose what posssessions they can't carry. People who don't have access to reliable transportation can't leave ahead of a storm. People who can't afford to take off work and get out ahead of the storm get trapped once the waters start rising. People who have nobody with whom to stay when their residence loses power hunker down and freeze in place. People who don't have a decent web of interpersonal connections have nobody to help them leave, nobody to take them in, nobody to notice they're missing.
Back during maternity leave in early 2011, I checked out James Wesley, Rawles' (the comma is indeed in his name) How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, which naturally led to me being sucked into the wormhole of survivalist blogs. This was back before these folks began rebranding themselves as "preppers."
The common themes of this subculture are another post for another day, but what's relevant to this blog post is how privilege was taken as a given. Of course you'd have enough land to support yourself. Of course you'd have enough storage space to stash a decade's worth of supplies for life in the afterscape. Of course you'd have the money to outfit yourself for the collapse of the gold standard/the evaporation of all crude oil on the planet/the eruption of the caldera under Yellowstone Park/the moon veering off-orbit.
More than 80 percent of U.S. residents live in cities now. Know what is generally not a feature of urban living? Spacious apartments. Or, in some places, car ownership. A lot of what you'll read in the prepper literature presumes a certain type of life that is not reflective of where we as a country are headed. So that means that even motivated people might find it tough to find useful information on how to prepare for the worst.
I've tried to do that in the first few entries in the series -- give you information that works for all configurations of families in all sorts of areas. I'll continue trying to do that. I just wanted to take a minute to point out how very lucky we all are, those of us who can afford to prepare at all.