How Quickly Could Things Go Downhill?
AThe answer: Very Quickly!
If the massive 8.8 earthquake in Chile this weekend teaches us anything, it should be that our comfortable urban or suburban lifestyles depend of a thin fabric of civilization holding society together and that once that fabric starts to unravel, things go to hell in a hurry.
The dust had barely begun to settle in the wake of the first series of temblars in Concepcion, Chile’s 2nd largest city, than looters began doing what it is they do best – hastily unraveling that carefully woven fabric of society thread by thread. They immediately set to the task of cleaning out grocery, clothing, and electronics stores, leaving the more civilized residents of the city without any hope of replenishing their own food supplies before aid could arrive. But, this is certainly not exclusively a Chilean phenomenon.
Anyone remember the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans? Looters were converging on flooded stores like vultures to carrion as soon as the winds died down. In a mere twenty four hours, downtown New Orleans had descended into chaos. What police officers actually did show up for work the next day (no value judgment here, just a statement of fact) were terribly outmanned and overmatched by the hordes of looters applying their ‘trade’ in waist-high water.
Same for Hurricane Andrew here in South Florida in 1992. One of the abiding visual images I have retained of the post-storm days is that of the countless ‘Looters Will Be Shot’ signs hastily scrawled by shotgun toting home owners fearful of looters who, with shopping carts filled with booty, strode with arrogant impunity past pimple-faced National guard soldiers with no magazines in their weapons.
Could it happen in your neighborhood? Sure. A better question to as is: Are you prepared if it does?
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