Communion Of Dreams


Now, do something.

Last week, there was an interesting discussion on MetaFilter about “Every Day Carry” – both the blog, and the mindset. I was a bit surprised at how dismissive people were of the need to think of basic preparedness, but then I’ve long been of a mind that having some options at hand in terms of tools and resources is better than just trusting to fate.

* * * * * * *

A couple of weeks ago, this video and the news it generated was making the rounds:

It’s a bit long, but the summation is that Jim Berkland predicted that there would be a major seismic event in southern California sometime in the week of March 19 through March 26.

Following the Japanese quake/tsunami from earlier in the month, it understandably got a lot of attention and generated no small amount of fear and anxiety. I heard about the prediction from a number of friends, and it was a major source of chatter in a variety of different forums & social media outlets. A lot of people started thinking about what they should do to prepare for a possible catastrophe.

Well, the 26th has come and gone, and there’s been no major earthquake. Of course, no one is talking about that – it isn’t news. Earthquakes don’t happen all the time. And I would bet that a large number of the people who started giving some thought to emergency preparedness the week before have since moved on to thinking about other things. Life’s busy, after all.

* * * * * * *

We had a bunch of friends in for the weekend, a reunion of sorts. It was a lot of fun, and good to reconnect with folks we had somewhat lost touch with.

As things were winding down yesterday, a few of us were just chatting about this and that, and one good friend told the story of what happened to his small Midwestern city in the aftermath of a really nasty ice storm a couple of years ago. Trees collapsed under the weight of the ice, knocking down power lines and blocking streets. He couldn’t get hold of his mom, who lived elsewhere outside of town, so he set out to go check on her.

He got to her just fine, using his chainsaw to clear paths through streets as necessary. And she was OK. But along the way he passed a number of houses engulfed in fire – stuff that started small but got out of control because the fire department was delayed by both the number of small fires started and the inability to navigate the streets quickly. Reports later also told of a fair number of people who died from injuries and heart attacks which were normally survivable because ambulances couldn’t get to them.

* * * * * * *

I don’t really have anything profound to say. I guess I’m a bit tired from the weekend festivities, and my mind is sluggish. So no real insights, no real message to pass along which hasn’t been said a million times before.

But I wish that stories like the failed prediction from Jim Berkland did more than gin up fear and a short-term scramble to stock up on some emergency supplies. Every time there’s a hurricane, there are stories of stores in the area being stripped of almost everything. Same thing has happened throughout large parts of Japan, in the wake of the tsunami and ongoing problems with the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

It’s relatively easy to build a reserve of food and water, to secure necessary emergency supplies – so long as it isn’t something you suddenly need to do when everyone else is also in a panic. Think about it. Then actually do something about it.

Jim Downey

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