“State troopers deployed as tensions boil at gas stations in Sandy’s wake,” the Fox News headline reads in the aftermath of the monster hurricane that hit New Jersey, New York and Connecticut the hardest. As this is being written, days after what had been dubbed “The Perfect Storm” made landfall, those trying to recover are discovering what forgoing personal preparedness means.
“I don’t have any lights and need this gasoline for my generator,” Reuters quoted Abdul Rahim Anwar at a station in Brooklyn, “one of the few fuel stations still pumping.”
That the Big Apple’s most populous borough hosts at least seven “big box” home improvement stores, each selling 5-gallon gas cans for under $20, and that everyone waiting in line for hours to buy that much had ample warning of what to expect, says much about the human capacity for avoidance and denial.
Scarier are the reports of mob behavior, particularly with the attitudes exhibited by the beneficiaries of overwhelmed civil authority, as areas that aren’t priorities are left to fend for themselves.
“Looters target Coney Island after Sandy sweeps through,” New York Daily News is reporting. “In broad daylight, thieves stole flat screens from Rent-A-Center. Others swiped top shelf booze from Joann’s Discount Wine and Liquors.”
“It’s about time we start taking this sh** back,” one “youth” with a telling sense of self-entitlement proclaimed.
Perhaps scariest of all is how many were totally unprepared, totally clueless as to how to provide even the most basic of necessities for themselves, and how the “solution” articulated by their leadership is to be dependent on others.
“I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm,” Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro complained to Politicker.com. “People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need… Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function?”
As a caveat, any of us could need disaster assistance, and I personally have been a Red Cross blood donor for decades. But that blanket attitude, that it’s the function of someone else to take care of those who take no steps to care for themselves, fits perfectly with the government line, all the way to the top. And it gets worse than that.
“An FBI Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force handout being distributed to… military surplus store owners lists the purchase of popular preparedness items and firearms accessories as ‘suspicious’ and ‘potential indicators of terrorist activities,’” the Constitutionalist military and law enforcement group Oath Keepers revealed in an exclusive report, where they posted the government flyer proclaiming as much.
At this writing, it’s unknown if the recovery from Sandy will continue without major behavior-caused disasters adding to the ordeal as people try to reclaim their lives. But it’s a safe bet that when the next catastrophe happens, the unlearned lessons from this one will be repeated, and those relying on a culture of dependency will continue discouraging self-sufficiency, particularly having the tools and the skills needed for personal and community defense in time of need.
God help those caught in the middle if it’s even more widespread, devastating and longer-lasting than a mere super storm.
By David Codrea