Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The HUMAN condition

As most of you probably already know, I am stationed on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  And wouldn't you know I am deployed and hurricane season is in full swing.  In fact I think that we just had a near miss.  We may not be where the center of Katrina hit but I would bet that most of the people that were here then would find that to be an irrelevant statement; especially those that lost everything in the storm.  So as my current role as a military adviser, I have the opportunity to speak with many people that survived that event.

Many were here for the entire disaster from start to end and beyond working in a rescue, cleanup and rebuilding capacity.  They have experienced disaster like many of us may never have to face.  So this is the part that leaves me baffled.  Many of them are as unprepared today as they were on that day.  I don't know if it is because they figured that they survived it once and could do it again.  I just cant imagine having to go through that and not learning a lesson.  I am sure that the local government has a much better plan for an event like this in the future but that would not be my primary backup plan.  So how do you convince someone like that to start preparing?  I am afraid that I have not yet earned the answer to that question.  What I will say is that even as prepared as I am, I still feel "naked in a snowstorm" just living in the area this time of the year.

People have asked me, regarding wilderness survival, "how do you know you are ready?"  The short answer to that has always been, "You will know that you are ready when you know from experience that you never want to be in that situation."  I am now afraid that statement just does not hold up to the truth.  Many people here have that experience and still fail to prepare.  So how many events would it take to make them get ready?  Or a better question would be, would any number of events press them into a preparedness lifestyle?  For that matter have other survivors of smaller disasters changed their lifestyle after surviving an event?  Does the lost hiker that is found half dead, enroll in some training or continue to press his luck?  I know that this post is filled with more questions than answers but that is the purpose, hopefully I can inspire you to think about the human condition.  Or maybe more about human conditioning, I guess that I am lucky to have seen so much disaster and poverty that I learned from it.  I would suppose that Americans in general have been conditioned to rely so much on government support that even faced with  options they see no other way.  Do you suppose that people are going to leave you to enjoy your preps when the government doesn't give them what they think they deserve?  We all have those friends that say they are coming over if disaster strikes.  We know that they aren't prepared and that is their situation to deal with.

Do you suppose that although they are irresponsible in their own disaster planning that they have a plan in place for their pets?  What happens when they let Fido go to fend for himself?  How long do you think it will take before Fido turns into Kujo and tries to make a meal out of you?  What about all the other irresponsible pet owners that think they are doing the right thing setting their beloved animals free to hunt?  Will you be one of them? My point is that there are many things to plan for that go far beyond the standard physical needs for survival.  The masses refuse to be educated, so the few of us that understand that there is a better way to live must also consider the ones that don't.  The amount of aid that you dull out to the unprepared is entirely your business but a better country we would have, if more people joined the movement and started planning for the uncertain future.

It is a strange thing, the human condition.  We can become accustomed to almost any environment if we can survive the initial shock of the change.  So what do you think it will take to flip the switch on the masses?  Will it take a catastrophic event like an EMP, or a "Zombie Apocalypse?"  Will those that survive learn from their failures or is the human condition so strong that we are marked for extinction?  NM