Homo Americanus

Victor Davis Hanson has a great piece out yesterday, part of which compares “The Efficiency of Complexity Versus the Flexibility of De-centralization.” It is a pretty good comparison of the “self-reliant, highly individualist” American society versus the “high density, central planning, mass transit, demographic uniformity, and a culture of mutual dependence” of Japan, specifically how centralization is dangerous when disasters (natural or man-caused) occur. We have our share of centralization as well, but America is clearly divided 50/50 on this issue. Thank God that our cause is making headway.

I take a lot of risk working in a major urban area that could face any number of disasters, especially when my commute is over 30 miles. I heard an earthquake “expert” has put out that there is a 46% chance of a 9.0 or greater quake hitting the Pacific NW in the next 30yrs. Not only that, but we are in the shadows of a couple beautiful volcanoes.

The main thing that I have learned from Katrina and this earthquake/tsunami in Japan is to go the opposite way of those lining up for government aid. Preparation, of course, is key. You won’t find me making an SOS display and waiting for the helicopter. And I definitely won’t be getting in line at the FEMA camp.

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3 Responses to Homo Americanus

  1. Rolf says:

    Trying to put odds on the next big rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone fault is a surprisingly difficult thing, and if anyone says “it’s X in the next Y years,” they are either blowing smoke, wrong, or praying to the right god(s). Look at the work from the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup ( http://www.crew.org ).

    Short / simple version: Three tectonic plates, the North American, Pacific, and Juan De Fuca plate, are colliding offshore, roughly from the CA-OR border to lower BC. Over the last ~10k years, there have been a number of magnitude ~8-~9 ruptures along an 800 mile strech, and they appear to be clustered in groups of four or five (with an average interval of ~260 years, high standard deviation), then then have a long quiet stretch averaging more than a thousand years duration (again, with high SD). The last one was 311 years ago, and it was the fourth in a cluster. So… are we overdue for the 5th in a cluster (plan for it ASAP!), or only three centuries into a thousand+ year quiet stretch (no worries, mon!)? Of course, the data and statistics being what they are, there’s also a 20% chance that it’s almost totally random, and only *appear* to be clustered by random chance, and the odds are a simpler to figure, but still having a high uncertainty…

    All that said, there are few plans and preps that you could make for it that wouldn’t also be useful in any of a number of other disasters: snow storms, ice storms, wind storms, smaller earth quakes, flooding from to much rain, in-laws, etc. Have a month+ of staple foods, and rotate it. Have water purification stuff, first aid kits, books, lighting, a small generator maybe, guns-n-ammo-n-training, radio, batteries, flashlight, camping gear, cold-weather and rain-gear, etc. If you have that, and a bit extra to help neighbors and family that may show up, you are likely good.

  2. Rivrdog says:

    Excellent piece, and smart of you to go your own way to manage your own survival. Two problems: if you try to remain in a damaged but usable-to-you house, the Government WILL try to force you out of it. They may try to force you out even if your house is not badly damaged, just because they don’t want anyone left in the damaged areas. Second, if you decide to Bug Out, and live somewhere off the land, the Government will probably interfere with your travel to your destination, if not interfering with you when you get there.

    The only solution, as I see, IS to bug out, but have, within as close a distance as you can manage, a place where you are going that has good mutual self-defense capability, and that capability had better be good enough to convince the government that you won’t give it up easily, and they will lose too many folks trying to MAKE you give it up. That’s a tough nut to crack. I’m working on it, but unfortunately, my plan involves bridges to pass which will either be down or controlled. It looks like a combination of transport, including boats, will be required.

    This isn’t easy planning, and 99% of people won’t even undertake it. The 1% who will are probably already living in that perfect spot.

  3. Scott says:

    Rivrdog, to add to your point, I have scoured the internet for everything that I can find written by those who experienced Katrina. The illegal gun confiscations and forced evacuations of those protecting their homes and businesses was absolutely sickening. I think that it is an ominous warning of what the government will do to “protect” you. In an emergency/disaster situation, your rights don’t matter.

    Since Katrina, quite a few states and Congress have passed laws reinforcing the right to keep arms during Marshall Law type situations. I just have this suspicion that they will still likely confiscate at gun point and deal with the consequences later.

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