Saturday, September 24, 2016

Staying Calm When The Grid Goes Down

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By George Thompson

Many Americans would identify themselves as survivalists, and there are numerous online communities where they share advice on the topic. It frightens us to imagine life without the comforts of electric lights and central air. People have capitalized on this and created an industry based on food stockpiles, survival gardening, and self defense when the grid goes down.

Most of the manifestations of this fear seem harmless enough, and no one ever suffered a terrible fate from growing their own food. Unfortunately, the notion of home defense has become an ugly aspect of the need for survival in a crisis. Few people have really thought out how they might handle a situation in this scenario, and instead they prattle on about shooting trespassers in defense of their home, their food, and their own family.

Some level of panic will always govern the behavior of some humans in a crisis, but the panic only worsens when people hear gunshots. For those who are not run out of their homes, firing upon a crowd of trespassers without knowing who they are or what they want is unforgivable. Things only become worse when each and every human approaching is regarded as an enemy.

While we cannot always count on law enforcement or the military to protect us, we still have to use some basic common goodness when regarding other people. Most refugees travel in family groups and are more than willing to identify themselves to anyone they approach. The Great Depression taught us just how people come together and help one another in a crisis scenario.

Anyone owning firearms should maintain a personal understanding that no round should ever be fired unless they can clearly see who they are shooting at, and clearly know why they are firing the shot. An overzealous gun owner may wind up firing a shot that they will regret for the rest of their lives. Most people wandering the countryside in this scenario are probably traveling in family groups, and they simply seek food and shelter.

To deny food and shelter to a group of people simply because they are not family is cruel. It's important to remember that these periods of collapse are always temporary, and a family is not likely to starve to death because they helped a stranger in need. Most approaching strangers pose no threat, and should violence ensue, murder is still murder at the end of the day.

Traveling groups of refugees are also quite likely to have armed members within their ranks as well. Should a family group begin firing upon refugees without first asking them to state their business, they may find they have made matters much worse for themselves and their loved ones. Should a group of travelers refuse to state who they are and why they are there, then deadly measures may be called for at that time, but not before.

A wandering family or traveling band of individuals could become a valuable friend, and provide assistance in growing food, building structures, and maintaining equipment or machinery. Each of us has different talents and abilities, and these talents may help us redefine ourselves in a crisis. When groups comes together in a tradition of sharing and helping each other provide abundance, then a community is born.

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