Seen “The Hunger Games” or read the book yet? Theres a scene where these people are all thrust into an arena, a short distance away from a pile of weapons and supplies, and when the start signal is given the competitors jump off their starting blocks and run for this mound of goodies. Naturally, the fighting is bloody and furious as everyone tries to take what they need. The heroine is given the advice that when this moment happens, and the starting gun goes off, she should immediately turn and run the other way, put some distance behind her and let the other competitors kill each other.
This is probably sage advice for any disaster situation. When Katrina is flooding your city do you really want to be prowling the darkened aisles of WalMart with three hundred other desperate (and dangerous) people? Or in line at the gas station with dozens of other drivers, jockeying for position in line, screaming and threatening each other?
This is one of the reasons I try to keep plenty of everything on hand. When a crisis occurs that forces you into your stockpiles, it’s probably a severe enough crisis that you very much do not want to be at WalMart, the hospital, a gas station, gun store or supermarket. In fact, not only do you not want to be there you would probably be better off not being anywhere close and giving such places a wide berth.
That’s not just good old-fashioned misanthropy talking…it’s fact. Being around a large group of unprepared people, in a crisis, at a location that they deem as having items critical to their well-being, is a recipe for ugliness. Remember the scene in the forgettable remake of War Of The Worlds where Tom Cruise’s character is mobbed by the crowd because he has a working vehicle? It’s like that.
This is something of a staple in survival fiction…at some point a character will go to a hospital, or a military base, or a supermarket, and find it is overflowing with people and the author will then go on to describe the chaos as our character wanders around, surprised at peoples less-than-civilized behavior or at the terrible tragic scene unfolding before them.
First rule of disaster survival is don’t be there. We know, with utter certainty, that when they predict a hurricane or blizzard there’s going to be a run at the gas station and the supermarket. Why would you go to these chokepoints if you didnt have to? You wouldn’t, right? So it seems it would make sense to have what you need on hand so you don’t need to visit one of these gladiatorial environments. Really, if it was the middle of a disaster, and you had a full tank of gas in your truck, and I said “Hey, wanna go to the gas station and get more gas?” would think that was a good idea? No? So why wouldn’t you take the steps to make sure you don’t have to do that?
Naturally, someone will say that they aren’t worried about it because they’ll wave their Mosin Nagants in the air and send folks running while their alpenflage-clad ‘team members’ go and ‘secure the perimeter’ so they can get what they need without fuss from ‘the sheeple’. You know, that sounds great in an online fiction forum somewhere but wouldn’t it have made more sense while stocking up on the 7.62x54R and surplus East Bloc web gear to just stock up on the other stuff as well so you don’t even have to leave your travel trailer and take those risks? And, yes, there’s risks because even if you and four of your buddies put on your best mall-ninja outfits and head to the WalMart parking lot feeling like the one-eyed man in the world of the blind you are still, most likely, going to find that you weren’t the only one ordering from Century Arms International that year.You don’t really think that in a crisis of that kind of intensity folks are going to leave the house unarmed, do you? Of course not. And it only takes one desperate person with a HiPoint to turn the parking lot into a scene from Heat. So why not avoid the hassle and just stock what you need so you don’t even have to be there?
Hey, don’t get me wrong…theres a time and a place for getting all “Red Dawn” with your buddies, but the parking lot of the local Krogers isnt it.