The videos and stories coming out of Japan in the wake of the major earthquake and tsunami are heartbreaking. The fact that so many people did so little personal preparation, counting instead on government’s promise to take care of things, should be educational.
Sure, you and I may be high and dry on the Llano Estacado, and a major earthquake in our neighborhood is unlikely while a tsunami is simply not going to happen here without an asteroid hitting the Gulf of Mexico — in which case we’d be incinerated by the blast wave before the water got to us anyway. Some things can’t be planned for.
Every location has the potential for a major catastrophe. It could be a natural one such as a tornado, blizzard or a pandemic, or it could be a man-made one such as a food shortage, or martial law being declared.
We need to be aware of the things that can happen right where we are at all times. We need to have a plan that doesn’t involve waiting for government to disarm us, force us from our homes, herd us into a gym, or make us stand in line to hand us MREs. We should have a plan to provide clean drinking water for ourselves rather than hoping the water tanker makes it to us before it runs dry. We need to have the means and the knowledge to watch out for ourselves, our family, and our neighbors. Thinking someone else will take care of us after disaster strikes is inviting worse disaster. That is taking a paper cut and turning it into a decapitation.
Now, as they say, the best laid plans can always fail. Your emergency supplies might get blown away along with your home, or you might get caught miles away from your family and home when disaster strikes. You can’t plan for every contingency, but you can plan for those you can foresee. And you can have backup plans that are flexible.
Some people might think of this as being paranoid. It isn’t. It is being responsible for ourselves just as people have always needed to be, regardless of assurances to the contrary. Your great-grandparents would approve of your responsible planning since it is something they did on a daily basis.
Plan for the worst while hoping for the best and continually striving for better. You can even make a game of it. It can be fun and empowering.
Kent McManigal is a freelance writer who sometimes offers commentary under the username of “dullhawk” on our websites. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org