Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can Americans Cope?

So, how will we react to an economic or social collapse?

Consider this:

In 1977 New York City suffered a power failure for one night. Over 3,000 arrests were made for looting, 400 policemen were injured, 500 fires were started, more than 25,000 emergency calls were placed and four times the usual number of hospital emergency cases were admitted -- all following one lightning strike.

I haven't taken the time to document this information, but I don't think it's way out of line with what I've heard before.

Consider the Rodney King riots in L.A. I remember being in London at the time watching on TV with disbelief at what I was seeing -- an orgy of looting, burning and crime. Grocery store owners posted on the roofs of their businesses with rifles? (Not surprisingly, these stores didn't suffer the damage that other stores did...) The breathless anchors were describing spontaneous outbreaks of violence in several other cities as well.

However, later discussions with my L.A. friends revealed that the violence was highly localized and the city continued to operate as normal or as normal as can be considered when there is a riot going on for a couple of days just south of downtown.

But, it is a legitimate question to ask yourself: Given what my experience has been in the past, can I expect current social conventions to protect me and my family if there is some spasm in our system?



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