So what happens when the pandemic hits and you’ve prepared by storing food and water, only to experience people banging on the door pleading for food/water? What if they are neighbors or friends?
What if our governments, grocery stores, hospitals, water treatment plants, electrical grid operators, etc are not properly prepared? What if then thugs and gangs from a crime-ridden population center have spread out going house to house looking for food, water, and loot? This understandably can sound far-fetched to those who haven’t seriously considered it yet. Reflect on the scenarios that might occur if there were three severe pandemic waves of 2 to 3 months in length each. Athens suffered a terrible plague during the Peloponnesian War of 430 BC. The city was packed with people from the countryside holding out against the Spartans, when a serious illness began to decimate the population;
While the following describes the Siege of Jerusalem in 68 AD, widely separated from a modern pandemic in time and situation, it affords us a glimpse of what food shortages can do to the fabric of society:
While the next pandemic may not be a severe one, these actual historical events are an excellent incentive to proactively educate family, neighbors, and friends beforehand to the risks and their mitigations. The food stockpiling mitigations can be less expensive than ordinary day to day grocery costs, so that helps to reduce concern over preparation expense. If there are those that still aren’t proactive after being alerted, one approach is to have on hand some food bars from the Red Cross that last 3 days, and give those out (1 or 2) to each family until they are gone. Your best protection preparation is helping the community proactively, rather than reactively. The particular threats to your community are location specific, so you will need to examine them as outlined in the tasks below. However, there are likely to be 3 general classes of people your neighborhood may encounter;
- Beggars: Ordinary people who are out ‘finding’ food and water for themselves and possibly their families. They may be noticeably sick with influenza, or asymptomatic carriers.
- Desperate People: Ordinary people who have lost all sense of civil order and who are not beyond insisting on, or fighting for, someone else’s supplies. They may have been previously harmless beggars.
- Looters: Criminally-inclined, possibly gang-members, who are more than willing to take advantage of the circumstances to steal, rob, and possibly inflict cruelties for their amusement.
Knowing the differences between the three will be crucial. How you choose to manage the interactions between your Group and them will be based on the laws of your locale and the morals and ethics of your Group. Discussions of these different threats should occur during your Group’s planning activities, so that there is not confusion and bickering over what to do in front of the interlopers.
Without a doubt, the first place to turn to for community protection is your local law enforcement officers. They are the legal arm of the law, with specific powers assigned to them to take direct action against criminals. A tiny minority excluded, they are professional, experienced, helpful, honest and capable.
Our concern, however, lies with the potential for a high rate of infection in our law enforcement ranks, as they will be exposed while providing crowd control to the most panicked of the populace, some of whom may be seeking medical treatment at hospitals, pharmacies, and temporary medical shelters for themselves or infected loved ones. With pandemic-impacted (or even no ) police protection, we expect a much higher rate of crime, as looters take advantage of the confusion the pandemic will certainly bring, as well as ordinary people (possibly with firearms) in their desperate search for food and water for their family. Along with the increased crime threat, a flu-ravaged local fire department will be overwhelmed with the high frequency of ambulance calls, as well as home fires due to high percentages of people burning candles and desperately relying on fireplaces and gas grills/burners to stay warm.