The signs of impending doom are everywhere. Swine Flu in Mexico. ChiComs fleeing dollars and buying gold. And of course, the undead could spring up at any time.
Yet people still are acting as if the proper response to disaster is to loot. How many times has one heard this kind of plan:
“First thing we do, we go to Wal-Mart and rob the place. They have food, camping gear, guns and ammunition.”
Great idea. Like no one else will do the same thing.
As we saw with Hurricane Katrina, even the police joined in the fun. Gee, they have badges and are already well armed. Either they will stop the looting (because it is their job) or they will join in, in which case you still won’t get anything.
And then of course there’s the ammo shortage.
For those that aren’t aware, right now there is an ammunition shortage. If you want 9mm, .38 Special or .45 ACP (to name but a few) and you live in Lansing, you are out of luck. Wal-Mart doesn’t have any. Dunhams is out. Meijer is out. Classic Arms has some (expensive) stuff, but their limit is one box per customer per day. And, given their considerable firepower, I wouldn’t recommend trying to rob them, either.
So even if you are the first looter through the door (and you don’t get shot), you’re not going to get anything for your trouble.
No, the proper thing to do is have some on hand. The ammo shortage is expected to wind down as the hoarders get sated and the ammo producers add extra shifts.
When that happens, buy an extra box or two and set it aside. Do this each time you go shopping and in no time, you will have a healthy reserve.
Which brings us to the larger point about disasters: The worst thing that can happen is for society to come apart. Humans are social animals. We need each other to survive. Civilization is fragile, but also reparable. It can take huge disruptions and recover. In the event of a pandemic or zombie outbreak, the goal should be to keep as much of civilization intact as possible and one of the cornerstones of that order is respect for each other’s property.
Looting and hoarding will only speed the total collapse. Instead of knocking over Wal-Mart, you should be defending it – it and other stores with needed food and supplies. Help such civil authorities as are still functioning to distribute and protect these supplies. If there are no authorities, form one with your neighbors. The communities that did best during Katrina were the ones whose members banded together and offered mutual support.
The time to prepare for a disaster is when things are going well. By the time it crosses your mind that raiding the local big box retailer is a good idea, things have already slipped too far for it to do you much good.