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Monday, April 28, 2014

The Real Life Apocalypse

How many of you remember the power issues on the east coast in August of 2003? The power suddenly disappeared and everyone was left in the dark. I should know; my family and I were sitting at a stoplight in Ann Arbor, MI the moment it happened. 

Here are the details of the event: Shortly after 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on August 14. 2003, a high-voltage power line in northern Ohio brushed against some overgrown trees. Because of a number of extenuating circumstances, a fault occurred. This caused the power to shut down in the area and subsequently most of the northeastern US, along with some bordering areas in southern Canada.

Some power was restored to some areas later that evening. For many of the 55 million people affected, the power remained out for two more days. My family and I were virtually stuck in eastern Michigan for those two days. You see, we were low on gas in our 2001 Suburban. Low enough where I knew I couldn’t make the 155 mile drive back to where my daughter lived at the time (Holland, MI). So we had to stay put for those two plus days with another family. The pumps at the gas station are run by electricity in case you were wondering.

At first, many of us were frightened. We were convinced it was another terrorist attack. Remember, 911 was a mere two years prior to this event. Once we received information that it was a local/regional phenomena, and not national, we felt better, more at ease. And then with the eventual explanation given radio people, we finally relax and decided to ride out the storm as best we could.

With first-hand knowledge, I can tell you there was no mass chaos or rioting in the days without power. Oh sure, grocery stores had an instant attack of worried shoppers. But imagine their issues without electricity. No scanners, no price checks, freezers slowly defrosting. Perhaps they felt the impending chaos more than anyone.

We, my family and our hosts, did the best we could. After firing up the propane grill, we ate like kings for the next two days. We knew the food in the refrigerator would go bad quickly. As for the stuff in their freezer? Well, even the prime rib they were saving for some special occasion later was devoured expediently.

Three days later, my family and I made our way back to Holland. There were a few cars dead on the side of the road. Mostly from a lack of gas I suppose. But other than our anxious fears, nothing else bad happened. Nothing really throughout the 50+ hour ordeal.

I honestly don’t believe we will have to endure mass chaos in the hours and immediate days after any apocalyptic event. At least not from what I saw in Michigan back in 2003. The first thing all of us will feel is fear. The fear of the unknown. After that, we will most likely try and band together. This is a natural survival instinct I believe.

As time goes on and we lack the much needed information to enable us to make rational decisions, things will begin to fall apart. I really feel we are safe for the first week or two. Perhaps even as long as a month. But remember this; many have little, very little. Little food, little water, little medical necessities – little hope. Eventually trouble will find all of us. Of that I’m sure. And that’s when you’d better have a Plan B. For survival.

Until next time, keep the faith in mankind. If you need a realistic book on the subject, consider Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.