Harry over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living broached an interesting topic today when he posted on a book about the break down of a society run by machines.
The feeling of helplessness that the citizens came up against and how it mirrors the decline of services in our own society today and how there seems to be no one who can fix the problems.
Why I am not going to attack the entire problem in whole today I believe one symptom of the disease rests pretty firmly on our government, from local to national, forcing helplessness on the people.
I remember as a child several incidents that can be used to document the rise of helplessness. Back then we had a small cabin on a local river we would go to often during the Summer months. One Spring when the flooding started a small nearby town was hit hard and as we were at the cabin securing things against the rising flood waters the call came out for anyone with a boat to come help the town's residents evacuate. My dad sped off in his john boat and ferried people to dry ground all day.
A few years later a neighbor down the road had a barn fire. Everyone nearby rushed to his assistance and helped pull all kinds of equipment and stock out of that barn as others manned garden hoses until the local volunteer fire department arrived with their truck. About a quarter of the crew were already there fighting that fire by the time the truck arrived. I can remember them passing out individual gear off the truck to the members who had already arrived along with people who were not official crew.
I have other stories of emergencies or disasters from my youth but I think you can see the trend I am trying to portray from the two I mentioned. Sometime around the mid 90's things began to change however. Another fire nearby in the late 90's managed to get two deputy sheriff cars to respond pretty quick who promptly closed off the area and physically drug the owner away from the burning building. I remember afterwards the outrage from the locals that the family had lost so much that could have been saved because the deputies would not let any "Unauthorized" people near the building.
My guess is it is a combination of arrogance and control. The control portion that the government pushes fits nicely into the human desire to feel important and therefore the ones calling the shots all the way down to the "Official" volunteers get some sense of satisfaction out of limiting public help. I am not discounting liability and legal/insurance issues either but again these are simply more convenient excuses thrown out while attempting to paint the picture that only those heavily trained can manage an emergency.
To a point I can understand. I mean there are many instances of emergencies where training would matter. Certainly you wouldn't want someone off the street rushing to fight an oil rig fire or get involved with a high rise disaster but these days we have taken things way too far and
I guess these sentiments are all well and good when a local entity has the funds to pay for full time emergency personnel in such numbers that they can send these units out to every disaster in the country. During the 80's the local communities were doing good to scrape up a few volunteers who usually took their own vacation time to travel across the country to help. These days the local communities send entire teams of "specially trained" individuals along with high dollar equipment and proclaim how great it is.
Yet when I hear about them on the news I always think to myself who pays for these personnel the other 51 weeks out of the year?
I am not knocking anyone's job here. It isn't a question of something not being physically demanding or training not being important. It's a matter of cost versus payout, both financially and from a resource perspective.
The day is sure to come when all these professionals cannot be paid and if we continue to force helplessness who is going to step up to the plate then and use their john boat to evacuate those in danger?
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!