A few days ago, an English reader expressed bewilderment at our preparedness efforts. She said she was bewildered that we should even think it necessary to prepare, or that being prepared would make much difference if some economic disaster did occur.
I've been mulling this comment over in my mind, largely because I couldn't believe anyone would think that being prepared isn't a smart idea in the face of economic disaster. Quite simply, if the bleep hits the fan I'll still be able to feed my family. What's bewildering about that? I had to chalk up her incomprehension to a "If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand" mentality.
However, I just read something last night that might clarify some of our reasons for stocking up.
As with most other people in the U.S., I've been following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with great concern. My mother was born and raised on the bayous of Louisiana, and she grieves for the loss of industry, ecology, and beauty of her birthplace. The stories we hear - from oil-slicked wildlife to despondent boat captains committing suicide - are heartbreaking.
So I came across this article which examined the worst-case scenario for the BP spill. What if the well can't be capped?
"For the U.S. economy, already weakened by a still-unfolding financial crisis, a worst-case scenario in the Gulf could be the last straw. The cumulative impacts — falling grain exports, soaring unemployment in southeastern coastal states, higher oil prices — would almost certainly spell the end to any hope of recovery and might push the nation into the worst Depression in its history.
"We would all prefer not even to contemplate such a scenario, much less live with it. It is irresponsible to inflict needless worry on readers on the basis of entirely speculative and extremely unlikely events. But the more I learn about the technical issues, and the worse news gets, the more likely this scenario seems. We all hope that a relief well will succeed in stopping the oil flow sometime around August, and that until then BP will be able to siphon off most of the oil escaping through the riser and damaged blowout preventer. But one has to wonder: is anyone at the White House seriously considering the worst-case scenario? And what should citizens be doing to prepare, just in case?"
Worst depression in its history. If that's not enough to scare the pants off anyone, then they're not thinking straight.
And that's why we're preparing.