Since you Can’t Hide
(note: followup to previous article)
In my last post, I addressed the futility of hunkering down and hiding from the virus for 18 months or longer. I’m sure I’ve lost some popularity points over that, but so be it.
If you can’t hide, what then?
First, lets qualify some terms. SIP (sheltering in place) doesn’t mean total isolation. It means being prepared to survive long term in your home or residence. It means having the basics of life, food, medicine; enough to enable you to go for weeks or months without being desperate for new supplies.
It makes perfect sense to protect yourself, and loved ones, by avoiding public gathering places during a pandemic. Standing in line for food, going to grocery stores, or sitting in an emergency room for 12 hours to get a Band-Aid are bad places to be when the virus is running rampant in your area. So having the supplies at hand to SIP for 3 months, or six months, or even longer is a very good idea.
But in order to survive a pandemic, we need to be thinking in terms of community, not individuals. Yes, I know that’s a tough concept. We’ve lost our sense of community over the past few decades. We rarely know our neighbors, and trust is a scarce commodity. In that sense, we are much worse off than we were in 1918.
Neighbors need to band together, support one another, and work through this together. They can’t do that hiding behind shutters, guarding their rice and beans with a shotgun.
Is there risk? Sure there’s risk. Nothing is risk free in a pandemic. But attempting individual survival, even at a family level, is riskier. We have more to fear in a pandemic than the virus. Think about hungry, desperate, and well-armed neighbors who view your supplies as the key to their survival? Better to band together, than to have to fight them off individually.
If essential workers; doctors, nurses, hospital employees, utility workers, cops, and firefighters abandon their jobs, then the collateral damage becomes much worse. And there will be a great need for volunteers to handle everything from medical work to more mundane jobs, to take up the slack when employees are out with the flu, or are taking care of loved ones.
We have a choice. We can hunker down and hide, and make the pandemic worse than it has to be, or we can take reasonable precautions and face it head on.
If we lose our medical system, our power and water, and law and order, then the death toll rises far beyond what the virus will claim. The loss of our infrastructure could start a cascade effect, and the downward spiral it would invoke could have a very deep bottom.
In a pandemic, everyone one can be an essential worker. Sure, I understand some parents won’t want to risk exposing themselves, and possibly bringing the virus home to their kids. It’s a legitimate concern. And for those with small kids at home, some dispensation should be considered. But the ability to SIP long term doesn’t change, even if you have kids to consider.
And here is the perfect example of how a neighborhood banding together can help. Some parents could stay home and care for the kids in the neighborhood while others did the necessary jobs to keep the infrastructure alive. Home schooling is another example. Does it make sense for each family to attempt this, or does it make more sense for one house on each block to handle this task?
If you have little or no medical skills, and there is a retired nurse living in your neighborhood, wouldn’t it make sense to be able to call on him or her? Perhaps you have something they need. Barter and cooperation beats isolation any day. A cooperative neighborhood watch makes far more sense than every home for themselves.
If essential services are curtailed, then each neighborhood will have issues to deal with. Trash removal, acquisition of water and food, medical care, security, and yes, even removal of bodies. All of these tasks are better handled as a group.
I know what you are thinking. But to do this, I’ll have to risk exposure!
Absolutely true. But I doubt many of us can avoid exposure in the long run. Some of us will have a natural immunity, if 1918 is any guide. Only 30% of the human race caught the Spanish flu, despite the fact that nearly all were exposed. Others may catch avian flu, and recover. It will be, admittedly, a crap shoot. And yes, some will pay the ultimate price.
But the virus isn’t the only killer in a pandemic, and may not even turn out to be the worst. We have to accept certain risks in order to mitigate the greater danger.
A pandemic is like a war. A war we must win. We will be dealing with a foreign invader on our home soil. Running and hiding isn’t really an option.
Nonetheless, some people will attempt it. And the more that do so, the worse things will be for all of us.