When the Lights Go Out
We Are Dependant on Electricity
The idea of a crashed electrical grid due to sunspot activity in the form of a Coronal Mass Ejection, (CME), or an Electro Magnetic Pulse, (EMP), attack is a reality we live with daily in the developed world. The consensus of those in the know is that it is a matter when, not if the electrical grid will be taken out. So convinced is the Department of Homeland Security, that they are now advising the general population to have up to a six-month supply of food and water. Of course, the reasoning behind the advisory is that there is an increase in weather related natural disasters that are knocking out power for extended periods of time. Indeed, this is true, as is the increased likelihood of the U.S. electric grid being hacked or attacked by rogue elements. Regardless, when anyone finds themselves in a grid down situation, whether local, regional or nationwide, for an extended period, it quickly devolves into a disastrous situation. People die during disasters due to lack of preparedness. The more dependent one is on government intervention to survive, the more likely they are to die in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
The Day the World Ended
I remember the riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., on April 4th, 1968. Just across the river, I saw the smoke rising from Washington, DC in the day time and the glow of the fires at night. Even in Alexandria, Virginia, everything closed. You couldn’t buy groceries, get prescriptions or even get basic supplies. The word was put out by instigators that they would burn out anyone who didn’t close. Trucking companies received threats that their trucks would be burned if they were found on the roads. In four days, thirteen people lost their lives and nine hundred businesses were destroyed as well as several hundred homes in Washington, DC. As a child of seven, it was a frightening time that seemed like the end of the world as I knew it. To compound the whole situation, my father was in Viet- Nam. Society quickly falls apart when a significant event occurs that brings a loss of hope and destroys a vision of the future. The burning and destruction of DC was largely in the black neighborhoods. I have heard people say since that time that the people destroyed themselves in a show of protest. Throughout my lifetime, whenever electricity has been lost for any lengthy period, such as New York City in 1977, looting and riots follow. This is a reflection of what will be seen, on a larger scale, across the nation in the event of a nationwide power outage. In the United States, this is the day the world as we know it will end.
A Civilized World
We would like to think that we live in a civilized world, where our leaders have our best interests at heart. We say to ourselves, “We have come a long way…,” “Americans will pull together,” and “we will fix this whole “grid down thing.”” “The government has everything under control.” This is essentially how ninety percent of the American population thinks. We have grown accustomed to the easy way of life. Very few people alive today remember a time when electricity was a luxury and not a necessity as it is now. We are a civilized people…, yet a closer look at our society reveals that our civility is dependant on technology and access to it. To those in the government, the military and the intelligence communities the question is no longer if, but rather when the grid will go down? Say good bye to the civilized world.
Welcome to the Real World
When I was a child in elementary school, we regularly practiced “duck and cover drills, “as part of our school week. We lived near Washington, DC and knew DC was a priority target for a nuclear strike. Fallout shelters were common in government and school buildings, as well as hospitals. The ever present black and yellow fallout shelter signs were seen everywhere. The concern about nuclear proliferation between the United States and Russia, seemed to die down after the 1980’s. Although we trained for nuclear war when I was in the military in the 80’s and 90’s, we were really more concerned about Chemical and biological weapons, especially during Operation Desert Storm. Today, even small-time operators in terrorist states, like North Korea, can gain access to a nuclear device capable of being detonated high above the United States, effectively taking out the electrical grid across the nation. This is the new nuclear threat. It only takes one device to send this or any other country back to the stone age. As we have seen in the past, when the lights go out, we lose water in our homes and sewage backs up in the pipes because the pumps don’t work. But that is not the worst. Within about two days, trucks will no longer deliver food to the stores, because payments for freight cannot be processed and the drivers cannot be paid. Tractor trailers are the life blood of the nation. Without them, the people starve. Without electricity, gas and diesel cannot be pumped. It wouldn’t matter anyway, as any vehicle that has a computer will be fried and will not start. If you do not have the recommended six months of water and food stored up, you will not be able to make it to the next growing season to plant a garden in preparation for the next winter. This is the real world.
You Only Have Yourself to Depend On
If we look back at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, especially in New Orleans, we see that the Federal Emergency Management Agency respond. However, by the time they did, the people were crying out, "where is the government?" By law, the federal government cannot step into a local disaster for seventy-two hours after the event. In New Orleans, many police officers did not show up to work after the hurricane. They stayed at home tending to their own families. Emergency services were seriously hampered, as were rescue efforts. However, people from outside the effected area started moving in to provide aid and effect the rescue of people trapped by rising flood waters. It was great that people took it upon themselves to respond to the disaster and help their fellow man. But, in a grid down scenario, 400 million people in the United States will be in the same situation. At best, you will only have yourself and the members of your family at home to depend on.
Now Is the Time to Prepare
We are a nation of procrastinators. Only about ten percent of the population is preparing for the inevitable. Most of these people are prior service military members who have witnessed life in third world countries and know how vulnerable we really are. Although firearms training is important, so too are other skills such as medical care skills, gardening, canning, water purification, foraging and animal care. Yet these are just a few of the skills that one person will need to know. In a true grid down situation, People will turn against one another as they face starvation. Criminal gangs will become commonplace, as they will have been organized before the disaster. Human trafficking, I suspect, will reach epic proportions since human flesh will buy food and other desirable commodities. Prostitution will be common in both men and women and with the rise of the sex trade, will follow the rise of deadly diseases due to poor hygiene practices. These diseases will be virtually untreatable because the supply of antibiotics will soon be exhausted. The manufacture of drugs will soon cease. Remember without electricity there is no banking and the money will soon be worthless.
The idea of a crashed electrical grid due to sunspot activity in the form of a Coronal Mass Ejection, (CME), or an Electro Magnetic Pulse, (EMP), attack is a reality we will soon face. It is now a matter when, not if the electrical grid will be taken out. There is an increased likelihood of the U.S. electric grid being hacked or attacked by rogue elements. A grid down situation, whether local, regional or nationwide, for an extended period, will quickly devolve into a disastrous situation. People will die due to lack of preparedness. The time to prepare is now.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Ronnie Maness