There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Whose "Larger than Me" Attitude Will Win the Coming War?

Mulling the BIG picture the other day ... as in world history, major milestones, societal and cultural transitions, what it all means ... I found an old profound truth worth dusting off for presentation here.

I was reminded that, focusing a remote lens back through time, it is clear there are very few significant transitional moments that define subsequent changes of direction for civilization as noteworthy as when outright warfare is waged between or among motivated powers. In fact, in plotting world history, some would say that periods of peace are merely featureless straightaways between the push-pins marking history's violent intersections. It is those inevitable painful pile-ups that redirect mankind's long-term future, for better or for worse.

Is it just historians and other scholarly minds who keep such a high-level perspective on things today? Frightfully, in America, that may be the reality. However, we must come to grips with the fact that there are countless major interests in other cultures today that are not bound by the constraints of a self-absorbed consciousness. And in fact, it is not only "corporate" interests, but individuals out there who naturally embrace the long-view as being the only thing that really matters.

The point to be retained is that few among us can fathom such a different perspective from our own. It is that collective inability on our part to come to terms with how those "larger than me" movements do matter here and now out there in the world, and that it is our ignorance of the significance of that really big picture that ultimately makes us vulnerable.

War is Unavoidable

In historical retrospect, when one is totally removed from the emotional issues populating a place in time, most everything but the final score and a few of the resulting statistics are all that are left to mark the course of mankind's progression. What is clear is that in this earthly plane of existence, in the long-run, war is the only real means to change the course of history. A war also becomes the marker in history that defines a generation.

Yes, advances in technology also warrant careful historical tracking, but since technology often becomes a subset to reporting on the progression of wars and how well new capabilities can be brought to bear against an enemy, then we are best served to keep in mind that time is ultimately measured by major conflict, rather than by invention or innovation.

As for diplomatic milestones, failures are what history records ... human nature ensures that significant diplomatic activity is little more than strategic positioning for conflict.

In the end, the social or political power in place remains there for as long as that power proves to be the most motivated, worthy, and aware. There are always rivals and competitors, and they who are the most selfless in their pursuit of the goal of overtaking "number one" are the ones who have the capacity to pull off the next big upset in the schedule.

Eventually every power resting at the top becomes sanguine, soft, and self-destructive. The ripeness of the moment becomes evident to those who would topple them, and war to the death erupts to take survivors in a new direction, even if the challengers are defeated, as there is nothing like a major war to recast reality in every corner.

Is It Time?

I strongy suspect we are almost upon another intersection of fates. The result is not predetermined (with all due respect to those who believe their understanding of Biblical prophecy ordains a specific result), only the redefining clash that is now unavoidable, and indeed already underway.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.net

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why We Don't Prepare

A couple of brief excerpts are included here from the latest TIME magazine cover story. The main point is that in spite of repeated hard lessons, most people do not take them to heart and get around to getting ready for the next major crisis. And, as government is "by the people," neither do the authorities do well in adequately positioning Uncle Sam to take care of those who won't take care of themselves.

View the whole article:


Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Wildfires, Earthquakes ... Why We Don't Prepare
By AMANDA RIPLEY/ BOULDER

... the real challenge in the U.S. today is not predicting catastrophes. That we can do. The challenge that apparently lies beyond our grasp is to prepare for them. Dennis Mileti ran the Natural Hazards Center for 10 years, and is the country's leading expert on how to warn people so that they will pay attention. Today he is semiretired, but he comes back to the workshop each year to preach his gospel. This July, standing before the crowd in a Hawaiian shirt, Mileti was direct: "How many citizens must die? How many people do you need to see pounding through their roofs?" Like most people there, Mileti was heartbroken by Katrina, and he knows he'll be heartbroken again. "We know exactly--exactly--where the major disasters will occur," he told me later. "But individuals underperceive risk."Historically, humans get serious about avoiding disasters only after one has just smacked them across the face. Well, then, by that logic, 2006 should have been a breakthrough year for rational behavior. With the memory of 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, still fresh in their minds, Americans watched Katrina, the most expensive disaster in U.S. history, on live TV. Anyone who didn't know it before should have learned that bad things can happen. And they are made much worse by our own lack of ambition--our willful blindness to risk as much as our reluctance to work together before everything goes to hell.

...

In this month's TIME poll, about half of those surveyed said they had personally experienced a natural disaster or public emergency. But only 16% said they were "very well prepared" for the next one. Of the rest, about half explained their lack of preparedness by saying they don't live in a high-risk area.

In fact, 91% of Americans live in places at a moderate-to-high risk of earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, high-wind damage or terrorism, according to an estimate calculated for TIME by the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina. But Americans have a tendency to be die-hard optimists, literally. It is part of what makes the country great--and vincible. "There are four stages of denial," says Eric Holdeman, director of emergency management for Seattle's King County, which faces a significant earthquake threat. "One is, it won't happen. Two is, if it does happen, it won't happen to me. Three: if it does happen to me, it won't be that bad. And four: if it happens to me and it's bad, there's nothing I can do to stop it anyway."

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Get Ready to Withstand the Pain

The Refuge is a moderate blog where we try to avoid shrill political, religious, or alarmist rhetoric. We focus on trying to raise awareness of the general need for crisis preparedness in every household, in the face of a wide range of potential natural and manmade disasters, through the long-term.

Historically speaking, bad stuff happens regularly and often to good people in this world. Our mantra is that there's no need to wait till the panic ensues to have to react and compete with everyone else for limited available emergency resources. Smart folks offset their vulnerability to disaster by thinking and planning ahead for reasonable contingencies.

Signals are Ominous

That said, we need to be straightforward now about what we see as a gathering, snowballing threat to our comfortable way of life in the West.

There is little need, we hope, to recount for you the recent and ongoing headlines about genocidal threats; murderous plots; and building, open warfare flaring in global hotspots. In a nutshell, international alliances for and against are clearly established; frantic diplomatic efforts are obligatory but doomed to ultimately fail.

Those in the know clearly see that the light now at the end of the tunnel is a glowing crimson.

The question for too many Americans remains, "So that's too bad, but what does it mean to me? Surely, little will change here at home, right?"

Well, for those who have hoped only for the best to this point, there is perhaps nothing to be done to effect a rapid adjustment in perspective. Optimism is great, but in times of unusual peril, realism saves lives.

There are far too many red flags whipping in the winds today to be able to forecast a pleasant tomorrow. Please do for your own now what many powerful and knowledgable people are indeed doing for themselves ... complete your preparations for some serious disruptions to our way of life.

Expect local transportation capabilities to severely diminish. Look for food and supplies of every type to become more difficult to find. Plan for social and economic order to become a memory. And all of this does not even account for the possibility that open, violent warfare could become a reality on the American mainland.

Be Alert

Palpable danger is now appearing on the short-range radar screen. Medium term, the blip pulsates and resonates with almost unavoidable impact. The world is rife with international groups and nations intent on rearranging the status quo. It isn't happening peacefully.

The earth is now a tightly compressed bundle of nerves. Pain is easily transmitted around the globe. Are you braced to withstand the inevitable?

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.net

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Prepare for the Adventure of a Lifetime

What is life, if not an adventure? What is an adventure without unexpected trials and rewards? Life itself, for most people, is a winding road with sometimes precipitous ups and downs.

Face it--it's not just a life, it's an adventure.

Smoothing Out the Bumps

After experiencing a sudden downturn in fortune or watching it happen to others, many realize the wisdom in putting away supplies and resources during good times in case they are needed during challenging times.

Preparing for the unscripted life-adventures is what we at Safecastle call "crisis preparedness" and it is what we aim to help you with.

Adventure planning today is big business in the travel industry. It's serious business. Outfitters who plan and furnish trips and expeditions into the wilds have to account for most potential misadventures that could be encountered. Experience is the best teacher in that regard, but common sense and a cautious bent are what tend to bring clients home safely. Adventure is the sales pitch, but survival is always the bottom line.

In everyday life, adventure is not always the ambition, but of course survival IS the consistent objective. Unfortunately, in an age when comfort, security, and convenience are the norm, anticipating disaster does not come naturally.

Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, major earthquakes and tsunamis, and escalating wars reaching into new lands are enough for some to realize that the odds do not guarantee security for all of us throughout our lifetimes. Crisis happens--whether you're ready for it or not.

The good news is that most disasters are survivable and are temporary in scope if one is adequately positioned to deal with the sudden challenges.

Perhaps what many have trouble grasping, at least here in America, is that our system is not equipped to operate through or after a serious disaster. Over-reliance on that system kills. We've seen it many times, but none so dramatically as in the Katrina aftermath, that for some still drags on.

The Survival Attitude

When push comes to shove, you're best served understanding that you're on your own. Don't just plan to wait for someone to come and rescue you or bail you out ... that help may never arrive.

In a large-scale disaster, the odds are against you receiving the aid you need when you need it. The odds are also against you being able to purchase your way out of trouble when you are most at risk, since the system of supply and transport is almost assuredly going to be a major casualty.

Play the odds all you want, but you should understand those facts right now, before the worst case becomes personal. Take steps now to prepare for unplanned adventures. After all, the world is not getting any safer.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.net