Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Wars, disease, natural disaster all disrupt the food supply; plan ahead or eat dirty turnips
Shown above for your viewing pleasure is Scarlett O'Hara declaring that she will "never be hungry again." It's provided as a reminder that there have been times in our history when food has been in short supply.
If the O'Hara family had purchased 50 cans of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup at Thanksgiving for 50 cents a can, 50 pounds of pasta for 50 cents a pound, 50 pounds of rice for $18, 50 pounds of sugar at 25 cents per pound, and so on and kept it all in an emergency supply closet they might have weathered the early days of Reconstruction with plenty to eat. And since such stockpiling inevitably reduces one's grocery bill, Mr. O'Hara would have had extra money to invest in something besides Confederate war bonds. Perhaps he would have been able to pay the taxes on Tara.
But they didn't, and so were reduced to eating raw turnips and wearing curtains.
Each of us has the same choices that the O'Hara family had. We can choose to pay too much for groceries, and should disaster strike be reduced to eating dirty turnips just pulled from the ground. Or we can buy large quantities of heavily discounted, non-perishable groceries when they go on deep discount. In the event of a disaster causing empty grocery shelves we can eat out of the pantry for a couple of months.
These are perilous times. An extremist Muslim group has now established itself in a territory and declared itself a nation. These terrorists are absolutely ruthless, and if they can find a way to harm the United States, they will.
The world is at war with Muslim extremists and the extremists are winning. Ruthlessness can be an effective weapon of war; just watch Apocalypse Now. Those who enjoy filming themselves slitting the throats of innocent people and killing Christian children will do anything they can to harm those they hate -- and that means us.
In other news, the Ebola virus appears to be highly contagious in its current form and is spreading around the world. A Spanish nurse who treated an Ebola victim has come down with the disease despite taking every precaution. And though the disease is not believed to be airborne, many scientists now believe that it can be spread through a direct or close proximity cough or sneeze. The Ebola virus has an extremely long incubation period of up to 21 days and symptoms often come on slowly, allowing those infected with the disease to easily spread it. The checking of temperature of those boarding airplanes is absolutely ineffective as a means of screening for the disease.
War zones are the greatest incubators for infectious diseases known to man. Look at a map and count the places where no government is truly in control. Tremble in fear, for our world has become a giant Petri dish.
The icing on the cake is the fact that Barack Obama has refused to police our nation's borders, allowing those carrying deadly diseases and terrorists to enter the country at will. The terrorists who will launch the next attack are likely already in this country, and now there is nothing we can do to stop them.
One final worry: there is about a one-half to one percent chance per year of a major natural disaster that will be so severe that it will completely disrupt our food distribution network. Scientists say it is a matter not of if, but when we will suffer a Carrington Event that will likely cripple our entire electrical grid, and perhaps disable virtually all motor vehicles.
And let's not forget the possibility of a major earthquake in the central United States. One of the largest earthquakes in continental U.S. history was the New Madrid earthquake of 1811. There has been a dramatic increase in earthquake activity along this fault line and Wal-Mart has started to prepare for a New Madrid disaster.
Enough gloom and doom for now. The fact is that everything is probably going to be just fine.
Of course, if one were to be forced to play Russian Roulette one is "probably" going to live. That doesn't make it a good idea. "Probably" simply isn't good enough. We need to hope for the best but spend a small amount of time and effort preparing for the worst.