Perspectives: Hurricane Sandy vindicates the preppers

OPINION – Now that Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, those who are paying attention can point to two crystal clear lessons that the storm brought with it.

The first is that there is no crisis that government will not seek to exaggerate and exploit for the purpose of magnifying its control over our lives. The second lesson is that the private citizens and businesses that took responsibility for their well-being by being prepared fared far better than those who did not.

Though billed as the “perfect storm,” Sandy was not quite the end-of-the-world event that many civic leaders were touting. Compared to the frantic predictions of pundits and politicians, the Category 1 storm ended up as a fairly low level disaster. But you’d never have known that from the way government leaders played up the doom and gloom and ordered the public around like a flock of frightened sheep.

Our increasingly risk-averse society has been conditioned to believe that if we give government enough control over our lives, it can protect us from anything. But protecting the public invariably takes a back seat to maintaining control over them.

Writer Becky Akers pointed out the dissonance of leaders like New York City Mayor Michael urging the public to “remain calm” while simultaneously doing his best to scare the pants off of them.

Even the New York Times promoted the state as savior by touting the idea that “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” But the state didn’t exactly deliver on its promises as NYU hospital had to be evacuated after the power went out and its generators shut down. Bellevue Hospital was also evacuated after running out of oxygen tanks and nearly running out of fuel for its generators.

Despite its inflated promises, government proved unable to fulfill its role as protector.

By contrast, Goldman Sachs had its property sandbagged well ahead of the storm. As economist Robert Wenzel reported, “They certainly weren’t depending on the government to protect them. And reports indicated that, through out the night, lights remained on in the Goldman Sachs building, while the rest of Wall Street was dark. Which means GS had their own functional power generator(s), better than those at NYU Hospital or Bellevue.”

Wenzel points out that even New York Times columnist Paul Krugman boasted of having a generator to help him weather the storm.

The lesson couldn’t be clearer; those who wish to be protected during a catastrophe should have their own emergency stockpiles of essential items. This includes having food, water, medicine, clothing, tools, fuel, weapons, ammo, and the basic skills to use them all properly.

The dependent have been trained to view the state as our protector while personal preparedness is regarded as a subversive activity. Preppers are too often viewed as being on the radical fringes of society. But the fact remains that government has a longstanding habit of overpromising and underdelivering when it comes to protection.

This is not intended as a slight against first responders, it is simply the recognition that preppers are part of the solution — not part of the problem. They allow the first responders’ limited resources to be put to use for those who truly need help.

Self-reliance requires a willingness to shoulder personal responsibility though it often incorporates a degree of teamwork such as when neighbors or family members combine their efforts. This means that we need not feel compelled to depend upon the state for our basic needs or security. Self-reliance also protects us from the state’s well-documented tendency to overreact in times of crisis.

When a calamity takes place, it’s often in our best interest to have minimal interaction with the state. This was evident in the unconscionable treatment of peaceful property owners in New Orleans who were unlawfully disarmed by police and National Guard troops following Hurricane Katrina.

Protection was not the concern of the authorities; it was about consolidating control over the citizenry and forcing them to obey the dictates of their so-called protectors.

Hurricane Sandy has once again shown us that in times of crisis, it is the preppers that can be counted on to take care of themselves.

As for the state? Not so much.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry


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  • Murat November 1, 2012 at 11:24 am

    One item that’s often overlooked in prepping is the tunnel-boring machine. I cannot overemphasize the critical importance of the ability to bore through earth in doomsday scenarios.

  • Roy J November 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I’m going to agree with you just this once, Diogenes. Boring tunnel machines rule!

  • Roy J November 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Many people are not in a position to hoard in even a minimalist sense, however. The elderly or the infirm in particular come to mind. Also, as you mentioned, stockpiling weapons and ammunition will not prevent the federal government from seizing them even from citizens who are not a threat. That goes for the mob, too. So I am at a loss to explain the value of hoarding, seeing as even the well prepared citizen will be unable to prevent a hungry neighbor from violent annexation.

  • Blow me Sandy! November 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Sure having a food supply may be beneficial in disasters such as Sandy, but just what good would food storage be during a nuclear disaster or the like?

    • Jim November 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      You have missed the point by a mile. It is about preparing for as much as possible. Nobody with a lick of common sense is going to prepare for every highly improbable scenario.

      • Blow me Jim November 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm


        • Jim November 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          Why are you such a snarky twit?

      • Roy J November 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

        Nobody missed any points, except maybe you, Jim, with your licks of common sense and highly improbable scenarios. All disasters are highly improbable scenarios. I’d explain, but…you didn’t.

  • paradiselost79 November 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I think the statement that Sandy was not much of a disaster is a little over the top. 50+ billion in damage and lost revenue, 100+ dead, NYC and NJ still without power, that is not a disaster? No it was not the end of the world, but it certainly led to quite a bit of destruction.

  • gmm November 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I guess it all boils down to either preparing to any degree or filling your home with excuses. I can’t drink, eat or keep warm with excuses. It’s not very complicated for the majority of the population to have at least 2 weeks of non-perishable food and water. I’m a single parent, just scraping above the poverty line and we have a 72 kit, food for a very long time, and water for about a month. It took me 3 years to get to this level. Apathy can get you killed, no thanks.

    • Roy J November 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      It is neither an excuse nor apathetic to pile the kids in the car and move to a safer location. It is, however, a viable alternative in most disaster situations to hoarding. Especially any that will occur here. If you have a religious motive for your preference, that’s fine. If your thoughts on disaster preparation lead you to prefer hoarding, that’s fine, too. If you want to use your intellectual apathy as an excuse for stating your prejudices, Diogenes will mock you with Rabelaisian laughter.

  • Roy J November 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    In any case, this article has two points, both interesting, neither of which I agree with. Regarding the first point, it is simply not true that all governments everywhere have sought to exploit all available crises, let alone the sole purpose of magnifying control over the citizenry. The only sense that can be made of such a statement is nonsense. It may be true that some government officials are plotting to use the particularly mentioned hurricane Sandy to expand some form or portion of government control. It is probably not true that Pericles, Aristides, or Cato the Younger used calamity and crises to magnify their power in government, though it is probably true of Alcibiades and Octavius.
    The conclusion that it is usually in our best interests to have minimal interaction with the state after a calamity is a truism I think noone would disagree with. That despotism, not defense, is everywhere the intent of authority does not follow either from the argument or the example. That preppers can be relied upon for anything other than to prep, remains to be seen.

  • Wayne Kerr November 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    In Aesop’s Fables, there is the story of The Grasshopper and the Ant. It is a lesson about the virtues of hard work and planning for the future. The grasshopper died.

    • Roy J November 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      Well, in the Bible there’s a story about God who provided for a proud and stiffnecked people (probably against His better judgment) during a short journey across a little desert that stood between them and the promised land. What God provided for these ungrateful pests was more than enough for their daily needs; He even provided a double portion every six days so that the people could rest on the seventh from their journey (Now that’s foresight!). Some of these wiseacres, not content with their divine lot, decided to store up some of God’s bounty, and thus get a leg up on Him and the competition. But on the next day, these so-called economists were feeling pretty foolish when they found that their hoardings had sprouted worms and maggots and was fit for nothing. The rest of the Hebrews probably got a pretty good laugh out of that, about as good a one as I am getting out of you, since, at least in the Western tradition, my Bible trumps your fable.
      and Diogenes, and the tub, and so on, and so forth.

      • Roy J November 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm

        Also, Aesop may or may not have been talking about preparing for the recurring and predictable apocalypse of winter. Yeah, yeah he probably was.

    • Damie November 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      But when a 12 foot wall of water obliterates your supplies and smashes up yourhome, no matter how hard you worked or how virtuous you are, you’ll have to ask for help. Condemning all the flooded out victims for their own plight or blaming them for a lack of hard work or virtue failing to hold back the ocean is kind of strange, and a little vicious.

      • James November 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

        Damie, Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That is why a serious prepper has multiple locations with stockpiled supplies. It is part of the rule of threes. You may think it “kind of strange, and a little vicious” but what is strange is that many people do not even make an attempt to take any responsibility for their own lives.

  • Wayne Kerr November 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Roy, you are a grasshopper. Have fun.

    • Roy J November 5, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Aesop, you’re a old crow. I wouldn’t put my faith in any foxes, if I were you.

      • Wayne Kerr November 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm

        Who are you kidding? You have no faith.

        • Roy J November 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm

          Let’s test that theory. With great faith I do not believe you are small enough to respond to this.

          • Wayne Kerr November 6, 2012 at 5:57 am

            You never had any faith or belief.

  • Damie November 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I know people in the area that was struck, it was very much and still is a major disaster. Downplay it all you like, but your assertion that it was a minor storm are patently and completely false.

  • Roy J November 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    So rather than run anybody else down for preparing for disasters, which was not my intent, let me propose what I think is an alternative, if including the author’s points in a greater whole can be called an alternative. The author very rightly points out that it cannot ever be in any person’s interest to give up so much of his or her own independence that they become like an adult child to a parent government. The author is also right to say that much of America is apparently submitting voluntarily to a pseudo-economic caste system and wage slavery. Or maybe he is not saying that, but I am. Also, it was not my intent to denigrate or make nothing of those who choose to prepare for future dangers by putting aside for tomorrow, whatever it is you happen to be putting aside, or putting aside for. My point, simply, is that I can’t see how the Bob Cratchetts of the world are to do it, and if I can’t see how they are to do it, I am not going to think the less of them for it. I am much more likely to say that the fault, if there is one, lies with whole faulty system he is made to live and sweat and breathe and die in. If you are among those who say that he too can put aside, I give up the argument, because I cannot think of one good enough for those who cannot see with their own two perfectly healthy eyes.
    In any case, the solution I propose is to give American men and women a real stake in their own independence again. That begins with a return to real ownership of real property and real land. This is the sort of thing that the distributists suggested in England 100 years ago, with Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton. It begins by getting men and women closer some of their own dinners, in the very real sense of a very real garden or chicken coop in a very real backyard owned by someone in a very real state of peasant proprietorship (if you want to call it that). It begins with the principle that what men and women need are trades and not jobs. This is the sort of principles that drove the Ditchling Community in England for almost an entire century. It requires that sort of madly joyful and chaotic leap towards intellectual independence that Mortimer Adler, Ralph Hutchins and the Great Books Foundation made in their colossal attempt at a real and public education. It is to make a beginning in learning based on the principle that men need to be taught how to think, not what to think if they are to preserve that vital sense of wonder. It is very right to say as a great many people here have posted, that men and women should have a care for their own communities, so much so that government officials will find practically no need to officiate, and government first responders practically no need to respond. But such communities almost never exist except where the citizens have a stake in their homes and their neighbors and themselves beyond the utility bill and the mortgage.

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