Twenty-five years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, in the area around Homestead AFB, I gained my first experience at what society looks like when it is stretched, desperate and begins to collapse.
When you witness an elderly lady walking, soaking wet, with bread bags on her feet instead of shoes, it also changes your perspective quickly.
There are some things actually worse than devastating hurricanes, one of those things is the aftermath, the anxiety, the behavior, and how desperation manifests in people you might have seen only a week prior at a grocery store. Now that same person is willing to do anything to survive or improve their lot in life, and that’s a scary reality.
Today, while trying to help people prepare for Hurricane Irma, I was reminded of that experience in the aftermath of Andrew – through the eyes of a desperate ‘bad hombre” willing to rob me because he couldn’t get the materials needed to secure his own home from the hardware store.
He didn’t want money; just wanted the tools… so he took them.
I have replacements; and choose not to escalate a desperate situation into something that might possibly end up far worse.
That said, I hope,… check that… I PRAY, South Florida survives the worst weather forecast of Hurricane Irma and the storm doesn’t leave devastation in its aftermath. However, what really concerns me are the flashbacks to that Homestead experience in ’92 in the aftermath of Andrew; and how law and order collapsed for almost a full week.
There are very good reasons why anxiety violence in South Florida is not being discussed right now, there are also some PC reasons I’m sure. Regardless, perhaps this short reminder is worthwhile for a few people who may need to prepare themselves for what can happen.
Evacuation will not be possible for many people; partly because there’s a fuel shortage and not enough gas for South Florida people to actually get on the road and head North. Ten to sixteen million people headed North on basically three main arteries is virtually impossible to pull off under the best of circumstances, so many will have to hunker down.
Keep a level head about yourself. Avoid crowds. If you have prepared yourself appropriately you should have enough supplies to last at least 3 days before needing to leave home. If you can, stay inside; if you can’t, don’t travel alone. Always have someone with you and look out for your neighbors.
Don’t tell anyone what supplies you may or may not have. If anyone asks, even friends, instead ask them: what do they need? If you can help, great, do it; but don’t discuss what your supplies are. Also, remember, absent of electrical power, predators know everyone shopping is carrying cash.
Protect yourself and your family. Use common sense, and always trust your instincts.