I'm totally fascinated with Interdictor's LJ, which I think I came across while reading katrinacane. He started out super gruff about how "they" were going to keep their 10 story office building datacenter up, come hell or high water, and how he'd be damned if he was going to evacuate for a hurricane and a couple of broken windows. You know the drill. Then during the hurricane he was one of the few people posting regularly anywhere on the net! And just after, he was feeling kind of smug and making comments about how no one would ever evacuate again or take it seriously because everything was more or less fine. And dude, where's the beer, are any bars open? Are any hot chicks going to send me naked photos, because hey man, I could die here! You know I almost did. People on Wall Street were trading massive amounts of oil futures based on what he said about the levees holding...
Then the levees burst and hell or high water started happening and it turned more into a several-weeks post-fall-of-civilization survival situation.
Now cnn and slate are all quoting him! He's formed paramilitary squads, and has teams with cool names which patrol and have the approaches to the building secured. They somehow have obtained giant 55 gallon drums of extra diesel for their generator. Ha, so much for my namby pamby vision of how they'd make all the cubes and offices into refugee camps and hospital beds, and go out looking for people to rescue and stuff.
Okay, which leads me to want to say something which I hope won't offend Interdictor, because I think he is way cool, and I'm not in his shoes, and the situation is super scary and I'm possibly talking out my ass; it's not that I've considered it and am claiming to be Right. But I think that while making a tiny secure enclave is a good idea for your own survival, on some level it is a failure of vision and leadership if you are not also trying to help other people. I would not barricade myself inside my house with my kid and a lot of canned food, in other words. I would be out there trying to organize my whole block and beyond. Yes, that would put my own self and family at risk. But either you have a lot of paranoid armed camps, or you organize as much government as you can handle. Hmm, maybe you can't make more government than you have the force to back up.
So, also for example, to get off Interdictor's ass for a minute --- because I am digging on him very much despite us being pretty much the sort of people who would shoot each other during revolutions --- I read that a Children's Hospital is under siege by (armed?) looters. The hospital staff locked their doors, and people are trying to get in, and the hospital staff "fears for their safety and the safety of the 100 children inside".
Okay. So, you have a hospital, and it has a generator maybe, and lots of medical supplies. And you have 100 patients and who knows how many staff, and some supply of food and water. Do you lock the doors, or do you open them? Are the people outside Dangerous Looters? Or are they desperate refugees?
I would tend to see them as refugees in need of help, and I would share my resources. If you lock people out and hoard your resources, you are treating those people as if you think they are lawless animals. You think the Dangerous Looters might not be willing to smash the windows of the children's hospital to ask for, to demand, to take, insulin or something for their own kids, for themselves? And somehow, they're drug addicts looking for a fix, and therefore it's okay to not treat them as refugees? And your Responsibilty is only, by some magic of priority and proximity, to the people already in your walls? I disagree with this mindset very strongly. Behold how I troll them, the boys with guns! Mamá marimacha, socialista! to the rescue!
On the other hand I would not want to turn my 55-gallon drums of diesel fuel over to, say, the military or red cross workers, unless I were sure it was going to be used properly by people who weren't morons. (I'd say give it to a hospital, and then get out, or stay and help the hospital.) And if you are likely to be surrounded by incompetence then I could see staying in your fairly secure buildilng and just trying to pull your people through safely. But, pulling through as in getting OUT. I'm a fan of up-and-leaving. I remember being embarrassed to tell Riverbend, early on, that what the hell - get out now. When it is your country, and a matter of exile, I kind of get it that you might not want to. (But I would, for lack of sufficient nationalist fervor.) Why get all nationalism-gung-ho over your city? Your ... your data service center? Or, is it that loyalty to the data, to keeping information flowing, what makes Interdictor so damn cool??
Here is what I love about Interdictor...
I have a lot of people telling us to abandon ship and get out. Guys, that's not gonna happen. I'll eat roaches and drink the funky Quarter sludge in the gutters of Bourbon Street long before I abandon my city. I've got resources and will and so does my team, and we're here until this is over.
I'm totally calling him General Dilbert! He is the hero of cube farm internet guys! He's a First Gulf War vet who's like, a sys admin or something I guess, going a little bonkers, mostly in a good way! So, the siege mentality, and if I were stuck there I'd have a little of it, but only till rescued. (Interdictor's all like, They'll rescue me over my dead body! Rescue is for pussies! Me and my ice machine and my colo thingie are staying here on the Mosquito Coast forEVER!")
But on the other hand whatever ACTUAL military guys and rescue workers come into the area, I would think that soon they'll be making everyone evacuate (by "soon" I mean "in a few weeks") and won't tolerate any enclaves of (armed?) survivalist nerds. I'm picturing some hideous situation where the Real Military is trying to herd "Camp Crystal" (can this be for real???!!!! hahah.... ) into the Superdome and they refuse to leave. Hello, made-for-TV movie! (And if I were a military officer I'd commandeer their sweet set-up so fast it wouldn't even be funny... but I'd let them stay and draft them to work and give them medals later, or something.)
Meanwhile, the Something Awful hurricane coverage is the best... it's completely tasteless and hilarious.
As most of my predictions of doom are coming true, I will add some more. This, combined with the handy war, will drive the number of people living below poverty level way, way up. and the gap between rich and poor will widen dramatically, something I've been watching for. The time of prosperity and lots of rights and ideals and protections and freedoms and people raised with a sense of entitlement to that, well, what if that was a blip in history, a freak occurrence? It doesn't have to be, but I fear for it. People act like "oh, nothing awful will happen here in the U.S." but duh, it can and is and will, and is awful for many people already. And if you think of anything to do with the great depression and consider the word "Hoovervilles" and then think about the future it is kind of scary. Where are the million refugees from the hurricane going to go? The rich ones like you and me, sure, they'll find places, and have friends with space who trust them. Where will the poor go? I'm sort of picturing the favelas of St. Louis. Not that that will be allowed and probably instead there will be some massively unsavory camps run by the military and half the people in those camps will end up in jail so they better start building more jails quick. That would make our society so much better! woot!