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“If Normal Life Suddenly Came To An End”: When Power, Delivery and Services Break Down

Michael Snyder
August 31st, 2016
Economic Collapse Blog
Comments (66) Read by 10,134 people

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This article was written by Michael Snyder and originally published at his Economic Collapse blog.

Editor’s Comment: Someday it will be a rude awakening. For a society that has proclaimed triumph under nature, centralized power to a degree never-before seen in history and pretended to provide for everyone, things are conspicuously fragile. Just a couple of days without power, a break down in the food distribution chain, or a disruption to ATMs, banks or other services would drive hundreds of millions of people into an instant state of distribution. Then what?

The potential for looming disaster where so many could be shut off from the things they need the most should be all the reason you and your family have to be prepared ahead of time. If there are storms where vital services are cutoff, it would wisest to have your own supply, so that such events don’t directly impact you, and keep you out of the path of hordes of people who could quickly become violent, unruly or see you as a target.

The Day The Lights Go Out And The Trucks Stop Running

by Michael Snyder

What would happen if some sort of major national emergency caused a massive transportation disruption that stopped trucks from running?  The next time you talk to a trucker, please thank them for their service, because without their hard work none of our lives would be possible.  In America today, very few of us live a truly independent lifestyle, and that means that we rely on the system to provide what we need.  Most of us take for granted that there will always be plenty of goods at Wal-Mart and at the grocery store whenever we need more “stuff”, and most of us never give a second thought to how all of that “stuff” gets there.  Well, the truth is that most of it is brought in by trucks, and if the trucks stopped running for some reason the entire country would devolve into chaos very rapidly.

Earlier today, I came across a quote from Alice Friedemann that detailed what we would be facing during a major national transportation disruption very nicely…

Within a week, in roughly this order, grocery stores would be out of dairy and other items that are delivered many times a day. And by the week, the shelves would be empty.

Hospitals, pharmacies, factories, and many other businesses also get several deliveries a day, and they’d be running out of stuff the first day.

And the second day, there’s be panic and hoarding. And restaurants, pharmacies would close. ATM’s would be out of money. Construction would stop. There’d be increasing layoffs. Increasing enormous amounts of trash not getting picked up, 685,000 tons a day. Service stations would be closed. Very few people would be working. And the livestock would start to be hungry from lack of feed deliveries.

Then within two weeks, clean water supplies would run out. Within four weeks to eight weeks, there wouldn’t be coal delivered to power plants and electricity would start shutting down. And when that happened, about a quarter of our pipelines use electricity, and so natural gas plants wouldn’t be fed natural gas and they’d start shutting down.

There is so much infrastructure that we take for granted that would suddenly become very vulnerable in this type of scenario.  There are countless numbers of workers out there that never get any glory that do the hard work of maintaining our nuclear power plants, our natural gas pipelines, our electrical grid, etc.  If they suddenly were not able to do their jobs, the consequences would be absolutely catastrophic.  The following comes from Tess Pennington

They rarely mention the dozens of nuclear power plants that litter the United States. If no one is there to operate them, how long before they melt down and bury millions of survivors under a radioactive cloud?

Then there are the 12,000 facilities around the country that store large quantities of toxic or flammable chemicals, and reside close to residential areas. 2,500 of these sites contain chemicals in quantities that, if a catastrophic accident were to occur, could affect 10,000 to 1 million people each. And let’s not forget the 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines that can be found in every state. They suffer hundreds of leaks and ruptures every year, and are much more likely to explode when they aren’t maintained. That detail seems to be conveniently forgotten by post-apocalyptic films.

And finally, most post-apocalyptic movies will forget to mention what happens when there aren’t any functional fire departments. Aside from the obvious consequences, like whole neighborhoods routinely burning to the ground, who’s going to put out landfill fires that are occasionally radioactive?

For most Americans, a major national emergency of this magnitude may seem unimaginable right now.  But the truth is that it isn’t difficult to see how this kind of scenario could happen.  The Yellowstone supervolcano is becoming increasingly active, a single large asteroid could change all of our lives in a single moment, a crippling pandemic could bring normal life in America to a complete standstill, a terror attack involving weapons of mass destruction would spread panic and fear like wildfire, and a historic earthquake along the New Madrid fault, the Cascadia Subduction zone or any of the major faults in California could literally change the geography of our entire continent.

In addition, a massive EMP burst from a nuclear weapon or from the sun could fry our power grid and send us back into the stone age in a single moment.  This is something that I have written about extensively, and those that want to minimize this threat simply don’t know what they are talking about.

And an electromagnetic pulse is not even required to cause very serious problems with our electrical grid.  For instance, just consider what happened in Ukraine toward the end of last year

On December 23rd, 2015, the Prykarpattyaoblenergo power distribution station in Ukraine was hit by a carefully coordinated cyber-attack that was months in the making. The technicians lost control of their cursors as they watched hackers open breakers and take circuit after circuit offline, plunging 230,000 residents into darkness.

The hackers took backup power of the stations offline, plunging the electrical workers into darkness too, and worse yet, they even rewrote the low-level firmware that controls the electrical transformers. The attack had come after months of careful infiltration and planning by a dedicated team of elite cyber-warfare specialists and the result was devastating.

Even months later, technicians struggled to regain full capacity in the electrical grid due to the overwriting of firmware. With Ukrainian moves to nationalize power companies, it is possible that the powerful and Putin-connected Russian oligarchs who own large parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure were sending a message: we can shut down the system anytime we want.

The truth is that we are far more vulnerable than most of us would like to admit.

So what would you do if “normal life” suddenly came to an end and you no longer had access to food, water or power?

How would you and your family respond?

Hopefully you would continue to act in a civilized manner, but history has shown that many people would not.

Desperate people do desperate things, and it would only take a matter of days for some people to become violent

Before long, getting mugged or being a victim of some type of crime is as unpredictable and as common as a car accident. You’ll realize everyone in the neighborhood has now beefed up security on their homes. All your family, friends, and coworkers have experienced a mugging, carjacking, or worse.

You’ll have no choice but to accept this new way of life and count on basic safety measures (a form of passive denial) or further learn to defend yourself and remain in a constant state of alert (a very stressful state over time). It’s difficult emotionally, mentally, and physically to remain on high alert 24/7 for any length of time. Most people will revert to a form of passive denial until the next incident happens to them or a family member.

And even though things may seem relatively stable for the moment, concern about what is coming is one of the factors that has led an increasing number of Americans to arm themselves.  According to a brand new study from the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of all American homes now have a gun.  Just two years ago, a different study found that number was sitting at just 31 percent.

The way that we are living our lives right now will not last indefinitely.

At some point a major national emergency will strike, and when that day arrives we could suddenly be facing major power grid and transportation disruptions.

Are you prepared for that?

If not, you might want to do so while you still have time.


GetPreparedNow-MichaelSnyderBarbaraFixMichael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

If you want to know what is coming and what you can do to prepare, read his latest book Get Prepared Now!: Why A Great Crisis Is Coming.

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The Finger is on the Nuke Button | Future Money Trends

Author: Michael Snyder
Views: Read by 10,134 people
Date: August 31st, 2016
Website: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-day-the-lights-go-out-and-the-trucks-stop-running

Copyright Information: This content has been contributed to SHTFplan by a third-party or has been republished with permission from the author. Please contact the author directly for republishing information.

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66 Comments...

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  1. Ppod says:

    Bring it. It should already be here anyway.

  2. grandee says:

    My grandson’s friend drove a truck for two yrs.

    He told me that if the trucks stopped for even a two hour protest shutdown it would take weeks to get things back on schedule.

    A protest shutdown for just 3 days would effectively cause months of playing catch up for scheduled delivers.

    A truck drivers strike, regional or national, would be a serious supply problem. I think a chance of that happening would be more reasonable than an EMP or such.

  3. KY Mom says:

    Anyone who wants to get more prepared…

    10 Week Prepping Intensive
    New class starting in September
    ht tp://www.theorganicprepper.ca

    I took this course over the summer. This is an excellent course! No matter what stage of preparedness you are at, you will learn.

    Excellent speakers, resources, printables, plus the fellowship and sharing with a (closed) Facebook group.
    If you have wanted to get more prepared, this will guide you in the right direction.

    • WhoWTFKnows... says:

      The Day The Lights Go Out And The Trucks Stop Running

      For me it would just be another sunny day in paradise at the BOL.

      The tropical storm crossing over Central N FL today, tomorrow and Friday, is suppose to dump about 6 to 10 inches on my area, more in the center of the storm. 35 MPH winds so far are projected. It is just a tropical depression, wanna be hurricane. But still a good dry run for preparedness.

      I cleaned out a few drainage ditches, moved a few sand bags into better position yesterday, I also got my knee boots out, and filled up the gas tank, today I’m running the generator to top off the batteries on my solar system, since it is already raining and cloudy here all day and for the next few days. Easier to do this today than tomorrow when the bulk of this hits. Plenty of water, food, and just going to sit back and enjoy some down time. May get out a few weapons and re-lube them up. Check ammo boxes, watch the silver market if the internet is up. I’m using a satellite dish, so storms somewhat diminish the signal at times. But I have the Hamm weather radio charged up. Bottle of wine and cigars. And no women around to bitch. lol

      ~WWTI… The Day The Lights Go Out And The Trucks Stop Running. -Watch out for the Unprepared, who will be hysterical and yelling at everybody freaking out.

  4. LaManiac says:

    Grandee Actually in the 80’s I thought truckers needed to have a shutdown,get the government off our ass.Drove for years!
    Problem do I have enough stashed,no.How do you prep for the unknown,to many variables.Don’t have a BOL can’t afford one
    Luckily live in a smaaalllll township but what about the people around you,who do you really trust!!
    Trust in God,hope for the best
    Maniac — out

    • Luckily live in a smaaalllll township but what about the people around you,””who do you really trust””!!

      Exactly the problem. In small towns the governmental employees tend to out number the rest. I live in a small town in Wyoming and have property in other small towns and the intrusiveness of the local governments at this moment is appalling. It started when a friend of mine found some paperwork when he was cleaning up his yard with lists of things like animal feed, machinery and possible food stashes along with names of people including my own names and address and his. We started taking better account of people who were in the neighborhood and found people taking photos who said they were working for a investment company and were scouting property for a potential investor. But they werent taking photos of the landscape, they were taking photos of what was in peoples barns and their outbuildings. After a while we found out that the Cops and town governments were working together and Ive caught the local cops photographing and taking inventory of my stuff and neighbors stuff.
      So they are preparing for something and most probably we arent included in their plans.

      • LaManiac says:

        Ed sorry to hear that was thinking about moving up there,got kin all over this country .Mine in Rock S
        Family been here since Jamestown
        Maniac –out

      • Ketchupondemand says:

        Ed, keep us posted on that.
        Let us know if you disappear. If possible. 🙂
        (trying to make light of something serious)

      • Ed:

        Support the political campaign of Dr. David Duke. He is fighting against these Communists-Fascists, whatever you call them, they are a dangerous bunch that need to be stopped. Duke and Trump are giving them hell, which is a good thing for the rest of us.

        ___also: watch “The Secret Behind Communism”. It is an excellent video by Duke on YouTube and his website (Dr. David Duke.com).

        ___

        • @ B from CA
          You do realize im Black….Makes it kind of tough to support Duke..
          Anyhow, I support Liberty no matter who’s it is. But I cant support someones liberty who will not support mine.

          • Ed, study Dr.Duke’s biography. As humans we all make mistakes at times but when you really get to know him, you’ll see that Dr.Duke is a patriot who believe in justice for all due to his education.

            As far as your comment stating “I support Liberty no matter who’s it is…..”. AMEN my friend. And the same goes here with many of us. We as freedom loving patriots have only one enemy in common and that is the Internationals Banking Cartels and their military industrial complex all under a corrupt and blood sucking Zionist agenda.

          • Ed, if tshtf just shoot every cop and politician till they are ALL gone.

      • Braveheart1776 says:

        Ed, the cops in the county where my BOL and family are located won’t even try that shit with us. They have been forewarned. My family shoots uninvited guests faster than I do.

  5. Mr Smith says:

    Well what would happen if the sun went out ?

    Trucks in the world won’t all over sudden stop but the gas prices might go sky high and the extra taxes will all go to the bankers who run this place.

    Stop being so pussy just because of some delay if the truckers go on strike or if the TV gets turned off, it won’t kill you.

    • WhoWTFKnows... says:

      44 percent of all American homes now have a gun. Just two years ago, a different study found that number was sitting at just 31 percent.

      Another words, the 66% of Homes today without guns, will be the first to be looted and the occupants killed.

      So what did we learn today folks?

      ~WWTI… I would also say those 44% of homes with a Gun most likely has 5 to 12 Guns in each home. And plenty of ammo to feed them for a long time. If you are a smart prepper that is.

    • WhoWTFKnows... says:

      Mr smith, In fact shut your TV off and leave it off starting today, Cut the cable cord and use that money to prep. Some people pay $150 a month, of BS time wasting Cable TV, so they can amuse their lame brains.

      I cut that cord 18 months ago. Have not missed it at all. Although I do enjoy competitive sports, like the Olympics and football, the rest is a waste. The News lies to you, and dumbs you down. I also like to watch the informative Discovery or the History channel, but I can get all of this solely off the internet. Its all there.. TV is a costly time waster, dumbing America down. And my father called it the Boob Tube when I was a kid. We laughed back then, but he was right.

      ~WWTI…

    • LaManiac says:

      Mr Smith, term used loosely.
      Did you read the article? This is about shutdown!What would you do,are you prepared?Pussy ,? Come feel again.Hardly ever inside,TV is for the kids and babygirl!
      Gotta be a Yankee! No disrespect to others
      Maniac –out

    • Southern AZ says:

      If the sun ‘went out,’ even temporarily due to volcanic ash in the atmosphere, trucking would be the least of our worries. Trucking is a major contributor to life as we know it and we would feel it if they stopped moving. If the sun truly went out, no amount of truck-borne materials could keep life on this planet going for more than a few weeks. We’d freeze in the dark real fast, unless you live near some hot springs. Then it might take a little longer to starve or freeze to death looking for food.

  6. If mother nature causes normal Life to halt then being prepared would help those who are. However If Normal Life Suddenly Came To An End due to man made causes then go after those who were and are responsible without mercy.

  7. Observer says:

    If “normal life” stops? Normal life is an elusive animal. I’m still looking for it.

  8. nubria 123 says:

    Sitting on the lake in a forest.I don’t care what they do. So far its just running their mouths.You going to dance let do it.

  9. Chaos will erupt across America in less than 100 days… no matter who wins the election

    Tuesday, August 30, 2016
    by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

    http://www.naturalnews.com/055146_social_chaos_election_results_popular_revolt.html

  10. When the nuke powerhouse melts down, all of them, we don’t have much of a chance in my opinion.

  11. WhoWTFKnows... says:

    When the Grid goes down watch for the “5 Dancing Preppers” filming it all.

    ~WWTI…

  12. Heartless says:

    Only flaw I really see in this article is in its title: “If normal life suddenly came to and end…”. Both the words, ‘if’ and ‘suddenly’. The first is simply a small error – ‘when’ a far better choice. The second perhaps is a personal philosophical query. I see that we have all been seeing what we used to consider normal as having disappeared for the most part. Over the last 8+ years, our ideas of what accept as being the status quo has drastically changed in so many ways. And it has not been ‘sudden’. A climatic event could occur, sure. Quite possibly will; but, the sheer creep of this constant alteration from what could be, what had been… is relentless. A sudden change to my mind actually might be the catalyst we all need to finally do what it is going to take to correct the direction of those same changes.

  13. Old Guy says:

    When not if the electric grid is no longer working. Those truckers will use the fuel in the trucks to return home. Every dependent sheeple who knows you will soon be at your door. I heard a tale that they claim actually happened. During he civil war a group on bad men Like Quantrells raided a farmstead near here. A large number of war widows had grouped together there. The women & children where defenceless. The Men where all gone. However they knew this day was coming and had a plan. The where friendly. Gave the bad men a bit of booze. Offered to cook a meal. They made a big batch of biscuits, And they had flour sacks filled with arsenic. The Biscuits got done first. And those no goods gobbled arsenic biscuits smothered in honey. Later the women split the sick men,s skulls. That’s my plan poisoned food.

  14. straight shooter says:

    SHOOT WE ARE ALREADY THERE.
    THE GOV. LOST ITS NORM.
    WIDESPREAD DRUG ADDICTION.
    PEOPLE ARE ON EDGE.
    WE DO NOT TRUST LAW ENFORCEMENT.
    PEOPLE ARE CHALLENGING OUR MILITARY.
    IT GOES ON AND ON.
    JUST FILL IN THE BLANKS………………….

  15. SNYDER SUCKS, where’s that economic collapse he predicted before the end of 2015. Why is he still writing articles after his stupid invorrect proficies for 10 years. I wonder when his next book, how to make money on the same wrong predictions, is coming out? Failed Washington lawyer, failed “author”.

    • Apache54 says:

      GetAgrip,
      You might wish to rethink your statements, because the ONLY thing keeping this country afloat for the last 10 years has the FED printing FIAT money! if the corrupt government and some world banksters stopped propping things up and making the fall worse (it will happen) then we would already be in a NEW phase and MAYBE rebuilding. I don’t know why you don’t like the author and don’t really care, bottom line is lots of savvy financial people all say the same thing, maybe they some should not go out on the limb for predictions, BUT IF they are really trying to help the average JOE!! then more power to them, WHAT are YOU trying to do to help out??

    • buttcrackofdoom says:

      snyder’s RIGHT, you know….thanks for outing yourself as a troll. the only thing i can find wrong with snyder is his TIMING….like me, we thought long ago the plates the FED keep spinning would come crashing to the ground…..they WILL, it’s just a matter of time(ing).

  16. Old Guy says:

    Every day is a counituation of a NEW normal. One good thing will result if everything goes kapuit. Im just turning 65. Never had any health insurance. Screw the mandatory Obama care! Now I am receiving lots of mailings and phone calls trying to dupe me into buying supplemental insurance. Im not buying. In fact I likely will turn down Medicare. Any way if it all gos south those greedy doctors will be glad to receive a chicken for payment!

    • Anonamous says says:

      Everyone eventually gets sick and dies, get term life insurance at least, take your Medicare,
      Considered a supplement, protect your loved ones. Brother died of anyerism at 50 had none
      Of above. Family lived long took insurance at 66 he would have but did not live that long.
      No will! Get help with a trust! Stay out of probate. Shtf for us already! Protect your loved ones

      • Old Guy says:

        We got joint deeds and vehicle titles on both names. Already gave & deeded the kids paid for land. No Probate needed. I don’t believe in social engineering. Insurance is social engineering where everyone pays and a few benefit. The odds are stacked in favor of the insurance companys. If they weren’t they would not exist. Insurance companys willingly take your money. And when you have a claim they use every dirty trick in the book to get out of paying. We take what most folks spend on insurance and buy wooded land. Any time We need a big wad of extra money I sell some timber. I sell hunting leases to pay property taxes. No debt and not beholden to anyone. You live until you die insurance wont change that fact.

        • TnAndy says:

          “You live until you die insurance wont change that fact.”

          Hmmmm…don’t know about that. Dad dropped dead at 49, mom at 62, both heart attack (Dad was a smoker, so that could have contributed). I’ve kept an eye on my ticker given family history, and had several tests run thru the years (thanks to insurance), and had a triple bypass 5 years ago at age 61 after a stress test + cath. No heart attack, no symptoms, was tilling the garden the day before the cath test. Cost $120k, my portion about 1200 bucks. Surgeon said I should be good for another 30 yrs.

          I’m glad I had insurance.

    • rellik says:

      Looks like Madeline is going south of Hilo. Occasionally sunny and very little wind, But I have two of the worlds tallest mountains between me and the storm center. They just canceled flash flood warning.
      People are still going nuts in the stores. I see Young brothers is staying in port. I’m glad I have lots of TP. We are going to have shortages, because Lester is tracking North and is on it the way for the weekend. Like this post speculates, we have lost our Ocean “truckers” for probably 5 days minimum. I’m ready.

  17. Shroom says:

    Something I’ve noticed that has some bearing. I’ve moved every 2 years or so for the past 30 years and over those years we’ve gotten to know our neighbors or tried to. The ones I’ve gotten to know & made friends with have gotten fewer and fewer until only the people I work with (military) are in my circle of friends. Now Having retired, we’re living in a smaller town and are making inroads into our community but it’s taking some effort (used to be fairly effortless) we’ve managed to set up something like a neighborhood watch and the community has held some events together. I still don’t trust anyone enough to tell them I’m a prepper but I may start hosting some hurricane preparedness meetings… it’s a start. Get to know your neighbors, get them onboard with something like a disaster preparedness or community watch program, build trust, we’re going to need it.

  18. mallardhen says:

    Where we live we have no close neighbors unless you count the critters, got a lot of those but we have known from the get go we were on our own and have planned accordingly, not saying everyone needs to live as we do but at least I have no worries about others knowing that we prep and what we have squirreled away; feel safer that way.

    Noticed a few weeks ago that WM is keeping less and less on the shelves, big spaces behind the can goods, I also got the last 6 containers of lamp oil last month can’t wait to see if they replenish this month when I go into to shop.

    Everyone looking forward to a big week-end have fun.

  19. Archivist says:

    “instant state of distribution” ???

  20. Bill G says:

    i can live for @ 3 weeks with what i have. dont know what i will do after that. but i do know that Jesus will never leave me or forsake me…..and i am comfortable with that.

    • Warchild Dammit! says:

      Bill,good you have Jesus with you but would not Jesus want you as ready as can be?I have a link for feeding a family of 4 for about 300 a year/very boring and bland but you have water/safe way to prep food could work out,will post again if you or any others here interested in reading it.

  21. swinging richard says:

    If it suddenly changed, we all would adjust because we prepped for the change.

  22. Asshat says:

    Today global shipping Corp Han Jin a Korean company filed for bankruptcy. Imported freight is down and the volume overall is down even though fuel prices are at record lows. My employer hasn’t hired any drivers. The wages are down and the industry cannot attract drivers as a whole. It’s doubtful there would be a strike IMO. However if your short handed drivers that results in less freight moved. My local Walmart has a hard time keeping the shelves stocked with food mostly and some other thing too. How can a company with the most state of the are distribution system not keep shelves stocked. Because they are short drivers and the company’s wanna keep it that way. I hear about it all the time how nobody wants to do it no more. Why the hell would they you can make more $ easier and not live in a truck and lose your wife cause your never home. Much easier ways to make a living with far less responsibility. I think you will see more empty shelves and longer transit times on delivery. Your not gonna find empty shelves throughout the store but things like bread and milk not being restocked quick enough which is a shortage. The employees at the market will get the inside info on when trucks come in and drop the dime to family and friends to come in and buy it up just like the 22 ammo. Told the wife as soon as I start hearing about drivers getting robbed and shot by criminals to steal the loads I will be finished with the job.