In the documentary Urban Danger, Maryland’s Congressional Representative Roscoe Bartlett warned those who can to move their families out of major cities.
Outspoken in his belief that each individual American should prepare for a crisis where the government would be unable to provide for the basic needs of the national population, Bartlett has himself created a hideaway deep in the West Virginia forest. His cabin runs on independent power, he has put away food and canning equipment, stockpiled supplies for the long-term, and is ready for a worst-case scenario should it ever come to pass.
“We don’t really think of those today, because it’s so convenient to go to the supermarket,” he cautions. “But you know, you’re planning because the supermarket may not always be there.”
The electrical grid could fail tomorrow, he frequently warns. Food would disappear from the shelves. Water would no longer flow from the pipes. Money might become worthless. People could turn on each other, and millions would die.
Bartlett’s biggest concern, the vulnerability of our national power grid, is justified through extensive research by private organizations and the US government alike. A 2010 report by the Center for Security Policy estimated that 9 out of 10 Americans would die within one year should a catastrophic emergency take down the national power grid and restrict access to key just-in-time delivery systems like food, gas and utilities.
Sitting down with officials and experts at a conference in Washington D.C., Bartlett has been working to pass legislation that would promote individual preparedness on a national level.
Bartlett recently sat around a Capitol Hill conference room table with a group of like-minded experts to unveil legislation that calls for “every citizen to develop an individual emergency plan to prepare for the absence of government assistance for extended periods” and for communities to become capable of providing 20 percent of their own power, food and water if necessary.
The electric grid, everyone agreed, is vulnerable to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. “This is possibly the most serious threat the United States faces right now, because we are so utterly unprepared for it,” said Richard Andres, a senior fellow at National Defense University.
The grid could be crippled at least four different ways, Bartlett says: terrorist assaults on power substations, a cyberattack, a massive solar storm and an electromagnetic pulse attack.
Bartlett has for decades warned of the harm of an EMP attack — a nuclear detonation in the atmosphere that could fry computers and anything with an electric circuit — in his writings, in legislation and in late-night speeches on the House floor, though experts differ on the seriousness of the threat. Some agree the dangers are real, while others say such an attack is unlikely and the potential effects remain uncertain.
“Whatever level you’re concentrating on, being as self-sufficient as you can, as quickly as you can, is going to be the right thing to do,” he says.
In “America’s Cities,” a separate documentary with similar themes, Bartlett approvingly cites the financial adviser and author Howard Ruff — an influential figure among survivalists — who counseled that “the most important investment you can make” is to have a year’s supply of food for your family, and “the second-most important investment” is a thousand-dollar stash of silver coins and jewelry to bargain with in an emergency.
“This is great advice for anybody,” Bartlett says. “And maybe you can’t buy a year’s supply of food. All the Lord expects you to do is what you can do.”
Source: The Washington Post
An EMP, a massive natural disaster, or a widespread currency collapse that threatens global payment systems could make it impossible for any the exchange of goods across the globe to take place. This means that food and energy supplies would simply stop flowing, and it would leave 320 million Americans without any ability to acquire even the most basic necessities for life.
The US Government has been actively preparing for natural and man-made emergencies by stockpiling emergency foods, equipment, self defense arms and ammunition, backup shelters, and creating contingency plans to deal with the chaos that would follow such an event.
They themselves, however, have noted that should a truly large-scale disaster come to pass they would simply not have the resources available to help everyone. FEMA recommends that every American household have at least a two week supply of food, water and critical supplies ready for an emergency. At last count, only about 3 million Americans prepare, about 1% of the population, suggesting that any far from equilibrium shock to the system as we know it would lead to outright panic and chaos as those without reserve supplies would stop at nothing to get their hands on them.
The government is preparing to deal with it when it happens.