What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: rodrick.reidsma
Part of preparation entails speculating about future events. One efficient way of preparing for what’s to come is by creating a list of “what if” scenarios. For example:
- What if there was an 8.0 earthquake in your city?
- What if the power went out for a week?
- What if your city’s water source was contaminated?
- What if a pandemic broke out?
- What if a nuclear strike occurred within a 20 mile radius of your home?
- What if the transportation system was disrupted?
Being prepared for the worst allows one to be at peace and act, instead of being acted upon. So the question then becomes, what if it happened today? The “it” in this case is, of course, ambiguous. Not knowing the future, we must plan for all possibilities.
True preparation requires independence from government or third-party support. It is naÃ¯ve to assume that the government will be in any position to aid the individual, as the FEMA/Katrina experience showed us all. Further proof was recently given by the Utah Department of Health’s deputy director, after conducting a mock flu crisis in Utah:
At the end of it, one thing was abundantly clear: Utahns must rely on themselves, not the government, to survive a serious public health crisis, said A. Richard Melton, deputy director of the Utah Department of Health.
“The less they expect to have the government and system take care of them, the better the state will deal with the pandemic,” he said.
At my CERT training we were instructed that the government’s average response time in a community-wide crisis is eight to nine days. Clearly, one cannot sit around and wait for the “authorities” to arrive.
Thus we see that preparation for “it” requires individual action and planning. If you’re at work when an earthquake strikes, what will you do? If your car runs out of gas in the middle of nowhere, who will help? If the grocery store shelves are emptied in a crisis, what will you eat?
Last year, Bishop McMullin counseled us in Priesthood session regarding how best we might prepare:
Priesthood bearers are led by these promises to prepare themselves and their families for the Lord’s appearing. There is no need to be anxious about events leading up to the Second Coming. Let us instead be filled with gratitude for our understanding of what lies ahead. Let us appreciate that we are in charge of our own world, being the Lord’s agents over that which He has entrusted to us. The formula is simple: Be faithful. Unencumber your life. Lay up in store. (Keith B. McMullin, via Quoty)
An unencumbered life entails being debt-free and able to “act” when necessary. Laying up in store entails having the resources necessary to sustain life and aid others (food, water, medicine, sanitation equipment, shelter, fuel, etc.). But being faithful is a key component, given that we must not rely on the arm of flesh, despite the many temporal preparations we must make.
Long ago I heard the phrase “It’s easier to prepare and prevent, than to repair and repent.” As I observe world events, natural disasters, and personal trials, I have realized the truth of this lesson. Similiarly, Thomas Fuller once said that “a danger foreseen is half avoided.”
But to be prepared, to prevent disaster, and to foresee potential dangers, we must plan ahead, lay up in store, and account for the various disasters or situations that may confront us.
The question each of us should ask ourselves, then, is: If “it” happened today, would I be ready?