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To say that the vast majority of people in the world did not expect the world to end last Friday would be a gross understatement. The 21st came and went with a whimper, not an explosion of super volcanoes, hidden rogue planets, or Pole shifting. The lesson to be learned here is best exemplified by a quote from the Bible repeated ad nauseam across social networks: “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the Angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows,” Matthew 24:36.
It is an understandable reaction. No one can predict the future. Not anyone today, and surely not anyone 2,000 years ago. It is very hard to take seriously the idea that a race of people could predict the end of the world thousands of years ago, but could not see the trouble coming for them when Cortez and the Spanish showed up. Yes, the dismissive attitude many people had that day is infinitely understandable. It is also troubling.
A closer examination, whether it is Facebook comments, news articles, comments made in television interviews, etc., reveals not a dismal of the Mayan prophecy, but of the idea that the world will end at all. That is the underlying emotion. Nothing will end. Nothing bad will happen. The biggest lesson to be gleaned from December 21, 2012 is not that no can predict when the world will end. The jokes, the dismissal of preppers, end of the world parties, all point to the sad fact that if something bad happens, no one is prepared.
The victims of Hurricane Sandy and Katrina are living examples of this sad fact. Both had days of warning. Everyone in the areas hit by the storms knew they were coming. Yet after the storms hit, the degree to which those affected needed help from the federal government and charitable Americans country-wide demonstrated that the residents were unprepared. The response by the federal government, and days it took power companies to get electricity up and running to all their customers, shows our institutions were not ready.
Neither of these events is world ending. However, there is an old saying, “If you lose everything you own, then it’s the end of the world to you.” Can anyone dispute that to a family who lost their home and everything they own in Sandy, Katrina, or even the tornadoes of Joplin that their world has ended? If you are snowed in your home resulting from the current winter storm sweeping across America with little food and no heat, does it matter that the state of Florida is fine? No. You are in an emergency that might not end the world, but could end your life.
So why do the eyes of most people roll in their heads if you mention prepping for an emergency? Why do they act like no big event is ever going to happen in their lifetimes? The answer is probably no more complicated than that people do not expect bad things to happen to them. It may happen to someone else, some other city, state, or country, but not to me. This is a very dangerous thought to have. Eleven years ago three thousand people had that same thought process, and then the building they worked in was hit by a plane. Some were in areas that negated any hope of survival. Others allowed themselves to be led back into the building. Some of those people did not make it out.
Life threatening emergencies can occur at any moment. The Bible verse, “No one knows the day or the hour,” means something bad could happen right now. If it did are you ready to handle it? If you get a call from your child’s school what is your plan? If you get into a car accident and your wife is gushing blood, do you have a kit in the car to save her before the ambulance gets there? If you live in the mid-west or up north, what is your plan for when your pipes freeze and the power goes out? A national emergency occurs, and your cell phone does not work because the lines are slammed. Do you know how to contact your loved ones? Do they know how to reach you?
Does the world actually need to end in order for you see the value of being prepared for an emergency?
The Mayans were wrong. No real news flash there. But here is a prediction that is absolutely certain and does not take an elaborate calendar to see; there will be future catastrophes. Not earth shattering (though that will happen one day too) just local, or regional. There will be storms, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, freak storms, and earthquakes. These things will happen. Will you be ready when they do? Or are you going to just brush them off in hopes that it will happen to someone else in some other place? The response from the government to Sandy has shown that even if the federal, state, and local governments work hard to respond the response is always slower than needed. People will have to take these things seriously, and ready themselves to protect their families and help neighbors, If that is not done, then even a localized event can have more serious consequences than necessary.