Let me fist begin by saying we’re not going “Mad Max”. Meaning, you aren’t going to see people driving around with loin cloths and hockey masks in pursuit of gasoline and food. So please, keep that in mind as you read this post. I had to make sure my wife understood this before I started buying our supplies, because I didn’t want her to think I was going nuts on her.
Having lived through the Los Angeles riots in the 90’s, I have seen first-hand what people are capable of when they are pissed off. They will burn down their own neighborhoods, loot their own stores, and shoot each other. Although I didn’t live in New Orleans, I did see what people will do when they have no food, no shelter, and nothing better to do. They stole from private citizens, trashed stores and in some cases abandoned people in need. The same thing happened in Furgeson, Charlotte and Baltimore. Looters and rioters will steal anything they can get their hands on (even Cat-in-The-Hat books).
These are the situations I’m preparing for. Not “Mad Max” nuclear Armageddon. Just a little food storage and other necessities. The fact is, our government is out of control, spending money it doesn’t have. The only way politicians can afford to keep government running is to borrow and print more money, which leads to inflation. Conversely, if job growth is stagnant or we have a currency war with the rest of the world, deflation kicks in which is really bad for people who save money.
At the same time, escalating unrest in the middle east will cause uncertainty in oil prices, which will lead to higher gasoline prices. Especially if Iran creates a nuclear weapon or speculation goes crazy. These events combined along with a poor economy, could trigger a situation where food will be hard to come by. Here’s my thinking as to why.
It’s common knowledge that salaries lag inflationary periods. Meaning, when prices go up, it takes awhile for personal incomes to match the new inflated price of goods. During this period is when people will find it difficult to buy food and gas because it will be more expensive. Simply put, they can’t afford as much because they are being paid the same, but everything is more expensive. Instead of spending money on fun stuff, they will be spending their money of the things they need. During deflationary times, salaries decrease and existing debt becomes more expensive. Again, people have little cash to spare.
If civil unrest breaks out in your area, supply trucks will not venture into the war zone. They’ll cancel deliveries for fear their product will simply be looted. That means grocery stores will not restock their goods and the basic necessities will be hard to come by. The long it last, the harder it’s going to get. Especially when people start “panic buying” at the onset.
When people get excited, they go ape-shit. For example, take a look at this video. You might think these people were fighting over the last bag of rice in Ethiopia. But you’d be wrong. They are fighting over a $2 waffle iron and diapers on sale at Walmart during Black Friday. The video next to it is from the Los Angeles riots. Listen to the old lady … “I have no food in the house!”.
If people start looting, things could get real bad. Most stores will just close and won’t re-open until things settle down, as was the case in Los Angeles during the riots. When they do re-open, just think of what’s going to happen when the first shipment of food arrives after the shelves have been empty for a few days? The people in the above Walmart video are there because they want those items. Wait until they need those items because they haven’t been able to get them. For example, something as simple as a roll of toilet paper will could incite a brawl.
As I mentioned before, I lived through the Los Angeles riots. As a teenager, I remember there being an 8:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew for everyone. Therefore, all stores closed at 8:00 pm. Banks closed at 6:00 pm and limited the amount of money you could withdraw from ATM’s because they didn’t want a run on the banks. There was absolutely no bottled water or milk on the shelves in the grocery stores. For that matter, virtually everything worthwhile in the stores was gone. Most shipping into the city was shut down due to rioting and looting fears. Even Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was shut down by the FAA for 6 days, causing huge travel delays. Gunshots could be heard all throughout the city. Hundreds of Buildings were burnt to the ground. The police were rarely in the right place at the right time to stop a crime from happening. There simply weren’t enough of them. Eventually, the National Guard came in and took “control” of the situation. It was complete chaos and it took years for the communities to rebuild.
And so the same thing could easily happen again, except I have a feeling the disruptions will last quite a bit longer and be on a much larger scale. I don’t know for how long, but certainly months. Furgeson has been unstable for weeks. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the grocery stores started rationing how much food people were allowed to buy. If looting occurs, all bets are off. You’re going to have a heck of a time finding food for awhile. Same goes for gasoline. In the late 1970’s, people were only allowed to get gas on certain days depending on what number their license plate ended with.
Just jump onto youtube.com and search LA Riots. Or, read about the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl years of the 1930’s. People do desperate things in desperate times and it can all start in the blink of an eye, without warning. That’s what happened in Los Angeles back in 1992.
So, here’s what I’m planning for, and keep in mind none of this is gourmet food. I have about 6 months worth of basic food items such as rice, milk, cheese, butter, sugar, flour, canned chicken, potatoes, peas, green beans, canned corn, various pastas, pasta sauces, water, salt, and frozen meats. I’ve even got freeze dried meals (just add water). Everything except the meat is either canned or dry food. Like I said, it’s not gourmet, but it will be better than nothing if the grocery stores run into supply problems due to looting or closure. My non-food supplies include a shotgun, hand gun, a fair amount of ammunition, generator, about 40 gallons of gasoline (enough to get around if the gas stations run into supply problems), a radio, spare batteries, a portable heater and toilet paper (Try living without it for just one day. It sucks. Happened to us during the LA riots). A couple other friends and family members are also preparing similar contingency plans, so together we should be able to weather a small to moderate disruption in normal day-to-day life.
Until then, we’ll continue living life as normal. We’ll go to the grocery store, shop at the mall, get gas, eat out, go to the movies, and have fun. I hope I’m wrong and we don’t have any issues! I just know from personal life experience, it doesn’t take much for people to freak out. Even the perception that something bad is about to happen is all it takes. At least now, I’m prepared for a Los Angeles type riot situation that could last for many months.
Now, let me say this again; I do not believe the world is coming to an end. But I have a feeling it could get bad for a period of months until confidence returns, people calm down, prices go lower, or supply channels get going again. That is all I’m preparing for.
As I told my wife, if it gets to be “Mad Max”, we’re screwed. I don’t think it’s possible to prepare for that. Even the Amish go into town for supplies these days. Whoever has the most guns wins … which will be the government.