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By April 15, 2012 Read More →

What Constitutes An Infrastructure Failure? Part III

Foreword

I perceive a degree of smugness ever-present in the prepping community, that seems to be more openly expressed lately.  The perception is that being a prepper equates to being bulletproof, figuratively speaking, for some of us.  We are secure in our revolving stores of food, meds and in our arsenals and surplus uniforms.  We read books and watch movies about disasters and collapses that are sensationalized and antiseptic.  We seldom consider the ugliness that the reality will be like.

The extent of what a collapse will entail is entirely open to speculation.  There are some hard facts to consider, though.  I am going to describe what might transpire for my region in the event of an infrastructure collapse, keeping in mind that I am conducting this exercise in absentia of the reality of having Washington D.C. 50 miles down the interstate.  I am writing this with my life experiences and position within the Maryland Emergency Management system in mind.  This is supposition only, and not the position of any government entity, federal, state, local, or otherwise.  While I have oversimplified some things and maybe gotten the science slightly incorrect on others, the basic premise is still based upon things that have happened and could happen again.  All mistakes of science or scale are mine.

Part 1 of the series can be found here.

Part 2 of the series can be found here.

Scenario Resumed
Day 14 (continued):
A hospital in Northern Virginia is the first to report to the CDC of some persistent flu symptoms from a flight attendant who had been recently stranded in Baltimore and just returned home the previous day. As a few more hospitals in the Baltimore region get a breather for a few hours, and some more regular shift changes coming in due to the help of state agencies assisting with transportation of medical personnel.  They begin to reassess their flu cases and only notice a few that might, however unlikely, be of concern to the CDC, aside from the rapidly worsening mother and daughter.  Many hospital directors and senior managers throughout the region are openly relieved at this possible outbreak being little more than a flash in the pan, especially when the system is still stressed to capacity from the fallout of the latest storm.  However, some epidemiologists, veteran doctors, and nurses scattered throughout DelMarVa cannot help but wonder if containment was truly achieved.

The first units of the West Virginia National Guard and the New York National Guard begin to arrive at airports and in convoys across the region.  The military police units are immediately sent to back up police in Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick, DC, Arlington, Springfield, and anywhere else the state officials think the civil police can be reinforced.  These MP’s are given deputized arrest powers as a uniformed officer is with each patrol to help make the arrest legal.  The infantry platoons are sent to Baltimore to control traffic, assist the engineers, and to form a quick reaction team that has an air mobile capability to help respond to rioting.  Meanwhile, a fire and subsequently exploding gas station in East Baltimore claims 3 lives of civilians and a volunteer Red Cross aid worker and injures ten more emergency personnel and residents.  The amount of displaced people in the region is skyrocketing as the fires continue to spring throughout the city.

A combined agency intelligence committee, now leavened with military personnel, begins to suspect that as much as 60% of the Baltimore fires may be arson and may be coordinated for an unknown reason.  At first, the fires seemed to be the result of storm damage and thus logical.  Now fires are being started miles away from each other with little discernible reason and sometimes they are started simultaneously.  A couple of Military Intelligence National Guardsmen were put to the task of investigating the fires and the requested the known riot data to attempt to find a correlation between the two, under a theory of orchestration.

Springfield and other Northern Virginia police departments notify Department of Homeland Security and the FBI when they begin to arrest more known and suspected MS-13 and other Salvadorans who seem to be using the opportunity to begin a veritable war on other local gangs in the area.  They are accused of inciting riots in sections of DC to loot department stores and to strain the police resources.

Baltimore Metro area police watch the developing situation with alarm as counties like Howard and Anne Arundel had seen an uptick in MS-13 inspired gang violence migrating north over the past decade.  The two counties decide to take gang unit detectives away from the badly undermanned recovery efforts and to set them to monitor potential gang activity.  This is done despite protests from the Governor’s staff and the state emergency management agency.  The Governor steps in to try to suborn the County Executives into complying with the state’s wishes and even resorts to political fiscal extortion.  Anne Arundel’s county executive, a fiscally moderate member of the Governor’s party, realizing that the state capital was in his county, compromises by agreeing to only a one-to-one replacement rate as more Guardsmen arrive to take the places of policemen and to limit the total number to four detectives.  The Howard County executive, a rare elected executive of the opposing party who is secure in her second term, knows that she has the backing of one of the richest and most conservative counties in a state that is so blue that most Presidential candidates never visit it.  She holds fast and pulls her detectives anyway.

Meanwhile, in New York and Chicago, labor leaders begin to publicly criticize the long hours being worked by the state and municipal workers in the Baltimore area.  They contend that the state should have had more federal money to hire more emergency responders and that the previous presidential administration was remiss in allowing a state that helped to physically secure the nation’s capital to suffer.  As one demagogue put it in a sound bite, This is a premeditated travesty.  These calculated and impoverishing acts hobbled the government of a state that was not politically aligned with the fascist policies of the handlers of the previous President.”  The media would be quick to jump onto the blame bandwagon since the crisis seemed to not have a resolution in sight.

As the evening progresses, a veteran nurse on the medical staff at BWI hospital goes to her part-time job at Johns Hopkins Hospital and starts talking to the staff nurse on her assigned floor.  A medical student, doing residency training and attending Johns Hopkins University for epidemiology studies overhears her and begins to question her about the mother and daughter that are known to now be in a Hopkins subsidiary hospital in the East Side of the city, near the airport.  He questions her about their travel in China and the symptoms that they are showing.

Concerned, he heads to a computer to access his research sources on mutating common diseases in Asia.  He hopes that his research sources can maybe shed some light on this disease.  After several hours and obtaining permission to end his shift early, he finds some obscure reports that managed to make it past China’s internet censorship firewalls.  They describe a similar illness with a 60-70% mortality rate in some villages and a small industrial city that is not named.  The World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders both have short briefs acknowledging the unconfirmed Chinese reports and, in light of the CDC’s earlier announcement, are debating whether to send investigatory teams.  The main contention is the alleged high mortality rate.

Meanwhile, in the hospital in East Baltimore, the mother and daughter, who had been quarantined when their fevers began to rise again, have lost all consciousness.  Neither can keep food, nor fluids down and they begin to have some breathing distress.  At 12:17 am that night, the mother dies.  The daughter is not expected to last.  By 4:57am, the daughter passes, too.  The hospital immediately, per CDC request, makes plans to autopsy the victims in the morning.

Day 15:
The medical examiners come to the hospital and begin to autopsy the victims with a live web feed to the CDC in Atlanta and a representative from the Army’s USAMRIID center in Fort Detrick.  They are amazed at the ravages to the pulmonary systems of the heretofore healthy women.  The disease seems to have attacked their pulmonary systems like a bronchitis or pneumonia and, coupled with the fever and other issues, their bodies simply could not fight it all at once.  As one of the assistants said, it was as “if pneumonia and influenza had a child and this was the result.”  Pending further lab results, the CDC closes the session to meet amongst themselves with growing concern.

The first regular army troops from Fort Drum and Fort Knox also begin to arrive by midday but they find that they have little billeting and their missions are not yet defined.  The Governor, upon hearing that another riot that has shut down the storm devastated commerce district near the Baltimore Inner Harbor, orders them to deploy immediately and to quell the “insurrectionists that are fomenting violence.”  More buildings burn as the Governor issues his angry decree.  The units, arriving piecemeal and without their entire equipment balk at this civilian giving them orders that are contradictory to their training, doctrine, and orders.  The Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard sends his deputy to them and formulates a plan to systematically close all the major roads into and out of the city, beginning with the Interstates.  He reasons that this will free up some badly needed Guardsmen and law enforcement and they can either rest or redeploy into the city, thus giving the regular forces time to marshall themselves.  The state gives the regular forces room at the National Guard armories and at schools throughout the region room to bed down the arriving troops.

The Joint Intelligence Committee receives a report from the Baltimore City Police that they arrested two would-be arsonists who were white, but that they had suspected gang protection that fired on the officers before fleeing the scene without being caught.  Initial questioning had identified one as a 25 year old unemployed real estate agent and the other as a 19 year part-time college student.  It was quickly established from Facebook and online postings that both were Occupy Wall Street sympathizers and that they both contradictorily advocated anarchy and more punitive government restriction upon “1% capitalists who prey on the working classes.”  Meanwhile, at a rally to support the people of the region, held in Boston, a pipe bomb was detonated, killing the suspected bomber and hospitalizing 7 others.  The Committee begins to see a link a link between much of the violence with social rebellion protest groups allying themselves with known gangs for protection.  This information is immediately up channeled to federal law enforcement and terrorist watch agencies.

A report about this suspected link leaks out to the media and a more conservative publication posts it online and a few local news affiliates and online bloggers pick it up. By noon, the mainstream media is still strangely silent, in anticipation of a DHS press conference.

The DHS spokesperson comes on at 12:45pm, a time when many would be away from televisions and in transit back to their jobs, and delivers a statement that “categorically denies any known link between elements of Occupy Wall Street and the violence in the region of the Nation’s capital.  However, internet chatter and some monitored banking transactions indicate that a shift in policy by some militia movements in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Michigan seem to indicate that they may be sending money to some gangs in the region to disrupt the recovery operations and to create distrust of the government.  It is not known at this time whether these allegations are true but the Terrorist Watch Center is tracking them carefully and will get to the truth of the matter.”  He closed with a plea to trust that the government is doing the best that it can and that the government was looking into loan guarantees for recovery of citizens and businesses affect by the tragedy, per the Executive Order pertaining to Natural Resources.  He left the podium without taking questions.  Dutifully, the mainstream media begin reporting on domestic terrorist militias who are targeting emergency response personnel and burning sections of urban minority housing in Baltimore and DC.

Two New York City hospitals report flu-like symptoms and some investigations reveal that the patients were on the same plane as the mother and daughter, now being callously referred to as Patients X and Y by a jaded morning news media upon the reports of their deaths the nights before.  The CDC convenes a watch group to monitor reports trickling in from cities throughout the Mid-West and even as far away Washington state and Canada.  Topeka’s City Health Department forwards report that six members of the Chinese mission trip are now hospitalized and that one patient is not expected to live through the day.  They also add that several more are reported ill with some family members and colleagues now reporting mild symptoms.

In Baltimore, several more employees of BWI and the emergency crews that assisted with transportation from the airport are reporting symptoms.  A few of them are reporting that their young children are also getting ill.  The Johns Hophins residency student epidemiologist contacts his Doctoral Advisor, who is also a staff doctor and professor at Johns Hopkins University, and they discuss his findings and the unconfirmed reports out of China.  The two paramount concerns are the reported mortality rates and the fact that there may be more cases not being reported due to the infrastructural collapse in the region.  They concede that, IF this is a potential epidemic then the fact that much of the transportation system being down will contain or slow the spread.  The Professor reaches out to her contacts in the CDC and begins to relate her student’s findings and suspicions.

Meanwhile, the Governor has convened a morning meeting to discuss the influx of expected military troops and to discuss their employment.  A staffer, a young family practice doctor who was a friend of the Governor’s wife on a local charity board, has heard the medical reports and seeks to raise them at the meeting.  The Governor, brash and rude at the best of times, answers “that people with the sniffles are not his priority,” especially when he has” a state of insurrection” in his cities.  He makes a snide remark that if people had not fought the President’s healthcare plans then this would not even an issue and then moves on to a briefing by the Commandant of the Maryland State Police who has submitted a plan to identify firearms owners in areas “under insurrection.”  The Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard, a political appointee looks uncomfortable, as does the Colonel from Ft Knox, KY who is part of the advance team for the regular Army units arriving this day.  Already, several arrests in some local counties and in the city of Baltimore for people carrying firearms openly have been made, despite the looting and rioting that still continue.

Maryland Emergency Management Agency compiles a report that has an estimated 10,000 Baltimore Metropolitan residents displaced from their homes from storm damage and civil disturbances.  An estimated 750,000 have limited to no clean water supplies throughout the region and thousands are without power still.  They are receiving reports of mental health patients reacting with violence as their medication supplies are disrupted and diabetics are reporting a looming insulin crisis as lack of power degrades or spoils much of the insulin supply.  The Red Cross is desperately asking the nation for blood supplies as it is stretched to the limit along the eastern seaboard and Seattle.

Turbulent late summer weather patterns over the mid west are forcasted to bring in savage thunderstorms and possible tornado activity in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas areas. The rest of the nation, inured by over two weeks of bad news, returns to watching the new reality sports show that has swept the ratings that year-Hell Bowl.  A combination of football, rugby, hockey, wrestling, and lacrosse with short gladiatorial contests to decide contested points, this new sports show follows the lives of favorite players as they interact with their team on and off the field and shows the games as the defense men take to the arenas with their sticks that resemble oversized lacrosse sticks and weighted balls and the attackers line up with their handballs that they must pass and carry past the defense men. Fantasy Hell Bowl teams consume office talk as the tragic events of the mid-atlantic and Seattle fade from the public consciousness.

By six pm, f-3 and f-4 tornados have ravaged three mid west towns and several smaller farms and communities with 2 people known dead and at least 15 missing.  The nation’s response infrastructure is ill-equipped to respond as they normally would.  The President interrupts the pre-game Hell Bowl show to announce that his thoughts were with the people of Oklahoma, and Missouri and that he would render all the aid necessary.

The mainstream media fails to note that the President publicly snubbed Texas by not acknowledging the damage done to the Texoma area.   Media that sided against the administration on ideological issues are quick to point out the oversight and suggest that politics were at play and in the case of one extreme pundit, accuses the President of withholding federal aid to assist states more aligned with the President in terms of politics because of his security as a lame duck.  The Texas Governor weighs in and makes more comments about states’ rights and refusing federal aid if it is belatedly offered.
Both sides would continue to grandstand, to the detriment of response efforts across the nation as people become distracted by the political power plays.  Little noticed in the furor is that federal aid WOULD actually arrive, late, to Texas and other affected states; however, the administration could do little to change the narrative with the forceful and dynamic young firebrand of a Texas Governor would draw analogize the president to Santa Anna and Texoma to the Alamo and claim that the lives and livelihoods of innocent and loyal Texans were being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

By six pm, the riots in Baltimore have claimed three schools being used as shelters with an unknown number of missing and at least one elderly woman and two children dead from smoke inhalation in the resulting fires.  In one section of the city, police believe that gang members, acting as riot provocateurs had holed themselves up in a warehouse after being pursued by guardsman responding to one of the riots.  A full scale firefight erupts two troops of the security forces from the Air National Guard unit, an Airman and a Staff Sergeant are hit by sniper exiting their vehicle. Neither would die or be wounded critical; nevertheless, the rest of their fire team opens up with their M-4’s and sidearms, even as an infantry squad and several police units roll up to assist.  The barricaded assailants snipe and spray the police and troops with automatic fire sporadically and whenever they see units maneuvering for a potential breach of the warehouse.  The police, frustrated with the violence and destruction, do little to restrain the Guardsmen, reasoning that since de facto martial law was in place, even if it was not publically acknowledged, then the military could defend themselves according to their own rules of engagement.  By 7pm, two policemen and three guardsmen have been wounded and one PFC dies when a ricocheting bullet strikes him in the throat.

As the PFC lay dying, the tactical team of the Baltimore Police Department and several media vehicles arrive. Quick consultations with the Governor and the emergency management staff put a desperate plan into action.  Two police helicopters with searchlight and PA systems would orbit the building demanding a surrender while two Kiowa gunships with pylon mounted .50 calibers and rocket pods with marker rockets would stand by to provide air cover as an armored vehicle and a hummer with a Mk-19 grenade launcher would be used to breach the building.  Following them would be the tactical team to take any survivors under arrest.  Orbiting news choppers and media crews on the ground film the operation as it unfolds from a distance.  Later, Congressional findings would determine that the militarized gear of the tactical team, along with the presence of uniformed military and helicopters would lead the barricaded suspects and the city to believe that the military had ordered the entire operation.  The poor film quality from the distance and angles of the media cameras would lead the world to believe that the military, and not the police, had attempted to use deadly force from the outset.

After the smoke cleared from the assault, the tactical team would have two wounded and three suspects would be dead, with 7 others wounded and arrested.  The media would report that the military assaulted the building with overwhelming firepower and gunships and slaughtered three alleged criminals and pundits would question the legality of the arrests of the other seven.

In Topeka, by 10pm, two of the missionaries would die within 28 minutes of each other.  The CDC would receive reports, totaling 462, of known and suspected cases of the new China Flu across North America and all had traceable links to the flight that the missionaries returned home on.  The CDC makes plans to brief the White House even as the President’s staff works to spin the fallout from the Texas debacle and minimize the damage since they are in “legacy” mode.

The state health officials of Maryland meet with their counterparts from Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and DC at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD.  Delaware has several suspected flu cases, as does Philadelphia, DC, and Northern Virginia.  In all, 15 known cases are suspected or confirmed to be China Flu in the Mid-Atlantic region.  With the infrastructure collapsed from DC to Delaware and power grid failure into Pennsylvania, options for response and containment are discussed, even as they await instructions on protocol from the CDC.  Options for containment medical facilities with the Air Force flying in air mobile hospitals to be staged in Western Maryland are explored and West Virginia offers to arrange for medical professionals to assist in helping at any containment facilities, IF the disease proves as virulent as initial CDC modeling indicates that it could be.

On the late evening news, local ministers are interviewed around Baltimore as they announce plans for a rally in protest of the assault on the suspects in the warehouse earlier.  They condemn the Governor for allowing the “Ghosts of Selma” to terrorize the minorities of Baltimore, when they were trying to pick themselves back up.  They implore the President to take up the case for his people and to call off the “rabid mongrels of Montgomery.”

The media reports on the warehouse assault, continuing violence, and the growing number of China Flu cases are subdued and easily forgotten by largely apathetic public. The internet story that night is a couple in Nebraska who claimed to have created an algorithm that would choose the winning Powerball numbers under the right circumstances.  The refinery fires in Seattle are finally declared to be under control and damage assessment is scheduled to begin in the morning.  The victims of the tornados are still just as stricken, as their state and local governments are hurting from the continued yo-yo recessions, thus they are hard pressed to render expeditious assistance without consistent federal aid.  The President’s media advisor announces that the President will be leaving for Vietnam for a diplomatic trade mission in two days.  The announcement was made to a largely empty press room just before midnight.

As morning approaches in DC, five shootings, two of them police involved, leave 2 suspects dead, 1 bystander dying, and 4 injured, to include an off-duty police officer.  Elements of the regular Army get into a short firefight and pursuit as curfew breakers try to leave Baltimore City via Interstate 83.  After disabling the curfew breakers’ stolen vehicle with automatic weapons fire, the passenger is ejected and killed when the vehicle overturns from a flattened tire.

Day 16:
The morning breaks with the early local news stations airing reports of the shootings in DC and the Army involved firefight on Interstate 83.  A Public Affairs Officer from the Army is interviewed as saying that the matter is being investigated internally and in conjunction with civil authorities.  He is adamant that complete confidence is placed in the training and leadership of these soldiers entrusted to restore order to the bereaved people of the Baltimore.

A press conference from a weary and angry looking Governor of Maryland follows and the Governor expresses sorrow for the unfortunate events that occurred but is quick to add that he is confident that the soldiers acted in the best interests of the city and that future misunderstandings would be prevented if the residents would comply with government directives and remain calm for the duration of the emergency.  He closes by invoking God and saying that the people of Maryland are in it together and with solidarity, he will lead them to a recovery that will make their lives better than they were before the storm.

A press release from the White House reiterates that the President is monitoring the situation and has faith in the leadership of the Governor of Maryland and the officers of the soldiers involved. It closes with a warning that if the soldiers are found guilty of anything in the investigation, then they will be appropriately punished.

Minority churches across the country hold emergency services and vigils that morning for solidarity for the people of Baltimore and to offer prayers of deliverance from the heavy hands of the government that is as one minister in South Carolina put it, “is putting more energy into putting people of color under the boot heel than it is recovering Baltimore from the storm’s ravages.”  As colleges across the nation begin their fall semesters or finish their preparations for them, school officials and campus police across the nation nervously watch events unfold.  Even as Seattle seems to be turning the corner, the uncertain situations in the tornado ravaged states of the Mid-west and the seemingly escalating violence of the Mid-Atlantic with continuing storm damaged grids up and down the eastern seaboard with the increasing racial overtones seem ripe for campus protests.

Upon the morning news announcement by the utility power companies that over 250,000 Maryland residents had their power restored overnight, primarily in parts of counties surrounding Baltimore and DC, the region begins to feel some relief in some quarters and growing resentment in others.  The news is followed by announcements from the Governor’s staff that residents in conflicted areas with rioters, looters, and violent activities will not have power restored until they lay down their arms and peacefully disperse.  Until then, the utility companies are being forbidden to travel through the areas for security reasons.

Groups from around the nation have been arriving in droves over the last few days, despite the violence, to offer assistance.  The emergency management systems have little capability to effectively employ or control them.  In some cases, they offer taskings and some limited housing to the more organized groups like Red Cross and Civil Air Patrol, but to the thousands of church group, college student, and individual volunteers, there is little available to employ, house, feed, and secure them.

A couple of low level staffers and a junior civil servant from MEMA, with a beleaguered FEMA representative are assigned to sort these hundreds of volunteers out and to coordinate similar efforts with Delaware, Pennsylvania, DC, and Virginia. Unbeknownst to these hapless and outnumbered few, many of these volunteers are becoming frustrated and disillusioned at what they perceive to be chaos.

A number of larger church groups with experience with disaster relief have taken the initiative and have set up some relief stations at churches and shopping centers without waiting for clearance from the besieged state officials.  The senior state Civil Servant in charge of managing the effort, a bad choice as the media would later reveal because of numerous disciplinary write-ups for insubordination and bad performance reviews, would reach out to these groups and tell them that they had to report to him by 2pm that day for a review of their actions and reassignment.

Meanwhile, hundreds of individual volunteers and college student volunteers sit around, camping in state parks and other public spaces, grow increasingly frustrated and disillusioned, except for a few who find jobs at the church groups and through local government initiatives.  Unfortunately, the news of the power restoration in the counties is viewed by some as taking care of the empowered at the expense of the urban poor.

By lunch time, reports are coming in that approximately 1-2% of the emergency services and National Guard troops around the Baltimore area are experiencing flu-like symptoms and reports of civilian cases are still quite low due to most of the population being housebound.  However, with the spread that is being documented in Kansas and other cities, Maryland health service officials are fearful that the 1-2% figure is on the low side of exposed emergency services workers and as power is restored and services and roads being made more available throughout the region, the disease will be increasingly mobile.
This suspicion is up-channeled to Maryland emergency management officials who brief the Governor and FEMA.  Preoccupied with the rioting, the Governor pays it little heed and merely instructs the Maryland Defense Force to activate its medical units to augment the medical system.  The measure does little to help since most of the MDDF medical staff are already employed in the medical professions and are tasked at their hospitals, departments, and practices with treating the region’s patients.  One doctor, a major in the MDDF, told a reporter that the measure will actually hurt the relief efforts since it will deprive departments and hospitals of people already gainfully tasked and put them in potentially less effective roles.

Nationwide and in Canada, the numbers of patients reporting flu-like symptoms slowly rise, and to the dismay of the President aboard Air Force One enroute to his trade mission, the media in Kansas, New York, Los Angeles, and Canada are beginning to report on the China Flu, in the wake of deaths attributed to it in each city.  The people slowly start to wake up as radio talk show hosts, increasingly critical of the handling of the disasters begin talking about the new “epidemic.” The word pandemic begins to get thrown around by the evening news cycles.  The President issues a standard “Be calm” press release while in Ho Chi Minh City.

That evening, vigils and protests, across the nation are held at churches to protest the use of militarized force against black and Hispanic youths and the displaced urban poor.  At 9:11pm televised moments of silence are coordinated to symbolize calling God’s 911 for help.

In several cities across the nation, the Occupy Wall Street groups stage “spontaneous” protests against the government for turning the power on for only the rich and powerful elite of our nation’s capital region.  Isolated bomb threats against utility companies in California, Oregon, Michigan, and Maryland are made by people who claim that they are the enemies of the One Percenters.

In Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, many of the bored and frustrated college student volunteers attend some of the local vigils and begin to heed the call of the OWS. Several students are filmed with signs critical of the government by the media and a group in eastern Baltimore County from colleges in the Northeast coalesces around a firebrand twenty-something unemployed philosophy and art studies graduate who is interviewed and announces that if the power is not restored to the working class victims of Baltimore City in 24 hours, there would be dire consequences.

He refuses to elaborate and continues to issue his threats with a growing cadre of sympathizers around him while reporters interview him under the street and candle lights of a more raucous church group protest. The cameramen make an ostentatious effort to film the military and police presence at the protest.

At another location, a smaller group of people with OWS style signs emerges and with them is a well-known film producer with a reputation for making controversial political films and a nationally known minister and his entourage are interviewed and begin to make allegations that the China Flu is targeting the poor and that before it is over they will prove the culpability of the big corporations and their politician lackeys.  They criticize the Governor and begin the question the President’s racial loyalties live on camera before a watching nation.

This scenario could drag on to any number of conclusions; however, this would detract from my intent.  Just look at the news and our history and YOU, the reader, can envision any number of likely outcomes.  The government CANNOT immediately fix our problems and the infrastructure CAN collapse, even for a relatively short span of time. Are you ready?

Afterword

The problems with an undertaking such as the creation of this type of scenario are numerous. It is easy to go off on tangents that are more political and social commentary and while I acknowledge some editorializing, that was NOT my intent. In those instances of editorializing, I was attempting to bring in some political and social realities that we have seen countless times when our nation or communities are threatened. Secondly, there is the problem of realism.  I acknowledge that this is a “perfect storm” of disasters.  I did this “domino effect, as one reader described it, on purpose. The point here was to show the public how the government often reacts in the face of emergencies. I was drawing upon my own experiences and observation of decades of emergency response, most of the events have occurred in varying degrees and more than once in our nation’s recent history. The final problem is that it is hard to know when to stop. These situations, in the real world, are dynamic and they go on for years sometimes. One only needs to look at the Gulf Coast and New Orleans seven years later to see how the region is still being affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita from 2005. In closing, I hope that you enjoyed this and, again, I take the responsibility for the inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Thank you for reading.
Respectfully yours,
Chris Watson (Redhorse_Ronin)



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