Sunday, February 17, 2013

20 Miles Up And Falling Hard

What’s 20 miles?

For most of us it’s a gallon of gas or a good day’s hike.  It’s also a heartbeat from annihilation.

On 15 Feb 13, ten tons of rock shooting through space at 33,000 mph (41 times the speed of a 9 mm) entered our atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia.  (Unless you’re an alien conspiracist, in which case 10 tons of alien shuttle craft exploded!)

image from dask camera  russian Meteor
What would you think seeing this?  The end of the world as you knew it? 

The reports indicated approximately 18-32 miles above ground a school bus-sized  meteor exploded with the force of 400 kilotons of TNT!  The explosion created a flash and noise that broke glass, bent window frames, collapsed a roof on a zinc factory and damaged eyes.  Reports indicated 1000 people were injured, mostly from flying broken glass and eye injuries from the blinding flash of light.  A fragment of rock continued to auger in and made a 20-foot hole in the ice over Chelyabinsk’s water reservoir.  I suspect small craters will be found as well. 

These rocks are very small, too small to see in the vastness of space until they enter our atmosphere, so there isn’t time for warning.  Fortunately, these things happen maybe once every 100 years.  But they do happen and there’s no rule preventing another one a week from now.

Collapsed roof of zinc factory
Chelyabinsk, Russia was lucky.  Some small change in course could have leveled the town.  What if the population density was 3 times higher?  How much more damage and how many more injured people would exist?

Imagine this happening over Chicago or Cleveland.

More injured?              Likely.

More damage?             Possibly.

More panic?                Hell, yes!

More unprepared people unable to deal with temporary loss of normal services?

What do you think?

I believe resources like fire, police, medical, and rescue would be pressed into service from quite some distance creating a void in our normally ordered life.  Confusion and disorder would temporarily fill the void and opportunistic criminals will slither out to take advantage of it.  We saw examples of that in New Orleans after Katrina, and I believe we have experienced similar problems on the east coast following Sandy.

So I ask you, are you prepared?

Do you have food, water, fuel, and other supplies for a week?  How about three weeks without power or restocking deliveries?

Can you perform emergency first aid?  Even if you’re not injured in the incident, what about all the accidents and injuries that occur as we cope with the immediate aftermath?

Can you protect the people you love and the supplies you need to keep them alive and healthy?

Are you mentally ready to respond with force if required?

My tactical angle on this?

It’s not about gismos and gadgets or the latest rifles.  A prepared, mentally hard person with a .22 lever action rifle will be more effective than a weenie with an AR with night vision, IR indicator and a 48-round magazine in responding to VCAs.

I’ve always preached we should develop new skills and sharpen old ones when times are good.  The learning curve is too steep when three guys throw a cinder block through your glass slider. 

What do you think?

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