In a bird flu pandemic, more people might die from other causes than from bird flu itself.
And I DON'T mean 'natural' causes.
Even if you've stocked up your home with all the food, water and immune system boosting herbs you'll need for the next 3 months and you're all set to sit there and read WAR AND PEACE until the bird flu virus burns itself out -- you could still be at great risk.
If you really want to live through the bird flu pandemic, you better have a plan to avoid human germs as well as the bird flu virus.
On a bird flu discussion forum, someone recently posted this advice -- stop tell your neighbors you're storing food and water for the bird flu pandemic. Stop trying to convince them to do the same thing. Make your preparations in secret. Because when there's no more food at the grocery store, and their kids are hungry, they're going to remember that you've stored food -- and they're going to come knocking at your door.
Truly sad words, but obviously have a truth to them.
You definately must think just as hard about the nature of your neighbors as about the nature of bird flu itself.
You must assume that law and order as we take it for granted now will not exist or will be enforced only sporadically.
Your local police are 95% great people with a strong sense of duty. But some of them will catch bird flu too and some will die from it. Some of them will feel their greatest duty is to protect their own families. Others will stay on the job but will be too stretched and stressed out to keep order on every square block of their territory. This is especially true of rural areas. And you cannot depend on the 911 system, which will likely be overwhelmed. And if they're no dispatchers to take calls and send messages -- and no more ambulance drivers or police cars available -- what good is it?
At some point the government may step in and declare martial law, but we don't have enough soldiers to stand on every street corner in the world.
Many neighborhoods will band together for mutual protection.
Many people will band together so they can loot and kill with impunity.
Some people will surprise you. Some gangbangers will use their guns and street organization to defend the people in their hood.
Some "nice" people will take advantage of the lack of civilized constraints to do some not so nice things.
If your neighbors already know you're a bird flu kook, it's too late now to start preparing in secret -- and probably it doesn't matter.
Because if your neighbors get together and decide to go house to house, how're you going to stop them?
And I don't mean they'll be doing it for bad reasons. Neighbors should be keeping tabs on each other to see who's got bird flu. Who needs food cooked and delivered to their door. Who has small children who need watching?
I can understand the stock up on supplies and lock up the door against the world mentality -- I pretty much share it.
But realistically, you'll stand a better chance of surviving the pandemic if your neighborhood works together -- including you.
Because many neighborhoods are going to have to defend themselves against outsiders -- and you don't want to be seen as an outsider who just happens to live on the same block.
You want to be seen as one of the group. As someone smart enough to foresee the pandemic and prepare for it, you should assume a leadership role.
The better you get along with your neighbors now, despite being laughed at for storing food, the more likely you are to keep enough of that food and water for your family.
If your neighbors really are the kind of people you don't want knocking at your door (and I've lived in neighborhoods like that, myself) -- then plan now to get out.
You should do what you can to get out of such a neighborhood anyway, bird flu or now bird flu.
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c 2006 by Richard Stooker
Richard Stooker is the author of How to Protect Yourself and Your Family From Bird Flu and
Bird Flu Blog
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