May 2005


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Preparedness or Paranoia?

Those of you who have read the same books I have are probably looking around you today and seeing things in a slightly more sinister light. A bill passed today with a small, un-discussed rider attached: the Real ID bill. This bill is essentially a National ID Card disguised as a driver’s license.

Opposition in the ‘sphere and even popular media has been quite open, including at least one ‘write your rep’ webpage. The bill was hidden into a ‘must pass’ funds allocation to support our troops, so it wasn’t even discussed on the floor, despite the fact that it failed rather quickly the first time it was submitted on it’s own. Near as anyone can figure, the Real ID clause was added to repay a favor to one particular politician.

The most vocal of the bill’s opponents in the ‘sphere makes one point that I disagree with, but the rest of his reasoning is sound. The bill, as written, sucks major ass and will make things worse for every citizen in the USA. I wholeheartedly believe this.

(The point we disagree on is the part that says illegal immigrants will not be able to get this new driver’s license; the author believes this means the illegals will be driving without licenses which somehow makes them more dangerous. A driver’s license is used as legal ID for just about everything, so illegals get them as a ‘gateway document’ which makes it easier to osmos into the system. I don’t think you should be able to get a license without a valid green card or visa.)

Back to the reading. Many future-fiction writers have written of post- or near-appocalyptic America where citizens are required to have their ‘papers’ with them at all times or face punishment by a corrupt and tyrannical government of some sort. The prelude to this government coming to power has always been a steady path: civil liberties are slowly eroded until the citizenry have lost their right (and will) to do anything about the fact that the government has turned them into subjects instead of citizens.

Society is polarized into the rich and the poor, with no middle ground. The poorest citizen with an ID card, however, is still far better off than the ‘unlicensed’ or ‘shadow denizens’ who lurk on the outside of society. They have no access to health care without ID, no access to public assistance, no way to get a job legally. This atmosphere breeds a new level of crime, one where any average person may suddenly and irrevocably find themselves doing anything just to survive. Desperation is rampant.

On top of this, these authors also almost universally discuss how a ‘meltdown in the Middle East’ led to some form of armed (and usually nuclear) conflict has depleted the world’s oil reserves, throwing us into an economic slump not seen since Black Tuesday. Multiple wars break out in the aftermath as the superpowers struggle to lay claim to as many resources as they can to fend off the coming dark age…

So. Here we are today. A terrorist attack makes us paranoid about our security, and our civil liberties are being eroded. We have a war in the Middle East. Gas is almost $2.50 a gallon. You do the math.

Paranoid? Moi? Read on to decide.

So what can you do? Aside from being a huge thorn in your representative’s ass, it’s time for a little preparedness. I’m not saying you should run out right now and build a bomb shelter, but you may want to look to your personal defenses, just in case the government stops caring about them – or caring too much. And before it becomes illegal. Here’s a list of useful items to own:

Firearms and lots of ammo – an obvious choice. Shotguns are a great choice for deterring people intent on taking your stuff, and can be used by anyone. The original ‘point and click’ interface.

An old deisel vehicle. Gas is expensive and will be in shorter and shorter supply, but bio-deisel can be made from used vegetable oil with merely a blender. Get an old car though, something that does not rely on alot of electronics to run. Keep it simple and keep it running. Maybe think about keeping some spare parts for it around as well.

Non-perishable foods. Again, we’re not talking underground bunkers here, we’re talking about keeping some canned goods and simples on hand for emergencies. Water purification tablets also come to mind. And sugar-free Kool-Aid mix to mast the taste of your so-called ‘purified’ water.

Tools. Lots of tools. I can build or repair anything given time and tools, and with the right tools I can build more tools. Keep that last part in mind when you’re at Sears. One of the first tools ever created was a hammer, and the anvil wasn’t far behind. (Rock and a hard place, anyone?)

Books are tools as well. What you don’t know today may come in damn handy later, so pick up some books on living simply and / or off the land. The ‘Foxfire’ series comes to mind. Don’t neglect the sciences, however, unless you want to live in the dark ages. (If that’s the case, replace the shotgun above with a couple of swords.)

A good tent and sleeping bags. Duh.

Take a look around your city and make a note of where the scrap yards are – in today’s disposable society, you’d be surprised at what can be made useful again with a little time and the aforementioned books and tools. Hell, just look at Junkyard Wars for ideas.

Condoms. Yes, you may have to re-populate the country at some point, but plan these things out fer Chrissakes. Keep them in your extensive first-aid kit. (Basically one of everything at the local pharmacy. And don’t forget those bunyon pads, in the rare event you get old.)

Okay, that’s enough paranoia from me. It’s your turn.

2 replies to “Preparedness or Paranoia?”

  1. JustaDog Says:

    In your first sentance, “seeing things in a slightly more sinister” – now who is being paranoid? The Real ID act has been anything but hidden. It has received much press, and much discussion around the blogs.

    You’re either trying to make this something it is not or you need to get your head out of the sand!

  2. The Cyberwolfe Says:

    Hey Lil’ BoWow – it’s ‘sentEnce’, not ‘sentAnce’, and perhaps you should read the second paragraph, where I mention that the bill has in fact gotten a lot of press and blog coverage. The word ‘undiscussed’ points to the fact that the bill was not discussed in Congress by the lawmakers.

    Trust me, my head has not been in the sand on this subject, as I started writing my local Reps and Senators as soon as word came out about the bill – and on the RFID-enabled passports as well.

    As for who is paranoid? That would be me. Pay attention here.