Social Question

MrGrimm888's avatar

If the lights went out, would you behave? (Details )

Asked by MrGrimm888 (19124points) September 13th, 2016

I’ve always been fascinated by apocalyptic stories. The world considers itself civilized, but if the power goes out for more than a couple days, things descend into anarchy quite rapidly.

So.(Hypothetically, of course)

If a solar flare or something knocked the power grid down where you live, and you knew it would be down for at least a couple months, what would you do?

Would you loot, riot, or steal? Kill to protect your loved ones, or property? Or would you try and hide somewhere to wait for help, like the Army?

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27 Answers

kritiper's avatar

I would do what I needed to do to survive. In breaking the law, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot and eat any bird or animal, even protected species.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@kritiper, would you eat a person, if it came down to it?

I probably would, given no alternative for food.

kritiper's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Can’t say for sure right now. There would have to be a severe shortage of other food possibilities and a lack of means to kill those other foods, or catch them in the local river. I might eat a portion of a person who had just died but I can’t see myself killing someone so I could eat them.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yeah. I meant in REAL bad circumstances.

Thanks for your contribution.

Zaku's avatar

It really depends on the details of the situation. A prolonged power outage by itself is not going to inspire me to asocial behavior. Quite the opposite. I’d probably be helping lead efforts to take care of people’s needs, and/or to make sure people I know of are safe, and/or to get us out of the area.

There is no level of chaos that would have me killing my loved ones. Why would you think someone might do that?

Cruiser's avatar

Head to my lake house where there is provisions, ammo and like minded neighbors who would be a good line of defense and offense. I know if an EMP hit my 66’ TBird would still get us there.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Zaku. I missed where I mentioned killing loved ones?
Kritiper mentioned killing endangered species, as a means of survival. So I pressed him further in that direction to see his limits. I’ve interacted with him before here. He’s a good person, so his answer was predictable. But candid, in that he described the closest scenario. I thought it was GA.

@Cruiser, nice. You might make it until the lights come back on.

rojo's avatar

If the lights went out, it would be less dangerous.

I would still want to be entertained however because I am here.

But, for some reason, I still feel stupid

and contagious.

How low.

Setanta's avatar

OK, Kurt . . .

I’d try to stock up on canned goods and dry foods. After that, i’d have to see what happens. Our power comes to us from Niagara Falls, so I don’t think it would take to long for them to have that up and running again. They’d just have to work abound the fried circuitry.

SmashTheState's avatar

Things descend into anarchy? So people collaborate with each other on the basis of consent and mutual aid without coercion? Sounds great to me. Where’s the problem?

Sneki95's avatar

I like how you assume that no electricity = chaos.

How do you think people lived before electrical power?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^ @Sneki95 It’s proven to be chaotic. In long drawn out format. Most recently in the US after Katrina. Different format than my original question, but people resorted to alternative means of survival than what is legal.

How do you think we’d do without it? Everyone would just cooperate, and help each other? That doesn’t happen in normal circumstances.

Take some time to research what happens in prolonged black outs. There’s always a percentage that takes advantage. Then it gets worse as reality sets in, and people have to resort to ‘alternative means’ to aquire every day items.

If you are diabetic, and you won’t have power for three months, you’re going to have to figure something out, legal,or not. Same with asthmatics, CHF sufferers, epileptics etc. That’s not counting those who would need baby formula, heating elements, fresh water, antibiotics, epi pens, nutritional supplements etc.

Worst of all,most nuclear plants need diesel fuel to keep generators running to prevent meltdowns. No diesel =eventual meltdown.

People in the time before power didn’t have nuclear power plants. FYI…

SmashTheState's avatar

@MrGrimm888 You’re just making shit up. No, that doesn’t happen. In fact, even in the specific example you use of Katrina, all kinds of citizen organizations sprang up to help one another. Or look at Detroit. The media likes to sneer at Detroit as some kind of post-apocapytic wasteland of murder and drugs, but the fact is that there are thousands of people belonging to all kinds of organizations formal and informal which have been fighting the government and the capitalists. The capitalist solution to blight is to bulldoze entire neighbourhoods. The citizens’ solution has been to fix up abandoned properties and move poor families into them – and try to fight off the police, bankers, and neo-liberal shitbags who would rather have a burnt-out wasteland than a thriving community which isn’t paying them rent.

You really need to get your nose out of the corporate media and get some experience at the street level with people who are actually doing things.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Easier to say I simply disagree with your analogy of a failed industrial based city, due to capitalism, and a city befallen by a natural disaster that happened quickly.

I love Detroit, have family there, and quite aware of what ordinary citezens are doing to bring it back. Also aware the Chinese are buying up large areas there. The city will rise again, albeit different than before.

As far as Katrina, you must be kidding. You conveniently left out people shooting at rescue helicopters, and the fact that many gang members were bused to Texas. The community had an addition by subtraction. Many Texas gang units are now over run with gangs from N.O. and their interactions with local gangs. The government dropped the ball (I’m sure you won’t disagree there) in response to helping the people there. Which led to most people’s ‘need’ to ‘loot.’ There was no realistic plan for that event. And the result was basically martial law and suffering.

I’ve personally been through multiple hurricanes, and other disasters where you can tell,it’s just a matter of time before the tension sparks the flame.

If you haven’t waited in line for hours for water that may not be there when you get to that point in line, wouldn’t know what I’m talking about.

As far as the nuclear power plants, they need diesel. You can research it if you want. I don’t care if you believe me.

It’s just a question for fun….Geez.

Cruiser's avatar

@SmashTheState You are missing a very delicate point in your argument, Katrina was an isolated event and rescue came from areas that had power to bring to bear extra resources from their communities. A true nationwide blackout would mean every man for themselves. Initially water would be the first concern and as @MrGrimm888 pointed out personal medical needs will be next and then food. Within 3 days all the store shelves will be bare One to two weeks people will break out into tribes to survive and then let the fun begin. Even the gov is stressing people get prepared for prolonged need to survive and the prepper blogs all know it is for this very scenario and use hurricanes and earthquakes when and EMP is what will cook our collective gooses and there are only so much FEMA resources to devote to the crisis. It will be every man for themselves. Plus it will entirely depend on the weather as if an EMP hits in the winter things will be 100x’s worse. 2 weeks or more of no power =TEOTWAWKI

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yup. That’s the point of the thread.

How do you deal with this new reality?

Seek's avatar

I would survive.

However necessary.

Ideally I would find a sufficient number of like minded people and start our own mini-civilization, and guard it against outsiders as needed. I have a group in mind already.

Should the feces truly strike the oscillator, I would eat you before I starved to death. This life is all I have and I intend to keep it.

Mariah's avatar

Regardless of my behavior I probably would not survive without access to my prescriptions. Let’s keep the lights on :)

Sneki95's avatar

@Mariah I don’t mean to offend you, but what does light have to do with your prescriptions (I assume you mean medicines by that)?

Mariah's avatar

I assume in a full power-grid-outage situation there would be a shortage of medication.

BellaB's avatar

Based on black-out and ice storm situations in the past couple of decades, I think I’ll go with co-operation as having the best odds of allowing me (and my neighbours) to survive.

ucme's avatar

We’d be fine, our house staff would wander about the place holding candles & would hunt pheasant & grouse with grandpapa’s antique blunderbuss.

flutherother's avatar

The lights going out would be bad enough but to have heavily armed lunatics rampaging through the countryside as well would be too much.

Jaxk's avatar

The real problem would be how quickly you’re able to recognize the extent of the problem. No internet, no television, no phones, no news of any kind. How long would it take to realize the lights are not coming back on? Days, weeks, months? Sharing in the beginning would seem normal but as food and water run out hoarding would become a necessity, especially in the cities. Would you recognize the extent of the problem in time. Honestly, I’m not sure I would.

BellaB's avatar

After the ice storm that took out eastern Ontario about 20 years ago, I’ve made sure that I always know where my crank radio (with lights) is. It helped out during the black out and the more recent ice storm. We knew where the power crews etc were and how long the power outages were anticipated to be. Having shortwave functionality helps.

Zaku's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Haha! I somehow seem to have mis-read:

“Kill to protect your loved ones, or property?”

As “kill your loved ones”... did the question get edited? Maybe I am developing late-onset dyslexia and/or bad vision.

I’d kill to protect my loved ones if it seemed necessary to do so, but probably not for property. It doesn’t make a big difference whether the power is on or off, I don’t think.

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