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Patty_Melt's avatar

How bad would a pandemic have to be for you to go bad? See details?

Asked by Patty_Melt (15552points) 1 week ago

If there were to be a pandemic of bottleneck proportions, how bad would it have to be for you to: kill? Steal? Occupy vacant homes?
30% of the world dead? 40%? 50%?

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14 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

Hard to say. Desperation does amazing things. I guess it would depend on how badly it impacted me and what you consider bad. Is killing someone in self-defense (i.e. they are attacking you) bad? If 50% of the world had died and you took canned goods from an entirely empty house…knowing the person died and had no relatives living, is that bad? Is hunting deer (or boars or really any other animal) out of season bad? I guess if I were challenged enough in the areas of food, water, or shelter and my family was suffering/dying, I’d go bad.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Three missed meals would do it for me. I am not sure of the details . Maybe 0%. My problems extend to before the pandemic. Actually the worse It gets the better I become.
I am reversed.
Bad times makes me more helpful.

jca2's avatar

I think it’s one of those things that’s hard to speculate about because the circumstances at the time would determine the course of action. It’s like “what would you do if a stranger walked into your house?” It would depend on where you were, what, if any, weapons the stranger had in his or her hands, the approximate age of the stranger (a 10 year old stranger, a 40 year old stranger, an 80 year old stranger, might all be treated differently), the actions of the stranger, etc.

I think how bad would the pandemic be for me to “go bad” would determine on what resources I had at hand. Would my friends be around to help me in a communal fashion? Would my relatives be able to help me? Would there be other community resources, like food banks or government? Would I still have my home or would I be displaced? Would I have transportation available (would I still have my car with gasoline?)? Are people coming into my area looking to steal or harm? Without knowing the particular circumstances, it would be hard to say.

mazingerz88's avatar

I might steal food for any starving kid if it comes to that. Killing? No need. Just getting a non-showbiz and non-evil new US president is a better way to go about it and remain civilized.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it depends on the availability of food and clean water. I would reduce my food intake significantly to extend what I have and hopefully in cooperation with others we could make plans to survive.

I would bet my state can self sustain. My part of the state we have a lot of local farms, cattle, it would just take everyone wanting to help others and help themselves. That’s my pie in the sky fantasy, but seeing how some people are hoarding and don’t care about protecting others it probably wouldn’t happen during desperate times unless there was a great leader.

It makes me think of Audrey Hepburn recounting her time during Nazi occupation. She spoke of living in a state of starvation and horrors she witnessed and said that if they had known the situation would last for so many years they would have shot themselves at the beginning.

I’d likely die rather than make it through if people took to guns and violence.

Soubresaut's avatar

I don’t think I would think of it in those terms. I don’t think I (or anyone) can just flip a switch and “go bad.” I also don’t think the examples you gave are all at equal magnitudes of “badness.”

Would I kill someone? It would take very specific circumstances before I would consider it something to consider.

Would I steal? It depends on how much the systems in place to exchange goods have broken down. If there’s still a legal concept of theft, I’m thinking it hasn’t broken down completely. I suppose I can imagine that essential things have gotten so scarce that they’re not available to most (only the most affluent), and I might not have legal avenues for survival. In that case, sure. But I don’t think I’m “bad” for having no other options… And I would have to imagine that we’d be more successful in the long run if we’re working together to make things more accessible to more people than we would be fighting each other for scraps.

Occupy vacant homes? That’s not illegal right now where I live (though I know that “illegal” and “bad” aren’t the same thing). What I mean is that people already have “squatter’s rights” in certain areas. I don’t know all the details, but the gist is that if you occupy a vacant home for a certain amount of time, it’s legally yours.

ragingloli's avatar

The dead coming back as zombies.

rockfan's avatar

Not sure, but I definitely wouldn’t do this:

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Really fucking bad. So much so that we’ll probably never get to that point. Think Cormac McCarthy “The Road.” Shit would have to get biblical.

Yellowdog's avatar

You’d be surprised at how little you can live on.

Stealing is wrong ethically, and it’s an actual crime as well—no matter what the amount. But there is a difference between stealing valuables and stealing small amounts of food out of necessity.

When it comes down to necessities, a person can pocket enough food to live on.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I know what I listed as different degrees of bad. I was expecting more than a one sentence answer.
There would be a breaking point. For some, it would snowball after that. For others, guilt might prevent them from committing any other “sins”.
Is there a point when you feel there isn’t enough people left for law to mean anything?
Take a look at the current situation. Although tragic, the percentage of death and illness are quite small. Farmers are killing livestock to cut costs. Truckers were finding it difficult to find places to use bathrooms, and restaurants, so a lot of products failed to move.
People filling streets with picket signs and guns because they want their hair done, and a dinner at Applebee’s.
In the first week fist fights over toilet paper.
(Anyone feeling guilty yet? Or maybe superior?)
Has anyone here taken a few minutes to consider their behavior, and tried to assess whether they should feel any shame?
Have any of you reported seeing someone guilty of licking stuff, coughing at anyone, etc.?

So, if people are coming unhinged now, what would it really take for you? Maybe 20% of the world dead, no idea how many sick, because by then medical testing would be almost impossible. Doctors and nurses swamped, so civilians are doing triage, where possible.
Absolutely no products being moved. Maybe someone with a truck taking livestock from abandoned farms, dropping the animals wherever they can get, and maybe people can butcher for themselves. Power grids start shutting down.
Gonna blame politicians, or try to fill in wherever you can for places where emergency procedures should have been foreseen, but weren’t?
How much do you want politicians to do for you, and how much do you want companies, or individuals to be responsible for?

So, how much would it take? Would you kill your neighbor, if they came to your house looking for food, or hair products, or tp?

How long would you wait, to break into a store? If you wait too long, someone else will beat you to it.

I think so far the answers here have been evasive, dismissive, or not being dishonest with ourselves. Are Americans so coddled we can’t honestly foresee life after massive losses to “civilized” living?
I couldn’t last long. I would have to find access to my medications, and that would require finding an abandoned car really close by. To survive long, I would have to look past laws and self guilt pretty early on.

Soubresaut's avatar

@Patty_Melt thank you for the follow up, not sure I understood the question in that way the first time I read it. Hope this answer is more what you were looking for.

Right now, I’ve had to weigh the desire to do more to help my community against the danger my volunteering could pose to at-risk members of my household. I’ve had to weigh the desire to report violations against others’ concern over retaliation. I’ve had to weigh my desire to remind people in the store to stay six feet back, to wear their mask properly, to follow the one-way arrows in the aisles, etc., against the potential for confrontation. And because there are a lot of people able to volunteer in my area, because most of the people are following the mandate, because most people are changing their behaviors in stores according to our “new normal,” when I am weighing the choices, I am doing less than I would like to do, because that seems proportional to the current situation.

I know things are worse elsewhere than where I live. I’ve participated in various donations for coronavirus relief, have made my views clear online, but beyond that, I don’t know what else I can do in the position I am in.

If things started getting worse, then the balance would change, and my actions would as well. I would figure out what I could do individually in the new situation. I would figure out what I could do to rally the community. I would figure out the order of people in government I contact (to seek support and/or offer support, depending on what’s going on). All of it would be focused on what I could do to help “us” survive (as big of an “us” as I can reach—and I’m stubborn, I’ll keep trying to make the “us” bigger and more inclusive). I would continue to believe there is a collective solution, and continue to fight for it, as long as I could.

And after it’s no longer possible—because I think your intention is we try to push to our limits? If we’re imagining a worst-case fend-for-yourselves situation? Honestly, I have very few “survival skills,” so my odds aren’t great. I would likely find myself in situations where I need to depend on the good nature in others, and hope that good nature wins out often enough.

Patty_Melt's avatar

GA +
That took some honesty and introspection.
I think everyone needs lots of that in order to prepare in any real sense for a future disaster of notable magnitude.
We have many areas ignored as our civilized culture speeds forward. We are leaving huge gaps in what we should be ready for in a disaster.
Company’s are vying for consumer dollars on costs slimmed to the smallest dollars possible.
How to keep merchandise moving?
We all need to take a hard look at what we can do, and what should be done.

AshlynM's avatar

The zombie apocalypse.

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