The Christian Survivalist
In late January-early February of 2011 Texas got hammered two weeks in a row by serious cold temperatures and dangerous ice. The cold was so severe that many power plants went offline and we had rolling blackouts that lasted up to 45 minutes in some places (not at the Super Bowl however!) Over 50 power plants in Texas shut down at some point because they could not take the record cold temps on Feb.2.
While my home seemed to have missed the rolling blackouts, the place where I work had to go to emergency generator power for a while, and many of my friends lost power. One friend lost power for only about 20 minutes and it was enough time to freeze the pump to his well!
Combine the power outages with the ice on the roads, and you get a dangerous mixture. There were a lot of accidents on the roads and a lot of cold people in homes and offices. I was prepared and took adequate precautions when I saw the forecast. Were you prepared?
In this blog post today I want to discuss some of the common sense preparations I made for the cold weather and some of the actions I took that kept me safe. Being a Survivalist is about more than prepping for some kind of TEOTWAWKI event. It is about being prepared for as many types of likely disasters as possible.
Elsewhere in this Blog I have written about the various survival kits that I have in my car and on my person. They came in handy these past couple of weeks! I was prepared. Sooo….
Step 1: in my car I carry a bed roll, sleeping pad and, in cold weather, a sleeping bag. One reason I do this is that I live over thirty miles from work and in my line of work, Security, I cannot just abandon my post and my client if one of my officers fails to show up. If I end up working a double shift from 0600-2200 due to an officer who could not make it in due to road conditions, but then my third shift is able to make it in, I am not going to drive home 30+ miles on ice only to sleep about 4 hours and get up and drive back to work on icy roads another 30+ miles. The safe thing to do is spend the night at work!
My client is so good that they have even provided cots, sleeping bags, pillows and food in their emergency kit for anyone who needs to stay. I think that there were about 5-6 of us who spent the night at work during the first ice storm and 3-4 of us for the second storm the following week. One of the guys spent 3 days and 2 nights at work.
Step 2: Pay attention to the weather forecast! I cannot tell you how many times that I have been at work and people got surprised by the weather and were not dressed appropriately or did not have what the weather called for. Part of your daily routine really should be checking the weather forecast for TODAY and the NEXT 5 DAYS, especially during the winter when an ice storm or sudden change in temperatures is possible, and during hurricane/tornado season. KNOW your WEATHER.
Because I checked the forecast I was able to pack a little suitcase with spare clothes for work and off work and a shaving/toiletries kit and bring that with me the morning I thought we might get a storm. I was already thinking and planning ahead. If you live in the bubble of the moment and don’t concern yourself with tomorrow or the next day, you can get caught ill prepared.
Now while I am experienced and skilled at driving in icy conditions, most people in North Texas are not. It is a lot like driving the bumper cars at the carnival or State Fair on DFW highways in a winter storm. Skilled though you may be, you cannot depend on the next guy being skilled. You can get hit by somebody else who knows not what they are doing on ice and snow.
Step 3: Dress for the outside weather. There are some folks at work who never even bring a coat because their car is in a warm garage attached to their warm house. The only cold they experience is the few seconds or minutes it takes to walk from their car to the office. What happens if you slide off the road and get stuck? or if a less skilled driver slams into your car and you have to walk for help? It was 12 degrees with a strong wind the other day here in Fort Worth, and if you are wearing shorts and a T-shirt (as some of my co-workers do in winter) you can get frostbite or hypothermia pretty quick in those kinds of conditions. Dress in layers for the outside, and then you can take off what you don’t need on the inside. But if you don’t have it you can’t put it on when you need it.
I had on some good quality thermal underwear, my uniform (which is worthless in the cold…but that’s another story) some heavy duty, ultra warm socks (which I had not worn since my days in the Army at Ft Lewis over 25 years ago), my uniform coat, and very warm watch cap and gloves. I could survive the cold with this kind of clothing.
I know a lot of folks down here in the Sun Belt in Texas do not own any serious cold weather gear because it rarely gets dangerously cold. About once every 7-8 years or so it gets this kind of cold. This was the third serious cold spell I can remember in 25 years. If you have the money, you need to get at least one set of serious cold weather clothes including boots.
Step 4: Carry extra food, water, and meds. I have a duffle bag that has enough MREs and canned food and canteens of water to survive on for about 4 days at least. Now, the down side to carrying this duffle bag is that on days when it is going to be below freezing, I have to bring it inside the building with me. That’s attractive. “Who’s the doufous carrying that dufflebag in every day?” Yeah well, when my co-worker and I spent the night at work with several others, guess who had food the next morning without having to go out to a restaurant?! Granted it was MREs and canned Chili Mac, but it was food. You really don’t want your canned fruit or your canteens of water freezing in your car, so bring it inside. I do leave it outside in the car in the blazing heat of the Texas summers and that does cut down the lifespan of your survival stash so you need to rotate your stock.
So in this recent cold spell I had Cheese Tortellini and a Chicken Breast that tasted like, well, Army rations. Not the best, but it was food. I shared some of my canned goods with my partner who politely turned down the chance at eating an MRE.
This is an important point about being a Prepper: plan on and prepare for sharing. I am a Christian and believe in trying to practice the Golden Rule from Matthew 7:12 “So, whatever you wish that others would do to you,do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” This blog is named after Mark 12:28-31. Vss 29-31 say, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Prepare in order to share!
If you are medicine dependent be sure to include a few days supply of your meds in your emergency planning as well.
Step 5: Learn how to drive on the ice and snow! One of my crew called off for two days during the first ice storm. We split the OT and got it covered, no prob. But when he finally made it in I talked with him a little bit about learning to drive on ice. Down here in Texas you just don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to drive in the stuff, so everybody goes nuts or stays home scared.
I told the young man to find an empty parking lot and practice. Practice accelerating, turning, skidding and recovering, and stopping. Figure out how your car reacts to the ice. Practice in a safe, empty parking lot or a street with not obstacles.
Step 6: Learn the differences between snow, sleet and ice. Freezing fog, drizzle or rain is the worst. Clear ice is the most dangerous regardless of your skill level. People up north like to brag about all the ways they can handle the deep snow they get. Snow is bad for driving (more about snow later) but we Texans get more ice than snow. Our weather patterns are such that we tend to get ice or sleet more than snow. Freezing rain is extremely dangerous.
Bridges and overpasses will tend to freeze first with the freezing rain. So you are driving along in the rain and the road is fine…until you hit that bridge and you lose it. Even if you are highly skilled in winter driving, clear, glazed ice will get you if a slope or turn is involved. Momentum, gravity, speed and ice are merciless, even if you know what you are doing. Here is where paying attention to the weather is crucial, as well as knowing your route (more about that soon). If you do not realize that it has been 32 or 31 degrees for a little while and you do not slow down at the bridges you are in the danger zone. Without even turning the wheel or stepping on the brakes your car can begin to slide in a wrong direction on ice. Slowing down before you cross the bridge is crucial, but don’t stomp on the brakes! Drive at least 10-15 mph slower than the speed limit on the road if you suspect icing, and as you approach the bridge or overpass, let off the gas, tap your brakes BEFORE getting on the bridge, and stay as straight as you can.
Sleet is easier to drive on than glazed ice. Sleet is like tiny hail, little balls of ice. They make the road surface slick but crunchy. It is still very dangerous, and the whole momentum+gravity+speed thing can still take over your car, but it is wayyy better than glazed ice. Sleet on highways and roads will be able to form grooves as it is traveled on. Being the first guy to drive down a sleet covered road can be difficult, but if a few others have gone ahead of you, there should be some nice tire ruts that actually help keep you safer.
Snow is easier still. The tire tracks can really help keep you safe. But, the problem with snow is if you get a lot of it and if you have blizzard conditions where you get whited out and cannot see. I saw a picture of a highway up by Chicago after their blizzard a couple of weeks ago, and hundreds of cars were stuck on the highway in the snow, going nowhere. Now you are stranded, perhaps far from home or work either one. That is one of the most dangerous situations ever. I read a sad story of a man that was stranded somewhere in a snowdrift for a week or so, and he finally shot himself dead. He made no effort to get himself out of the bad situation, he was simply waiting for someone else to rescue himself until he lost hope. That is pitiful. He was prepared enough to carry a gun in his car, but not prepared to walk out of the snowdrift into warmth and safety.
Being stranded in snow requires most of what I have already talked about: food, water, clothing, warm blankets. Let me add that your cell phone is an important asset at a time like this too. Band together with other drivers, don’t go it alone. Get somewhere safe that is near, don’t try to get home unless it is very close and you are certain you can get there.
Step 7: Know your route and recon alternative routes. I have 4 routes out of my neighborhood plus one other route but it goes in a direction I just would never take. I have 3 ways to get to downtown Ft. Worth and then two ways to get to Hurst, 3 if you count taking the access road. From Hurst I have 2 ways to get to Grapevine (other side routes are also available but do not make sense in most situations). In good weather I go one set of ways, in icy weather I go a couple of different ways.
Many people are just in a little bubble on their way to and from work. My wife likes to explore different ways and she knows a lot of side streets to take if construction or weather block her path to work. Listen to the radio for traffic reports if you live in the city.
My shortest route home from work is 27.5 miles. It is also the slowest. My quickest route is 32.5 miles. That’s a 5 mile difference. Know the different routes to and from your normal places that you travel. Ask yourself hard questions about your routes. Are there danger areas that would potentially cause you a problem if your car breaks down? Is one route prone to flash flooding? Is there an overpass you can park under if a hailstorm happens on your way to work? Is there a steep hill and a stop sign at the bottom that would be impossible to stop at in icy conditions?
Step 8:Communicate! Let someone know when you leave, where you are headed, which route you are taking, and when you are expected to arrive. Have that cell phone handy, and a car charger. If you have trouble, get stuck, call someone and tell them where you are and what your plan of action is.
I usually leave home before my work partner. I will sometimes call and give a weather or road conditions report to her before she leaves. If I am running late I can call my desk officer and advise him of the situation. Communicate!
Conclusion: Winter storms are nothing to take lightly, there are serious dangers that you should take under consideration. Plan ahead, watch the weather, dress appropriately for the outside, practice driving, communicate.
Here are a couple of stories about the power problems in Texas. Hmmm, what would happen if all the power went away, for months? or years?
I want to thank Jim Rawles over at SurvivalBlog for publishing this piece on his blog:
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BANG BANG BANG!..BANG BANG!
POP POP!…POP POP!…POP POP!
The gunfire from up ahead startled us, rousing us from the mind numbing cold; the three of us immediately squatted down behind the nearest stalled cars for cover.
John scurried up to me, saying, “What the #@%^ is going on up there?”
The gunfire continued intermittently, with a couple of other guns joining in. I heard pistols of at least three different calibers, and a shotgun.
“I don’t know, but it sounds like a pretty good firefight. I know that the housing area up ahead comes right down to the road and that it’s all middle to upper-middle class. It seems like a really nice neighborhood in Hurst. There is a Tom Thumb grocery store up there. Maybe the food riots have started?”
“You’re not thinking of going through the middle of that mess are you Ryan?” asked my partner, Liz.
“Not if there is still shooting going on! We can continue along HWY 36 for a bit, and see if we can get an idea of what’s going on. But no, we can take a detour through this housing area and still get to Precinct Line. There is no need to get involved in whatever mess has started up there. My whole idea of traveling at night was to avoid the herd, avoid trouble, and not be seen. From what little contact we have had tonight, when people see us, they get worried because I am carrying this SKS carbine and both John and I have pistols. We get too close to some scared folks and they might just shoot us for no reason.”
“OK, let’s spread out a bit more and change our formation. John, you move up to second in the order but walk on the north side of the road and stay just a bit behind me. Liz, stay a bit behind John and get in the left lane. Let’s be careful to use the stalled vehicles as cover and concealment. From this point on we are not just walking down the center of the road, we have to be very careful. But neither are we going to crouch and scurry from cover to cover. We have to balance being careful without being too suspicious.”
We continued down the highway toward the sound of the gunfire and the shouting. I had not reconned an alternative route through the neighborhood but I generally knew that one of these side streets would take us south to link up with the next major East-West road and get us to Precinct Line. Perhaps I was being foolish for wanting to get a little bit closer to the commotion, but I wanted to get some idea of the problem thinking it would be helpful to know what was going on.
I began to see some movement up ahead; it looked like people running across the road from right to left. No more gun shots for a while, just the sound of a crowd- lots of yelling and screaming. We went one block more before we came up on somebody behind a car. It looked like a cop!
“Excuse me officer,” I said, after carefully slinging my carbine, “can you tell me what’s going on?”
He kind of jumped as he turned around to see us, and he did have his pistol out, which was now pointed at me.
“Who are you and why are you out here with that rifle?” he asked with a stern, strained sound in his voice.
“I am security officer Ryan Waller, of ————-Security and this is my patrol officer Liz. This is our friend John from the client company we were guarding. We are simply trying to get home after the attack today and I just happened to have this carbine and backpack in my car. I have a CHL, and so does John, and I have a hunting license, and John and I are both veterans. Is there anything we can do to help you?”
The officer slowly turned his gun in another direction and said, “OK. I’m officer Kurowski from the Hurst PD. I’m on my way in to the PD to see what is going on. I was at home on my day off when the bomb or whatever went off. I have had nothing but one disaster after another to deal with since about noon. I helped deliver a baby a few hours ago. With no communications it is real hard to get a grip on the situation, you know.”
“We were all at work close to DFW, right on the flight path to the West runway, and planes started dropping out of the sky. I counted four jets that crashed right around us. We have seen a lot of death since noon yesterday,” I told him.
“I was coming down the highway and heard the shooting, now I am trying to figure out what to do next,” the officer said.
“To me it looks like the foot traffic up ahead is coming from the area by the Tom Thumb grocery store, which would make sense. People are probably realizing how bad the situation is now and the looting is starting,” I added.
“Yeah, that is probably right” the officer agreed.
(for a glimpse of how bad it can get, read this article on the food riots in Haiti after the Great Earthquake of January 2010)
“You don’t have a partner?”
“No, all by myself.”
“You just have your pistol?”
“No, I have my AR right down here.”
Then I saw that in the darkness he had his AR-15 lying beside him.
“My friends and I were just going to try to take a detour around this problem. We are headed to Loop 820 where we will try to camp out during daylight hours. You’re not going to try to stop this riot by yourself are you?”
“Well, something needs to be done, but one cop in this armed crowd is not going to accomplish much,” he said.
At this point I began shivering and shaking almost uncontrollably. Crouching down in this cold and being still after walking for the past couple of miles and now I was Very Cold. I needed to either put my coat on or get moving. I hated the cold.
“Look, the route we are taking would go close by the Hurst PD. Why don’t you join us for the rest of this leg of our walk” I offered. “I am a bit unfamiliar with anything other than the highway and Precinct Line. Maybe you could guide us in?”
POP, POP, POP….POP, POP went a 9mm.
BOOM! BOOM! answered the shotgun.
More yelling and screaming.
The officer leaned toward the sound of the guns.
“Hey, I know you want to go help, officer, but you are likely outnumbered.”
“Well, I’ve got do something!”
“Well crap!” I said, “I am not going to let you go into that mess by yourself. Let me drop my ruck here and pull out my jacket and badge and I can help you.”
“John, you and Liz don’t have to do anything here but I am going with officer Kurowski here to see about helping the situation up ahead.”
“Hey, I’ll go with you,” John said. “One more gun won’t hurt.”
“I’m not staying here by myself,” added Liz, “and my uniform and badge might help even if I don’t have a gun.”
“OK, then, we’re all in. John, let me give you my extra badge from off my belt. Just pin it on the left side of your jacket there. That will make you look somewhat official. ”
I carefully looked around at which car we were by and where it was on the road. I tested the door and it was open, so I off loaded my gear into the car and shut the door. The others followed suit. I donned my jacket which did not fit well at all over my web gear and bandolier of ammo. But it was better than nothing and the badge would show. I pulled the bayonet out and snapped it into place on my SKS.
“Sweet!” said Officer Kurowski, “I wish I had one for my AR!”
“Well, technically it’s illegal to have this bayonet on the weapon, but right now it seems to be a real good idea,” I responded.
I thought that what we were doing was both right and yet incredibly foolish. I would likely die here tonight. This wasn’t our fight, we were just trying to get home. But walking away from this brave police officer, and letting him face the mob alone, was unconscionable. Sometimes the right thing just slaps you in the face and says, “Listen to me!” And you have to listen. Even when it is costly and doesn’t make sense. We had walked away from a dying woman earlier tonight, because we had no means of helping her. We tried to help another one, trapped in her car beneath the plane wreckage. She died while we watched. Our co-worker had died in agony in the parking lot, impaled by a piece of the jet that went down across the street. We could not do a thing to help him.
This time, maybe, perhaps, we could do something to help. Or get ourselves killed.
Officer Kurowski led the way and I was to his left about one step behind. John was to Kurowski’s right and about three steps back. Liz brought up the rear in the center. As we approached the Tom Thumb we saw a lot of people milling around in the dark and some loud, angry shouting coming from the front door. Two guys came toward us dragging a woman on a coat, bleeding heavily.
“What’s going on up there,” the officer asked.
“Oh thank the Lord, the police are finally here!” said one of the men. “Everyone just kind of started showing up at the store and with the power off they couldn’t operate their cash registers so it turned into kind of a mob scene. Then some young, tough guys with guns showed up, and started taking over. Somebody started shooting and then it all got so chaotic….”
“Yeah,” said the younger of the two, “this lady got shot so we are dragging her out of here.”
“OK, slow down, slow down!” said Officer Kurowski. “How many guys were there?”
“Four. No five…wait a minute…I’m not sure. Either 4 or 5”.
“What kind of guns were they armed with?
“They all had pistols and one had a shotgun.”
“I don’t think so.”
“What did they look like?”
“I kind of think they were either teenagers or early twenties, from the sound of their voices they were white I think, they were wearing ski masks but they sounded white. They were all kind of average height, athletic maybe…it’s hard to tell when they were wearing coats and ski masks. One guy was pretty tall though, maybe 6’4″. ”
“Where do you think they are?”
“They were in the canned goods when the shooting started. Some others had carried their pistols in as well. I don’t know what the fight was about, but it just looked like these young guys were trying to run everybody out. ”
Then, we saw another couple of folks come stumbling out of the store, obviously wounded. They went past us and would not stop when the officer tried to question them.
“Alright, here is what we need to do,” said officer Kurowski. “I don’t think we ought to just charge in and try to find them, let’s let them come to us. We will hide out here at the entrance and get them as they come out. I will confront them as a Police Officer to ascertain if they are hostile or not. We still don’t have all the facts. If they drop their guns, fine, if not, if they start looking like they are going to shoot, we will have to open fire. But you three have to wait for me to confront them, understand?”
“Sounds good to me” said John.
“Yeah, me too!” I said.
I unholstered my Ruger and gave it to Liz. “Here, I know you have fired a pistol before. Do you think you can handle this?”
“Sure! Where’s the safety?”
“Right here on the slide, it is already up so it is ready to fire. The first shot will be double action, which means it will have long hard trigger pull. The other shots after the first one will be single action with a very short and easy trigger pull. DO NOT POINT THIS GUN AT ANYONE YOU DON”T WANT TO KILL. Use two hands, point it at the center of their chest and shoot til they drop. Got it?”
“Uuhhh, yeah, I guess so…”
Officer Kurowski led the way into the store to the right side of the entrance, I took the left. John was behind Kurowski and Liz was behind me about 4 steps. The store’s emergency, battery powered lights were on so there was at least some light in the otherwise darkened land.
Right as we cleared the entrance and approached the check out stations, five masked men came out from the far end of the store, headed our way. The Officer and I and John all immediately squatted down behind the counters, but Liz was caught in the open. We heard a shout, then a shot, and the sound of a bullet hitting the glass at the front of the store. Liz immediately scurried for cover back in the entrance of the store, out of their sight. She gave me a thumbs up sign to indicate she was still with us and ok.
We could hear the gang noisily coming toward the entrance with two shopping carts each talking loudly. I think they may have been drunk. That hasty shot they had taken at Liz let us all know these guys were indeed trouble. They bypassed the check out stations and were now between us and the glass wall beyond which, in the parking lot, there were still people. Great. Any errant shots on our part could hit a bystander.
Suddenly, Officer Kurowski rose up enough to get his AR-15 across the counter and pointed at the gang, and he called out loudly, “Hurst Police! Freeze! Drop your weapons!”
As soon I heard his voice, I stood up too and leveled my SKS at them, bayonet forward. John, in the next aisle also stood, leaning across the counter, pistol aimed.
How long it was between Officer Kurowski’s challenge, our joining him, and the first shot fired by the gang, was probably only about one second, if that, but it all happened in slow motion. It seemed to take forever. I saw the quickest of movements by the last guy, followed by the flash and bang of his pistol. Officer Kurowski’s rifle also went off just a fraction of a second later with several shots. My 2 shots followed as I had the lead guy in my sights. I saw my target crumple. I dimly heard John firing behind me and saw the number two guy fall. I switched to the number three guy and fired two more quick rounds and he was down. The fourth and fifth guys were already down. Total elapsed time may have been 3 seconds. Or three years.
My heart was pounding, my ears ringing, I had difficulty breathing. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Liz standing in the entrance with my gun in her hand pointing at the gang.
Officer Kurowski shouted out, “Five guns down, is everybody alright? Everybody OK?”
We all responded affirmatively and I asked him, “You OK officer?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Keep your eyes open guys, there may have been more than five!” I hollered.
Cautiously the Officer started approaching the five downed bad guys. I eased around the counter to provide cover. Liz stayed at the entrance and started keeping the crowd at bay. Her uniform and badge came in handy. And my Ruger in her hand. John stood as rear security, making sure no one surprised us.
The officer carefully kicked away all the guns on the floor, then started checking for vital signs on the downed gangsters. All five were dead or nearly dead with multiple holes in each. The ambush went better than any of us had hoped. As it turned out, the fact that they saw Liz at the entrance and not us, worked in our favor.
Kurowski checked the vital signs on all five. Three were dead outright, two others were out and barely breathing, gasping and gurgling sounds coming from their chest wounds, with 3-5 wounds in the torso of each. The Hurst Police Officer then checked for ID on each of the hoodlums. After finding wallets on four of the five and getting their licenses, he began the task of pulling off their ski masks to visually confirm their IDs. All four matched, but the tall kid had no ID. One kid was 16, one 17, two were 18.
“Hey, should I make a quick trip around the store looking for any other victims?” I asked.
“Yeah, better do that. You and John go ahead, I will stay here with Liz and keep the crowd at bay.”
John came over and asked, “Would you mind if I took the shotgun, Officer? All I have is my pistol and I could use a bit more firepower.”
“Go ahead. He won’t be needing it,” he responded.
John bent down and picked up the 12 gauge and checked it. It was empty and safe. Then he rifled the pockets of the dead kid. He found a total of 12 rounds of #4 shot, loaded three into the gun, chambered one round and put it on safe.
“How about getting one of the pistols for Liz to carry so I can have my Ruger back?” I asked Kurowski.
“Sure, I’ll take care of that while you guys search the store.” Then he started pulling the holster from a guy that had carried a Glock 19.
“OK, John, you go left and I will go right, looking down the aisles, at the end, turn around and wave at me, then we will go down the length of the store to that middle aisle and come in and meet in the middle, then do it again in the back of the store. Got it?”
“Rodger that Ryan!”
John and I split up and started going slowly through the aisles one at a time , looking for victims. It didn’t take long.
I found two dead and one seriously wounded in the bread aisle, John hollered out that he had a couple of wounded and one dead at his end of the store. Officer Kurowski spoke to the gathering crowd and asked for volunteers to come in and assist with the wounded and dead. A handful of folks responded.
After thoroughly searching the store we found a group of eight employees in the back hiding. We let them know it was safe to come out. We found a total of five dead and seven wounded scattered throughout the store.
The store had already been pretty much trashed and the shelves were about half empty. On the way back from the back of the store John and I both stuffed some small items in our pockets and down our shirts.
Once we rejoined Officer Kurowski at the front we led the litter teams to where the victims were. One of the guys on the crowd was an off duty Hurst Fireman; he began treating the wounded.
It looked like things were settling down now, the crowd was backing off instead of rushing in to loot because we had stacked the dead right at the entrance to the store.
With things seemingly under control now, I felt like it was time to leave Officer Kurowski and continue our journey. It was now about 6:00am, and we were far from where I wanted to be camped. I was worn out physically and emotionally.
“Officer, it looks like you have everything under control here now. I would really like to continue our journey. I wanted to be in our camping spot before sunrise, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.”
“Ryan, you guys probably saved my life here tonight, and the lives of others. I would like to make an offer to you. If you can stay for just a while longer, we can all go on together to the PD. I would like you all to make your statements there. An added benefit would be that you could probably spend the day there and sleep inside instead of making a camp. You might pick up some valuable information as well.”
“Well, I hadn’t really thought of that. As beat as I am, knowing the PD is much closer than where I was intending to set up camp, that sounds pretty good to me.”
“You guys ok with that?” I asked Liz and John.
They both consented. They looked as beat as I felt.
“OK, look, we left our stuff back in one of those cars. WE have to go get all that and then we will be right back.”
“Alright, see you in a few.”
We headed through the crowd into the dark and hoped we could find the right car that had our packs. After just a little bit of searching we found the car, retrieved our packs (thank God they weren’t stolen), place our few goods from the store into our packs and returned to the store. Officer Kurowski was letting people into the store with the employees acting as referees. Controlled looting was better than what had been taking place.
Kurowski told the Fireman that we would go by the Fire Station on Precinct Line Rd. and tell them where he was and how many victims. Then we set off into the dark. It was 0630 Wednesday morning, November 7th, 2012. I had killed two teenagers in a gun battle and seen lots of death in the last 18 hours. I felt some of the adrenaline rush effects still, but my legs were getting weak and wobbly. I desperately wanted to get home to be with my wife and son. If they were even home. The scenes of shooting those kids kept replaying in my mind. Welcome to the end of the world as we know it.
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The devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010 has created a TEOTWAWKI scenario that “preppers” and “survivalists” should pay attention to and learn from.
The first lesson is that in this fallen, sin-filled world, disaster can strike anytime, anywhere from numerous causes. Haiti is the poorest place in the West for lots of cultural and political reasons. These poorest of the poor, who had next to nothing, had even that taken away. None of us are exempt. A tornado can devastate my home of Fort Worth, or a flood. An earthquake can strike our west coast or even in the heartland. A hurricane can devastate the gulf or east coast.
Second, culture and infrastructure matter. When you compare the loss of life in Haiti with a 7.0 earthquake with the loss of life in the Oct. 1989 earthquake in northern California, also a 7.0, you see that wealth and a strong culture have built a society that is more safe. 63 people died in the California quake and very likely 100,000+ died in Haiti.
Third, Government can never respond quickly enough in large scale disasters. While the response to the Haiti quake of 2010 was very fast and came from the US, China, Russia, France and many other places, it is still not fast enough to save many lives of those trapped in the rubble. It has now been 4 days since the quake. Statistically we are no longer in the rescue mode, we are in the recovery mode. I have read articles of Haitians complaining that our help was not getting there fast enough. Where was the World when Katrina destroyed New Orleans?
America is the favorite whipping boy of the world, but when disaster strikes, we are “firstest with the mostest!” And still we get criticized.
The lesson here though, is that Government cannot always save you in a disaster, You have to save yourself and your family. You may be spared instant death by God’s grace, but then you must be prepared to work out your salvation by being prepared in advance.
This means that in some huge disasters, all of your possessions, all the food and water, guns and ammo you have stored up is gone. Plan A failed, then Plan B fails. Now what? Plan C is mainly all about attitude and training because Plan C is what happens when you have NOTHING left from a disaster.
Some folks may have the means to have another survival kit stashed away from their primary residence, but close enough to get to on foot. More likely, however, Plan C will involve knowing where to go for assistance and safety. With hurricanes you can get some advance warning. Not so with tornados and earthquakes.
I almost always travel with THREE LEVELS of survival kits. I have on my person, almost always, a swiss army knife, a lighter, another knife and a few other things in my pockets. My next level is an over the shoulder bag, an Army mapcase, that has a LOT of other survival items. I am almost always armed with a handgun as well. In my vehicle I have a substantial survival kit that can be carried in my rucksack.
Notice, fourthly, that the situation in Haiti got very stoneage quickly; survival of the fittest, might makes right, the law of the jungle are coming into play. The people there do not have guns, they have machetes. And the gangs are taking over. Food fights. Killing over a water bottle.
Don’t think for an instant that it can’t happen here. A terrorist state like iran or North Korea launches a high altitude EMP nuke and 1/3 of America is now without electricity, communications or transportation? Yeah, it would go stoneage in a day or two. And we all have guns. Total anarchy can happen when technology fails a techno-society.
In the news article below, notice that masses of people from the Haitian capital of Port Au Prince are moving to the countryside. This is a valuable lesson for both city dwellers and those in the surrounding countryside. In case of a massive TEOTWAWKI event, many thousands will likely head for the countryside from the chaotic, dying cities, bringing the chaos and death with them.
Invision yourself living in the many small towns and rich agricultural lands of North Texas, within about a 75 mile radius of the DFW Metroplex after a great disaster. Hundreds of thousands of people pour out of the big cities and suburbs into Weatherford, Granbury, Denton, etc. And those are actually cities themselves. Look at the map for the smaller towns like Morgan Mill, Tolar, Perves, etc. They will be flooded with hordes of hungry, angry, desperate people.
If you can’t foresee the disaster and get out of Dodge in advance, then you will likely be stuck in the herd migration or, like me, you will decide to stay and fight it out in the city.
Don’t look for the blue helmeted heroes from the Ugandan Army serving with the UN. I doubt they will show up to help us. And if they do, I would have to consider if they are really here to help,or if they are here to takeover. It might be militia time.
In conclusion, pray for Haiti, but prepare for Hell on earth. It can happen here.
Equality 7-2521Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As the three wary travelers marched silently down the deserted highway, and got closer to the three mile mark, the businesses became more numerous alongside the road. We had left the Data Center about an hour and a quarter ago, so it was around 2:15 am. It was so strange to not see anyone out on the road, even though that was the reason for our leaving in the middle of the night. With the exceptions of the dying woman, Sandy, back at the 747 crash site, and the stoner in his car by the two mile marker, we had seen no one.That was about to change.
Up ahead and to my right I saw the flash of a lighter or match as a cigarette was lit in front of a store. I briefly paused, turned around to look at Liz and John, pointed to my eyes, then held up one finger, and pointed to the store, and brought my hand back to my mouth as if I was smoking. John nodded his head.
We crouched down behind a car and conferred.
“There is at least one person who came out of that store up ahead and lit up. We could just keep on walking and scoot to the south side of the road, or we could go over there and talk with them to see what’s going on” I whispered.
Liz said, “Well I don’t see what’s wrong with going over there and talking with them. They might know some things that we don’t. I would kind of like to see other people; people who aren’t injured and dying, that is.”
“Yeah, we could get some good intel from them, at least” John said.
“OK, I guess I am just being a little bit paranoid. Some intel and human contact would be good. But we need to be on our guard. If they see us with all our gear and guns, they might try something. And we might frighten them too. I mean, I am carrying this rifle. Let’s go talk with them but John, you lead, then Liz. I will be in the back and sling my rifle.”
With that conversation done, we stood up and walked toward the store where that someone was still standing by the door smoking.
As we got closer, the guy at the front of the furniture store turned and looked at us approaching. John called out, “Hey! You doin’ OK in all this mess?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” the man replied, “And it is a big mess.”
“Y’all are out walking late tonight. The crowd pretty much stopped around midnight. Why’re you guys still out?”
“Well, we got off to a late start. We work up the road there where all the planes decided to crash. A lot of people died, buildings are on fire and stuff” I stated.
“You guys military or cops?” he asked as he saw my camouflage uniform, rifle, and Liz’s badge.
“Naw. I just had these hunting clothes in my car. We are, or were, security for a place though. We haven’t really seen anybody along the road except for a couple of casualties and one guy sittin’ in his car gettin’ stoned,” I said. “We were just interested in finding out if there was any news, where everybody is.”
“Well, we have quite a few people in here. There are lots of sofas, beds and recliners in here so people are spending the night. There’s no heat so it is cold. We have a few more open spots if you want to stay. That big gun might scare a few folks though,” the man said.
“Thanks, but we aren’t going to stay. We’re gonna keep on walking tonight. But if you don’t mind, we would like to talk to anybody still awake to hear their take on what happened,” I said. “My name is Ryan, by the way. This is Liz and this is John.”
He extended his hand and I took it, “My name is Armando. I work here. I live quite a ways away from here so I thought I would spend the night and see if things are better in the morning. My boss walked on home and left me in charge of the store. After dark I started getting a lot of people coming by asking if they could come in to rest. I figured it was a messed up situation so I just opened the door to whoever, you know.”
“Come on in and rest for a bit,” Armando said.
There were some nice chairs and love seats right by the front door, so we took off our packs, I laid my rifle down on my ruck, within easy reach, and sat down for a bit. John and Liz sat down across from me and Armando.
“So what happened where you were at,” asked Armando.
I proceeded to tell him about the lights going out and then the jets crashing down around us. I told him how we divided up the food and had a talk about what likely caused all this and then everyone left but us.
“Why didn’t you three leave with everybody else,” he asked.
“I knew there would be a lot of people on the road, so I thought it best to travel at night, with less people around. I don’t like crowds; especially scared crowds.”
“You got that right, mister. All kinds of people came by. A lot of women and kids crying and stuff. A lot of very upset, nervous people.”
Right then, a big man walked up and said, “Yeah, upset and nervous! That describes most of us. Where you folks from? Where are you headed?”
John replied, “We are from just about three miles or so north and we are all headed west. A long ways west!”
The big guy said, “I live in North Richland Hills, but I walked all the way from Northpool. I think it was about 8-9 miles. By that time it was dark and I saw this store and Armando said I could spend the night. I’ll get home tomorrow for sure.”
“Did you see the jets crash?” asked Liz.
“Oh yeah! That was horrible! Just a couple of minutes after the lights went out in the restaurant we all heard the crash. I went outside to see what was going on and about a mile or two away I saw the smoke and flames. Then another one crashed, closer to us. I think I saw at least 5 or 6 planes crash. I didn’t know what to think. But when I realized all the cars were dead…that’s when I got really worried. After a while though, I went back inside to finish eating. I began to think I might not see anymore food for a while.”
Armando broke in, “I would offer you some snacks but our vending machines are all out. With the power off they wouldn’t take any money, so after a while I broke them open to feed these people.”
John broke in, “That’s what we did where we work. We just opened up all the machines and divied up the food amongst everyone. And we got lucky, someone left some frozen dinners in the freezer, so we got a bite to eat before we left.”
“How did you heat them up?” asked the big guy.
“We got a pan out of the kitchen and made a campfire and cooked them all together in a stew,” said Liz.
“Well that’s smart thinkin” said Armando.
At this point a young guy in his twenties came over to join us. “Hey, do you guys know what exactly is happening? What is going on around here?! Nothing works anymore. Not my cell phone, my laptop, nothing. I can’t get any news.”
I told him what I thought: “I am positive that we are in a nuclear war. A couple of our co-workers were outside when the blast hit. It looked like a very high altitude nuclear blast; it blinded one of the guys. Right after the blast all the electrical stuff died, cars, everything. That is from an EMP wave. What we don’t know is if this is just local for DFW or if this is all across the nation. Our suspicions are that it was launched by Iran or the North Koreans, or both. Basically this shuts down all power, everything electronic and electrical. This will be like this for weeks, at least, months or even years probably. Sorry for the bad news.”
The young guy started cursing. Armando muttered some things in Spanish. The big guy just kind of sobbed.
“Anybody here coming from the west, the Fort Worth area?” I asked.
The young guy responded, “Yeah, I was coming back from Fort Worth. I live in Lewisville. My car died on 121 by the Precinct Line Road exit, so I walked all this way before stopping here for the night.”
“So what was the highway like?” asked John.
“It was scary, that’s for sure. Cars and trucks dying left and right. Just in my little piece of it I saw 3 wrecks involving big rigs that just ran over some stalled cars. It was bad. A lot of people waited around but the police never came, the fire department didn’t respond. I guess because no one had a working phone. Several people were hurt and a couple were killed. One wreck started a fire. After a while though, people just started walking; going back to where they came from or going on to where they were headed. It was chaos. I tried getting on my wireless internet..nothing. Everything is gone. It’s all gone.”
“Then, on Precinct Line and HWY 36, it was still messed up but not as bad. I didn’t see any wrecks at least. But lots of scared, confused people. I stopped off at the Hurst Fire Station on Precinct Line, but they were just as clueless as everyone else. A couple of them talked about nuclear war too. There were a couple of people who got blinded by the flash along the way . I guess that’s what it is. Nuclear war.”
“Well guys, we need to get up and get back out there on the road. We have a long way to go” I said to John and Liz. We had been in the store for about 20 minutes and had rested up some, but now I was quite chilled from sitting still. We had only gone about 3 miles from the data center and had about 7 more miles to do tonight.
“Where y’all headed” asked Armando.
“I am not real sure but I know we have to make it about 9-10 miles to space out our trip. We all live too far away to cover it in one night. We’ll find somewhere to sleep. Do you have a restroom that is working?”
“Oh yeah, we still have running water, no hot water though.”
Each of us took our turn in going to the restroom and we also topped off our canteens in the kitchen. Then we rucked up and headed out, thanking Armando for his hospitality. It was getting close to 3 am as we hit the deserted road again.
From this point on the roadside would be crowded with businesses so I anticipated seeing more people. At about 3 1/2 miles we passed a cemetery; that kind of creeped out Liz. At the 4 mile mark there was a big shopping center on the left. I could see some movement over there, even in the dark, but we needed to make up some time so we kept on marching.
At the 5 mile mark though we came across some fast food places and I got an idea. It could have been because I was getting hungry. That Lean Cuisine meal had evaporated. There was an Arby’s just at the 5 mile line so I halted our troop and crouched behind a car. Liz took the opportunity to light a cigarette.
“I am thinking of checking out this Arby’s up ahead, seeing if they have any food.”
“I don’t think they are a 24 hour place, do you think they are still open?” Liz asked.
“Well, I’m thinking it might be like the furniture place, there may be some people holed up in there, maybe an employee left. But we need some food and all these fast food places will either be looted or the food will go to waste in a couple of days. Let’s check it out at least.”
“Heck yeah, I’m starvin’ ‘” agreed John.
We stood up and walked across the road and cautiously approached the Arby’s. I saw no movement inside the dark windows and stepped up to the door. It was unlocked. I pushed it open and entered muzzle first with my rifle.
“Who’s there?” a worried sounding woman asked.
“Just some travelers looking for some food, ma’am. Who is in here?” I added.
A man answered, “We have a couple of families in here resting for the night. We have our kids with us.”
“OK, there are 3 of us and we were just interested in buying some food. Anybody work here, or are y’all stranded?” I said.
“There’s a teenager over here who works here but I think she’s asleep. They still have some food left I think. They were just giving it away so it wouldn’t be wasted.”
A sleepy, scared voice, mumbled, “Yeah, go ahead Mister, take what you need.”
I shone the flashlight on the voice and it showed a small teenage girl in an Arby’s uniform.
With that the three of us came on in. I turned my flashlight around and saw about 5 adults and 6-7 kids sprawled out on the floor. The one woman gasped when she saw my rifle.
“David, he has a gun!”
“Hey now! We don’t want no trouble,” the presumed David said.
“We’re not robbers, you don’t have to worry. Relax. Let us just get some food and we will leave.”
“OK. Yeah, sure, it’s right over there” he said nervously.
Liz walked over to behind the counter and found several cold, wrapped Arby’s sandwiches. She got out a bag and filled it with 5 sandwiches and some cold, almost frozen fries. Then we left.
“Thank you! Y’all take care now!” I cheerfully said as we left. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. Obviously people were afraid of us since we looked well armed. “We can eat while we walk,” I told my two friends.
Liz passed out two sandwiches each to John and me while she started eating the one she got for herself. The roast beef sandwiches were dry, we didn’t get any sauce, and cold, but not yet frozen. The fries were disgusting, cold and limp, but we ate them anyway. It wasn’t time to get picky.
I did feel bad about taking the sandwiches without paying. But, given the situation, what the other customers and the Arby’s teenager had said, and just the common sense reality that by tomorrow those sandwiches may not be good to anyone, I think it was acceptable. Was it looting? I don’t think so. It was orderly, there was an agent of the store who authorized it, and it prevented waste. Looting would probably start tomorrow, or, I mean later on today when the sun came up. But the sandwiches were like the vending machines back at the data center, and the furniture at the furniture store. We were experiencing a disaster of Noahic proportions, and people were trying to help others.
It was close to 4 am, just another 3 hours of darkness and a little over 5 miles to go to where I wanted to camp. But it was also the coldest part of the night. From now til 8am it would be frigid. Hopefully the cold sandwiches would provide the needed fuel to warm us up as we trudged on towards home. Finished with the cold Arby’s I pulled out my canteen and took several swallows. Even in cold weather like this, it was easy to get dehydrated on a road march. I motioned to Liz and John to drink too.
Coming up after mile 6 was a part of the road that could prove different: a residential housing area and a large grocery store.
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With the orange flames of the downed jets lighting our way on the cold, clear night, we departed our Data Center at one in the morning, Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, just about 13 hours after the very high altitude EMP blast shut down everything electrical and electronic in the DFW metroplex, and maybe in the whole country. Without radio, TV, internet, cell phones, or transportation, we were literally and figuratively in the dark. There were three of us: John, a computer guy with the Data Center, Liz, my patrol officer, and myself, Ryan, the security supervisor at the Data Center. Our co-workers had all departed around 4:30 in the afternoon, on foot (except for the two older cars which still worked), but we had waited until night to avoid the crowded roads of desperate people.
John and I had been preppers for a while and our cars were equipped with survival kits containing food, water, shelter, weapons and ammunition for the long walk home. Liz always kept some extra food in her car, but was otherwise unprepared, scared and lonely, not wanting to travel the 35 miles home alone. After everyone had left the Data Center, we had scavenged some goods from the first aid boxes, three frozen Lean Cuisine dinners somebody had left behind in the freezer and a few other items.
We were leaving behind a co-worker who died after he was impaled by a piece of the jet that crashed across the street to our north and blew up. We were located on the final approach path to DFW International and planes routinely came in over our heads at about 1500′, wheels down. Jared had been placed inside his car instead of being buried. No one could think in those terms yet. In the parking lot of the company who had the south side of our building was another dead body, Takeisha, who had lived for a while as we tried to free her from her crushed car, but died after we could not extract her. A 747 had crashed on the highway just a few yards south and east of our building, and a large piece of the aircraft had landed on her Mini-Cooper.
We were also leaving behind, not just our own cars, but our jobs and our way of life. The world as we knew it ended at 1205pm, yesterday, Election Day, as somebody, probably Iran, maybe in conjunction with the North Koreans, attacked us with nuclear weapons. Our world had died in the silence of an EMP blast. Welcome to the 13th century; welcome to the Twilight Zone. I remembered reading Pat Frank’s apocalyptic novel, “Alas, Babylon” as a kid, and just a few years ago reading William Fortschen’s “One Second After”. Now I was living it.
I had about 27 miles to walk home, Liz had 35 and John 40. I was in my mid-fifties, not in the best of shape or health, but I had started a walking program about 3 years ago, after reading Fortschen’s book, so I was better than I had been. John was in his early 30’s and Liz in her mid 40’s. The only advantages I had at this point were that I had the right kind of weapons and survival gear with me, I had mentally prepared myself for this kind of situation, and I was not alone.
John and I both had 9mm pistols and about 135 rds of ammo between us; I also had my Norinco SKS carbine in 7.62X39mm, complete with a Russian bayonet. The bayonet was illegal, but under current conditions, that was no longer a concern. I had a couple of hundred rounds for the SKS in a bandolier across my chest. Liz was unarmed.
As we headed out I kept my SKS on safe, but with a round chambered. My Ruger was in my side holster and I took it off safe. I put my watchcap on my head and the gloves on my hands.
It felt like it was about 20 or 25 degrees. Liz took her final puffs from a cigarette and threw it down. I looked at John and he said, “Let’s roll”, quoting the hero of Flight 93, Todd Beamer. I nodded, turned, and set out at a slow 2-3 mile per hour pace, quite slow, but I was carrying my ruck sack and about 65 lbs of gear. Our journey home was beginning.
“Do you really expect there will be trouble out here tonight?” Liz asked. “Is it really going to be dangerous?”
“As long as we stay together, stay alert, and stay armed, we should be OK. But, yeah, I think things may get a little primitive very quickly,” I told her.
We walked along the east side of the building, by the creek and the trees, until we passed the car where Takeisha’s body was and we turned west in the light of the fire from the 747 crash on the highway right past the building. With no Fire Department response, the fire was still going and slowly spreading. We got to the entrance of the parking lot and turned onto Kendall, headed east, and then crossed the train tracks and prepared to turn south when we heard a cry.
There in the middle of the road was a person still alive, but obviously severely injured. Despite what I had told our small crew about our not being able to help anyone, and that our number one job was to get home to take care of our families, we all went over to the injured person.
She had on a coat but part of her coat, face, arms, and legs were badly burned. Liz squatted down and tried talking with her: “Can you hear me?”
“Yes,” faintly. “Can you help me?” she pleaded.
“What’s your name, honey,” asked Liz.
“What’s hurt? Can you walk? What happened?”
“I was…. driving when the….. jet crashed …….and blew up,” she stammered. “My car crashed….the fire started….somehow I got out. I can’t….walk….the burns….the burns hurt soo…sooo bad.”
In looking at her with a flashlight I could tell that she had third degree burns on her face, arms, and legs. As to why she could not walk, I did not know if her legs were broken, her spine was severed, or the burns were just too bad.
I asked her, “Do you know why you can’t walk? Are your legs broken? Does your back hurt?”
“I…can’t feel my legs at all….they don’t work …anymore. It’s like ….all numb. But my face and arms….the burns hurt…sooo much.”
She had a spinal injury. Great. Third degree burns, a spinal injury, sub-freezing weather, and no 911. I felt utterly and completely useless and helpless. And she was asking for help.
I dropped my heavy rucksack, laid my rifle down on the ruck, and joined Liz in squatting beside Sandy. “Let me give you something for the pain I said” as I started rummaging through my bag of goodies I took from the Data Center. I found some packets of Ibuprofen, opened them and got out my canteen.
“Liz, can you prop her up a bit so she can get a drink and take these pain pills? Here you go Sandy, take a few drinks first.”
She eagerly drank from my canteen, then I gave her the 4 Ibuprofen tablets, which she swallowed quickly. Then, Liz laid her back down.
I had several packages of burn ointment from the first aid kit as well; I started tearing those open and applying it to her face and hands. The coat seems to have melted to her arms, so I did not touch that.
“John, look in some of these cars for any blankets or coats, anything to cover her up with.”
“Yeah, OK,” then in a whisper, “I thought we weren’t going to play hero?”
I whispered back, “Let’s try to find something to cover her up with and then we will leave.”
John looked in about a half dozen cars before he found something that was like a seat cover, and he brought it over and gently laid it over Sandy.
“Sandy, nobody’s phone is working, so we can’t call 911. We are going to have to go get help. It may take a while, OK?” I stood up and heaved on my ruck with a groan.
“Please, don’t…leave me!”
“Sandy, it’s a very bad situation, it’s like a nuclear war or something,” Liz said. “We can’t stay right now, but we can send help when we find a cop. You just have to wait here honey.”
With that, Liz stood up and we started to walk away. We heard Sandy pleading with us to stay, as we walked slowly into the cold dark, with consciences in flames as bad as the buildings and cars behind us. Slowly her cries faded, but Liz was crying now. I had a lump in my throat. John said, “Well, that basically sucked.”
“There was nothing (sniff, sniff)…that we could do. Was there?” Liz asked.
“We did all we could do. We had to leave. There will be more bad situations ahead, Liz, there just isn’t anything we can do,” I told her.
We had traveled a half mile in 30 minutes and things were not getting off to a good start.
As we walked along the highway we passed empty car after empty car. It was surreal in the flickering orange glow of the fire behind us and our shadows before us. We did not see any more people during the next half mile, thankfully. But as we neared the fuel tank farm on the right, across from the High School’s parking lot, full of cars, we did see something ahead that didn’t look right on the railroad tracks. As we got closer we smelled diesel and saw that a train had derailed after hitting a fuel truck.
I guess the truck had likely stalled on the tracks entering the tank farm and the train ran into it. There was a jumbled up mess of train cars all up and down beside the highway and into the woods ahead. How nothing blew up or caught on fire I have no idea, and right beside the tank farm too. Though curious, I thought it best to not even go near it looking for the injured. How many more disasters would we find? In just our first mile I had seen enough death and destruction, but I figured it would get worse, a lot worse, before it got better. If it got better.
We were almost at the two mile mark (I had previously planned my route home in case of an emergency and I knew all the mile markers the whole way home) when a door of a car we had just passed suddenly opened. John whirled around and drew his pistol, Liz gasped and I slowly stopped and turned around.
“Hey! Don’t shoot! Jeeze guys, relax!” said the chubby man getting out of his car.
“Freeze! Don’t move!” said John.
“Ok, Ok, man, relax willya? Are you guys cops or military or something?” he asked as he looked at my rifle.
John lowered his pistol and I pointed my rifle away.
“Sorry man, we’re a bit jumpy. A lot of weirdness out here tonight,” said John.
“No, we aren’t military or cops,” I said. “We are just three friends trying to get home.”
“Do you know what happened? Like, is this the end of the world or something man?” the guy asked us.
“I am pretty sure it was a nuclear strike,” I told him. “Some of our co-workers saw the flash in the sky and then everything went dead. That’s called an EMP strike; it basically fries out all electronics, computers, phones, everything electrical.”
“Yeah man. Like all of a sudden all the cars just died. I saw some airplane crashes and then the train wrecked. It was like a bad trip man. So what’s going to happen? I mean, like, when are the cops going to get here?”
“Soon, yeah soon,” said John as he started to back away. “We gotta be going, if we run into a cop we’ll tell him you’re here, OK.”
“Cool man, yeah! I’ll just wait here till the cops come, I got a blanket in the car.”
“Yeah, OK, see ya!”
As we turned to go and started walking down the road again, John leaned over to me and said, “That guy reeked of weed. He was higher than a kite.”
“Strange,” said Liz.
“Yeah, weirdness is out and about tonight.”
I stopped a little past the two mile marker and took off my ruck, laying it on the hood of a Mercedes Benz.
“Why are we stopping?” Liz asked as she blazed up a cigarette.
“I need to re-lace my boots; they have loosened up a bit and are starting to rub my feet wrong” I said.
“And when you light up a cigarette, you need to shield it, and squat down here beside a car. You are giving our position away with that lighter.”
“What do you mean?”
“People can see that lighter and even the red glowing tip of the cigarette from a long ways away. I’d rather people not see us coming. Cup it in your hand when you light it and when you inhale. And no smoking unless we stop for a rest.”
“Oh, sure, OK.”
After re-lacing my boots, rucking-up, and making sure everyone took a drink from our canteens, we continued walking past the two mile marker and entered the next small city passing empty car after empty car. Businesses on either side, were dark. But were they empty? Did all these people just vanish? Did they make it home? No one was out walking on the road with us yet. Were they staying in the businesses for the night? Were the buildings locked up or open?
No more did the flames of the downed jets light our path with their hellish tint; only the moon was giving us light for the journey now, and softer, gentler was its light than the angry tongues of flame behind us. Now, it was just an orange glow on the horizon to our north and east. The road was dark, cold and seemingly abandoned.
******* To Be Continued*****
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After the power shut down and the airplanes had crashed and everyone was trying to figure out what to do, Tami Davis tried to start her BMW without success. It was dead just like all the other cars in the Data Center’s parking lot. But at least her car had not been damaged by the flying debris from the crash across the street! Her car still looked good. She got out of her car and wandered over to her co-workers and listened as they talked about the disaster and the death of Jared, one of the best guys in her division. The intense fire across the street from the downed airliner was putting out heat and smoke all across their parking lot. She saw people from that building staggering away injured, burned and dazed. She hadn’t planned on any of this for her schedule today.
Stan, the Data Center Manager was calling everyone together for some kind of meeting so Tami drifted over to where he and George, the chief engineer, and Ryan, the security guard, were standing. Stan told everyone that we were apparently in a nuclear war and that a very high altitude nuclear blast had sent an EMP through the area knocking out all electricity and everything electronic or computerized. That was why the airplanes were crashing and why the cars wouldn’t start. Then he went on and on about the muslims and how this was all their fault…and she got bored and somewhat offended by how prejudiced this sounded. Not that she had any muslim friends, she didn’t even know a single muslim, but she just thought all this talk of terrorism and war with the muslims was overdone and bigoted.
After the long speech by Stan, the security guard began to preach, of all things. With a Bible and everything! That really offended her, especially when he started talking about everyone being a sinner. She drifted to the back of the crowd out of disgust and boredom and wandered back to her car to eat the little snack everyone got from the vending machines that the engineers and security had broken into. Everyone got two snacks and a can of soda or bottle of juice or water. She chose water because she was always on a strict diet keeping her perfect body in good shape.
About the time she finished her snack the “church” gathering broke up. It was time to head home apparently; on foot. Tami linked up with three of the guys who lived close to where she lived in Plano to see about walking home together. She wanted to get home tonight before it got too late.
“Hey guys, let’s go, I don’t want to be out walking all night,” she said.
“All night!? Tami, do you know how far it is to Plano?” asked Brent incredulously. “It’s over 30 miles to my house and you live a couple of miles past me!”
“OK, so we better get started,” she replied.
“Tami, this is going to take a couple of days to get home,” said Eric, joining in the conversation.
“A couple of days!? What are you talking about? It can’t take that long; it only takes me about 45 minutes to drive in to work as long as the traffic is nice,” she exclaimed.
“Look, we are going to have to walk most of the night, and maybe find someplace to spend the night. Then we will walk most of the day tomorrow before we can get home. Thirty miles is a long way.”
“You’re serious? Well crap. I hadn’t thought it would take that long. Bummer” she said.
“Well, let’s all four stick together since we are going pretty much the same way,” said Trey to the others. “It’s safer that way.”
“Yeah,” said Brent and Eric.
“OK, let’s get started. This will be kind of exciting!” said Tami.
The three guys just looked at each other and shrugged. Tami was brilliant with the computer network, but seemed a little clueless about the severity of this disaster.
“Well, we have to get to Hwy 115 to head east, so let’s go up Cavendish to Northpool,” suggested Brent.
“Do you think we can get past the fire? It looks like that jet crash may have blocked the road,” said Eric.
“Let’s head up the road and see, but we will have to go around over there, it’s just too hot right here on the street,” said Trey.
The four started off through the parking lot to the west and then turned on the far side of Cavendish to head north to Northpool. It was about 4:20pm, three and a quarter hours since the lights went out.
Tami was wearing her trademark skin-tight, hip hugger, blue jeans, a sweater that didn’t quite cover everything, and a light coat. On her feet she had a pair of nearly knee high fashion boots with high heels. She had no gloves or cap. Trey was in a pair of cargo shorts with tennis shoes and a T-shirt with a light jacket- definitely not dressed for the occasion. Brent had on dockers, loafers, and a T-shirt but had a decent coat and a hat. Eric was in blue jeans, sneakers, a flannel shirt and a good coat with a hat and gloves. Tami was in good shape, she ate healthy and always worked out in the gym to maintain her perfect figure. Trey was way overweight, perhaps 200 lbs overweight, and not in good shape at all. Brent was athletic and in great shape and Eric was about average, maybe 40 lbs overweight and pretty much a couch potato.
As the four co-workers turned up Cavendish, they could see that the road was blocked ahead by the tail section of the airliner that had crashed. The tail was a good 100 yards from the front half of the airplane that now was in the building behind the one across the street from the Data Center. But the burning fuel and explosion had gone through the backside of that front building. One wing was also across the street, blocking their path. The fire had spread to a building on the west side of Cavendish so the foursome had no way through on this street and had to turn back right at the start of their long walk home.
“Okaaayyy, that didn’t work out so well,” grumbled Eric.
“Well we can just go down Kendall to HWY 36 and get to 115 from there,” suggested Brent.
So the four headed south to Kendall and turned east. But the closer they got to HWY 36 the more they realized that road was blocked by the airplane that crashed just south and east of their building. That one was a huge 747 and there was no way they could get around that inferno.
“Well, guys, I guess we will just have to take Kendall all the way around to Northpool,” stated Tami.
“Yeah, but that is like a two mile hike,” said Trey.
“Add those two miles to the 30+ miles we have to go to get home,” murmured Eric.
Between their two false starts the four had already walked about a mile in their first 20 minutes, but it was a mile of going nowhere. Now they started trudging up Kendall which would take them two miles in the wrong direction just to get to the right highway to then begin heading home, adding a total of about 4 miles to their trip.
After about a mile of walking up the long gentle hill, Tami’s feet were starting to burn. The boots were her favorite boots, she really looked good in them, but the high heels weren’t made for all this walking, and it seemed like her feet were moving around a tad too much inside the boots. She was already starting to fall behind and had to consciously work to keep up, even though she was in great shape.
But Tami wasn’t alone in struggling to keep up. Trey was huffing and puffing as he swished along. Weighing in at almost 400 lbs, he was having a time of it.
“Brent! You’ve got to slow down! We are having a hard time keeping up with your long legs, c’mon, wait up a bit would ya?” Tami called out.
“Oh, geez, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was going that fast.”
“Yeah dude, you’re running us all into the ground,” panted Trey.
“Tami, why don’t you get up here in front and you set the pace then.” suggested Brent.
So Tami moved up to the front, joining Brent, and started walking, but noticeably more slowly than they had been.
After about 15 minutes they could see the intersection with Northpool, and quickly gained their first objective.
“Hey guys, can we take a breather?” huffed Trey.
“Well, we haven’t gone that far,” said Brent, “but sure, I guess so.”
“Great,” said Tami, “My feet are really hurting.”
“That’s not good,” said Eric. “We still have over 30 miles to go!”
“Don’t remind me,” she said.
By now it was about 5:00pm and the sun was getting close to the horizon. Already they could feel the temperature dropping with the sun. After about a 10 minute break, Brent got them up and moving again. Trey had a tough time getting up and Eric gave him a hand. Tami winced as she stood back up.
The four friends joined the parade of people walking down Northpool in both directions. Cars were stalled everywhere. A few of the cars still had occupants, somehow reluctant to leave their car and join the crowd. Some of the people were openly weeping out of shock and fear, others were laughing and joking like it was all a game. Most had a very serious, grim even, look about them. Some were traveling in obvious groups, sticking together. Most, however, were lonely, desperate individuals, trying to survive and get home.
They saw an elderly couple barely walking, with canes for support, arm in arm. A young mom with three small children, one in her arms, her other hand holding the tiny, trusting hand of her oldest who in turn held the even smaller hand of a girl about 3. One tragic story after another passed by in both directions on Northpool as the four computer geeks journeyed on.
There was a small crowd stopped just ahead, with several people bending over. As Tami got closer she saw a middle aged man, overweight, lying on the ground with a purple face while someone was trying to do CPR. The stress of the day combined with the walk must have been too much. They continued on towards the highway and saw another man face down in the middle of the street, dead. No one was stopping. An older woman, all alone, was sitting down on the curb crying. She could go no further and no one was helping her. They were passed by a young man in a wheelchair, pushing himself home. They passed a blind man with a red tipped cane and wearing shades, flint faced, doggedly going forward, not afraid of the gathering darkness.
They finally made it to HWY 115 in the dark and after a journey of about 4 miles, most of it in the wrong direction. It was now getting very cold and Tami’s feet were killing her. Trey was panting and huffing and puffing. After all of this walking and they were really only about a half mile from the Data Center as the crow flies, but due to the crashed jets, they could not take the shortest, direct route.
“Let’s rest for a bit guys. My feet are getting blisters,” she said. Trey quickly seconded that motion and they all sat down on the cold, hard concrete except for Brent who paced nervously. But after only a few brief moments of sitting on the overpass, the dropping temperature caused all four friends to get chilled.
Eric said, “Man is it cold! Let’s get movin’ again to stay warm. Let’s just not go quite as fast.”
“What do you mean, ‘not go quite as fast’? We’re already going way to slow for me. At this pace we aren’t going to get home for a week! Let’s head out” said the frustrated Brent.
Brent, Eric and Tami stood up, but Trey was reluctant.
“C’mon big guy, let’s go,” said Eric to the 400lb Trey.
“I don’t know if I can, man. I have about had it.”
“No you don’t! You’re not quitting on me now,” said Brent as he reached out his hand to help Trey get up.
Slowly, ponderously, the big man gained his feet, huffing and puffing, grunting and groaning. Despite the cold air he was visibly sweating. Once they had Trey up they set out down the entrance ramp to HWY 115 east bound. Many others were doing the same.
After about another twenty minutes of walking at a much slower pace than Brent preferred, Trey pitched forward onto the concrete, cracking his head with a loud thump, and lay completely motionless. Tami immediately panicked, screamed and began crying, “Trey! Trey! Oh no! Help! Help!”
Brent and Eric immediately stopped and bent down over the huge man. Even in the dark they could see the blood all over his face and on the road surface. It took both of them to roll Trey over.
“Hey man, listen to me! Can you hear me bro’?” said Eric. “C’mon man, are you OK?”
Brent placed his fingers on Trey’s throat by his jugular to check for a pulse.
He quickly moved his hand away, “He’s a goner; he must have had a heart attack.”
Tami shrieked, “Noooo! He can’t be dead! We have to get help!.” She instinctively pulled out her cell phone and tried to call 911. Nothing. Dead. She knelt down and tried to talk Trey back, grabbing his shirt. The stench of his released bowels was now filling the still night air.
Eric bent down and felt his throat again, “I think I feel a pulse! He may not be dead!” He bent his ear down to Trey’s mouth to listen and feel for breath.
Brent bent down again and took his pulse again and said, “No man, he’s dead I tell you. Even if he is not yet dead we can’t call 911. Who could help us? We can’t carry the man to a hospital. I don’t even know where a hospital is around here. He’s gone. We just have to leave him.”
“What!?” Shrieked Tami. “You can’t just go off and leave Trey behind?”
“Tami, what do you expect us to do? We had to leave Jared back at the Data Center, he died. There is nothing we can do here. Trey is dead, it’s cold and its dark. We have over 30 miles to go to get home and it’s already close to 6:oo. C’mon, we have to leave now.”
And the crowd of people on the Highway around them did not gather, they shuffled on in the dark, desperate to get home and in from the cold. No one offered to help. No one could help.
So they left Trey on the pavement where he fell. Brent and Eric grabbing Tami by her hands and dragging her forward, crying softly in the freezing night air.
On they trudged with the herd of humanity; but Tami was limping now, the blisters on her feet burning. Finally, she caught the high heel of her right boot on a crack in the pavement and broke the heel completely loose from the boot, twisting her ankle in the process. She fell down on the concrete, bruising her knee and scraping her hands.
“Ohhhh! Owww!” she cried out.
Brent and Eric stopped and tried to help her up, but now she was lopsided with one high heel and one broken boot; combined with a twisted ankle and her already blistered feet, Tami was not going anywhere very fast.
“I can’t walk like this!” she protested. “My boot heel came off. What am I going to do?”
“Well,” Brent said, “I guess we will have to break off the other heel to make them even. You might be able to walk on them then.”
“Yeah, that’s the only way,” chimed in Eric. “Sit down over here on the grass and give me your other boot.”
Tami hobbled over to the grass beside the highway and sat down, then tugged her left boot off. Removing her sore, blistered feet from the uncomfortable boot felt great! She handed the boot to Eric began trying to wrestle the heel off.
After several minutes of wrestling with the boot, Brent, obviously frustrated, took the boot from Eric’s grasp. He wedged it in the guardrail somehow and wrenched it violently until the heel came off. Unfortunately, so did part of the sole. He gave what was left of the boot back to Tami and gruffly said, “There put it back on and let’s get going.”
Tami groaned as she wriggled the boot back on and staggered when she stood up and tried to walk. With her right ankle twisted, she was compensating with her left, and the sole of her left boot was now so badly damaged it was almost useless.
Brent started off walking, and Eric followed, but Tami could not keep up, even at the slower pace. She was crying softly as she limped.
“Guys,” she sniffled, “this isn’t working. I can’t keep up. It just hurts too bad. My ankle and my feet just can’t go on.”
“Look, WE HAVE TO KEEP GOING,” shouted Brent impatiently.
With that Tami broke down into sobs, shuddering in the cold.
“Chill out Brent, man!” said Eric. “She can’t walk anymore, those boots are a mess and she twisted her ankle.”
“Well what do you want to do? Carry her?” asked Brent angrily.
“Yeah, maybe we should give that a try. C’mon.”
“OK, Tami, hop onto my back and I’ll carry you piggy back.” said Eric.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, c’mon, get up here.” With that Eric squatted down in front of her and she climbed onto his back. The three headed out again, but Brent kept slowly getting ahead of them. Sometimes, when Eric called out to him, he would wait for a while til they caught up. But after about 20 minutes of this, probably around a mile, Eric was giving out.
“Hey man, slow down…wait up a minute,” he huffed and puffed. “Can you carry her for a while? I’m beat!”
But Brent kept on walking, maybe even a bit faster. The distance between them lengthened and in the sea of darkness it didn’t take long at all for Eric to lose sight of Brent. There were still several others on the dark highway so it was confusing at first, but then Eric knew that he could no longer see Brent. He had left them. He could feel Tami’s cold tears on the back of his neck.
Finally, Eric stopped and dropped Tami. She landed on her feet with an “Ouch!” but she did not fall to the blacktop.
“I’m sorry Tami, but I can’t go on anymore,” he wheezed. “I just can’t carry you any further. You’ll have to walk. I will go as slow as you need but I just can’t carry you. I need to rest for a while.”
“Hey, there’s a burger joint over there on the access road, let’s go over there and get some rest,” Tami suggested.
“Yeah, that sounds great; maybe they have some food we can eat.”
The Wendy’s had about 15 cars in the parking lot, left there since 1205 and the bomb going off. Of course the lights were out and it was pitch black like everywhere else so they could not tell if anyone was there as they slowly approached the door, Tami leaning on Eric.
They tested the door and it was unlocked so they entered the pitch black, stone cold fast food restaurant. Tami pulled her cigarette lighter out of her pocket and flicked it on. In the wavering light they did see a handful of others in the restaurant sitting at the tables. One of them had a flashlight and flicked it on the two newcomers.
“Ooooo WEeeee, look at the nice lookin’ white girl, ” he said. The light went slowly from her face to her neck, to her chest, her belly, her groin and then her legs. A lot of hootin’ and hollerin commenced with a cacophony of jeers, whistles and cat calls with crude comments.
Quickly, Eric grabbed Tami and turned back to the door from which they entered and attempted to leave, but a strong arm appeared out of nowhere and blocked his path while another arm reached out and grabbed Tami, none too gently. “Now don’t y’all get in no hurry and leave this here party. You look mighty cold and we can sure get you all warmed up if you stay!”
“Let go of me!” Tami yelled as she whirled and hit the young man who grabbed her. He then grabbed her arms and pinned them down to her sides and turned her so that she could not even kick at him.
Eric took a swing at the guy blocking his path but received a punch in the nose for his trouble and went down to the floor moaning, grasping at his bloody nose. Then the man started kicking him and shouting, “Whatchu gonna do white boy? You’re all bleeding and stuff now!” And he kicked him unmercifully into a bloody pulp. Others joined in the fun until Eric passed out.
Tami was being pulled down to the carpeted floor by three different guys, one for each arm and one for her feet. She started fighting like a little she devil but only got several punches in her face for her trouble. She was knocked almost out, but not quite. As they ripped her clothes off of her, she knew what was about to happen.
A few hours later, about 1 am, the men had finished with her and left the restaurant. She was barely conscious, naked, bloody, and shivering uncontrollably. She rolled over to her hands and knees and started to grope for her clothes. She crawled around but only succeeded in bumping her bruised and bleeding head against several chairs and a table. No clothes. By this time it was certainly in the low twenties inside the Wendy’s and Tami was going into shock. The cold reached down inside her so that, on top of the wounds she had received while being brutalized, now she ached deep down inside from the cold.
She crawled over towards the door and found Eric’s cold, lifeless body lying face up in a pool of his blood, eyes half open. She collapsed on the hard tile floor, shaking, trembling. Her eyes were growing heavy and the darkness got strangely darker. Soon, she was no longer shivering, she was drifting off to sleep, where it was warm.
“We are leaving an hour later than I wanted, it’s almost 1am, so I hope to be at our bivouac by dawn, around 7:30 am.”
I put on my web gear and fastened the belt and then I put my Chinese bandolier of SKS ammo over the top of that. Finally I squatted down, grabbed my ruck and threw it over my head, putting my arms through the straps.
“Ugh! This is gonna suck” I said.
With that little op order out of the way, we set out from the Data Center. Our little camp fire was still going but it was on concrete and would burn out safely. The fires around us illuminated our way for the first leg of our journey, but the moon was coming up now too. It was only about a quarter moon, but with no clouds, it would provide sufficient light once we were out of the glow from the fires.
As we headed out I kept my SKS on safe, but with a round chambered. My Ruger was in my side holster and I took it off safe. I put my watchcap on my head and the gloves on my hands. It felt like it was about 20 or 25 degrees. Liz took her final puffs from a cigarette and threw it down. I looked at John and he said, “Let’s roll.” I nodded, turned and set out at a slow 2-3 mile per hour pace. Our journey home was beginning.
“Do you really expect there will be trouble out here tonight?” Liz asked. “Is it really going to be dangerous?”
“As long as we stay together, stay alert, and stay armed, we should be OK. But, yeah, I think things may get a little primitive very quickly.” I told her.
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The lights went out about six and a half hours ago, and the airplanes began crashing to the ground within a couple of minutes. Plumes of fire and smoke rose from the four crashed airliners in our immediate vicinity casting eerie shadows in every direction in the gathering darkness, but closer to DFW, and around the whole metroplex in every direction, numerous fires were boiling heavenward as funeral pyres of the airliners that had not survived the disaster. The abandoned cars and trucks in the parking lot and on the street in front of the data center where I worked also testified to the mysterious power of the EMP blast that had apparently stricken our country. No radio, no TV, no internet, no communications drove home the point that we had reentered the 19th century and may be heading for the 13th century quickly.
Everyone else had left the data center over two hours ago. Besides myself there remained my patrol officer, Liz, and a friend, John, with whom I had had many talks about surviving a disaster of this nature. We had elected to stay until about midnight when the moon would come up rather than move out with the herd of people who would be walking home on the highways in the afternoon and early evening. I preferred to avoid the herd when possible and use the cover of darkness to E&E my way back home. But home was still about 28 miles away for me, closer to 35 for Liz and 45 for John. It was going to be a long walk home for all of us.
And cold. Tonight’s forecast called for a low in the lower twenties with no clouds. Tomorrow they had said there was a strong probability of snow or ice. This would make for our third winter storm in three weeks in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Can you say hello to “global warming?” This was our fourth bad winter in a row; it looked more like the Ice Age because even the summers were cooler now after that blistering summer of ’09. With the setting of the sun about an hour ago, the temp was already dropping noticeably.
After watching all of our approximately 60-70 co-workers depart, except for poor, dead Jared, now sitting in his car (since nobody wanted to bury him), the three of us had conducted an inventory of what gear, food and supplies we had. Then we went through the data center collecting supplies from the first aid kits and a bit of food left in the kitchen. Now we were sitting out in front of our building watching the end of our world.
The fires from the downed jets around us were spreading, and that was of some concern. I wanted to take a nap this evening before we set out on our journey, but not if there was danger of a fire in our building. It wasn’t the fire across the street in the shopping center, nor the fire two blocks north that bothered me. The jet that crashed just south of us was my main concern.
“Hey, before we get surprised by a fire, let’s do a recon to the south side of the building and make sure we’re safe ,” I said to John. John, also prior military, agreed.
“Liz, you coming?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said as she nervously lit another cigarette, “ain’t nothin’ else to do and I’m not stayin’ here by myself.”
We shut the door on the way out and headed around the building. I chambered a round in my SKS and placed the rifle on safe.
Because what little breeze there was was coming from the west now, the smoke was not as bad as it had been earlier. As we approached the south side of our building we could see that the 747 had crashed just past the building on the highway just as Jim and Andy had told us earlier. The fire was still intense, and had spread to some buildings southeast of our building and across the highway, but there did not seem to be any danger of fire here, despite some of the trees and shrubs between the parking lot and highway being scorched. We did see a lot of damage in the parking lot from pieces of the jet that had exploded on impact and from the fire. Some of the cars clearly had heat damage but apparently nothing on this side of the highway was on fire. All the glass was shattered on this side of the building and several cars were hit by pieces of the exploding jet.
We saw no people initially.
But then we heard a cry mixed with a moan.
“What was that?” asked Liz.
We turned back to a car that had been almost crushed by a piece of the jet. It was a Mini-Cooper and it looked like a crushed Coke Can with a huge piece of aircraft resting on top. Inside, incredibly, was a person trapped and alive. The woman was seriously injured but conscious.
“Hello!? Can you move? Can you tell us how badly you are hurt?” John hollered into the car while we both shone our flashlights inside.
A groan came out first, then, weakly, “Yeah, I’m hurt bad. I can’t move at all. I think my legs are broken and my right arm and shoulder. Ohhhhh God, can you get me out of here? Please help me, please…I don’t wanna’ die! Where is ever-body?”
“What’s your name ma’am?”
“Takeisha, I’m Takeisha. Oohhhhh God it hurts. Can you give me anything for the pain? Please, I hurt all over.”
She was sobbing and coughing and fading in and out it seemed, as she struggled to talk to us.
From the looks of things this big, heavy chunk of aircraft had crushed the roof, windshield and hood of the car down onto Takeisha, pinning her inside. The steering wheel had plowed into her legs, giving her compound fractures of both fenurs . The roof caved in more on her right side and was crushing her right shoulder and arm; her arm was also cut wide open with bone exposed. Her head and face were all cut up from the glass; there was more blood all over that car than I cared to ever see again.
We began trying to open the driver’s side door but it was so warped that it wouldn’t budge. The window had popped out and shattered so we could reach the young lady but every time we tried to tug her free she shrieked in agony without moving an inch.
“Look, this isn’t working,” I said. “We can’t get her out this way.”
“If we could get something to pry open the door maybe we could get her out,” Liz said.
“OK, I can go back to the chiller plant and see if they have any pry bars and then I’ll come back. Y’all watch her and try to comfort her while I’m gone.”
“OK, sure” John and Liz agreed.
I started walking back to our side of the building at a brisk pace until I reached the door to the Central Plant. I thought I had seen a pry bar in there at some point months ago. Sure enough, I found it in the northwest corner of the plant, and a crow bar alongside it. I hoisted both heavy steel bars on my shoulder and made the return trip to the accident site.
Takeisha was out at the moment which helped us as John and I started trying to pry open her door. We pulled and we pried and succeeded in bending some of the metal here and there, but the crushed door would not open. The injured woman woke up after about twenty minutes of our strenuous but fruitless efforts and she started moaning and crying out in agony again. Liz tried comforting her but to no avail.
We continued working on getting her out by reaching through the shattered window and trying to pry up the steering wheel that was crushing her legs. We got it up a bit but not enough to free her. We worked until about an hour had passed and realized, we just could not get her out. She was passed out again and breathing very shallow, her pulse was very fast but weak.
“Guys, we need to step over here and talk,” I said.
“Look, I don’t think we are able to get her out of the car with what we have. She is still losing blood and even if we get her out of the car, what are we going to do with her? Call 911? I don’t know what to do.”
Liz said, “Well we can’t just leave her here to die!”
But John interjected, “But that might be our only option. We all have families that we have to get home to, and this walk home is going to take 2-3 days. I think she is gonna die regardless of what we do here.”
“John, I am afraid you’re right. It’s obvious that we have tried our best and failed. It is miles to the nearest hospital and they are likely out of power like everyone else. There just is nothing we can do.”
Liz began to sob. “We can’t just leave her to die. It’s not right!”
I hated this dilemma, I hated the war that had brought us to this place, and I wanted to go home. “Liz, look, just across this highway is a 747 that crashed. There are likely injured people all over the place around here that need help. We can help someone maybe, but not this one. She’s too far gone, there’s nothing we can do.”
John said, “Look, she is out cold, I think she is almost dead and there is nothing we can do for her. Let’s go back to our side of the building and get ready to leave. What time is it?”
At least my watch was still working, “It’s about 8:20. Yeah, let’s head back.”
Liz objected strenuously, “I can’t believe you guys! Are you just going to leave her in that car to die? What about this Christian decorum crap you were talking about? How Christian is it to walk away from somebody who needs help?”
“Liz, she is dying, we can’t do anything for her. Nothing! Do you think I like this answer? We have to get ready to go ourselves. We need to eat and try to rest a little bit before we start moving out.”
“Look, can’t we just stay with her for a while? What if she comes to again and is all alone. No one should have to die alone. No one.”
I looked and John and he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders, “It wouldn’t hurt to stay for a while, I guess” he said.
“Yeah, I really don’t think she has long, as much blood as she has lost. OK, Liz, we’ll stay. You can try to talk with her and hold her hand. But we can’t do this all night. When we leave here we are going to encounter scores of people who need help” I said.
“I know we can’t help everyone, but we can help this one!”
With that Liz approached the crushed car and started talking to Takeisha in soft, soothing tones, and holding her only free hand. Takeisha did not stir or make a sound. John opened the door of the car next to the Mini and sat down while we waited for the young lady to die. I stood solemnly beside Liz to watch the second person die today before my very eyes. No stranger to death, I had pastored a church for many years and had been around a lot of dying people. But this was different. And knowing that there were scores, maybe hundreds of dying people we would meet on our journey home didn’t make this one any easier. Heck, under the present circumstances, what were the odds that any of the three of us would be alive in a couple of months?
After about 20 minutes of standing beside Takeisha, Liz said, “Ryan, I think she’s gone. Omigosh, I think she’s dead.”
I leaned into the window and felt for her pulse…nothing. She was gone. It was 8:47pm.
“OK, let’s head back to our place,” I said.
Liz was crying as we began the walk back to the north side of the building by the wavering light of the jet fuel fed blazes around us. I felt like I was descending into the underworld with Virgil.
As got back inside our lobby I announced, “I haven’t eaten since mid-morning. I am going to eat my lunch and the snack.”
John said, “Well I did get a lunch but I’ll join you and eat the snack.”
“How can you guys even think about food right now,”Liz added. “I’m just not hungry.”
“OK, but you better eat before we head out tonight. We have a long walk ahead of us. And it’s cold. You’ll need some calories. Maybe before we head out we can cook those frozen dinners and eat right before we go.”
“Alright, I’ll try to eat then. But not right now.”
John tore open his bag of chips and packet of crackers while I ate my now very soggy sandwich. I could barely choke it down. I finished up with my bag of chips and saved the candy bar for later. I don’t need a sugar high before trying to take a nap. I downed about a half a canteen of water, realizing that I had had nothing to drink in the past 8 1/2 hours. In cooler weather I could get just as dehydrated as in hot weather because I just didn’t feel as thirsty so I didn’t drink enough.
I went to the bathroom to relieve myself, taking my rifle and a flashlight, and my half empty canteen. It was comforting to still have a flush toilet, it might me the last one for a while because as the water is drained from the system, and all the electric pumps drawing water from the reservoirs having ceased functioning, I had no doubt that sometime tomorrow the water in the DFW metroplex would run out. I finished my business and topped off my canteen and returned to the lobby.
“I’m going to try to take a nap; I don’t know if I’ll even be able to go to sleep, but I need to get some rest. I would recommend the same to y’all.”
“I dunno man, I am so freakin’ keyed up, I don’t think it’s possible. I’ll stand guard while you rest.”
Liz added, “There’s no way I can sleep now either.”
With that I unrolled my sleep pad and bed roll, checked to make sure my rifle was on safe, took off my shoulder rig, checked my Ruger for safety, and laid down.
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It was almost 5:00 pm, nearly 5 hours since the lights went out and the airplanes began crashing. The employees at the data center had all been dismissed and had begun their long walks home. My friend,John, myself, and my patrol officer, Liz, were all that remained. We had each retrieved our belongings from our dead cars and brought it all into the lobby to conduct an inventory. We needed to see what all we had, if there was anything we needed to discard and anything we needed to scavenge.
We propped the front door open for a little bit of light, and began going through our gear on the carpeted floor of the lobby. Liz had been very surprised when she helped carry my gear from the car; she only had a small backpack and a purse. John and I both had packs, but I had a bit more.
“Dude, you’ve got a lot of crap!” John laughed at me.
“For real Ryan; what is all this stuff?” asked Liz.
First, I opened up my rucksack, the very same ruck I had carried 30 years prior in the 3/47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington when I was an Infantry Platoon Leader. I had hauled this ruck on my back in the rain forests of coastal Washington and in the desert mountains of central Washington’s Yakima Firing Center. I had since used it in a few camping and hunting trips and, for the last several years as my B.O.B. (bug out bag).
As I opened it, the first item I pulled out was my two man tent. This lightweight pup tent was small but would hold two adults as long as they weren’t over 6′ tall. Made out of nylon and with aluminum poles the tent would be a blessing on a cold or wet day. The tent had a woodland camouflage pattern, except for its blue floor.
The next item I pulled from my ruck was my rolled up change of clothes. This was a set of BDU’s, with spare socks, underwear and T-shirt. I also had a long sleeved camo shirt and a pair of long underwear. One of the pockets on the ruck held a cold weather cap. Attached to the ruck was my bedroll which consisted of a rolled up sleeping pad, a wool blanket and a poncho liner. I also had my sleeping bag attached because the bedroll would only keep me warm to about 40 degrees and I knew that tonight it was to get down in the low twenties so I am glad I had the sleeping bag. I also had an old Army issue shelter half which I used as a ground cloth for my tent. Attached to the side of my ruck was an e-tool in a carrier.
In a duffle bag was my original, Army issued pistol belt and LBE (load bearing equipment). I stuck with most of my original gear from 30 years ago and never upgraded to the Molle system in use today. On my pistol belt I had a butt pack which held my wet weather gear including a poncho and a wet weather suit from Cabelas. I had a Gerber hatchet
stuffed into the top of the butt pack and tied down with some parachute cord. On my pistol belt I also had one canteen with a canteen cup, my Gerber Mk.II fighting knife,
a lensatic compass,
a holster for my Ruger on the right side with a magazine pouch and two mags. On the left side I had another holster for my S&W mod.66 that I carried when I was hog hunting. I did not pack that pistol so the holster and accompanying ammo pouch with about 20 rounds of .357 were dead weight. I had an L-shaped army flashlight attached to the shoulder strap of the LBE as well.
I always carried my old issued Map Case as a survival kit which contained my Ruger P-89 in a lightweight shoulder rig with two spare mags. The kit also held a small pair of binoculars, a small wire survival saw, water purification tablets, parachute cord, fishing line, a fire starter tool along with some waterproof matches and regular matches in a waterproof container. I had a small camo net for my face, a set of wool glove inserts and some toilet paper. Clipped on the strap of the mapcase I had a first aid kit
On my person I always had my Swiss Army Knife, a boot knife, a whistle and a cigarette lighter. I was wearing a lite pair of long underwear and my Danner, Gore Tex lined boots. I had on a thick, warm pair of socks today, instead of the thin cotton/polyester socks I normally wear. I had my work issued jacket and liner, my gore tex gloves, and a warm watch cap as well as a balaclava; plenty of cold weather snivel gear.
I also had a 2 quart canteen of water, and three 1 quart canteens, the one attached to my pistol belt, one on the opposite side of my ruck from the e-tool and one that I carried in one of the outer pockets of the ruck. That was 5 quarts of water, a lot of weight, but necessary. I had eight MRE’s and, I never got around to eating my lunch today because of all the excitement so that was one more meal, plus the snack we all got from the vending machines courtesy of the manager.
I had my SKS Chinese assault rifle in 7.62×39 with about 200 rds in the bandolier. I carried the bayonet for the rifle which I now attached.
My Ruger had 75 rds total.
I had a soft leather briefcase full of notebooks and some books I was currently trying to read. From the car emergency kit I retrieved some change, a couple of ink pens, some more toilet paper, another flashlight, a map, and another lighter.
John’s pack was nowhere near as extensive as mine, but he did have a poncho, 3 MREs, a canteen, a knife, a bedroll, a first aid kit, his 9mm pistol and 3 spare mags for a total of 60 rds. He had a good coat but was only wearing tennis shoes.
Liz had a pack but it was filled with notebooks, a couple of books she was reading, some bills and paperwork. She had no survival gear but did have about 3 meals always stored in her car, so she emptied out the junk from the pack and put the food in. She had on a good parka from our company, with a hood, and she was wearing some warm ski pants and some boots. The boots were neither waterproof nor insulated. Liz always carried a lighter for her cigarettes and a pocket knife.
After the inventory I decided to change clothes into the BDU’s because my uniform shirt was white and short sleeved, basically useless except as a target. My pants were a dark gray but I did not want to mess up those pants on what would likely be a three day hike. I debated about keeping my long underwear on because on a hike like this, even with the temps in the twenties, you could work up a serious sweat. I decided to keep the long johns on because we were not going to be going very fast and we would, of necessity, take many breaks. They were my thin pair anyway, so I didn’t think it would produce overheating. I would go without a jacket, but I did put on my long sleeved camo T over my long johns, and then my BDU top. I rolled up my uniform clothes and stuffed them inside my ruck where they belonged. Liz got a laugh out of seeing me in my long johns as I changed. I put my boots back on, lacing them very tightly and inserted my boot knife and sheath.
I strapped on the shoulder rig for my Ruger, stepped outside and chambered a round, de-cocked it and holstered my now hot weapon. John did the same.
“From this point on we are in a dangerous situation and must always be prepared for problems,” I stated as Liz looked at us with that “What do you think you are doing?” look.
“Do you really think there is going to be trouble?” she asked.
“Maybe not tonight; folks might be in too great of a shock. But by tomorrow, yeah, there will be widespread panic and looting as people realize there is no power, no cars, no communications. I really think tomorrow will be a mess; maybe even tonight. So we have to get ready,” I replied.
John said, “Hey, I wonder if there is anything else around here that maybe would be useful for us to take?”
“Well,” I replied, “There are the first aid kits. We distributed all of the food and drinks but we didn’t think about the first aid supplies. We could get some of that maybe.”
“Let’s look around and see if there is anything else while we are at it,” John said.
“Isn’t that like stealing?” Liz asked.
“Well, I don’t think so, since this is our place of work and Stan did agree to divide up all the food for everyone. We should have thought about the first aid supplies but didn’t. I don’t think this would constitute stealing or looting because we had the implied consent of the data center manager to take what we needed.”
“OK. That makes sense to me I guess,” she said. “But it still feels strange taking stuff from here.”
John chipped in, “Right now everything feels strange. The world has changed in the last 5 and 1/2 hours.”
“Yeah, we live in a different, savage world now. A lot of rules have likely changed but we must also try to keep some sense of Christian duty and decorum and be civilized because I guarantee you, it is going to get pretty wild and wicked quickly,” I stated.
“Alright, let’s keep together and use only one flashlight and go see what we can find.”
“You reckon we ought to stow this gear somewhere instead of leaving it here in the lobby,” John asked.
“Yeah, let’s drag it into one of these interior offices,” I replied.
We opened the inner doors and carried our gear into the conference room using a flashlight I obtained from my desk. I put on the bandolier of ammo and slung the SKS over my shoulder. I wasn’t about to leave a gun lying about unprotected.
“Here Liz, this will be your flashlight for the trip home, ” and I gave it to her.
We went to the right and entered the break room where the nearest first aid kit was. It was so dark it was eerie. While Liz held the light, John and I went through the cabinet. We needed some kind of a bag to carry the stuff so I opened the refrigerator and got some bags that had been left behind with frozen meals, which the owners now thought worthless, so they left them behind. We mainly took the little packets of aspirin, tylenol, anti-histamine, antacid and alcohol prep pads. We added some band-aids and tape and a couple of larger bandages.
“Should we take these frozen dinners?” I asked.
“How would we cook them? There’s no power!” Liz chided me.
“Well, I imagine that’s why the original owners left them here. But they are still good food, just frozen. As they thaw out we could heat them up and eat them” I said.
“Heat them up in what?” sked Liz.
“Well, I’ve got my canteen cup…or…let’s look around in here. I know they have some pots and pans.”
We opened a couple of cabinets and found a couple of small pots for cooking.
“How are we gonna carry these?” asked John.
“We’ll figure out a way” I replied.
We went down the south hall to the janitor’s closet and looked inside. Liz got some feminine protection and some toilet paper to add to the bags, then we went on around the corner to the next first aid box and got some of the supplies out of it as well.
“Do we really need this stuff?” Liz asked. “I mean, geez, we got enough aspirin and band-aids to last forever.”
“Barter goods,” I responded.
“Huh?” she asked.
“This will be like money because money will lose its value in the next week. If this situation is as bad as I think it is, things like aspirin and antibiotic ointment will be very valuable in the weeks to come, worth way more than the company paid for it, ” I said.
Over the next 30 minutes we went to all of the first aid boxes in the facility and took all the packets of medicine and a lot of the bandages. We filled three bags of the stuff. It was all light weight except for the two pans so it was not going to burden us down on our walk, but it would prove to be valuable in the future I was certain.
We finally came back to the lobby and opened the door to a dark night but with flames from the fires lighting up the parking lot with their flickering, evil, orange glow. It was about 6:15pm.
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After the data center manager had finished his farewell to the employees and had given a good, historical summary of muslim attacks on the West, saying that the reason for the attack’s success today was our politicians’ unwillingness to take what our enemies have said seriously, it was now 3:30pm, 3 and 1/2 hours since the first airplane had crashed and all the power had gone out, and I was to give a short sermon to the 60-70 folks who would soon depart for home on foot.
A few of the crowd drifted away, not the least interested in hearing a sermon, but most of my co-workers stayed close to hear.
I opened my Bible and read from Luke 13:1-5
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Today, November 6th, 2012, is a day that will live in Infamy along with 9/11/2001 and Dec. 7, 1941. We have been attacked by an enemy and perhaps many thousands have died across this land, and, in all likelihood, many thousands more will die soon.
As we prepare to go our separate ways I want to explain disaster, tragedy and evil from a biblical perspective, offer a biblical view of dealing with it, and then I want to offer you the hope that is in the Gospel.
I. Why Is There Evil, Pain, Suffering and War?
The critics of Christianity would say that we Christians believe in a God who is both all Good and all Powerful. The problem then, is the presence of evil. Evil does exist so either the good God is unable to eliminate it, and thus is not all powerful, or he is able to powerfully eliminate evil, but chooses not to, therefore proving himself to not be good.
Today we are without question facing raw, hellish evil. At least 4 jetliners have crashed in our immediate area. The smoke I see over by the airport tells me more have likely crashed over there. One of our own died right here in the parking lot. All electrical power is out and all communications with the world is down; our cars won’t even start. We might have been propelled back into the 19th century in the last 3 and a half hours. Today we are confronted with evil. Where does that evil come from?
In Gen. 1:31, at the end of 6 days of creation, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” We have the assurance from God’s Word that everything was not just good, but Very Good.
Psalm 86:5 says, “For you, O Lord, are good” and Psalm 119:68 “You are good and do good”. Jesus himself said in Mark 10:18 “No one is good except God alone”. Scripture says scores of times that God is good, that he is righteous, that he is loving, merciful and just. Why then does evil enter into his universe?
Scripture does not DIRECTLY answer that question, and that is why so many object to the Christian answer. But the Bible does give us many very good points to consider in seeking an answer.
1) God created everything for his Glory.
Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36″ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
We believe that God created because he wanted to, not because he was compelled to from anything outside of himself. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Isaiah 43:7 “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” And in John’s Gospel ch.9 in the story about the man born blind, the disciples wondered who sinned, the man’s parents or the blind man himself. But Jesus said “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed though him.”
If God then created all things good, and the heavens declare his glory and all people are created for his glory, and even something as horrible as being born blind is part of God’s overall plan, we see that the universe is not man-centered, it is God-centered; it is all designed to somehow give God glory as the Creator.
2) Therefore, even allowing evil into his universe through Satan, and through the sin of Adam and Eve somehow gives God glory. This is a hard truth but must be brought out. In what possible way could the Devil’s rebellion and Adam’s sin give God glory?
We believe God is ultimately just. Now we know there is very often no real justice in this world. The just seem to suffer and the unjust prosper all too often. Nonetheless, our very idea of justice and all our efforts at obtaining and administering justice point to something bigger than us, outside of us, that is just. God is just, he will finally, at the end of time, on the Day of Judgment, mete out justice. Evil will one day be punished and righteousness exalted. That will give God glory. His holy justice will be on display for all to see. So in that sense, allowing the presence of evil will ultimately serve to display God’s justice and bring him glory for his justice. When a notorious criminal in our day gets caught, goes on trial, and gets sentenced, we all do have a sense of satisfaction that justice has been served.
Now the problem for us is the timing. In this world we do not always see justice, so we complain against God that he is not just and that evil exists. Did the thousands of people who died today deserve to die in our eyes? No. this attack was a gross injustice. We want justice immediately. But for the Christian, we understand that there is coming a solution for the problem of evil. God is eternal, outside of time, the creator of time, and he will execute justice on the day of His choosing. The answer then, to the problem of evil, is that this Good God who is indeed All-Powerful, will Ultimately bring about a just resolution to the problem of evil in his timing. In other words, while we are complaining about the problem of evil, we are not looking at it from God’s eternal perspective; God is not finished yet, evil is temporary.
Even though I am as hurt, scared and angry as any of you at this unjust attack on our country, I have confidence that ultimately God will judge the perpetrators.
3) God is also loving, gracious, forgiving and merciful. God’s love and grace are poured out upon us in the context of suffering, pain and evil. This contrast of God’s Goodness while still allowing evil also gives God glory as he displays his attributes of Goodness- lovingkindness, forgiveness, grace, steadfast love. I believe that ultimately, God’s justice and his love will both be on display for his greater glory.
We see this most clearly in the cross of Christ. On the cross we see God’s Son suffering an unjust penalty by men. Jesus was sinless, but we sinners condemned him to death on the cross. At the same time, God the Father was allowing his Son to die in our place, as our substitute. He bore our guilt and shame and he received in himself God’s justice that we deserved. Jesus was punished for our sins when he himself was sinless. So on the cross we see the holy and just wrath of God and the utter depravity of man along with the sinlessness and perfect obedience of God the Son. But since the cross is God’s chosen means for our salvation, we also see the love of the Father poured out on us through the blood of His Son. In the cross then, is the solution to evil. God’s wrath and love both on display in one act.
II. How Should We Respond to this Great Evil?
We know that because God is sovereign, he allows evil to happen in his providence to accomplish his plans for the nations and for individuals. Isaiah 46:8-11
“Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9 remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
Somehow, then, the evil we have suffered today fits into God’s sovereign purpose. Does this mean that God is judging America for her wickedness? I think that is possible. God allowed his own people, Israel, to be invaded time and again in the Old Testament as a result of their sins. Sin does deserve to be punished, God is just, and sometimes he allows a great disaster to befall nations, perhaps because of their sinfulness.
But I would also say that this should do for us exactly what Jesus said in that Luke 13 passage I read earlier. In that passage Pontius Pilate had executed some Galileans unjustly and a tower collapsed in Siloam that killed 18. One tragedy caused by an evil man, another was an accident. But how did Jesus say people should respond? Repent. Repent. Repent.
The hardest truth for us to face is that we humans are all sinners, each one of us has chosen to disobey God. We are sinners by birth, we have inherited a sin nature. Each of us is a part of the problem of evil because we too do evil things and have evil thoughts and desires. Paul writes in Romans 3:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
And in Romans 6
23 For the wages of sin is death
(It was at this point that some of the crowd turned and walked away)
Folks, the idea of sin is proved in each of us every single day. We all do that which we know to be wrong and we fail to do that which we know to be right. The greatest commandment is from Mark 12:28-33
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Which one of us ever loves God with all our hearts, souls, minds, or strength? Which one of us ever loves our neighbor completely as we should? We all fail because we are all sinners by birth, choice and environment.
You see the evil that we experience from others, like these terrorists, also lurks within our own hearts. When we complain about the presence of evil, we should acknowledge that we are part of the problem. If we clamor for justice from God for the evil that afflicts us from others, we must also understand that we stand guilty of evil before God the Judge. We too shall face the judgment.
Now do not get the idea that I am saying this attack today is our fault and that we, the victims, are just as guilty as the terrorists. They have perpetrated a greater evil today than perhaps any since 9/11. But I am saying that all of us are natural born sinners and that the proper measurement is not measuring my sins against yours, or our sins against the terrorists. The proper way to measure sin is against the sinless, perfectly holy Jesus, the Son of God.
Our response to the evil we see today should begin with our humbly seeking God in repentance.
Secondly, we must help one another. We are in all likelihood facing a life threatening situation for several of us. If the power is indeed off for weeks or months, or longer, it is The End Of The World As We Know It. We cannot make it on our own, we must help one another. There will be those who will automatically resort to violence and barbarism. We must resist them and fight for civilization.
III. The Good News
Finally, let me tell you that there is some good news. In this terrible situation, God still offers us salvation in his Son Jesus Christ. In the face of so much death and destruction we must repent and turn to Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
In the first recorded sermon of Jesus in Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
To repent is to have a change of mind and heart, to change the direction and focus of your life. Repentance is looking at yourself the way that God sees you and agreeing with God, then turning from the path you are on. God sees all of us as sinners. Each one of us has rebelled against him, violated his holiness and brought his just wrath upon our own heads. We are guilty before God and deserving of hell.
This is humbling and we naturally reject this out of pride. We see ourselves all too often as being better than other people, or as being not as bad as some. We think we are good enough to be welcomed by God into his presence. We think this way because we know not the holiness of God.
We tend to focus on the quantity of our sins, telling ourselves we are not so bad, our good must outweigh our bad. We look at what big sins we have not done and pat ourselves on the back. But that is not how God looks at sin. God looks at sin as rebellion. A little sin is still rebellion. He looks at sin as a sickness. A small sin is still sick. God’s standard always remains 100% perfection and he does not ever lower his standards. Sin is kind of like if I had a large supreme pizza right here, ready for us to eat. Then, I went over to the gutter by the street, scooped up some gutter dirt, and sprinkled it over the top of the pizza. In that gutter dirt was some tiny shards of glass, some small rocks with oil deposits on it, maybe tiny bits of tire rubber and lots of germs. The amount of that gutter dirt is a fraction of an ounce while the pizza weighs about 3 lbs. So the amount of dirt is very tiny percentage of the whole. But, I doubt if any of us would want to eat that pizza. Why? It is not the amount of contamination, it is the mere presence of contamination that renders the whole pizza unpalatable and even dangerous. That is what sin is like. It is offensive to God.
For us to repent is to acknowledge that God is holy and we are not, nor can we ever be on our own. It is to understand that no matter how small or how few my sins are, I am still on the wrong path, the broad road that leads to destruction, and that I must change directions. To repent is to admit that I have been the focus of my life instead of God being the focus.
Then, we must place our complete trust and faith in Jesus Christ. The sermon Jesus preached said we must repent and believe. What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
First of all it means more than simply believing the simple facts about him, that he is the unique Son of God who was born of the virgin Mary, lived a perfect life without sin, died on the cross as our substitute and rose again from the grave. That is the beginning point, but that is not all there is to faith.
We must also accept this as more than a head knowledge, we must accept it personally. Jesus is not just THE Savior, he is My Savior. Paul writes in Romans 10:13 “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” We must place our faith in Jesus personally. This is a heart response that goes beyond the head knowledge.
But even then, many people have a head knowledge and and warm emotional feelings about Christ, but are not saved. The 3rd and final part of faith is Trust, commitment. Back in Mark 1, after verse 15 that speaks of repentance and faith we see Jesus walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and he calls the 4 fishermen to follow. Verse 18 says that “Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
Thus, faith is a proper knowledge of who Jesus is and what he has done, a heartfelt response to Him, and a committed following of him as the Lord of your life. This shows a changed life, a new set of priorities, a new life focus. Jesus says in Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
To take up your cross in the times of Jesus meant to accept a death sentence. We must die to self as we trust in Jesus and follow him.
Do not think that this is anything that we can naturally do on our own. Salvation is always from God alone, it is a gift of his grace. We cannot conjure up enough faith on our own, we cannot follow him on our own, we cannot even repent on our own. Eph. 2:8-9 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Salvation is not going to church, getting baptized or anything else you can do. These things are instead to come after salvation as signs of a changed heart, mind and life.
Do not think that Jesus is just one out of many paths to salvation. Do not think that you can just add a little bit of Jesus to your life, as some kind of a good luck charm, and your life will instantly get better. Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation. In John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And in Acts 4:11-12 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” And Paul writes in 1Tim. 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
What I am telling you is that there is hope for salvation, but that hope is only in Jesus Christ and that salvation is only by God’s grace received by us only through faith.
Folks, I would urge you today, in the face of all the death and destruction we have seen, to repent of sin, and call out to God in his mercy for salvation, to trust in Christ alone for your salvation and determine to follow him from this day forward.
It is getting late and we need to go, but if anyone desires to speak to me about the state of their soul, I will remain here to talk with you.
Let me close in prayer: “O Lord, we thank you that in the presence of this great evil, this attack that has wrought death and destruction upon our city and our nation, we thank you that you are still on your throne and you are sovereign and in control. I pray that you would take this word of yours that has been proclaimed and that you would use it to draw people to you in repentance and faith. I pray for these friends as we all go our separate ways into the darkness, that you would provide comfort and strength for what lies ahead. We pray for safety for our loved ones and for ourselves as we begin the Long Walk Home. We pray for our nation’s leaders that they would guide us out of this mess. Most of all dear Jesus, we pray for your grace and peace upon us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Stan, I will turn this back over to you.
The data center manager, Stan, came forward and said, “Thank you Ryan, you have given me some things to think about that I have never heard before.”
“Folks, at this point, it is about 4:00pm and the sun will be setting around 5:33pm so it is going to get dark in just an hour and a half. We better start walking toward home. Take everything with you that you can carry. Good bye, and good luck.”
With that there were some hugs and tears as people said their goodbyes. A couple of folks came up to me and thanked me for the sermon, but they were already Believers. No one else came to talk about salvation. Perhaps the Lord would use the Word preached to weigh on their hearts on their long journeys home.
Instead of going to my car to get my things I brought my chair out of the lobby to the front sidewalk and watched everyone else preparing to leave. The two older cars that were still running were packed with people; too bad they were both smaller cars. I watched as some set out even without coats; they were so used to just getting into their cars in their warm garages and driving to work in a heated car, and getting inside the building quickly that several people never wore coats in the winter. They had a long, cold night ahead of them. It was supposed to get down into the twenties tonight; maybe some would not even make it due to the cold. This was going to be Bad.
My partner, Liz, returned from her car with the few things she had to carry and asked, “Are you just going to sit there? Come on, we need to go!”
Liz lived even further away than I did, but she was west-northwest while I was west-southwest; it was about 35 miles to her house. Presumably she wanted us to walk together until her turnoff to the north, about 6-7 miles down highway 26.
“I am not going to go yet,” I told her, “I am going to wait until later tonight to leave.”
“Why? It’s goin’ to get dark in just an hour and a half!”
“I know that, that’s why I am waiting.” I replied.
Right then, John approached and he asked the same question.
John and I had talked about just such a situation as this time and again; we shared an interest in survival issues. I knew that he was likely prepared as was I. And that he was armed.
“I’m going to wait until about midnight to leave,” I told John and Liz. “The moon is coming up just after midnight. Now it’s in its final quarter so there won’t be much light, but it is supposed to be clear and cold so that little bit of moonlight will be good. I still have excellent night vision. And, most importantly, I want to avoid the herd.”
John chipped in, “Yeah, there will be a crowd trying to get home this evening, and I don’t like crowds. It will be best to wait, just like we talked about before.”
“Well, can I walk with you guys then?” asked Liz.
“Sure,” we both said.
“We have about 8 hours before we leave then, we need to take an inventory of our gear and get our loads ready,” said John.
“Yeahhhhh,” I said, “but let’s wait till everyone here is gone. I don’t want to show my hand with everyone still here.”
“Cool. That makes sense. We can do it in the dark if we have to.”
“Yeah, we have some flashlights and chemlights. We could even take a nap, then get up, eat a bite and then leave.” I said.
As we waited over the next 30 minutes or so the crowd slowly departed as groups of 3-4 people banded together according to where they lived and set out on their trip. Soon the parking lot was empty. It was now about 4:45pm; sunset was coming in just about 45 minutes.
I got up and headed toward my car and John went to his; Liz followed me. In about ten minutes I got my gear out of the car and began carrying it back to the building sidewalk in the gathering shadows. Liz was opened jawed as she looked at what I had in my car. I gave her one large bag to carry.
“OK,” I said, “Let’s go through this stuff and see what all we have. I am going to change clothes too. Then we ought to discuss our plan for tonight.”
“Right,” said John.
At that point, the inventory began…
(Next: ch.6 “The Inventory”)
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Economists Charles Rowley of George Mason University and Nathanael Smith of the Locke Institute have written a paper, endorsed by Nobel Laureate James Buchanan, that says President Obama’s policies will lead America into economic ruin soon. The paper shows that the Great Depression was aggravated and lengthened by the policies of Pres. Franklin Roosevelt and that Obama’s policies will do the same. The authors also point to the economy of Argentina in the last third of the 20th century where bad policies led the nation from First World status to Third World.
What are the policies and why are they bad for the economy?
1) Out of control government spending that piles up ginormous national debt. The huge debt that Obama has already added to the long term national economy is greater, in just his first six months in office mind you, than all previous Presidents’ combined! This is either going to be paid off by the next several generations through a very heavy tax burden or it will lead to bankruptcy. The debt will consume the federal budget to the point that the military will have to be cut drastically, NASA will cease to exist, and all other programs will take second place.
2) A vast and sudden increase in the money supply, the simple printing of US dollars, will drive up inflation, when combined with the huge loans the government is taking out. This inflation will likely reach hyper levels in a couple of years. Look for inflation of at least 100% per year, maybe even worse. Inflation is directly related to monetary policy and is a “hidden tax”. Congress does not vote on monetary policy, it is a means for the executive branch to temporarily raise money by expanding the supply of money. Inflation hurts the average citizen worse than just about anything else the government can do. Consumer spending then gets restricted to just the essentials, food, water, rent.
3) Dramatic Increase in Taxes, even of the wealthy, will stifle business growth and investment. If the rich have to pay a lot more in taxes then they will not have as much to invest which slows down or eliminates business growth which prevents businesses from hiring workers. Rich people buy things like big houses, airplanes and boats, all of which require small businesses and workers to construct and maintain. If the rich stop buying big ticket items, it hurts the workers. Even small increases in taxes hurt the little guys and causes the masses of Wal Mart shoppers to curtail spending, thus hurting even more workers who produce the goods and services.
4) Government policies and regulations slow down and inhibit growth of the economy. Government energy policy for example, is currently being designed and implemented that will deliberately raise the cost of energy thus impacting the price of everything produced and directly impacting the households of America that consume energy whether it is gasoline for cars, electricity and gas for the homes or the goods we buy. This adds to inflation and creates shortages.
With the Obama administration we get the perfect storm of all these factors at once. Here are two stories about this:
Notice that both of these articles were published in the UK, not in the NY Times or Washington Post. Part of the problem here is that the vast majority of the press, both print and TV, has neglected their duty in their blind support of Obama. The Socialist Press protecting their Marxist President.
The government of China is now greatly alarmed at the printing press money surge by the Obamasky government. Why? They are one of the largest holders of American debt! That’s right, we are major debtors to the Chicoms!
Again notice the above article is from the UK, not US press.
My personal estimate is that the American economy will collapse by 2012, maybe even by late 2010.
The chaos that will ensue all across the world, but especially here in the US, will be devastating. I think you will see massive unemployment, bread lines, rampant crime and gang activity, sheer lawlessness along with breakdowns in the power grid.
Are you ready for the new Dark Ages?
Equality 7-2521Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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