Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surviving in New York City

(Associated Posers)- NEW YORK CITY, New York – Rodney Jackson sits in his darkened Queens apartment, huddled in blankets, listening to a portable radio given to him by a friend. He says his food supply and patience is wearing thin. The first floor of his building has a few feet of standing water.

“I have done everything I was supposed to” he says “I don't think this is how it's supposed to be”

His kitchen counter is littered with opened food cans and boxes, no chance to take out the trash and recycling with the storm raging. The power is out and Rodney wonders how his friends are doing, but he believes that the City of New York has his back.

“Big storms require big government” he says, repeating the mantra from the New York Times “But why does it have to be so slow, so inefficient, so inflexible?”

Rodney has faith that Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama will be there, delivering aid door to door, but the wait is already wearing thin. “This got old real quick” he says “I'm starting to understand my friends who went out looting last night”

Meanwhile a couple blocks away Samuel Sculley sits on the roof of an apartment building drinking coffee as a small generator sends power into his rooftop apartment. “The air has never felt so clean” he said sarcastically before the wind shifted and smoke from a fire comes.

Sculley has a well stocked supply closet, or rather the second bedroom has become a prepper's dream cupboard. “I have enough food to last me for months alone” he said “I know that the government would call me a hoarder or a possible domestic terrorist for having two soup cans to rub together, but I think a person should prepare themselves for disasters. You can't rely on others to save you”

“The subways are flooded, of course, and this hampers travel. The food stores were cleaned out by panic buyers, this leads to fear. Imagine showing up to buy food for your family and finding bare shelves, it'd be frightening. New York City is not self-sufficient, if a large scale disaster strikes, we'd probably all starve eventually” he explained “Those who didn't prepare an escape anyway”.

He wonders if New Yorkers and others didn't prepare properly because they have relied on government for so long. “I don't want to know what would happen if the EBT cards don't work in a few days. Things are bad enough as it is. Could you imagine if every place was as vulnerable as parts of this city? There wouldn't be enough help possible, thank goodness most people don't live like that, the death toll would be a lot higher than it is.”

The storm was a category 1, a weak hurricane. The size of the storm and the amount of precipitation is what got the attention. “Katrina was worse, really. If Katrina his New York City, yikes”

He says if it had been that bad he had an escape route. “I'm not going to stick around and wait for the Hunger Games to begin. People who think government is going to make everything better are the ones who sitting in the dark waiting for Nanny Vans with food to show up.” He said as he began preparing dinner of formerly frozen steak and canned vegetables.

“I am not waiting for FEMA”

Rodney Jackson and his neighbor Belinda Ramirez await word from the City on where the best shelters and feeding locations will be set up. Belinda wonders whether her sister will still get the dialysis she needs but “I haven't been able to talk to her today”.

“I went to the grocery store before it hit but everything was already gone. There was nothing left, I've never seen anything like that before. Made my stomach hurt. How can this happen? How can they let something like that happen?” Belinda Ramirez asked.

“Must have been a real shock” Rodney answered, comforting her. “It's just unreal. Unnatural to allow the stores to go empty, people gotta eat, dang hoarders!”

Meanwhile Samuel Sculley takes a different view “You have to take responsibility for your own life and your own survival. No-one else cares about you as much as you do, you will never be anyone else's highest priority in times of trouble”.

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