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9 meals from anarchy

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Widespread looting in the aftermath of the massive Chilean earthquake reminds us how treacherously close our society is to disintegration at any one moment. It’s safe to assume that at least 90% of a country’s given population is 9 missed meals (or less) from becoming hungry, unruly, ill-prepared, looting mobs.

Think about it. If you miss 9 meals in a row due to a natural disaster of such epic proportions as the earthquake in Chile, is a little thing like social order going to keep you from ransacking the nearest store or home?

Chile’s unplanned social experiment confirmed the worst in human nature. Like rats abandoning a sinking ship, humans will climb the pile of dead bodies, pushing women, children, and elderly aside in the mad dash to survive at all costs. What about Haiti? Why wasn’t there similar looting? Our best guess is that the country is so poor there wasn’t anything worth stealing.

Here’s a quote directly from the scene in Chile, spoken to an ABC News Australia reporter who talked with a man seen lugging several bags of flour from a store. “This is what is going to help me. Each person thinks what they think, and we do what we have to do,” said the unidentified looter.

But many of the hundreds of looters arrested were taking more than food.

Is there any better evidence to be ready for anything in your own life? Food provisions and the means to stop people from taking it should be high on your list.

The Holistic Survival Team

Flickr / United Nations Development Prpgramme