FRONTIER can happen in the past, present, or future. If we're talking pre-1830 it's obvious. Lots of unexplored country. But, sometimes it's the circumstances that are unexplored. Come on. Let's take a ride.
I heard a blurb on the news that more than half the people in the United States live in cities. Other countries will have an even greater percentage. People in urban areas are dependent, even more than country folk, on a constant food supply. What happens if the trucks stop running? If there is no electricity to freeze and store food... ever? Most stores keep a supply of food on hand for one to two weeks. Perishables aren't kept that long. It's called just in time stocking to keep the shelves fresh and inventory dollars low.
If the fragile infrastructure that feeds, heats, cools, and cares for millions of people breaks down, what then? Will you share with your neighbor? If you think ahead and store food and water for this eventuality, will the people who did not prepare simply pass you by, or will they take it from you? I can hear you saying it now. “No way.” “Nope.” “Never happen.” “Our country is too strong.” “Someone would stop it.” “The government will step in.” “There will be programs to take care of us. FEMA (joke), local organizations and food banks.” Somebody? Right. Sure they will. So, think of this…. One bright, sunny morning you wake up to discover the electricity has gone off sometime during the night. You do all the stupid stuff we all do. Flick the light switch a few times, especially in the bathroom. Nothing. (don’t laugh, you’ve done it too.) T.V? Nope. Bet the radio works, it has battery backup. Nada. Forgot to change the batteries. Check the news on the internet. Right. How's that working out for you? Keep on clicking. Wait! The car radio. Before you start the car, you hit the switch to raise the garage door so you don't gas yourself. Doh! Oh, that’s what that little rope is hanging down for. Ok, the car radio is on. Hmmm. Not many stations broadcasting, and they’re pretty weak. Must be running on backup power. What was that bulletin? “The power companies report the grid is down across the eastern seaboard and as far west as the Tennessee Valley Authority. Although the nuclear power stations are on line, and pose no danger, authorities will not comment on the lack of power. Be patient. Stay tuned for further developments.” OK. Be patient. Huh. Glad they have that under control. Well, it’s a good thing it isn’t winter. Breakfast? How about some Hot Pockets in the microwave? No? Let’s cook some eggs and bacon on the stove. It’s a gas range, so it should work, shouldn’t it. Oh, yeah. There’s no standing pilot anymore. When you turn the knob, a little thingy sparks to light the gas. For safety reasons, if the electricity is off, the gas will not turn on anyway, so who cares if the little thingy won’t spark? Ok, milk and cookies for breakfast. Or better yet, the gas grill outside. Yep. Got'er whipped. Crisis over. Better call work to see if you need to come in. Whoops. Cell towers are down. No signal. Shouldn’t they all have backup generators? At least, as long as gasoline and propane lasts? Huh? Well, shouldn't they? Ok, this sucks. It is inconvenient, but we can do it. We’ll go to the store and lay in some supplies, and stop and fill the gas tank on the way. Perfect. There’s no line at the gas pumps. Of course, they don't work. No power. On to the grocery store. Now THERE’S the line. You start to get out of your car, but then decide you'd better not, because people are breaking the windows and stealing everything. They can’t pay for it, none of the registers or credit card terminals work. So, people steal it. After all, they have a right to food. Right? Don’t they? Three days later, and you’re hungry and thirsty. The tap doesn’t work, because there is no power to drive the pump that fills the water tower. You’re out of bottled water, and you’ve used all the water out of the toilet bowl tank. Yeah, I know you boiled it on the little fire you started in the sink. Of course, that made the smoke detector go off. Wouldn’t you know it, THAT battery worked. Time to blow this burg. The last report you heard from the flaky ham radio operator down the street, before his batteries went dead, was that the power isn’t expected to come on anytime soon. Hmm. Ok. The side streets are pretty clear and you look hopefully at a few restaurants you pass. No windows. Looks like there’s been an epidemic of fires. Wonder where the Fire Department is? Police? First Responders? They surely have extra gas. Wouldn’t they? Well, wouldn’t they? Suddenly, you’re in a traffic jam. The main arteries to the interstate are blocked. When you climb on top of your car to look around, you can see you are not going anywhere. Not today. Maybe not ever. Not in a car. So, it’s time to walk. You wonder why you didn’t think to bring a blanket. Walk where? You look around and there must be thousands of people all walking the same direction. Anywhere that is ‘outta here'. So, join them. They must know where they’re going. Probably toward some FEMA camps, or the Red Cross, or…. Well, that didn’t happen. You’re a week out and you’re hungry and thirsty. You finally broke down and drank water from a ditch, along with everyone else. The diarrhea started a few hours ago, and now you’re tired and weak. And dirty. Really dirty. You’ve just got to find a farmhouse and everything will be ok. There’s clean water and food in the country. Right? When you finally do come to a house in the country, it’s been gutted by the hordes of people that went before. There are bodies everywhere, so many they don’t even register on your radar. You go to the sink in the farm house and turn on the tap. Nothing. Most wells in the country are 400 to 1000 feet deep. Even if you have the wherewithal to get the well pipe exposed, that is a long damn string and a skinny little bucket. You need a pump to get the water. Haven’t seen a hand pump in years. They are all electric. By now you don’t care. You’re just too tired and sick. You sink to the floor and wait for someone to save you, or just die. You don’t really care which. Zombies? Like those bad movies? Nah. Just plain folks, like you and me. Scared. Hungry. Sick.
Grim? Makes you think, doesn’t it. There are hundreds of different scenarios, maybe thousands. Add children, loved ones, extended family, medicine dependent people, and things that go boom and leave a big mess. Some of the stories will end very quickly. Some will last a protracted amount of time, and then end. All of us think we can survive if we need to. But, we’re all dependent to some degree on something. If we lose power for an extended length of time, the transportation system will grind to a halt. If we lose fuel for any extended amount of time, nothing gets delivered. Think food. When that happens, the economy will only be able to support a small percentage of our population. And the rest?
All my prepper friends, and I do have a few, will start filling in the blanks with, ‘but you shoulda, coulda, woulda done this or that. That’s ok. Someone has to make it. But, I can assure you that if you think you’re prepared?
After a few years, life goes on, but it’s frontier living. Sure, the tools you pick up are better. There are enough guns and ammo left to last several life times. But, you’re back to the basics. Food. Water. Shelter. You’ll do anything to get it. You’ll kill to keep it.
If you don’t believe that? Then, you are the next victim. Sorry.
Welcome to FRONTIER.
Read some of my stories and those of other fine writers FREE on