08:44 – Last night, I read the first two parts of Ted Koppel’s Lights Out. Part I, A Cyberattack, focuses on the threat, which Koppel makes clear is imminent and serious. Although he focuses on an attack on the computerized control systems of the electrical grid, he certainly doesn’t ignore the two other serious threats, EMP and CME. In Part II, A Nation Unprepared, Koppel makes it clear that the federal and state governments and the power companies are completely unprepared to deal with a long-term grid-down event and that almost nothing is being done to address the problem. If/when it happens, in other words, we are on our own. I’ll read Part III, Surviving the Aftermath, this evening, but it’s clear from just the chapter titles that this part will focus on efforts that can be and are being taken by individuals, including Koppel himself, to deal with a long-term power outage. In other words, it’s about preppers, among whom Koppel includes himself.
Nearly all prepping books, fiction and nonfiction, are by authors who are conservative/libertarian politically, so it’s interesting to read a pro-prepping nonfiction title by an author who is not just left/progressive, but an icon of the mainstream media. And Koppel doesn’t just talk the talk. He’s purchased long-term food supplies for himself, his children, and his grandchildren, and is actively taking other steps to prepare for the worst.
A lot of people from across the political spectrum are going to read this book. One might hope that might lead to useful steps being taken by the governments and power companies to address the problem, but I think that’s unlikely. The threat is so serious–potentially 90% of the population dead–that most people will simply give up, cross their fingers, and hope it doesn’t happen. That’s whistling past the graveyard, of course, but some percentage of readers will decide to take action themselves by making at least some preparations. And every little bit helps.
14:23 – I’ve gotten several emails from people who want to know what to do to prepare for what Koppel describes. My short answer is, “Beats the hell out of me.” Make no mistake. A long-term grid-down event is the absolute worst nightmare imaginable. My longer answer is that we should all do what we’re doing now–store food, water, and other supplies and gear, learn skills, and make what provision you can for solar power at least sufficient to recharge small batteries and, if necessary, to drive your well pump for at least a few minutes every day. We all hope this never happens, because if it does things will quickly become unimaginably bad. All we can do is hope that it never happens, but make provision as best we can to deal with it if it does.