Day: January 20, 2016

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

10:08 – When Lori picked up our mail this morning, I mentioned to her that USPS had basically destroyed the usefulness of Click-N-Ship by eliminating support for regional rate boxes and eliminating the Commercial Base Pricing discount. I told her not to expect to see many Click-N-Ship labels from now on, because USPS actions had made it useless for probably 95+% of the customers who had been using it. She couldn’t believe they’d done that.

I told her that I’d still be shipping via USPS, but using, which still provides the CBP discount and support for Regional Rate. But if USPS can make such a huge arbitrary change, who’s to say they won’t do something equally obnoxious in the future, like eliminate Regional Rate boxes entirely? So I just added a priority item to my to-do list: checking into using FedEx or UPS instead of USPS, should that become necessary.

As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not really expecting a catastrophic long-term emergency, but my attitude has always been to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The worst would be a long-term grid-down emergency, as Ted Koppel wrote about in his recent book. That is a very real possibility, either from a solar CME or an EMP attack, and the results would be catastrophic: many millions dead within the first weeks and more to follow as our production and distribution systems collapsed. A deadly virus pandemic would be about as bad. Those are the two possibilities that keep emergency management planners awake at night, and the probability that one or both will occur in the near future is probably on the close order of 0.1 per year. So I do my best to plan for either. By definition, being prepared for the worst also means you’re prepared for less catastrophic long-term emergencies like widespread civil unrest.

The LDS Church provides an excellent prototype for organizing preparations for disasters. They’ve been at it for more than a hundred years, and their focus is on community organization. And, although the LDS church takes no official position on members defending themselves in an emergency, most individual Mormons I’ve known have made self-defense a priority. If things ever get really bad, it will be up to individuals to defend themselves, within the context of their larger communities. In our case, that means Sparta and its environs. I read an interesting article the other day that lays out the framework for a community defense: Defending Our Homeland: How Neighbors Can Protect Their Community. It hits the high points. David Crawford’s Lights Out is an excellent fictional treatment of the same issue. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Over the coming months, I intend to get involved with the local folks who are involved in emergency prep, including the local and county government EM group and the local LDS church. Whatever your local environment–urban, suburban, rural, whatever–you should do the same.

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