Ethics and Duty
Below is a list of questions that you should try to have answers to as soon as possible. These are not the kind of questions you want to be contemplating "on the fly". Please be warned, these are hard, depressing issues to deal with. I highly suggest that you have something fun and distracting scheduled for later in the evening. Go out and get ice cream or go to a happy movie. Anything that will cheer you up. Thinking about these kinds of questions will bum you out in a big way.
- Should you try to hide the fact that you have a cache of food and water from others outside of your family?
- If your neighbor (or anyone for that matter) shows up at your door asking for food, how will you respond? What if they demand it?
- Are you willing to kill someone to protect your family? (Be honest. This isn't a test.)
- Are you willing to kill someone to protect your food and water? What's the difference from the question above?
- Is it "okay" to steal something during a riot? (Don't be so quick to answer this one. Would your answer be the same if everyone were doing it, including your neighbors and friends? What if it was food for your starving family?)
- If things got "bad" in the city, would you leave your house and head for uncle Joe's in the country? If so, when would you go, and how? (By car, on those sure-to-be-packed-solid freeways? Remember, if you try to answer this question after the fact, you'll be doing the same thing as every other person in the city.) What if uncle Joe say's no?
- Do you need to look into alternate forms of currency? Cash? Gold? Barter?
- Should you pull your money out of the bank? Is it ethical to do so? If so, when?
- What would you do if the government should declare martial law?
- What would you do if a police officer came to your door demanding you leave your home? Would it be different if you were three months late on your rent because you lost your job? Would it be different if there were NO jobs?
- How does your religion fit into the possibility of a long-term emergency situation?
- Could you leave your pets behind if you decided to leave and couldn't find room in the car? If not, what do you plan to do about it?
- If your house, and everything in it, (except your family) were burned to the ground, do you know someone who would take you all in? Within walking distance?
- Is suicide an option? Answer this one now, and stick by your answer.
If you've got a handle on the above, then you've come half way to being "prepared" for an emergency. Just having a solid idea where you stand on certain issues can make the difference between life and death. It will certainly effect the happiness you get out of life, both now and during a crisis. It's worth the time. When minutes, even seconds count, you won't have to make snap decisions based solely on intuition.
DutyHere is where your own beliefs take control, and logic just hangs along for the ride. "Duty" is a psychological compulsion to do or say something. And because it has no physical or logically defined rules or absolutes, I can't give you anything but basic guidance. Like ethics, duty usually comes to us as a question, so once again, here is a list to get your thinker started.
- Under what circumstances should you step in to help someone in distress? When should you leave it alone, or walk away?
- What if the above distress is rape? What if it's someone you know?
- Is vengeance appropriate, ever?
- If you have a family, is it your "duty" to protect them? Don't answer so fast. What does it mean to "protect" someone? Should you give them your food when things get tight? How about "jumping in front of the bullet?"
- If you have food, and your neighbors or friends are starving, is it your "duty" to share with them?
- Is it your duty to bury the dead?
- Is it your duty to be a part of your local community, even if you disagree with their views or decisions?
- Is it your duty to obey local law enforcement, even when you know they aren't helping, and may even be hurting a situation?
Here, I've run into a moral delema. If I really feel that something big is coming down, and being in the city just isn't safe, then isn't it my duty to do everything I can to get my family and myself out of there and to some quiet place in the country? The answer is that it may be your duty, but it's not theirs. Consider this: Suppose you said to your soulmate, and your teen-age daughter that you were selling your house in the burbs and moving to a small trailer in upper Montana. Your soulmate says, okay, but your daughter says, "Have fun guys. I'll be staying at Bobby's for now on..."