Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Emergency: TBWSYL - After action report

I finished reading Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life, and enjoyed it greatly.

I did have a few problems with his conclusions though.


His initial concern was that genocide was not something that could be stopped simply because we were the USA, and "that wouldn't happen here." He was concerned about Bush's supposed tendencies toward fascism, and was afraid the USA would go the same way. In the end; he wound up joining up with the government agencies, because he felt good giving back to the community. Fair enough. But to say that his fears were unfounded because he was more likely to be killed in a car accident than by a fascist government? Not quite apples to apples. To a lot of us who ain't goin' out like that, being killed in a random car accident is very different that watching a government turn against its people over the course of decades, and refusing to acknowledge the exact same warning signs history has taught us to look out for.

I'm glad he feels fulfilled helping other people out, and I agree that once people (especially Americans) are more or less squared away in food, water, and security; they give freely of their time, money, and food. But I don't think his selfless conclusion is the right one (maybe I'm reading it wrong?), especially when he was instructed that his family was his first priority, then his neighborhood, THEN the organization.

He also said that we become what we fight. But does that mean he became a fascist, or that he no longer thinks the government will become fascistic simply because a different dude is sitting in the big boy chair, lording over the exact same devices Bush put into place, for either 4 or 8 years? We've got the same destination as those regimes he rattled off after visiting the Holocaust museum, we're just getting there at a different rate. It doesn't matter who's in the president's seat, or for how long, because if you keep giving the seat tools of power, eventually someone's going to sit in it who realizes the sum of their power, and isn't going to want to leave. That won't change until we start taking those powers away, wholesale.

The question, I suppose, is this: What is he going to do when they call him up, and ask him to help them round up criminals who all happen to have something in common besides being criminals? Maybe they're all Jews, or maybe they're all disabled people, or maybe they're all people of a certain political belief. If he's ready to say "Fuck off" when asked to do something similar after being told it's for "the good of the community," then I'm on the same page. If not, then he truly has become what he fought. Only under a different dude in the big boy chair.

But don't let this make you guys think I didn't like the book! I loved it! It was a great chronicle of his journey from 0% prepared to considerably prepared, and his mental and physical struggles along the way. I highly recommend you read it, and will recommend it to my friends. The end just kind of bugged me.

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