The image is supposed to be of 10,000 people lined up, waiting for a food bank to open in San Antonio. I’ve seen similar lines of cars all around the country waiting on food banks.

This entire year is going to one of turmoil and change. The other day we had a rampage at a local store off I-40 here in Knoxville. Three women who worked there were knifed to death before the assailant was shot by police. I foresee more aberrant behavior cropping up as this goes on. The stress is getting to everyone and for those on the fringes this can be very dangerous. Add in record level gun sales and we have a pressure cooker brewing.

New York City has now approved and is burying people on Hart Island. Someone scolded me the other day for saying this could “possibly” happen. It’s happening. The map is the one I drew up for my book so you can an idea where Hart Island is.

As a writer I look at a lot of information. Sadly, I know about Hart Island because I just researched it to write a scene in my work in progress, Hell of a Town, where my character goes out there to check the body of a homeless man. I grew up not far from Hart Island in the Bronx. I used to ride my bike out to Orchard Beach and City Island. The ferry that takes the bodies, and the prisoners from Rikers who are detailed to do the burying (adult caskets 3 deep) leaves from City Island.

I pay attention to indicators. Food banks are getting overwhelmed. One/third of Americans didn’t pay their rent this month. Unemployment is through the sky. The White House is insisting no bailout for the post office (we certainly don’t want mail in ballots in November) and the postmaster says they can’t last much longer. Think of the chain of effects of each of these actions on others.

From the beginning of this I wrote about a double-headed monster: the disease and the societal effect. The latter is now rearing its ugly head even as the virus now spreads to rural areas with devastation.

The economic situation is going to get much, much worse as the year goes on. Even if there was a miracle cure (which there won’t be) and we could all go back to work tomorrow, the cracks and breaks in the system will take years to heal. The system was broken from the start, but I’m not going to get into that here.

What to do? Think long term. Think beyond just the isolation and lockdown.

Depending on where you live, start a garden when the weather is right. I’ve now got seven planters that we’re going to use in addition to a regular garden. We’re about a week out from planting as the temperature just hit our annual cold snap.

I’ve got solar power running my office now. Frankly, the largest reason I invested in solar panels and a Goal Zero battery is to be able to run my wife’s CPAP machine all night long in case of power failure. Running a CPAP can be a matter of life or death for those who rely on them. So I’ve been learning about it using it in my office. My son, who has a PhD in material physics joked I could make some toast with the power, and he’s right, but it’s a beginning.

I have two Renogy hard panels and two flex. The flex are amazingly light. I’m still a novice at this, but am learning. And that’s the point: try different things now. If you’ve never gardened, start one.

A key thing to consider is planning for an emergency on top of what is already happening: earthquake, wildfire, hurricane as the season comes up, power failure due to undermanned electric companies, etcetera. I mentioned doing an Area Study in an earlier post. What are the threats? Natural disasters?

Think beyond the immediate. Plan for the long haul. I’ll do more posts on this, but I don’t want to get ahead of things too far.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)