History has a way of repeating itself. During the 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Asia, facemasks like the one in the image above were being hoarded. Despite costing almost nothing in normal times, there were likely individuals during the first SARS crisis that would have paid $100 per facemask if they could find one. Search the Internet today for the phrase “face mask hoarding.” Due to the current Coronavirus scare, it appears that in some places medical professionals are having a hard time findings surgical masks, and in at least one place a law is being considered in order to outlaw the hoarding of facemasks.
After the reelection of President Obama in November 2012 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting just over a month later, I suspected that the price and availability of firearms and ammunition might be impacted. I had no immediate need for more firearms, and I was stocked up on most of the calibers I use within my systems. I was, however, short on 22 Long Rifle Ammo. My daughter and I went target shooting together a good deal at that time, and we regularly ran 300-400 rounds through her Ruger SR-22 pistol during each practice session. So, on January 2, 2013 I looked around for a sale on 22LR ammo.
I found that Cabela’s was running a great deal. I ended up purchasing two 50 caliber ammo cans, each with four packs of the Federal 22LR ammo shown in the image above. The cost for the two ammo cans, the 4,200 rounds of 22LR and shipping totaled $182.93. That works out to $22.87 per box of ammo, and two free 50 caliber ammo cans. Not long after I heard that there was a shortage on various ammunition, that prices had spiked, and that 22LR was not available online or at retailers for any price. Over the next year or so the only place I could find 22LR ammo was at gun shows. Those selling them were asking $100 per box for the same ammo that one could by at Walmart a few months before for $19.99 plus tax.
Whether it’s for ammunition or surgical facemasks, prices for items in high demand tend to drastically increase during a perceived or actual crisis. This leads to panic, hoarding, and shortages. It doesn’t take long during such times for high-demand items to be unavailable.
Facemasks and ammunition are one thing, but what about food? It’s being reported right now that in some cities in China tens of millions of citizens are being forced to stay in their homes. One family member is apparently being let out every few days in order to purchase food and other necessities. Under such circumstances, it will likely not take too long for food shortages to begin. After all, when millions are being forced to stay out of public, factories that produce food will likely be impacted as will transportation. One wonders how long it will take for the current food supplies to hold out.
Shortages of food and other necessities are one trigger that may be responsible for turning a medical emergency into a wide-scale security crisis. We hope this does not take place in China in the coming weeks. Let’s pray that the Coronavirus will be brought under control there, and wherever else it spreads.
For an idea of what life is like for many in the world during times of crisis, watch the first seven minutes of the Documentary about Venezuela in the link below. A mother shares how at times she can only feed her children once a day. This is despite the fact that her husband is one of the lucky individuals who’ve been able to escape Venezuela to work in another country, and can thus send money back to support his family.
What’s happening in Venezuela and what the World Health Organization has declared as a public health emergency surrounding the Coronavirus, are examples of crisis situations. These can serve as reminders that during normal times we have choices that are not available during a crisis. Food, medical gear, firearms, ammunition, and various other items that may be unavailable during a crisis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive in the United States today. It would be wise to think right now about what might be necessary if a medical, political, or other crisis were to take place here that would cause shortages of certain items. It would be wiser still to start putting a few of these items aside a week as your budget allows. There’s no need at all for panic, but there is a need for wisdom.
Wisdom and preparation allow individuals to face crisis situations without the panic that endangers so many others. For an excellent example, see wisdom in action in the first book of the Bible. Genesis chapter 41 describes how Joseph, having been warned of an approaching famine, took steps that likely seemed odd to those around him, yet that may have saved millions.
For ideas about how to prepare for crisis situations, review topic 01.02.05 (Residence Survival) of the Panoplia.org Soft Skills and Tactics (SST) online security training course. Doing so will help ensure that you can overcome the panic that will likely overtake others during any future crisis that may arise.