Thursday, September 26, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

 The Red Queen shook her head, "You may call it "nonsense" if you like," she said, "but I've heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!"

Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass

This book was made into a mini-series over in England.  I tried to get a copy but was never able to, because DVD players there use a different format than ours here.

Then about four years ago,  there was a second mini-series based on the book and it was shown on American television.

It's not a bad story.  A virus being developed in a UK lab inadvertently is released into the general populace, causing a pandemic and die off.

The story is about the few people who are immune, and how they cope. If you want to get a feel for the very different mind set of Europeans, this is a good way to do it.  I'm not being critical or disparaging their beliefs.  I find some of them very hard to understand, and they fly in the face of my own personal experience of life, but to each their own.

There are some interesting scenes in the story.  One of the protagonists is an anti-hero, a criminal who escapes from prison after killing the guard who lets him out of his cell as everyone is dieing. He has a Browning High Power hidden away, but alas he loses it when he tries to car jack a couple who stop to help him and the woman squirts him in the face with hair spray.  There is a mad petty bureaucrat, intent on rebuilding government with her as the Empress and everyone else toeing her line. When someone crosses her, she holds a five minute Kangaroo court and shoots them with her Beretta 92.

In one scene, two people are battling it out with a Browning over and under 20 gauge and some other sporting gun I can't remember now.  It's meant to be very intense but I think most Americans would find it ludicrous, as I did.  This brave new world is full of violent predators, but no one seems very interested in putting a stop to their depredations.

The thing that made me think of this old series is my custom of reading blogs , both from this country and from others. There are a lot of people out there who have never, ever seen actual violence. They've never seen the reality of a societal breakdown or a loss of social order.  The veterans coming back from overseas now have.  I certainly had my experience of it in Lebanon during 1982-1983.  The naivety of a lot of people who haven't had that experience is frightening, but I suppose it's understandable.  I don't say everyone has to have had that experience to be realistic, but many who have not don't have any understanding of what will happen in such a scenario. I don't argue, or try to point out where their ideas are perhaps a bit unsound. I wish I was articulate enough to do that, but hard experience has taught me that most people are not receptive to that kind of warning until they've had something shock them out of their complacency. Then too, it's not my  business or my concern.  My responsibility is to my own family and my friends.  Jesus will have to take care of the rest of the planet.

One positive thing I should say is that Europeans are unfailingly polite. Even when they don't agree with you, and say so, they're tactful about it.  You know how it is here, you get a certain number of individuals who like to punctuate their comments with fire and brimstone insults because obviously, if you don't agree with them you must be a Cretan.  I've never seen that on these blogs.  It seems to me that most Europeans I've come across who are interested in self sufficiency are "preppers" and not "survivalists." There's a difference, and sometimes it's a not so subtle one. "Prepping" strikes me as a kinder, gentler version of the life style philosophy. If you want to take care of  intruders, feed them, nurture them and bring them in to live with you, that's more of a prepper mindset.  If you want them to move it on down the road and take care of themselves, that's more old school survivalism.

I'll keep on reading these blogs even if  I find them incomprehensible on occasion. There's one Scottish blog I really like, not least because the writer is a great moderator, one of the best I've come across. She's also a pretty brave person and I admire that.  So, see!  I'm not all that opposed to diversity in some respects! ;-)


  1. Harry, I've never been in the military, nor have I've been in a violent 3rd world country. But I have been in a poverty stricken country in Africa where life isn't worth a whole lot. You really can't tell people about certain things and expect them to understand. They have to see it for themselves. Until then, they have strange ideas about how things will actually work.

    It is understandable, but that kind of naivety will get many killed PDQ if things completely break down.

    1. Matt, I agree. One of the big failings I see in a lot of "world views" is the tendency of people from 1st world countries to think that "we are all the same inside". You can sit around the flower drum circle and sing Kumbaya all you like, but that won't make it so. People think "I wouldn't do that, so someone else won't either." Big mistake. When conditions change for the worse in a first world country, it can get very ugly very quickly. I think Katrina proved that, and a lot of people did wake up and start at least trying to make some preparations to take care of themselves. There's still an awful lot of self delusion going on out there.

      Africa is a great example of what I'm talking about. There are parts of it like South Africa that are fairly "normal" and then you have Rhodesia, Uganda, Rwanda and other hell holes that are like going into a really bad science fiction novel.

      Like people used to say "I guess you had to be there."

  2. Good points. I think I know what you are referring to. While I myself still think the sustainable community will be the ultimate savior of civilization we are going to go through some rough spots to get there.

    Like I have said before many a wold view isn't going to last more than 15 seconds after the lights go out.

  3. It will be an abrupt attitude adjustment.

  4. I have never seen violence or people who are ruthless. However, I am very cynical when it comes to trusting people who seem to be harmless. I suppose that comes from being married to a ruthless man, a minister, who was capable of all the vileness this world holds. In certain situations I am the skeptic although I keep my mouth shut, so shut that people sort of guess what I think. No, if things become bad, I will not be inviting people in to eat. I have no guns, nothing with which to defend myself. A woman alone will not be safe. I may not be around to see anything too bad. at my age.

  5. Well, there are people who are just naturally evil. They all hope and pray that things will break down so they can do whatever they want without worrying about the law.

    Then there are just normal, Walter Middy type people who, when faced with the breakdown of the structure they are used to, realize this is their opportunity to go wild and they do. Suddenly the restraints are off and they become different people altogether.

    If it comes to it, I think most people, if they are hungry will do what it takes to eat. Who they have to hurt to accomplish that is incidental to them.

    The world can change overnight. You can go to bed and everything is perfectly normal. When you get up, everything has gone to hell. Most of us have experienced that on a personal level at some time or other. It sounds like you are no stranger to adversity so I imagine you know what I mean.

    You strike me as a very practical person, and I'm not referring to your nom de plume. I'm sure you can find somebody who lives near you and fort up with them. You have a lot to offer. It wouldn't hurt to try to find that person and reach an arrangement in advance, though.

  6. I agree with your points that as Americans, we are insulated from many realities that other countries face everyday. We get outraged that someone stole our lawnmower - they see it as its theft fed someone (drugs or food anyway) and its your responsibility to keep it safe from theft. And other than funerals, not many Americans have seen an actual dead body, especially one that has been left out for a while. Medical care - go to hospital and get it taken care of.

    I live near border of Mexico and see a lot of what goes on that side of border. Drug cartels along the border make life for them very hard - kidnappings, beatings, and theft is commonplace. Some people have had cartel members driving up and telling them to leave the house or die - the cartel wants the house for their needs. Arguing would only get them killed.

    Illegal alien women tell it is very common to stock up on birth control pills and taking them prior to crossing the border. Rape from their 'coyote' guide is commonplace and they don't want the results from the encounter to be permanent.

    A different world indeed.

    Your points made above on what people will do to survive

    1. I'm glad it's you down there and not me. That area is getting to be a real no mans land. I feel badly for the ranchers who have been essentially overrun by the druggies and illegal, but get no help at all from our government.

      I'm not sure why people are so resistant to the idea that the world may be a very different place when there's no system left. Short term or long term, those periods when breakdowns have occurred, even in this country, have been brutal. I remember watching the L.A. riots, and Katrina is a lot more recent in our history. Things that happen outside the U.S. in some of the "anus orbis" countries dwarf those events. But there are still people who think love conquers all. You can't forewarn them, they'll just have to find out for themselves. Maybe they will get lucky and nothing will happen in their life times.

  7. The book is different than the television series. I thought it was interesting, but not great. There was a second book in the series that was well thought of, but is too pricey for me.

  8. Hi Harry,
    I'm interested in reading the Scottish Blog you referenced. Can you give us the name?
    Just found your blog a few weeks ago, and it's already a favorite!


  9. Hi there. can I add my two pence worth?

    I am not sure how I found your blog. clicked someones side bar I think.

    I live it what is probably classed as middle England. I can say that out of the 50 women in my office I am the only one of two people who has ever held a fire arm. It just isn't something you hear of and if you did say it out loud some one would think you were mad.

    People just don't own guns here of any type. I thought it was strange when in Canada that in the Walmart you could buy hunting knives and bullets (please excuse my basic language, I don't know what many of these things are called).

    We don't need guns to kill each other here, the riots that happened after the Police shot that boy a few years ago are testament to that. I really scared a lot of people. the youths took something and changed it, they didn't even know why they were rioting. Face book and blackberry messaging encouraged them. it is not something I have seen in my life time. and it is on the rise.

    England and the rest of the Union realise we are on a knife edge. not all of us are baking and making bunting all the time. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But others of us, we are learning skills that our grandparents grew up with. We are returning to growing food. Not just to be able to blog about it, but because we know the wind has changed. For sure your above comment is right, we are prepping not trying to be survivalists. It is more for when we cant afford the supermarket food. last week I bought yoghurt for £1 for 500ml. this week it was £1.20. All our food is going up like that. there are too many off us on this Island now. and houses are built with a garden so small that you couldn't grow enough food if we went to war again like 1939. 'dig for victory', don't make me laugh, a garden of less than 10'x10' wont give you much when you have 3 kids.

    If you can get into iplayer on the net, there was a programme a few weeks ago, called Blackout. It used lots of footage from the riots all over England a few years ago. The bit that struck me was about the man who blogged and said about his generator and how he was cooking on the BBq in his back garden in London (Ithink). it made me think, if people can smell you cooking they will come for your food.

    I have friends who are Mormons. They have said a few times about their 72 hour kits and having food storage for a cushion against lose of employment. Like you said in another post. They know what they are doing.

    Sorry this comment is long. I will be back to read more. Thanks

    1. That's a darned good comment and I am glad you came by and posted it. I keep in touch with another English prepper, and I know there are many in your country doing the best they can. I am going to post your comment because it won't be seen here, since this is an older post. Again, come back. Your point of view from out of this country is very interesting to all of us.