On your own

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Reuters is reporting on a study by the Center for the Advancement of Collaborative Strategies in Health that says many Americans will act on their own in a terrorist emergency, rather than following the government's instructions:

Americans Suspicious of Terror Plans, Survey Shows

An in-depth survey found that the people do not trust the federal government to take care of them during an attack, and would take many matters into their own hands -- endangering themselves and their families.

[...]

"People did not respond irrationally. Rather, they made rational, logical choices," Glied said.

For instance, many of those surveyed feared they could go to a smallpox vaccination site, get exposed to people who already had smallpox, and then be told they could not safely get the vaccine because they were pregnant, had eczema, AIDS or some other condition.

And people asked to think about a dirty bomb explosion said they would try hard to get to their children or other family members, even if told to stay put by authorities.

"Only 59 percent would stay in the building," said Dr. Roz Lasker, who led the study.

"Assuring the safety of people who depend on them is more important than their own safety," Lasker said.

The full study is good reading. Redefining Readiness: Terrorism Planning Through the Eyes of the Public

ready.jpgWhat the U.S. government needs is less press freedom (not that it's much more than lip service anyway), more lethe in the water to keep people complacent, and some really good propaganda.

You've seen ready.gov; does it compel you to follow its instructions? Compare duck-and-cover drills in the 1950s to looking contemplatively at dead fish. Backyard fallout shelters have more cachet than plastic sheets and duct tape.

Cruising through the Prelinger Archives, I found these gems of emergency preparedness from the US Civil Defense:

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My favourite ready.gov image is in the 'Nuclear Blast' infographic (http://www.ready.gov/nuclear_visual.html). A nuclear blast has an epicentre at the corner of Broadway and Main, and on the same block 'You Are Here'. The graphic suggests escaping to the left of screen, but wouldn't this be radioactive rubble too?

Well, if you get about a block away from the blast, there's More Radiation. If you're two blocks away, it's Less Radiation. Technically true, but see for yourself how they map it at http://www.ready.gov/nuclear_visual2.html

The caption to the third picture should be "Time: This man has 5 minutes 12 seconds left to live."

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