Saturday, October 27, 2012

a state of emergency

Beneath grey and lowering skies, with the house emptied of its usual residents, I got a call from my daughter in Pennsylvania -- a place where a much-anticipated "Frankenstorm" is expected to hit.

The storm, named Sandy,

was expected to make landfall early Tuesday near the Delaware coast, then hit two winter weather systems as it moves inland. That is expected to create a hybrid monster storm that could bring nearly a foot of rain, high winds and up to 2 feet of snow.

My daughter said she had just been to the supermarket and things were "crrrraaaaazy." Food was flying off the shelves. Her fiance's company had been warned that after the storm hit, the company might be without power for seven to ten days. Her state had already declared a state of emergency, though no rain had fallen. Schools had been closed on Monday and Tuesday.

"So you had better get out there and buy some milk or something," my daughter concluded. And I may go to the supermarket, if only to observe the social arena.

How frightening it is to be in the eye of a belief-system frenzy. Not that a certain prudence and planning are stupid, but the overlay of "if everybody believes it and if everybody does it, so should I" lends an added dimension of group-think defies -- and flummoxes -- common sense. Where everyone is swept up in a belief-system frenzy, the world becomes more dangerous: Groups suffering from shared belief can pose a threat to life and limb, never mind sanity.

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