Monday, September 3, 2012

In which there is a Crisis, and we turn it into a block party

Regular readers of this blog have probably noticed that I don't like emergencies.

This is an armored SWAT car.
That black square on the right margin of the photo is our mailbox.
(KING 5 News photo)
A lot of our lives at Haiku Farm go into planning around emergencies so that they don't happen:  we stock up on firewood during warm summer months, we wear helmets, seat belts and safety goggles when those things are warranted, and we built our farm in  a low-key, non-exciting mostly-agricultural community.

"Road Closed" = major understatement
I was very surprised to get a text from a friend yesterday:  "Are you okay?  Do you need to stay at our place in town [Everett] tonight during the Emergency?"

Huh?  Our family was at the county fair, oblivious to the Bad Doings on the road near our home.

The best place to be during a crisis: the other side of the county, at the Fair

Back in the Olden Days when I studied karate, we learned that the best place to be in a fight was on the other side of town, drinking tea with a friend.  When I was working as a teacher, I told my students that the best place to be in a food-fight was in the library, studying for a test.  In other words, if you pay close attention to your surroundings, you can almost always figure out how to be somewhere else when something bad goes down.

But I gotta admit that the Crisis on our low-key, non-exciting road caught me by surprise.
The scene along our road: neighbors evacuated and roadblocked
out of homes and vacation properties by police action.  (KOMO 4 News photo)
From what we can piece together from news reports, one of our loonier neighbors blew a mental fuse and started playing sniper.  He was dressed in camo and had a military-style rifle on a tripod.  He hit one neighbor with a bullet to the calf, and several vehicles (including cop cars and the SWAT vehicle) have very impressive bullet holes in them now.

(The injured neighbor was treated and released at the local hospital.  He'll never have to buy his own beer again, because people will buy it for him, just to hear the story.  It's that kind of town.)

Gold-star news report from local KOMO News is HERE.  They were actually on-site yesterday and returned to follow-up this morning.  The initial radio news report from KOMO made our whole community sound like a bunch of gun-totin' yabbos, ready to break out the banjos, but they fixed that in later reports.

Silver-star news report from local KING News is HERE.  They hung out until almost midnight last night, and monitored the scanner traffic closely.

Cheap plastic-star report from quasi-local Q-13 Fox is HERE.  Although their reports claimed to be on-the-spot reporting, their reporters were clearly still in Seattle listening to the scanner and building their reports by using copy/paste from the work of other agencies.  Don't get me started on Faux News reporting....

The sniper is dead.  Not sure if it was self-inflicted or a police bullet, but my condolences go out to his family.  The neighbors were locked down (if they were in the danger zone) and locked out (if they were away from home when it happened) until nearly midnight last night...

...which resulted in an impromptu block party at the top of our driveway, since we were the edge of the police perimeter.  The neighbors gathered here swapped names and stories, shared blankets, beer, and I even found new homes for a few zucchini.

Although this was a pretty strange event, we noted that some of our neighbors were prepared for an emergency when they got stuck with their vehicle away from home.  Some folks had a few jugs of water, along with an extra warm layer of clothing, a phone charger, and some other useful stuff.  One lady had a battery-operated lantern with fresh batteries.  Others were wearing summer togs and had little else to contribute to the party, but we all pitched in and helped them, offering to share what we had.

It made me think about the emergency kit in my truck:
a camp stove.  
extra clothing, including a rain coat
a can of soup
a paperback book
a tupperware container of dogfood
a few gallons of water.

Not enough to ensure survival for the recommended "3 Day Kit", but it's a good start.  You can be sure I'll be adding stuff to it in the near future.

How about you, Dear Readers?  Do you carry emergency supplies in your vehicle?  What do you have in there--and when is the last time you checked on it?  Have you ever needed it?