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?


  1. Ah yes... but did anyone travel with a tray of brownies? ;-)

    1. Fortunately for my neighbors, we have all the ingredients to make a tray of brownies. If the Crisis had extended itself much more, I'd have been baking!

      Not everyone can be as prepared as me.

  2. I carry a flat of water, a jacket, jumper cables, and three strands of baling twine.... of which I am currently out and need to restock, as I have used them (gave one out to a person trying to tie down a load, used one to tie down my own load, and the third strand was an impromptu dog leash.)

    I am really, really interested to hear what other people have - this is good stuff.

    Maybe do another blog post after compiling the answers, so we can have something to refer back to?

  3. Glad the Crisis wasn't worse than it seemed!

    I have absolutely no emergency gear in the truck. I took it all out when I left Nevada. I kinda... don't care. When I'm hauling the trailer, I have enough resources to survive for weeks; if I'm not... ehh, I'll cope. :-/

  4. I live on the other side of town where this happened and didn't know about it til late last night. Very scary and sometimes you just never know what people will and can do! I believe my horse shoer lives around that area.
    I do have an emergency kit in my car... but not sure what's in it. I know there is a blanket and jumper cables. I should probably find out exactly what is in there though.
    Did you ride out at the tree farm today? I thought I passed you on our way there!

  5. in germany there is no need for an emergency kit because you're never far from help. but because we geocache, there's a flashlight in the car, and high power magnets.

  6. Scary stuff!
    I have nothing in my car - not even an umbrella - because my old car was such a dumping ground for junk that it pains me to have my new car anything but spotless.
    My Mum, on the other hand, has everything - food, books, clothes, ropes, picnic blankets...

  7. yikes - that is kind of scary... hopefully the injured neighbour will be ok and not too scared by the whole thing. Having some supplies in your vehicle is a good idea, which I will think about doing.

  8. So glad you are Ok--and that it turned into a block party.

    I never clean my truck--thus it is full of useful stuff. I do bring a canteen of water and something warm to wear for my son and myself every time I go out. There is a standard car "emergency kit". I always bring my cell phone. If I dig through the rubble, there is a halter and leadrope--makes a leash, if needed--scissors, knife, paper, pen, packages of chips, books...etc. You can find anything in my truck!

  9. scary! I live pretty remotely, have gone through evacuating for a wildfire, and sometimes worry about not being able to get home, so I have lots of stuff in my car (though no camp stove, not a bad idea.) Always couple gallons of water, granola and fruit bars, blanket, change of clothes, waterproof matches, flashlight, flares, rope, wire, tape, knife, tools (hammer, screwdriver),small tree saw, all insurance info (home and car), hidden money, probably more! My truck actually has less because so much is in the trailer. Guess I shouldn't get stuck in the truck with no trailer!

    Glad people are safe, and thanks for making me think about it again. And I love making sure you have a book to read (which I always have), you never know when an emergency might just be boring enough to need to sit around and read for awhile!

  10. How scary!! Glad you were safe. I laughed at the reporting. Also... is it really called Snohomish county? Cuz that's pretty funny.

    1. Snohomish County, yup, yup.

      That ain't the half of it.

      I grew up in Whatcom County, and have relatives in Sequim (which is pronounced SKWIM, rhymes with SWIM) and Puyallup (which is pronounced PYEW AL UP and doesn't rhyme with anything).

  11. Yikes! I'm glad you and your family are ok!

    I keep an emergency kit in my car, a good amount of stuff can fit into a small plastic storage container like I have. A full first aid kit, flashlight, emergency blanket, emergency ponchos, a bottle of water, 3-4 granola bars, thin rope/baling twine etc. I usually have my cantle pack in my car too, and that has vet-wrap as well as regular first aid stuff, nail clippers, bright colored yarn, etc. I have a polar fleece blanket in my car too, though in the winter that stays in the back seat in case someone needs it.


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