Going through the news, photos and videos coming out of Haiti, you cannot help but realize the folly of relying on the Government for immediate help. I am not saying that Big Evil Government will not help, but it is a huge slow animal that will take a long tome to get going and, in the meantime, you are on your own.
And as the bureaucracies slowly churn into action, the regular folk are left to their own devices. Most folk will actually try to recreate some sort of mini-society, a tribe if you please, but some will just become a pack of predators with murder and mischief in their minds.The power of armed roaming criminals is awesome. Not just because they are armed but the level of violence they can inflict is something we are not accustomed to see as civilized people. It feeds its violence on itself and even the most simple and peaceful of men will do things that are unthinkable, the hardened criminal will reach new heights of cruelty. Mobs are nasty and Desperate Mobs are cancerous and unforgiving. The result is that rescue efforts will be delayed or denied because safety cannot be guaranteed just as it is happening in Haiti where medical teams are being pulled out because it has turned too dangerous for them to do their mercy work.
I have lived through a total breakdown of law and order. I’ve seen neighbors turn to neighbors for support and neighbors turning against neighbors in frenzy. I saw people getting killed in very horrific ways and sadly I understood the phrase “Life is cheap” in a very short time. We escaped the mayhem not because the mob suddenly developed a conscience (news flash: Mob Mentality does not include conscience or morals) but because we were ready to inflict serious deadly force and managed to transmit the message in a clear and concise way to the looters. Our property was left alone while the Mob went looking for softer or more rewarding targets and they did. I saw more people getting killed and homes and businesses being painfully stripped of anything remotely of value like a cow under a piranha attack.
And the biggest shock of all was that the mob was not faceless and anonymous. I saw people I knew for short, medium and long time in it. They became animals just going about their wild business no matter what past history they had with the neighbor they were looting. It didn’t matter to them, the “reward,” the immediate satisfaction and the feeling pf power that a mob gives was too intoxicating for them to think coherently about what they were doing.
I don’t think I slept for three days. Things started to “calm down” not because sanity returned but because there was nothing much left to loot and the mobs moved on. It took the local government 5 days to send a semblance of authority to the area and only then people became individuals again. Some were embarrassed for what they did, some didn’t care and I just couldn’t digest all that happened. I have most of it now but there is this sense of “I can’t believe it happened” still in my brain. The old “Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everyone you meet” is relevant as sad as it may be.