Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life - Neil Strauss (2009)
Part III. ESCAPE
St. Christopher Club, St. Kitts, 2007
I am writing this on the dying battery of my computer. It’s been several months since I first visited this island and, though I have a place to live here now, I still don’t have my citizenship.
There was another blackout tonight. There are no backup generators, and the emergency lights only last fifteen or so minutes.
All the food in my refrigerator has spoiled again, and not only do I not have any matches for the candles, but I don’t know where to get any.
It’s a holiday today, and everything nearby is closed. I don’t have a car, because the rental companies don’t have any left. I know this because I called every single one of them yesterday.
I hear footsteps in the hallway and voices outside. If someone came up here, it wouldn’t be hard to break in. There’s just a flimsy lock, like on the doorknob of a bathroom.
I don’t know if I have any neighbors. I haven’t seen a person in the complex the whole time I’ve been here, outside of the local workers, who always seem to be around.
The apartment is on the flat part of the island, a little stretch of a square mile or two called Frigate Bay, home to most of the resorts and casinos and tourists. On the hill overlooking us is Basseterre, where the locals live in small town-houses and shanties. There are gangs there, and crime and murder.
The snap can occur here too, just as it can in the United States, just as it has in the past in Haiti and China and the Ivory Coast. One little snap—be it due to hunger, unemployment, propaganda, or simple resentment—and they’d all come running down here with the machetes they once used to harvest sugarcane. It would be over in a matter of minutes.
The police wouldn’t help us. They, too, live up on the hill. And their loyalty is to the hill, not to the rich foreigners who treat them like servants.
The American government wouldn’t help us, because it is far away and I am a traitor.
There is only one solution if I am to stay here: I will have to stock up.
Spencer was right. I’ve become so obsessed with repatriating that I haven’t been looking at the big picture. A passport will help me escape, but it won’t help me survive. I can’t eat it, drink it, or defend myself with it. I can only run with it.
To actually survive on my own, I’ll need emergency supplies. Plenty of them. Because if the power keeps going out on a regular day, I can’t even imagine what would happen during an actual disaster.
I’ll need guns too. To protect myself. From marauders who want my emergency supplies and my surfboard and my PlayStation.
And, more than anything, I’ll need skills. I’ll need to learn to live on my own without electricity, running water, gas. I’ll need to learn to truly be sovereign.
The lesson of Katrina wasn’t that the United States can’t protect its own. It was that no country can protect its own.
No place is safe and no government can guarantee the well-being of its citizens.
There’s only one place to find true safety: from within.