Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Link: Nifty Article On Map Reading

It is amazing to me how many people cannot read a map - even a basic highway map.  We have become so dependent on Google Maps, GPS, and our smart phones that most people never bother learning how to read a map.

I grew up in the pre-GPS/smart phone era, and I learned to read maps.   My grandfather had an excellent sense of direction, and usually only had to read a map once to remember a route.  It was uncanny.   I travel through seven or eight counties in my home state regularly for my employer, and after a decade on the job I know at least two or three ways to get to my destination by memory.   I still keep a highway map and a topographic map with a compass in my car, just in case. 

There is a blog web site, Atlas and Boots, with a great basic post on how to read a map and compass. It's a good primer for those wishing to learn the skill.  Most of the time you will have GPS and phone service, but there are certain terrain types - an urban setting filled with high rise buildings, forests, or hilly, mountainous terrain - where cell phone and GPS signals can be blocked by line of sight hindrances.  Kills trump gear.  Grab a cheap compass and map of your local area and learn how to navigate.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Scientists: New E. Coli Strain Resistant to ALL Antibiotics

The new bacterial strain can pass on its resistance to other bacteria.

According to a news story from Australia, a new strain of e.coli has been detected that is resistant to every antibiotic that currently exists, prompting fears of a return to the pre-antibiotic era when even simple infections could have deadly consequences.

Chinese and British scientists identified the strain in a pig, then in raw pork meat and then in a small number of people. It was hoped that it could be contained there. It has now been found in animals in Malaysia, Germany, and in a man in Denmark who has never been outside that country.

What makes the bacteria unique is that is possesses a gene known as Mcr-1, which is thought to make it resistant to antibiotics.   The problem is that this strain of e. coli can also infect other bacteria and pass on this immunity.

Practically, it means that if left unchecked, scientists are concerned that common bacteria that cause most urinary, blood, and intestinal infections could become immune to every antibiotic.

Medical researchers are either going to have to devise a new class of antibiotic drugs or figure out how to switch off the gene in question.   The window for containment has passed.   That's the problem with biological threats; by the time you know you have a problem, it's often too late to contain it in any meaningful way.

For years, physicians have been limiting antibiotics prescribed to patients to attempt to hold off on antibiotic resistance.  The problem is that out food is laced with it, because it is used in pigs, chickens and cows to help them grow faster and bigger than they would without the drugs.   The article states that 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are used in livestock.

Original story: LINK

Monday, December 7, 2015

National Review: The Politics of The Walking Dead

The National Review has published a neat look at the politics of The Walking Dead and how zombies are a stand-in for other natural and man-caused disasters:

“There are no zombies in the real world,” you might say. But the zombie apocalypse has lots of plausible functional equivalents. The Walking Dead isn’t even really about the walking dead. It’s about other people. It’s about the fact that hell, when it exists on earth, consists of other people.

The zombies serve only one ongoing function in the show: Having brought about the collapse of political society, their constant menace prevents the reconstitution of political society on any large scale. Survivors therefore have to figure out how to establish atomized communities large enough to save them from a precarious hunter-gatherer existence, but small enough to be manageable as safe, prosperous, and free communities. That proves a constant and often losing struggle in which little survives except our band of fellows and a little hope of a better world, which is why The Walking Dead keeps coming back.

You can find the rest of the article here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 608: First to Last



Episode 608: First to Last

Carl (to Ron):  I get it. I do. My dad killed your dad.  But you have to know something, Ron.  Your dad was an asshole.

Synopsis: Sam is playing in his room, while outside, walkers invade Alexandria through the breech in the wall.  Everyone heads inside to hide out, hoping they can figure out how to lure the walkers away.  Deanna, Rick, Michonne, Gabriel, Ron, Jessie, and Carl hide out with Judith in Jessie's how, where they discover Deanna has been bitten by a walker outside.   Carol trips while running down the street and injures herself.  Morgan carries her the the jailhouse.  Maggie escapes to the watchtower, and Eugene is rescued by Tara and Rosita after radioing Daryl for help with Rick's radio.   Carl and Ron tussle after Ron tries to kill him, resulting in walkers breaching the house.  The group grabs two walkers, kills them, and smother themselves in guts to escape.  Deanna stays behind and empties her gun at the oncoming horde.  Carol has been faking her wound and goes to the jail, where Denise has treated the Wolf held captive.  Morgan and Carol argue, and Morgan subdues Carol only to be incapacitated by the Wolf, who takes Denise hostage, steals guns from Rosita and Tara, and leaves with Denise as a hostage.  Carl takes Ron's gun, but covers for his actions.  Glenn and Enid search for a way inside, and spot Maggie on the lookout tower.   The group in Jessie's house maker their way to the armory in their meat robes, and things are going well when Sam starts talking.
Sam is playing in his room and listening to music.  He brushes an ant away from him, and the camera pans to see a half-eaten cookie being swarmed by ants and eaten, in the most blatantly overt example of symbolism this series has seen in a while.
It's a walker-palooza!

Outside, the church has collapsed into the wall, throwing everyone nearby into a mad scramble to get out of the way.   Walkers surge into the gap, and Rick orders everyone back into their houses to hide out.   He draws the herd's interest by firing his gun and killing a few, and Deanna tries to help, but falls onto a saw and is injured and about to be eaten when Rick saves her.  Carl comes up with Michonne in support, along with Ron, and the group retreats to Jessie's house with Father Gabriel as well.

Meanwhile, Carol trips while running to assist and injures her head on the sidewalk.   Morgan scoops her up and they retreat to the half-finished jailhouse.   Maggie, who was heading to the watch tower and has the only long gun out of the armory,  shoots several walkers and retreats to the guard tower, losing her ladder on the way.  She is now marooned.  Eugene is frozen in fear against a wall as walkers flow around him, and hears Daryl's voice on Rick's radio, which he drops in the confusion.  He transmits a single word, "Help!" The walkers close in on him, but he is rescued by Tara and Rosita, who have already helped Tobin get away.  They retreat to the garage turned into a school.

Outside the walls, Glenn and Enid look on in shock and horror.  Enid wants to leave, but Glenn insists they can get inside at the wall opposite the breach, as the walkers will leave it and follow the rest of the herd inside.   Glenn confides that Maggie is pregnant, and he is not leaving her.  This shocks Enid into action.

Tobin lives to fight another day.
Inside Jessie's house, they move Deanna upstairs, where they discover a bite just below the saw wound.  She is on a ticking clock.  Sam watches fearfully, and Jessie tells him that he has to pretend to be brave.  Rick and Jessie come up with a plan to run to the armory and draw the walkers away from Alexandria with flares.  Michonne tells Deanna she believes in her vision for Alexandria and its expansion, but Deanna asks what Michonne wants for herself.  Michonne cannot answer.

In the jailhouse, on the main floor, Carol refuses Morgan's offer of medical aid, while downstairs, Denise treats the wounded Wolf.  She gives him IV fluids and treats him for the infected gash.

Back at Jessie's house, Carl and Ron go into the garage.  Ron locks the door behind them and pulls a gun on Carl, but the latter disarms him.  They fight, and Ron accidentally breaks a window on the side door with a shovel.  The walkers are immediately drawn to the noise and threaten to break down the door.  Rick and Jessie hear this and cannot get the door open, so Rick is forced to demolish the lock with a hatchet to get the pair of teens out.   Carl covers for Ron and says they accidentally knocked over a shelf, but a moment later, gets Ron alone and disarms him at gunpoint.  Ron apologizes for his actions, and Carl tells him he sympathizes with him, but that his father was an "asshole."

That moment may be the redeeming gem in an otherwise unsatisfying episode.  Carl has shown the most growth of any of the characters on this show except possibly Carol, and has become genuinely likable.  He is a young adult now, and he is capable of killing when he has too, but he has a cooler head than his father.  Rick is just as likely to kill someone as not, but Carl is still capable of managing a complex situation with Ron without resorting to extremes.   The Season Three Carl would have killed Ron immediately, but the that time spent deprogramming his killer instinct at the prison had reaped the desired effect.

Rick hears Judith upstairs and finds Deanna leaning into her crib.  He is about to kill her when whe screams, "it's still me!"  She is very weak now, and she gives him notes for Maggie and Spencer and asks Rick to care for Spencer like he would one of his own people, because, as she says, they are all his people now.  This has been the problem with Rick since he arrived at Alexandria. It has always been Team Rick versus The Alexandrians.  It's about time someone called him on it.  Rick is not always right.  He's good, he understands the world he now inhabits, but he makes mistakes. The writers need to acknowledge that more often.

Carol and Morgan sitting' in makeshift jail ...
Carol is pretending to rest, and Morgan turns his back on her to stair down at the makeshift jail below.  Carol being Carol, she pushes him out of the way and races downstairs to find the Wolf tied up with Denise. Carol draws her knife to kill the Wolf but Morgan intervenes.  Carol argues that he has to be killed, but Morgan won't allow it.  She never draws her gun, which signifies that she doesn't want to hurt Morgan, but she is going to do what she has to to protect the group.  Apparently, Morgan was never told about her actions at the prison.  She will do what it takes to safeguard the community.  Morgan disarms her and knocks her unconscious, but he is knocked out by the Wolf, who then frees himself.

At its core, this internal debate is the crux of The Walking Dead.   How much can you take of this world before ultimately you become less than human?  All life should be precious, but how does that ideal stand up in the face of murderous humans and the walkers?  When the veneer of civilized society is ripped away, ultimately what do you become.  At what point does all life not become precious?  Maybe it already has, and we just don't recognize it yet. 

The walkers make it inside Jessie's house, and the group retreats upstairs, blocking the stairs with a
couch to slow the herd down to allow them to buy time to escape.  They kill two walkers, and dismember the corpses to apply to sheets they will wear to mask their smell so they can move through the herd to the armory.   While they are making preparations, Michonne tells Deanna they are preparing to leave and offers to kill her before she turns.  Deanna promises to do it to herself when the time comes.  Gabriel, showing more spine that he's shone the whole series, tells Rick he can count on him now. 

Rosita, Tara and Eugene make it into the jailhouse from the school house garage, and are confronted by the Wolf, who holds Denise at knifepoint.   He forces them to surrender their weapons and leaves, taking Denise with him.  Tara has a shot, but the woman who could shoot walkers in the head from the top of the wall in the last episode seemingly doesn't want to risk it now.

Glenn and Enid find a tree and climb it to gain a look inside the perimeter and see Maggie on top of the lookout post.

They looked like they robbed a gut wagon.
Rick's group, with each member covered in guts, goes downstairs, and calmly walks into  the herd without the zombies taking notice.  Judith is with Carl under a gut poncho in a carrier, and they hold hands to stay together.  The zombies do not notice them.  Upstairs, Deanna hears walkers in the hall, and instead of killing herself, empties her gun into the crowd, sacrificing herself to draw them into her room and away from the escaping group.

Rick and his group are now on the front porch, looking out into the herd that has now filled the streets.   They are still holding hands, and getting away unscathed, when Sam starts calling out his mom's name, risking all of their lives.  The screen fades to black, leaving their fates unresolved in one of the most unsatisfying cliffhangers in recent memory, ranking right up with the "Is this really Uncle Fester?" conundrum of the first Addams Family movie.

In retrospect, it was going to be hard for this finale to satisfy anyone.  For those unfamiliar with the comics, something happens to Carl that changes the entire course of his character when the walls come down at Alexandria.  I will leave it the reader to discover the nature of the event, but the fact that it did not happen after the buildup with Ron last week pointed that way smacks of the writers toying with the viewer just for the sake of toying with the viewer. Coming so soon after the delayed reveal of Glenn's fate sapped any anticipation out of the audience, at least for me.

The whole cold open scene with Sam's cookie was goofy.  We know what is going to happen as the walkers pour inside.   You don't need to telegraph it with that scene.  Likewise, the death of Deanna, while dignified, cuts short another voice of reason in this insane world.  Anyone who opposes Rick's hard case mode of doing things has to die, apparently.  Deanna already was ready to turn over command of the settlement to him, and that character had so much more story left, but I guess the writers had to kill someone.  Frankly, Tovah Felshuh elevated every scene she was in, and the show will not be the same without her gravitas.

As it stands, First to Last is a muddled, unsatisfying mess of an episode that tries to be greater than the sum of its parts, but cannot make it over the hurdle.   The few little gems we get -- room-to-room fighting in Jessie's house, the gut smearing routine, Carl's coming out as a force to be reckoned with, and some really great lines -- are lost because there is no real unifying center to hold the episode together.

Preparedness Discussion

 Let's start with the security situation inside the walls.  No one has anything other than a sidearm except Maggie, who is swiftly overrun.  Not that more long guns would have made much difference against a herd this size, but it would have been nice to at least taken a few more down from a distance to trip the ones behind them and buy everyone some time.   Likewise, all the weapons and ammunition are still stored in one location in the armory, effectively putting the community's offensive weapon eggs in one basket.

This goes hat in hand with having no passive defenses inside the perimeter.  The houses are not prepped with barricaded windows.  If nothing else, a core area around the armory and infirmary should be fenced off and guarded by watch towers as a keep, or last resort holdout, for the community.  Everyone could have retreated to that location where the food, guns and medical supplies were located and held out for a while.  As it is, the members of the community are scattered all over the compound, hiding in houses that are easily breached.  I hope someone had the presence of mind to put some food and water up on that guard tower, or things are going to go south for Maggie quickly.

Finally, there comes the issue of the handling of the prisoner Wolf.  These people are dangerous, and there should have been a gun pointed at him the whole time.   The fact that Morgan couldn't trust anyone enough to tell them he held a prisoner shows that he has a long way to go to integrate into this community, and now once his secret is out, assuming they survive the walker incursion, how is anyone supposed to trust him?

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 608:

  • Never assume your perimeter is foolproof.   Have an internal security plan.  Replace flimsy hollow core doors with more sturdy wooden ones.  Make sure they can lock.  An internal deadbolt would be a good security measure to create a temporary safe room.
  • Practice securing the inside of the house if an intruder makes it inside.  Ensure each member of the family knows where to go and what to do.  If your plan includes using firearms for self defense, make sure you are properly trained and include use of that firearm when considering home defense plans.  For instance, plan for everyone to go to their bedrooms and lock the door, so that as you clear the house, you know where everyone is if you have to fire your weapon.
  • If you do have a home invasion or burglary, and you apprehend the perpetrator, have someone else call the authorities while you stand guard.  If you have some strong zip ties, bind their hands, even if they are wounded.   Remember, this person defined your relationship by invading your home.  Keep a constant watch on the person and make sure, if you can do so safely, that they are disarmed.  
  • Make sure your weapons are secured but easily accessible by you in case of an emergency. Consider taking advanced handgun tactical courses to increase your firearms proficiency.

During the hiatus:  I am going to write a first half retrospective in a couple of weeks.   Have a great winter break and keep following the blog for more preparedness information!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 607: Heads Up



Episode 607: Heads Up


Synopsis: Glenn, who has been missing, shows up alive after crawling under Nicholas' body and under the dumpster.   He gets out, and is helped by Enid, who does not want to go back to Alexandria because she doesn't want to see it fall.   Rick and Morgan talk briefly about the need to talk, and Rick keeps inspecting the wall for weak spots.  Maggie is still on watch looking for Glenn.  He proposes figuring out how to lure the walkers away.  Glenn stabs zombie David and retrieves the farewell note that was dropped.  Gabriel tries to organize a prayer meeting, but Rick tears down the signs.  Gabriel replaces them.   Rick and Carl teach Ron how to shoot, but do not give him ammunition or let him fire live rounds.  Morgan, Michonne and Carol confront Morgan about his refusal to kill Wolves during the attack.  Rick and Michonne come up with a way to lure the walkers away from Alexandria, but Rick is hesitant to involve the Alexandrians.   Deanna reveals plans for the town's future.  Rosita offers machete lessons to people but is harsh on Eugene when he does not take to it.   Glen and Enid make their way back toward Alexandria, and find the green balloons used for signalling during the walker roundup.   Meanwhile Rick and Tobin reinforce a weak section of the wall.  Ron steals some live rounds from the pantry area and sneaks up on Carl, seemingly to shoot him.   Spencer tries to get over the wall via rope in an attempt to go get a car and lure the herd away, but nearly dies in the attempt.  Carol discovers Morgan is keeping a Wolf alive in the locked house, just as Maggie spots the green balloons Glenn and Enid launch to let everyone know they are alive.   The church outside the wall damaged by the truck used by the Wolves collapses into the wall, creating a huge hole for walkers to pour through.

You should be dead, Glenn.
Heads Up quickly resolves the cliffhanger set up in Thank You and reveals that Glenn, who was knocked off a dumpster surrounded by walkers when Nicholas shot himself, landed under the man's body, and as the zombies were eating Nicholas, he wriggles out from under the corpse and hides under the dumpster, killing the few undead who notice and try to get at him.   The way the storyline was dropped for three weeks was gimmicky. It reminds me of the movie War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version) in which the rebellious son who charges ahead to help the Army battle the invincible aliens somehow survives the military slaughter and shows up safe at the end of the movie.  This is called the "Spielburgian" ending.  It would have been a bolder move to leave him dead, with no resolution for Maggie. 

Okay.  Glenn is alive ... in the most improbable way. The character is one of the last in this world that has managed to hang on to his humanity, and the show needs that, but this is just cheesy.  For this reason, I dropped one star from what would have been a four-star rating.

Days pass, and the herd loses interest and move one.  Glenn finally risks climbing out from under his hiding place, and is surprised when Enid, who escaped Alexandria during the Wolf attack, tosses him a bottle of water from the roof, which bursts on impact.   He chases after her, and realizes she is moving from rooftop to rooftop. She has placed another bottle of water on the second floor for him, which he guzzles down.  Enid hides from him, while Glen asks what happened at Alexandria when the air horns sounded.   She wont respond, and disappears out a window.  She hides in a diner, waiting for a few passing walkers to clear out, when Glen surprises her and disarms her when she pulls a gun.  He will not leave her behind. 

Back at Alexandria, Rick is checking the walls for weak spots while Morgan practices with his staff.  Rick says they need to talk at some point, and Morgan agrees, but it's a strained, tense exchange.   He checks on Maggie, who is on watch at the top of the lookout tower in the direction Glenn should be coming from if he is still alive.  He encourages her by saying that Glenn, Abraham and Sasha will return.  He wants to get the rest of Team Rick together and figure out how to lure away the walkers so that the returning trio can get to the gates.   Maggie tells Rick Judith is starting to look like Lori - which is good, since she's probably Shane's baby anyway.

That's some high quality H20 right there.
Glenn finds David, the guy bitten at the fence when Michonne's group was cornered, and kills him as his walker form stirs to attack.  He finds the note he wrote to his wife and retrieves it to take back before moving on to find Enid.  While he is doing this, Father Gabriel is back in Alexandria posting signs for a prayer meeting, which Rick tears down despite Carl's protests.  Garbriel replaces them.

Rick and Carl begin giving Ron shooting lessons. Carl and Rick explain that when he has to use the gun, he is going to be scared, and shows him how to aim down the sight before firing.  Ron is allowed to carry the empty gun to get used to it, but is not allowed ammunition.  Later, he distracts the pantry volunteer and sneaks into the armory to steal some rounds.  This is going to be bad news.  Ron is playing a waiting game.  He still holds a grudge against Rick, no matter what he says, and he hates Carl for "stealing" Enid.  Carl and Enid have been out there, in the blood and guts, and Ron hasn't.  Enid and Carl get each other, and Ron is a spoiled kid who hasn't had to fight for anything.

Morgan starts to enter the infirmary but starts to walk away when Denise opens the door.   He tells her he is fine, and Rick asks to talk.  He, Michonne and Carol -- the Brain Trust of Team Rick -- want to discuss the fact that he let several Wolves escape during the attach.  Rick explains that those Wolves attacked him in the RV and destroyed his chances of luring off the herd now surrounding them.   He points out that Rick didn't kill him back in King County, and Rick replies that he knew who Morgan was. Morgan replied that he would have killed Rick had he had the chance, but that he doesn't want to kill anymore, repeating Eastman's "all life is precious" mantra and explaining it is what saved him and restored his sanity. Michonne asks if he thinks its really that easy, and Morgan says it isn't easy.  Rick tells him he cannot survive without getting blood on his hands.  Morgan is unsure whether his decision were right or wrong, but he knows he does not want to kill.

Walkers continue to pile against the walls.  Rick and Michonne work on a plan to draw the walkers away, but Rick wants to keep the plan to just Team Rick.  Michonne tells him he needs to involve the others.   Deanna approaches with blueprints for the community's expansion, and tells him she knows there are pressing matters, but that they have to start planning for the future.

Rosita is teaching Eugene and some Alexandrians how to use the machete, and Eugene is not doing well.   Rosita begins treating him harshly, and he admits he is afraid of dying.  Rosita tells him dying is easy, but that surviving after others die, especially if he doesn't do anything to help them, is the hard part.

Spencer is really, really dumb.
Enid waits in an abandoned diner for Glenn to leave and for a few random walkers to clear out, after writing "JSS" on a meal ticket.   She tries to leave, but there are still walkers outside, and Glenn grabs her from behind.  She draws a gun, but he disarms her.  He wants to get back to Alexandria because half the herd is heading that way.

Rick is working on reinforcing a weak spot, and Tobin approaches to help.   They notice blood coming through the walls.  Tobin tells Rick everyone was scared of him when he first arrived, and he looked around like he saw things they couldn't see; the man says it turns out he did see things they couldn't.  Tobin says things moved slow in Alexandria before, then once Rick arrived, everything moved very fast.  He tells Rick not to give up on the native Alexandrians.

Enid puts down a walker on the road back to Alexandria, and the arrive at Checkpoint Green, with its green balloons still inflated.  They retrieve the balloons and some extras, plus a helium tank, and inflate more.  The plan is to use the balloons to distract the walkers with them.    He asks who she stays with back home, and she says Olivia, but that it wasn't really her home. She was orphaned by walkers.  Glenn says he probably was as well, and that they have to go on living to honor the dead, because they cannot.  They arrive at the safe zone, and find it surrounded by walkers.   She tells him the world is trying to die and they should let it.  Glenn convinces her to try to get inside.

Rick and Tobin spot Deanna's son Spencer trying to use a rope to get past the walkers with a pack and AK-47 on his back.   Eugene and Tara watch from the other guard tower.   The rope begins to slip and Spencer almost falls.  The rope then gives way and Spencer falls into the walkers.  Tara begins firing into the undead to give him cover, while Tobin, Rick and Morgan pull him back up.  He asks Spencer what he was doing, and Spencer says he was trying to get past them, get to the cars at the barricade down the road, and use one of them to lead off the herd.  Rick asks if he has ever tried a climb like that before, already knowing the answer, and tells him never to try anything like that again without running it by him first.   He then berates Tara for risking herself for Spencer.   Tara, ever the diplomat, flips him off.

Lady MacBeth has issues with Kung Fu Morgan.
Morgan enters the infirmary and discusses Denise's cheat sheets next to a sleeping Scott, who is still recovering from his gunshot wound.   He tells her that he has because he chooses to, and has faith in her.  He asks how the antibiotic supplies are holding up, and Denise says they have plenty to go around.  Morgan is asking for some antibiotics, but not for him.  It's for the Wolf he is holding captive.  He doesn't want to involve Denise, but she agrees to come take a look at the prisoner.

As they leave separately to attempt to keep suspicion to a minimum, they are spotted by Carol, who decides to follow them.  She asks Jessie to take Judith, ostensibly so she can go on watch.  Sam calls out for Carol and asks what happens if he can't live with what happened.   She tells him, "it eats you up."  He asks how people turn into monsters:  is it the killing?  She replies that the killing keeps you from becoming a monster.  She exits, and tracks Morgan to the prison house where she confronts him about who is inside.

Carl walks down the street, unaware that a now armed and dangerous Ron is following him, while Michonne looks a Deanna's expansion plan.

Ron's motto:  an eye for an eye.
Rick and Tobin are still reinforcing the wall when Tara walks by, looking for Denise.  Rick apologizes for his remarks earlier and tells her she could have died.   Tara said she wasn't thinking about that and had to help.   Deanna then thanks him for saving Spencer.   Rick tells her Spence was stupid, and explains she could've used him being eaten as a distraction to hop down, escape, and grab a car to lure the herd away, but says he didn't because he is Deanna's son.  She tells him,  "wrong answer."  He saved Spencer because it was the right thing to do.

The community, including Maggie, spot the green balloons that Glenn and Enid have released to let them know they are alive.  The hope is fleeting however, because at that moment, the small church outside the wall which was damaged by the truck in the Wolf attack collapses onto the perimeter, destroying a large section of the wall where it was weakest.

Preparedness Discussion

Let's talk about the elephant in the room.  I'm not talking about Glenn.  Let's discuss how the Alexandrians have done nothing to clear their perimeter of obstructions like the church that falls on the fence and opens it up for the walkers. Once their perimeter was secure, they sat back, sent out scouting parties, and counted on everything going well.   The committed the sin of assumption.   They assumed everything was going to be okay, that the wall was all they needed, and did nothing else to improve their security situation.   When Team Rick arrived, there were no guard towers, and without a clear perimeter no fields of fire.   They were ripe for the picking.  No wonder the Wolves had such an easy time making it inside.

What does this mean for us as preppers?  Make sure your landscape is free of obstructions that will allow you to see potential threats.   Use a home security system to secure the perimeter of your home.  Then, make sure you use it.  You would be surprised how often a security system remains unarmed, even though it is a huge deterrent to home invasion and burglary.

Then there are the internal threats.   Ron is a problem.  It is great that everyone is becoming familiar with firearms and self defense, but Ron is a loose cannon that has a big grudge against Rick and Carl.   He is clearly being duplicitous in his desire to get a gun, and Rick and Carl do not pick up on it.  Teaching people to use firearms safely is a good thing, but it can get you safely killed if your student has screw loose.  In every mass shooting in this country since the turn of the century, the killers all had something in common:  mental health issues. Take good stock of your preparedness group and ensure you really know each person.

Lastly, let's address the issue of hope in the role of survival.  The job of survival is in many ways a mental one.  Some survival experts have gone so far to say that survival is mostly an exercise in mental toughness:  the ability not to panic, to think things through, and use the resources at hand to enhance your chances of living.   Glenn is full of hope, despite the death of Nicholas.   He needs to get home to Maggie.   Likewise, Gabriel, who has finally found a way to forgive himself for his actions, is trying to build hope by building a community of faith inside the walls.   Morgan hopes he can turn the Wolf the way he was turned back to the light by Eastman. 

In contrast, we see the fatalistic Enid ("The world is trying to die; we should let it") and the pragmatic Carol and Rick confronting Gabriel and Morgan.    Hope is needed.  It is essential to survival.   Humanity's aspiration to be better than its former self has been and will continue to be one of the key drivers of innovation and creativity. That has been taken away by the walkers.  If it cannot be rekindled in the residents of Alexandria, what is the use of surviving?

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 607:
  • Clear your perimeter and secure your home with an alarm system.
  • Be sure of who your friends are and be wary of those that display tendencies that might make them a liability or threat.
  • Hope is the most important mental aspect of survival.
 Next week:  The series finale is here, and we get to see what happens when a horde hits the town.