false alarm x 2
I was out putting some lettering on a vehicle today when I heard the "something wicked this way comes" sirens blast off. I froze for a second....The skies were clear, the weather was awesome, and the sun was shining. Not a cloud in sight. I'm 5 minutes from downtown St Louis, and you can see the Arch from where I work. Did something just get blown up? Then I realized it was the first Tuesday of the month, and they were probably just testing the storm sirens.
Then 30 minutes or so later I was inside working on something. I was rocking out to some totally wicked Creed (actually, Creed makes me want to smash my johnson with a sledge hammer..) when it cut in the middle song to that lovely emergency alert noises...ya know, the thing that sounds like a modem when you pick up the phone line (y'all remember modems, right?) But this didn't give a "this is a test of the emergency alert system" warning...it just cut to the chase in the middle of the song.
Holy $hit! I thought....Started doing a mental inventory of what I needed to pick up before I blazed home and locked down the fortress...Then it finally gave a "this has been a test of the emergency alert system...."
Really got me thinking about just how sudden something could happen. St. Louis is a major city, and a semi-likely spot for a terrorist attack. It would probably be another unassuming day, just like 9/11, or Pearl Harbor, that something majorly catastrophic would happen....
what would YOU do?
I experienced something similar while I was living in Israel over the last couple of years (Just returned to the US a couple months ago)...
Late last year when they were launching rockets from Gaza into Israel (Sometimes up to 100 per day!!) the air raid sirens would go off and you have about 30 - 60 seconds to take cover depending on how far from Gaza you are.
We had a "safe room" in our apartment that is steel reinforced concrete and has a 1" steel plate that slides over the window as well as a heavy steel door. So at home I felt relatively safe, but it got me to thinking, what do I do if I'm out walking the dog, or driving down the street?
After the first air raid siren, whenever I was away from the apartment I became much more aware of my surroundings and was always thinking to myself, "Ok, which way is South (We lived about 20 miles north of Gaza...), and where is the nearest cover that I can put between myself and an incoming rocket?"
When things were really bad my company sent us up to Tel Aviv to stay in a hotel for about 3 weeks, but I still had to drive within rocket range on my way to work 5 times a week. In fact, a rocket hit about 20 feet from a gas station where I sometimes fuel up next to work...
I always worried that I would be driving down a long stretch of hwy with no cover in sight and wouldn't be able to hear the siren because there weren't any with no towns close by or because of road noise...
It really wakes you up to live in that kind of environment...
I think everyone should try to live in a foreign country with a totally different culture. It was a great experience (except the part with the explosions in my neighborhood... lol)
I don't want to generalize too much, but I think most Americans are clueless about the rest of the world - What you get from the news just doesn't cut it and that's if they even care enough to pay attention... I know I really didn't before I left... And as bad as our economy is now, we are still spoiled compared to the rest of the world.
In Israel, gas was about $6 a gallon, the tax on vehicles is 100% - 150% (A new Mazda 3 would be over $40k, they have 15%+ VAT on everything else, in addition most things need to be imported so many things cost double what they do here in the US. And the median income in the town I lived in was about $1000 a month.
As a result, unless they have a pretty good job (In this case I would say making about 40k+ per year) were the company provides a leased car, most people cannot afford to own a vehicle and have to take the bus/train/walk everywhere they have to go.
A side benefit to that is their obesity rate is much lower than ours - not too many fat people there - that was one thing that I noticed as soon as I got back to the US, I was waiting in the parking lot while my wife ran into Wal-Mart: There are fat people everywhere! lol :eek:
With this experience and seeing the direction our government is heading, I have decided to start preparing for the worst. Luckily right after we returned we were able to pay off both of our vehicles, so once we get settled in I'm hoping to start stocking up on things and be able to purchase a few guns... Now the trick is to convince the wife that she doesn't need a new car...
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