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It really depends on the nature of the event, and the scope and magnitude of the damage to infrastructure.

Hurricane Katrina provides some lessons on what happens to the unprepared in a large metropolitan area affected by a major disaster.

The unprepared were mostly inner-city poor folks who did not have the funds to stock up beforehand, or evacuate. They ended up on their rooftops surrounded by water, or were rescued and sent, or made it to, the Superdome as the main public shelter.

Within three days, food and water was running out. Old people who needed medicines to live began to die. By the fourth day, sanitary conditions inside the building were so disgusting people began to stay outside to avoid the odors, worsened by the heat and humidity. People were still stranded on roofs while corpses floated by, since many people did not know how to swim. In the flooded areas, it took five days for organized rescues to begin, although many were rescued on days one and two.

Then the gangs and thugs began shooting at authorities and rescue vessels and vehicles. Rescue efforts were curtailed while the gangs roamed the streets of downtown looting jewelry stores, drug stores, pawn shops, liquor and grocery stores, completely unopposed by police, 50% of which had failed to report for duty. Parts of New Orleans did not see a police presence for ten days and nights.

1800 people died, mostly from drowning and exposure. By the 10th day, the National Guard and military arrived in force.

The stories of evacuees were even worse. People hit gridlocked evacuation routes, ran out of gas, and gas stations were emptied of fuel or without power to run their pumps. Anyone dumb enough to pull into rest areas were immediately robbed by gangs that took them over.

If you made it out, street gangs were using "bump and rob" techniques to loot your belongings - two cars would pull up on you, the one in front hit its brakes, the one in back rear-ended you, and when you got out, you had a gun in your face and your family and pets were ordered out of the car, and the gangs drove off with all your valuables inside.

If you lived along the evacuation routes, once people ran out of gas, they went house to house looking for more. That quickly escalated into home invasions. Anyone not armed was picked clean, or worse. Sometimes much worse.

The unprepared human swarm spread out, looking for supplies, and not politely asking for help.

If you were ready, you could defend what was yours, and the horde moved on; otherwise, you got stripped clean of your belongings.

While there were numerous episodes of people helping their fellow man, there were far more occurrences of every man for himself.

Your biggest problem may not be the disaster - it may be dealing with the evacuee hordes and the aftermath.

Now, project that out in a situation where multiple cities are hit. It was hard to get resources into one area; imagine that on a scale of ten times the damage path.

The unprepared are going to come, and they will want your stuff when they get to you. It is just how things work in a true crisis situation.
 

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Actually, the FBI 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment shows that most Southern states and Michigan have the same number of gang members per capita (2 to 4 gang members per 1000 people).

The states with high concentrations are Illinois, California, Nevada, and Arizona (6+ per 1000).

Down South, we really don't have a large gang presence.

But we have a lot of well-armed ******** and good ol' boys to help hold down the fort.

And a whole bunch of wild-eyed country boys who can really shoot.

So let all them snowbird gangbangers come on down.... We won't leave a light on.
 
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