What would happen if the power went out?
Here in the comfort of the United States, we tend to think of black outs as temporary inconveniences. When a storm knocks out the power, we groan and light the candles, break out the box of Monopoly and try to stave off boredom until it comes back… but what would happen if it didn’t come back?
Last year, the United States placed sanctions on Russia over their infiltration of America’s commercial power grid. The grid isn’t really one big interconnected system, of course, so pulling it all down at once would be pretty unlikely… but it’s increasingly possible that foreign governments or even terror organizations could find a way to interrupt the flow of power to an entire region of the country. An attack like that can’t be solved with a few trucks fixing the power lines. Chances are good that the power outage would last longer than a fair number of Americans would.
Without electricity to refrigerate foods and pumps to enable the flow of clean water, urban environments would quickly grow desperate. Food being shipped in from unaffected areas of the country may take some time to organize and distribute, giving those with bad intentions just the push they need to justify looting. A power outage that lasted a week might get uncomfortable. An outage that lasted a month could easily be deadly.
In rural America, the situation may not get a dire as quickly, but the trade off is that help may not be as forthcoming either. As the nation organized a response, densely populated cities would be the government’s first priority. Out there in the woods, Americans would find themselves truly alone.
Could this great country bounce back from such an attack? If you ask me, it’s a sure thing… but that doesn’t mean that every one of us would survive to see the day. We think of electricity as a comfort, but in many ways, the free flow of energy into our cities is a form of life support. Without it, some people are going to die.
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