By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin -(Ammoland.com)- It was Wednesday 12 Aug 2015 and I had an old Air Force friend visiting from out of town.
We decide to take a long drive to the other side of the state so he could see our farm. With three of us in the truck and spending the entire day talking and catching up on old times, we never turned the radio on.
I had not read the morning paper that Wednesday so I did not know what was going on in the world. I noticed at least four times during the day people filling up extra five gallon gas cans as they were refueled their vehicles–thought nothing of it. Out in the country lots of folks go to town with gas cans or a rolling gas caddy in order to bring fuel back to the farm or county home.
I am one of those people who believes, that even after a long day of driving you should fill up your gas tank before heading home for the night. Of course since I had a house guest I failed to follow my own standard operating procedure.
I picked up the next morning’s paper on Thursday 13 Aug to discover that gas was going to go up by $1. I must admit I was a little shocked. I did not see it coming. A refinery somewhere in the Midwest had to go almost completely off line due to a fuel leak.
Just as the price of a barrel of oil had slipped below $43, gas was shooting up by a projected dollar.
In many of the apocalyptic scenarios of both books and movies one of the first things to disappear is motor vehicle fuel. Now if you think it is just Hollywood that makes your car gasoline disappear try asking your grandparents what it was like having tightly controlled, small rations of fuel during WWII.
My father still has gas rationing coupons that his family had to present in order to buy gas from 1942 until 1945. It was suppose to be so fuel could be conserved for the war effort, it also was a way the Federal and State governments could have a major impact on the movement of the general population. No gas meant Americans were not just driving around the country doing whatever they wanted to.
In a crisis if you think you will get in your car and drive to safely, at grandma’s farm in the country, fuel will be your biggest road block, literally.
As of today, 16 August 2015 some people are still waiting in airports trying to get home because federal airplane controlling computers have failed and left 100,000 airline passengers stranded. Being hundreds if not thousands of miles from home and having no control on how you will get home safely and on time is hard on the nerves.
So the refinery cannot get you the gas you need and the airlines cannot get that flight home and in both cases (this time) it is an understood problem in the “system,” not terrorists trying to mess up your day or your life. But what if, even a few activists from a number of politically motivated groups, take it into their own local US hands to mess up the American public’s expectation of all-the-time easy travel?
One refiner going down has the potential to cripple the Midwest to include the greater Chicago area of over 8 million people. If there is a coordinated sabotage of a number of fuel production operations in the US how far and how fast could the suffering spread? Throw in a couple of electricity generation plants going off- line at the same time and misery only grows for the average citizen.
We live in the most well-oiled, productive nation in the world and yet it would take very little to disrupt the mechanics of the vast interlocking system. Look what happens when there is a multiple car pile-up on a major interstate route, in a Chicago size city at rush hour. Tens of thousands of people can be brought to a stand-still by the failed driving skills of a few. What happens when there is that 100 car smash up on the highway that takes days to clear up?
Think of a fuel shortage, both vehicle and heating, and a power outage staged during a predicted severe weather front, all colliding at the same time in major metropolitan areas, as the proverbial terrorist / man-made attack. This occurring with limited or perhaps even no shots fired. US federal, state and local governments have a history of forcing the cutting off of power and fuel in time of crisis in the name of public safety.
They are perhaps not trying to be malicious to the citizens they serve, but it gives them perceived control as the situation around them spins out of control. I will keep my radio on during the next road trip.
Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.: Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” firstname.lastname@example.org