Into the Storm: Should Survival Come at the Expense of Compassion?

By Ian Kane
Ian Kane
Ian Kane
Ian Kane is an U.S. Army veteran, author, filmmaker, and actor. He is dedicated to the development and production of innovative, thought-provoking, character-driven films and books of the highest quality.
July 17, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Apparently, there is a voracious appetite out there to watch rotund, bearded men wearing suspenders or camo’d outfits, and equally bulbous, toothless women, wobble around in the outdoors with guns n’ stuff. We seem to be in the grips (at least according to what is being offered in TV and film) of a strange fascination with shows and movies depicting people fighting nature. We’re also in the midst of a whole new wave of disaster/apocalyptic releases, including “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Maze Runner,” “Category 5,” and “Into the Storm.”

So, I decided to dig a little and find out what people’s views were on these current trends in mass media. I wanted to find out their thought processes, and see what they’d purportedly do under circumstances similar to the ones presented to us. While exploring what people’s views on emergency preparedness and survival, a few things occurred to me. Firstly, a lot of what folks write in online groups and forums about what they would do in certain situations seems to be fake, or in the least tongue-in-cheek (hopefully).

I’ve witnessed people react to fictitious emergencies in some downright disturbing ways. One scenario I presented involved bugging out in a vehicle, and suddenly noticing a prone figure in the middle of the road. What was one of the more popular reactions? To just run over the person’s body. Very few mentioned anything about checking to see who the person was or if they may have needed assistance. A few people even said that they would speed up while doing their little run-over job, in order not to be slowed down by the “human road kill.”

I wonder how some of these same folks would react if the figure laying on the road had been a relative or loved one of theirs. What if they hadn’t immediately known it was and after running the person over, realized the error of their ways? I bet a lot of the same guffaws and insolent back-slapping would come to a screeching halt had that been the case. The sheer psychological trauma that anyone (with a conscience at least) would have to carry with them in the aftermath of leaving someone behind, whom they could have helped, would be catastrophic I would think. Ditching a loved one would surely be quite traumatic, unless the ditcher was utterly psychotic.                                                                                                  

That had me thinking about another matter: The older among us whom we love. I haven’t seen too much discussion on what people would do in order to help their friends and family who just aren’t that mobile anymore. I wondered how many people would still bug-out in a disaster situation and attempt to take their slower loved ones with them, and who would decide to just leave them behind. And what if they don’t live in the same state? Would the slower ones be on their own in that case? Have they even been adequately prepared in case of one of the calamitous events loudly portrayed in one of the recent disaster flicks?

With all of the prior flapping about running over folks and what not, would this same psychotic attitude also pervade? In the case of a complete government shut-down or some other similar emergency situation, these older folks would no doubt be especially vulnerable to roving bands of bandits and other opportunists. Would there be any plans to “bug-in” and protect them from the home front, or are they not factored into anyone’s preparedness equations?

By all accounts, we live in a very ageist society where our elders are more or less seen as expendable, while the strong and the young get all of the attention and feverish adulation. Would we treat our more aged potential survivors with the same lack of compassion that companies do when they write-off many middle-aged and older job hunters? Personally, I’d rather hole up and make a stand with someone who is older, wiser, has a backbone, and these little things called ethics, rather than ride out with some opportunistic psychopaths with no qualms about snuffing people out randomly.

If you’ve made any emergency preparedness plans, or at least considered what you’d do in disastrous situations, where do your older loved ones fit in, if anywhere?

I recently talked to one of my older relatives about this very subject, at which she replied: “I guess they just expect us all to drop dead or something!” After considering her reaction I came to a startling conclusion, which is that I don’t even believe that this older demographic was even in the thought process at all.

Ian Kane
Ian Kane is an U.S. Army veteran, author, filmmaker, and actor. He is dedicated to the development and production of innovative, thought-provoking, character-driven films and books of the highest quality.