What if…. The prospectus of trying to determine a future event and the resulting chaos created by it are not a typical place I spend my days. However, there was a time in my Information Technology career where such scenarios were a part of my every waking day – Disaster Recovery. Disaster Recovery, or DR as it is commonly called in the computer systems fields, is the process by which a company insures systems up-time. In our digital world, up-time is everything.
Right before the Y2K “bug” hit, I was working for First American Real Estate and title company as a digital systems Tape Librarian. My job was to gather backup tapes that had been created during the night, and ship those to an offsite location for safe-keeping. The rest of my department dealt with sending critical data files to off-site customers, and war-gaming disaster scenarios. Over time, I was accepted into these little sessions, usually head in the cafeteria during lunch time. We would dream up a disaster scenario for our building, and discuss the entire scenario while we ate. I cannot count the number of times we actually cleared out the cafeteria with our rather grisly scenarios. I remember one scenario we worked out came about because of a gas tanker accident on Interstate 35 East, right outside our building. We started to surmise what would have happened if the tanker had gone out of control, attempted to use the Empire Central exit and careened out of control through our front doors – coming to rest in the middle of our lobby. We estimated that if it had happened when this accident did, we would have lost somewhere around forty percent of our employees in the crowded lunch-room. We further war-gamed that the tanker would explode in our lobby, rendering the elevators and the south stairwell useless for evacuation. We estimated that we would save most of the employees below the fourth floor (our building was twelve stories) before oxygen deprivation would occur for those at the higher floors. Yeah, we were fun to have around for lunch.
These war-gaming scenarios were a necessary function of the department. We attempted to figure out where our best plans would go awry, and how to get past that point. Our jobs were to save the resources, including personnel, to the best of our ability. There was always a given that recovery would put the company at a footing somewhere between fifty and seventy percent of previous operating capacity – at least for the first two weeks.
So what does this have to do with Pagans or Paganism? Well, I have often wondered (sometimes aloud), if people made any plans when something that they wanted to have happen….didn’t occur. Let’s go with politics for a moment, as an example. nearly everyone I know wants President Trump to lose the coming Presidential election. I hear commentary that this country will be completely destroyed if he managed to be re-elected for another four years. However, considering the deep nearly one-for-one split among the two main voting factions in this country, a re-election of this President is a distinct possibility, no matter how much one might not want to consider that. My question would be this: what do you do if he DOES get re-elected? Surely, folks have given this some kind of thought, right? Would you run off to the woods and hide? Or perhaps, you would claim to run to Canada as these celebrities did – but did not do. Maybe? Or perhaps, you’ll dress all-in-black with black watch-caps and darkened faces, so you can play like prisoners-of-war, and fight the government like a modern-day Hogan’s Heroes. Ok, most likely, you will do the same thing you have done for the four years he has been President – slam him on Twitter, and post memes comparing him to Hitler on Facebook and Instagram. But have you seriously thought about what happens if he did get re-elected?
Now, I am no clairvoyant. I have no special ability to tell the future. And honestly, using the old war-gaming tactics from DR has not really shown me a whole lot that can provide me with actionable thought processes. Mostly because the guy is just unhinged and unpredictable. However, I am not about to start prepping for living off the grid and reducing my connections that the government can use to track me. I am not about to pull my money out of the bank, and stuff my mattress nice and thick. However, my DR war-gaming reminds me to always be ready. So, I am not sure what can be done that will affect me so deeply…maybe outlaw Paganism? Maybe forced conversions to Christianity? If any of that happens, I’ll be there ready to fight against such inanity. I don’t think the US of A is going to head down that direction…but…gotta somewhat be ready for it. Sort of.
So, what to do? Well, you can utilize the concept of war-gaming scenarios, and try to prepare for whatever end you think might be likely. But you also have to realize that the procedures built from such scenarios are not what everyday living should be like. I mean, unless you like living a life of paranoia and suspicion of every single person you met. So, I would caution that the war-gaming scenario, while fun and ever-so deeply macabre, is really not for a “right now” manner of living. Its designed for a “what if [x] happens” type of mindset, which is only there….just in case.
The United States Air Force had all kinds of contingency plans for all sorts of scenarios. All of that was drilled deeply into my thinking, and really made me a natural for the DR scene. I left the DR world back in 2004…and found refuge in other areas of the Information Technology career fields. But that way of thinking, that way of testing terrible scenarios to determine what can be done to be ready for whatever [x] is….its never really left me. I am constantly asking myself “what if”…and now I wonder how many other people have ever thought of that…particularly in the tumultuous political and social waters we find ourselves in these days.