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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Claire Wolfe

When the abnormal becomes everyday reality

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The following letter comes from Helen, who lives in Greece. “William” is a reader of this blog who has spent years urging preparedness on her. She writes about the demonstrations and riots in her country and how quickly the unnatural can become the natural, the abnormal the normal.

Pundits debate endlessly about whether the U.S. economy is going to end up like or unlike Greece’s. Whichever way you bet, the future doesn’t exactly look rosy. Might as well listen to voices of experience, just as Helen listened to William’s warnings about preparedness.

I’m reprinting this with thanks to Helen, who gave her permission. I’ve done some “lite” editing for clarity and a little cleanup.


Helen writes from Greece (in an email addressed to a group of friends):

I know you worry about me, but please have faith THAT I REALLY HAVE LEARNT FROM YOU, and for the most part I do listen to you and don’t go anywhere where there is huge crowds. The other night when I went I was at the back of the crowd … and I was near lanes where I knew how to get out. I noticed the crowd starting to get restless and that’s when i took off. I was home by the time the Molotov coctails started going off.

I know nobody wants to think about this, and now I do understand William so much better when he tried telling me this kind of stuff years ago, I just didn’t want to listen to him because I mean let’s be honest, who … wants to think about these kinds of situations? I caught myself SO MANY TIMES saying, “Yeah right. This is 2010, 2011, 2012, like something like that is going to happen here.” BUT TO WILLIAM’S CREDIT, thank God he had the patience to ram this sh*t down my throat constantly because [if he hadn’t] I would be like those useless [victims] in Hurricane Sandy, demanding someone give me food, fuel, shelter etc.

Watch Greece and the things I write VERY CAREFULLY. You would be so … surprised how things change day-by-day by day-by-day. You notice it but you don’t notice it. It’s weird, your eye starts getting used to things that at any other time you would be shocked by, at the least, horrified at the most. BUT they have a way of bringing things into your life gradually. Then all of a sudden it becomes part of normal life when in reality it is SO NOT NORMAL LIFE.

It is not normal to see people eating out of garbage cans. It is not normal to see hundreds of people in the meals on wheels line.* It is not normal to see people dumping their children at orphanages [or] shelters because they don’t have the money to feed them. It is not normal to see children going to school without food. It is not normal for families to be living out on the streets. It is not normal for homes not to have electricity and water. It is NOT NORMAL to discuss among friends DAILY, how we are going to cook, or get heat or where to meet in times of things like William says above. It is not normal to discuss WHERE WE CAN FIND AND BUY A GUN. And the list goes on and on and on and on, but guess what IT HAS BECOME THE NORM HERE AND WE GO BY OUR DAILY LIVES like its ok — like its a part of life.

People’s characters in these times are truly disappointing. Its “man eats man” and the stronger one wins. Unfortunately we have become a world of ME ME ME. Whoever has a job is totally detested by the ones that don’t. The private sector hates the public sector because all these austerity measures are mainly to keep these f**kers in their f**king useless lazy jobs (see even I hate them so at times I am no better than the rest). Think civil war at some time.

But the truth of the matter is that we are a generation of butter people. Most of us know sh*t. Most of us have been brought up with all the comforts and don’t know what it means to really struggle, and to be honest there was no reason to know otherwise, because up until a few years ago, most of us made ends meet and lived a good respectable life — not rich but absolutely nothing like what it is today.

Like William said … lots of whiny people around and I hear some of the a**holes in here at the office and the ones that have left but still come by to visit and I am truly shocked by their attitude towards others. They don’t care if they step on someone else as long as they are getting money and as long as THEY ARE OK. It’s a shame that people don’t realize that as a group you can achieve much much more. But anyway that isn’t really the issue; the issue is to be ALERT — something that William points out almost daily. ALERT, ALERT, ALERT. Don’t be a sheep; don’t go with the crowd. Make your mind realize that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Don’t be a “it will never happen here” mindset person. You have to really believe that ANYTHING GOES. When you really believe this deep down, the fear factor fades, which in turn makes you think faster and smarter in times of need.

Having William ram this into my head for so long now was the best thing that he ever did, because I now find myself thinking so much differently. I think quicker; I think more common sense. You would be surprised in a split second how many thoughts, ideas, dangers, go through my head. My mind works like some kind of data bank now. The reason for this is because of practice, so many years with William taught me to think of EVERYTHING on the spot.

Example: When I went to the protest the other night, firstly I didn’t go in my high heels and skirt. Because I decided to go, I was dressed accordingly. I had runners on, I had my little gas mask in my bag, a whistle, water. I made sure my telephone was charged. I notified Mikis exactly where I was and [arranged that] if he couldn’t get in touch with me we would meet at a particular location. I stayed at the back of the crowd. I noted my exact surroundings and had a way out paved in my head should I need to run. While I was there I kept alert to changes in the crowd and to the movements of the police, should I notice something [that would warn me] to leave.

Believe it or not all this took longer to write than to actually do; it is now a second nature. The reason I did leave the protest was because I suddenly saw the special forces start moving slowly towards the crowd and I saw some of them starting to take out their little chemical bombs. But it was all so subtle because they were behind the crowd and no one noticed but [me] because I was behind the crowd and had them in full vision. I saw it, so I left and 10 minutes later, lo and behold, the supposingly anarchists (insert the polices themselves) started the riots. I cannot stress enough to be ALERT AND TO THINK CLEVER AND [CONSIDER] ALL OPTIONS. It is so so hard to write what is actually happening.

To close off this post, which you will realize a bit about what I mean, IT IS SO NOT … NORMAL TO BE WRITING A POST LIKE THIS. But guess what? I am. And guess what? You are reading this and thinking its normal and part of life but it isn’t, is it??


Note from Claire: It may be even more abnormal when the food lines exist but you can’t even see them.

12 Responses to “When the abnormal becomes everyday reality”

  1. Water Lily Says:

    I can attest that what Helen is saying is completely true because I have a friend who lives in Athens.

    Thanks for this post. A good reminder of why we prep.

  2. Matt, another Says:

    I would suggest the only error the lady made was going to the protests in the first place. I’m sure there are good and valid reasons to joing street protests, but they mostly escape me.

    I believe that will be the current “normal” in Greece until the collapse finishes. When hope dies so will the rioting.

  3. MamaLiberty Says:

    The reality may hit more folks when there is NO food in the “garbage” at all, and no amount of government play “money” in their hands will buy anything at all.

    Tragic for it to have to go that far… but I fear it will.

    Then the gloves come off.

  4. Claire Says:

    Matt, another — I knew somebody would say that about Helen going to the protests. But even if we would have stayed far away from any such situation, we don’t have enough info to say that Helen shouldn’t have gone.

    Heck, when I was 18, I could have given dozens of great reasons to go to a demonstration. :-) Even now I can think of a few.

  5. Pat Says:

    A very poignant story by Helen.

    This country also has moved, in the past few years, from normal to abnormal to (now what is considered) normal. Yet some time ago I began to realize that abnormality has been taking place since I was born. Change is inevitable over time – apparently bad-to-worse is inevitable also, like the perennial frog in the pot.

    I didn’t realize that food stamps were on cards nowadays. This not only hides the “bread line”, but, with the additional and rampant use of debit and credit cards by all economic levels, allows govt to keep track of *everyone*. Lesson No. 1: Use cash.

  6. Matt, another Says:

    Claire – I knew someone was going to say that about me saying that about Helen going to the protest. ;o) I would say observing historical events, etc would be a pretty good reason. I don’t fault her preparations for going, her observing and then understanding when to step away is rare. Many people never learn that kind of awareness.

  7. EN Says:

    “You have to really believe that ANYTHING GOES. When you really believe this deep down, the fear factor fades”

    I don’t know how I feel about this. Who wants to believe that your own country is so far gone that there are no rules??? OTH it seems to be turning into a libertarian paradise. ;)

    ” It is not normal to discuss WHERE WE CAN FIND AND BUY A GUN.”

    I guess even the most die hard anti gun societies can see the need once you’re on your own. It’s always interested me to no end that within minutes of the Soviet Union collapsing there were guns everywhere.

  8. Mic Says:

    We have relatives that live in Greece, some of them are not in our around Athens, but they are all reporting more or less the same things Helen is writing minus the riots. Many of the riots seem to be confined to Athens from what we are hearing.

    Interestingly my wife’s cousin who lives in Crete said that a vast amount of the people have set up barter networks because currency is so hard to get.

    I would say we should study Greece very, very closely because that is our future here in the U.S. it is coming and I do believe it is completely unavoidable at this point.

  9. naturegirl Says:

    Thanks to all who shared Helen’s story….

    I find it interesting because it brings up something that usually people don’t pre plan for: the shift being so subtle it’s normal before realizing it’s not normal…’s a good reminder to think more about what we see right in front of us……

  10. just waiting Says:

    We just got the internets back yesterday after Sandy. Street power came back on late last Saturday, we were out for almost 14 days. My ears are still ringing from the constant hum of the gen, silence truly is golden.

    We were as ready as we could be, so it wasn’t really a big deal. Travel was limited to 1/2 mile down the street in either direction for 3 days, there was no leaving. No phone, no cable, no bars. True isolation. C got to think about home instead of work for an entire week. It was great. No cars could come by, we were to be able to have the dog on the street with no leash.
    Lots of big old oaks fell from the neighboring parkland onto my property, so I’ll end up with about 6 winters of heat once its cut and split. Still trying to find a downside to the storm, but can’t yet.

    Learned a valuable lesson about generator maintainance 6 days into our adventure: Its not enough to check the engine, check the rotor and brushes too! I have a 12+ year old 5000W Coleman gen, loud but sipped gas and powered everything I needed. Stored it dry, fill with fuel, starts second pull, every time, no matter how long it sat. 6 days in, only getting partial voltage, take the end off the gen itself and crap, rotor and brushes are bad rusted and corroded. Wire ends rusted off of sensors. 2=1 and 1=none, and now I got none. Sub lesson: if you prefer battery tools, make sure you have some in 12v. Gerry rigged cordless drill to batt jumper box and cleaned everything up, bypassed some noncrucial sensors (in my estimation) and got it running again.
    Local hardware guy was getting 80 gens in Monday night, so got one of them, just to be sure. Once everything settles down, I’m going with a streetgas gen w/propane backup. One that’ll run on methane.

    We had a week’s notice that this storm was coming, countries like Greece have been warned for years. I went to the beach yesterday, it looks like a war zone. Evacuation was mandatory, Nat Guard man roadblocks, the foodstore parking lot is Command Central (everyone! with initials has a comm vehicle and big tent), thousands of property owners have been denied access to their flooded homes for over two weeks, martial law is in effect. Word is that last week a local business magnate was threatened by the USCG with fire if he further approached by boat.

    I guess what matters is how the masses respond in the face of their adversities. For those of us who were looking, we got to see what the beginning of armageddon/the apocalypse/shtf looks like here in NJ. My foodstore had no fresh foods, meats, baked goods, produce, etc for 12 days. People wandered the aisles of dry, prepackaged goods with flashlight. It was almost Hollywood. I saw people waiting in line for hours with 1, 1 gallon gas can in their hands. 1. 1 gallon. When I went looking replenish my fuel on day 11, I had 6 empty 5 gall jugs. 1 gallon???

    The big difference here is that now its over. Except at the island, everything is back to normal. While none of us knew how long we were going to have to do without, we knew that it was a finite term. For the first week, it was very 3rd world. Greece is still spiralling downward, with no bottom in sight. Last year we were out of power for 9 days, this year it was 13. How long is our next great outage gonna be? How much more are the Greek supposed to endure?Are super long outages supposed to be our new normal here in the Noreast?

    I gotta finish with the best part, we missed the entire election, no commercials, no news, no blogs, no emails, not a single piece of political information crossed into our brainspace. Thank you Sandy!

  11. Latigo Morgan Says:

    Funny. In some circles it is not normal to discuss guns. Around here, if the conversation doesn’t turn to guns, something isn’t normal.

  12. LarryA Says:

    “I would suggest the only error the lady made was going to the protests in the first place. ”

    1. There is value in reconnaissance, seeing what’s occurring filtered only by your own view, not that of others.
    2. There is also value in bearing witness.

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