The Night the Lights Went Out in America

Surviving a Cyber Attack on the United States

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night in your bed because you are cold.  You are under the comfy blankets just like you have been all night, but suddenly it feels very cold.  You get up to see what’s going on with the heater, and when you flip the light switch in your bedroom, the light doesn’t come on; the power is out.  Not an unexpected thing, especially in April in Colorado when we can still get some big snow storms.  So you try to go back to sleep after throwing an extra blanket on the bed and setting an alarm on your smart phone to make sure you get up in time for work, knowing the problem will be fixed soon.

You wake up a few hours later, to no alarm, and you immediately reach for your smart phone to see why the alarm didn’t go off, and the phone battery is dead, even though it was plugged in all night.  The power is still out, so you go to your dresser to look at your watch to find that it is 8:30 and you are late for work.  You rush to brush your teeth, but no water comes out when you turn on the faucet.  So you gargle some mouthwash, get dressed, and head out the door to work, feeling a little grungy for not having showered or even washed your face.

You get in your car and hurry to the light rail train station that you take to work every day.  You notice that there is no sound coming from the radio, and three blocks away the traffic light is not showing any signal at all.  Cars are backed up, taking turns going through the intersection.  You finally get to the train station, park your truck and walk to the train, only to find that no trains are running.  It seems as if the whole neighborhood is still without power, but the fact is that all of North America is without power.

Our world has come to be so dependent upon technology that a power outage is crippling in every aspect of our lives.  Sure, there are data centers that have diesel generators that can stay in production for several days, but if there is no one on the receiving end of what they can provide, then they are basically useless.  Because of our dependency on technology, our nation’s power grid (the distribution of electricity) has become a prime target for enemies that want to destroy us, much like the attack on Pearl Harbor.


A WalMart Wiped Out by Looters

Imagine what our country would look like with no electricity.  You would not be able to buy anything as no stores would be able to stay open.  In fact by the time you realize what is going on, stores will be looted and society will immediately be on edge.  You would not have access to any money you have in a bank.  If your car was low on gas, you would not be able to fill it up.  Basically you would be stuck with whatever you had at the moment the power was lost.  This is why our power grid is such a prime target from our enemies, whoever they might be.

It’s not just our enemies who think about using cyber attacks; the US has an arm of service in the National Security Agency to focus solely on this issue.  Obviously there isn’t much information to write about since that is a highly top secret operation.  I do know that with the situation in Syria recently, the US considered using cyber attacks against their military operations to disrupt their ability to operate, but President Obama decided against that option.  You can read more about that subject by clicking here.

If or when something like this happens, you need to be prepared.  Like several other articles I have written about, you need to have enough food and water to sustain you and your family for an extended period of time.  You need to have important documents stored in one place, preferably in a container that cannot be destroyed by fire or water.  If you have a baby or a special needs person, you need to be prepared to support them.  You also need to be prepared to defend yourself and your family. You can read more details about this topic by clicking here.

From that article, here is a basic list of things to consider having on hand in case of an emergency:

  • Nonperishable food – at least a five day supply for each person
  • Water – 1 gallon per person per day
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television with extra batteries, just in case
  • Battery-powered, hand-cranked, or solar-powered cell phone charger, just in case
  • Tools – such as a wrench for shutting off utilities, a screwdriver, and a hammer (at a minimum)
  • First Aid Kit and manual
  • Sanitation and hygiene items – soap, moist towlettes, toilet paper, towels
  • Items for infants – formula, diapers, bottles, medication
  • Signal mirror and whistle
  • Strike-anywhere matches
  • Special needs items – prescription medication, eye glasses, contact lenses solution, hearing aid batteries
  • Photo copies of credit and identification cards
  • Cash in small denominations
  • Plastic bags of various sizes
  • Tarp
  • Powdered, chlorinated lime to treat waste and discourage insects

Tactical Firearms

I mentioned the ability to protect yourself and your family, and this topic can be extensive, so I will save that for another post.  If you have firearms and ammunition, you are certainly in a better position to defend yourself than without, but that is a personal choice, and not one to be taken lightly.  There are non-lethal projectiles that will certainly hurt someone enough to deter them without penetrating their skin, so that is something to think about even if you are an anti-gun person.  For those of us who would protect ourselves with guns, be sure that you have enough ammunition and the right kind on hand for purposes other than hunting.

Who knows if anything like this will ever happen, but I feel better knowing that I am prepared for the worst.  If you don’t want to be an extremist about it, at least have some basics on hand.  We see every season of every year that some natural disaster leaves people with little or nothing to sustain themselves, so we know that these events are going to happen repeatedly.  It doesn’t take much to be prepared for a few days of being snowed in or trapped without electricity, so at least do that for yourself.  If some kind of apocalypse does occur, there will be very few people prepared to survive, and I know I will be one of them.