Just in Case Doesn't Seem to be Universal

tl;dr: Preparing for the worst seems to be somewhat selective for many people.

My wife and I spent five interesting years in East Texas. Two of the top topics of discussion were guns and god. Where you went to church was a big deal, and what kinds of firearms you had was almost as important. If you go to Academy, a regional sporting goods store, you are guaranteed to see people over at the gun section, and very few of those people were looking at hunting rifles. We lived in Tyler, a city booming with growth, yet the traditional values of god and guns are still very much thriving. Perhaps that is exactly why some people relocate there.

One time (not at bandcamp, I swear!), I had a co-worker when I was at an EPC (Engineering, Procurement, & Construction) firm who offered to give me a ride to a lunch meeting. When I got into his truck, he immediately started to show me the arsenal that he had in his vehicle. This was completely unprompted and I believe wholly unnecessary. Undeterred, he proudly showed me his Glock in the center console, his Browning 9mm in the visor, and then a .38 revolver under the driver seat. When I asked him why he had so many weapons in his truck, he said "Hell, you should see my house." Pushing a little bit more, I genuinely wanted to know why someone would have three handguns in his vehicle. The answer that he gave me is one that I have heard many, many times. That answer was "Just in case."

Tyler, TX and the surrounding area of Smith County is a relatively safe region. Crime is low, and home invasions are not a common thing. Certainly not to the level that it would justify having enough weapons to outfit an infantry platoon. That, however, does not matter to many residents there. It is the mere possibility, no matter how minuscule, that is worthy of arming one's self to the teeth. Purchasing one weapon isn't sufficient. Nope, it's a matter of civic responsibility to attend the gun shows and be as current as possible on getting the largest legal calibre available and with the highest amount of round capacity on the market. To do less, well, you just might as well put a sign out on your front yard that says "come rob me!" I wish that was sarcasm, but that was literally told to me by someone who was amazed that I preferred not to have firearms in our home.

I'm not sure who is right or wrong in this scenario. All I can say is that in the five years that I was in Texas, I heard of no incident where a homeowner prevented an attempted crime. I did know two people who died of firearms, one by suicide, and the other an unlucky kid who, under the influence, tried to re-enter the party he was attending. He made the mistake of picking the wrong house, and since it is Texas, the homeowner shot first and asked questions later. He was just 18 years old and was one of the rugby players I coached. "Just in case" seems to have some broad parameters.

Texas is going through some water security issues. They are not alone. Many states and cities are going to feel the squeeze when it comes to sustainable living and freshwater access. Some of those cities are not in the Southwest US, but major cities like Atlanta and Miami. I've been talking about reducing water consumption for quite some time now, which seems to be generally unheeded. The problem is that in the US, water has broadly been cheap and readily available - so much so that taking a twenty-minute shower or leaving the sprinklers on all afternoon is not an uncommon event. What's the big deal? There's loads of water. And there always will be. Until there isn't.

"Just in case" preparation needs to be occurring with water consumption. If we did it with half the gusto with which many Americans seem to engage in home security, we'd be saving hundreds of millions of gallons a year. Because we don't, we are going to hasten the time it takes to transition from having lots of water to having very little of it. There is a big difference in one's lifestyle based on if you have access to water or don't. If you think it's a huge inconvenience to not be able to water your lawn when you want or wash your car whenever it is dirty, then having to decide between a shower or boiling water for dinner will make you furious. If we all started to live life like we were already under drought conditions, two things would happen. All that reduced consumption would extend fixed water resources so that we could potentially stave off water scarcity. Or, secondly, when the inevitable happens and we have to start enacting water reduction practices, we won't feel the pain of extreme adjustment nearly as much as if we had just continued on as if nothing was wrong.

This "just in case" thinking has been broadly rejected by many of the same people who enthusiastically embrace it for other aspects of their life. Why is this the case? For many, the odds of being in an emergency drought situation are far higher than getting robbed. And yet, that fact doesn't motivate many people to take action. So clearly, "Just in case" is not about the odds. For many people, home invasions are not a far-off fantasy despite the evidence that proves otherwise, but an ever-present, very real possibility. To be honest, I have never encountered so many people who seemed to relish that possibility. Each day that their home wasn't being invaded was not proof of faulty logic, but proof that Jesus really does love them. Some people seemed to actually wish for an opportunity to use their firearms to inflict potential fatal harm on their fellow man.

Compared to other countries, the amount of water we use and waste is just ridiculous. We almost have a sense of entitlement about water, which does not exist in other parts of the world. There is a water privilege here in many parts of the US, and we simply cannot take it for granted. We don't need to start looking into a Dune-style still suit to capture our sweat, but we don't need to use over 150 gallons a day either. For many of us, water scarcity is coming. This isn't a cool Game of Thrones ripoff, it's actual fact.