Normalcy Bias May Kill You!
August 10, 2020
The normalcy bias (1), unknown to most people, refers to the inclination for people to lessen the probability of possible threats or their dangerous repercussions. Consequently, the normalcy bias causes many people not to prepare for natural disasters, accidents, and world pandemics. In simple terms, it’s the ostrich effect; however, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand! They aren’t that stupid. When an ostrich senses danger, it falls to the ground and remains still.
When uneducated, unthinking, and unconcerned people sense danger, they look to the government - when often the government is the problem.
With the Chinese coronavirus, the world has experienced the first world lockdown, and it was done based on dubious evidence. Not only businesses (which I may add, are in business to do business) shut down and stopped doing business, but all schools, parks, and most churches closed their doors. Attending church or continuing your business one-on-one was illegal, but you could legally protest in huge crowds!
The funeral for former congressman John Lewis in Atlanta was said by the media to have abided by facemasks and social distancing guidelines; however, that was an obvious lie. The audience was seated close together and the singing team and soloist were not masked or separated. So, it’s legal to protest and go to state-approved funerals but not go to church or run your business!
Since when did any official have the authority - power yes, authority, no - to tell churches they must close? Or, if they could open, they could not sing or have more than ten congregants? Never has a nation or the world made such a sea change so quickly.
That could never happen to us. But it did. “But, it can’t last forever.” Are you sure? “Well, government officials will never let it get so bad that we run out of food and water.” Are you sure about that?
When God warned Noah that bad weather was coming and the earth would be inundated, he followed God’s instructions that involved long term planning. And many years of hard work. He was ready when the rain began. While a global flood had never happened before, Noah thought it best to prepare for it.
The normalcy bias could have killed everyone.
Five years ago, I wrote the following that is more relevant now than it was then.
The normalcy bias is a mental condition individuals experience when facing a disaster (2). It causes people to become vulnerable to approaching danger as they underestimate both the possibility of a disaster and its potentially dangerous impact. This often results in situations where people fail to prepare for a disaster, and that failure can be catastrophic on a state or national scale.
It is a mental condition that convinces a person that since it has never happened before, it can’t happen. Or, “it won’t happen to me.” After all, this is America. We are special; however, we are not immune from natural or manmade disasters.
The town of Pompeii, located on the Bay of Naples, was a flourishing resort for wealthy, powerful, and elite citizens of Rome in the first century A.D. The city of about 20,000 citizens was located about five miles from Mount Vesuvius and citizens, slaves, tourists, and artisans jostled through the well-paved city streets. They passed elegant villas, taverns, cafes, bathhouses, and brothels to attend the arena that could seat 20,000 people.
Everyone knew about the volcano at Mount Vesuvius nearby, but it had been silent for over 1700 years. Nothing to worry about, but in August of 79 A.D., the mountain blew its top, sending ashes, rocks, and hot gases 21 miles into the sky that could be seen for hundreds of miles.
Pliny the Younger was living with his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet who died in the eruption that had 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings (3). The younger Pliny watched the eruption from across the bay and then wrote, “I believed I was perishing with the world.” However, there was plenty of time to flee the eruption; yet about 2,000 people watched in wonder as death fell around them! The hot, heavy ash made it difficult to breathe, and then a 100-mile-per-hour surge of poisonous gas rushed down the mountain, killing every living thing in its path. When the mountain stopped shaking, spitting, and sputtering the next day, the silent city of the dead was covered with up to 20 feet of ashes, rocks, and lava.
Highly intelligent people watched the eruption until death devoured them, an ancient example of the normalcy bias.
When Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans Aug. 29, 2005, thousands of citizens refused to leave the city, and city officials didn’t even attempt to evacuate them. There were scores of parked buses that could have saved hundreds of people, but the mayor refused to give the order, and 1,461 people died. The National Hurricane Center warned on August 28 that the area would be “uninhabitable for weeks” after “devastating damage” caused by the storm. Finally, the day before the disaster, Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation, yet thousands of people refused to seek safety!
The media have defended those who decided not to evacuate the area “because they were mostly poor.” Wait a minute. Are we to believe that all those people did not have automobiles, did not have friends or family with cars, or could not afford a $50.00 bus ticket out of town? However, they could have walked away from danger! They didn’t leave because “I’m different,” or “It can’t happen here,” or “It can’t be that bad,” or “God (or the government) won’t let it happen to me.” Normalcy bias killed again.
The mind seems to make an attempt to protect us from traumatic events that come our way. When some things are too troublesome, traumatic, or tragic, the mind often shuts down. One survivor from the Muslim terrorist attack on September 11 in New York City reports of going blind when she saw some of the 200 humans hitting the ground after falling 100 stories outside the Twin Towers. The human mind is an incredible organ, but obviously, there are some things too terrible to comprehend.
When faced with major danger, the mind goes into one of three modes: it will “suggest” flight, fight, or freeze. Many people freeze, and die.
Americans have had it too good, nice, easy, cushy, soft, and pleasant all their lives. Disaster does lie ahead; so each one, especially heads of households, must prioritize, plan, and prepare. You cannot plan for every contingency, but you can for some. And remember that “hope” is not a plan. And “thinking about it” is not a plan. Nor is “worrying about it” a plan. A plan requires a plan. If you don’t have one, then get one.
Trusting God is very important; yes, God feeds the sparrows, but He doesn’t put worms in their nests.
What’s in our future? It could be a total financial collapse of our economy far worse than the Great Depression. Such suggestions are no longer coming from just me and other “prophets of doom.” Highly respected economists tell us that it is only a matter of time. Not if, but when the big bubble bursts.
Jim Rogers is a famed billionaire investor co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros. Jim said that we are in for a major financial meltdown that will be the most shaking financial event “we have ever seen in recorded history.” But surely not. “It just can’t happen to us.”
A study done in Britain revealed that Britain is only “nine meals from anarchy.” The Daily Mail (4) said that it would take only “nine meals - three full days without food on supermarket shelves - before law and order started to break down, and British streets descended into chaos.”
The food you eat for dinner tonight had to be brought an average of 1500 miles. What if the food or the trucks or the fuel or the drivers or the highways were not available to deliver that food?
“But that could never happen here,” says the average American as he snaps open another can of beer.
A financial collapse would bankrupt state and federal governments, and the feds would renege on their financial obligations. Tax payments to the IRS would plummet, and our national debt would really go into the stratosphere. Already billions of dollars in the hole, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, an agency that guarantees pensions of major corporations, would go belly up. So would Social Security. Everyone would be on his own. “But our government would not permit that to happen.”
The disaster that does you in may be an epidemic that shuts down every school, church, theater, or even all public transportation. Hospitals and clinics will be overwhelmed, taking only the most diseased and dying.
“But that couldn’t happen here.”
It may be an attack by one of the rogue nations such as China, North Korea, or Iran dropping an EMP device over a major heartland city knocking out all electronic devices including all electrical power, all automobiles, all cell and land phones, all elevators, televisions, radio, traffic lights, air traffic control, air travel, etc. In other words, we would be back in the 18th century. A major solar bombardment would have the same effect!
“But that just couldn’t happen, could it?”
Naïve, confused, closed-minded Americans say, “The President would never declare martial law and incarcerate mass numbers of people who refuse to be vaccinated.” No, it hasn’t happened here, but something similar has sure happened elsewhere. Why can’t it happen here?
Tomorrow morning a dirty bomb may explode in the heart of Dallas or Washington revealing the fact that some suitcase bombs are circulating in Muslim circles. A mushroom cloud does not portend a normal life for anyone in America. But then, “It’s never happened here.” Yet!
It may only be a natural disaster that destroys your city, rendering you without utilities, food, employment, etc. But that disaster might ignite your normalcy bias that ends up killing you or your family. It is better to prepare and not need it than to not prepare and need it.
Hope is not a plan. Wishful thinking is stupid thinking.
Remember, it wasn’t raining when Noah entered the Ark!
Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 15 books, which can be purchased below, and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. www.cstnews.com, www.Muslimfact.com, www.thegodhaters.com.
Don's newest book "Muslim Invasion" is highly recommended.
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