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September 2, 2005

Elsewhere on LiveJournal—
Posted by Patrick at 01:05 PM *

—“orangemike” reports:

I’ve just gotten news on HordeNet that there are relief convoys of members of the Society for Creative Anachronism from all over driving into the South to do what they can; and looks like as well organized as the FEMA seems to be right now. Guess all that time recreating the Middle Ages may come to some good use after all!

Say what you will about the SCA, but they do know something about dealing with large events that take place in a sea of mud.

Comments on Elsewhere on LiveJournal--:
#1 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:50 PM:

And disaster aid amidst a sea of mud as well.

The last large SCA event I attended experienced a flash flood early on. People were moved, material needs were taken care of, and the war went on pretty much as scheduled. Impressive.

#2 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:08 PM:

Yes, we do.

Our people are heading south fast, and we have contact points in Atlanta, moving money and stuff further south. These are getting straight to people, and to the families housing them.

We're a network, with the same sorts of capibilities as a national church system. We know where the people are, where the refugees are needing the most help, red cross-certified first aid people out the wazoo, and the contact points in the area.

SCA Hurricane relief website

#3 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:10 PM:

crap. Link not working...

#4 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:11 PM:

What a wonderful thing.

#5 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:21 PM:

I'm reminded of Leslie Fish's song, "Serious Steel"

#6 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:39 PM:

And over on blogspot, you can see this:

President Bush Declares "War on Weather"

Washington, DC - Sept. 2, 2005 - President Bush today declared war on Weather, which will be waged alongside other attention-diverting war efforts, including the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, to protect Americans from an enemy with unlimited resources that have recently been targeted against the south and southeastern United States.
#7 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:42 PM:

The SCA's newwst kingdom was about to set up shop down in the Louisiana/Mississippi/Arkansas area--the coronation was to be in early October, at a site near Hattiesburg that is now matchsticks and mud. I grieve for the hopes postponed, but these are no more than symbols of the millions of hopes and plans that everyone living down there in New Orleans and on the coast had for their lives, not just this fall, but for years and years to come.

In fact, some SCAers are already down there--beau_nidle is an LJ user flying with a Air National Guard unit:
FEMA, he feels, isn't much help: one person handling ATC at the NOLA airport, and no one to coordinate loading the transports on the ground.

#8 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:50 PM:

What Sisiule said.

Unlike a church, though, we spend a lot of time out of doors setting up a goofy amount of necessities for an insane number of people as quickly as we can so we can go play. Most groups run an event once or twice a year that makes a wedding reception look trivial. Several weekends a year we do a corporate team buiding exercise in which screwing up is distinctly painful.

Also, there is a certain energy barrier (is my p-chem showing?) to being in the SCA. We tend to make our own fun rather than just belly up to the fun table and pay $5 for $5's worth of fun. And, in general, it's the kind of fun that makes for, "Hey, look at the kooks" human interest stories.

#9 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:05 PM:

I congratulate the SCA on their foresight. Must be exciting to be ahead of a government, rather than behind...

And, on the other hand, if confronted by looters with semi-automatics stolen from the local Wal*MART, what do you do? I'm not normally a big believer in carrying guns, but I hope the caravan has more than swords and knives to defend themselves...

#10 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:14 PM:


Which is, OK, a not entirely serious answer.

I imagine the SCA is well able to set up an effective field kitchen, even if they have to build the ovens from scratch. And I imagine there's other historical re-creation groups with similar skills, even if grey uniforms and CSA Battle Flags have a certain embarrassment factor.

#11 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:21 PM:

A long time ago, as these things are reckoned, CoastCon was held in a space right next to the main concert venue in Biloxi. The Saturday night of the con, Van Halen was playing in the Whatever Arena. After the show, some of the more obnoxious Van Halen fans decided the best fun to be had was abusing the people of CoastCon. Until the t-shirt-wearing faction of con security was replaced with the linebacker-sized, armor-wearing unit on loan from the SCA.

Different situation entirely but still a good story. SCA assistance seems a good idea for all of the reasons set out above. Especially in places outside downtown New Orleans, where help is still desperately needed and the rule of law still holds.

#12 ::: David D. Levine ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:46 PM:

Well, it's not that much of a stretch for the SCA, given that they took over Russia back in 1999...

#13 ::: arto ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:47 PM:

The last large SCA event I attended experienced a flash flood early on. People were moved, material needs were taken care of, and the war went on pretty much as scheduled.

To be entirely fair, one third of that statement describes the Bush regime's response, as well.

#14 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:56 PM:

Doug: that would be back when there was a Biloxi, right?

#15 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:40 PM:

Alison, there's still a Biloxi. I looked into this pretty deeply while looking for relatives (found and safe, thanks). From the map, I'd've sworn they were homeless. They're not.

Biloxi is hurt, but very much still there.

#16 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:44 PM:

arto: Heh. True.

I was referring, of course, to a relatively friendly SCA event. No explosives were involved.

#17 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:53 PM:

On the subject of field kitchens:

I think I heard (and I need to go check this, but I'm pretty sure it's true) that the groups from the central midwest and FL are sending their field soup kitchens into the area. Each of them is used to dealing with 300+ hot, senseless, dehydrated people daily when they're running. They'll need supplies, since they (probably) haven't had a chance to re-stock since Pennsic (I know the midwestern one has some supplies, but was going to wait until early January to buy/beg for more).

Yes, the re-creation groups are probably your best bet on being able to feed people in a rampant disaster area (heck, sometimes we feel like we camp in disaster areas). The Red Cross and Salvation Army are also very, very good at it. Between the three of them, a lot of good hot food can be provided without electricity.

If people want to add to this effort, I'm going to go confirm the rumors on the soup kitchens and get contact points to send dried soup mix, jerky, and money to. I know that I'm a feed-people person and this is the area I feel most strongly about.

Bless the Horde, and Ro-khan. Time for me to go see if I can find and distribute those contact points.

#18 ::: T.W. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:47 PM:

We are weirdo geeks, but we are very skilled resourceful geeks.
A majority of the membership has basic first aid and higher; experience in search and rescue, military, security heck even scouts. We can cram 3 trucks of gear into a hatchback with a passenger and cross a provence before dawn breaks then set up camp in any conditions under 2 hours. I myself have done all this. As a cook I have fed an army on one soup pot for 3 days and only basic cheap ingredients. We can repair anything with duc tape and can build esentials from scratch.

#19 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:52 PM:

... and the war went on pretty much as scheduled?

Well, the war goes on, anyway...

#20 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:12 AM:

Time out for a definition:

In the SCA, a "war" is an organized event over a long weekend, intended for fun and companionship.

That's the definition of "war" I've been using in this thread. I'll say "event" from now on to minimize confusion.

#21 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:17 AM:

O.M.G. How sad is it that the fscking mobilization of the SCA is a legitimate reason for hope? (Note: I'm quite familiar with the capabilities and correlated dysfunctions of the SCA. I'm sure they can do some good if well-directed on scene. I'd rather see professionals with real authority doing this.)

#22 ::: Fernmonkey ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 05:35 PM:

Good on the SCA.

#23 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:32 AM:

Somewhat related, best place to stick it: one guy interviewed on BBC news last night, one of the people still stranded in New Orleans, was wearing a Boskone t-shirt.

#24 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 06:15 AM:

In the 1950s and 1960s, British government officials (and others) were given training on what to happen when the Big One comes. That is, not nuclear war but invasion and occupation. One of the exercises in the training course was to ask: "How many non-governmental groups am I a member of?" After a moment of blankness, most of the trainees would list their churches; then school boards of governors; then amateur dramatics groups, stamp-collecting societies, nature preservation groups, rambling clubs, dining clubs, Old Harrovians... the list went on and on.
The trainer would then announce: "Remember. Every one of those groups could form the basis for a resistance network in the event of occupation." And would go on to cite examples from (then) recent history in Europe.
I can't imagine many of them were fans, but the principle holds - any group of organised people with a defined command structure is better than nothing.

#25 ::: Dave Cake ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 03:40 AM:

There are apparently also people going from Burning Man, who (while tending to be a little more high tech than the SCA), also are a community used to doing things for no monetary reward, used to organising themselves, and used to dealing with helping large numbers of people survive in inhospitable conditions, including on occasion flash floods.

They could do a lot worse than getting the Black Rock City Department of Public Works folks helping out.

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