Some time ago I wrote a piece titled ‘What To Do When Aliens Attack – A Brief Field Guide’, it was a satirical monologue, intended to get a laugh or two (though I suspect it got fewer laughs than I hoped), but even so, some of the recommendations were latent sage advice. Here I intend to provide a more serious attempt at a guide for dealing with disaster and mayhem.
Each of us knows, somewhere in the back of our brain, that our own emergency preparedness is lacking to some degree. Disaster can strike, literally, any time, and when it does we can respond, flee or die frozen in fear. Speaking from limited experience with disasters, I cannot offer advice for surviving natural or man made disasters, but one type of disaster is, perhaps, my forte.
What To Do When Aliens Attack, Redux
I think it prudent to make a few distinctions before we get to the nitty-gritty of the story here, namely, contact with alien life need not be thought of as intrinsically disastrous, though I suspect more than a few will disagree. We can and should hold out hope that such contact will come with a proverbial olive branch in the clutches of a white dove. As mentioned in my recent piece titled ‘On the Form and Value of Extraterrestrials, Part II’, I noted that there seem, logically, to be three main reasons for such contact, 1) colonization, 2) the search for resources, and 3) exploration. Now I agree with those decriers who would suggest that my view of the situation is strongly anthropocentric, but since it is by nature of my humanity that my view of the question is necessarily anthropocentric, I have no choice but to carry on in spite of that fact.
I went on, in the previous piece, to elaborate on the value of each type of visitation, stating that colonization must, by necessity, be malevolent in nature, meaning that our existence would lie in the way of successful alien colonization, and as such we would be exterminated, much like the way we treat cockroaches in our kitchens. This, of course, would be disastrous to say the least.
If the impetus for contact with alien races is due to the search forresources, we might be spared the proverbial bug bomb, though interference in the search for and collection of such resources might change the game and give such visitors cause to eliminate us prior to or in conjunction with their efforts. Though for all we know, we could be the resource they are seeking, in which case, such collection would necessarily be hostile (though not necessarily because of the visitors intention, but more-so due to our reaction to the prospect).
If such visitors came with exploration as their motive, we should see no reason why such contact would be anything but benign and peaceful, for what use would there be in interacting with a species violently if your purpose is to learn.
As we’ve seen from popular media in recent years, the prospect of violent alien contact is one to be feared, for if they posses the technical capability to reach us, then their technological advantage will be that much more advanced than our own, putting us at an obvious and crippling disadvantage. If we would hope to resist such action, it would be military opposition alone that might turn the tides, though our collective military would likely be out gunned and out manned. For the average individual, battle should be the least of your concern; survival should be paramount at this point.
And here we come to it: 5 Steps to Surviving Violent Alien Contact.
- Preparedness: as most of us know, emergency preparedness is one of those things that we all think is a good idea, but we rarely get around to doing anything about it. Evacuation plans, emergency supplies, back up power etc. These are all the things we should be thinking about ahead of time. It is likely that violent alien contact on a mass scale will appear to be natural disaster to the majority of the population, at least for a brief time. And like any natural disaster, there are items you will need while local authorities attempt to deal with either evacuations or entrenchment. It is recommended that everyone have an emergency preparedness kit in their home and/or vehicle, and that it is tested and restocked at least annually.
- Evacuation and Escape; larger cities would probably be first strike targets, followed by suburban areas and then rural townships, and all three would need to react to the threat in different ways. Providing you have power and it is safe to remain in your home, do so, and turn on your TV. Instructions from the government for evacuation procedures will likely be broadcast via emergency systems. If power is out and no instructions are available, remain in your home/office as long as it is safe to do so. Your instinct will likely be to get to, or gather your loved ones in a safe place, but do so only if it does not pose a threat to yourself. Always remember that your survival is of paramount importance. Due to the sheer number of people involved in an urban retreat from alien threat, mass evacuations would inevitably clog highway systems and public transit (providing EM pulse weaponry wasn’t used in a first strike, wherein vehicles would be useless). Being familiar with all routes of egress from your area is vital, but be prepared to walk. Travel light, carrying only what you need (such as your emergency preparedness kit). If ground fighting or aerial attacks are occurring, take shelter underground (basements, subway tunnels etc) until it is save to move on. In this event I reiterate my comments from the first piece I wrote on this topic, avoid the crowd. Stay in small groups and don’t follow large columns of people on main routes. Though in order for this to work, you must be intimately familiar with your general area; otherwise you could end up lost and heading in the wrong direction.
- Duck and Cover; I hate to say it, but when faced with an aggressive or violent invasion from aliens, aliens with greater technology than our own, your best bet is to duck and cover, to hide and stay hidden. This is no time to be a hero; it’s time to look out for number one. There are people who are trained to handle combat, they carry big guns and they answer to the government. Let them do the fighting on your behalf and get yourself out of harms way. Though you should know the difference between cover and concealment. Being hidden doesn’t necessarily mean being safe. When bullets are flying there are few things that will stop them, trees, building walls, fences etc, bullets will go right through them, just like they would through warm butter. If you were to find yourself amid live combat between armed forces and an alien threat, you need to be worried about friendly fire, just as much as enemy fire, and essentially, my advice is to get low, stay low and move toward the good guys, when you get to them…keep going.
- Be Careful Who You Trust; unfortunately, the worst times can bring out the worst in people. Widespread devastation eliminates the ability of government forces, be they the army or even local police forces, to act and function normally, to keep control over those criminal elements that would use such circumstances to their benefit. Robbery, theft, rape and murder would go undetected and un-pursued in such conditions, and so you must be weary of the people with which you find yourself.
- Put the Damn Camera Down and Protect Yourself; How many times have we seen a shaky video from the epicentre of a natural disaster, probably hundreds of times, if not thousands. These images give us insight into the events and show the rest of the world the suffering that goes on at the front lines of foreign places. But this, an alien attack, is no spectator sport. As much as one may hope to get a lucky shot of ET waving his alien hand at you through the window of his flying saucer, what’s more likely to happen is that the camera man puts himself and the people around him at greater risk by seeking contact with the enemy forces. Forget about going down in history as the photographer who got ET’s snap shot, and get yourself to safer ground.
Would we stand a chance against a technologically advanced alien invasion? In my view, probably not. I think it would be safe to say that we’d all be on our own from the start of the show. Governments would scramble to protect leaders and dignitaries, but the common folk, the people who make up the populous at large would be left to fend for themselves. We’ve already seen as much in recent natural disasters, so I’m sorry to say it, but we’ve got no one watching our backs. If devastation occurred on a global scale, anarchy and chaos would reign indefinitely and the human population would be thinned to near extinction. Only those able to withstand the change from our current way of life, to that of pre-industrial revolution will survive. It would be an Armageddon, though I suspect there would be less fire and brimstone than traditions suggest.