Re: Journal of the Plague Year
Posted by Sterling on 22/7/2011, 19:50:49, in reply to "Re: Journal of the Plague Year"
--Previous Message-- |
: Still only two of us have finished this short book? Has
: a plague struck our membership?
: Here's a question even those who haven't read the book
: can speak on: How would a modern great city respond to
: an incurable plague that killed one sixth of the
: population in a single season? In London in 1665 the
: civil authority continued to function, the sick were
: cared for (after a fashion), the dead buried, the
: living fed. Even though commerce came to a complete
: halt, there was no financial crisis, and, as the
: narrator marvels, the price of food did not even rise.
: In the metro area where I live, a plague on the scale
: of London's would result in a million deaths. I can't
: imagine anything less than a complete breakdown of
: social order under such conditions. People aren't
: conditioned to accept such a risk without panic, and
: our infrastructure is too fragile to function with
: such a disruption.
Well, in Tuscaloosa that would be about 33,333 (counting the metropolitan area). Not exactly a "great city." But I don't think we'd be able to handle it nearly as well as London in 1665. We did pretty well with the tornado, but there were officially only 41 deaths (which I personally do not believe). Something like 7,000 homes destroyed, though.
Even though the city pulled together to help out, there was plenty of looting and such. I know people who stayed for days in a totally ruined house, armed, so as not to lose what little they could salvage. I don't think we would manage well with a disastrous plague. Most people would flee, of course, and they could get far. They might try tearing the plates off their cars so people couldn't tell where they were from. I don't know. It wouldn't be pretty.
I wonder if Londoners thought the Apocalypse was upon them. The 666 in the Book of Revelation is popular today. A year with 666 only comes once every thousand years. For London to experience the Plague in 1665 and the Great Fire in 1666 is really something.