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This Sunday (June 8), the near-Earth asteroid 2014 HQ124—which some observers have nicknamed "The Beast"—will give the planet a relatively close shave, coming within 777,000 miles at its closest approach, or about 3.25 times the distance from Earth to the moon...That's cool. Space is full of all kinds of stuff that flies by at really impressive speeds. Those that will hit us will do some damage. Those that don't - which is nearly all of them - will go on their merry way and we on ours. And unlike other items in our Where to Live series, there's really no place one can choose that will allow you to escape a giant space rock falling on your head.
But there's more to location than avoiding asteroids.* There's also this:
Asteroid 2014 HQ124 was discovered on April 23, just six weeks ago... But that doesn't mean the asteroid would kill millions of people if it struck New York City or Tokyo.So think about that for a minute. Let's imagine that The Beast was coming for the New York City Metropolitan Area's 19.9 million kind and selfless residents. No doubt about it - the big brains at the JPL deduce that The City That Doesn't Sleep will receive its wake-up call on June 8th at 5:43EDT, just atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art in downtown Manhattan. The Beast will destroy everything in a 20 mile radius and damage every building, track, road and bridge in a 50-mile radius, above ground and below.
"Once it's within radar distance, the precision is remarkably good on its position and speed," Boslough said. "So the folks at JPL [NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory] would be able to predict its impact point to within the nearest kilometer and its time to within the nearest second."
There would thus probably be plenty of time to organize an effective evacuation campaign if 2014 HQ124 were headed straight for us...
The lab coats make this discovery on May 15th, about three weeks before impact. Let's skip all the conspiracy theorizing and agree that our scientist heroes get the green light to publicly announce "23 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown."** That's hardly 'an effective evacuation campaign.' That's where the fun begins.
As with every hurricane evacuation order, there are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who simply ignore it and choose to ride it out. There are others - including the Metropolitan Museum of Art - who will make multiple trips back and forth to Philadelphia, hauling stuff that is certain to be destroyed if they don't. For every person tasked with actually planning and implementing the evacuation, there is one politician who has to blame the President or the Speaker and three bureaucrats who need to preen before the cameras or cover their asses for something or other.*** There are fights over jurisdiction and squabbles over overtime. Chris Christie's staff decides to close a busy bridge
Then, of course, there are people who, having defied evac orders previously, try to escape at the last minute anyway. They flood the highways, block the bridges. They run out of gas and the most inopportune times or in the most inconvenient places. They do not care that the truck behind them, clearly marked Metropolitan Museum of Art, is carrying the priceless Obelisk of Thutmose III; nor could they do anything about it even if they knew what an obelisk was.
That bridge full of screaming, crying New Yorkers is exactly where you don't want to be. If The Beast is going to fall on my township in Bugout County, Kansas, I can get a hotel room 30 miles up the road and go about my business. I'd actually be closer to work. I might even have time to get all the stuff out of my basement before a 100m space rock takes up residence there. My little dirt road will see no more traffic than it normally does, unless it's from urban idiots coming to watch the show. Hell, I would not even expect CBS's New York affiliate to cover it.
This kind of evacuation is simply not possible in a city of a million, much less 20 million people. Yes, they have lots of hotel rooms nearby. But they do not have nearly enough U-Hauls, storage areas, or even roads to deal with the millions of people who will evacuate while saving as much stuff as possible. Stomp an anthill some time - that's NYC with a 3-week warning that an asteroid is about to land on it. It does not get any better if you give the resident ants more time. And it gets worse if you give them less.
The real danger in an SHTF scenario, even one as seemingly random and unavoidable as an asteroid, is not that big rock in the sky.**** It is being in close quarters with millions of others who are going to attempt the same thing you are, at the same time, but in a state of absolute panic. The odds are very good***** that some of you, maybe a whole lot of you, aren't going to escape.
Don't be on the last train out.
* I had to laugh at a USA Today article on the asteroid that noted, "although there's no chance of it hitting our planet, experts say its massive size makes it something to take seriously." Why would one take seriously a non-threat? Have you reviewed your unicorn invasion defense strategy today?
** Jonah could not be reached for comment.
*** Plus it will take time for Al Sharpton to figure out how a space rock can be raciss. And Alex Jones and Joel Skousen have to blame it on globalists who are building bunkers in the Ozarks for just this purpose.
**** Provided, obviously, that you have sufficient warning that it is coming. Without such warning, I'll be the first to admit it might be a concern.
***** by which I mean, "very bad".