Every morning, many seem to wake up hopeful that civilization has been blown to smithereens, but no--despite all the evidence the world is coming to an end,
the city is still standing. You have to go to work. Nevertheless, we
here at The Wire want to help you keep track of the latest indicators of
the apocalypse. In today's survey of cataclysmic fears, we have Egypt, solar flares, and a public health manual.
Sure, people danced in the streets, Begley says, but who was their leader? "Some geek from Google?!" he asks incredulously. With all this turmoil, there must be an anti-Christ.
Game Over: The Race to the Death
"And the 2012 elections? Well, history shows that America supports her president in times of crisis, and the White House surely remembers Rahm Emanuel’s Rule 1: Never allow a crisis to go to waste. So when solar max comes knocking in 2012, Republicans had best pray it is after November."
Universe to New York: Drop Dead
But fear not, brave citizen. New York has thoroughly prepared for apocalyptic disasters, The New York Times' William Glaberson reports. This month, it published an official manual--with the deceptively-bland title New York State Public Health Legal Manual--that answers the bureaucratic quandaries presented by Armageddon. Dilemmas raised by the very best Will Smith movies:
What happens if it's like Independence Day?
In case of an attack, the city has the authority to control traffic, evacuations, communications, and utilities--which would have been very helpful in Independence Day, when Will Smith's wife and kid were trapped in a highway tunnel when aliens started shooting their evil green death lasers down on the city.
What happens if it's like I Am Legend?
"When there is not enough medicine for everyone in an emergency," Glaberson writes, "there is no clear legal guidepost. It suggests legal decisions would most likely involve an analysis that 'balances the obligation to save the greatest number of lives against the obligation to care for each single patient,' perhaps giving preference to those with the best chance to survive. It points out, though, that elderly and disabled people might have a legal claim if they are discriminated against at such moments of crisis." It might be tough to keep the old folks out of that zombie-free commune in Vermont.
What happens if it's like Men in Black?
The manual explains that "violations of individual property rights, if actionable, would generally be sorted out after the need for such actions has ended." So commandeering cars, homes, and the spaceship monument from the world's fair in Queens should be no big deal. The manual warns that even when suspending laws, authorities have to be mindful of constitutional rights. However, "This should not prove to be an obstacle, because federal and state constitutional restraints permit expeditious actions in emergency situations." So no more worries about any due process violations stemming from use of the Neuralizer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.