6 Shockingly Grim Disaster Plans (You Had No Clue Existed)
We've made a pretty successful living out of telling people to ignore conventional wisdom, but here's one piece of good ol' fashioned advice that you shouldn't disregard: proper planning prevents piss-poor performance. And, believe us, some organizations have taken that to an extreme that makes us both respect and fear them. Here are six elaborate contingency plans that most people will hopefully never find out about.
A Random Bureaucrat Sits Out The State Of The Union Address, In Case Everyone Else Gets Wiped Out
This particular plan sounds like something a Hollywood writer would come up with -- in fact, they just made a Kiefer Sutherland show out of it. It's not a sitcom, unfortunately, but we could honestly see one with this premise.
It all begins with the annual State of the Union address, that time-honored political tradition where members of Congress are afforded the opportunity to kick back, take in a few speeches, and pretend that they wouldn't eat the people on the opposite side of the aisle without a split-second's hesitation. Away from all the glitz and glamour, however, one politician has the honor of being bundled into the back of a (we're sure comfortably furnished) windowless van and held as democracy's insurance policy in case some kind of catastrophe befalls their colleagues.
Known as the designated survivor, this politician -- whose identity remains a secret until shortly before the address -- is sequestered away under heavily armed guard against the possibility that some assholes take the opportunity afforded to them by the address to effectively decapitate the country's leadership. If this happens, the designated survivor assumes the presidency. That is, unless someone more powerful survives or conveniently happened to be out of the country when the shit hit the fan, which, and we're only relying on our knowledge of vintage detective shows here, must automatically make them a suspect, right?
There's no particular pattern as to who gets the honor -- during Obama's tenure, the designated survivors included Shaun Donovan (Housing and Urban Development), Tom Vilsack (Secretary of Agriculture), Steven Chu (Secretary of Energy), and Jeh Johnson (Secretary of Homeland Security) -- and the only specific requirement is that they be a natural-born citizen. Considering that they also take possession of the "nuclear football" during proceedings, we'd hope that there's also a sanity check, but, frankly, who the fucks knows these days?
Your Favorite Sports All Have Plans To Survive A Team-Killing Tragedy
When the apocalypse strikes, it's likely that we'll be too busy dodging locusts, nuclear fallout, or cannibalistic monsters to care about how your favorite sports team is doing. The major franchises have other ideas, though -- you strung them along with promises that you'll support them until the end of days, and now you're going to cut and run? If their mass disaster plans say that you'll be supporting Cam Newton until the day you die, that's what you're going to do.
On a more serious note, it seems that airplanes carrying entire sports teams do have a horrifying habit of crashing down, and you can't always count on Ethan Hawke and cannibalism to save the day. So, it makes sense to plan for these things. According to the NFL, if fewer than 15 players on a team are killed/injured, it's considered a "near disaster," and the team is required to finish the season anyway, though they get preferential treatment on waiver claims (woo-hoo!). If there are more than 15 victims, though, the team can be retired for the rest of that season and, as a consolation prize, receive the No. 1 draft pick in the following year. If your team is doing shittily this season, just know that an unscrupulous executive somewhere has floated the idea of booking them a bush plane and sending them to play an opposing team deep in the Nunavut tundra.
The NBA and the NHL have similar "Come on, give 'em a break" rules that allow teams that have suffered the loss of five or more players to hold an emergency draft. Unaffected teams are allowed to call dibs on five (for the NBA) and 11 (for the NHL) players that they don't want to lose, giving the maligned team their pick of all the rest. MLB, meanwhile, has a plan that activates if a team loses five or more players to "accident, epidemic or illness, or other common event." Depending on the particulars, the team can then either cancel their season or initiate further drafting, with the option to draw players from its farm teams.
NASA Has Guidelines For Pulverizing Your Body If You Die In Space
We don't know if our mom-esque nagging has gotten through to you, but space is, like, super dangerous, you guys. If it isn't the radiation, it's the dust; if it isn't the dust, it's the kidney stones; and if it isn't the kidney stones, it's dying from shame because you ate too many contraband corned beef sandwiches and clogged up the space toilet.
It might seem foolish to lecture you, but let's face it, we're probably only a few decades away from a Baldwin overdosing while going to shoot a reality show on Mars, or something. If things go south on your space trip, however, you can rest in peace assured that NASA has a plan for disposing of your body.
If an astronaut dies in space, the first priority of the crew will be to get rid of the body as quickly as possible. You might think that this sounds particularly brutal, but there's a very, very good reason for it: Being trapped in the same room as a corpse is a stressful situation that gets pretty dangerous when one wrong lever push could eject you and your crewmates into the void.
So, what would they do? Just roll the body into a rug and throw it out of an airlock, like they hit an alien hobo while drunken-rocketeering? Nope, because it's totally illegal to do that. They instead would place the deceased into a special bag, freeze it (cold conditions aren't exactly hard to find up there), and -- using an arm attached to the hull -- shake it into dust like a Polaroid picture made of cosmic nightmares. They'd then bring the remains back in, seal them up in a container, and continue on their mission without your dead ass stinking up the joint.
Of course, there are still some kinks to be worked out about dying in space -- it's one of those things that you can't properly test until it happens. For instance, what if someone dies while living on, say, the moon? It's not like you can bury them, because decomposition likely isn't a thing up there, and we can't treat the moon like a serial killer's basement and replace the crust with dead bodies. There's already enough crap up there, both metaphorically and literally.
The U.S. Marines Have Ships Stocked With Guns And Equipment In Every Ocean
As much as we like to think of the world as a place with checks and balances and fail-safes, it's actually a complicated, tumultuous ecosystem that could easily be flattened if -- and this is purely hypothetical -- some baby-brained fucknut got into power. That's why it's always nice to know that our armed forces are prepared for any eventuality; they might not know when they'll be skydiving out the back of a C-5 Galaxy while firing dual-wield machine guns, but goddamn, they won't let us down when the time comes.
Take the U.S. Marines, for instance. They have specialist ships stationed all over the world, like paranoid squirrels, stocked with enough weapons, vehicles, ammunition, and equipment to support a major military operation involving 16,000 Marines for up to 30 days. So, what the hell does that even look like? We're glad you asked:
That's the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez, a maritime prepositioning ship, being loaded with 300+ vehicles of varying badassitude, 500+ containers, and 100+ crew. When the call goes up, all the Lopez has to do is rendezvous at a safe port, unload its cargo (a process that takes 16 hours, tops), and watch with tears of pride as the object of their disaffection gets turned into fireworks and ash.
Oh, and there are 10 of these ships. And those are just for the Marines. In total, there are 26 maritime prepositioning ships silently anchored somewhere waiting for a booty call from the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Defense Logistics Agency. We're just curious, but at what point does the military stop looking prepared and start resembling one of those crazy dudes with guns hidden in every alcove of their house?
The Mormons Have A Chain Of Self-Sustaining Disaster-Relief Warehouses ... And They're Saving Stuff For You
We've already covered the insane precautions taken by the Mormons toward protecting their genealogical records in case of world-ending disaster. At that time, we took the opportunity to throw some shade at them for not understanding that microfilm is, no matter how heavily you salt it, a terrible substitute for food. Well, we'd like to take this opportunity to apologize ... and not only because doing so might land us a sweet basket of post-apocalyptic chow from their secretive network of food warehouses.
Taking that parable about charity to an insanely kind degree, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints operates 100+ warehouses across the country for the explicit purpose of making sure that both believers and nonbelievers are well catered for after the shit hits the fan. Staffed by an army of volunteers who carefully prepare, maintain, and even (in the case of commodities like honey, cheese, and bread) manufacture foodstuffs, these warehouses are paid for by the regular contributions of churchgoers who forsake two meals a week and donate the money that they would have otherwise spent. They even have meat taken straight from Mormon ranches -- just don't get your hopes up about finding any beer to go with it.
From these warehouses, the food is then distributed to locally run supermarkets where, again, anyone can turn up and ask for help. As long as they're willing to volunteer their time in return, people can help themselves to whatever supplies they need. Meanwhile, in the time it took you to read this entry, someone on Reddit copy-pasted a bunch of passages from The God Delusion and argued that religion is the absolute worst force on the planet.
The Government Had A Plan To Round Up Immigrants Long Before Trump
Judging by the rate at which our ancestors threw entire demographics behind barbed wire, there were only two surefire ways to strike it rich during the 20th century: invent a cure for polio, or learn how to whittle a guard tower and/or machine gun nest. But that's all in the distant past, right?
Actually, if it hadn't been for an anonymous whistleblower within the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the 1980s, we'd also be learning about that time we imprisoned a bunch of immigrants in a backwoods prison camp because of some vague terrorism-shaped reasoning.
By 1985, the United States had suffered a series of devastating terrorist attacks on its embassies, military bases, and other facilities across the Middle East, leaving dozens of citizens and soldiers dead. The country wanted payback, ideally of the Rambo variety. The INS, therefore, commissioned a plan targeting immigrants from eight specific countries -- Libya, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, and Morocco -- with a view to removing them from our soil before the hivemind activated. The military strength of this dangerous "sleeper cell"? Oh, only 80,000+ people. That figure pales in comparison to the number of Japanese-Americans that we locked up in the '40s, sure, but we get the feeling that this line of positive thinking doesn't fly when you're talking about extrajudicial detention.
The destination for these people was a 100-acre camp within the backwoods of Louisiana, a prospect that would have made reading Winnie The Pooh a problematic exercise in awkwardness today. The plan also made it clear how badly they -- and by "they," we mean "the entire government" -- were going to fuck with the system to make this happen: secret trials, en masse withdrawal of immigration documentation, holding inmates without bond, and even bringing the CIA and FBI in to hunt down anyone who proved less than cooperative. Real "baddies in dystopic action movie" stuff.
As luck would have it, a copy of the plan was anonymously passed to a lawyer representing the "LA Eight" -- a group of eight foreign activists who were being held by the police without charge, in what is now considered to have been a covert dummy run for this plan. And then, as if by magic, the whole thing was quietly abandoned, and America never considered treating masses of foreigners like shit ever again. Yep.
For more ways to feed your doomsday fantasies, check out 5 Scientific Reasons A Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen and 6 Odd Things Doomsday Preppers Stockpile (That Make Sense).
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