A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Discuss those "what if" or "what would you do" scenarios you've been wondering about.

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A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by dtwn92 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:00 am

This question hit me the other day as I was watching a movie. So, I guess my question is; will what causes the SHTF event be a sudden thing (EMP, viral outbreak, other) or will life as we know it just spiral downward until a reset button is hit? Will the later only be a subjective thing (your own personal SHTF) to your area?

Through out human history man has been predicting the Apocalypse, that is nothing new but have we come to a point where our American/1st world lifestyle is unsustainable by the current standards and will cause a different type of SHTF?

There is much to discuss, I have my own feelings but really, I want to see what others have on their minds.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:49 am

Realistically, I think a slow decay over time is most likely... but it just isn't as much fun to day dream about unemployment and drought than it is to fantasize about being a hero in a zombie infested wasteland.

Look at America's economic depression/recession of the past few years... times get rough and bad, but it isn't like one day POOOF unemployment's up, all houses are foreclosed, and all the companies shut down!!!! It took time and things slowly faded away.

Unless it's nuclear war.... then we are screwed.

But with all thins being equal, I think the worst things will get will be some kind of "wild west" situation. Yeah, electronics and modern amenities may one day be rendered useless, but people still have skills and can survive in a frontier-like world.

But again... nuclear war... we are screwed
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by KGBrick » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:24 am

Most SHTF events I think are a combination of both. Slow decay leads to more disasters and disasters can begin slow decay. These do not necessarily occur in the same place/country/community/system.

In reference to what JeeperCreeper said, a slow decay in mortgage lending practices, securities scrutiny, and other things led to the disaster of a market crash, high unemployment, recession, etc. ad nauseum.

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by Maeklos » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:14 pm

Yeah, it's usually a slow trickle or gradual progression of things until a turning point is reached. Then, everything snowballs at once or a sudden disaster will turn an otherwise tenable situation into a massive catastrophe. A good metaphor for the situation is what happened to New Orleans in Katrina. It was like, "Storm's coming, city's okay. Waters rising, city's okay. A little flooding, but the city's okay. Dikes fail, city's screwed."

It's like what we in the US are facing with climate change. With droughts stretching on and on and water sources not refilling enough to provide enough water (I'm looking at you, Ogallala Aquifer and Lake Meade!), some serious decisions are going to have to be made about what to do. But those are slow burn, long term problems. They require forethought, planning, and procedural solutions over the course of years or decades.

But take another similar situation, say, with rising water levels. A lot of cities are at risk to be flooded by rising water levels. Again, this is a long term problem. And you can work against it by building dikes and so forth. But what if, say, one of those inactive volcanoes in Antarctica suddenly goes supervolcano and dumps millions or billions of tons of fresh water into the ocean as the lava melts through the ice sheets. Now, the water level is going to rise by inches almost overnight, and now there's no time to take preventative measures. Suddenly, you've got cities that are flooded all around the world. Millions upon millions of people are displaced, economies are crippled, industry starts to grind to a halt, all kinds of problems.

A sudden big, bad catastrophe is both big and bad, but its effects are usually immediate and once the catastrophe itself is over, it's simply a matter of cleanup. It's like shitting your pants. "Uh oh, too much beer, pickled eggs, and chili! Better change my pants." But for the most part, it's not going to become a society-destroying event unless coupled with some of those long term, slow burn disasters. Those are what cripple and ultimately destroy nations.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by raptor » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:23 pm

T.S. Elliot wrote:This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

IMO T.S. Elliot got it right.

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by ineffableone » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:32 am

I think a slow decay is inevitable. All civilizations collapse eventually. Ours is no different, and I think we are nearing or about to that tipping point to the downward spiral.

However I think the term slow decay when talking about societal collapse can be a bit misleading. It is still something that can happen relatively quickly. Look at the housing bubble bursting and how suddenly lots of people lost homes. While some folks seemed to be doing fine others it was SHTF right then and there. So in a slow decay a lot of how effected you will be is how at risk you are to problems that occur. A Financial collapse (for example) like the housing bubble caused. If you have your house paid for, you don't live on credit, maybe have some precious metals put away, live frugally, have plenty of food preps, etc.... Then a financial collapse would not effect you as dramatically as it would others. Though it would impact you still as problems like crime would increase, your work may slow down and in the end might let you go because people can't afford their product. Crime is something you can mitigate by choosing wisely where you live and networking with your neighbors forming an active neighborhood watch. But if things get really bad and your doing ok, crime will be a big worry as you have what others want.

Of course while I say slow decay is inevitable, that doesn't mean that we might not win the lottery of disaster. There are so many crazy events that are due or over due that sooner or later if we don't have our self made collapse one of these events will knock us down a bit. From EMPs to super volcanoes, there is a lot of different things that could be devastating to the world.

Then there are more regional things like a big earthquake on the West Coast or the New Madrid fault, or another Super storm like Sandy, or a Hurricane like Katrina. On and on it goes, and if the country gets hit by too many one after the other it could cause a bigger break down.

Honestly I don't understand why more people aren't preppers. It seems to me that while it isn't a guarantee it increases your odds of fairing better in the times that seem to be inevitably coming one way or another.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by procyon » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:41 am

Depends. I can see both.

We are definitely working on a couple slow moving paths that will end poorly.
Climate change coupled with population growth will eventually reach a point where there won't be enough food - is probably the most obvious.
But nearly all slow events aren't catastrophes, just setbacks. No huge 'die offs', just adjustments to quality of life, etc.

The potential for 'sudden' events are always there. They are the scary ones to me, as there is little chance to predict them or 'prepare' in anything but a general way. And if you are in the wrong place, it won't matter how well prepared you are.
And (to me) the slow events are not likely to create a PAW unless they are capable of spiraling out of control. It is the sudden ones that would be the 'game changers/enders'.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by procyon » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:43 am

raptor wrote:
T.S. Elliot wrote:This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

IMO T.S. Elliot got it right.

The Hollow Men

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by Maeklos » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:54 pm

ineffableone wrote: Honestly I don't understand why more people aren't preppers. It seems to me that while it isn't a guarantee it increases your odds of fairing better in the times that seem to be inevitably coming one way or another.
It's because most people don't believe in bad things until they happen. Which is why a lot of anti-disaster or early warning systems aren't funded by government agencies. The NEO (Near Earth Orbit) discovery and tracking networks are a good example. The possibility of a Deep Impact-style event is negligible (but still real) while the repeat of the Tunguska blast or the impact that created that giant crater in Arizona are much more commonplace. But most folks shrug off the idea of Earth being hit by a large chunk of space debris as being science fiction, even though it happens constantly, with major events happening even few thousand years.

Most people treat disasters like ghost stories: something fun to tell each other for scares, but not something to take seriously.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by TheZone » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:42 pm

Sudden massive event.

History teaches us that decay is simply change, and change is adapted to.

Look at the Great Depression: worst economic event in history, and society continued to function and improve.

Both nature and politics abhor a vacuum; when a government falls or is pulled down another will emerge to replace it. Generally (for example the Russian & French Revolutions) what emerges from the wreckage is nothing like what those who pulled down the old government envisioned or desired, but a new government arises.

Today the Third World starves and butchers each other (The Second Congo War has been the deadliest conflict since 1945, 5.4 million dead) and life continues unaffected.

Unless nuclear or biological weapons see widespread use, nations will weather anything.

Individuals, on the other hand, will suffer terribly.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by fred.greek » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:05 pm

We are, and have been in a slow-ish decay. Look at the purchasing power of a dollar, in particular the decline in the 100 or so years of the Federal Reserve Banking system. The ongoing expansion of government debt. The number of people on food stamps or other welfare. The virtually open southern border. Of the stuff sold within the US, how much of it is manufactured here? How much of our energy comes from sources with the borders, vs imported?

Prepper stories are loaded with events that could turn the slow decline into a fast one, take your pick, almost any could in real time be the straw that breaks the camels back.

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:50 am

I'm trying to give you an exact answer but my time machine is still a work in progress and I'm still missing a few parts.... blue phone cord, uranium, and unicorn blood
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by gridwerk » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:05 pm

There's a missing component when people talk about the housing market collapse and if it were a murder case, the legal profession would call it malice aforethought.

The issue with the housing bubble is there were too many people who were sold a home loan contract with ridiculous terms like 40 ARMs (adjustable rate mortgage) and 2-Year Options where the interest rates would swing wildly to much, much higher rates after the first two years. There were also Interest Only payments loans where the home buyer was only required to meet the interest payment for the first two years and then when that time was up they made payments with interest, mortgage insurance and principle. Their payments could swing thousands of dollars a month overnight- it was like an open-ended auto lease but with a $200,000 avg balloon- nd of course they couldn't afford it so they were foreclosed. Terrible as it may sound the worst thing is they all knew this going into the contract. Maybe some were lied to and I believe they were, but everyone had the contract in front of them to read and plenty of legal advice for free and on the internet should they have wanted to have been bothered to do the research.

The people that made the most money were the investors who knew there was going to be a collapse and prepared financially to capitalize on it. I knew more than a few people who took seconds and HELOCSs out for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and then allowed for their home to be foreclosed on. Prior to foreclosure they reinvested, protected or even buried stacks of cash in the yard and declared bankruptcy protection to avoid seizure of their assets. They left this time period with terrible credit but extremely cash-heavy.

And that's how this country as we live in it today is going to fade: when the regular purchasing population finally starts to abandon the current credit-based purchasing model todays economic structure will start to deteriorate because no one can buy a car, a home, land or business etc. in cash anymore. Hell, few people these days can even afford an iPhone at its real cost without a contract and financing options.

Will it be a disastrous crumble? Nope. It'll be a slow transitioning process where the companies Equifax, Transunion, Experian, Fair Isaac/FICO etc. will adapt to the new buying model and slowly move to accommodate the new purchasing patterns in collusion with the banks and credit unions. The economy, like a living animal, will suffer a serious wound but it wont be fatal- it will heal and eventually adapt its immune system.

There is way, way, way too much riding on the success of the US economy globally for any other country to allow it to fail. Just like the EU (Germany specifically) came in to aid Greece after her collapse the Chinese, Russian, Asian and EU markets will do everything in their power to keep this country afloat. Can you imagine a global economic superpower like Japan suddenly not having the US auto market to depend on? And that's only one example, how many countries are tied to the US dollar and petrol dollar just to keep their own lights on?

We may have to bow our heads to a New Alien Overlord someday but we will not fail as a country and economic superpower, there's just too many other countries- both friend and enemy- that need us intact and will pay dearly to keep it that way.

And if someone thinks a foreign power is going to invade just imagine them trying to "pacify" southern CA or Texas. Hell, between Texas and CA alone we have 10 million more residents than all of England (per 2011 estimates) and I guarantee more guns. Add the military bases, Naval stations, nuclear systems and economies housed in those two states alone and they might as well be global superpowers by themselves.

Frankly, if something is going to topple this countries current standard of life it will be an external, natural threat: meteor/asteroid, sun-flare, aliens, Yellowstone detonation, etc. There will never be an invading army and especially there will never be a second American civil war so long as there is Starbucks and Kardashians (read: Bread and Circus).

My opinion is this country is too militarily strong to be invaded, too rich (money and material) to be financially broken and her populace too fat, fed and pacified for insurrection. Things may change but they wont end.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by TheZone » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:54 pm

gridwerk wrote:My opinion is this country is too militarily strong to be invaded, too rich (money and material) to be financially broken and her populace too fat, fed and pacified for insurrection. Things may change but they wont end.
I agree. It would take a 'wild card' to do it, such as zombies (see three novels below) or aliens (see novel below). :mrgreen:
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by NamelessStain » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:38 am

IMO, it will be both. The slow decay until systems start to fail. At which point it would be a domino effect of system failures that accelerate and collapse under their own weight.

Jeeper, you forgot your gillie suit and wal-mart take over. :lol:
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by Mikeyboy » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:19 am

FerFal mentioned that the Argentinian economic collapse with kind of a combo of a quick event and a slow decay. Their currency hyper-inflated and things when nuts right away, but society and the infrastructure was more or less OK, but it slowly went down hill over time.

I kind of agree with what the others are mentioning. Sure there is a possibility of getting a hardcore sucker punch extinction event were thing will go to crap rapidly worldwide. However, for the most part, life is filled with highs and lows and not everyone everywhere is affected the same.

The "Western" Roman Empire slowly went to crap over time, basically from 200AD to 500AD. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire was classically know as However during that timeframe the Eastern Roman Empire was OK and places like Middle East, Japan, China and in Central America with the Mayans, things were downright booming.

In 1814, just 201 years ago, Washington DC was burning, and large British invasion forces where in New York, Baltimore, Maine, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, New Orleans.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812

156 to 150 years ago the US was in a major civil war

73 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked, most of our Pacific Navy was gone, and we would be involved in a World War for a few years.

60 to 40 years ago there would be massive demonstrations and violence for African American Civil rights, and to protest the Vietnam War.


Not to say the OP or anyone else is a young guy that doesn't know...but just experiencing life from the 1970's to now...The Cold War, The OPEC gas crisis, 1970's inflation, 1980 recession, Islamic terror attacks, 1980 Boom, The rise of Japan as a manufacturing giant, USSR collapse, Persian Gulf war, 1990's recession, Rodney King Riots, 1990's tech boom, Y2K, 2000 recession, The rise of China as a manufacturing giant, 9/11, War on terror, Housing boom, 2008 crash, recession, gas crisis, Russian saber rattling...seriously you just learn that the world has its highs and lows, and its basically a re-hash of the same old shit and for the most part the world as a whole moves on.

Maybe things in the USA will degrade and get bad, if they do just leave and go somewhere else that is better. That is what most of our ancestors did.

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by gridwerk » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:20 pm

TheZone wrote: It would take a 'wild card' to do it, such as zombies
I, for one, would welcome our new zombie overlords.

Frankly it would be kinda cool if there was an island somewhere where zombies existed and one could go on a Zombfari where they could headshot, run and hide, board up a house, scream, panic, try to get away in cars that wont start, run ill-advisedly to the basement when the lights go out- y'know, do whatever it is people do in a zombpocalypse. Yet at the end of the day, retire to the tents, have a hot meal and mount their dead zombiehead trophy on the wall while telling exagerrated stories of their hunt over a glass of ridiculously old scotch. Kinda like a Zombrassic Park.

... of course, however, there is the morality issue of the Zombfari being populated with dead people which is probably not a good thing. Come to think of it, maybe the whole idea is just bad.
Mikeyboy wrote: The "Western" Roman Empire slowly went to crap over time
It did, and the US has gone to crap at an even faster rate, but how the Roman Empire differs from the US today is the exponential aspect of technology and our access to more efficient weapons, faster communication, better medical and near-instant information. Also take into account the Roman Empires location was technically surrounded by non-allies. They were constantly under pressure on her borders whereas the US only has Mexico to the South- not exactly an opposing military powerhouse, and Canada to the North- a sorta strong-enough military ally. Plus we own just about (if not all unless I'm mistaken) of the islands that could be used for refueling stations in our bordering Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Geographically speaking, the US is one hell of a difficult target to get to. Added to this we own many other distinct military advantages the Romans couldn't have even imagined: we can see troop movements and strengths in real time from space and dispatch a drone, fighter/bomber, troops, cruise missile or nuclear weapon almost anywhere in the world within just a few hours. Top that shit, Romulus Augustus.

And, as if that wasn't enough, we've somehow managed to trick the entire world to only trade oil on the US dollar. The rest of the world may hate us, and in some cases maybe for good reason, but we're not going anywhere. And, frankly, I don't think the US is really all that bad. We do some pretty shitty things to some people but we also do an awful lot of good globally- perhaps a debate for a different thread forum- but I personally feel there might still be more good on the ledger than bad at this current moment in time. Maybe I'm an optimist, who knows? But I don't feel the rest of the world necessarily wants us gone completely.

My biggest concern regarding a militaristic impact to this country is from within. There way more chance of the citizens of this country tearing themselves apart long before any other invading army can even make a dent. No one, not even the Iranians if you believe they are trying to build one, are dumb enough use nukes. If you're just looking to kill a bunch of folks accept no substitute but even the fundamentalist types don't just want wholesale slaughter, they'd like to be able to at least visit their conquered lands sometime in the next 150,000 years or so.

However if the MSM continues this divisive bullshit of Left vs. Right race-baiting and the US's populace remains too apathetic to actually get involved in a more positive, active role then there will be skirmishes and probably even some pretty serious dustups but the average person in this country is too dulled on meds, breads and circus to actually make a stand greater than holding a scathing sign somewhere in a downtown Occupy tent city.

Yup, it'll have to be zombies.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by DarkAxel » Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:33 pm

I think it will be a slow(ish) decay and a series of sudden events.

IMHO, there are issues with our current economic (both worldwide and national) system, and issues with our political (national) system prevent those economic problems from being addressed in an effective and timely manner. I believe that other nations that depend on US markets see those same issues and are working on or implementing plans to move their economies away from dependence on the US market. Once that happens, the US economy will take a huge hit, leaving the US government less able to handle disasters (both natural and man-made).
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by MacAttack » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:05 pm

TheZone wrote:Sudden massive event.

History teaches us that decay is simply change, and change is adapted to.

Look at the Great Depression: worst economic event in history, and society continued to function and improve.

Both nature and politics abhor a vacuum; when a government falls or is pulled down another will emerge to replace it. Generally (for example the Russian & French Revolutions) what emerges from the wreckage is nothing like what those who pulled down the old government envisioned or desired, but a new government arises.

Today the Third World starves and butchers each other (The Second Congo War has been the deadliest conflict since 1945, 5.4 million dead) and life continues unaffected.

Unless nuclear or biological weapons see widespread use, nations will weather anything.

Individuals, on the other hand, will suffer terribly.

I agree. Anything other than a fast acting world impacting event would be compensated for and corrected for in the mass of peoples actions and time.
Eventually bringing us back to a new normal that is similar to the old normal and is acceptable.

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by duodecima » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:13 pm

MacAttack wrote: I agree. Anything other than a fast acting world impacting event would be compensated for and corrected for in the mass of peoples actions and time.
Eventually bringing us back to a new normal that is similar to the old normal and is acceptable.
I think it's quite possible to end up with a "new normal" that is really different in significant ways - but it's still the new normal. Human beings can eventually find almost anything that leaves them alive "acceptable."

Completely agree that it would take a massive sudden event to do that though.
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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by MacAttack » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:05 pm

duodecima wrote:
MacAttack wrote: I agree. Anything other than a fast acting world impacting event would be compensated for and corrected for in the mass of peoples actions and time.
Eventually bringing us back to a new normal that is similar to the old normal and is acceptable.
I think it's quite possible to end up with a "new normal" that is really different in significant ways - but it's still the new normal. Human beings can eventually find almost anything that leaves them alive "acceptable."

Completely agree that it would take a massive sudden event to do that though.


It might have quite a few differences but it wouldn't be Mad Max, Logans Run or the Demolition Man(Taco Bell isn't that good).

Laws wouldn't change so much because the mass of people wouldn't allow it. but they might change in many small ways.
Food production would level out the population, production would be demanded for and provided by the population. Just like before. maybe not such variety but everything needed. And some things wanted.

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by grumpyviking » Sun May 03, 2015 5:57 am

A slow collapse would be my guess, not "decay" more of a "Domino" or "cascade" effect, one thing going down affecting another system which in turn affects something else and so on, could be over a relatively short period, say maximum of 6 months.

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by grumpyviking » Sun May 17, 2015 1:38 am

personally I would prefer a FAST collapse, as this would leave fewer survivors but more resources for those few to use, a SLOW collapse would leave more survivors who would use up those same resources more quickly. plus with more survivors there will be squabbles over the spoils, where fewer survivors are more likely to want to work together for common survival.
Survive, Adapt & Evolve .

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Re: A sudden event or slow decay over time?

Post by Stercutus » Sun May 17, 2015 2:46 am

MacAttack wrote:
duodecima wrote:
MacAttack wrote: I agree. Anything other than a fast acting world impacting event would be compensated for and corrected for in the mass of peoples actions and time.
Eventually bringing us back to a new normal that is similar to the old normal and is acceptable.
I think it's quite possible to end up with a "new normal" that is really different in significant ways - but it's still the new normal. Human beings can eventually find almost anything that leaves them alive "acceptable."

Completely agree that it would take a massive sudden event to do that though.


It might have quite a few differences but it wouldn't be Mad Max, Logans Run or the Demolition Man(Taco Bell isn't that good).

Laws wouldn't change so much because the mass of people wouldn't allow it. but they might change in many small ways.
Food production would level out the population, production would be demanded for and provided by the population. Just like before. maybe not such variety but everything needed. And some things wanted.
Yup, that is why the planet will end up being demolished for an interspace bypass.
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new Son

But I'll kneel down wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

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