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Major disasters have a tendency to focus the mind on what really matters. As I write, four days after the main shake, aftershocks from the Great Southron Gaard Mixer of 2010 continue to rattle us at regular intervals. Yes, there has been significant damage in the wider community and, in a few cases, major inconvenience or losses for SCA folk as well. But at the same time there has been tremendous community response from near and far, with people offering both good wishes and very concrete support to those most affected.
This welcome and encouraging reaction is one of two main positive features of this unpleasant event - it's a vivid demonstration that we live in a civil society (and Society). The other clear positive is that nobody died, very few people were injured, and even the building and infrastructure damage was far less than you might expect, given the location and intensity of the 'quake. You only have to look at what happened in Haiti to realise that.
Most SCAdians worldwide live in a modern, first-world society, where much thought, time, effort and resources have gone into making it relatively safe and robust — capable of withstanding remarkable stresses. When disasters happen, we come out, if not unscathed, then at least capable of picking ourselves up and getting on with recovery - and helping our less-fortunate neighbours to do the same.
Likewise, efforts to strengthen the SCA - the way we play and conduct our game - tend to show their greatest benefits when problems arise. If financial systems and reporting are good, there is less likelihood of unexpected losses or errors, and less back-biting (because more shared responsibility) when they do happen from time to time. When communications are good, people understand their neighbouring groups, officers or populace members better, and relationships are better able to withstand disagreements or confusion.
But most importantly, if we realise, as did all of Canterbury after the earthquake, that it is always the people that matter most — not the goods or the hierarchy or the rulebooks or the dollars and cents — then we have the best possible basis for both surviving and thriving well into the future.
Bartholomew Baskin, OP, LoG, CB, OAA (Caid), PJ
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