"FEMA" Rick continued, "is an organization that was created by Presidential Executive Orders. Basically, it was given certain powers by different Presidents. Now, here's what it can do: It can seize all your land, money, guns and goods, and relocate you to different places; even a concentration camp. Anything that it deems "best" for you. It can, and probably already has, declared martial law and can force you to "fight" for it. It totally sets aside the Constitution of the United States. It has all and absolute power."
There were many groans and angry murmuring in the crowd as Rick continued.
"Now that's the worst news. It can also be there to help, if you do it "their" way. It has helped some out in many situations and didn't stomp on their rights. But again, remember the hurricanes in the gulf in the not too distant past and FEMA’s actions there.
"Personally, after what I've seen since all this started, we don't need help."
Cheers rang out of the crowd and a lot "damn right we don't!"'s.
"So what we need to decide is how to handle FEMA when they come, and yes they WILL come. Think this over friends. We are going to have another town meeting in two days. We have a lot to do. Many ideas will be put into place today and tomorrow, and I'm sure we'll hit a few snags here and there. Personalities will clash just as they always have; but, we will need to set that aside and go on with what needs to be done.
"Now, I want to state for the record: I AM with this community. Whatever you decide, I will back you up 100%.
"This is what I suggest. ONE: we find some damn good hiding spots that few know about and store most of what we have there....more than one spot, mind you. We don't want all ours eggs in one basket.
"TWO: People, I 'believe' we've had a couple of 'bad, bad' years, and we's a 'poor community'" said Rick has he exaggerated the 'poor' part. "If FEMA can't find any evidence of what we have or even WHO we have, they lose some of their power to take what we will be needing. So maybe some 'alterations' of records may be in order?"
Again there was quite a bit of muttering and retorts from the crowd.
"Lastly, we all need to be able to trust each other and work together as a community. And hopefully there will be more people around this country that will do the same and that's when FEMA will lose its power and no longer exists.
"My hope is this: For all of us to come out of this mess stronger. Stronger in unity. Stronger in honor. Stronger in integrity. Stronger as a community. Stronger as a nation." And with those words the crowd roared with applause and Rick stepped down.
Fuzzy stepped back up and told the crowd not to forget about the town meeting in two days, "That's not tomorrow; but, the next day people!" The crowd laughed with Fuzzy. "I do have some good news for those on the city water system. Since we use natural springs we will be putting up a couple windmills to help pump the water, so ya'all should have running water by next week." More hoorays from the crowd. "But, I won't guarantee the water pressure."
"The lists are going up now, so take a moment and read over them. See ya'all in two days and take care of yourselves."
The crowd milled around talking things over between themselves for quite awhile afterwards.
Gracie, Sammie, Maggie and Tucker got back together. Gracie gave Maggie all the lists she had brought from home and the four of them walked over to the library to tape up the lists given to Gracie. There was a list about hygiene, a list stating who to go to for needs, and there was a page explaining that there were homes needed for the few elderly who were left in the nursing home, those who did not have family in this area. Families that had someone in the nursing home had already taken them home.
"You know, I will need to go down into the basement of the library and see what's stored down there. I think last time I was down there I saw a box of books on water energy from the 50's." said Gracie.
As they approached the library, they noticed that Billy Ray Baxter was sitting on the steps.
"Miss Gracie, Momma Sue wants to talk with you" he said.