Apocalypse…Now?

Those hoping that 2011 would be a more settled year, following the tumultuous few years following the global financial crisis and the near collapse of Western markets, will have been severely disappointed.  Only a few months into the year, and there remains continuing uncertainty in Western money markets, civil unrest in Europe, as well as revolution sweeping across the Middle East.  Similarly, the rest of the world has been able to do little more than look on, helpless bystanders as Japan has endured its most powerful earthquake on record, followed then by a tsunami, and now possible meltdown at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

In such unstable times, one may start to wonder what would happen in such worst case scenarios.  What procedures are in place, if any, when catastrophe strikes?  Moreover, who decides which procedures should be taken?

Some light has been shed on such unknowns by William Glaberson in a recent article for The New York Times.  In February 2011 a seemingly innocuous official legal document, was published in New York by the State Court System and the State Bar Association, with the rather prosaic title, the ‘New York State Public Health Legal Manual’.  Yet, as Glaberson’s article highlights, the banal title belies the radical material written within.   This legal manual has been designed as a guide for legal and health professionals in the event of a large-scale emergency, such as a terrorist attack, epidemic or mass contamination.

The intention behind the creation of such a document, as the chief of operations for the state court system, Ronald P. Younkins, has explained, is to give judges and lawyers Continue reading “Apocalypse…Now?”

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