Fyredup, if we ever do have another "great depression" or similar, expect widespread civil unrest. Back in the day there was a different mindset, you took care of your fellow man as much as you could because "there but for the grace of God go I". People accepted charity from others as a last resort, and were properly embarrased to have to do so. A good work ethic was the norm, and men would accept the most low paying tasks just to be able to say they earned what they had. Granted, there were deadbeats as now, but they were not the norm or even a high percentage minority.
Today, how many towns and cities of any size don't have large numbers of people who are on welfare, and they expect to receive it because it's their "right" to do so? How many have been on welfare for multiple generations, knowing nothing else? What do you think will happen once the free benefits get turned off? What about all the unemployed with no cash coming in? When the kids are hungry, parents do what they have to, don't they? The Watts riot and Katrina were just preludes of what could be coming on a much wider scale.
As a Fireman I assume your house is well stocked with fire extinguishers at potential fire sources and you check to make sure your smoke detectors are working every so often. Maybe you even run fire drills with your family so they know what to do in case of fire. To do otherwise after the fire deaths you must have seen would be foolish. I don't assume you compulsively check each alarm twice a day and remove all flammable items and ignition sources from your home as you worry about the possibility of spontaneous human combustion making all your preps useless. Yet you seem to project the same mindset onto people who prep for civil unrest? Do I worry about it constantly and cautiously open the door each morning, anticipating a roving gang on my lawn? No. I don't think most people preparing for the worst do either.
But I also don't stick my head in the sand and believe that it can't happen. It is a very real possibility, and government response would be a joke. You saw how well they handled Katrina, can you imagine how bad it would have been if multiple cities along the coasts had been affected as bad within a short time span? I can.
Also, localized versus nationwide doesn't make much difference when you are stuck in the middle of it. Knowing that 500 miles away things are "normal" doesn't help a whole lot when you can't get there safely.