The most alarming aspect of living in America is the recurring sensation that no one is in charge. This is much more disconcerting than recognizing that the people in charge are incompetent and corrupt: that is merely a sorry fact of everyday life. Three times in two decades the world’s most powerful state has failed its people: on 9/11, in the crash of 2007-8 and in the COVID-19 pandemic. Once is unfortunate, twice is carelessness, thrice is recklessness, and after that you’re on your own. My basement now resembles a nuclear bunker: food, water, medical supplies, a gym, a lifetime supply of lavatory paper. I live in an affluent, blue-state suburb with hardly any crime, but at night I wonder whether it’s time to go native and get a gun. We all know there’s more coming down the pike.