MauserMedic, in the post below, comments that without power the people of Los Angeles would be fertilizer in two weeks. I responded that it would be more like three days. But after thinking about it, the time might be even less than that.
One of the officers I work with, who did a lot of strategic planning before this assignment, was on a group who's focus was extreme long-term planning. One of the phrases that was beaten into people's heads was that the vast majority of Americans living in urban areas were 24 hours away from anarchy at any given moment. And we're not talking the anti-government wishful thinking type of folks here. We're talking all-out lawless riots, murder, theft, mob-rule anarchy.
Think about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Most folks didn't have the three days of supplies in their home to last until FEMA arrived, and they had plenty of time to get ready. Why didn't they have it? Well, a huge chunk of the population in New Orleans is the Free Shit Army. They don't plan ahead. They don't prepare. They just sit with their hand out waiting for Uncle Sugar to shit another EBT card into their lap. And thousands of people ended up in the SuperDome crying and screaming and carrying on as if the Zombie Apocalypse had occurred, when in reality civilization was coming to their aid every single day.
That big chunk of that population is present in every single major US city. There isn't a single metro area in the USA that doesn't have a size-able portion of the Free Shit Army living in it. Most of them have no idea what to do if the power goes out. They've never had to prepare for a think in their lives. They live on the government plantation, and like the slaves they are, they just wait for Master to come and give them their daily meals.
So the power goes out. Water goes out. Traffic does not move. Nobody comes and gives them their free shit. Got no TV. Got no X-Box. What happens now?
A lot of it will be contained just by the simple fact that the Free Shit Army can't maneuver very well outside of metro areas. The Hillbilly side of the Free Shit Army tends to live in areas where they can be self-sufficient in terms of getting enough to eat and drink, so they'll just hunker down rather than look for trouble. But the urban FSA? If you're a person who has planned ahead, you MUST take the FSA into account, because they'll be coming for what you've got.
I live in LA county. Don't think I haven't gone over this crap in my head time and time again. How to secure the house. How to get the hell out when that time comes; what routes to take, which guns to have in my wife's hands and in mine. What food and water to take, and what gear.
In an emergency, there would be a large portion of the population here in LA that would be just fine, and there would be a bigger portion that would eat itself and everyone around it. I don't plan on being eaten.