Had the two major earthquakes that hit Southern California over the last few days occurred three centuries ago they might have been seen as a message from God that Californians strayed from the righteous path. That was the reaction of New England residents and ministers after a major earthquake hit in 1727. I suppose there are still some today who might see the Ridgecrest earthquakes as a divine message on the current direction of California, but let’s at least agree with Gov. Gavin Newsom who called the earthquakes a wake-up call for California residents. 

We know the earthquakes got people’s attention—now let’s hope they are paying attention and will prepare for natural disasters. 

After the Chino Hills earthquake of 2008, Orange County Supervisor Michele Steel, writing on this page noted that 93% of Americans are not prepared for a major earthquake, fire or flood. Indeed, only 12% of Californians have earthquake insurance today, the state Department of Finance reported. 

Gov. Newsom said at a press conference following the two big temblors. “We all have an opportunity now to get more prepared, be more vigilant.” He was referring to both individual citizens and governments. 

Will Californians respond? A small anecdotal piece of evidence: the SOS Survival Products store in Van Nuys Saturday was seeing long lines and emptying shelves. 

Fortunately, this time there were no deaths or serious injuries reported. It is, as the governor stated, an opportunity to wake up to the dangers. 

Whether a divine message or otherwise, some people saw the earthquakes as a warning to make changes, even move from the state, as the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday under the print headline, “Second Quake Seen as a Sign.” 

For now, hopefully Californians experiencing the earthquakes or learning about them will get their act together and prepare for future dangers. A prayer or two wouldn’t hurt, either.