"Preppers" are the crazy ones.
I'm going to ignore that dealing with looters would be a lot easier if you were armed, since NYEffingC doesn't trust the peasants with arms, and say this:
For a lot of those people, how much less sucky would this be if they had a few days of drinking water? A few days of 'can eat it cold' food? Some lights not dependent on the grid? A bucket and some plastic bags for a toilet?
Nothing extravagant, or expensive, just a little bit of stuff.
Couple of years back, on a thread somewhere about disaster prep, a guy mentioned having lived in NYC, and that most apartment dwellers were screwed in the event of a real disaster: they're so used to eating out or stopping on the way home from work for groceries that they had maybe a couple of meals worth of groceries in the house that didn't require cooking; those who did, it tended to be pop-tarts or something(edible, but not exactly filling). Which meant that if they got warning, they'd be part of the mob trying to buy the last whatever on the shelves, or sitting back and figuring the .gov would take care of them.
That works out well, doesn't it?