If you don’t watch “Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel” (National Geographic) then this song really doesn’t mean anything to you other than a message about how we are destroying the world around us. To those of you who do watch “Preppers” you “get it”. I enjoy watching the Preppers show. I have learned something different in every episode. For me, the hardcore preppers are a trip. One of those guys has at least a million dollars invested in his plan to survive…whatever happens next. Seriously, if you watch that show you will see people who are preparing for an end to the way of life as we currently know it.
Think of a worst case scenario, really think about it, now take the severity of that and multiply it by ten, there is a person out there preparing for that to happen. The show goes through several of these scenarios:
- Failed financial system
- Comet/meteor impact
- Civil unrest
- Natural disasters
- Dirty bomb attack
All of these might happen.
If you watch the show you know that they assess each prepper at the end of their segment. The give them a score on their readiness and the “experts” give their opinion of the likeliness of the particular disaster actually occurring. I haven’t heard one that said, it was very likely.
I am a firm believer in the momentum approach. You know the physics adage, “objects in motion tend to stay in motion”. Just a decade ago, people had over-inflated worries about the Y2K bug. Remember that? It was the thought at the time, that all the computers would just magically stop working when the date rolled over to January 1, 2000.
Did a lot of people spend a LOT of money to make that not happen, sure they did. Not all of it was necessary. I worked for my buddy JagGuy back then and he made a pretty good living off the just the regulatory concerns of the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the banks it serves. Among the many things we did for the clients, we helped banks certify elevators that didn’t even have a computer in them, “Y2K ready”. Madness.
Let’s get back to my momentum theory. I had a concerned citizen back then ask me about Y2K and their concern there would be no power. They detailed how they were going to buy a generator and stock up on food, “Just in case.”
Even though deep down inside I wanted to laugh at them, I didn’t belittle them, I thought, “If this helps them sleep at night, good for them. At least they are preparing.” I listened to their concerns and then I asked them a simple question.
“Does the power company make any money if they can’t provide power to their customers?”
They finally said, “No, I guess not.”
Then I said, “Don’t you think they want to continue to be able to bill their customers for power?”
You could see the lights come on, and they said, “So I shouldn’t buy a generator?”
I told them that was not my call. Do whatever you think will be best. They were preparing for a disaster. Why discourage them? They are working out a plan for some unforeseen event. GOOD!
I believe the momentum of the society we live in will continue. People will always need water and food and fuel and electrical power and the basic necessities of life. There will be someone there to provide those things in all but the absolutely worst case scenarios.
World War 3 was once a real worry, some of you younger readers might not remember the START treaties and how we were all sure we would die from nuclear war. Nuclear détente (Wikipedia) was inevitable. People planned for this event by building bomb shelters and stocking up on food. “Blast from the Past” (1999) (IMDB) was a romantic comedy about a naive man who comes out into the world after being in a nuclear fallout shelter for 35 years. As you know, it never happened. It will most likely never happen on that scale.
Not a Prepper
I’ve had people say I was a prepper. I have seen the 1984 version of “Red Dawn“ (IMDB) literally 100 times. Thirty years ago, we believed it was a real possibility that Russians might invade America. This isn’t even part of any serious discussion at the Pentagon today. There is no way we are being invaded, not even by China. (Who would they sell all the stuff they produce to?) With this in mind I’ve been prepared to wage a counterinsurgency since 1984.
I think it is important to clarify my position:
- I believe it is important to be prepared for EVERY situation.
- I believe I am more prepared than most people.
- I believe our system of government and the organization of our society will survive nearly all man-made catastrophes.
- I believe within two hours I could leave my home and live anywhere for at least a week.
As far as I am concerned, I am not a prepper. Am I prepared for an event that might change the way I live comfortably off the resources provided by an organized system of government and society?
Short answer, not as prepared as I’d like to be.
What should we prepare for?
Our biggest worry should be natural disasters. Tornadoes wipe out communities almost every year in Oklahoma. Being ready for an interruption in basic services is probably the place you should put the majority of your resources. We are not likely to see a tsunami wipe out tens of thousands of people, or a volcano spew magma all over our cities. But a tornado could plow a mile wide path through your hometown tomorrow (any tomorrow). I’ve seen it.
So to wrap this up. If you want to prep/be a prepper by all means go for it. My advice for most everyone else in Oklahoma in descending order of importance:
- Have an alternate source of water
- Have some sort of shelter and or a way to heat your home
- Store some rations if you plan to bug in
- Be prepared to repel looters
If it is a natural disaster, the government and the aid societies will be onsite in a few hours after it strikes. Your friends will be able to help you too so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you are just getting started I suggest you read about making a Bug-Out Bag (Art of Manliness.com) and formulate a plan. This type of planning will get you a LONG way toward being prepared for something temporarily terrible happening.
Arming Myself to the Teeth
Contrary to what you may read on some websites, you don’t need a fully kitted-out expedition-class Land Rover Defender with ring-mounted MK19 40mm grenade launcher to survive. (I didn’t say you shouldn’t have a MK19, I just said you don’t NEED one.) A full tank of gas for your Range Rover will get you a long way toward getting out of the way of danger. I see a lot of guys paying for some very expensive firearms. For what an well configured AR-15 costs, you could buy 3 months worth of portable food and a very reliable Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun.
Well that was a lot. It was possibly a little scatter-brained but I think most people will get the gist of this post.
- Something bad will probably happen (think natural disaster not societal collapse)
- Make a good Bug-Out Bag
- Be prepared, have a plan
Thanks for reading and Happy
February 7, 2013 at 22:15
I’ve been accused of being a prepper myself. I’m always flattered and offended at the same time.
Do I have a 55 gallon drum of freeze dried food and 1000s or round of 5.56 ammo in the basement? Nope. But I can survive a old fashioned Wisconsin blizzard just fine.
You make some very good points. Always be prepared and always have a plan.
February 8, 2013 at 13:15
Bingo Shane. Being able to ride out the natural disaster du jour in your particular area is most of the battle. It drives me crazy when my wife says, “We don’t have anything in the pantry to eat.” I look and see 6 cans of soup, a package of pasta, boxes of rice, and lots of other stuff…what is she talking about?
Thanks for stopping by, I love your blog.