Are Your Neighbors Prepared? by Doc

I am more comfortable with neighbors who have food stored, means to prepare it, and who know how to grow food, as well as arms to protect themselves, first aid supplies, tools, and the many other things it takes to survive an emergency. Unfortunately, that is a very rare situation.

I have a unique and privileged take on the problem, since I have been in more than a thousand homes. This is because, at various points in my life, I have been an apartment repairman, handyman, finish carpenter, electrician, cable TV repairman, as well as a volunteer for a non-profit housing agency.

I never snooped where I was not welcome, but what I saw was an eye opener. In all my visits, what struck me is not what I saw, but what I did not see. I did not see food stored. I did not see first aid supplies. Except for one bow hunter, I saw no means to harvest game animals. Except for gas cans for lawnmowers, I saw no fuel stored. I saw flashlights, but they were toys for the children to play with, and no spare batteries anywhere. No kerosene lamps. No water stored. No means to cook without utilities except for the ubiquitous barbeque. Here is what I did see:

Drugs! – Lots and lots of drugs, mainly illegal. I lost count of how many times people offered me drugs as a tip for a job well done.

Overmedication – One customer asked me to fix a loose medicine cabinet. I had to empty it to access the mounting screws, and I counted thirty different prescription medicines, plus about a dozen over the counter drugs.

Pornography – Plenty of porn. One owner had a collection so large he had it inventoried on his computer for quick and easy access.

Camping Equipment – One person had a Coleman camping stove, but no food to cook with it. I suppose he could warm his hands with it in cold weather.

Toilet Paper – One person had a spare twelve pack.

Cigarettes – One man had a freezer full of cigarette cartons. He was severely addicted, and did not want to run out in an emergency. He overlooked extra lighters.

Firearms – None were visible, but that only makes sense. If a stranger were about to come into my home, I would not have my collection on display.

First Aid Kits – Occasionally I would see a box of Band-Aids.

Food – One or two boxes of sugared cereal, an average of three cans of food, leftover pizza, beer and condiments. Almost every refrigerator had more ketchup, mustard, steak sauce and so forth than food.

Generators – I saw a grand total of one generator.

Gardens – I saw lots of gardens, but most were for ornamentals, not for food. Since gardening for food is one of my hobbies, I always talked to the owners. Even the gardeners who raised food had no extra seeds stored. They bought new seeds every year.

Lest you get the impression that these people lacked the means to prepare, consider this: One of the communities I served was Castle Pines, an exclusive gated community south of Denver containing many million dollar homes. None of the overpaid underworked hypersnobs had any kind of preparations at all. They probably thought they could just order food delivered during an emergency, just like they do now. If you have some silly notion of raiding rich people’s homes for food, forget it.

One day I got a surprise. I was asked to install a fluorescent light in the basement of a modest two bedroom house. At the bottom of the stairs I turned and saw a set of metal shelves, complete with canned food, a can opener, a lighter and cans of Sterno! Out of more than a thousand homes, I finally found one solitary person who had made preparations.

There is a lesson in this, and it is that your neighbors are not prepared. In the event of even a minor emergency, they will be completely helpless. People like that tend to turn into locusts, and will descend on anyone they believe to have what they need. It has been said that any city is three days away from a riot. Be very careful about who you tell about your preparations. Even trusted family members have friends, and are likely to show up with their entire good old buddy network. Can you feed and defend all of them? Best to keep quiet and remember that even a fish would not get caught if it kept it’s mouth shut! – Doc at