Letter Re: Yet Another Article Touting “Mobility” for Survival

Thank you for response on the mobile survival fantasy. I think it is dangerous for the average Joe to believe that he can be a mountain man. Sure, some can, in some climates and locations with lots of training. Even then it’s dangerous and unpredictable. A twisted ankle can be the end of you. Remember too, those mountain survival stories were from the days when the wildlife in this country was at much higher levels. For most of us it means being cold, wet, tired, hungry and thirsty in the woods and being targets on the streets. (“Nice pack man, what ‘cha got in there? Hey, your wife/daughter sure looks purty…”)
Other pet peeves of mine are the twin television fantasies regarding water and guns. First thing you notice on TV ‘survival scenes’ is the lack of packed water. The heroes mount up with their guns and attitude, but… no water? Yup, it’s heavy to pack and takes up space. Nope, there are no water fountains in the woods. The communal fountains that people could drink out of are mostly gone from cities. True, most cities were founded by the water for transportation, but that means you need either a water distiller/desalinator for the oceans or a really good filter for the rivers. Drinking the water from a river in a major city might work months after a TEOTWAWKI when upstream factories shut down and stop using the river as a toilet, but for now it’s really nasty.
Just imagine walking through a city with the stores closed/burned/looted and the the water pressure gone. I grew up in NYC and the only place I can think of to get water in that scenario would be the reservoir in Harlem. A dangerous place in the best of times. Also, with a pack, you’ll sweat more. I can get by on very little water in my office, but on a trail with a pack in the noon day sun I get dehydrated real fast.
Television peeve #2 is the one shot kill (and one punch knock out). Just shoot the bad guy once and he’s down? Unless it is a central nervous system hit (spinal cord or brain) he’s not down. Even a heart shot gives him enough time, say 6 seconds, to stab you or shoot back if he’s angry or drugged enough. How far can a man run in 6 seconds? Will he close the gap? It’s not whether the bad guy dies from the wounds you inflict on him, it’s whether you kill him in such a way as to deny him the ability to return the favor.

FWIW, here is a compilation of my top 15 survival fantasies and misconceptions:

1. You can fit everything you need for extended survival in a backpack
2. A single shot not hitting the brain or spinal cord less or than .40/.44/.45 caliber will stop an attacker before he can kill you
3. I don’t need to bring that much water
4. The government is here to help
5. I’m in good enough shape right now to hike 20 miles with a 70 pound pack
6. Everything I have stored still works, hasn’t expired, I know how to use it and I know where it is
7. I can buy what I need at the first sign of impending crisis
8. My kids can keep up with me on an extended hike
9. Farming/livestock/hunting/fishing/trapping are easy to learn from a book, I don’t need practical experience
10. God will help me. I’ll be in the right place at the right time if I am a good person
11. I can argue/discuss/bargain with a bad guy(s). I don’t have to shoot them.
12. If I shoot them, I can wound them, I don’t have to kill.
13. By virtue of my obvious survival knowledge, foresight and preparedness, my family/friends/neighbors will agree that I am the best suited to lead our newly formed fledgling survival group and will listen and carry out my suggestions.
14. Life in TEOTWAWKI will be fun. Since there will be no more taxes/bills/mortgage to pay and I don’t have to show up for work it will be hard but rewarding. Add that to the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so” and given my preparations, I’ll be better off then than I am now.
15. My stash of silver pre-1965 coins will let me live like a king

Survival fantasies. We all have them, and we all need to lose them. – SF in Hawaii