Two Letters Re: Convincing the Unconvinced that TEOTWAWKI is Possible

Good Evening JWR:
I am very thankful for you site. It has catapulted our preparedness agenda, leaving 99% of our friends and family lost in a smoke screen of Utopian chatter. We have been in a preparedness state of mind and action since hurricane Andrew. Approximately 3 million had the same experience and are unmoved.

Here is my problem: Many of your readers still “don’t get it”. The three primal needs are water, food, and shelter. Now I agree 100% with the ability to defend your home, and family. You will buy the ‘BIG’ gun, the intermediate rifles, the short range rifles, and the handguns, and all the ammo you can carry and hide. Obtain the knowledge of how to repair them within reason, then it is time to get back to the primal needs. For all the talk on transportation, once you get to your retreat…where are you going? Bicycles? Give me a good horse that mows the yard and gives me fertilizer. Low energy refrigerators? A 36 inch well will suffice, that you can drop a wire basket down into to keep food cool or the old fashion spring house.

In my opinion, the Amish and Mennonites have the right idea for a self-sustained life style. A closer look might help a few people.

If you can’t eat an ear of corn that you have flicked the worm off of or pulled the worm out of your peach then you might think you are going to throw some seeds in the ground and they will instantly grow. Jack and the Bean Stalk was a fairy tale.

One last issue on food storage. You will need to be able to can food. But the math might be a little off. If you put up green bean and plan on eating one jar per week (hardly a sustaining diet) , that would be 52 canning jars and lids for one item for one week. If you canned 10 vegetables for 1 year that would be 520 jars/lids per year. Jars can be used over and over, [but] canning lids are a different story. Canning lids for bartering? I don’t think so. I don’t believe you can have enough.

I don’t mind hard times but I will be really angry with myself if I have not prepared appropriately. Thank for listening, – Lauralei


Mr. Rawles,
After reading your novel “Patriots” and researching about proper disaster preparedness, I am ready and willing to start seriously preparing for surviving economic collapse and/or Katrina-like disasters and the rampant looting that follows both — the problem is that my parents aren’t so ready or willing.
Whenever I bring up the subject of having extra food and water in the house, I’m told we don’t have the space or the money. When I bring up the subject of firearms, they flat-out refuse to allow guns into the house. When I tell them about all the possible disaster scenarios that could happen in the near future, I am told to “quit being so negative!” In short, they don’t know (or don’t care) about what could happen if hyperinflation hits, if all the oil ran out next month, or if the United States gets into a nuclear conflict with another major power. The scariest thing is that if these problems came up they believe “the government will take care of us.”
If I had the ability to move out and start preparing on my own, I would — but I am just a poor college student with no car, no job, and no money, so: is there anything I can do to make my parents realize that:
a) something bad could probably happen in the near future that causes all h*ll to break loose
b) the government probably can’t (or won’t) do anything to fix it, and
c) the best way to ensure our survival is to take the proper steps and prepare for all possible scenarios the best we can. Thanks, – MJS in Tucson, Arizona

JWR Replies: All that I can recommend is to try to get your parents to read your copy of my novel. I’ve been told that this has worked for a few others with their heads in the sand. Some folks that were in full-scale Pollyanna denial did a 180 degree turn after reading the book. I can’t make any promises, but it may be worth a try.