Letter Re: Neighbors and Friends are Failing to Adapt and Prepare for New Threats

Mr. Rawles:
I stumbled upon your blog site last month and it was the equivalent of a “reboot” in terms of my own thinking about how to adapt to the conditions surrounding “Peak Oil” and Global Warming. I’m grateful for your web site and efforts. I commend your honesty. I envy your faith.

In the past months local and national events highlight the scope of the trouble we now all face. I’m afraid the direction is irreversible. To list a few, gasoline and diesel prices have climbed to new heights, both global and local weather conditions indicate a promise of drought and large scale crop collapse, and our infantile and narcissistic population is in grave denial. I would add this denial is paired with ignorance – as most people in American are unfamiliar with grave or harsh living conditions, nor do they care to learn about adapting to them. “Oh, that’s not going to happen here.”

As I urge those in my closest circle to begin to prepare for a number of increasingly bad scenarios – I am met with interest, curiosity, indifference and some ridicule. I am the family “kook”. My wife reminds me; “Jeremiah.” (This was discussed in the book, “Night” by Elie Weisel.)

People are not ready to think about what is coming. For example, in response to a Craig’s List ad I posted for a car pool rider (to share my commute.) I’ve received zero interest. A local news channel did a story on my ad and interviewed me for the story. The article included my comments about “Peak” and a “Long Emergency.” No takers. At the YMCA, where I train regularly, most men I speak to feel there is no global warming and either don’t know what Peak Oil is or feel the best solution is to bomb another country that has oil. I think to myself: these are the folks I’ll be defending my home against. Finally, when I suggested to my parents the need for spare supplies in their vacation house – my suggested list brought denials, anger and ridicule. They can’t even begin to think of survival scenarios or WTSHTF. (Their home is a McMansion built on some nice farmland – which I see has having great agricultural value in the future, provided there is adequate rain.)

James H. Kunstler, who wrote the book “The Long Emergency” recently spoke at our school auditorium. Only 20 or so people attended, and few had questions indicating any understanding of how violent these events may actually become. Another professor recently lectured at an area college on the same topic – and spelled it all out. He planned to bug out in advance. A local news paper carried the story. Perhaps this shows some progress? I commended the writer by e-mail.

To adapt, I began to prepare for the worst; I’m reading more about the subject, making no assumptions, stocking food, water and key equipment. I intend to train my 12 year-old to soon have familiarity with all weapons in our home (.22 rimfires, 12 gauge, and 9mm pistols.) Given our home location, its defensibility, and our firepower – I’m unsure as to how long we can make it – especially if civil unrest or military response is too strong, but I’m committed to dedicating resources to the cause – to do what I can for as long as I can and to educating those around me who will listen (this is tricky.)

From speaking with others on the same page, many are overwhelmed. I am too, but I always remind them that they can do a little every week. Underscored here also is that resources such as the bogus tax stimulus checks can be used to build food and supply stocks. I keep a purchase list ready – which will go against my fake tax give back. Grocery runs always include “extras” that will store well.

On a final note, although I’m dedicated to “hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” I find it very difficult to bring my wife and only child into some of these scenarios. My wife is a great life partner and understands this situation very well – but some of this remains unspeakable. Further, I caution great care as to how to work with children on these matters. It is worse than the movie, “I Am Legend” because the “infected” will be real and much more plentiful, and the survival resources few. Camping and “activities” build the skill sets and offer the instructional opportunities, as someone already posted.

Thanks again for what you do, – Jon

JWR Replies: You are correct. Pollyanna denial is rampant. You aren’t the only one that encounters it.

Don’t worry about ridicule. Noah was considered a “kook”. So were the Jews that emigrated from Germany in the mid-1930s. Most of them survived, while those that didn’t ended up in the camps and many of them were subsequently victims of Nazi genocide.