Two Letters Re: It Will Be Skills, Not Gear That Will Count in TEOTWAWKI

I would like to whole-heartedly second Chris M’s article that skills are more important than stuff. A wide basis of knowledge provides you and your family new options as you develop courses of action to solve a specific problem during a crisis. While I’ve been stuck as a suburbanite in the Washington area for the last two years, I’ve exploited my access to military and civilian training to more than make up for my vulnerability. I’ve joined local weapon/hunting ranges, significantly improving my pistol, rifle and bow skills. I’ve become certified as a Level I Combatives Instructor. I’m scheduled to attend EMT training and certification in September. I’m getting my first batch of vegetables out of my garden in a few weeks….and then I’ll start some canning. To top it all off, I’ve gotten a basic workshop set up and I’m doing my best to do all my own small repairs. In the last two weeks, I’ve fixed problems with my car, my lawn mower and then my house. Hunting, well, that will probably be next year.

Besides the obvious benefit of saving money, I want to emphasize the feeling of self-empowerment every time I solve a problem myself. Sure, nothing goes right the first time, but I learn a lot and I do get it done (my wife would add the work “eventually” here). I recommend re-reading Mr. Kilo’s “Letter Re: Learning the Details of Self-Sufficiency” and his description of the “conscious competence learning model.” It’s all about working towards self-reliance as much as possible. After twenty-plus year in the Army as a leader and supervisor using “soft skills”, I am working hard to build up many of the practical “hard skills” that Chris already has. Hats off to you Chris! (OBTW everyone, don’t forget physical fitness!) – Conn

A friend of mine reminds me that skills are important, but also are tools. Hard to dig a hole without a shovel.

As a practicing locksmith, I discovered during a service call, that the combination of skills plus tools plus parts is what’s needed. I can go to a locksmith call, and leave my hole saw home. Can’t install deadbolts. Or, I can have my van, but not the right lock. And many people have tools and locks, but can’t do the job. – C.A.Y.