Letter Re: Once a Prepper, Always a Prepper

Mr. Rawles,
The following describes my background and how it shaped me.

My Parents’ Influences

My parents were from the south (Eastern Tennessee)
They were also children of the Great Depression, their families were farmers and it was normal to prepare for winter or hard times.
Both my parents could can food, especially vegetables and fruit.
My father was an avid hunter and trapper.
I learned from a young age from my parents, never take anything for granted, prepare for good and bad times.

My Childhood
My parents moved to Ohio for work, where I was born.
I spent my youth (from birth to 15 years of age), I lived half of the year in Tennessee and the other in Ohio.
I helped out on uncle’s farm in Tennessee, where my Dad and Uncle taught me to work the land, process livestock, harvest honey & wild fruits and vegetables.
My Uncle and Aunt were children of the Great Depression, yep they were preppers too.
Why this is important, this was the late 1960s to early 1970s.
Their farm was on a route road, where electricity was iffy at best, no city water and the closest store was 25 to 30 miles away, it was natural to just prepare, stock up and be ready instead of heading out on long peat gravel back roads, especially in the winter.

I lost my father, uncle, and aunt in a close span of time together when I was 16 years old. But my Dad, Uncle, Aunt and my Mom gave me some great gifts on taking care of myself.

Young Adulthood
We didn’t get to Tennessee to much after the deaths of my Dad, Uncle and Aunt.
My Mom lost the drive to prepare, can and such.
I did for a while, but once I started working two full time jobs I stopped prepping.
I was working maintenance and training to become a deputy sheriff.
But I still prepped with can goods, drink powders and well water.

An Evacuation
In 1986, we had an industrial accident that affected the region, that started me back to be a prepper
A freight train hauling industrial materials derailed, some of the cars were carrying Phosphorus,
Which caught fire and released a poisonous gas, this caused more of the small towns along the rail line to be evacuated, including our town.
This was my first experience in seeing the baser instincts of human nature take over.
You have to remember, these were small towns, not vast urban areas.
The looting and robbery and loss of the rule of law began.
I saw people fight with police at road blocks.
I saw people nearly run officers dow with their cars.
As in New Orleans during Katrina (several years after the derailment event), some cops didn’t show up for duty, because they were worried about their families.
Our town had not been evacuated as of yet. I was told not to report to any of my jobs, and I wasn’t called up to help.
In fact most law enforcement pulled out of the area to a central location.
I decided to send my mom and younger sister to a family members home outside of the affected area.
And I stayed and protected the home and cared for the animals.
This is the first time I used an Israeli gas mask. It worked quite well.
This was 14 years before 9/11 attacks.
I sealed the windows, doors and any other exterior accesses with towels and duct tape. That worked great.
I set back and watched the circus unfold on television and listen to the scanner, with my Ruger Service Six on the couch.
After the evacuation, the scanner traffic slowed down, a lot of local departments were working their bases out of the county seat in a safe area.
We lived near the town square, so I watched this small but busy town turn into a scene from a nuclear war movie. The traffic stopped, the traffic light in the middle of town wasn’t working due to a car wreck.
Then slowly the cloud appeared, white, thicker than fog.
I was stuck in the house for two days until the fire burned out and the cloud dissipated.
According to police friends, several looters arrested, and one was shot and wounded by a home owner.
One of the evacuation centers at a school turned into a free for all and the police had to shut it down.
So I guess I have a taste of the TEOTWAWKI experience. I hope I never have to experience it again.

Prepper Anew
That experience renewed the prepper instinct in me.
But things had changed, I now lived in a more residential area.
Not much room for a big garden to can or live stock to keep.
So I started looking and what the Boy Scouts and military were doing.
MREs were just a dream, C rations were expensive if you could find any.
So I started with civilian canned goods.
Canned goods available in stores keep an average of one year, maybe up to two years if they are kept in a safe, dry place. This works great if you consume the products and rotate in new during that time.
Some people want to get something that will last 5 -10 -20 years, that’s fine, but I think you should check your stores more often.
Presently, I have a mixture of Dehydrated, freeze dried foods, canned meats, seeds (non-hybrid), food bars and MREs.
55 gallon barrels of potable water and a rain barrel system.
I’m working on a 4×4 vehicle, just in case I have to make a run for it.
I prepare to stay, but I have food bars and portable water, brigade first aid kits in a bug-out set up.
Go to the Dollar stores, you can great deals on basic medical, sanitary, and food products.
Don’t be a snob, it all works.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a working stiff, no longer a sheriff’s deputy I work in the trades. (Another gift from my family upbringing, I can fix just about anything.)
I can’t afford $1.000 to $1.800 weapons. So if you are in a similar financial situation, I would advise you to check your local pawn shops.

I’ve found great deals on used guns. Here is what I’ve bought, and my costs:
A Interarms Star M30 9mm 15 shot DA/SA auto pistol, a design once issued to the Brazilian military $299.
Mossberg 12ga 20” barrel pump $150
Taurus Mod 66 .357 $169
Hi-Point C9 9mm $130
Ruger 10/.22 $199
The guns at shows are now often much too expensive.
Don’t be a gun snob. Functionality is key, not a gun’s looks.

A gun is a tool, if you can’t buy a S&W, then buy two Hi-Point pistols and have money for the ammo.
In the heat of combat, a gun jams and I can’t clear it, I’ll leave it, whether it’s a S&W or a Hi-Point,
Plus the more of the same weapons you have, the more extra parts you’ll have if one goes bad.
The cheapest and easiest to get ammo right now is for shotguns and .22 LR rimfires.
No matter what the caliber, bullet placement is the key to survival. In my police training, I was trained to aim for the Instant Neutralization Zone. This starts with ocular window and runs down to the lower edge of the solar plexus
One other important lesson from my training was to stay out of the Immediate Threat Radius. That is anywhere within 10 feet of an armed opponent.
If you are in the Immediate Threat Radius, even if you get the first shot off [with a handgun], you’ll probably still get shot or stabbed by the bad guy.

Tools are just like guns, if you can’t afford Klein or Snap-On brands, then buy Stanley brand and buy more of them.
Learn to work on everything.
Stock up on fasteners, extra wood, and any thing else you use at a regular intervals.
Store some gas, kerosene what ever you use.

Get a Bible, and study it.
Most important have faith in God and in yourself.
I pray every day that none of this prepping will ever be needed.
Of what I’ve seen of the baser side of human nature, if the world goes to he**, there will be a lot of death and sorrow that will touch everyone.
Don’t ask for war, things will go their way by nature and will happen in their own time.

“The Angels of the Lord encamp around those who love him.
The Lord will deliver him in his time of need. “

Wishing SurvivalBlog Readers God’s Blessings – Gary J.