Letter Re: Why I Began to Prepare

James Wesley,
In September 2008 a chain of events began which got me thinking about food storage and survival. Living in a small bedroom community to a moderately large city we’ve always had food, water and electricity, except for an occasional day or so when we have a storm. However things changed when Hurricane Ike rolled through the Ohio Valley (along the Ohio river). We had power outages and destruction city-wide of the magnitude of what you would normally see from a tornado that hits part of the town. But in this case a city of 1.5 million was without power for weeks and 24 Kroger’s grocery stores had to throw out all perishable food in dumpsters and were closed for close to a week. Add all of the businesses and school and transportation closings food wasn’t being delivered. Although our problems were never as bad as Katrina or Galveston it really drove home that we were not prepared.

During the storm I couldn’t stop thinking of “my kids”, Boy Scouts in the poorer part of the town. They had no utilities and little food. I was a day away from taking a cook stove and setting up a mini food kitchen at a church near where they live. But what could I buy in bulk at Sam’s that they could cook on a fire for them live off of? Rice and beans, beans and rice, as Dave Ramsey says. (But I hate Dave’s arrogance).

An then the stock market crashed 9/29/08. So in three weeks what was a reality only on television had come to my town… to my front door. A probable economic meltdown. A lousy choice of Presidential candidates, one that was very anti gun, and the other that was looking to close the “gun show loophole” as well as not being versed in the world political arena. It felt like end times.

As the man of the house I realized how ill prepared I was to take care of my family. I had been talking about the future of gun control due to our potential next president but I didn’t have food storage or anything resembling survival preparedness on my radar.

In the beginning months I have put several $100 of short term food, can goods, bags of rice, beans, sugar, salt, etc “on the shelf”. I bought two Mosin rifles and then to celebrate the election of our new anti-gun President I went out and bought an AR-15 the day after the election. Then I bought an AK and then I bought another AK, then I bought son .22’s and on and on.

I began adding a few hundred worth of food each month to “the bunker” as we jokingly call the garage. My wife is actually impressed that we will have food on the shelf that she can go get when she doesn’t have something in the house. The goal of course is to pack away a year of food supply and then some.

As far as long term food I did order and receive 2 of the 5 gallon sealed Red Wheat buckets, but at about $150 delivered for both it will be slow for me to stock the long term, air sealed, supplies.

One of the first things I ordered was a dozen 100 hour emergency candles from BePrepared.com. Being a Boy Scout for over 40 years made be appreciate their domain name, but the final price of $3 each got me to order from them. I also got a very nice wheat grinder from them too. I looked at a lot of wheat grinders on the Internet but in the end came back to BePreparred.com and trusted their expertise and recommendation and ordered from them.

Next I just purchased received two of the Vario Katadyn Dual water filtration water filter hand pumps. As we do a little backpacking and camping I felt I could justify them with the wife. By the way the Katadyn’s came from ManventureOutpost.com.

Now a few times over the first 12 months of prepping I’ve ordered Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and diatomaceous earth from SurvivalUnlimited.com. I purchased got a 20” 5mm bag sealer from DougCare.com. I’m now vacuum bagging many food items as well as stocking spices, cereals and other supplies like matches and such.

I’ve also read a lot in many forums about survival guns and have standardized the majority of my firepower on 9mm handguns and rifles, 12 gauge shotguns and a 22 rifle and 22 pistol for small food hunting. For 9mm handguns I already had two Rugers and a Kel-Tec pistols but I did add a nice Springfield XD9 to the collection. I’ve since been blessed to purchase a Springfield XD9 subcompact, which is now my carry gun. On the rifle side I also wanted to stick with 9mm and already had a Highpoint 9mm carbine, so I picked up an Olympic Arms AR-15 in 9mm [Parabellum]. For a shotgun I went with the Mossberg 500 Deer and Field 12 gauge with two barrels which is at Dick’s for $340. My son has a Remington 870. In the 22 family and I chose a Savage 22 LR Bolt action and a Savage semi-auto, each about $160 at Dick’s. For the pistol I got a 22 Ruger Mark III which I believe many forums list as a very reliable 22. My son and I also bought a few Mosin Nagant M44 rifles (WWII Russian surplus we bought at $80 each). We had been buying 300 round tins of 7.62 x54r ammo for $64 a tin every few months which now are selling for about $100 a tin. This are great rifles and a blast to shot. Many armies used a variation of these rifles for over 75 years and they have proven to be very reliable and extremely accurate at 300+ yards. Now that I have met my basic armory equipment list the goal is to sock away about 10,000 rounds of each cartridge or shotshell. After I get this all laid in and my year food supply then I’ll come back and look at different caliber guns, but for now I want to keep the ammo shopping list simple. The other thing I’m looking to do is duplicate all of the guns I purchase so I have parts if I have a breakdown of any kind. On my shopping list is to purchase a 5.56mm AR-15. I did just buy a 30-06 Winchester at a gun show recently. I noticed that with all of the ammo shortages .30-06 ammo never sold out at Wal-Mart. It seems to be good hunting ammo and capable of some good ranges.

Some other items I purchased are two small generators of the same make and model, once again so I have a backup. I also purchased an 1980s step van that has provided me with 6 months of storage and transportation for my Scout Troop. If things ever got bad I could dump the Scout gear and head to land we access to about an hour away.

I’m sure there are several other little things like that I’ve ordered over the year. I know that some of this makes me seem like a nut but I’m not going to be the man God wants me to be if I don’t protect and provide for my family, parents, and in-laws.

If my wife ever did the math on what I’ve purchased, more than $3,000 in guns, $3,000 in food, $1,000 on a generator she would be upset but I also know that she respects my desire to protect my family in the best way I can. She also knows that this has made me confident and secure in my daily life and that will go a long way to help me more successful in my job and life.

The biggest confidence builder for me was to take the two-day Appleseed rifle training program. I never had any experience hitting a target (I just pointed the rifle down range). Appleseed has given me all kinds of confidence and a skill to build on.

Lastly, I read several blogs and visit several forums. SurvivalBlog is certainly where I start most evenings. Then I’ve got a list of about five forums that I try to read daily. I’ve added this forum to my list as it makes sense to support those around me and build friendships.

I’ve broken my Survival preparation list down into the following and listed each topic on a separate Excel Spreadsheet where I can collect information and do calculations on: Quantity, Food Shelf Life, Shelf Space, Cost Per Unit, and Equipment to Buy.

Lastly I signed up for Life memberships with the NRA and GOA, and $3 per month for your Ten Cent Challenge. Periscope up, head down. – Don E.