The Relational Dimension of Survival, by Gene B.

One of the more unsettling observations that I’ve increasingly noticed in the current talking circles of the internet catastrophe/ end-times web-sites is the lack of agreement on whether or not a manmade scenario or an earth caused event hits us first. The preparations for either are complex, the preparations for both at the same time may be so much so, as to leave holes in our efforts. It might be prudent therefore to consider the strength and synergism of developing a team of like minded individuals or families to fill in these holes that may be unseen in our preparations as well as spreading the cost of goods over more people.

Think about it for a moment. What are all the scenarios we have read about concerning man-made disasters; an EMP event, a city destroying nuclear event, an economic collapse requiring martial law, an economic collapse not requiring martial law, severe food shortages causing rioting, et cetera. Then think about potential terra disasters; the New Madrid fault earthquake, further seismic activity in the West, cosmic object collisions, and on and on. The inability to know which one or combination of these events that may take place necessitates a problem solving ability that may be beyond the individual’s skills and resources. We may need help.

The idea of having a team concept of surviving a disaster will cause one to think a lot about who to trust. For example, one day in the office I was relating a story to a fellow worker about a man that I knew was a prudent survivalist, my fellow worker off handedly stated that all of the man’s preparations would be for naught as he would just kill him and take his resources. I had no idea that my co-worker planned to be a thieving anarchist, but now I do and that is good information. This is information we need to have well in advance of hardship. Begin now to find a non-aggressive way to explore people’s way of thinking about such things, and while you’re at it, you may be able to help some to get ready themselves. The more you expand your territory of knowing who you can trust the less likely it is to fall prey to those who do harm. As you perform this exercise of personnel scouting you should also identify those who think that you’re crazy but are themselves harmless and might be a very helpful part of a survival team. Government employees, law enforcement, and people with specialty skills come to mind as well as friends and members of our family. Crazy is sort of a relative term.

There are a myriad of possibilities and types of team building paradigms that might encompass the various circumstances in which we in America may find ourselves. Each unit that is formed will have properties of the individuals and environmental factors that shape it into a logical and workable micro-society. These units could be built around common grounds of faith, community organizations, or simply a group of like-minded friends as well as many others. The small community that my parents live in has two or three meals a week that are sponsored by various groups for fund raising endeavors. These are well attended by young and old alike and become a nesting ground for like minded conversation and expansion of relationships. When you are looking for help, act a little helpless. You’ll get more sincere reactions and hence will discover more good information about people. You may have to spend a lot of time and put a lot of faith in members of your survival group, best to start with honesty and truthfulness.

Along with the planning and detail of getting ready for some future cataclysmic event there should also be some thought on a worst case scenario of living for an extended period without law. If indeed the civil authority is overwhelmed or non-existent because of the severity of the disaster there will be a lawless state of affairs. Preparing yourself and your team for such a time will prove to be as necessary and useful as any other skills for the safety and longevity of the group. I don’t believe it will be as simple as friend or foe, with us or against us, shoot or don’t shoot. The structures of a civil society could be taken back hundreds of years. How we choose to live when there is no law should be the number one factor in our selection of team members or our nurturing of those that end up in our group. Living without the law will be a turning point event in everyone’s life. Deep-seated beliefs and conditioned responses will rule unless an alternative way of thinking is agreed upon. One can imagine the life and death decisions that may have to be made to protect and prolong the group’s survival.

We have heard our Presidents speak of this nation as a country where the rule of law is supreme. This may not be as comforting as you may think. If the law breaks down, then what takes its place as supreme? If I want to kill you but I don’t because of my fear of going to jail, then the threat of jail is the only safety net of society. Many of the disasters that we are hearing about will remove this safety net. We only have to look at ourselves and imagine how our response to a hostile threat might change if we knew there was no threat of jail. Would we become more lethal? These are indeed issues that need to be aired out in our group of survivalist. Will our group trust in violence alone to survive? I would hope not. There is an alternative way of life that does not need the rule of law to operate.
Jesus said that to love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourselves would fulfill (or put an end to) the law. If this statement is true, and I believe it is, then the world that we can build around us would no longer be held up by the rather frail institution of jail. The threat of jail would no longer be a factor in my choice to not kill you; my choice would be based on the relational concept of neighbors. In other words, the change in the temperament of the world around me would have no bearing on my choices as my choices are not based on whether or not I will go to jail for my actions, my choices are based upon what is best for my neighbors. How the members in our group may feel about such things and how far down that road of self-sacrifice that some or none or all are on, is a question that should be well vetted at some point in the building process. Are all the members committed to giving strangers every chance possible to be neighborly, withholding judgment and violence until it is absolutely obvious that the strangers are deadly and only intend harm? Are all members in agreement as to the amount of resources that are available to be shared with others before there is a risk to the survival of the group itself? Thinking outside the box of self-reliance and conditioning oneself to doing whatever would be best for others in my experience actually helps to make questions like these less complex.

So far I have mostly discussed the importance of a common view of beliefs and goals and reactions among the group’s members. In closing I would like to touch upon the actual bonds within the group itself and how the members organize themselves into a workable unit. I have spent thirty-plus years managing small teams of men and women in various work environments. This experience has taught me that without a doubt the military or corporate model is not the correct way to build a team of people. Jesus used the paradigms of family and friends when He trained and managed the team of men and woman that were to end up changing the world. Think about a family for a minute. Brothers and sisters sitting around a supper table, each with their own gifts, strengths, and weakness. In a survival situation, none of the members would be rejected, strengths and gifts would be utilized and weaknesses would be made up by others or simply overlooked. Communication could be open and direct without fear of offenses and personality conflicts. Paul told Timothy;”Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger  men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters with all purity.” Thinking of others in your group as family members may be a stretch for some, but it will deepen bonds and commitments to one another’s safety and well being. Putting others ahead of ourselves should be our method of operation. It is easier to do this with family and friends than with bosses and leaders.

I took the opportunity once to ask a Missouri state legislator what type of emergency plan they had to distribute food and resources in the event of cataclysmic proportions. He said that as far as he knew they had none. I repeated the question because I thought he had misunderstood me. Again he said none. Let us make haste to prepare to protect those things that are counted as unimportant to those we have mistakenly put in charge.

JWR Adds: In the hour-long audio CD that accompanies the Rawles Gets Your Ready Family Preparedness Course I discuss some of the dynamics of survival groups–most notably some strategies for motivating relatives who keep their heads thrust into the sand. Keep in mind that everyone has their own particular interests and “hot buttons”. For many, your emphasis should be on encouraging food storage. Even if they cannot see the necessity to have lots of food on hand for extended emergencies, they will usually recognize the cost saving advantages of buying in bulk quantities. Others can often be attracted to preparedness as an adjunct to an existing hobby like gardening, amateur radio, shooting, caring for pets, or raising livestock. Not everyone will respond, but do your best. Every member of your extended family that you can encourage to get prepared represents one less individual that will come begging on your doorstep on TEOTWAWKI+1. So it is is in your best interest to see them get squared away.