Beyond The Four Pillars, by Adam H.

Obviously it’s fun talking about boom sticks and charging in to save the day. But here are some other items for your consideration for the other 23 hours in the day when the castle is not under siege:

FOOD & WATER – Your body can last 30 days without food, and only 3 days without water. What are you doing to secure a minimum of a gallon/day for each member of your family. Remember, in a grid down scenario, it will NOT take long for industrious groups to recognize that water will be more valuable than gold. Plan on making a hike to a nearby stream each day with your bucket? How long do you think it would take a gang to recognize the power of strategically placing sniper or blockades to/from accessible watering holes? You’re going to need a Plan B – plastic water cans (5 gal) that can be carried, 55 gallon drums, 250 gallon rain capture systems. These will be life savers. One final word on water – consider a well hand pump like this one from Flojak. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A WELL DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE WATER! Without electricity, how do you plan to get that water up to you?

Figuring out food is easy. What did you eat today? Now buy 30 of that, with your goal to build up to 6-12 months of food for your family. Eggs/milk? Yeah, they have the powdered stuff. Remember that you will want to maintain as much of a normalized, familiar diet as possible so you don’t shock your body.  Don’t forget to throw in some sweets (Hershey Kisses, candy bars, etc.)  When everything seems like it’s off its hinge, you’ll appreciate having something sweet.

CLOTHING – What are you lacking right now that is either missing or in need of repair/stitching? Comfortable, water proof hiking boots should be priority. Poncho. Waterproof cold weather gear. Hats, gloves, sunglasses. Do you have extra batteries for your watch?  Also – 2 categories to prep: Everyday “civvies” /work uniform (khakis and polos, etc), and then your “playtime/hunting” gear. there is a time and place for both. Simple is best. And remember that “two is one, and one is none”.

SHELTER – This is more than do you have a roof. Consider what happens when the power goes down. Do you have light/candles/flashlights/phone service? What about backup heat? Here’s food for thought: In a grid down scenario, how long do you think you can “hold up” without operational sewage? Do you have an emergency 5 gallon bucket with lid and extra baggies? Hint: some extra kitty litter? Not a bad idea. Also – inventory any possible weak spots: Ground floor doors and windows. You may also consider pre-cutting plywood to act as reinforcement in the case of a hurricane (or other man-made threats).  Now is also a good time to begin contingency plans.  Where will you go in the event of some emergency and your house is no longer safe, or has been destroyed or damaged?  Have you considered forming alliances with people in your neighborhood or church where if you are homeless you can stay with them (for a pre-determined period of time), and vice versa.

TRANSPORTATION – Lets step back for a second. Before you go shopping for a diesel Bug-out vehicle, do you have the basics? Jumper cables? Gas can? Spare tire? Reliable jack? Extra quarts of oil and coolant? These cost $50 and can be the difference between a 10 minute ride home, or being stuck in the woods overnight. Also – were you aware that you can purchase a 14 gallon gas tank with wheels to store at the house? Think about it…if the pumps go dry, you have an extra 300-400 miles of mobility that can be bartered or utilized to get to your safe house.

Going Beyond The Four Pillars

Beyond the “4-Pillars” of Food, Clothing, Shelter, and Transportation, there are other vital tactics that you will need to sustain you and your family over the next 6-12+ months: They are Communications, Defense, Medical, and Community.

COMMUNICATIONS: – As the Ghostbusters would ask, “Who ya gonna call?” Do you have a local list of 5 to 10 reliable people that you would trust if you come home to a burning house, or you find yourself surrounded by a roving band of ne’er-do-wells trying to beat down your front door and windows? After the phone tree, given the phone dead zone in New York City on 9/11, you should probably consider getting your ham radio license. When disaster hits, this is the Internet, phone system, and postal service all wrapped up in one little box. In the field of battle, when you control communication, you also control movement of the enemy, and can cut off any vital supplies and shipments.

DEFENSE: This seems to be where us guys like to go first. There’s a reason this is further down the list. If you don’t have these other items squared away first, then what are you going to do? Well, you become one of “them”, the looter crowd that just thinks they are going to take whatever they need by force. The habit of planning the use of non-lethal force will avoid major unnecessary engagements that cost valuable resources, and cost lives. Still, you need to be able to defend yourself, your family, your home, and be prepared to come to the aid of your friends and community. It’s your duty as a man, in my humble opinion.

You don’t need to spend $1,500 on the fanciest AR and a drawer full of Glocks in every caliber. It means you need the basics – 1) Knowledge/Awareness, 2) Hand to Hand/Self Defense training, 3) Concealed carry, 4) Something to defend your home against multiple aggressors for 20 to 30 minutes until help can arrive (see Communications, above). At its core you can equip yourself with a highly-concealable Taurus TCP .380 for only $200, and reliable 12 ga Shotgun for $209.

Guess what? That leaves enough funds to pick up a Mosin Nagant rifle for less than $120 that will take down any large game you may need to put on the table for your family (or even two-legged predators). Now I’m no math major, but for $529 (+FFL fees), you can purchase all the home defense that you really need. But here’s the rub: These will do you no good unless you practice, practice, practice. Get involved with USPSA. Find other like-minded folks in your area who are interested in running various drills, shooting matches, and get the practice and experience you need. Losers practice so they don’t miss. Winners practice until they can’t miss. Chew on that for a minute.

MEDICAL – Preventive maintenance is most critical. Get off your duff and move for 20-30 minutes day. Walk, hike, hit up p90x or Insanity. Heck, go online and find some sort of fitness that you find fun. I have a 20 minute circuit of sit-ups, pushups, pull-ups, handstands, rev pull-ups, dips, burpees, curl/shrugs, weighted jump rope and deep squats/sprints that I knock out in the time it takes most people to watch television commercials. Beyond preventative, you will obviously need some basics: Supplements, pain meds, insulin, Neosporin, Band-aids, rubbing alcohol, etc. Don’t over think it. Just put together what you need as you need it in a water-tight tool box, or Rubbermaid tote container. Then find some place to get CPR certified.

COMMUNITY – No man is an island, and you aren’t going to be able to do this alone. We’re not wire up that way. Got a bug out retreat in the boonies that’s 50 miles from the nearest town? Awesome. Then what. Why not organize with people in your community. Find a common thread, and decide that if TSHTF that you, your family, your neighbors, and people within your community are going to be proactive in setting up all the items listed above.  Since before the formation of our nation, churches have played a vital role in our communities, both for spiritual guidance, as well as for community. We need each other.  As a former athlete I cannot tell you how many times I was reminded of the acronym “TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More!”.  It became a running joke, but today those words ring truer than ever.  There are people you know who can build shelter, run plumbing, electricity, fix cars and engines, set up and orchestrate civil communications and defense, bake, can, and coordinate anything you can imagine. But apart from community, those talents and strengths all go to waste.  But when combined, we all become a part of something much greater than the sum of our individual parts.

The media seems to enjoy casting “preppers” as outer fringe nut jobs, yet the federal government has underground bunkers and contingency plans for every conceivable disaster known to man. Did you know they even have contingency plans in the event an asteroid slams into the planet and wipes 90% of the population off the face of the earth? Yet you’re told that you’re nuts to set aside 30 days of food and water… well, to me that is nuts not to think about these things and set plans in motion. And above all else, find things that you enjoy doing and share them! Movies, plays, art, music, backpacking, dancing…and my favorite, eating! There is so much worth living and fighting for.

So why not start today with an open discussion with the people in your life? The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Start by picking up that extra 25lb block of rice at Sam’s Club. Then look to add 1 new thing each day or week. Remember, the days are evil, and each passing day is a lost opportunity to do good, not only for yourself, but for the lives of those around you who are beginning to wake up.  And see this time as a tremendous opportunity to become more as a person, and to minister to the needs of others.  Imagine the impact and good you can do when a family member or friend comes to you panicked by the reality that the world that they’ve always know is about to change.  Nature abhors a vacuum, and when a void is created, Edmund Burke once said that “All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing”.  Well, now is your chance to do something good.