Based on some of the latest articles I have read, I wonder if there is a misunderstanding of prepping or the Preppers themselves. Everyone has their own reasons for prepping, what they consider prepping, prepping for or at what level they can prepare. Not everyone can afford prepping to the levels of others, not everyone has the skill sets as others or can go out and find that perfect piece of property to call their retreat or bug out location (BOL.)
For the grannies who buy a few supplies or have found a like-minded social group of preppers where they meet once a month or so and talk about things they have read or heard about, good for them. For all we know, for that granny, this may be her (or his if a grampy) only form of social networking and for them survival is getting out and meeting these people and enjoying the time spent. If after that meeting on the way home granny stops in Wal-Mart and picks up a few supplies and she is happy, more power to her and God bless her.
For me, I would have to say I’m a closet prepper. I prep for the needs of myself and my family. I do not hang out in prepper forums or blog sites, I do not attend preparedness expos to meet others or go online to find like-minded folks in the local area for coffee. My neighbors do not even know that I’m a prepper. In a way I live in fear, if something was to happen I really do not want anyone to come knocking on my door for supplies. As for the people you may meet at these places I think you’re going to find some who are “way out there” to some who really do not have a clue. You have to size up each person individually and decide for yourself as to whether or not these are people you want to get to know.
I, like many, have not actually killed anyone. Could I? I hope the time never comes when I have to find out. I spent 26 years in the Coast Guard and have gone through all the drills and training I could get my hands on. I have dressed out and practiced for Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) warfare without actually being in any of those scenarios. Could I still do it, if I had the gear? Yes, but not everyone has the budget of the military to buy the correct gear. In the military we had to train and know how to do these things because we had to get our ship back up and into the action. As a civilian the best thing to do is get as much distance between you and the situation. Does this mean because I have not actually been in a survival situation that I cannot perform and do things from what I have read and studied? I don’t think so. Some say a little knowledge is dangerous but having the basics is a good start. One of the things we use to believe in the military is, no one person can know how to do everything but the important thing is to be able to know where to go to find the information on how to do it. If you have a member of the family who read an article and says they know about how to eat the inner bark of a pine tree for example, instead of telling them they do not know anything, take them outside and try it out. Encourage don’t discourage, and learn together.
Does anyone know what will happen or when? No, but I used to teach a course in terrorism, and as ugly as it sounds to us because of the way we have been brought up in this country, terrorism is actually a beautiful way of warfare. You have all the elements of surprise, when, where, how, what and who. One of the things about terrorism is that it does not have to kill many people. All it has to do is change our way of doing things after. How many people actually remember not so far in the distant past when you could go to an airport and actually meet your party at the gate. Those days are long gone. Now you cannot get near the gate unless you’re a passenger, show your tickets, ID and go through a strip search. Now the drinks you buy inside the terminal are subject to testing for explosives. I personally will miss going up to the Burger King or McD’s in the terminal ordering a burger, fries and a volatile Sprite. Just one act of terrorism can change our freedoms and our way of living for decades. So the terrorists win.
One of the things people prep for is the coming economic collapse. What is the coming economic collapse? We are living in a depression. Many people have lost their jobs, homes and benefits, we have a government that cannot even come together to pass a spending budget and the only thing that is a priority for them is getting re-elected. How much more needs to happen before its decided that we are in an economic collapse? Are we talking the Government shuts down, all the banks close up, the stock market zeros out, money is worthless and no one in the country has a job? Another item is civil unrest. If what is happening with all the riots in the Middle East were to happen in a city here in the States would it be enough to send you to your BOL or are we talking civil unrest on a national scale? What kind of event would it take to cause it on such a scale where every city is in riot?
Everyone has to determine their comfort zone. I live in a hurricane prone area. Some people pack up and get out of Dodge while others stay. One day I hope to be able to buy a safer piece of land further from the coast in the mountains. But for now, like many, I have to deal and adjust for where I am. Many people who live in this region live with the dangers and beliefs that nothing is going to happen to them or the situation is not going to be as bad as predicted. What does truly bother me about that is that they are told to leave, they don’t. Then shortly after things get truly bad, they are shouting “Help, come rescue me” and put someone else’s life on the line.
For me, prepping is a hobby. I truly enjoy reading the information I find here on the Internet and in books. I like reading survivalist fiction because the books get me thinking of things that could happen and what I will need to do to prepare even further. To be honest I never thought of stocking up on a year’s worth of dog food until I read the novel One Second After by William R. Forstchen. I enjoy reading of what others have done and how they went about doing it. One idea I picked up on SurvivalBlog here was in an article back in August, 2012: “Technology Today, by KCL04” he suggested getting an Android phone that you can store apps and down load all your survival books on. Well, I’m not into the phone thing, but I took that information, did some research and bought a Nook reader from Barnes & Noble. Slowly but surely as I can afford it, I’m building my library. All my books in one of my kits must weigh about 100 pounds but I can store all of that on the little Nook and whole lot more.
I enjoy organizing and making lists. I enjoy going to the store, picking up the type of storage containers that work for me and filling them full of supplies. As one container gets full, I may take out the toilet paper and start it in its own container. It’s not long before that one jar of Vaseline becomes a stackable container full of 12 tubs, the bottle of Listerine becomes a stackable container of 16 bottles and on and on it goes. I keep track of everything I have in inventory and as the kits and containers change. I get into the computer and adjust my inventory. I have made check-off sheets of items I use around the house every day and I keep a log of when I opened up the product and when it became empty. This way I have a working knowledge of how long an item will last and how much I need to buy to last me a year.
The other day my wife had some insect bites so I went to the medicine cabinet to get the calamine lotion then ended up searching all over the house to find some cotton balls. Guess who now has a container full of cotton balls? Every time a disaster happens I find little chinks in my armor of what needs to be purchased and done so that next time I’m more prepared. I have my lists of things I need to save up for and buy and also list of projects I need to do. This past spring I finally built some raised garden beds and tried my hand at gardening. Cucumbers went totally crazy so I teamed up with a neighbor and we spent a day canning. With that experience, a couple of things got checked off my project list.
People who believe in God do so because we need to have faith and believe in something that will continue our survival once we leave this earth. We believe he has given us a set of rules and a guide we should live by, the Bible. So we spend our lives trying to do what is right and which serves our God and our belief. Well, prepping is not much different, we do not know of what kind of disaster will happen or even if one ever will. Some people prep more than others, just as some people serve God more than others. The important thing is that they are doing something. If prepping gives someone hope that in a time of a disaster what he or she has done will make them a little better off or more comfortable in a time of despair, well, more power to them. People sit around and love to hear stories about God and things that happened back when Jesus walked the earth. Well people also enjoy sitting around and talking up the prepping, learning new things and telling what they have experienced. The beauty of this country is we all have the right to do these things–buy, sell, prepare as we wish and love the God of our choosing and conducting our faith as we wish. If you are frustrated as to what you see other preppers doing or how they go about it, stop for a moment and be thankful. For now, we live in one of the few nations that allows this. God Bless America and each and every one living here.