Community Building is Critical, by W.H.

A couple friends and I recently talked about the state of ‘things’, and how ‘things’ seem to be getting worse, and how ‘things’ are so bad that ‘things’ simply cannot get better. You’ve had those conversations, right? My friend David is well aware of the sorry state of our political system, and we’ve discussed those ‘things’ several times in the past. However, he was not thinking in terms of societal collapse. David started thinking along those lines pretty quickly, once I pointed out some weaknesses of our system, like the fact that our power utilities are not adding capacity, but reducing capacity, all at the behest of our environmental protectors at the EPA. We’ve had some bad weather in this area over the last year, and the power outages heightened his concern.
My other friend, Steve, was already thinking preparedness, and related some stories about how he buys his grown kids long term storage food for Christmas! (“What? No socks this year?”) Steve has his ear to the financial side of the equation and is quite concerned about the deficit spending and national debt.
Both my friends are also seeing clearly the moral decay of our country, and realize that the fruit of that decay will only be destruction. Needless to say, like you and me, they are looking to prepare and protect their families in whatever eventualities arise.
Then I mentioned my notion of starting a prepper store, a retail outlet that would serve our region by selling preparedness supplies and offering classes. So we started talking that over, having several meetings over the next months. We identified a location for the store, our target market, how we wanted to help our customers, and how we would compete in an marketplace flooded with cheap Chinese goods. We are now open for business!
We’ve come up with some good ideas, one of them being offering classes on preparedness elements. Our initial class drew dozens of people and gave us some initial encouragement that there is a potential place for local preparedness supply outlets. We notice that the attendees at our classes are fully engaged, whether beginning or advanced preppers. After the formal part of each class ends, the folks hang out for sometimes an hour, chatting, networking, and sharing ideas. This was a bit of a surprise to me because I thought that all preppers were very private, OPSEC obsessed individuals who would only reveal their first names.
In our classes, we find a discussion format works well because everyone attending is working on some piece of the preparedness puzzle. Even between two experts in one area, each learns from the other. It’s pretty cool to see two ‘experts’ taking notes during a class he or she is teaching!
In the process of opening this prepper store, David, Steve and I have been so encouraged. Before, we were thinking that there were only a few other people thinking preparedness. But now we realize that there are many, many people thinking and starting to live this way, just in our area. Our ‘destination’ for preparedness is helping folks to focus and get more serious about prepping for the gigantic disaster that our government is bringing down on our heads.
Something else is interesting… In our meetings, we have little or no discussion of politics, religion, morality, or the decline of society and impending doom. Very little. It’s as if ordinary people are getting beyond that and concentrating on the important matters of surviving and thriving. We all know that the sun came up today, the grass is growing, and the government is wasting 8 billion dollars a day, 46% of which is borrowed! That’s just a matter of course in our discussions, and we don’t waste time on it.
We are instead focusing on community building. David, Steve and I came to the conclusion early on that if only 10% of us are prepared in our rural county that we all will still suffer greatly. Now it’s difficult to convince a liberal that his thinking is destroying America, but there are many conservative people in my area who already have awakened. It’s not hard to get them thinking about prepping. If we can raise that 10% to 20% or 30%, then we are making progress. Not all of us can move to the Redoubt, and if we all did JWR would likely move back east!
Community building is the process of restoring the community atmosphere and benefits that we had in America 100 years ago. In every community there was a storekeeper, cobbler, carpenter, brick mason, etc., and these people were interdependent. They were not co-dependent, with all the negative connotations that brings today, but they were more inter-independent. Our communities today consist of individuals or families who shop at the same supermarket, but never speak. A neighbor of mine was out of work for a year, and I did not know it! We shop at the same supermarket, but never talk, and that’s not enough to support a community.
When I watch people chatting at the end of our classes, I see community building in action. “Oh! You know about solar power? I was thinking about putting in a small system. Can you tell me about what you’ve done?” That’s what we need in our community — people sharing their expertise and friendship toward a common, meaningful goal, something more than watching the Super Bowl or American Idol.
The classes we teach are sometimes involved, and comprise topics such as radio communication, canning, food packing, medical, etc. The people who attend generally have a career and are experts at what they do, though not at what we are teaching. It is heartening to see a 60 year old grandmother hitting the books to learn about radio antennas, or a 20 year old learning about safe and proper canning. I’m getting a boost just from being around these people, and I’m finding others who have skills I lack, so I’m building my community network at the same time.
How do you build community to ensure you not only survive, but thrive? You have to take a bit of an OPSEC risk and talk to people about preparedness. In our area, we’ve had some bad weather, as I mentioned. That’s a good place to start. As I was putting up flyers at a convenience store for one of our classes, some guy standing there told me that a week long power outage was not the worst of it, but that they had a two week "boil water" requirement from the local utility after the power came back on. That was the perfect entrée for me to note the wisdom of having water and food stored for emergency use. Get them thinking with comments like, “Makes me wonder what we would have done if the power had been off for a month!”
Without taking politics or the accursed Federal Reserve, you can start a conversation with a fellow prepper. Recommend a product to them like freeze dried food that was ‘unexpectedly tasty,’ or a water filter, or how you and your spouse met a friend at the shooting range the other day. I was chatting with a buddy I had known for years and the topic of guns came up. I found out that he is an expert marksman and had taken several advanced handgun classes, with his wife, too. Both are office workers and I would have never guessed that about them.
A neighbor just changed the license plate on his car to one of the Gadsden flag designs. That opens up an easy avenue of discussion that may just well lead to a prepping dialog.
Another idea is to just call a meeting at a local library about basic emergency preparedness. Invite someone from your local Red Cross chapter to speak for a few minutes. FEMA gives out free literature (well, we are over-paying for it), shipped to you for free (we are over-paying for that, too), and the pamphlets have some great advice for short term preparedness. That will give your meeting credibility, in case the local constabulary show up to take names. That’s the first batch of your community building effort, because most people there will be interested in long term preparedness, not just how to apply a band-aid or open a bottle of water. Branch out from there.
As we have been building community, I’ve been feeling better about my family’s decision to bug-in and stay put. We are in an east of the Mississippi state which is within a several hour drive of a couple heavily populated areas. Though our county is rural, it could suffer an influx of refugees, if they survive the ride up the interstate. I’m not about to move to Idaho due to family, climate, and age.
While the greater population density is a downside, it’s not if a bunch of those people are part of my community. Every person I can get on the preparedness track is a person I will not have to feed, but one who can help me in time of need, most likely with skills and expertise, and by sharing a community workload. Who cares if there are 1,000 people per square mile, as long as most are prepared?
Another advantage to community building is it becomes the basis for the next American government. It is the survivors who write the history books, and it is the survivors who will form the next government. America 1.0 is done, we know. But freedom is not done, nor is morality, or honor, or virtue, or courage. The survivors, over time will be people with those traits, and they will force their will on the government, hopefully adjusting the framework to prevent the next politician-greed driven crash. I’m participating in training the survivors today, my community.
These people are awesome. One fellow is building an alternative fuels business. Another is taking his home off grid. Several are learning about communications techniques. Many are learning safe and effective firearms practices. A single mother is raising livestock on her own small farm. People are finding ways of getting water out of their deep wells and thinking micro-hydro installations using scrap materials.
These are the people I want to share a country with. A John Galt in every community. It’s happening!
I encourage you to build your community, wherever you are. Only about half of Americans are wed to the government check. Many of the rest have the backbone to ride out the end to the new beginning and be the men and women of strength and courage we need to build a brighter future. Yes, store beans, band-aids and bullets, but don’t neglect your community, for by working together we can determine our own tomorrow for many years after the dependents have burned Washington, DC.