Stuff Hitting the Fan: A Position Paper – Part 1, by R.L.

The United States of America is a very resilient country; that is to say, the people of the United States are a very resilient people.  But, stuff happens and our current crop of politicians seems determined to drive us into the ground with their short-sighted and self-serving policies.  The purpose of this paper is to briefly identify some possible trouble spots, and suggest a few remedial type actions to help prepare for any adverse consequences of catastrophic failures induced by pin head politicians.  Most of the current problems we face have their origin firmly rooted in, and are fertilized by, Congressional manure.  Three possible incrementally severe degrees of problems will be postulated, Level I, II and III.  These are only suppositions, not prophesies.  Nobody knows what the future holds, anybody that says they do know, probably has more confidence than competence. 

My personal philosophy has always been to prepare as much as possible without burning any bridges.  If I’ve got some food put back and the world doesn’t end on schedule, oh well, I still plan on eating.  If there are a couple oil lamps decorating my fireplace mantle, no problem, the next ice storm won’t knock me into the dark ages.  My intention is not to scare anyone; the future, while not certain, is not without hope.  However, a certain amount of preparation might be in order.  Feel free to use any or all of this information for your personal use, but make up your own mind about its validity. 

Introduction to the problem

The myriad of ways that the thin veneer of civilization can peel away are legion.  Our system could just grind to a halt under the crushing debt load we incur, or a foreign entity could disrupt our electronic house of silicon/sand suddenly with an EMP burst.  Our government could (further) trash the Constitution and take control of the populace, precipitating an internal civil war.  The food supply is vulnerable to plant diseases.  Our country is dependent upon foreign oil supplies.  The list goes on: fill in your own disaster here; the point being is that civilization is a fragile thing.  Witness the latest hurricanes: Katrina and Sandy, and the way they brought their local civilizations to a grinding halt.  They had the benefit of being so localized that the rest of the nation was able to extricate them from their difficulties.  What if the destruction were more nationwide?  Who would save us?  It will be up to us to save ourselves, and to help as many people as we can without endangering ourselves.  The family unit, and the extended family, will be the new civilization for a time.

Banking is necessary to facilitate the orderly transaction of business.  If the banks go down, businesses cannot purchase goods and services they need to operate, people can’t get paid for services rendered, deliveries grind to a halt, people won’t be able to deposit or cash checks, make withdrawals or get loans and mortgages.  89% of the money in existence is just digital zeroes and ones being transmitted hither and yon; if the electricity goes away the money goes away. 

Transportation, (planes, trains and trucking) is needed to move food out of production areas, deliver coal to fossil fuel fired electric plants, deliver petroleum products from the oil refineries, deliver raw materials to manufacturers, transport finished goods to the consumer, move people to business meetings, and provide mobility for national defense. 

Telecommunications ties everything together; factories depend on phone lines to transmit data between different aspects of the manufacturing process, banks transmit money transfers over phone lines and troubleshoot remote locations, phones are used to coordinate business operations, place and receive orders, control remote switches used in routing train traffic, transmit data over the internet, and a host over other uses, you get the picture. 

Utilities are completely dependent on electrical power; electricity is critical to doing just about everything in normal life.  Electrical system are tied together in massive regional grids that move power back and forth as needs vary in different parts of the network; while this grid system is cost effective and powerful, it exposes one part of the grid to other parts so that even if one section is functional it may be impacted by failure in another section.  Sewage control is heavily automated and at risk.  Water systems are the same.

International compliance also puts the USA at risk.  Banks routinely transfer money back and forth, the world economy is very much tied together and interdependent, border security will probably be degraded in a crisis of any magnitude.  Also, a USA focused on internal problems might encourage other nations that don’t like us to become adventurous.

Potential Scenarios

For the purpose of this paper, let’s discuss three potential magnitudes of scenarios that could occur.  Call them level I, level II and level III.  Again, I do not have a mandate from God to disseminate this information, I don’t have any idea what the future will hold, so it’s just me thinking out loud and you can make up your own mind about what to believe or disbelieve.  Pick your own scenario and plan, accordingly.

Scenario I

The XYZ problem is mostly minor and the whole country muddles along.  The country has a long, slow slide into an economic morass.  There are electrical brown outs in some areas lasting a day or two.  Some rioting in the usual urban areas is quickly quelled by police and National Guard troops.  There are some partial food shortages for a few days.  The stock market takes a dive and the banks have to stock some extra cash to accommodate nervous investors.  All in all, the situation is deadlocked at times, but mostly the economy has a sort of friction or resistance that slows everything down and adds greatly to the inefficiency of the typical bureaucracy.  The government attempts to manhandle the situation, but as usual, they only make the situation worse.  The usual Sheeple bleat on about allowing the government more powers to deal with the ‘emergency’.  Overall, the impact on the general population is pretty minimal, but has the potential to get worse.

Scenario II

The XYZ problem hits hard.  Electricity is out sporadically for weeks at a time.  Water isn’t flowing out of the faucets because the pumps are down.  Many people get sick from drinking water that isn’t properly disinfected.  The sewage treatment plants shut down and the toilets don’t flush.  The cities freak out and it isn’t safe to travel through them without a strong police or military presence.   Rioting breaks out over food and many stores are looted and burned until the National Guard is mobilized to restore order and secure safety for crews working round the clock to bring the electric plants back on line.  Curfews are declared in all major cities and suburbs.   Martial law is considered by the government.  The stock market drops to 5000 shares traded before it is closed for an indefinite holiday; banks are limiting transactions to 100 dollars per day; the country is in a major recession.  Trains carrying coal to the electrical plants have to be manually switched and given priority as are trains carrying grain out of the Midwest to distribution centers in the cities.  The outermost suburbs and rural areas are mostly safe except for break-ins and pilfering woodpiles and such crimes.  Food supplies are in somewhat short supply and getting gas, when it is available, meant waiting in long, tense lines.  Telephone service is sporadic.  Agricultural production is severely hampered as farmers struggled with fuel, seed and fertilizer shortages.  Barter is the preferred method of doing business and many companies go under.  The situation gradually gets better over a period of a year or two and, things return to some sense of normalcy.  There are residual losses of freedoms that are difficult to recover.

Scenario III

Picture yourself in the wild, wild west for a long, long time.

Areas to Consider

Some things are critical to have, some things are very important and some things are nice to have.  Of primary importance are water, food, shelter, physical protection and a relationship with God based on the sacrifice of Jesus.  Secondary needs are medical/dental care, financial/legal security, utilities (power, lighting and sanitation), communications, and transportation.  Of tertiary importance are education, recreation, government relations, local area relations, and job security.  Of course if you are sick, medical care can assume a more primary role or if you need to get out of Dodge in a hurry, the need for transportation can be elevated, but these three groupings of five items each will suffice for our discussion. 

Water is vulnerable to infrastructure debilitating problems.  We need water to live; a person can go for only three days without water.  Fortunately, water is fairly easy to procure and sterilize enough to be fit for human consumption.

Food is necessary for long term survival, but a person can live for up to 40 days without it, but not without discomfort.  Food is somewhat harder to find than water and requires usually more extensive preparation to make fit for consumption.  Food is fairly cheap, now, and stores well if certain types are chosen.

Shelter can be paramount, especially in cold or wet environments; hypothermia can kill a person in a matter of hours.  Shelter is easily constructed given a little time and knowledge.  A habitat needs to be dry, warm, and safe.

Physical protection, from animals and human predators, must be considered.  Problems might propitiate societal breakdowns involving the need to act in your own self-defense or in the defense of others.  These issues are somewhat troubling to consider.  Where do you draw the line between acting in defense of your family and in following the Word of God?  Some situations are quite clear cut, some are not.  Pray for guidance.

Spiritual fulfillment is really the most important item of all.  Not fulfillment in the sense of getting something from God, but in the absolute importance of you having a real relationship with the Almighty God through His son, Jesus Christ.  You can store beans, bullets and Band-Aids from now till the cows come home, but if your name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, so what?  The Bible says in Mark 8:36:
            “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

A real concern for me regarding societal collapse is that it will focus my mind and energy towards dealing with physical preparations, and away from thinking about God and what He would have me do; I am no longer “praying without ceasing” if I am overly concerned with worldly survival.  God is the focus of our lives; He will protect us and guide us if we ask Him to.

In areas slightly less critical, medical and dental care is also important.  In some cases professional medical care is the only thing that will suffice, in others the body will heal itself, that’s the way God designed us.  Rudimentary medical care is easily learned, first aid and such.  Preventative medicine is important, some herbal remedies are historically tried and true; medicines can be stockpiled as well as medical instruments and supplies.

Financial and legal protection should be considered.  Possibly tears in the veneer of society will cause a major recession and cause the stock market to tumble.  Are all your eggs in one basket?  Is your business vulnerable?  Will there be banks runs for cash?  Will cash even suffice, not to mention electronic mediums of “money”?

Utilities are pretty important.  Picture an ice storm that stretches on for months.  You need the ability to light your home, generate heat, and dispose of waste and trash.  Electricity would be nice, even battery powered.

Communications can be important.  It might be helpful to listen to AM/FM broadcasts, short-wave, hams, police and fire scanners, and TV.  All these are readily available, able to be powered by batteries.

Transportation, in the personal sense, just getting around town, can be a good thing.  Cars,
Pick-up trucks, bicycles can be utilized to get mobile. 

On a third order of need might be things such as education.  How can you educate your children in a long drawn out scenario III situation?  Also, if you know how to purify water and your neighbor doesn’t, how can you teach him or her?  Education is critical; the more you know how to do; the better off you will be if the system crashes.  Gather reference books on all manners of self-sufficiency subjects; study them and learn from others who already know how to do it.  Cross train yourself in several areas. 
Recreation can be a good thing; if you’re driving cross country with 7 kids in a station wagon, a box of crayons and some coloring books might be a lifesaver.  How could we possibly survive without television, I mean, what’s the point?   :o)

Government relations could also get important.  Those power grubbing rascals in Washington might use a societal crisis to declare martial law, they have the Executive Orders in place to do it and I certainly wouldn’t put it past them to try (all for the good of the people, of course).  On the other hand the government might work to help people in dire straits without exacting their pound of flesh.  We’ll see.  I don’t trust them.

Local relations might be the way you relate to your neighbors and community.  Help your neighbors out as much as possible but don’t hang a free food sign out on your door unless you can feed a lot of people.  There will be ample opportunities to help, volunteer extra supplies, time and knowledge.  WWJD?

Job security may be an issue.  Consider how dependant is your job on things that might be adversely affected by societal troubles.  It might not be a bad idea to have an alternate method to make money, along with the necessary tools and supplies to work at it, just in case.

Preparations to think about and implement

Some rudimentary level of preparations would be in order even if there were no global collapse looming on the near horizon.  There are any number of events that can interrupt basic services: ice storms, nuclear accidents, tornadoes, hurricanes, chemical spills, terrorist attacks using biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, loss of income, the list goes on and on.  These are good valid reasons to be prepared for a short term emergency; most events like these have a duration of about 72 hours at most of being without relief services from the government, Red Cross or church groups. 

Again the most important thing you can do is to get right with God, trust Him and He will be your rock and your refuge in times of trouble.  Follow the Roman road to salvation:

Romans 3:23-24    “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified fully by His grace through the redemption that comes by Jesus Christ.”

Romans 6:23    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:8    “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9-10,13    “…if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with  your mouth that you are saved, for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved.”

God is in charge; the whole disaster thing might just be His way of getting our attention.  Only He knows what the plan is.  Trust in God; He loves you.

Be aware of your location.  What are the primary and secondary routes in and out of your town?   Would your house be astride a major exodus from the nearest city?  What kind of locks are on your doors?  Security system? Dog? etc etc etc.

Put together a 72 hour kit for each member of your family.  A 72 Hr kit has enough food, water and other essentials to keep a person solvent for about 3 days on the road or sitting in a shelter waiting out a disaster.

Have a fallback plan always, relatives in the country, a vacation home in the mountains, something like that.  Be aware that in times of National crisis, the government will probably move to limit travel and possibly even implement martial law.  If you are going to bug out to somewhere, do it earlier, rather than later.

To be Continued…