To Prepare or Not to Prepare, by M.S.

As a father and a husband of four children, I ask any one of you out there, man or woman, how we can flip back and forth between the local news channels or news apps and not consider the need to prepare?

Whether you’re reading about the “Radical Islamists” that so many of our politicians refuse to label as such or the tornadoes touching down in the Midwest in November, or perhaps you remember Hurricane Katrina and all the helpless people that quite honestly would probably have done almost anything for a few gallons of water or food. How can we see all this and not prepare?

I talk to people– family, friends, and neighbors– and I constantly get that look of “Is this guy for real? Is he crazy?”Well I will tell you as nicely as I can, it’s the ones whon don’t prepare that are crazy! I believe they do so not understanding what prepping is about. It does not have to be a zombie apocalypse, nuclear war, EMP strike, pandemic, or any other “crazy” scenario. Although, I personally believe these are becoming more and more plausible. What about Katrina? What about the chemical spill in West Virginia a few years back? I was recently there, and I remember it all on the news. Do you know that people were waiting in line for six hours at a time just for three gallons of water? Or that the National guard was trucking water in for quite some time? A local told me the National Guard hauled water in for over three months while they were cleaning the system! I don’t remember seeing all those “hairy” details on the news either! Why did they not prepare?

What if the guard was not available? What if there were multiple attacks at one time on this great nation (just like Paris this past weekend) and the guard simply could not be in every place at once? I remember six or maybe seven years ago now, when we had an ice storm that shut power down for a majority of the state of Kansas. I personally went nine days without power. Nine days! Besides a few canned goods and a gallon of water in our fridge, we had nothing. My wife, our four children, and myself were totally reliant on others throughout this “natural” disaster. Do you know what it’s like to rely on others, or for your family to look at you and to have that feeling deep down in your gut that you’re helpless, that you can’t take care of the ones you swore to protect ’til your last breath? Why did I not prepare?

I would also like to point out during this power outage, which lasted nine days, that the power restored to the town nearby within 24 hours was intermittent. I remember having to go to the local gas station only when the lights were on, because the pumps run on electricity. Water was being pumped in from another source beside our local water treatment center, and guess what? Talk was going around of it being shut down if power did not come on permanently and remain that way because of the heavy demand we were putting on the rural water district. What would I have done then? The shelves at the store were well below normal stock levels. What trucks could make it in to deliver food and water were not enough, and it took them weeks to catch back up. After nine days and thousands of lineman from other states, all was eventually restored, but what if the other workers couldn’t come. How long would we have gone without the essentials then? What if all trucks were grounded? What would we do to protect the ones we love and care for? Why, as people, do we not prepare?

I cannot tell you how to prepare or why to prepare. This is something you must come to realize for yourself and most importantly those you love. I don’t mean to sound cruel or selfish, but let’s be honest; we as human beings will do anything to protect the ones we love. From the very first time I saw my first child born, I knew I would do anything to protect them from experiencing a single ounce of pain or hurt. A picture of a momma bear protecting her cubs comes to mind! I guarantee you “momma bear” is prepared!

I can also guarantee you that now I am prepared. While I may not be prepared for more than a few months, I am way better off then I was years ago. I now have enough food for at least three months. Some I’ve stored, and some I’ve bought ready-to-store. I have water for at least a few weeks. The rain barrels for my garden also double as water storage for my family. I have a bug out bag. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically an emergency pack that you have ready to grab in case of an emergency evacuation.) I keep way more than water and food in mine, but each person must decide what’s needed for theirs. “Crazy”, you say? What about the recent train derailment and the evacuation of a whole town that was in the news? I can be out of my house in under three minutes with my whole family if/when an emergency evacuation order is given. Can you? You really should prepare!

I also have weapons and ammunition stored. My wife and my children are all familiar with them and know they are to be handled with care and how to properly care for them. I have several different calibers and enough ammunition to last for several months as well. It’s not because I’m scared or worried about some government takeover but because I know that the masses who are not prepared will do what they need to in order to survive, because they did not prepare!

I know how to grow and store food as well. I’ve always been a gardener and always will be, if not to prepare at least to offset those high grocery prices that for some reason have not gone down even though gas is now $1.95 a gallon. I’ve read articles on food storage, off grid living, plant identification, wilderness survival, and so much more. You name it, and I can probably tell you something about it. All this prepping took time. I collected it one can of food at a time, one item a week, until I had enough to fill up my bug out bag. I also got one rain barrel at a time. The point I’m trying to get across is that you can do this for pennies on the dollar every week, if you just dedicate yourself. To prepare you must start somewhere.

Even if you don’t physically prepare with food, water, or weapons, the very least you can do is prepare yourself with knowledge. Just reading one or two articles and learning basics can surely save your life. For instance, what if your power is out and you live nowhere close to a supply of water and you have nothing stored? Do you know where you would go to get water? Do you know that you can tap your water heater tank for at least 50 gallons? What about the tanks on your toilets? Do you know that you need at the very minimum a gallon per person per day? You do the math and see how long that would last your family. Keep in mind that amount is for drinking and cooking only; a gallon is nowhere near enough for your hygiene and cleaning purposes. Did you know that you can use Crisco for a homemade candle, or that turpentine will waterproof matches? Have you talked to your family about whether you should stay put or bug out in an emergency? Trust me, there are all kinds of different situations that will make me decide one way versus the other. Fight or flight, this is very important. Do your kids know what to do if they get stuck at school while you are at work? Do you have a designated place to meet if you’re separated or disaster strikes when you are apart? Did you know that some of those yellow flowers along the roadways have an edible root? Jerusalem artichokes, I believe is what they call them. Some of this may mean nothing to any of you, and to be honest I may never use any of it. You may think I’m the biggest fool in the world. My wife will say things in public about my prepping, but in private it’s probably the thing I do that she says makes her feel most safe. All it takes is for one thing to happen and my gear and knowledge will be priceless. It’s all because I’m prepared!

Look at the ones you love and ask yourself, “to prepare or not to prepare?” Any sane person knows the answer to that one!