Prepper Axioms That I Find Puzzling- Part 2, by N.B.

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Prepper Axiom #3: “Grey man”

I cringe every time I hear these words. It sounds so reasonable, but it isn’t. In essence, the idea is to make yourself so nondescript that no one pays you any notice. In theory, if they don’t notice you, then they won’t harm you. In certain situations this could work. However, I think it is very dangerous to apply it all the time.

  • The idea behind the grey man concept is that everyone will be desperate and terrified, so it’s best not to draw attention to yourself. I would argue the opposite is true, and for precisely the same reasons. If you try to hide and slink around in the shadows, no one will have any reason to trust or help you. However, if you stand out and take charge of the situation, instead of having to hide from those scared people, you can recruit some of them to your side. Let’s say you were an ordinary suburbanite and an EMP went off. You don’t have the slightest clue how to fend for yourself. You are scared and panicky and don’t know what to do. In your darkest hour, a man appears. He shows you how to collect water, how to build a fire, how to make shelter, and what plants are good to eat. Wouldn’t you feel that it was in your interest to help this man? Wouldn’t you be on his side rather than the guy who looks like a bum? Terrified people need leadership, someone to take charge. If you can do that, you’ve gained some allies. If you cannot do that, then perhaps you can help the person who can. If you don’t do it, then someone else will, and that person might have sinister intents, plus an army.

Prepper Axiom #4: First aid concerns

  • Probably the worst thing about first aid is that many preppers get CPR training and think they are ready for anything. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I will say that in normal times CPR training is great to have, but in a survival situation it is essentially useless. CPR circulates blood but does not restart the heart. Only defibrillators can do that. If help is not coming, then someone with heart failure is dead. I am sorry, but that is the truth. Hearts do not simply stop without cause. They usually stop due to massive trauma or some underlying medical condition. If you are performing first aid in the field and someone who is injured has their heart stop, that person is dead. Nothing you can do will change that. You are not a hospital. If you are ever faced with this situation, you must move on to the next patient. Spending time and resources trying to revive a dead person means taking away from another injured person who might survive with your help. You cannot fix death.
  • Having enough first aid supplies to stock an ambulance is great, but without training they won’t be of much help. Even a little bit is much better than nothing.
  • Having a nurse in your group does not necessarily mean you can solve any medical problem. Even if you have a surgeon, without the proper facilities and equipment their options will be limited. That said, any competent medical professional in your group is a great asset. This is not so much for their knowledge but because they will be able to act in the event of a medical emergency. Seconds count when faced with major trauma, and hesitation may kill the patient.
  • Certain types of trauma can be stabilized in the field but without a hospital are difficult to treat. For example, it is possible that a member of your group could lose an extremity due to violence or accident. While you can certainly get the bleeding under control, being faced with amputation or massive infection is probably more than your resources can handle.
  • Should you take first aid classes, you should focus on disease prevention first, controlling hemorrhage second, and everything else third.
  • When faced with trauma in the field, do these things in order: win the fight, control the bleeding, get help. If someone in your group gets shot, you must deal with the threat before you help the injured person, as you risk creating more casualties. If everyone in your group has had training on dealing with trauma, then in many cases the wounded person can help themselves.
  • Always tell the patient the truth. If you do not, they will eventually find out you lied and will become confused and not trust you. If they are gravely wounded and their chance of survival is slim, be upfront about it. However, do not remove all hope.
  • A person’s survival in a grid down scenario when faced with a major medical problem will be left mostly in God’s hands. You must learn to accept that.
  • I have a theory, which I will admit is not substantiated by any research, so take it with a grain of salt. We all know about the placebo effect, which in some cases is up to 30% as effective as the actual treatment. I believe some people have such a positive outlook about their health that they are under a constant placebo effect. We all know someone who gets injured or sick and has minor difficulties, whereas someone else would have been in much worse shape. It is possible that believing you will get well is enough to make it happen.
  • Some people argue that no one ever died from pain, and while that is true, pain management greatly speeds recovery. While there are certain substances you can store that greatly help pain, many of them are at best a legal grey area. If nothing else, get some big bottles of grain alcohol. A few swigs of that will usually bring pain down to a more manageable level. Be careful not to give the patient too much or you can thin the blood and promote bleeding.
    • On the subject of drugs, there are a few that are not entirely illegal but not entirely legal either. You may not wish to use drugs on moral or legal grounds, and that is certainly okay. However, if you do, please read the following. Note that you do this at your own risk.
      • Marijuana seeds are legal to posses in many jurisdictions, and if hidden amongst other seeds will be nigh impossible to detect. Certain strains are extremely effective for pain management. Generally, you will want a very potent indica. I personally recommend White Rhino. It is easily cultivated, and smoking a bowl of it will make you quite indifferent to agony. You can easily order seeds off the Internet and cultivate them after the rule of law disappears.
      • Opium poppies can be cultivated in most jurisdictions, so long as they are for ornamental use only. That means you can have them in your flower bed because they look nice, but you are not permitted to process opium from them. In a grid down scenario, you can easily harvest the sap and produce a powerful painkiller.
      • Ketamine is a cheap, highly effective anesthesia that is easy to administer. It is commonly used in veterinary work for these reasons. It is not a schedule 1 narcotic in the U.S., so possession is not punished as severely as “hard” drugs.
      • If you choose to stock drugs as survival medicine, do your own research first.

And now, for the concept that bugs me the most:

Prepper Axiom #5: Bugging out

  • I have never understood the fascination with bugging out and probably never will. It is entirely alien to me. Yet, it has become so ingrained in prepper culture that it is accepted as little less than the word of God. Many people think that because they have a bug out bag they will survive. To my mind this is a fallacy.
  • Unless you’re Daniel Boone, you will not be able to carry enough supplies on your person to survive for an extended period in the wilderness. I am sorry, but that is a fact.
  • I see people with 50, 60, 70 pound BOBs. What on earth are you going to do with all that stuff? Can you really carry it 20 miles a day, for days on end? Have you even tried carrying it two miles? I am not trying to be mean, but you have to be realistic about your abilities. A far better solution than a bag is to get a garden cart and rig up some sort of harness to pull it.
  • My own BOB contains various things but weighs only 20 pounds and serves exactly one purpose: to get me home. It contains food for three days, water and the means to harvest more, and some odds and ends. By far the most important contents are the $1,000 in small bills. Should the balloon go up when I’m away from home, I will only walk back if I have to. I’d much rather get a ride. In a fast moving disaster, people will still value things like cash. I am fairly certain I can bribe someone to drive me home. Now, obviously I don’t want them to know where I live, but through the careful application of cash I could have a five mile walk instead of a 50 mile walk. In a disaster, you will want to get home as soon as possible. Dropping a thousand or even ten thousand dollars is far less expensive than taking a week to walk and finding someone else has taken over your home. Time is the most precious commodity in the early stages of a disaster.
  • Note that if you bug out with nowhere to go, you are a refugee, and your survival will largely be determined by luck.
  • If you already have a stocked BOL to go to, it begs the question of why you don’t live there all the time. Is it a pain to drive 50 miles each way to work? Yes, but it is less of a pain than watching your family die.

Prepper Axiom #6: Odd and ends

Here are some random tidbits I threw in at the end that you may find interesting:

  • You may think someone is doing it wrong, but if it works it was obviously right.
  • Military training is no guarantee of survival.
  • Having boatloads of supplies is no guarantee of survival.
  • There is no such thing as a guarantee.
  • If everything comes to a screeching halt, cash will be king for about a week. After that, cash is trash. Spend it accordingly.
  • My philosophy towards preparedness supplies is good enough, and lots of it.
  • The most important barter prep you can have is soap. Bars of soap cost essentially nothing, last essentially forever, and are very useful. Everyone will know what they are and everyone will need them. Buy a thousand.
  • The second best barter item is mini bottles of liquor. Buy two hundred.
  • Stacking precious metals is great, and I do quite a bit of it. PMs are not for getting you through the crisis; they’re for preserving your wealth until civilization reappears. If you don’t have significant assets, you will likely need few of them.
  • Productive real estate trumps precious metals.
  • Being able to see the consequences of an action before it happens is a gift.
  • Being able to do this well is called wisdom.
  • Being able to do this perfectly is called Divinity.
  • For survival, being a generalist trumps being a specialist, though you may require the assistance of specialists.
  • Items that do many things well enough trump items that only do one thing very well.
  • Reliability always trumps performance.
  • Knowledge always trumps equipment.
  • Motivation always trumps knowledge.
  • Morale always trumps motivation.
  • If you know how much of something you have, then you don’t have enough.
  • If it can go wrong it will, and it will delight in going wrong at the worst possible moment.
  • Win first, then do the task. It is easier to win if you play by your own rules.
  • Just because something is illegal does not necessarily mean it’s wrong.
  • The best decision is the right decision. The second best decision is the wrong decision. The worst decision is no decision.
  • No person capable of surviving ever passed an inspection.
  • Most people are idiots. Trust their opinions accordingly.
  • Be merciful, but be aware that mercy has consequences.
  • The first step towards freedom is not caring what other people think of you.
  • Being good at living in normal times is not related to being good at surviving. Some of the most unlikely people survive.
  • There are few situations so horrific that you can’t find humor in them. Being able to laugh at your own suffering is essential for keeping you sane.