Letter Re: Sad, Silent Prepper

Dear Sad, Silent Prepper,

I feel for you, bud. I was on the same road for years, trying to convince the wife that there were several scenarios that we needed to be concerned about and maybe even a few for which we needed to be prepared. My personal journey took years, but in the end it obtained moderate success. And by moderate I mean not perfect or complete, but it was good enough for me. Total covert? No. More open minded and sympathetic? Probably. I have tried to be consistent, not too over reactive, and as subtle as possible. “Gee, Hon, did you hear about the <insert incident here> that happened today? It was horrible/scary! I wonder what we would do if that happened here/to us/to our family/to our country?” Or, “That winter storm/hurricane/tornado could put us in an uncomfortable situation if our power went out for a few days. Should we have a little more food on hand/in the pantry?”, et cetera.

On the personal, internal side, the watershed moment for my wife was when she started volunteering to help battered and sex trafficked women. The stories that she was told about the lives and helplessness of these women were horrendous. If finally clicked that any individual, especially women, had to learn how to ultimately protect themselves from physical violence. After years of trying to get her interested in shooting, she finally had a stark, obvious motivation to learn about firearms. I started slowly with .22 rifles, then .22 pistols, and worked her through .380, and finally to 9MM pistol and carbines. It took a long time and a boat load of patience, but ultimately, she now values and enjoys shooting. She is not an enthusiast by any means, but she understands how and why.

The second awakening was when a friend (female) of my wife recommended the novel One Second After. I had asked her many times to read it, but all husbands know how that works. The book really opened her eyes to the external threats that exist and that maybe, just maybe, it would be prudent to at least discuss certain situations. Once we got to that mind set, the opportunity to talk about current events and look beyond the headlines slowly started the intellectual thaw. We also live near Atlanta, and it doesn’t take much imagination to grasp how Dante’s 9 circles of hell would play out here if something “big” happened. I had to take it slow and not browbeat (as is my nature) or obsess about preparing. If you’re like me, I know it’s tough to regulate the discussions. For me, the value of talking about a situation makes it more real and less frightening, especially if one can offer reasonable, affordable solutions without screaming from the top of the flagpole. It was a long, arduous, frustrating path, but in the end the lemonade is definitely worth the squeeze.

My approach would be to hang in there no matter what. Without scaring him, try converting your son that still lives at home. He could be a valuable resource. If anything were to eventually happen and you can resist the “I told you so!”, your wife/family will absolutely change their opinion of your “small hobby”. You will get misunderstanding, resentment, and hurt feelings. But remember, no matter how much push back you get (within reason, YMMV), you are essentially doing this for her and your family. If she can eventually perceive your actions as a gift of love, so much the better. You still have a son at home. Ask her what will become of him? Your family that no longer live with you, what will become of them? Where will they go, if they have to go? How about the in-laws? Will you offer a haven for them? Doesn’t this haven need supplies?

So, in conclusion:

  1. First and foremost, you do not talk about fight club. If your friends think you wear a tin foil hat, stop telling them what you are doing!!!
  2. Go slow and steady. Use your “unflappable-ness” to your advantage. Tortoise not hare. Don’t become obsessed.
  3. Rice and beans, great! Relatively inexpensive, store well, good protein combination.
  4. Ignore all external naysayers.
  5. There are plenty of us out here that know what you are going through and that will meet you on the other side of the die-off.
  6. Finally, never stop never stopping.