Bring up disaster preparedness and you’ll get a variety of reactions, everything from concern to amusement. Awhile after you start this discussion you’ll usually receive a comment like “I’m coming to your house.” This last declaration being an entirely different issue in and of itself, it’s a statement to the effect of “I don’t have to do anything because you’re doing it all for me. I will continue on my merry life while you make the sacrifices necessary to save me if anything goes wrong. You save, you train, and you go without. We’re friends, and I’m special.”
Here are some common stated problems followed by their causes or meanings:
“I don’t know.” I refuse to learn.
“I can’t afford to, not even a single can of soup can be put aside a month.” This is often spoken by people with a staggering cable bill.
“I am physically unable.” I will not plan. I will not read to educate myself.
“I have somewhere to go.” Someone else will take care of my uneducated mind and unprepared body when I show up empty-handed.
“I can’t change my life. I need to be happy and live!” I’ll spend my money and time on all of the little things that bring me happiness. You spend your money and time on all of things that will keep me alive.
“I’m not in a position to right now.” I will never be in a position to.
I’m Not In A Position To Right Now
“I’m not in a position to right now” is a foolish statement and an excuse. No one reading this is dumb enough to believe that the person saying it has actually dedicated any thought to the statement before speaking. No one thinks this person actually sat down and contemplated all the ways, however small, that they could get better prepared for an emergency to finally come to the conclusion that they just weren’t in a position to do anything. The real reason they don’t is that they don’t want to. It is far easier to hide from the truth and assume someone else will take care of them than it is to go through the effort of getting ready to take care of themselves. It is far easier to do nothing. They know that they aren’t ready and look stupid for it, so they attempt to cover up their laziness by claiming it can’t be done right now. If it can’t be done, they can’t be blamed for it not getting it done.
I Have Someone Who Will Take Care of Me
“I have someone who will take care of me.” This is one of the most selfish things said without the slightest bit of thought. It the same as saying “Love exists in the mind of some other person, so that person is morally bound to care for me.” Not the slightest bit of thought is put towards the effort or burden that will be placed on those loved ones. The only feelings these leeches have is the satisfaction of insurance and security when they think of the person they can run to when their world falls apart and they are unable to take care of themselves. Love of this kind only works one way– their way. It is not the kind of love that ensures they show up as ready as they can be in mind, body, and material, so that everyone can pool resources and work together. It is the kind of love that means you get ready and sacrifice while I spend money on living it up so that I will show up at your door as useless as possible causing all of us to die together.
“My son/brother/mother/uncle/neighbor has a farm, and we’ll go there. We’ll be fine.” I almost always ask this person if their benefactor is planning on taking them in. An answer of “of course” always follows. I clarify by asking, “Is your brother planning to support you with food and water while protecting you? Does he have those preparations in mind and is actively working for you as well as his own right now?”. The answers become more unsure at this point, but their response is still along the lines of “We’ll be fine.”
Many people say “I” have somewhere to go. What they mean by “I” is “Me and my family of four as well as our two dogs”. “I” may include two children, a husband or wife, grandma Sue, and possibly some neighbors. Let’s just say it will be three people for argument’s sake.
I’ll Go To My Brother’s House
If their response is “I’ll go to my brother’s house”, I ask where he is. He is often many miles or a few states away. When I ask how they are going to get there, the answer is almost aways that they plan on driving. So, I’ll bring up that ATM machines may not work, there may be massive power outages with no gasoline available to buy, and roads may be clogged with broken down vehicles and the traffic of fleeing people or things such as tornadoes. Phones may not work. They will claim that they know the way, but when I ask if they know more than one way to get to their brother’s house, I’ll usually get a blank look. Things such as road blocks, downed trees and power lines, flooding, stalled cars on a bridge, et cetera may obstruct their known path, but they are in no position to get a $2 map and mark out more than one route, to have a tank’s worth of gas in cash set aside, to fill up a small gas can with extra fuel, et cetera. They are in no position to learn how to change a tire or to set up a schedule to make sure their car stays maintained or at half a tank of gas.
I Will Show Up
Let’s just say you get there and that there is enough food and water to sustain you long term, and you are provided with shelter and protection. What problems are you bringing? What special medical needs do you have? Do you have dietary restrictions or require medication? Do you turn into a mental basket case when it comes to stress? Is your body as prepared as it can be? Are any of these things a concern for anyone you brought with you? If you or one of your children has chronic ear infections, I’m sure your brother is going to laugh it off when you plow through his supply of antibiotics. Maybe your method of parenting is to shut your kids up with gaming consoles and a TV. Have your kids spent any real time outside? Without the constant digital distractions that are so common to kids these day, what will happen when all of that is gone? What are you actually bringing to your brother’s doorstep?
Some people are so severely addicted to coffee that they can’t function without it; they literally cannot focus. However, you’re not in a position to research alternative medications that see to your needs or stock up on the vital ones. You’re not in a position to eat just a little more healthy or exercise in even the smallest way. You absolutely can’t break your addictions now or in the very least put a packet of instant coffee singles in your glove compartment to get you through the drive over there.
I clarify further by asking a series of questions: “Because most sources call for one gallon of water a day per person, is your brother storing an extra three gallons of water for every day you’ll be there for an indefinite amount of time? If your brother isn’t storing it, does he have the ability to procure and purify that much extra water every day? Has he stocked up on the water purification equipment and/or water purification chemicals needed for all of that water? Is there a realistic and plentiful source of water?”. This is usually when the other person begins to run from the argument. They have begun to understand that they have no plan at all and haven’t done any thinking on the subject. They once again start making statements about being fine, et cetera. Sometimes they’ll dodge with a change of subject by saying something like, “It sounds like you’re worried about me. I’m flattered.”
Water is a very important resource. The potential lack it, which can cause death in days, hasn’t once entered their minds as to whether it is actually available at their safe haven, much less the thought of what it would take to provide this for them and their family. “We would boil our water.” This is the fastest reply to come, and it is usually uneducated as well. “So assuming there is an unlimited supply of water that you can get to the point where boiling will make a difference, what are you going to boil it with? Do you have a clue how much burnable material it takes to boil a gallon of water? Actually it’s seven gallons every day if the main means of purification for his four and your three is boiling (not including animals). This, of course, is taking away from burnable material needed to cook enough food for that many people. By the way, what are you going to start that fire with day after day after day, and how are you going to do it if you aren’t in the position to get a single packet of chemical purifiers, a case of bottled water, or in the very least learn how to build a fire or find out how long it takes to boil water for purification?” You can guess how the conversation usually goes after this.
“How is your brother going to water his farm?” I live in a farming community. I do not know of a single farmer who has a solar-powered well system capable of watering their entire farm…not a single one. Every one of them relies on grid power to run their pumps and crop watering systems. When the power goes out, all of that goes away. That means dead plants or plants that severely under produce. It means dead animals. It means dead farmers, if they don’t have water stored.