I’ve contributed several articles outlining my journey through preparedness. I have outlined how, as a rookie, I started my journey with no support from my family. I shared how I brought my family into the fold, how we picked out a retreat/retirement home, and what I’ve done to make it my own personal bastion.
One thing I have never considered is: What happens if life throws a curveball, and my own personal, long term needs and plans are irrelevant? Or more accurately, what do I do with all this stuff and all these plans, if I’m not around to make “it” happen?
You see, I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer.
It’s hard to explain how surprised I was by this, since I’m an “ancient”, only forty-two years old. To say that I’ve been taken aback is an understatement. Still, life is what life is, and there’s no sense crying over it when there’s fighting to be done. That’s another story.
So, I re-pose the question: What do I do with all of this stuff?
As I’ve said, my family has been brought into the fold, but they are not as “hard-core” as I am. Mostly, I think my wife humors me and will continue to do so as long as it doesn’t negatively impact our lives. I don’t understand how being prepared could ever negatively affect anyone, so I guess I’m good.
However, now that I have about a fifty percent chance of being alive five years from now, I have to take into consideration everything that I’ve accomplished and how it can be protected, preserved, and propagated by the people I love, without causing them undue stress. I’ve been putting some serious thought into this, and I’m going to break it down as best as I can.
Things That Go Boom. Anyone, who may have read any of my previous submissions, might also recall that I live in New York. I’m not in the city, but well over an hour north of it. My retreat home is in the mountains of the northern part of the state where like-minded people are plentiful. The problem is that sixty percent of the state’s population lives in the bottom twenty percent of the real estate, and so people hundreds of miles from my home have too much say in my life, with no understanding of how I live it.
That said, a New Yorker without a pistol permit is prohibited by “law” from so much as touching a pistol, let alone owning one. At this time, I am the only person in my house with a permit. My son, as of now, is just a bit too young to apply for one and my wife, who was raised and indoctrinated in the New York City school system, has no interest in getting one.
This leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I believe that my long guns are safe, and I have taken measures to conceal my non-SAFE ACT-compliant firearms. My family is familiar with my bolt-actions, plinkers, and shotguns, which currently do not require a permit to own. Though, what do I do with my pistols, and who’s to say that if the Sheriff comes to confiscate my pistols after I die that they’ll stop there?
Not once did I consider that this might be a problem. I simply assumed that when my son became of age for a permit, he could register (as co-owner of) my collection of pistols, thus insuring his inheritance. Now we face the prospect of confiscation after my death.
If you live in a “free state”, this is not likely an issue for you. Those of you out there living in oppressive leftist environments need to consider the provisions of your states firearm laws. I do not wish illness or hardship on anybody, but this is an aspect of preparedness one should consider to avoid being in my quandary.
Additionally, I have taken great pains to acquaint my son in the various aspects of improvised munitions. I am confident that were I to have an inventory of ingredients scattered around the property of my retirement/retreat home, my son could safely manage it. If you have an inventory of such items, do your “heirs” have a working knowledge of them that will contribute to their safety, in the event something happens to you?
Food Stores. I have managed to set aside well over a year supply of food for my family as well as my sister and her children. Rice, beans, oats, and TVP by the bucketful, as well as canned goods in a scheduled rotation and a root cellar full of items grown in my garden are in abundance. If we were to marginally limit our intake, there is enough food for two years for eight people.
I have involved my son in the rotation schedule, and taught him how to preserve and maintain the stores of dried goods. My sister has a knack for gardening and enjoys canning, so I imagine that they’ll be fine with those tasks. Have you involved your children, spouses, or group members? Did you store foods that they will eat? If not, what will happen to this food?
The food pantry near my house will not accept food that is not in its original packaging. If you needed to disperse, share, or otherwise discard some of your stores, this could be an issue. I’m not sure why you would need to “get rid” of food, but if you were called upon to help your fellow man by sharing your food, you might not be able to use a pantry as an intermediary, which I believe is crucial to preserving your operational security. After all, there’s no sense in risking your safety in an effort to try to help others in a crisis.
Garden and livestock. Over the last several years I have cultivated two rather large gardens– one vegetable and one herbal (medicinal as well as cooking). It took years of trial and error to cultivate my soil and heirloom the plants, so that I have the best crop I can harvest. My sister, nieces, and nephews have helped with this, but neither my wife nor my son have a “green thumb”; rather, they each have a plaqued thumb. Thankfully, my sister and my wife have a good relationship and will help each other long after I am gone. Who can and will maintain your crops?
Do you have animals? I have over a dozen chickens that provide me with enough eggs and meat (to a lesser extent) to feed my family with enough remaining to sell. What other member of your family or group have the knowledge required to not just maintain, but promote a healthy life among your flock or herd?
I have been derelict in sharing my duties here and must take corrective action immediately.
To bug or not to bug? I have never been entirely confident about my ability to determine when the time to run to the hills came. As a matter of course, I watch and listen to multiple sources of news, and I watch the market and pay attention to global events that may have a direct effect on things here at home. Still, no matter how much information I gather, there is no great big neon sign that will tell me: “Go now!”
As a result, I’ve had to come up with several scenarios that have corresponding plans. As we used to say way back when, writing computer programs was easy, “If then go to…” or, as my scoutmaster was fond of saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I am rather happy with the knowledge that the adults and teens in my family are familiar with the various routes they can take to get to our retreat location. But will they know when to go, when I admittedly do not (with any degree of certainty)?
What if the best course of action is to stay put? Does your family have the knowledge and ability to defend your home? Do they know how to locate the supplies you’ve stored and how to properly utilize them? Does your “bug in” plan include drilling, so that your family can function without you? Even if you aren’t facing your own mortality, there is a possibility that you may not be able to make it home in the event of a large-scale event, as happened to many people during Katrina.
Make sure that your plans include a written procedure and that it is familiar and available to all members of your family/group.
I think that overall, redundant redundancy is critical, not just with supplies but with skill-sets. Every person involved in your plans should be able to cross cover at least one other person when it comes to specialized skills. When it comes to general skills, such as gardening and day-to-day livestock management, everyone should know what to do.
The most important prep. As I sit here typing, I am forced to consider my fate. There is a strong chance I will be gone in the relatively near future. This is not to say that I couldn’t get killed in an accident on my way to work, but it’s different when there’s a timeframe attached to you.
I look back at my life and see so many places where a different decision would have positively changed an outcome, but I see not one single place where I would’ve done anything different, based on the information I had at the time. I have no regrets.
I also look back at the single most important reason that I face this challenge without fear for myself. It’s because of the single most important prep I have at my disposal– I’m right with the Lord.
I have tried to live His word, while walking the path of honor and duty. If you can look in the mirror and say the same thing, then you have everything you need to face the uncertainty of the future, or a certainty that is fearful.
Good luck, my friends. I pray we never need to use our knowledge, skills, and stores, but it always pays to be vigilant. With God’s graces and some luck, maybe I’ll be able to post again. Be well.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9:10