Monday, February 27, 2012

Don't Skip the Planning Stage!

In the last post, I mentioned having a goal with regard to getting going on your preparations.  Having thought more about this, I think a better way to express that idea might be to have instead said: have a plan.  Yes, I'm aware that this seems self-explanatory, or that it seems to be a concept so simple and ingrained that it's a waste of time to even discuss it.  The problem is, these days, common sense isn't so common.  Actually, it isn't common at all anymore.  If someone who is new to prepping does a general search online for prepping/survival blogs, they may find and visit this page.  So, I feel like I should be writing for those folks who may be new to the subject and who may possibly stumble over a blog that was initially begun more for just myself and a small number of friends whom I might give the link to.  Well, if you are reading this, welcome!

Where was I?

Ah yes, planning.  Make no mistake.  The more I read, the more I discover how much I don't know, as well as how many layers there are to each subcategory of prepping.  It can be pretty mind-boggling.  Food storage, prepping on a budget, homesteading, sources of water, bugging out, bugging in, wilderness survival, urban survival, suburban survival, defense of your supplies, area, bugout/in location, bugout bags, first-aid, get-home bags, first-aid bags, which rifle is the best for WROL situations, which $500 knife do I need?  It just goes on and on.  But before you worry about any of that, come up with a plan of action.  Period.   

If you start out with a clear goal in mind, it will make your efforts a lot simpler, less jumbled, and less overwhelming.  There is an endless amount of information out there, and if you try to read all of it, you'll fail, first of all.  Secondly, you'll run into some serious scope-creep.  Example:

You've decided that your plan will primarily consist being prepared for "Bugging in"* in the event of natural disaster striking your area.  Alright, solid choice.  So, since you are planning to hole up at home, it's probably not a good idea to worry much about doing some of the more extreme preps you've seen people on Youtube talking about, such as geo-caching supplies along a planned route that you intend to traverse on foot to a bug-out location many miles away, or spending a disproportionate amount of your available funds on firearms and ammunition because you believe that you'll be fending off packs of leatherclad Road Warrior raiders for the week or so that power's out in your town.   Remember, your plan is to stay put.  So, focus your time, energies, planning, and (highly importantly) funds on sticking to your plan.  I will go out on a limb and say it's not really possible to plan for everything, so again, try to keep to a realistic scenario/concern.  How do you know what those are?  Well, like everyone else, I have my own opinions.  Let's talk about those.

Realistic Concerns:
  • Natural Disasters: You live in an area of the country that is prone to certain natural weather-based disasters.  A hurricane, tornado, or flood is a real possibility for you.  Plan your preparations accordingly.  You know that at some point power, water service, and cable will be restored to your area, so you just need to last through until that happens.  You may also have to leave the area due to your home being directly threatened.  So, it may not be the best idea to have five years of food and water squirreled away, because when the tornado hits, or the water rises, all that may be washed away.
  • The Economy: Fifteen years ago, I'd have placed this concern squarely in the "Never going to happen" column.  But not these days.  Many people have watched their retirement vehicles dry up, and are watching a currency that remains devalued versus the Euro, and they've watched unemployment remain high.  They have watched the news as the government (on both sides of the damn aisle!) rampantly spending money the country doesn't actually have, with nothing to show for it.  Examples include bailouts and "stimulus" packages that really only serve to reward those who shouldn't have been rewarded.  They've watched as fuel and food prices continue to climb.  They've watched the government take our country further and further into debt with foreign nations, many of whom do not like us (the Chinese are NOT our friends).  All of this combines to have people who actually watch the news and are able to read between the lines pretty concerned, and rightfully so.  The only downside to this, is that prepping for this will take years and will consume a lot of your financial resources.  Of course, might as well spend those dollars while they're still worth something! 
 UNrealistic Concerns:
  • The Rapture: Some sects of Christianity believe in an event called the Rapture wherein at some point, all dutiful Christians will be vanished away to Heaven to be at God's side.  Not through death, but as in, they will all suddenly just up and vanish, leaving their possessions, cars, and homes all just sitting there to be fought over by the non-believers.  I'm sorry, I just don't think or believe this is going to happen.  Not even close.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Yes, I realize that many ZA folks argue that the zombie reference merely serves as a catch-all term for any sort of WROL/SHTF, and I'd accept that, if I hadn't met, seen online, or overheard at the gunshop all too many braying asses talking about how when the Zeds come, man, I'm grabbing my motherfucking shotgun bro, and it's gonna be fuckin' World War III, knowutImean???  Insert eyeroll here.  
  • TEOSAWKI: The big one, as far as I'm concerned: the end of society as we know it.  I am just going to be clear.  I think this one is highly unrealistic, despite it being one of the most prepped for concerns voiced by preppers/survivalists all over the place.  There are just so many roadblocks in place to this ever happening, that it's hard to know where to start.  I'll just mention a few reasons that come to mind first: 
    • First and foremost: Preppers make up a very small percentage of the total number of people in this country.  What that means, is that people are going to want their comforts back in the event of some massive government shut-down/degradation/end of rule-of-law.  That means, people will band together, and put together groups that fulfill the same functions as they enjoyed during the "before times" or whatever, and they will rebuild a democratic society.  So, all those survival people on the internet talking about how they'll be lone wolves living off the land shooting anyone who comes sniffing around their area, eventually, you're going to be a part of society again, whether you like it or not. So, I wouldn't slap on that cammo jacket and tac vest full of loaded AR mags, and run out the door just yet.
    • The simple understanding that Government has many different levels.  Some sort of federal government shut-down, doesn't mean "Fuck yeah, it's the end-times, gotta grab my bug-out bag, my assault rifle, and high-tail it to the woods!"  Local government will still be functioning, and you walking down the road with a backpack and an AR-15 in your hands will proooobably get you stopped by local law enforcement.  Also, vice versa.  Your town goes bankrupt, and the local government shuts down.  How long do you think it will be before the state governor sends in the National Guard? You probably don't want to be spotted sneaking through town in anything remotely resembling a militaristic outfit carrying a visible weapon.
    • A massive disaster that mimics Katrina, turning your area into Directly-Post-Katrina-NO: yeah, how long did that last, before the government showed up to restore order?  Yes, it took awhile, but it DID happen.  So, if you're dreaming of setting up a community where you're the overwarden just because you stockpiled more ammo than everyone else, be ready to get steamrolled when the government comes back in to set the place back to rights.   

There have been others, a few as covered on "Doomsday Preppers", such as viral pandemics, or perhaps the Yellowstone caldera going up and covering the country in ashes, or of course the ubiquitous sun putting out a huge burst that results in a massive EMP burst taking out the country's power grid.  Those events all have a very statistically low chance of happening, but if you've done a ton of reading and have convinced yourself otherwise, then by all means.  The ultimate point is, have a plan. After all, at the end of the day, your preps may just save you from an entirely mundane disaster, such as you or your spouse losing your job.  Whatever you do, look at the logistics first before you go out and start spending money on things you may not even need.  Stay safe out there.

- Unnamed Prepper

“We could do it, you know."
"Leave the district. Run off. Live in the woods. You and I, we could make it.”
― Suzanne Collins, "The Hunger Games" 

* Translation: in a disaster or civil-unrest scenario, your plan is to hole up in your home where all your supplies are stored and do your best to stay safe and hidden.

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