Thursday, February 23, 2012

OPSEC and Balance:

Before I get into my topic for today, I want to point out that when reading anything I write in this blog, keep in mind that these are only my opinions.  I am not a paid professional survivalist like Bear Grylls, nor am I active duty military or law enforcement.  In fact, I have never been military or law enforcement.  I do not own a security company, nor am I a consultant on a popular outdoor television show.

There, just wanted to clear all that up.  There will be no "argument from authority" going on here.  See, it sure seems the rage right now to attach some or all of the above to statements when making comments online about prepping as a means of trying to convince the viewer/reader that the posters Knows What They Are Talking About (tm).  I find this a bit disingenuous, if only because I have watched a LOT of bad videos lately on Youtube where people are discussing things like wilderness survival or firearms training and showing a lot of bad training such as muzzle-sweeping others in the video or suggesting you try plants with "the tip of the tongue" to see if they're poisonous, that sort of thing.  Ridiculous.  So, my advice would be to read everything (including this blog) with an open mind (along with a healthy dose of common sense) and don't be afraid to do further reading or research on anything you see on the internet.  It's also healthy to call bullshit when the situation calls for it.  I have seen a lot of that also, a blogger or YTer gathers a large following, suddenly the guy can do no wrong, and everything he says is gospel.  One major rule of thumb: if a guy says he was ex-special forces, stop listening and walk away.  99.9999999% of the people in your life who will tell you that, were never special forces.  Do not be fooled by a picture or video of a guy holding a tricked-out AR-15 while wearing a $90 tactical vest.  

With that caveat out of the way, let's move forward!

Today, I want to start with something that a lot of preppers on the Internet seem not to consider very often: OPSEC*. It seems like such a simple topic, but honestly, it really isn't.  As far as I am concerned, OPSEC should always be in mind.  After all, all those supplies and preparations you've been working to store are (and should be considered) wealth of a sort.  Should the worst come to pass, your preparations would be more valuable than just about anything else you possess.  Let me put it another way.  You wouldn't go around posting pictures of yourself and your house, and posting up your address if you'd just admitted that you had a stash of gold bars, now would you?  Who would do that?  The concept is the same with your preparations.  Always keep this in mind.  To touch on another post to follow here soon, people prep for many reasons.  One of those reasons is that they believe something bad will happen to either society and/or the economy, and the readily available resources found in stores everywhere will dry up.  So, it's in your best interests to ensure that you aren't making yourself a target for people who didn't make any preparations of their own.  Because that will happen.  If events like New Orleans during Katrina have taught us anything, it's this: people get really barbaric when basic resources they take for granted as being something they'll always have access to...suddenly dry up.  People will do nearly anything in order to protect and feed their families.  If they know that you and your family have things they need, they won't hesitate to come try to take them from you.  That's one of the main reasons I started this blog, instead of discussing prepping on my main blog.  I just don't see a need to advertise.  Also, this won't be the last you read on this subject from me.  I take this concept very seriously, and so should you.  Alright, end of sermon.

A second topic I want to discuss is one that many, many people out there in Internet Prepper-Land seem to forget, or worse, never bother considering in the first place.  That topic is Balance. 

Listen, I know that in many ways, prepping is fun.  You watch some disaster or zombie movies, start doing some reading on prepping, and it at first sounds like action camping.  Bug out bags.  Stockpiling cool stuff.  You start perusing neat flashlights, knives, camping equipment, fire-starters, etc.  You'll start buying firearms, and stockpiling ammo, and food, water, and toilet-paper, and so on.  You're becoming prepared to last through ANYthing!  You are ready for the zombie apocalypse, bring on the mayhem!  Well, here's one thing that cool survival blogs, Youtube videos, end-of-the-world movies always seem to skip over: there are considerations besides prepping.  In fact, these considerations could be thought of as "Prepping to prep".  What am I talking about?  A few simple things like your health: physical, mental, AND financial.  There are plenty of other important things, but any strong prepping (or life in general) plan starts with these three.

Although, it's fine (and very easy) to watch all these Youtube videos and read all these blogs, and then want to race right out to a camping store/big box store and start stockpiling supplies, remember that your physical, mental, and financial health comes first.  If you're severely overweight, it might be a good idea to take some of your prepping budget every month and invest in a gym membership.  Zombies can't catch you if you're able to run fast and jump over obstacles in your way.  If you've got a tooth that needs fixing, it might be a good time to go get that done.  You aren't going to find a cushy chair with soft music playing and plenty of top-shelf pain drugs to help with that bad cavity or cracked molar when a tornado tears through your small town and destroys everything.  That is not the time to be living with a toothache!  If you have some issues that are keeping you depressed or down mentally, talk with someone, get those ironed out.  A good mental outlook and strong personal fortitude will be worth more than nearly any other prep you have in a WROL situation.  If you are carrying $10,000 worth of credit card debt, it may be a good idea to start paying that down before you read about prepping, get excited, and run off to spend a ton of money on cool gadgets like knives, guns, ammo, or stockpiles of freeze-dried food. Sure, you want to be ready for zombies, or a bad storm.  But don't forget that you may also want to buy a new car, or a home one day!

I hate to say it, but these are highly important things to consider, and yet, something that most people don't.  They don't think about these basics, because they aren't glamorous, or exciting.  But honestly, look at the people who make it to the end of disaster movies.  If you don't look like that, or are at least in good physical shape, how can you expect to be able to meet all the challenges of the end of the world as we know it?  If you can't even pay your electric bill this month, do you really need to be buying another case of ammo that is going to sit in your closet?  Not much fun counting how many cans of peas you have, having to do it in the dark.  So, in short, while you're preparing for the next world, don't forget that you still live in this one.  It's not glamorous, it's not exciting, but it's just good common sense.  Balance in all things.  Any realistic prepping plans need to include the big three: physical, mental, and financial health.  Start working on these things, and you'll be much more prepared than many Americans to see through a bad situation.  And by many, I mean most.  Stay safe out there.

- Unnamed Prepper

“People will do amazing things to ensure their survival.”
- Patricia Briggs, The Hob's Bargain

*OPerational SECurity

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