Looking back, it was hard for me to admit that preparations as I had them were inadequate. It was hard to admit because denial, a small hope that maybe things wouldn’t really get bad and a foolish thought that surely God wouldn’t allow this country to fall that far down; all of these things clouded my judgement.
What kind of person constantly thinks on and prepares for bad times that could possibly never happen anyway?
What if they did?
Why would God allow our nation to fall that far? Aren’t we blessed, somehow?
What makes America more special than any third-world or war-torn country? How are we exempt from hard times?
These are some of the questions that I struggled with for some time before I began to prepare.
When you are playing a game of “if/then” instead of “when/then”, you tend to sink into a comfortable denial which leads you to believe that you have things together.
I know I wasn’t alone in this. Comparing stories with friends, neighbors and even strangers who I met by chance, many of them had been in one form of denial or another.
Back then, entertainment was at your fingertips with the push of a remote control button, or even at the sound of your voice. There were so-called “reality shows” about survivalist families and others in the preparedness community. Most of the people on those productions were bizarre and helped keep a stigma around being prepared. Only “crazy” people prepared for anything beyond a three-day crisis. Yet, most of the major storms that ripped through the nation rendered people without power for five to ten days, or more.
As I took inventory of what I had with a sober, objective eye, the lack was obvious: food preparations, field craft, self-defense, physical fitness. Some things, like the little bit of food storage I had, needed to be thrown out entirely and restocked. The other “non-tangible” things that were equally important required time and effort to relearn or sharpen.
I could make excuses all day, but when it came down to brass tacks at the end of the day: all of these were lacking. I had a lot of work to do, and at first, it seemed overwhelming.
I began reading, a lot. A stack of books that I had collected and read over the years were dusted off. Ranging from food prep and storage to history of military tactics. For whoever reads this, one might wonder, for example, “Why military tactics?”. It is a good question and one that will be answered more in-depth as my journal goes on. In short, while I did let my hand to hand skills get a bit rusty for a time, I have always believed that the scripture which says “he who does not provide for his family, especially those of his own household is like an unbeliever who has denied the faith” to include not only monetary provision, food, shelter, clothing, etc, but also to include provision of security. In desperate times, whether for good or ill, people band together. When people are desperate, and it is between their family living another day, or mine, they will choose theirs and try to take what is mine to provide and protect. God forbid. The study and practice of military tactics on a small level would help, if the situation arose, to deter or prevent “bad things” happening. We haven’t had many altercations in the past few years, which is good. During the die-off, when people were scared, desperate and reason was thrown out the window, there were times where we had to use deadly force to stay alive and safe. Anyhow… more for another time.
Before I began “taking inventory”, the federal government got involved to a degree in the preparedness arena. It had taken a large terrorist attack and an equally devastating natural disaster to do so, but, they created a website which provided information necessary for people to get through hard times.
While some information was useful and good, it really didn’t add anything worthwhile with their lists or recommendations. If someone were to follow their suggestions, they would still be dependent on the feds to come to their rescue and protect them in some way, shape or form. There was really no emphasis on being self-sustaining for more than a few days. Totally absent was anything that remotely spoke about protecting yourself or your loved ones against the criminal element.
However I did find one use for the information the government provided. The information site could, and did, serve as a useful jumping point or conversation starter for people curious about “prepping” and wanting to learn more. The government’s site helped take away some of the stigma. “If the federal government was backing this type of thing, then, why shouldn’t we look more into it?” That was the line of thinking for some that helped pave the way to getting them the information that could help save their lives.
In the end, I don’t know how far my own efforts went as I tried to help people get prepared. I haven’t seen many of them which means they either were a part of the large die-off, or, in the case of about three families I have encountered, they moved somewhere else and are struggling along like the rest of us; sowing and harvesting crops, defending their home – wherever and whatever that may be – fighting through the cold of winter, taking as much advantage of the warmer months as possible. I hope they are well, but I can’t afford much thought towards that.