Sunday, May 15, 2011

Self assessment.

As in all things, survival begins with the individual. No matter what you may view when you look to the future, your preparations for that eventuality start with yourself. An honest self-assessment may be one of the most difficult things you ever do and the answers you find to the questions you ask yourself may be hard to swallow. Imagine assessing your physical readiness and viewing a protruding belly, while noting difficulty breathing as you negotiate a flight of stairs. These observations do not bode well for your ability to bug out from your place of work or survival retreat when those positions become untenable. Additionally, your self-assessment should not be confined to yourself individually but should also extend to your family.

The assessment of my own family has brought to light some unforeseen abilities; my son is an exceptional runner and pistol marksman, while my wife’s skills were less a mystery, as I was already aware of her substantial education and experience in the medical field. As an aside, my wife has killed 6 wild turkeys, which speaks to her standing as not merely a nerdy scientist. To cite an additional personal observation, I use a medication that I must consume everyday. These types of traits must be included in your self-assessment: what are mine and my family’s strengths, weaknesses, and experiences and what, if any, unique requirements do we have as individuals that may affect our long-term survival during a lengthy ordeal?

A trait that many assessments may overlook is one regarding emotional strength. Survival situations are stressful and they bring the sufferer to the brink of what they can deal with. Crying during movies means nothing, but being brought to a point of inactivity by the loss of a friend can speak volumes as to your ability to handle tough times. There can be no event that brings you to the point of an inability to function, as there are others who still rely upon you. Additionally, you have to search yourself for a characteristic that few people own up to… ruthlessness. This is not to say that you cannot survive if you are charitable. To the contrary, charity and empathy represent traits that everyone should have; however you need to possess the flip side of that coin as well. In a survival situation there may come a time where you may have to turn people away. The ability to send groups away in the name of your own group’s survival is as critical as the ability to be charitable and to feel compassion for others. If you lack ruthlessness, you need to order some or you may never find the mettle you need to steel yourself against a tide that will surely erode the foundation and resources of your group.

If you consume medications that you must have to live, stockpile them.
If you can’t grow your own food, paint your thumb green through practice.
If you don’t have water on hand, people will pick through your bones in three days.
If you can’t preserve the food you grow or harvest, get the necessary tools and skills.
If you lack the ruthlessness to do what you must to survive, you and yours will suffer.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Introduction.

I doubt there are too many people out there who don’t sense that something is wrong with America and it is this sense of foreboding that drives numerous men and women to prepare for an uncertain future. You may recognize some of these people; the neighbors who put in a sizeable garden and preserve the bounty, the family who buys in bulk and maintains a large stockpile of goods, the local whose gun cabinet is more like an arms room.

The efforts of preppers and survivalists may seem outside the mainstream by most citizens, yet similar preparations are looked upon as prudent by government agencies like the DOT and FEMA. When I read various blogs that deal with prepping and survival activities, I notice several trends. Many sites speak to a time when the country will collapse due to poor decisions by state and national leaders. They envision the post-collapse environment as something akin to the conditions seen in movies like The Road or Red Dawn. Additionally, some sites focus entirely on the creation and storage of foodstuffs and water.

The correct answer is likely somewhere near the middle ground. A reasonable focus on the conditions we may face in an all-too-uncertain future and the preparations necessary and prudent to prepare us for that end. What one should strive for is a combination of guns and gardens, barter and deep larder that will best serve men and women who want to survival difficult events while remaining good citizens to the end.