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Preparedness Lifestyle vs Preparedness Event

Discussion in 'GATE Survival & Preparedness' started by mercop, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. mercop


    Jul 10, 2002
    It was 30DEC99 and my son was a patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He had been born in September with a serious heart defect. My wife and I were very anxious for several reasons, since he was stable my biggest fear was being stuck in the ghetto of Baltimore for Y2K. I had secured leave from the police department so that I could take my family to my parents house and watch the world from a safe distance. What worried me then, as it does now with major social events, is not the danger of the events themselves, but the actions of those who are unprepared and desperate.

    Well, as we know Y2K turned out to be a non-event. Either way we had been discharged from the hospital and traveled to my parents house and enjoyed the new year. The interesting thing about Y2K was that unlike any other event it was scheduled. We knew the exact time and date and were given time to plan for it. For many, it was their first time dabbling in the survival community, which is now known as the preparedness community.

    Survival- the act or fact of surviving, esp. under adverse or unusual circumstances and diversity.

    The following is only my opinion based on my own life, that of my close friends, and conversations with some students.

    Whenever there is a climate of uncertainty in society, there is a very small percentage of the population that realizes for the first time that they need to prepare. For many this means rushing for the first time to buy guns, gear, flashlights, knives, you name it. Using the Internet and friends, they seek advice as to what they should purchase. What they usually end up with is a big pile of gear that they have either never used before, or even know how to use.

    As with anything, you first need to inventory your needs and exposures. Too many family men purchase and train like they are going to be the lone survivor walking down the street decked out with multi-cam with their tricked out M4 in hand. How long do you think any one person would last like that in reality? Even though, romantic as it may be, the truth is that lots of guys would be just like me if they had to bug out; that is in a mini-van with crying kids and a *****ing wife. We have all been there; a family road trip, the kids have to pee, the wife is hungry, and you are stuck in traffic. Do you think things would be any better if you were driving to an unknown location in an emergency with a bunch of other people running from the same thing? Life will go on, your kids will get cold, they will puke in the van, they will want to eat. Everyone will begin to miss their creature comforts. What about the pets? Yeah, I know there are lots of tough guys saying forget them. Try to put that one by the kids. What about prescription medications and coffee? Yes, they are the same to me.

    You also need someplace to go. This is a fundamental tactical rule. Never leave a location without having another location to move to. You have to consider time, distance, and terrain. If it is an apocalyptic event, will traveling only increase your exposure to threat? The farther the distance, the more exposure. On your route, are there likely choke points or checkpoints? Will you be crossing jurisdictions where what is a legally owned firearm at your home, is an arrestable offense in another? These are questions that come to mind for a preplanned location. What if you are in refugee mode and traveling with the masses? What if the unprepared on the route see something you have in traffic and decide to take it? I know, you will shoot them. What if they shoot you in return, and you are killed or injured? Does your wife know how to use your high speed gear? Does she even know enough first aid to save you? Can she do it with your kids screaming because blood is pumping out of your chest? Unfortunately, any of us may face these situations if there is an incident that makes our current location uninhabitable. Everyone should have a place in mind to move to if necessary. I like to use a town, county, state approach. Have somewhere to move in your town, out of your town, in another county, in another state. The most important one to me is the one in town. They should be people that are like minded. If you have kids, it would be helpful for them to have kids. If you have pets, they will be more welcome by someone else who has pets. The shorter the distance you need to move increases your survivability with a lesser amount of exposure.

    Preparedness is like physical fitness, the little things you do every day matter more than the big things you do once in a while. You will need a flashlight or first aid kit before a firearm. All three can save yours or someone else's life. You just need to admit to yourself that possession of an item has nothing to do with proficiency. To me it is more important that my wife can deal with an arterial bleed or perform CPR on my kid than be able to do transitions from a rifle to a pistol.

    Don't get me wrong, I love gear. Especially useful gear. Now that I am retired and teaching full time, I live out of the Bag of Evil. This is to the point that instead of packing my shaving kit to travel I just use my shaving kit at home. It makes it easier not to forget anything. I do the same thing with the Bag of Evil. When I am home, most of what I use from my digital camera, to spare batteries, to medications is in my bag. This has achieved two things. One is that I always know the status of my gear. Secondly, I can find anything in the bag in the dark or send someone else for something. I have been using the So Tech Mission Pack for over a year and do not see myself changing. The design of the bag allows me to use the front two pockets for everyday items and the interior mesh pockets for lesser used items, like my first aid and tool kit. The main compartment is left open except for my RMJ Shrike Tomahawk. Since the rest of the pack is full of EDC items, the main compartment can be filled with things that are mission specific or needed in an emergency. The bottom line is "know your bag". Work out of it, live out of it, carry it. There is nothing worse than picking up a stuffed pack and carrying it for the first time in an emergency. Work with your bag. If you find you need something more than once, just add it.

    If you need to balance a preparedness life style with being a normal person, do the little things every day. It also means you will be more aware, and better able to recognize your options. It is easier when you know what you have to work with.
  2. JC Refuge

    JC Refuge

    Oct 8, 2007
    Your perspective is wise and well-thought out mercop. Thanks for sharing that.

    You touch on a lot of detail that is worth exploring. I suppose we will do that over time here.

    One thing I'll expand on here is my now strongly held opinion in one major area. That is ... chances are strong that hunkering down in a well-prepared homestead, wherever you live, is going to be your best bet in most scenarios. Some of the most common obvious exceptions for most people are hurricane (although I am able to offer a solution in that regard that could eliminate that as a necessary evac), flood, and wildfire (this one too is survivable with proper planning and building). Also of course, if you live in or next to an inner city war zone to begin with--well, your focus today should be on changing that right now.

    In most other circumstances, you just may be better off prepping your home to be your fortress. You presumably know your neighborhood, your terrain, nearby resources, and most importantly, people nearby--all in all--you know and are a part of your community.

    Mercop, you pointed out some of the risks involved in picking up and heading for the hills in a crisis, along with most everyone else in an exodus situation. Yes, sometimes, you ARE well advised to do that. You have to be able to think that through and decide.

    But to leave your home, as well as perhaps most of your tools, security, and other physical assets ... well, really, that should be an absolute last resort. As you mentioned, you are choosing to become a refugee as opposed to remaining a part of something bigger than yourself ... an established, recognized, member of the community where you live and pay taxes, etc.

    If worse comes to worst, you are going to need others and others are going to be coming to you as well. Those others may as well be folks you know or at least recognize and have some basis for trust.

    I could go and on about this. But in a nutshell, there are a lot of folks--mostly those new to preparedness--who blindly embrace the romance of the Hollywood escape adventure. The fact is, since Y2K or thereabouts, that "conventional wisdom" has been replaced in most survival circles by this general understanding:

    Preparedness is about investing yourself, your time, and your effort in being ready for contingencies. It's wise to try, for as many contingencies as possible, to use your strongest positions and options to bolster your chances of success. The fact is--your home is your castle. Nothing else is home. Nowhere else are you part of the fabric of the community.

    And plainly, every other option that involves leaving the security of your home increases your immediate vulnerability.

    Thanks mercop! Good philosophical overview and insight, coming from some obvious experience that hopefully many benefit from!
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010

  3. mercop


    Jul 10, 2002
    Just got back from our first Scouts Family Camp. Our pack includes the whole family. The majority of families stayed in a large comfortable structure. What was obvious is how utterly unprepared people were. Even with weeks of notice people pretty much packed their lives in some plastic totes and moved it to the woods. These are the people you are going to deal with during a spontaneous event heading to the hills....good luck. The truth is that most of them will get on the road without having a destination figuring the government will provide along the way. We live in a society where people will sit in a sinking car and call 911 instead of opening the door.- George