Prepping 101 Series Intro – The Stigma of Being a Prepper

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Prepping is a stigmatized subject for two reasons. One is you look like a paranoid nutcase, but the other is that there is  whole industry of opportunists trying to sell us snake oil. As you'll see in our food overview, Walmart is a source of great bulk backup food and supplies.

Prepping is a stigmatized subject for two reasons. One is you look like a paranoid nutcase, but the other is that there is whole industry of opportunists trying to sell us snake oil. As you’ll see in our food overview, Walmart is a source of great bulk backup food and supplies.

It is easy to get lost in our world of technology and abundance. Every time I turn on the water tap in my home, water comes out. Every time I go to the grocery store, the shelves are full of food. The store clerk accepts either a plastic card from me in exchange for my food, or provide some combination of paper (actually cloth) currency. The lights in my home turn on when I flip the switch, and I can turn on the TV or use my computer to find out what is going on in the world anytime I want. And though I carry a gun every day (living in Miami I would be a fool not to), I don’t expect to ever have to use it to protect my family and belongings. I also have fuel to cook my food and if I get hurt I can go to the hospital and get fixed up right quick. All of this I fully expect to go on indefinitely, and probably to get even easier as time moves endlessly forward. I have been conditioned to believe that I will never have to live life without these “entitlements” (for lack of a better word), and if I question this assumption, I’m a paranoid nut.

But is prepping really nuts? Because chances are that whether it be for 3 days, 2 weeks, 6 months, 2 years or “for the foreseeable future,” at some point in my life, I am going to have to face living without one or more of those entitlements. Technology and abundance may make it seem like our easy lives are going to go on forever, but there is a serious hole in that thinking. Despite the mask of technology and abundance, we a are all still just humans, the same as we have ever been. Humans are soft, fleshy creatures that need a daily supply of water and food to survive. Water that we drink has to travel to us or we have to travel to it, and it can’t have anything harmful in it or we will get sick from it and possibly die. Food has to be grown from the earth in some way shape or form, then transported to us before it spoils. Historically, even within the past century, acquiring these things was a huge part of life. Today, in America, it isn’t. We don’t like paying $2.99 for tomatoes, few of us having any idea what it took to grown and get that tomato to the store.

The truth of our lives, in its most raw and simple form, makes the world a lot scarier place. Think of a world where nearly everything in “The Mall,” except for maybe some shoes and rudimentary clothes, is completely irrelevant to your life. Huge televisions and gas guzzling SUVs would be thought of as plagues to available resources, and poster children for the wasteful lives we used to live.

Joe Rogan, comedian and UFC commentator, once said in a comedy routine, “You know what I do when I am at home and the power goes out?”

“I wait.”

Western abundance has lulled us into thinking that someone is always going to turn the power back on. Maybe it always will, and of course we all hope it always will. But when does it become prudent to take precautions that it may not? Because if the power goes out today, it may just be a car hitting an electric pole down the street, but it could be things a lot more dangerous. The world has gotten really mean, and regardless of what you believe are the causes and the participants, we live in a world where anything can happen. Today, a coordinated virus attack on our nuclear power plants could have caused that power outage. Those plants could now be leaking radiation rather than keeping your lights on. The power could go out after a progression of cascading events. For example, a newly discovered crop disease has destroyed most of our food resources, and there is no longer anyone who can work a the power plant. World events could lead to the power going out. After a financial meltdown due to our national debt could destabilize the dollar worldwide, and the people who sell America energy no longer want to swap dollars for the oil and natural gas that produces a good deal of our electricity. I could go on and on, as could many of you. But the question remains, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ABOUT IT?

Last week we saw a major snowstorm in many of the southern states that aren’t used to snow. It took only the threat of the loss of necessities to start riots in supermarkets, with customers fighting in the isles over groceries. This was only for a temporary weather emergency. What happens if something catastrophic puts America on hold? Do you really think that it can’t happen? Might it possibly happen? Is it probable to happen? be honest with yourself and ask where does your opinion fall.

World War is a distant memory for a lot of our society, and even Cold War is now a history subject and no longer an imminent threat. We have new enemies, and frenemies, now though. With all of the crazy trade and debt swapping we do with China, just last week the Chinese released a photo of their newest mobile nuclear Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. We are only guessing that they can only hit Alaska and California with these types of missiles, but they also have nuclear subs.

Our own army is preparing for war in our own streets. They just completed a 300 acre town that looks like small town America, replete with a football field and community church. Last year a supplier of shooting targets to the Department of Homeland Security got in hot water for making targets of pregnant women and children. The answer from the company was that they were asked for these by law enforcement. Something is coming, and the executive branch of our government has been planning for it for a long time. Whether is from without or from within, the chance of a violent end to our way of life is scary real.

What about out money? America’s debt ceiling has been raised so many times that we have had our credit rating dropped worldwide. And there are strong signs, outlined in this InfoWars article, that China is encouraging the world away from the US dollar. If everyone suddenly realizes that the dollar is over-leveraged as compared to our actual assetts, worldwide exports would be cut off. This would lead to fuel and food shortages, and would directly effect the quality of our lives.

Food is also in a very dangerous situation. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMO, has infiltrated nearly all of our farming, and if you look to what India has had to deal with since the introduction of Monsanto’s GMO cotton, those people are killing themselves because new diseases are destroying their crops. What if that happened to corn and soy? That is what all of our farm animals eat, and it also makes up a lot of what we eat. One unexplained plant disease could wipe out everything, and with it our entire standard of living in America. GMO was passed through the FDA with rubber stamps back in the 80s and 90s, and to this day the main company involved, Monsanto, has a revolving door policy with the FDA. Executives from Monsanto and FDA switch back and forth with no accountability whatsoever. Most people don’t know this, but the actual research studies on GMO products are run by the companies that develop the crops, not an independent third party organization or university. The research is bought and paid for by those with the most to gain, while we hang on the precipice. Google around for Monsanto, FDA, and search YouTube.

Last but not least is the stomping ground of the most prolific of those who would play on our fears. It is infectious disease. Movies like World War Z paint a vivid picture of what would happen if something like rabies infected the human population. But there are also real world scares. We all remember H1N1 bird flu right? That was an excuse for the government to vaccinate us. Reports like the one out of Pakistan this week about a new outbreak of Polio, are really scary, but if you read into them, the answer for Polio is also more vaccinations. You can’t send your kid to school without them, and you can’t walk into a doctors office or Walgreens without being pestered about them. I ask, should we fear the mystery illnesses that never seem to do any harm, or the vaccines that they are always trying to pump us full of? We have known for a century of so how diseases spread, and avoiding those things isn’t so hard if you stay indoors and away from people. But we’ll get to that.

When you step back and look at all of the terrible things that could happen to our country, it makes you want to … START A SURVIVAL BUSINESS! … right? That is the problem with trying to figure out exactly what you should do in the way of prepping, and what isn’t so important. Every website that explains the dangerous ills of the world also seems to try to sell you the latest thing from the advertisers currently in an advertising campaign on the website. I’ve seen, and bought, everything from ebooks about fish farming (Aquaponics) to mini-woodstoves. Not all of these products are what they seem, and one company in particular, the fish farming people, are outright charlatans. Fear is an easy sell, and the websites that carry these ads shouldn’t be a party to suckering in their unwitting readers. Paying the bills is one thing, but paying the bills with ads from a company that is set up specifically to take advantage of naive people is another.

At GunsAmerica we have refused ads from within and from outside the gun industry for many years due to ethical concerns. After the election of Obama, and then again in 2012, many potential advertisers approached us with advertorial videos about concealed carry, targeted to first time gun buyers. They turned out to be time share scams! The same is true today of “survival” and “prepping.” We refuse to take the ads, because very few of them are in your best interest if you hope to survive a complete breakdown of society. The ebooks that you see on InfoWars and many of the “conservative” websites are ridiculously vague and poorly written excuses for advice that is culled from stories and fictional ideas. None of them will help you survive a weekend, never mind a year.

Rather than just rehash the fodder that is already out there, we have painstakingly researched the resources that we believe are at least a good start. In most cases we actually have gone out and purchased survival supplies in order to review them here. Most of them we paid for at full retail price. One thing you will find is that prepping isn’t cheap. It takes a lot of resources for us to live in what is nothing short of the lap of luxury, and to prepare to live without it takes a small personal version of those resources that you have to build and maintain yourself. Most people say prep for a year’s worth of food. What do you spend on food for your family for a year? Putting that much food away is going to be nearly as expensive. There is no end of the world insurance policy from Blue Cross. Your insurance premium is what you can spend, and if you do so wisely, you’ll be in much better shape should you need the stored reserves.

The articles will be coming out in a series, each based on a specific need that us soft and fleshy creatures need to survive, generally on these topics:

Water – The most diverse and required topic for prepping. Depending on where and how you live, this is something you have to address first.
Food – What is “prepper food” and how does it differ from a well stocked backup pantry. Also, where you can find bulk food, and how to store it properly.
Cooking – One of the easiest and least expensive things to set yourself up for in advance of a catastrophe. All it takes is going and doing it.
Medicine – The most difficult thing to prepare, but there are ways to get basic necessities to survive common third world diseases, should we end up in the same boat with them.
Seeds & Gardening – “Food bank” seeds are not going to do you any good down the road if you don’t know how to grow them. This is an overview with required actions.
Solar – Making your electricity can help with a lot of stuff, but solar is expensive and confusing. We bought a $5,000 rig to see what it can do.
Heating – In some parts of the country heat is really important several months per year. We came up with some ideas on how to heat your living space in a world without fuel deliveries.
Security – Advance warning of attackers can help you survive those crucial moments upon which your live may hinge. Old school perimeter security is a must.
Radiation- Is it fear mongering or just prudent to prepare for a nuclear disaster? Fukushima in Japan should have woken the world up to the dangers of what can happen, but it really didn’t. And did I mention the Chinese? Oh yea I did.
Communications – With no cell phones, television or talk radio, the “talking points” of life will go poof. At some point American will begin to cobble itself together, and amateur 2 way radio will be the only communication that matters. There are a few different angles to the communications topic, not the least of which is tactical superiority, and we’ll cover that too. An emergency weather radio just isn’t going to cut it.

Why is a gun website running a series on prepping? Is it just to jump on the bandwagon because it is a popular topic? No. In fact the popular topic aspect of prepping is the biggest problem with it. Some of those TV shows are just downright silly, and they are not showing you real preppers. The reason we are covering this topic is because of the false illusion that guns will help you in a survival situation. My best friend has always been fond of saying, “I don’t need to prepare. I have guns.” That is false for two reasons. The first is that of course other people have guns, and nobody wants to be in a gunfight. The second is that there is a pretty good chance that your neighbors are as ill prepared as you are. Even if it is at gunpoint, the local stores will be cleaned out in a matter of days, and those supplies will have been eaten or spoiled by several days later. Guns are required to potentially protect what you have, but you can’t eat them or drink them. Besides, rather than plan to fight for your supplies, the best thing you can do is…

HIDE EVERYTHING! Unless you have a dedicated group of people who are all putting in the same amount of resources, assume that you are going to be on your own. If you have kids or parents to feed and take care of, that makes things even more difficult, because a gunfight is out of the question. The moment you or your family lets in another mouth to feed, you may as well have not prepared at all. We will get into the details of how to hide what you are doing. At the outset you have to decide that this is a covert operation, and not even the kids should be told. The other reason is actually the government. In a very strange and unexplained move in March of 2013, President Obama updated an old crisis appropriations power with a new executive order called NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS. It gives the executive branch of government (which is the President), the power to take anything and everything that they want in times of crisis. Check out section 201 if you think this is just fear mongering and taking things out of context. You tell me what is says.

Where to start? That is the biggest question. Obviously we are starting with water and food because they are basic necessities for life. But before that question you really have to ask what are you going to do in the event of a catastrophic disaster that you are not personally in, but close enough to that it matters. Joel Skousen, a 30 year expert on prepping and author of Strategic Relocation, explains in a video with Alex Jones that in his experience, only one person out of 10 that think about prepping actually do anything about it. Joel has consulted on the design and construction of hundreds of secret bunkers for some of the richest people in the world. Where you live has a lot to do with what you can prepare for, and I highly recommend his book. If all you do is develop a basic plan for both staying at home and going way from your home, you are way ahead of most folks, and it will help you keep your head in a time of the utmost crisis.

The worst thing about prepping for disaster is the stigma of it. Your very best outcome ever is that you will look like a silly fool who prepared for nothing and wasted thousands and tens of thousands of dollars on stuff you never needed. The worst outcome is that you forgot to store that one thing that you will have to stand in line or fight your neighbors for, and that is what we are trying to avoid. Because whether disaster strikes and it lasts for one week, one year, or a lifetime, the less interaction you have with people outside of your unit the better. It is a dog eat dog world now. Imagine when there are no dogs left to eat. I hope to look like a fool 20 years down the road, but the more you look into what America has done in the last 30 years, the more it looks like we are headed for something bad, and something big. I could have kept all of this information to myself, but gun lovers are the backbone of freedom in America, and if I can help anyone survive, it is you.

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  • Steve February 24, 2014, 4:18 am

    The saying “saving up for a rainy day” always made good sense. Your absolutely right that we are too dependent on
    the system, stores and the grid. Were living in scary times and anyone who opens there eyes and looks around can
    see that there are bad things happening all around this world. Our government couldn’t even handle Katrina properly do you really want to depend on them in a time of need. Preppers are smart for looking to the future and its possible problems. Sure there are several things that can go wrong but prepping just makes good sense. It may not save them in the long run but it may give them a fighting chance to survive in several different scenario’s. Plan for the worst hope for the best.

    • grassroot February 24, 2014, 1:31 pm

      And, the very real possibility of an EMP, Electro magnetic pulse, could happen whether it be from the sun or our
      ” friends” across the water, it would, if done high enough in sub space and strongly enough, wipe out the whole
      electrical grid system. And listening to those who are on the news who work in the industry, there are no spares
      in the way of large transformers on hand. They must be manufactured ahead of time by order. And the time frame
      is many months.

      • Smoke Hill Farm February 24, 2014, 10:50 pm

        A number of civilian disaster scenarios (EMP, terrorist assaults against infrastructure, bioweapons, etc) were evaluated when I was stationed at the Pentagon 1978 -85, and many of them resulted in massive civilian casualties in whatever area was affected, depending on how urban the area, how densely populated, how long the disaster lasted — and the specific area. Obviously Boston or NYC losing their electric grid in the winter would leave most people frozen to death unless they could somehow be evacuated, even if they could somehow manage the lack of food & water (which they couldn’t). In Miami, not so much. Panic & riots, in urban settings, were estimated to cause as many casualties as the actual disaster. In the case of a widespread EMP, basically there was no hope of any meaningful assistance from ANY level of government.

        My understanding of an EMP attack is that not only would the hi-voltage transformers be ruined, but virtually all unprotected silicon chips would be permanently fried also. As a result of this the Dept of Defense began hardening the wiring & electronics in vehicles such as planes, ships, satellites, & tanks, and re-thinking the design of all our computers and communication networks. I recall hearing that the Soviets had far less of a problem back then because so much of their equipment was hard-wired rather than built around silicon chips. What the situation is with military equipment now, 30 yrs later, I have no idea.

        It seems obvious, though, that civilian vehicles like cars & planes are going to be instant, permanent junk the minute an EMP occurs. Every plane in the air (aside from antique Piper Cubs & such) will crash. Any boat out will not be coming back under its own power. No car, plane or truck will ever move again. While there will be some old classic cars, trucks & tractors still usable, no doubt they will be instantly commandeered by law enforcement or the military …. though most of them will be more concerned about protecting their families & themselves than with showing up to deal with riots & looters, as we saw with the New Orleans cops.

        Even if only a portion of the country is affected by an EMP, just consider the impossibility of American industry, in a period of massive panic and widespread upheaval, producing enough replacement chips to get millions of vehicles moving again, when each car probably has a dozen or more fried parts — not to mention the number of mechanics remaining in the disaster area that could do the repairs. We’d be stuck in that morass for years.

        And that doesn’t even count the millions of other electronic devices that would also be wiped out — cell phones (and their towers & equipment), TVs, radios, internet, every computer, and even most of your kitchen & household appliances. Largely academic, since there would be no electricity available, for months or possibly years. Also no water, unless you haul water from river or can dip from a shallow well. Even if you have a propane tank or a full heating oil tank, it won’t work without electricity, and what’s left in your generator tank won’t keep the juice flowing long. In most areas of the country you’ll either learn to cut wood with a saw & split it, or freeze.

        Not a pretty picture

        I do, however, believe that one cannot OVEREMPHASIZE the need for a significant arsenal of weapons and a large supply of ammo (not to mention a workable defense plan for your home, if you choose not to bug out). Your best friend, neighbor or family member will cheerfully cut your throat once his family is starving, whether you believe it or not, and you’d better be ready to defend what you’ve got. I haven’t spent my retirement on a small farm, stockpiling necessities, and stocking two ponds with fish (within rifle distance of my back door), just to let some urban mongrels take it away. Even with 10,000 rounds, plus 8000 for the hi-velocity .22 airguns, I probably need more if I’m going to be hunting for an indefinite period of time.

        Since my parents were raised in the Depression, I had some good lessons about stocking food & other essentials against bad times. One suspects that the more serious, and skilled, “preppers,” are not going to be found among the younger crowd, to whom disaster just means that their X-Box is malfunctioning.

        • bladeandprepper.com June 9, 2014, 10:33 pm

          Your comment is detailed enough to be an article all by itself. A great read.
          I’m afraid if anything major ever really happens, 99% of the population will panic and be dead within a few weeks. People just don’t understand the need to be prepared these days. All they care about is the ball game and what’s on TV. In their eyes, everything is going to be just fine. Until it isn’t….

  • GaryJ February 24, 2014, 4:53 am

    They calling it prepping now, when I was a child it was called preparing for bad winters or bad crop seasons.
    You can & store food, extra fire wood, water and everyday needs like medical stored. Because the trip to town in bad weather can be dangerous.

    I guess the terms prepping & prep sing as it were for promotional reasons and Americans loves titles.

    • MSG John Laigaie February 24, 2014, 11:55 am

      When I was a kid we called it common sense. Not a great deal of that going around anymore. Sad

  • gnfightr February 24, 2014, 6:32 am

    The editors probably do not need any advice on this, but I would recommend Mainprepper on You Tube, and also his radio channel there as well, Main Prepper, as one of the sites you should check first. A wealth of knowledge, common sense, and values. This is my opinion of course, but I think you will agree.

    • Ken D. February 24, 2014, 7:33 am

      Maineprepper…He lives in Maine and is a great source for preparing before a disaster hits.

  • KDM February 24, 2014, 7:02 am

    I think that some of the stigma that preppers are not good thinkers would go away if the writers of pieces like this would spell check their work to eliminate spelling errors. It makes us look illiterate.

  • db February 24, 2014, 7:28 am

    I grew up in rural West Virginia (isn’t it ALL rural though?). I now live on the east coast of Florida less than a mile from the ocean. I’ve fallen back on my country upbringing, where we’ve always had to rely on ourselves, in order to be better prepared for “bad things”. Hurricanes, flooding, power outages, job loss and illness have all hit my family personally in the last 10 years. For the most part, we have coasted through it due to using a little foresight.

    I live in town on a 1/4 acres, yet we garden, raise some of our own animal protein, can, dehydrate, and buy in bulk on a daily basis. Meal preparation is based on what we have and what is on sale. Stockpiling food that stores well (or stores well with some effort on your part) is very doable on a budget.

    And none of what we do takes up any more time that what you’d waste watching TV.

    Bad things DO happen…..how you prepare for them will dictate how bad the situation can become.

    Great article, I am happy to see GA getting involved with helping out our own folks.

  • Henry February 24, 2014, 8:34 am

    I found your article very interesting to read. I also live in Miami, FL and find that not many are prepping. It is a big city so when a catastrophic disaster happens not many will be prepared.

    The other problem if there is an EMP Miami is only 22 to 23 miles from a nuclear power plant which would be a problem after two weeks. What will you do if this happens? I like to know what is the best thing to do.

    I think there are two real disasters that may happen soon, one is an EMP and the other is a Financial end to the U. S. Dollar.

    • Administrator February 24, 2014, 8:44 am

      Get some potassium iodide tablets.

      • Muhjesbude February 24, 2014, 2:25 pm

        Good thinking, Administrator. They’re pretty cheap now. But don’t take them unless there’s an actual threat of radiation. Best thing to do is set yourself up to bug out as soon as you hear about it and avoid the later dangerous rush.

  • Randy H February 24, 2014, 9:37 am

    I spend a fair amount of time reading and listening to folks speak of this topic. I have head/read some real screwballs and then again I have seen some real informative articles. I have taken some very basic step to self preservation and the preservation of my family. I have given great thought to this issue and am very much on the fence in my field of work I see the worst of the worst at their peak of idiocy. I feel that we are heading for something big but I am not sure how. I hear people talk of economic failure, then they speak of foreign invasion, so on. I hear a lot of people swear that our current administration is hurting our country badly. I agree to a point( I really do not like this administration, I think they do not have our best interest in mind.)<<< keeping it polite as to stay off the watch list LMAO. I would enjoy reading some informative info and advice and idea's from other's who are not screwballs (death mongers) I do believe that we will be in serious trouble we will have to worry about foreign invaders as well as the marauders from within. the meek will not do well sorry to say. well enough for my paranoid rants….LOL hope we get some great or even some credible info from these articles…. thanks for the articles by the way…

  • Cecil Brooks February 24, 2014, 10:03 am

    For those of you who are buying large amounts of food for hard times to come, you might take note, that even tho you don’t tell people about what you are doing, the government probably knows. If your using plastic to buy this stuff with than they probably know. The grocery store usually knows everything you buy as well with these little club cards they have. You can’t hardly do anything with out showing who you are.

    • Muhjesbude February 24, 2014, 2:29 pm

      If you are worrying about that sort of thing, which is a legitimate concern, in many ways, pay cash for your purchases and don’t use the club card. But before ‘they’ ever get around to systematic seizure of ‘hoarded stockpiles’ of basic necessities, they’ll be hard at work on those whose AR’s and such are registered and ammo purchased with credit cards.

    • Smoke Hill Farm February 24, 2014, 11:34 pm

      I tore up my credit cards when I retired and never regretted it for a moment. When my two retirement checks come in, I draw almost all of it out in cash and budget for the rest of the month. No paper trail, no one knows what I buy, or how much food, guns, ammo are stockpiled.

      The more you stay below the radar, the fewer people will be trying to take what’s yours.

  • Ricardo DeLeon February 24, 2014, 10:20 am

    I am a preparedness writer in Miami n share the views of those preppers who started out prepping for hurricanes n other natural events that cause interruption of electricity, food supply n other services. My specialties are hand-crafted/home made means of emergency power generation, also collecting used veggie oil as a diesel or heating energy source, wind n solar power home made solutions, potable water generation via home made sun-powered distillation methods, etc. I believe the SoFlo communities want n need the ideas that we as preppers have developed as items they may want to consider. For example, I am just now moving back to Miami Argentina from n just getting started prepping n starting container veggie/fruit gardening at my condo. It is not going as well as I hoped, n I could use some feedback from experienced container gardeners. A lot of us could help others, n do not reach out. I wonder if there is any interest in the SoFlo prepper community in forming a semi-formal group to organize our education outreach efforts to help the community be more aware of their options for disaster survival? I can be reached at ric dele at gee mail dot com. I apologise if this post is considered inappropriate in this forum.

  • Ricardo DeLeon February 24, 2014, 10:34 am

    I wonder if there is interest among SoFlorida preppers in forming a group to offer outreach to local folks who are interested in prepping, but are hesitant to begin the learning curve. I am a prepper whose specialties include alternative energy, home made solutions for potable water generation n electrical power generation. However, I need advice on container gardening for fruits n veggies in my condo balcony. I think organizing n sharing would be useful n fun. If interested, please feel free to contact me at ric dele at g mail dot com. Thanks -Rick

  • Rob February 24, 2014, 10:46 am

    Very good subject, does not matter where it comes from but only how you will react to the conditions as they unfold. How big is your group, this will dictate what you prep for, do you have the mental wherewithal to lead/control those you have within your group (not having this will get you killed quick), many guns and ammo reserves may make you think that you are secure but what happens if/when you need to shoot/kill someone, mental preparedness is what will most effect your outcome in any of these nasty situations. Always be flexible as well as mentally calm, this can be learned/self taught, try putting yourself initially into small scenarios’ that will challenge your mental state and build from their, may not sound like much but will go along way into keeping you cooler/calmer in situations that you will not see coming.

  • Bernie W February 24, 2014, 10:51 am

    I have read some of the comments and the article and part of the truth only one person mentioned was “prepping” is a modern term, remember the “survivalist” word or the backyard bomb shelters of not too long ago? My grandparents back in the day always had extra food and water stored in the basement, now that was back when school kids, myself included, were doing “duck & cover” drills in schools and by the way we said the pledge every morning which schools don’t do as much any more.

    The Red Dawn scenario probably isn’t going to occur anytime soon but that type of Cold War threat has been replaced by very real and dangerous threats like an EMP bringing down the grid, like a terrorist exploding a low yield atomic weapon in an American city, bio and chemical warfare threats, the list is pretty long on the man made side. Mother Nature can cause a real melt down of society, look no further than Katrina or the L.A riots. Articles that help people prepare for real events not things like a Zombie attack would be welcomed by more people than care to admit it. Sure people don’t wan’t to be seen a crazy or on the fringe of something that’s normal but the nice part about today’s world is that you can get the information you are looking for on the web and your friends or family won’t know unless you tell them.

    Having a solid source for real and correct information would certainly be welcomed. One last thing, as for the government, the government should fear the people not the other way around.

  • Elkhunter February 24, 2014, 11:02 am

    I do not consider myself a prepper. But as an outdoorsman, fisher, hunter I keep a lot of fuel, stoves and various equipment on hand just so I am ready to go. I have, at any given time, maybe a 5 month food supply. This has more to do with buying canned goods etc. when they are on sale and rotating my stock simply to have a cushion and save some money. Water, if need be, will be filtered from my swimming pool within about the same time frame. I am well armed because I have made it a 40 year habit to pick up a few boxes of shells when I see a good deal. This has really helped with the recent .22 shortage/ price gouging. All my .22 ammo was purchased in the 1980′s and I have a lifetime supply. Having been raised in rural AZ certain habits are ingrained. Have what you need to weather a short term crisis. Keep you vehicles gas tanks near full. Let’s face it, if a catastrophe lasts more than 5 months we are probably all screwed anyway and it will be dog eat dog.

    • Muhjesbude February 24, 2014, 2:38 pm

      Well done, Elkhunter! Don’t forget extra scrotewipe rolls! Oh, and beer. Everclear 180 proof ‘sippin’ alcohol can also be used in your car in an emergency, and as a disinfectant, lamp fuel, and…!

      • Elkhunter February 24, 2014, 4:56 pm

        Thanks Muhjesbude, I forgot about alcohol. Without it, life really isn’t worth living. I will have to stock up. Good point.

        • Administrator February 24, 2014, 6:11 pm

          And books! Don’t forget books. Survival is boring.

          • Smoke Hill Farm February 25, 2014, 12:24 am

            Few preppers think about stockpiling books. You’ll get mighty bored reading the same dozen books year after year.

            Don’t forget to include useful ones on First Aid, Emergency Surgery (the NATO handbook is good), butchering & cooking game, small engine repair, cookbooks, poultry management, gardening, blacksmithing, carpentry, etc. Some of the old “reprint” books from 100 yrs ago will be very useful, too. There are a lot of them on wilderness survival, camping skills, building small sheds & cabins, and one particularly useful one called (roughly) “Useful (or Handy?) Farm Implements & Devices.”

            For just entertainment reading, your first choice should be Goodwill stores or yard sales, where books go dead cheap. I read about 75 books a year, and have saved every one of them for the past 20 years.

            In a pinch, the more easily-sacrificed ones will be useful for starting fires … or when the toilet paper eventually runs out.

  • Barry Newman February 24, 2014, 12:26 pm

    Thank you for this helpful and informative article. I have been a fan of your website and articles ever since I developed an interest in arms and survival in the face of potential disaster. The problem with articles like this is that only those who are already “awake” will be reading them. I agree that people perceive you as a “whacko” when they hear that you are storing water, food, supplies, etc., and I truly hope that, as you said, in twenty years we will look back and realize that we wasted a lot of time and energy and money for nothing. But the risks are real, and no one would tell you that you are crazy for buying life insurance, or auto insurance where it is the same exact bet: that you are betting that you will win, but hoping that you will lose the bet (i.e. you win if there is a catastrophe and you lose if nothing bad happens). I no longer care, and have saved and stored as much as I can slowly put away. i no longer say anything to my family, but I am putting together bug-out bags for my kids in hopes that if the SHTF that they might have a shot at making it home from across the country, or at least live long enough to get to safety. I have taken training for disaster relief in my community and am trying to organize my neighborhood. But the more you talk to people the less they really want to hear.
    I do not agree with your interpretation regarding the National Defense Preparedness order in that it only discusses contracts and use and development of commercial resources and public storage. I am not sure that this order enables the government to confiscate private or personal resources, but in an emergency I am sure that would not stop them anyway.
    Also, one other important comment about the vaccinations, from my view as a physician, it has been consistently proven that these are the safest means of preventing widespread and debilitating diseases. No vaccine, just like no medicine, is consistently safe, and there are always possibilities of complications and side effects. But for most people who have not lived through the eras when these diseases were very common, killing and maiming thousands if not millions, there is no other good alternative. Once people stop doing them you lose herd immunity and open the possibility of new and widespread outbreaks. It is not something any of us will like if it happens. And in an end of the world scenario, disease will end up becoming one of the biggest killers of the population. Do the vaccinations people. That’s all.
    I really look forward to your upcoming articles. I expect that they will be as helpful and educational as this one. Thanks again.

    • Elkhunter February 24, 2014, 5:05 pm

      Agree. As a senior citizen I am vigilant in getting a flu shot every year. Have not had the flu since i started some 20 years ago. As I am sure you know, flu has killed more people in history than all other diseases/war combined. Get smart people.

    • Smoke Hill Farm February 25, 2014, 12:37 am

      Very well put, and very necessary. Unfortunately, there is a significant part of the prepper community that also swallows some of the conspiracy Kool-Ade — the usual Black Helicopter crows that thinks “Chemtrails” are a government plot to poison us, that vaccines are merely another gov’t plot, or that 9-11 was caused by (pick one): the CIA, Mossad, the Bilderbergers, Jew Bankers, Trilateralists, Freemasons, or those little gray aliens who landed in Roswell.

      Certainly not all preppers are nutters, and even those that are may still be excellent preppers who can still teach us a few things, but it pays to be a bit skeptical nonetheless, and use common sense.

  • theQ February 24, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Thanks for moving beyond the 2nd Amendment, self-protection debate. We all need to accept the point made in the 1950′s book “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”, that God sees us as chicks in an egg……He gave us enough resources and time to learn that we are all in this together, but we must hatch out of that attitude of seemingly endless plenty, and understand we are destined to be the collective “Captain” of this magnificent spaceship.

  • mrrtodd February 24, 2014, 1:24 pm

    City dwellers are DEAD. End of story.

    Want to prep to live? GET THE FRAK OUT OF TOWN and reasonably far into the country and as close to a water supply as possible, like a river or creek that does not flow due to man.

    Then do the other stuff to prep and you will stand some chance. Actually the people who will survive a true apocalypse or pandemic are those who have bought or built a cabin or home that is 3 to 5 days of walking distance from any medium size town. When the food runs out and all that is left are people with guns, bullets and empty stomachs do you think these people will stand there and starve to death? No, they will form gangs and take anything and everything in an ever increasing radius from any city. If they can walk to where your cabin or remote home is in 3 to 5 days, you are dead as you can only fight off so many intruders before being over run.

    So, do you really want to prep? Buy or build that very remote hunting cabin you always wanted and make sure it has a hidden basement filled with supplies. In most remote areas land is cheap and many people can afford a small cabin, it is about the cost of a new car to get this entire operation built if you are frugal. Make sure you have the one thing that can get you to it, fuel. When the end comes don’t wait around, travel there right away and stay and the most important thing of all, don’t tell any one you are going. Not your neighbors, not your Friends, not your extended family because as is said in this article, those people will want to come along and you will have to feed them.

    Do you already live in a small rural town? think you will live due to this? It just means more people with guns that can and will come and take what you got when the time comes and they are all starving to death.

    Want to survive? Start thinking and get ready. I been preaching this for years and in a total shock the other day my wife said, lets do it, lets build that remote vacation cabin and be ready. She now believes. Why? Read below.

    The Bird Flu.

    Out of all the possibilities that could bring the end, the one I believe WILL happen is the bird flu.

    That is coming, there is simply no question, it has already had a few false starts and started to infect humans, all that stands between it and the end is a few more mutations and mutations is something that mother nature is damn good at. When it hits you better know what to do because it will be world wide and UN-stoppable.

    I have bought bird flu books and bought the needed supplies and trained my entire family and all of my friends on how to care for the people they love. It is not that hard but you better be prepared to do it yourself as no one will be there to do it for you. When 70% or more of the population is in the process of dying from this, no one will be there to care for you or the people you love except for you and your family and each one of them MUST know what to do.

  • Muhjesbude February 24, 2014, 2:20 pm

    Great article! I never say that about the incessant reviews about useless redundancy non-optimal personal defense knock-off weapons, but i really think this type of article should be an integral part of the GA forum.

    Mrrtodd is right. Don’t subscribe to those stupid ‘survival books’ telling you that you can ‘survive in place’ during a major catastrophic event in a major city. All the firepower in the world and all the ammo and food will not stop them from burning you out. If you don’t already have an alternate bug out location and plan ahead for the event, at least have a well stocked/equipped bug out vehicle set up so you can go at a moments notice and at least camp out for a while somewhere in the rural countryside at least an hour’s drive from a big city.

    You can always come back if things get back under safe control. But you’ll never get out unless you prepare ahead of time. You saw what just a minor ice storm did in Atlanta to the traffic which really was just going slow until it stalled with a few accidents. Then people ran out of gas. And everything ‘froze in place’.

    Imagine a situation where a dirty bomb or overnight a insanely fast spreading plague virus like ebola jammed the ER’s and forced hospitals to shut down in hours in your city and hoardes of panic driven cars all tried to get out of Doge at the same time? The only difference between Atlanta during the ice storm, and Atlanta if this happens is that the people won’t be quietly abandoning their vehicles and sleeping in churches and gyms and food store shelves. They’ll be violently killing each other to get to the front of the line and out of the city.

    If GA continues with articles of serious interest like this, i’ll contribute free professional advice that would save some of the subscribers good money on the subject.

  • Viet Vet February 24, 2014, 2:42 pm

    I’ve been prepping longer than most have been alive. Back then we thought we were facing a nuclear war with the Soviets (Still could happen). I was in the big blackout back east in 2003. My power was out for 6 days. I saw what happened in New Orleans after Katrina (A lot of things weren’t reported). It’s not called the thin veneer of civilization for nothing. As long as you have water you CAN survive. Even in Arizona. Underground aquifers. Whatever it is it will happen soon (Who needs the Constitution, I have a pen?).

  • karylkoolkat February 24, 2014, 5:10 pm

    Please expedite these articles. I have been interested in accumulating a backup food source since reading Howard Ruff’s articles in the 70′s/80′s. Recently I have been accumulating stuff, without a plan. I need a plan. Help.

    • Administrator February 24, 2014, 6:10 pm

      Working on them. There is a lot.

  • theQ February 24, 2014, 5:50 pm

    Just spoke with a retired Emergency Services Director of a Calif nuke plant, and he’s involved in neighborhood preparedness programs. ID who will need assistance, make plans, have regular meetings, etc. Definitely not a survivalist, which I’m seeing a lot of here.

    Does the moderator care to make that distinction? Between invasion, war, etc, and natural disasters of less than Armageddon quality? Otherwise, the focus seems to be on the “Bomb Shelter” mentality of the ’50s Cold war.

    • Administrator February 24, 2014, 6:08 pm

      There is definitely a difference between emergency management and prepping. That would be the short answer.

      • Smoke Hill Farm February 25, 2014, 1:39 am

        Yes, and a huge difference it is.

        Preparing for an emergency of several weeks, or even several months is, frankly, rather easy in comparison to long-term prepping, since in the long term you WILL eventually run out of toilet paper, canned food, firewood, and dish/laundry soap and ammo — and instead of being rescued by the National Guard or FEMA you will gradually find yourself in primitive conditions, as if you had been transported back in time to the frontier of the 18th or 19th centuries — something most of us are poorly-equipped to thrive in.

        It does not take a genius to figure out how to survive in those circumstances, but it does take an incredible amount of planning and research, and constant updating of our supplies, and our thinking as we realize we missed something. After a number of years of prepping and taking notes, I still find things to add to “The List.” I will be hunkering down on my very small farm, with lots of game & fish, but somehow NAILS never made it to the list. Even though I have a lot of nails & screws around at this moment, it”s another thing that I need to monitor, and ensure that a good supply is ALWAYS on hand.

        I recommend that newcomers start by preparing for a short-term, probably weather-related emergency, and then gradually work to longer and longer-term self-sufficiency as their skills and mind-set develop.

  • Jutt February 24, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Here’s my prepping advise:

    1) Prepare your soul. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ. If you do nothing else, start here as our time on earth is finite, even for the best prepared.

    2) Practice “common sense” prepping: keep enough water, food and other supplies on hand to survive at least a month. Don’t go nuts as its easy to become obsessed. Build from there as time and resources allow.

    3) Love your neighbor as yourself. Yep, even your Prius driving next door neighbor with the Obama sticker. Invest in building community now as the lone wolf will probably not survive regardless of how many loaded PMAGS you have stashed away. Balance this mindset with being prudent of what you divulge. In other words, your Obama voting neighbor probably doesn’t need to know about your 100 loaded PMAGS but they may like to know about your chickens or your rainwater catchment system. If you get them to buy chickens or catch rainwater than that’s a win. Bottomline: balance your opsec properly.

    4) Raise livestock, have gardens, hunt and fish. Our grandparents and every generation before them survived without a 24 hour super Walmart and so can we. Even in a lot of cities nowadays, one can raise chickens. Rabbits are another good source of meat. Gardens are a no-brainer. Learn to preserve surplus by canning, smoking, etc. Want the freest of free-range, the greenest of “green” and the most organic of organic meat possible without paying $500 per pound at Wholefoods? Go hunting. Preserve what you don’t use. We Elk and mule deer hunt here in CO.

    5) Kill your TV, restrict internet/gaming time. My family and I used to waste massive amounts of free time in front of electronic devices, now we spend time taking care of gardens, raising chickens and hunting in the fall. Guess which one is more rewarding?

    6) Take some solid training courses or at least go through some drills at home. It’s great living in a country where we can own ten AR-15s but learn how to use them properly! Especially if preparing for an event where you have to defend your family/neighbors. This becomes even more important if you have to train your Obama voting neighbor on small group tactics.

    7) Prepare your body. Get in shape.

  • Lynn February 24, 2014, 9:07 pm

    Good stuff,If Ray Charles was still alive he would see it coming!!!!!

  • God's Slave February 24, 2014, 11:27 pm

    I am a student of God’s Word (the Bible)- oops these are “dirty words” in this God hating society. But for the very few that are interested, this Scripture has much to say about the “last days” preceded by the great falling away or apostasy which we are now seeing. The prophets such as Daniel in the Old Testament and the God inspired apostles’ letters in the New Testament especially the Revelation of Christ, reveal a time of judgement on this earth prior to Christ’s return that will be unlike anything this world has ever gone through or ever will. But, more importantly, the Bible presents the gospel or good news regarding the ultimate prepping which is how to prepare for eternity which is far more important than earthly disaster prepping (although that is a valid concern) since physical death is imminent for all of us considering how short life really is. Most of us are very careful to choose a good restaurant, what car to purchase, which school to send children to, etc. However, when it comes to our eternal destination, little or no thought is given to that. The true horror story is to wake up in the judgement of the damned with no recourse except to endure the just penalty for our sin against a perfect and Holy God. The solution is to search your Bible and ask the Spirit of God for illumination and understanding of His Truth and submit to this Truth.

    • Elkhunter February 25, 2014, 6:56 pm

      A bit off topic, but appreciated nonetheless. I am at peace with God. I would like to think that everyone on this forum would help others in need if/when a disaster strikes. Peace be with you.

  • Mike February 24, 2014, 11:34 pm

    6 years ago the county I lived in in Iowa was hit by a massive ice and wind storm. This storm seriously knocked down every power pole in the entire county. The small town I lived in was dark 5 days and nights. Fortunately small town Iowa the people there are good folks and look out for each other. Let me tell you that I have since moved from there into a bigger town, not by choice but the experience taught me a lesson. I now have my house wired for a portable generator and while I only intend to run it if necessary it is comforting to know ri at least will have heat in the winter if problems develope

  • grif February 25, 2014, 12:35 am

    One area of prepping that is rarely discussed is preparing for more likely and foreseeable disasters.
    Are you really prepared if you don’t have an adequate life insurance policy purchased for the benefit of your loved ones? What about disability insurance? You are far more likely to be disabled through injury or disease and be unable to work, creating a true economic disaster for yourself and family. Have we sufficiently allocated for this occurrence?
    You are far more likely in the future to end up in a nursing home some day than facing zombies, civil unrest or the total breakdown of the power grid. Having to bankrupt yourself to pay/qualify for decent care is just another disaster looming, a disaster that Americans are facing everyday, right now. Have you stashed away a Long Term Care policy for you and your spouse?
    Have you all fully funded your 401k’s and IRA’s every year? Your senior years will eventually come, but that EMP attack is just a theory. You will need something to live on- most medical diagnostic clinics and dentists won’t take canned goods as a co-pay.
    Don’t get me wrong, having unlimited financial resources I’d be in with all you guys stocking up on c rations and water collectors, but the average person like me can’t afford everything. I guess I take my limited resources to prep for more inevitable disasters.

  • Stinchcomb February 25, 2014, 9:43 am

    During some floods in 2009 here in the Atlanta area, I was stranded in my neighborhood for a week. The only entrance had washed out. My family and I had just come home from vacation. At that moment, we had no groceries; we lost water, gas, cable, and internet services. Luckily the power stayed on. This opened up my eyes to being better prepared and I now have a storm room in our basement with enough supplies for my family of 4 to get by for about 3 months. I’m not preparing for total Armageddon (not sure if I’d want to survive the horrors of that), but I’m prepared for a short term “event”.

    I also recently lived through the ice/snow storms here in Atlanta area where you say “It took only the threat of the loss of necessities to start riots in supermarkets, with customers fighting in the isles over groceries.” I call complete BS on that statement. In fact people became just the opposite from my experience. Here in the ATL area, people were more giving and helpful than ever before. There were no accounts of any fighting or rioting taking place on our local news. Also, China does NOT have nuclear subs. They have only older Russian diesel subs. With these assumed or false statements, I have to question some of your other “facts” as in our own military training to fight against U.S. citizens. Nothing wrong with scenarios and preparing for whatever event you think may happen, but don’t make up facts to scare people into prepping. Overall a good write up why to prep though, just stick to facts in future articles.

    • Administrator February 25, 2014, 10:00 am

      Nice thing about the Internet is that you can just click on the link in the article you don’t need someone to convince you of anything. All you have to do is wake up and read it for yourself.

  • Eric February 26, 2014, 12:23 am

    Look, we are all going to die. Our choice is how we die. I am not going to die fighting my neighbors for food. Just let life go if you have to be a prick to keep it.

    • Elkhunter February 28, 2014, 4:39 pm

      Well spoken Eric. That is why I don’t consider myself a hardcore prepper. As I posted earlier, while I am capable of defending my home, I have no desire to shoot another human being, let alone my neighbors. That said, I would not hesitate to defend my family from roving gangs bent on who knows what kind of mayhem.

    • Jack March 7, 2014, 8:13 pm

      I get it, but I could never look at my starving kids and think like that. Prep on brothers.

  • Surculus February 28, 2014, 8:17 pm

    “Isles” [islands] != “aisles”
    “Effect” != “affect”

    Aside from the spelling errors, I liked the article very much. :-)

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