Are You Ready?

I received an interesting phone call from a friend I hadn’t talked with in a month or so, and it wasn’t that his questions were so surprising as it was that his timing seemed so preposterously coincidental.  Another acquaintance had recently forwarded me the article from the American Thinker by John Fricke, Should I buy a gun?  This brings me to the subject of my long-time friend’s call.  It wasn’t that he wanted a gun, as he has enough firearms to defend his family, but in a related matter, he wanted my opinion on the subject of preparedness, and to examine with him his own list of emergency items.  In short, he wanted to compare notes, because like the author of the American Thinker piece, he has begun to wonder if he ought not become a good bit more prepared.

I told him what I tell anybody who asks my opinion: More prepared is better than less prepared, and prepared at all is better than unprepared.   That’s a truism, but the point should be clear, and it’s something we’ve discussed together here before:  Given the state of the country, Americans should be prepared in to survive for a time without any outside assistance.

Americans should be prepared at a moment’s notice to defend themselves, their families, and their property.  They should be prepared to survive without the benefit of a grocery store for weeks, or even months.  They should have all the things necessary to “rough it” without electricity for heating or cooling or refrigeration.  They should be prepared to administer basic first aid, and have at least the bare minimum of survival items.  As I suggested to my friend, list the top 100 things he and his family members use daily, and what would be the low-tech, sustainable substitutes.  Radios, flashlights, candles, and all of those things come easily to mind, but less obvious things like soaps, disinfectants, water purification tablets, and other basic necessities are often overlooked.  He assured me that he has a generator, but I asked him bluntly:  What’s the fuel consumption rate on your generator?  How many days worth of fuel do you expect to have on hand?  He looked paused and said: “You know, that’s a good point. I can only store so much fuel, and it goes bad sitting in gas cans.”

I explained to him how we too have a small generator, but we also recognize we can’t store enough fuel for any protracted period, so we rotate what we have stored through our vehicles, filling the vehicles from the stored cans of fuel, and refilling them instead of the vehicles.  This keeps our survival supply fresh, and it enables us to ensure we’ll have a little fuel for a bad spot.  It won’t last long, but at least I’ll brew that coffee every day for a few weeks until that runs out too, and we convert to instant.

One of the things I told my friend, and in his case it’s not so important, is that many people who really don’t routinely hunt, or otherwise use firearms will frequently purchase a gun, and some ammo, put it on a shelf, and never look at it again.  Let me suggest to my readers that if you happen to be in that group, or close to it, or you have family members who are, you should take some time to actually learn the safe use and maintenance of your firearms.  It’s one thing to be able to shoot it when there is no time pressure and no particular reason but sport, but it is another when you are faced with the situation of defending yourself or your loved ones.  It’s best to spend a few boxes of ammunition preparing for self-defense than to discover too late that you haven’t prepared.

Do you have an infant or small children?  They have particular nutritional needs that may well not be met by a standard adult ration.  You also need to think about other items.  Special medications?  Do you have pets?  Most of us do.  What will you do when the dog food runs out?  Or will you be dining on Kung Pao Fido every day for a week?  My apologies, but there is a point at which we must consider the very real question of what becomes of our pets, and maybe my tasteless remark will be the thing that causes you to consider it. Whatever you can do to prepare for that possibility now will potentially save you and those you love many hardships later.

Most Americans live in tightly packed neighborhoods.  Are your neighbors preparing?  What of those in your church congregations, or other faith-based or social organizations in your community?  If you alone on your block are prepared, and things take a turn for the worse on the national level, how long do you suppose you’ll maintain your preparations if too many of your neighbors are not so well-prepared?  Your wit may be the life of the block party on the 4th of July, but when the dark of winter comes, and yours are the only lights lit on the street, and some of your occupation-inclined neighbors become annoyed at your wealth of light, how long do you suppose it will be before somebody decides you need to share your wealth?

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t wish to frighten anybody, but having served in the Army, and knowing the value of the Boy Scouts’ motto, I want you to consider this all very carefully.  I know that many of you will have friends and neighbors like some of mine, who are perpetual grasshoppers to your diligent anthill.  I know.  Still, encouraging them to consider the reality of our situation is perhaps worthwhile.  Tell them to start putting up a few extra cans of food on each shopping trip.  The worst thing that can happen is they have a lot extra to give to a canned-food charity drive.  In a pinch, it may be the difference between a satisfying if not altogether sublime dining occasion, and the feeling of empty in the pit of their bellies.

Of course, there are those who will never prepare.  They simply assume that either they’ll somehow “get theirs” or that nothing bad will ever happen.  Watch out for these people.  These are the folks who will later come calling with ill intent, and you shouldn’t take for granted that they’ll do you no harm.  An empty belly has motivated many people to acts of evil.  The best thing about being prepared is the ability to be a good neighbor in hard times.  Even if you’ve prepared only enough for you and your own family, by being prepared, you can reduce the burdens you might otherwise place on others.  Readers of this blog are the prepared sort anyway, but what my friend’s call and John Fricke’s article should remind us is that we do indeed live in dangerous times.  There’s no substitute for preparation, and whether it’s the ability to defend yourselves, or feed yourselves, you should be mindful that the world the statists have created is subject to turmoils from which none of us will be immune.

I’m sure I’m not as prepared as I would like to be, but I’m positive I’m better prepared than many.  What about you?  Are you ready?  Part of our country seems prepared to “go Galt” while the rest continues as though nothing unusual is happening.  It’s a sign of the times in which we live that crises of monumental proportions are brewing, and so many Americans remain woefully unprepared.

That shouldn’t include you.

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