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Survival 101: Preparation Vs. Obsession

Posted by on 2012/04/06

If you’re pecking through survival blogs on the internet, then you’re already thinking about, as they say in the prepper-culture, when the Shit hits the Fan, or SHTF.  The day where civilization will spontaneously collapse, the goverment will be replaced by an oppressive corporate oliganarchy dictatunism, and zombies, werewolves, and sasquatches will take to the streets, mobilize an army of illegal aliens, and come for your family, your god, and your freedom is rapidly approaching. Damn those werewolves.

You may have already compiled and started working through your LoL or list of lists, lists of skills to learn, survival equipment to acquire, food to store, etc… you’re looking up ways to ensure you’ll always have access to fresh water and electricity and you’re hunting for real estate in some remote part of the country only accessible by a dirt road through a mountain pass, or maybe you’re plotting your bomb shelter installation and strategically burying secret caches of nickels and pre war pennies, ordering troy ounces of silver and gold off of dubious websites, and maybe you already have half a ton of ammunition stored at a cousin’s farm in idaho.

If you haven’t already gotten your hands on a large supply of cipro, iodine pills, salt tablets, chlorine, alum, mineral oil, barrels of gasoline, solar panels, satellite dishes, gunsmithing tools, radiation suits, biohazard masks, oxygen tanks, scuba gear, throwing stars, a stockpile of automatic weapons, road flares, solar flares, sun spots, flux capacitors, and two of every animal, then you’re falling behind.

What the fuck is going on out there? I can’t tell who’s more fucked up, the people that see the end of the world in every news headline or the people who believe that everything will be fine forever. Today I read a post about how to make a tasty chili out of freeze dried vegetable protein solids and canned beans, because when you’re stocking 40 pounds of each, you need to vary up how you prepare it to keep it interesting, some of you will think that’s going overbord, others are thinking, 40 pounds isn’t enough.  Look, I get it, there’s some inevitable doomsay scenario that our currency will lose its value, or that the oil supply will abruptly stop, or dragons will show up ridden by escaped comic book supervillians. It could happen.  We can’t remain happy and ignorant of that possibility without seriously compromising our chances of survival should it occur.

All of civilization is precariously balanced on the thin beam of order that suspends it over the pit of chaos, just as our planet is gently tethered to a giant nuclear reactor while hurtling through the infinite void of space at incalculable speeds. These are both factors that exist in our earthly experience, and we, as individual humans, can’t do much about either. Still, I totally understand the drive to control what we can.  If civilization collapses, we can still kick back in our mountain fortress drinking a lifetime supply of mountain dew and eating protein bars, hoping that the neo-fascist jackbooted communist cannibals don’t overrun our homestead. If the wrong mosquito sneezes and the earth slips out of orbit, all we can really do is find some good drugs, some junk food, and try to get laid one last time.

Some of us go a little to far, getting off the grid, preparing for a future of isolation where our immediate family hangs out in an underground panic room eating freeze dried mango, canned chicken, and mountain house beef stroganoff, drinking distilled water, and re-reading a massive stockpile of old Soldier of Fortune, foxfire, and guns and ammo magazines.

Some of us are web-savvy apocalypse soothsayers, and our prepping involves comparison shopping and obsessing over technical details, because for some reason we convince ourselves that sitting there munching junk food and smoking cigarettes while watching videos where a kid with a fake russian accent fires a magnum .500 at a watermelon, that we’re preparing ourselves to survive; when what we should really be doing is getting in shape and taking a first aid class.

At the very least, we should:
Come up with an evacuation plan – In a disaster situation, urban traffic will be impossible to get through on anything bigger than a dirtbike, and pick a spot where you’re evacuating to.
Pack a 3 day bug out bag for everyone that you want to bug out with.
Familiarize ourself with basic survival skills for urban and wilderness settings.
Learn some basic self defense, most of it should involve ways to avoid conflict.
Get in shape, focusing on cardio endurance and functional strength training.

Some of us believe that in a SHTF scenario, it’s every man for himself, but actually, communities have a massive advantage over individuals, despite rambo fantasies of independent self sufficiency. The old idiom of a survivalist loner is a romantic fantasy, but the truth is, the best chances of survival come from an organized group where everyone can put their egos aside and be prepared to work together for the good of the group.

Homesteading is one extreme approach, and if you have the resources and the mindset to become a homesteader, good for you. For the rest of us, workaday wage slaves that entertain fantasies of swapping places with Mel Gibson between Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome.  The truth is, if there is a zombie apocalypse, a pandemic, or a hot war on local soil; you’ve got a good chance of just dying immediately, the weakest and least prepared will be dead or as good as dead within 48 hours. Homesteaders in remote locations have the highest survival chance, at the expense that they are isolated from civilization.

Anyway, my point is, you can’t prepare for every eventuality, and at some point you have to find the line that separates being prepared for an emergency, and sacrificing your current life in the present for a leg up in a potential future in a hypothetical hellscape; take stock, that line may be behind you.

 

One Response to Survival 101: Preparation Vs. Obsession

  1. The Strongest Karate

    I can’t believe I found you! I thought I was the last one! Do you think there are other like us? Maybe we should band together and try to find more people.

    Seriously, I have been laboring under the impression that I was the only RATIONAL survival enthusiast on Earth (meaning that I believe in knowing first aid, evac routes, etc. but I don’t have 1800lbs of freeze-dried ground woodchuck buried in my Alaskan underground fortress).

    The one thing that really turns me off about survival blogs is that they’re all so very extreme or vitriolic or both. So it was nice to find one that seems to splash some cold water in their face.

    Well done.

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