Have you seen the new series on Nat Geo?
Doomsday Preppers is an interesting look at people around America who have initiated preparations for themselves and their family to be able to ride out the coming end of the world. Wait, what? End of the world? Yep, we are talking about the literal end of the world as we know it. No more fast food, no NFL, government troops in black helicopters, zombie Mayan kind of end of the world.
The show has some interesting folks who frankly seem to go against stereotype when it comes to personal preparedness. They are actually willing to talk about what they are doing and share some of their stories about what they are getting ready to do.
I get the feeling watching it that there must have been a kind of tongue in cheek approach to the project. I have to admit that seeing a four hundred pound guy doing combat arms moves seems a bit out of place. But hey, I am not exactly Navy weight anymore myself so pot, meet kettle.
The show goes into a lot of detail on food storage, EMP counter-tactics on a small scale basis, weapons and tools you might need and on and on. There are three hundred thousand or so web sites on the name “Preppers” all by itself but of course the first one that popped up on Google today was www.prepper.org
From their front page:
Prepper.org is a public information site for those who wish:
- to learn about what preppers are and
- to learn about the prepper movement,
- to promote the prepper networks and their supporters
We provide a resource of links and information available to anyone who wants to prepare for and survive the hard times we are facing.
Definition of a prepper:
Prepper (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle.
There are links to other people interested in this activity and lots of tips on what to do to be prepared. There are links to State sites as well as National and Canadian sites.
Now I know that some of you are probably chuckling a bit now. But I would challenge you with one relevant fact: The Federal Government through the Homeland Security web page as well as FEMA and the CDC all have web instructions on what every family is expected to do. Have you been there? Do you have a plan? Do you know how long you are supposed to self sustain?
Now add the logic that many people have been seeing come to pass. The dollar is out of control, spending is crazy, Greece could fall at any moment, and on and on. Are you still chuckling? If you live in one of our very large cities, where exactly do you think you are going to get food, fresh water, and electricity? I have watched a lot of TV over the years showing New York apartments and I don’t recall seeing a lot of generators on the fire escapes.
The real question about Preppers is this: Why are they willing to spend so much time and energy on food, equipment, firearms, training, ammunition, shelters and so on?
Why are so many people convinced that this is their only real hope of having something close to a normal existence?
You can chalk it up to mass hysteria. Or you can chalk it up to a public growing tired of watching a government take away more and more liberty in exchange for security. Then when that firewall is shown to be weak and have more holes in it than tolerable, people with common sense and a desire to survive get concerned. I am fairly certain that the President and his close administrative people have already been provided with short and long term accommodations. It would not surprise me to find out that people in congress have something similar although not as opulent. Even the wealthiest surely have a panic room or safe spot to travel to.
You can also chalk it up to an entire administration that feels they can bow and smile their way through any negotiation with enemies. They are so conceited that they actually believe people hate us because of George W. Bush. They have sat around drinking chocolate martinis and eating sushi in exclusive clubs isolated from the real world for so long that they actually believe that a well spoken Harvard man (who happens to have some other unique characteristics) will charm the crap out of everybody who hates us (obviously because of GWB).
Finally, its one thing to lie to your own people about what you are going to do.
They can be conned by the mainstream media that blue rhymes with orange and your previous statements are all subject to do-overs. But when you lie to all of the rest of the world’s people, they get a bit cranky. They have their own press and sooner or later the truth makes itself known. The White House Press department of the administration actually can’t shut stories out and eventually (at least for now) American’s can still access the foreign press.
Did you know many of the foreign countries still don’t like us?
Some would actually like to see us destroyed. No amount of campaign cash can wipe away the fact that we are probably less secure now than at any time in our history. You can either believe that or you can be one of the many people who will wake up one morning and not be able to have a cup of coffee to smell or drink.
Well, off to target practice. Mrs. Mac is getting pretty good with her pistol and I like it when we share hobbies. My friend Harry told me last night that Texas is still taking applications but you have to be able to shoot apparently
By the way, I do not belong to any Prepper Networks. When the Zombie Wars start, I am pretty sure that the Government is going to have all of the Preppers hideouts mapped out. No use making it any easier for them.
Note: I have to apologize to all of the places I posted the article this afternoon. I realized too late that I was inadvertently placing Michael Moore’s photograph in plain view of anyone who stopped by your site. Normally I refrain from posting obscenities and would like to humbly ask for your pardon in this particular case.
When I see an internet news story like the recent one detailing the shrinking of the American fleet, I get a kick out of reading the comments in the remarks sections.
If you ever want to determine the lack of knowledge of the average internet news story reader, spend a few minutes looking at the remarks from people who are trained to turn on their computer but not their intelligence.
My favorite for today was from a reader who pontificated on the reasonableness of destroying the Navy and all of the armed forces. From their post:
“Also, the international security climate as a whole is becoming more peaceable, there is less need for ridiculous spending on certain parts of the military.”
Hmmm. Makes you wonder what planet they are living on.
The unfortunate thing is that there are a whole lot of people who feel the same. They are so convinced that everyone else in the world can see their logic that all will be well with just a few more reset buttons pushed by the current regime. How’s that working for you?
Syria, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Russia, Georgia, All of the Stans, Venezuela, the Euro collapse, endless financial problems at home, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, all of Sub Continent Africa, Pirates in Somalia, Jihadists everywhere, Afghanistan, Pakistan with their lose nuclear weapon program, Chinese threats in the far east against the shipping lanes, and on and on. Yep, peace in our time.
Being a Submariner and a historian, I am intimately aware of the history of our country not being prepared for the next war. We seem to be always ready to fight the last war but constantly overwhelmed with leadership that is confident that the world will match our passion for the glory days. I have spent a number of posts talking about attitudes towards sail versus steam, and newfangled toys (submarines and planes) versus battleships. But I am also aware of the cost of not being ready to fight with the weapons we did have because of short sightedness.
I have no intention of repeating the torpedo stories from the beginning of World War 2 since they are well covered in other places like these:
Captain Edward Beach, the submariner-historian said: “The torpedo situation during the first half of the war was a national disgrace and the negligent perpetrators responsible should have been severely punished”.
The negligent perpetrators were following their national leaders. Before World War 2, the country was just emerging from the Depression. Awareness of costs for things like testing of new torpedoes was a major factor in not properly preparing them for a time when they would be needed.
Think about it for a minute
. We had enough submarines to get the war started. They were in the right places. But without torpedoes that worked, we were essentially crippled in our efforts to conduct the type of warfare that may have slowed down the Japanese in the first year of that conflict.
Instead, we sent many of those shipmates to a certain death.
We were unable to slow the Japanese which helped to ensure the slavery of millions and death for an unimaginable number of men, women and children both civilians and service personnel. What price would you have been willing to pay to prevent the torture and suffering of those many people? What treasure could have replaced the fallen Navy man in his Mother and Father’s eyes? How do you put a price on being prepared to prevent another slaughter?
Its unfortunate that our “leaders” have spent us into the poor house trillions of times over. I think a good start in solving that. Lets round them all up and take back the money they accepted for screwing up everything they did. I know that won’t actually happen, but imagine in your lifetime if you cost your company more money that it was capable of earning in the next ten years. Would you still be working?
National defense is not a luxury item that you only fund when its politically correct.
National defense is an investment to ensure we have a future. In all of man’s history, there has never been a country like the United States. In all of man’s history, there has never been a time where we have not had wars and conflicts. There should not be any question based on that history that there will be another global conflict. The only question is “when” that conflict will occur.
What about the cost?
There is always a cost. A manageable way of controlling those costs is to ensure that an efficient value stream is maintained on a regular basis. Continuous improvement in cost, quality, delivery, price and manufacturing can result in a steady stream of needed innovation to give the United States a technical and practical edge. True competition and investments in national priorities can help to ensure we are looking at the next need. There is even a school of thought that says that if we do it right, we can prevent wars through preparedness.
If you shut off the value stream, there are consequences.
The companies that provided the ships, planes, weapons, electronics, and so on will gradually lose their ability to provide those items and services on demand. With the loss of business, you also lose the knowledge and skills used to provide those resources. The suppliers that were in their value stream fall away and take up other occupations. So even if the flow was turned back on, something as simple as a screw being missing could prevent the missile from being manufactured in the time frame needed.
In my last job, we went through the agony of seeing the workforce laid off.
The recession cut deep into manufacturing and we could not sustain having so many highly paid technicians standing idly by without orders to fill. Months went by and our suppliers also had to react to decreased orders. Many did not survive the downturn at all.
Then one day, our customers started calling again. Their customers were seeing some light and they needed our components. So we called back our workers and retrained many of them to the newer jobs (as well as some of their old ones). We ramped up production and hit a solid stone wall. Our suppliers (the ones that survived) had a limited amount of inventory on hand and some of it was obsolete. We raced to get new suppliers but even they had to go through the proving process to ensure quality assurance in our final product.
Do you think the customer gave a crap about our problems?
Not a bit. They just saw an opportunity to make money to survive passing them by. It was obvious that the alternative was for us to fill his orders or he would make the decision to go somewhere else.
When it comes to defense, there is no place else. Because of a great number of factors (most of them political) we have a limited amount of primary providers. The value stream of parts and services to support them is just as fragile. We have not protected our manufacturing base as we “globalized”. If we do not carefully manage this current trend in “right-sizing” we will find ourselves for want of a nail at the time we need it most. I wonder if the next enemy will be polite enough to wait for us to ramp back up again?
As you look at your leaders in the coming months, look carefully at the ones who recognize the consequences of these decisions. Call them out on it. If the answer does not include a plan to defend this nation, carefully consider if this person is worth the vote you will cast. No Party’s. Only a person who will eventually make decisions that effect all of our futures.
As the old saying goes, you can pay me now, or you can pay me later. But you will pay.
One of my post retirement hobbies has been public speaking. My subject matter is pretty expected; Navy stuff, World War 2 history and of course Submarines in the Cold War. I’ve probably given hundreds of talks over the past sixteen years to all sizes of social and civic groups. But one of my favorite topics has been developed over the past ten years. Readiness. As a good submarine sailor, I pride myself for thinking about all of the situations I might find myself in during our routines and travels. Living in Western Michigan was a joy in some ways but also a challenge since we were right in the path of some of the meanest lake effect snow showers I had ever encountered.
One of my least favorite memories was Thanksgiving in Grand Haven when the snows came down so fast and so hard it knocked out power to the house. The plows were slow coming up Lakeshore Drive and we weren’t going anyplace anytime soon. But without electricity (in a house that is heated by electricity) you suddenly discover the reality of how well prepared you are.
Another of my least favorite memories is the trip to south Florida after Hurricane Andrew paid a visit. We were up in Nova Scotia on a liberty run when the news broadcasts started showing some of the devastation that was occurring. A quick run on the Hunley to pick up supplies led to a three-month on site recovery operation. Being out in the field for even just a few days, you could see the level of destruction that nature is capable of producing.
I have lived in many different parts of the country (north south east west) and frankly every area has its own environmental issues that could create a situation where you would have to self sustain. Hurricanes, flooding, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, sever winters and on and on. Not only do you have environmental issues, you also have the emerging threats from potential catastrophes like power grid failures, terrorist threats, and disruptions to services that could occur because of those events.
The real question is this: Are you ready? Are you sure?
Here’s a little test:
1. How many days does FEMA, the Red Cross and Department of Homeland Security tell you to be able to self sustain for?
2. How much water per person should you have stored for cooking, cleaning and other uses?
3. Do you know how to shut the utilities off in your house in the event of an explosion, fire or earthquake?
4. If you had to evacuate in a hurry, what would you take with you? What if you couldn’t come back for weeks?
5. How would you communicate with loved ones in the event you are in different areas when the “event” occurred?
6. If you have to evacuate, where would you go? Do you have a plan or are you just hoping to be told what to do?
7. How well do ATM machines operate without power?
What struck me most about the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew was that it was an equal opportunity event. Everyone who was living there at the time faced the same challenges of a food and water supply problem. Shelter was also challenging because regardless of the type of housing you had, Andrew pretty much smacked them all down. I never thought I would see refugees living in America but frankly that is what a lot of people looked like as they lined up for their meals and water supplies.
Truthfully, no amount of preparation would completely eliminate the recovery you will have to go through in the event of a catastrophic incident like Andrew. But remember that the same people who are coming to help will have their own time to prepare their vehicles and equipment. The Red Cross and the government agencies all need a short amount of time to become activated and that means self-sustaining for a short period of time.
http://www.ready.gov/ is your first stop if you didn’t feel comfortable with your own answers above. Even if you did, it won’t take very long to go to the website and check it out. It also has links to FEMA, Disaster assistance and other resources. You can also visit the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/ You will find many additional resources there plus ways you can help your neighbors.
Hurricane Andrew landed in Florida 19 years ago this week. After he left, there were many communities devastated. I know two things about disaster preparedness:
1. It is too late to plan after the disaster has already started
2. If you don’t have at least a plan, you become a part of the disaster (which means that someone else will have to have planned for your recover)
The last thing to remember is that in the event of a major disaster, one of the first things that normally goes away is electricity. It will be really tough to turn on your computer and go on the internet to see what to do next if that is the case.