In theory, a person's natural right to self-defense is broadly recognized in much of the western world - but in practice, different societies look at it in very different ways. Today, in much of Europe, the very notion that one private citizen could lawfully harm another human being is met with suspicion and distaste; the control over life and death is more willingly delegated to the agents of the state.
In recent years, survivalism has been edging deeper into mainstream culture. In 2012, National Geographic Channel launched “Doomsday Preppers,” a reality show featuring a series of Americans bracing for what they called S.H.T.F. (when the “shit hits the fan”). The première drew more than four million viewers, and, by the end of the first season, it was the most popular show in the channel’s history. A survey commissioned by National Geographic found that forty per cent of Americans believed that stocking up on supplies or building a bomb shelter was a wiser investment than a 401(k). Online, the prepper discussions run from folksy (“A Mom’s Guide to Preparing for Civil Unrest”) to grim (“How to Eat a Pine Tree to Survive”).
If the fire is around you and you can’t escape, you don’t have many options, says Shane Hobel of the Mountain Scout Survival School. If there’s a pool or a pond nearby, jump in and try to wait it out there. Otherwise, if you have time, dig a trench that’s two to three feet deep and long enough for you to lie in. Soak a blanket in water, wrap it around yourself, and lie down in the trench. It’s risky, but at least you’ll have a chance.
Stay positive: the world is probably not ending, and there is a good chance that it will be an even better place for our children than it is for us. But the universe is a harsh mistress, and there is only so much faith we should be putting in good fortune, in benevolent governments, or in the wonders of modern technology. So, always have a backup plan.
For powering more serious electrical equipment, a generator is a popular choice for people living in the backwoods. That said, this option comes with an interesting trade-off: if you were ever to face a contingency that may last for a longer while, it may be more important to conserve fuel for driving, cooking, or heating, than to use it for keeping the lights on. A fully-fledged solar installation helps you avoid such dilemmas, but costs an arm and a leg. A possible compromise is a jury-rigged solar setup done at a smaller scale: if you hook up 100W panel ($160) to a deep-cycle lead-acid battery ($60) and a low-cost inverter ($30), you gain the ability to recharge laptops and phones, or even power several desk lamps, a decent-size fan, or a small refrigerator. The whole contraption costs around $250 and is easy to stow away if you're not very short on space.
If there's another powerful and low-cost burglary prevention tool at your disposal, it's being careful not to attract targeted theft. Be mindful of who you invite into your home, who handles your keys, and how much you signal about your financial status to your more distant family, random acquaintances, or strangers parked across the street. If you have children, teach them about the virtues of modesty, too. If you tell them that the thieves will probably take their game console, they may even listen to what you have to say.
This may sound like a good argument for putting all your money into freeze-dried meals, medicine, shovels, and other survival supplies. But of course, that decision would become a huge liability should the apocalypse not come, or simply not come soon enough: you probably can't pay a roofer or a dentist with a pallet loaded with ammo, cigarettes, and canned ham.
Of course, marketable hobbies aside, some of the more determined preppers pursue interests such as martial arts, pro marksmanship, bushcraft, paramilitary combat tactics, and other extreme survival strategies. Such talents can be quite useful in a couple of plausible if unlikely scenarios - but their major disadvantage is that during a simple economic downturn, they won't put bread on the table or pay your bills. It's not unwise to give them some consideration, but be sure to balance it with more pragmatic skills.
In building Reddit, a community of thousands of discussion threads, into one of the most frequently visited sites in the world, Huffman has grown aware of the way that technology alters our relations with one another, for better and for worse. He has witnessed how social media can magnify public fear. “It’s easier for people to panic when they’re together,” he said, pointing out that “the Internet has made it easier for people to be together,” yet it also alerts people to emerging risks. Long before the financial crisis became front-page news, early signs appeared in user comments on Reddit. “People were starting to whisper about mortgages. They were worried about student debt. They were worried about debt in general. There was a lot of, ‘This is too good to be true. This doesn’t smell right.’ ” He added, “There’s probably some false positives in there as well, but, in general, I think we’re a pretty good gauge of public sentiment. When we’re talking about a faith-based collapse, you’re going to start to see the chips in the foundation on social media first.”
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a slow and gradual process, requiring at least one growing season and one harvesting season. Approach this in a smart way by purchasing a packet of seasonally relevant seeds when you first begin, which can be as little as $1. Alternatively you could also buy one of our Heirloom survival seed vaults which contains hundreds of great seeds with 20+ vegetables. Grow them continuously and then jar or pickle them when the time comes to harvest. Pickled foods that are well-sealed and kept at temperatures below 75 degrees can last up to three years. In addition to this, grow herbs for medicinal and taste purposes. Once you invest a couple of dollars here and there to growing food—even small amounts in your kitchen—it is truly a great return on investment requiring only a few dollars and some sweat equity.
Many food products will market themselves around a 4 week / 30-32 day / 1 month timeline for one person. Which was fine for us, because we standardize against two weeks but assume that an average household is two people. So it’s easy to buy a “30-day supply for one person” — assuming the calories per day are appropriate — and use it as a two-week supply for two people.
Experts worry most about the grid’s nervous system: 2,000 extra-high voltage transformers. They’re 200- and 300-ton behemoths, individually engineered to meet specific power demands, and on average, they’re 40 years old. Notwithstanding the fact that 85 percent of transformers are imported, the U.S. Department of Energy says it takes between 5 and 16 months to replace a single one. According to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, an attack that destroyed nine of the 2,000 transformers would “cause a protracted nationwide blackout.” There’s no national cache of spare transformers.
A popular way of guarding against this kind of catastrophe is storing food at home. This is called Long Term Food Storage, Emergency Essentials, or Emergency Survival Foods and there are dozens of companies selling food specifically for this purpose. The best, including those listed below, have great tasting products with a long storage life at a reasonable cost.
Before fire season, move combustibles away from your house. Fences and dry vegetation give fires a place to grow, says Jonathan Cox at Cal Fire, California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Hosing down your house won’t help much, either, he says: “The way a lot of these homes burn is through something called ember cast, when embers from the fire fly over and drop little fires everywhere. With a huge ember cast, hosing down your house doesn’t do much.”
For many, the singular strategy for dealing with such dangers is to pray for the government to bail us out. But no matter if our elected officials prefer to school us with passages from Milton Friedman or from Thomas Piketty, the hard truth is that no state can provide a robust safety net for all of life's likely contingencies; in most places, government-run social programs are severely deficient in funding, in efficiency, and in scope. Large-scale disasters pit us against even worse odds; from New Orleans in 2005 to Fukushima in 2011, there are countless stories of people left behind due to political dysfunction, poorly allocated resources, or lost paperwork.
Of course, there are situations where prompt medical attention is simply a necessity; for example, although it may be theoretically possible for an untrained enthusiast equipped with an anatomy handbook to perform appendectomy, the odds of the patient surviving are pretty damn low. That said, outside the domain of major surgery, the outlook is not necessarily as grim - so even when professional help is not available right away, not all hope may be lost.
From looking at those stats, it might appear as if baby boomers are the least prepared for a doomsday disaster. But perhaps the reason they haven’t recently purchased any survival gear is that a lot of them have long been preparing for it: Baby boomers lead the way (41.28%) in terms of those who haven’t recently purchased survival gear because they already have it on hand. They’re followed by Gen Xers at 37.07% and millennials at 32.79%.
In addition to the dangers of poor financial planning and the ever-present specter of unintentional injury, another threat we should reckon with is becoming a victim of a crime. Although the risk is not as pervasive as the challenges discussed earlier in this chapter, it still earns a distinction as one of the things that many readers will almost certainly have to face at some point in their lives.
I also found that I absolutely detest the rating system that Practical Preppers apply at the end of every segment. Not because they may or may not be right about aspects of that individual's preparedness, but becuase they fit that rating into a "box". Many preppers have to think outside the box, due to circumstances, finances, whatever, but the rating system seems to ignore that. In a few cases, even I found it insulting. I know they carried it over into season 2, but I'm hoping that if there is a season 3 that either gets changed or dropped entirely.
But in 1961 John F. Kennedy encouraged “every citizen” to help build fallout shelters, saying, in a televised address, “I know you would not want to do less.” In 1976, tapping into fear of inflation and the Arab oil embargo, a far-right publisher named Kurt Saxon launched The Survivor, an influential newsletter that celebrated forgotten pioneer skills. (Saxon claimed to have coined the term “survivalist.”) The growing literature on decline and self-protection included “How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years,” a 1979 best-seller, which advised collecting gold in the form of South African Krugerrands. The “doom boom,” as it became known, expanded under Ronald Reagan. The sociologist Richard G. Mitchell, Jr., a professor emeritus at Oregon State University, who spent twelve years studying survivalism, said, “During the Reagan era, we heard, for the first time in my life, and I’m seventy-four years old, from the highest authorities in the land that government has failed you, the collective institutional ways of solving problems and understanding society are no good. People said, ‘O.K., it’s flawed. What do I do now?’ ”
FoodSaver Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.
Finelli remained at the helm until he came down with pneumonia in late 2016. Months before, an interloper who claimed to have no Social Security number or driver’s license had driven up from Arkansas on nitrogen-filled tires, used to skirt a law requiring licensing for vehicles with air-filled tires. His name is Andrew:—he has no last name; he says adding the colon keeps him from being cataloged in “the system”—and his resourcefulness impressed Finelli, so he offered Andrew: the mic during his absence. He never got it back.
Light: It’s fine to have battery-powered flashlights for your home — provided you have some extra batteries around. We love this Mag-Lite XL200 LED flashlight because it’s tough and has multiple modes including SOS and dimmer timer. It’s a good idea to have crank-powered flashlights as well. And make sure you have candles, like this pack of six 115-hour emergency candles.
Two other publications I can recommend are "Where There is No Doctor" and "Where There is No Dentist" by the Hesperian Foundation ($17 a pop for a paperback, but also available online for free). They pay less attention to contemporary meds or nuanced emergency procedures, and spend more time on holistic, community-oriented care for practitioners in some of the most impoverished regions of the world. This probably makes the publications worthwhile for hardcore preppers who worry about widespread, long-term cataclysms.
87. Shotgun – Many will argue if you could only have 1 weapon for home defense, the shotgun would it. The ammunition is inexpensive, is a long gun so there are less background checks when purchasing one, and can always double as a hunting gun. Also, if someone is in your home, and they hear the pump of a shotgun, it will scary any would-be intruder and for close range encounters.
The commercial wire shelves on big casters I got on Wish.com. I purchased (3) 5 shelf shelve sets. My 5 gallon buckets of sugar, wheat, oats, pasta, beans, rice, pancake mix, powdered milk, powdered eggs, and homemade cake/brownies. I can homemade pasta sauce, chicken chunks, beef chunks, and pork chunks. Hamburger is cooked and dehydrated for skillet meals. I have 5 gallons of raw honey, 2 gallons of molasses. Buy cases of canned veggies when they go on sale and put together zip lock bags of bread ingredients stored in 5 gallon buckets since baked bread is a staple for meals.
I love my bread machine and hope to use it as well although I do know how to bake traditional bread too. I just baked my first loaf of bread using home-milled flour. I made a 100% whole wheat bread and used a powdered egg plus some vital gluten. It was a bit more dense than normal – I should have added more water to account for the extra gluten (4 TBL). Still, it was quite delicious 🙂
After 9/11, my dad filled a duffel bag with some energy bars, a couple gallons of water, some penicillin, and a map. Amid scaremongering headlines about imminent anthrax and “dirty bomb” attacks in the city, he wanted to have some supplies on hand in case we needed to get out of Brooklyn fast. Were he to assemble such a bag today, he’d likely stumble on a number of companies promising a more wholesale brand of disaster preparedness: a box full of shelf-stable freeze-dried meals, to be revived from their dessicated state with the addition of boiled water.
Of course, while this approach reduces the odds of being blindsided by a painful problem, it does not make the risk go away: a chipped tooth or a painful abscess can strike with virtually no warning. If you can't see a dentist right away, OTC painkillers can offer partial relief, but no amount of ibuprofen will let you forget about an exposed nerve. Topical benzocaine ointments may work better in some situations, but they don't last very long. Sometimes, swishing some cold water in your mouth, or sucking in air through a carefully positioned straw, can offer decent relief. In the longer haul, amoxicillin can clear up many dental infections, while zinc oxide / eugenol cement can be used for emergency repair of damaged teeth. There are some reports that repeated treatments of cavities with silver nitrate can be beneficial, too - but be aware that the substance is caustic and tends to semi-permanently stain skin (and anything else it comes into contact with).
By his own estimate, Pense says there are a few thousand people in the Springfield area who have listened and who are ready. The preppers. Most don’t like to be called preppers because of the connotation that they’re crazy; Chicken Little wasn’t well-received by his people, either. Most don’t even like to talk about it, but a few of them do. So for three months toward the end of 2017, I sought out the doomsday survivalists to find out: Is it really crazy to live like the sky is falling?
They are part of a burgeoning "prepper" movement that believes preparing for the end of civilization is more rational than ridiculing those who do. Once viewed largely as a practice by survivalists on the fringe, prepping has achieved cohesion and community in the Internet age through best-selling writers, bloggers, risk assessors, conspiracy theorists and companies that cater to preppers' needs.
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