July 30, 2014

The Two Most Important Documents in World History

The Two Most Important Documents in World History

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain to cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”

~Thomas Paine

Today we celebrate the day we declared our independence from England. Because today is a celebration of freedom, I want to share with you my thoughts on the two most important documents in the world’s history; the Holy Bible and the United States Constitution.

I led off with the quote from Thomas Paine because I think it is important to read and understand these documents and the rights they define. If we do not know the freedom we have in Christ, then satan can continue to lie to us and we’ll believe we’re still slaves. If we don’t know what our God given rights are, how can we possibly know or care when they’re being taken away?

These documents can be hard to understand at times. After all, a constitutional lawyer, who has studied them for years, fails to grasp their meaning frequently (sarcasm)! Seriously though, while it can be hard to understand, if you set a high value on your freedom, then the time spent is a small price to pay.

 
The Bible

I have heard the Bible referred to as a guidebook for one’s life. I’ve been reading the Bible frequently for almost ten years and every day for around eight years. Truth be told, I didn’t understand a lot of what I read back when I first started. I stuck with it and researched passages that I had trouble with. It wasn’t always enjoyable reading. Sometimes God uses words written thousands of years ago to point out a modern day sin in your life. Remember: God disciplines the ones He loves.

There are passages I still struggle with but I don’t have to use a concordance as much. While I am far from a saint, I know that because of my time with God’s word every day, I am a better man, a better father, a better husband and a better servant to Jesus.
 
The Constitution

If the Bible is the guidebook for one’s life, the Constitution is the guidebook for a just and balanced nation. I do know the difference between the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, but for the purpose of this article I am lumping them together.

For millennia, nations were ruled by family line, by those who had the biggest armies, and the rights of their people were controlled by the whim of their leader. What the Constitution does is draw lines defining how government is created; three separate branches with checks and balances on each one. It defines how our leaders are elected and how big the representation for each state should be.

I think that the Constitutions most important accomplishment is that the Founders defined the rights of the people, which they declared were given by our Creator, God.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

There are those, among which I am one, who believe that our Constitution is being trampled on and that we’ve lost many of the liberties we once had. However, I have traveled to several other countries and it is my opinion that we are still the freest nation on earth.

I have written two articles related to this topic; Knowing Your Rights and How to Protect Them, and Trading Liberty for Safety.
 
Camping-Survival

Camping Survival sees great value in the Bible and the Constitution as well, so much so that they sell a variety of Bibles and a pocket Constitution (Declaration of Independence and Constitution). They have agreed to give away one Bible and ten pocket Constitutions to the Prepared Christian readers. To enter this contest, you just need to send an email to: contest (at) PreparedChristian.net. I will pick random winners on Friday, July 11th and will email them, requesting their mailing address. As a thank you, please consider swinging by Camping Survival and perusing their collection of Bibles and preparedness supplies!

 
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Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth

I’m not a fan of Mike Tyson, but I do like this quote.

“Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth”

While Mike isn’t the most articulate fellow, this quote is very insightful. I think everyone should have a plan, but life tends throw us unexpected curves.

Normalcy bias is a mental state that people enter into that causes them to underestimate the possibility of, and potential magnitude of a potential danger. If I asked you how you thought the stuff would hit the fan, or to tell me what TEOTWAWKI would look, my guess is that most of you have some opinions. You have your eyes open and are aware of the many possible dangers and, in fact, have prepared with them in mind.

However, there are some of us who have gone too far in the other direction. There are some people who refuse to live life to its fullest because of what might happen. There are also some people who are so sure how things will fall apart that they might just miss things taking another route.
 

The Sky is Falling, or it Will be Anytime Now

I’m a prepper. I firmly believe that bad things can and do happen. I believe in this so strongly that I have spent hundreds of hours to help others understand that prepping is an act of faith and how to get prepared. While I believe it is possible that we could see society fall apart and resemble something out of the movies. I also believe that it is possible that we will see society degrade or have some regional weather related disaster, but, all-in-all, not be too terribly different than it is now. The point is, I don’t know and neither do you.

While I think it is prudent to take weather and political and societal conditions into account when making vacation plans, I do not think it is prudent to never take a vacation because the stuff might hit the fan while you’re away.

While I believe the emotion of fear is a gift from God, He did not give us a spirit of fear. If you feel an immediate sense of fear, listen to it, but if it keeps you locked inside, tell it off and go live life!

 
It’ll Happen Like This

Every once in a while I’ll hear from someone who takes issue with something I have said. Usually it has to do with what I have said not fitting into how they think things will fall apart. I usually try to explain that yes, if things happen just the way they think they will, they are correct, but that there are so many possible scenarios, they can’t be sure how things will unfold.

If you look back one year ago, are you where you thought you would be? Go back two, five or ten. Can you tell me that life has unfolded just like you thought it would? If you look back and life has not unfolded the way you thought it would, how can you possibly think things will fall apart a certain way?

I have always said the best approach to preparedness is very general. Do not prepare for specific events, prepare with them in mind, but not as the focus.
 

“The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men”

First, let me say that I think having preparedness and survival plans is a good idea and I think everyone should have a variety of them. I will also say that if you ever need to use them, the odds are good that they’ll go out the window.

Murphy’s Law states that “Anything that can go wrong, will”. This doesn’t mean that preparing is a waste of time or that we shouldn’t make plans. It just means we need to borrow a page from the Marine Corps, who have a motto; “improvise, adapt and overcome”.
 

First Things First

The most important reason you should have a variety of survival and preparedness plans is because it gets you thinking about possible scenarios. Have you ever read about people who froze when faced with a life and death situation?

When faced with an emergent survival situation, the human brain rifles through your life experiences, trying to find a way to process the information you’re taking in to tell you how to respond. There are people who experience “brain lock” or behavioral inaction when faced with something they’ve never had experience with or never considered might happen to them.

Having a plan in place for different events gives us a reference point to draw from and tells us what to do first. If your plan proceeds as intended after that, congratulations! If it doesn’t, improvise, adapt and overcome!

 
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Be Prepared to Rebel to do what is Right

I got a bit torqued off about a local news story where A ninth-grader says she has frostbite after standing outside for 10 minutes in a wet bathing suit during a fire alarm. According to the student, teachers refused to let her get her clothes before forcing her to go outside in the freezing cold, where she waiting for ten or so minutes before a teacher “received administrative permission” to let the student sit in their car. They waited to get permission to do the right thing! Well, sort of. If I had been the teacher, I hope I would have had the common sense and guts to make sure there was no danger and to let the girl quickly get her clothes.

The term “sheeple” is thrown about as a descriptive term for people who follow along blindly. There are some people who take offense, because as believers, we’re referred to as sheep, and God as our shepherd. To those people, this is not the same term. It’s like using the term “truck” to refer to a Chevy S10 and an 18 wheeler. Both are called “trucks”, but are clearly two different things.

Society has molded us to be sheeple; to follow what is expected of us. From kindergarten on, we’re taught to be quiet, to color in between the lines, to raise our hands and to wait to be called on. To some extent, it continues on through adulthood in the work place; show up at a certain time, you’re allowed to take a certain amount of time for a break, and you can leave at a certain time. Please don’t think I am saying we shouldn’t have rules. In fairness, society has to have a certain level of “sheepleness” to function.

Jesus was a rebel. He rebelled against Jewish leaders who had put Jewish tradition above their relationship with God. He saw people in need and hurting on the Sabbath and rebelled against cultural traditions to heal them. The New Testament is filled with examples of righteous rebellion!

So where should one draw the line? The line belongs on doing what is right!

It is a part of my ethos, my personal philosophy, that I will always try to do what I feel is right, consequences be damned. Sometimes it is easier than others. Sometimes there is a price to pay. But not compromising my integrity and being able to look at myself in a mirror is worth it.

Sometimes following rules is needed. Other times those rules need to be tossed like temple tables!

 
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Where Should I Start, and What Should I do Next?

Road Sign

Prepared Christian will be 4 years old in October of this year. In that time, I have written the majority of 400+ articles, covering a wide range of topics related to survivalism/preparedness and Christianity as it relates to the two topics. I have had several people in the last few months say they were new to preparedness and were looking for help on where to start. I have covered a lot of information on this site. I can imagine that going through it and finding the things that apply to someone new could be daunting. I also know there are readers who’ve been prepping for a bit longer but are looking for next steps.

To help these people along, I am going to be posting some new articles and pointing to some previous articles that I think are important. For some of you, this information will obviously be stuff you know. You may have already read the articles I point to. If that is the case, please add your thoughts on the topic. I will eventually be covering topics that are geared more toward the seasoned Prepper.

This is going to be a lot of reading, more than some of you will have time to complete before I make the next post. If you fall a bit behind, or just want to refresh your memory at some point, I will be updating the Get Started page with any new posts.

I never tell people what to do. I simply tell you what I have learned; what worked for me and what didn’t. Take what you like, and discard the rest.

To me the cornerstone of preparedness is knowledge, with that in mind here are some topics that all Prepper’s should have an understanding of.

 
Acronyms, Mottos and Phrases

There are many terms in preparedness that are used on various sites. I explain their meaning in this article.
 

Why I Prepare

Whether it is to have an answer for someone who asks or to remind yourself when you get burned out, I think it is important to define for yourself why you’re preparing. In this article I give you the reasons why I prepare.
 

The Ten Commandments of Preparedness

The Ten Commandments given in the Bible have guided many cultures. I believe that the ten commandments of preparedness can guide us to successful preparedness.
 

NPE Syndrome – Not Prepared Enough

A fairly normal response when someone “wakes up” and realizes how fragile society is and that they are “Not Prepared Enough” is to begin to worry and panic. In this article I try to give some encouragement, and let you know that feeling this way is normal, and that you shouldn’t worry.
 

Being Gray

“Being gray”, in OPSEC (Operational Security) terms, means blending in and not drawing undue attention to the fact that you prepare. I give some reasons why in this article.

 
Ten Common Mistakes Prepper’s Make

Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as what you should do. Here are ten common mistakes that Prepper’s sometimes make.

 
What if Nothing Ever Happens?

In this article I make the point that we should not just prepare for specific events, but take a more general approach to preparedness. The people who prepared only because of Y2K might have felt like they wasted time and money. If they had been more generally prepared, they would have seen Y2K as just another potential event.

 
Levels of Hitting the Fan

In this article I make the point that there are varying levels of the stuff hitting the fan. What is a minor event for one could be a total meltdown for others.

 
Disaster Probability

In this article I draw a correlation between the size of events and the area that they occur. For instance, one of the most common events is job loss. When it happens, it really only affects the family of the person that lost their job. On the other hand, the chance of an EMP is very low but if we did see one, it would affect a very large percentage of the country.

 
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The Pressure Cooker That is America

The Pressure Cooker That is America

I started my morning as I always do, pouring over emails, comments and looking at various news outlets. A few headlines caught my eye and I was soon shaking my head. You see, I got this mental picture of a pressure cooker on high heat but the steam vent was plugged. From my understanding, if the steam doesn’t vent, the pressure will continue to build until the cooker explodes. Whether or not that is true is beside the point. You get the idea of my mental image…something has to give and release all the built up pressure.

Before I go on, let me first say that I do not blame only this administration for the pressure. The Bush administration as well as administrations before it has a fair amount of blame to own. I have said before that the Bush administration used a hammer and nails to seal America’s fate. President Obama is using a nail gun and just doing the job faster.

Let me explain what I mean by “something has to give”. Going back to my defective pressure canner reference, if the steam vent is plugged and the only ways to release pressure were to either: a.) notice it was plugged and try to safely remove the debris that clogged it or, b.) turn the heat down, if neither were done, the pressure cooker would either break or explode. In my mental picture, the item being cooked is American society. The heat source is made up of all of the things that are “wrong” with society these days. The more there is wrong, the hotter the flame and the higher the pressure goes.

Here are some of the news items I have covered just this year. I don’t write about most of the items that catch my attention. I do mention them on facebook and in the forum more often.

The War on Guns; Part One and Part Two which I wrote about in answer to this administration’s actions and statements after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Government; the Good the Bad and the…What are They Planning

Trading Liberty for Safety

There is no Such Thing as Privacy and yes Big Brother is Watching

Military Power Grab

Nine Meals from Anarchy; a Food Stamp Melt Down

Food Stamp Cuts Starting November 1st

Police Over Reaching on Gun Rights

Increasing Random Acts of Violence

In just the last week or two, we have seen, as the FOX News article calls it “A conspiracy so vast — it’s not just the NSA, now the FBI, your local police are also spying on US citizens”. A quick summary of that story from Judge Napolitano is that not only is the NSA still doing whatever it wants with ALL of your electronic data, but the only person who they’ve fired is Snowden, the man who brought their treachery to light.

The Judge goes on to inform us that the FBI:

“has acquired software that permits it to utilize the tiny cameras in many home computers to observe whoever or whatever may be in front of the computer screen.

The FBI doesn’t only look at whoever is using the computer screen; it also captures the words and images on the screen. It seems to have an affinity for monitoring online gaming, even the lawful variety.”

He also goes on to tell us that several local police departments have asked cell phone companies for tower dumps; a tower dump copy of all digitally recorded calls that went through the cell tower. Some companies said “no”, so the police went to court, and some courts said “no”. Some police departments have purchased a $400,000 piece of equipment that spoofs a cell tower and will record the cell conversations, bypassing the need to ask the phone company to honor our Fourth Amendment rights.

In the last weeks, we’ve also seen more pressure build from the mess that is obummercare. Hundreds of thousands of people have received letters telling them they are being dropped from their current healthcare and must find new plans; Trudee and I each got a letter. I am unemployed, was unemployed when we got approved for the plan through our county and we were paying $160 a month for the two of us. When obummercare went into effect, we got a letter stating that I make too much money to qualify for the current plan. In searching for a new plan, it will cost us from $140-$220 for ONE OF US! Yeah, I’m angry, more than angry actually, but done venting. Sorry.

I have read several reports that hackers have broken into the federal website and that security experts have said no one should enter their personal data on it. I have also read reports stating that, due to faulty code, some people could receive a penalty for not having insurance, even though they have purchased a plan and are currently enrolled in it. I’m sure we can all list a number of stories we’ve heard, but here is a story I think is very important that you be made aware of.

Michael Cannon, the Director of Health Policy Studies for the Cato Institute, testified before a congressional committee about Presidential powers and the Constitution, as well as the possible consequences of the implementation of the affordable care act. Here is a recording of the portion I think is important. It is only one minute long. Please watch and listen.
 

 

“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restrains that the constitution places on the government, Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it. That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate, but as I mentioned in my written delivered testimony

If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude neither are they. That is why this is a very dangerous thing for the President to do, to wantonly ignore the laws, to try to impose obligations on people that the legislature did not approve.”

A director of one of America’s biggest think tanks told a congressional panel that if the President continues to ignore the law, the American people might revolt and ignore it as well. A small kicker is that an unnamed congressmen said that it “was an excellent conclusion”.

Please, no one respond with how we need a violent revolution. Neither you nor I need any attention from Big Brother. That being said, I have read one commentary on this story that basically said that even though Mr. Cannon used the word revolution, he didn’t really mean it. I disagree. I think he did mean it, and the fact that someone is in front of congress, warning them that the President’s actions may lead to this is a very scary thing.

This leads me back to my description of the broken pressure cooker; sure there are things that can temporarily reduce the heat, releasing some of the pressure. These things can be news stories that draw national attention for a time, such as the new Pope being selected or Nelson Mandela’s death, or even a story from inside the nation like the Oscar’s, or the Black Friday incidents. The problem is, as I mentioned, these are temporary fixes that temporarily remove the heat source, allowing the pressure to calm, if even a little.

If individual people and groups of people would stop throwing another log on the fire, maybe enough time could go by for the pressure to get down to safe levels. The problem is that they (politicians, alphabet agencies) keep looking for bigger logs and are more than happy to throw them on the fire. The people we have elected to lead us do not have our best interests in mind. The agencies and technologies that are supposed to keep us safe from foreign harm are being used against us.

As I mentioned, there are only two other ways to remove the pressure. A violent revolution would be the equivalent to the pressure cooker exploding.

I have read stories over the last two years that say we’re inching closer to another American revolution. I simply can’t wrap my mind around what a violent revolution might look like. There were fairly clear dividing lines between the north and south. The opposing sides in the conflicts now have more to do with way of life; morals and ideals. The battle lines could literally end up being neighbor against neighbor.

This leaves one other option; people realizing the pressure is at dangerous levels and taking steps to correct the situation. This is much harder than it might sound. You see, we evidently don’t trust each other, according to this article from the Associated Press. As one person in their article commented:

“It’s like the rules of the game,” Clark said. “When trust is low, the way we react and behave with each other becomes less civil.”

I have some theories on why people don’t trust each other and treat each other poorly. One problem I think comes as a byproduct from the Internet. When I was a kid, if I wanted to talk to someone, I had to either see them in person or talk to them on the phone. We exercised our people skills frequently throughout our day. [Side note: It’s funny to me that I am writing about a lack people skills in society. I have Asperger Syndrome and mine are far from perfect.] I digress. I think the amount of time we deal with each other face-to-face is a fraction of the time it used to be. I think there are consequences for that.

I also think this is part of what Jesus meant about the “Love of many waxing cold”.

[On another side note, since this article mentions the word “revolution” and the words “pressure” and “cooker,” if you never hear from me again, just know that the NSA grabbed me and I say “hello” from Gitmo.]
 
Final Thoughts

I have some ideas about what will happen when the pressure gets too high. I don’t think it will be an all-out civil war. Many of the countries involved in the Arab Spring had civil unrest that led to revolution and civil war and saw multiple governments topple. This will not be allowed to happen by the federal Government. However, if tensions continue to build, I do expect to see riots bigger than any in our history. Many would say this is the response our Government is expecting and is part of why they have spent so much money beefing up Homeland Security.

Maybe things will calm down enough to let this current level of pressure lower. Ideally we would see revival and many come to know the Lord.

2 Chronicles 7:14

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 

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What if Nothing Ever Happens?

What if Nothing Ever Happens

We, as Prepper’s, prepare for a wide range things that could go wrong. But let me ask you this; what if nothing major ever happens? Will you feel foolish? Will you feel like you wasted a lot of money? Will you regret all the hours of research and learning? Will you feel cheated?

I think those are important questions to consider. I think there is another question that will define and frame the answers to those questions. That is simply; why do you prepare?

On January 1st, 2013 I wrote an article called Why I Prepare here is an excerpt:

“I prepare because it is a part of who I am. No matter how the media spins it, I am not a “crazed doomsday survivalist”. I am a pragmatic realist who, to the best of my ability, wants to mitigate the things that can have a negative impact on my life.

I prepare because Proverbs 27:12 says the prudent thing to do is take precaution when we see a danger.

I do not prepare out of fear. I prepare so I do not have to be afraid. I am prepared, and therefore, I am not afraid that my family won’t have clean drinking water, food to eat, a warm place to sleep or safety from the things that go bump in the night.

I prepare because I love freedom, and being evacuated to a stadium is not my idea of freedom. If I lost everything and this was my only option, I would take it. Anything short of that and we’ll take care of ourselves, thank you.”

Why do I think it is important to ask yourself this question? If you only prepare because of an impending social and economic collapse and it never comes, you might feel like time, money and energy were wasted.

If you prepare; not only to protect against the potential negative things in life but because you value being as self-sufficient as you can be, because you just identify with the ant and think the grasshoppers are foolish, because you believe God has called you to, or for any number of reasons other than just waiting for the sky to fall, my guess is that you won’t feel like a fool. You won’t regret it because you knew you were fully able to protect your loved ones and to provide for their basic needs.

There are a lot of us who have never really put why we prepare into words. If this is you, take a few minutes and give it some thought. If you need to, take a look at the article I linked above and see if some of my reasons are close to yours. When you have a firm understanding of why you prepare, it is easier to fend off the shaking heads, the eye rolls and comments about your prepping. It is also easier to avoid burnout and avoid giving up when the one or two reasons you started to prepare never happen.

 
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Levels of Hitting the Fan

Levels of Hitting the Fan

I’m sure all of us have seen or heard someone make statements about how it’ll be when it hits the fan. Very often, the people saying this have the very worst case scenario in mind. I want to bring up three articles I have written that I hope can help people have a more open minded, broad approach to their preparedness.
 

Levels of Hitting the Fan

The scale of an incident can vary based on geography, time of year, length of incident and countless other criteria. Just last week there was a storm that dumped three feet of snow on an area just a few hundred miles away from me. When it got here, we only got a mild thunderstorm.
If we would have gotten that much snow here in Minnesota, my city neighborhood might have fared better than some, as we have underground power lines, creating no real danger of local power lines snapping from the added weight of ice and snow.
 

When Would You Say “It Has Hit the Fan”?

I wrote an article called When Would You Say It Has Hit The Fan? In it, I make the point that this is largely subjective. Let’s say we got the three feet of snow here in Minnesota. While my family would be dreading the shoveling, we would be warm, fed, and safe and secure, even if we lost power. I believe that there are some of my neighbors who would have to venture out to get more groceries. They are ill prepared. For them, the stuff might be hitting the fan, but for us it would be an inconvenient bump in the road.
 

Disaster Probability

Someone recently made a comment about how one wouldn’t want to cook outdoors once it’s hit the fan. I replied that under a worst case, total melt-down, he was correct. As I explain in Disaster Probability, those types of worse case scenarios don’t happen very often. If they do happen, they rarely start off as a worst case scenario. One of the scenarios people mention is a total economic meltdown where people are rioting instantly; there is no food anywhere and the hordes kill anyone they want to take whatever they want.

The truth is, in an economic collapse, things will most likely get bad slowly. Job losses will increase, social programs will swell and the value of the dollar will decrease as prices increase. The people who riot and cause havoc will most likely not make a noise until their social programs are cut and the price of food increases to a level that makes today’s prices look cheap. In my version of what an economic collapse will look like, I’ll be safe cooking outside for some time. It would only be dangerous to do so once the price of food is burdensome or the stores just don’t have any.

The major events that the doomers among us point to like major economic overnight meltdown, EMP, and so on just don’t happen very often, if at all. The truth is, the stuff hits the fan for many people every single day. Loved ones die. Jobs are lost. Houses burn. Cars are stolen. The scenarios go on and on. Some of these may seem small to you, but they can and are life changing events for others. The events that are most likely to happen are the ones that only affect a small number of people. When I lost my job it really impacted my family, but no one else has been impacted by it.
 

Don’t Get Tunnel Vision

In the Article called The Downfalls of Tunnel Vision I make the point to explain that it can be dangerous for us to think an event will only take place a certain way. This is why I don’t recommend preparing for event’s, but instead to take a general approach to preparedness. If you only prepare for an EMP, you might not be prepared for or see a pandemic coming.

In being prepared for the things that are most likely to happen, we will eventually be prepared for the larger things that have a small chance of happening but will effect a large percentage of people.

 
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Prepper Ethics 101: What About Others?

 

Today’s article was written by guest author Naomi Broderick.

 

“Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.”

              -Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

“Grub first, then ethics.”

              -Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

When preparing ourselves for emergencies, rarely do we make accommodations for anyone outside of our household. And this isn’t necessarily selfish; survival for ourselves and our families is an instinctual drive. When attempting to make a home as sustainable as possible with enough resources and security measures, it can be complicated and costly to consider anyone outside of our households.

For many, the primary issue is of trust. When a widespread crisis strikes, self-preservation is the same force that motivates a prepper’s caution as it does a looter’s thieving. It can be difficult to trust even the kindliest strangers at the precipice of an emergency, which is why preppers are often unfairly characterized as being selfish or “paranoid.” But when it comes to the welfare of others, it can be all too easy to justify isolation.

Some ideas that might cross the mind are:

  •   “Why should my family share our resources when I was the one who made the sacrifices to prepare for this?”
  •   “What if sharing my resources now means that I can’t support my family later on?”
  •   “How can I be sure they don’t represent a threat to my family?”
  •   “Why should I owe anything to a stranger at my doorstep?”

And these are all valid concerns in deciding whether or not to come to the aid of someone standing at your door during times of emergency. Feelings of indignation and guilt alike are perfectly reasonable reactions when refusing or ignoring the needs of others when your family’s welfare is on the line. But is refusing to help others, even out of concern for ourselves and our families, morally right?

 

Scarcity vs. abundance

It is often said that morality is only possible when survival isn’t an issue. Others consider survival a moral right, and that any necessary measures to survive is justifiable. No matter your school of thought, it’s clear that the scarcity of resources and the impact that this has on your ability to survive is an issue when considering the morality of helping others.

Before passing judgment on yourself or others for certain behaviors during crises, consider how resources, needs, and wants motivated their behavior. In the eyes of most individuals, a looter who scours the remains of a supermarket for food to feed their family is more morally righteous than one who broke into someone’s abandoned home to steal a television. Generally, we grant more lenience in judging those with fewer resources who are fulfilling their needs rather than their wants.

Similarly, whether or not the refusal to aid others is “right” largely depends on the scarcity of your resources. If one has vast stores of food, faces a short-term crisis such as natural disaster or terrorist threat, and yet still refuses to aid seemingly harmless strangers, where does this person stand morally? I believe most would agree that this stance is not justifiable. However, some might argue that it isn’t possible to determine who represents a threat.

 

The risk of charity

It’s natural to fear the unknown. As children, most of us are taught about “stranger danger” and the risks associated with placing trust in someone you haven’t met. There is no surefire way to tell who is trustworthy, what ulterior motives an individual might have, and unknown risks that they might introduce in your home. Especially in incidents of contagious disease outbreak, suspicion of others is a logical extension of self-preservation. Whether or not giving into the fear of the unknown is morally justifiable is a difficult question, and depends entirely on the eye of the beholder.

The true decider of morality in these circumstances is intent. I believe that no prepper should be indicted for refusing to help others when the safety of their home is a potential casualty. In fact, the opportunities in which I’ve had the chance to meet and talk with fellow preppers have proven to me that they’re frequently among some of the most compassionate and concerned individuals for the safety of their household, neighborhood, and country.

What are your thoughts about the morality of helping others during crises in which scarcity is an issue?

This is a contribution from Naomi Broderick, a stay-at-home mother and prepper who lives in the great rural Northwest. She currently writes with Protect Your Home, who provides security in Phoenix, Arizona

 

Disaster Probability

It has been some time since I covered this topic. There are enough new readers that I think it’s time to discuss again. Disaster probability is one of the fundamental building blocks of preparedness. By understanding it, we have a better idea of what our potential threats are and what we should actually be preparing for.
 
 
Possible, Plausible and Probable

If you’ve watched any of the prepper shows like Doomsday Preppers, any preparedness related youtube videos, or read any preparedness forums you’ve no doubt heard people give a long list of events they’re preparing for. While all of these things might be possible, they aren’t all plausible or very probable.

There is also a relationship between how possible something is and the area of its effect. In the image below, you can see that in the inner ring there is a picture of a house, which represents you. The things that are most probable to happen are likely to affect only you or your neighborhood in some instances. This is sometimes called the “pebble in the shoe” effect. If you’re walking with other people and you have a pebble in your shoe, it might really affect you but doesn’t really impact those around you. For an example, when I lost my job it had no effect on my neighbors but had a severe impact on my family.

Disaster Probability

As we move further from the probable ring, there is less of a chance that the events in the outer rings will actually happen. If they do happen, they will have a larger area of impact. The events that fall in the “plausible” ring have a less likely chance of actually happening but if they do, they could impact a county or state. The events in the “possible” ring are possible but unlikely. However, if they do happen, the area of effect is very large and could happen on a regional or national level.
 
Here are some examples of events in the various rings.
 
Probable: Affects home, possibly neighborhood
Job loss
House fire
Theft
Neighborhood power outage
 
Plausible: Affects County to State
Are-wide blackout
Wildfire
Severe weather (tornado, flash flooding, hurricane, etc.)
Flu epidemic
 
Possible: Affects Regional or Larger
EMP
Pandemic
Economic collapse
Caldera eruption
 

Applying This to Our Preparedness

I don’t think we should prepare for specific events but, instead, have a general level of preparedness. However, we still must be aware of our greatest threats in the areas in which we live, in case we must take specific precautions. For instance, if I was brand new to preparedness, it makes much more sense for me to prepare for an ice storm or blizzard than it does for me to prepare for an EMP. Sure, an EMP is possible, but in Minnesota, blizzards and ice storms actually happen. Since ice storms often bring power outages with them, it makes more sense for me to make sure I have a means of keeping warm, keeping the food cold and so on. By being prepared for the most probable threats, we eventually become much better prepared for the less likely events that will have a far greater reach.

 
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Are You Prepared to Use Violence to Stop Violence?

Fight Violence with violence

Are You Prepared to Use Violence to Stop Violence?

If asked, “are you willing to use violence to stop violence against you or a loved one?” many of us would answer “yes”. I know I would. The truth is, unless you’ve been tested, you really don’t know. During the last couple of months, I have put in a lot of drive time, listening to the audiobook “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. This book helped firm up my understanding of humans and their capacity and willingness to use violence. In short, the vast majority of human beings are not wired to use violence on one another.

Lt. Col. Grossman goes into great detail to explain how, through the earliest of American wars; the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the World Wars, the majority of the men fighting them would purposely miss what they were shooting at. He explained how the aversion to killing another human was so strong that a trained soldier often times would not shoot another, even if it meant losing his own life.

Leading up to the Vietnam War, great effort went into figuring out how to train men, not only to kill but to do so without hesitation. Today’s military are some of the most efficient warriors in the world’s history.

Someone might say that an aversion to violence is a good thing and that Jesus said, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword”. I would agree with Him, but He did not say we should never use the sword. In fact, I believe that if we willingly decide not to act in our own defense or in the defense of another innocent person, we have sinned. We now bare blood guilt and are accountable for all of the future acts of violence our attacker commits. We also bare the guilt of all the good that we or the person we did not defend would have done.
 
 
Less Than Lethal Force

It is my belief that the majority of humans have an aversion to using any form of violence against one another. I’ve mentioned before that I took a real world martial art called “Haganah”. I noticed that almost all new students hesitated using even minimal force to strike their partner. These are people who are aware of the need to learn to defend themselves but have to be trained that it was acceptable to strike another person. I was a wrestler in high school and had a few minor altercations as a young adult. Physical violence wasn’t completely new to me. I still had to retrain myself that using force was not only acceptable in this setting, but encouraged. I trained with some students who hesitated striking with even 10% of their force even after months of training.
 
 
10-80-10 Rule

In the book The Survivors Club, author Ben Sherwood explores a theory developed by a man named John Leach called “The 10-80-10 rule”. In summary, the rule states that the top 10% of people in a crisis excel; they think clearly and take immediate action. The middle group comprises 80% of people; they are “quite simply stunned and bewildered”; “reasoning is significantly impaired and thinking is difficult”. The last 10% of people are the “ones you definitely want to avoid in an emergency”.

A few pages later, he explains something called ‘behavioral inaction’; “The current theory of behavioral inaction goes like this: As your frontal lobes process the site of an airplane wing on fire, they seek to match the information with memories of similar situations in the past. If you have no stored experience of a plane crash, your brain can’t find a match and gets stuck in a loop trying and failing to come up with the right response. Hence: immobility.”

While he was talking about a plane crash, I believe the theory carries over to any type of critical incident. In terms of violence I think that the first 10% are capable of violence, either to harm or to defend. The middle 80% of people are those who will freeze either initially and then take action or remain frozen. The last 10% of people are made up of those who just shut down.
 
 
More Than Fight or Flight

You’ve probably heard of “fight or flight”, but there are at least five possible responses. They are fight, flight, freeze, posture and submit.

Fight – This is a group of people who have a capacity for violence, either to hurt or to protect. Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs is an excellent depiction of those who’re willing to use violence. The wolves are those who prey upon others (the sheep). Sheepdogs are those who’re capable of using violence in protection of themselves and in defense of the sheep.

Posturing – Posturing is combat without making contact, using intimidation. This is frequently seen in the animal world but can be seen in humans as well. Posturing comes easy to those who fight but I have seen some who were not typically thought of as fighter’s posture enough to prevent an attack and back a wolf down.

Flight – This is a group of people who have an innate urge to flee from harm. There are some who might initially flee, only to change to another behavior.

Freeze – People who freeze might do so for mere seconds while their brain catches up to the reality of the situation. They could also be people who are so completely overwhelmed that they simply shut down. People in this group can slide to other groups. For instance, someone might freeze for a second before being able to use violence to defend themselves. Another person might freeze before running away or submitting.

Submit – Submitting is totally giving up to an attacker. There is evidence in the FBI’s annual uniform crime report to suggest that submitting is more dangerous than fighting back. However, feigning compliance and submitting temporarily can give a person the upper hand.
 
 
Putting it all Together

I believe that the 10-80-10 rule and the five possible responses to violence can be combined. The first 10% are the people who are ready and willing to use violence and obviously have no aversion to it. The last 10% are made up of those who flee (and continue to flee), and those who submit. They are so incapable of violence they would rather perish than use force, even to save their own lives. I think that the middle 80% is on a sliding scale of sorts. There are those who, under certain conditions, are capable of using violence. There are also those who might initially freeze and later panic.

Since the majority of us fall into the middle 80% of people who freeze for some length of time, how can we make sure we override any aversion to violence? How can we make sure we don’t remain frozen? How can we make sure we snap out of it and are willing to use violence to stop violence being used against us or another human being?

Remember that the reason people in the 80 portion of the 10-80-10 rule freeze is because their minds can’t quickly latch onto something from their stored experience. What we need to do is make sure there is something in that stored experience.
 
 
Overcoming the Aversion to Violence

As I mentioned, in the book “On Killing”, it is noted that trained soldiers from much of America’s history missed their shot on purpose, even if it meant their own life. If a trained soldier had difficulty overriding the aversion, what hope can the average citizen have?

If you’re not intellectually, emotionally or spiritually averse to the idea of using violence to save you or a loved one, there are some things you can do to train yourself to act in self-defense and in the defense of others.

Lt. Col. Grossman listed several things modern training has done to make the modern warrior act, often without hesitation. I’m not going to cover them in detail, as some just wouldn’t and shouldn’t apply outside of a military setting. Many of the things that we can do are intellectual and psychological.
 
 
Visualization

No, I do not mean that touchy feely, self-affirming “I’m good enough, I’m smart and doggonit people like me” crap. I mean visualize different scenarios and what you might do and say when a threat causes you to go to code orange or red. (If you don’t know what the Cooper Color Code is, follow that link and learn to incorporate it into your daily situational awareness.) For instance, thinking through the following scenario; if this person following me follows the next three right turns I make (walking or driving), I am going to do “x”.

I haven’t ever had someone kick down my door and come in with a weapon. I have thought about what I would do in many different variations of that, and Trudee and I have discussed them.

Visualization is more than just thinking through imaginary scenarios that could happen. I also think about how I would respond to violent encounters I read about, see in the news or even in TV and movies.

By mentally preparing my mind for situations where violence is an acceptable response, I am overriding the natural aversion to violence. This is something that should be done on an ongoing basis, much like weight lifting to build and keep strength.
 
 
Training

Less Than Lethal – I am a big supporter of real world self-defense for multiple reasons. Watching a fist fight on TV or movies is a completely different thing than actually being in one. Of course, not just the physical aspect of it, but also the mental. When you’re on the receiving end of violence, there is a mental shock, which is probably why 80% of people freeze. As I mentioned earlier, there is often a hesitation to strike someone. While it’s possible to overcome that in an actual fight, I suppose, repeatedly striking someone and defending against various attacks gets one used to the initial shock and you learn how to override it and defend.

Lethal Force – If you haven’t taken a handgun training course, take one. If you’ve taken one, then take another. There are some training companies where you enter a “shoot house” and fire at multiple types of targets. There are also some places that use simunition (simulated munition), which is a paint tipped round. They put you in various real world situations and have Joe Dirtbag enter and do dirtbag stuff that you have to react to. Some places also have force on force training with Airsoft or paintball. If you can do those, great! If not, when you’re at your local range, visualize the target as the threat you visualized in the above scenarios.

The goal is not only to excel with your firearm, but also to train you to respond with violence to stop violence.
 
 
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