October 24, 2014

Have You Ever Seen Something That You Just Couldn’t Explain?

Have You Ever Seen Something That You Just Couldn’t Explain

Have you ever experienced something that didn’t make sense? Something that did not compute with your rational self, so you convinced yourself you must not have seen things correctly? I would wager we all have. For the most part, these things are harmless, but it is those times where it could be harmful that I want to concentrate on today.

I saw a video years ago of a church shooting. A man walked down the aisle toward the pastor, shooting as he went. I couldn’t find the video now, but I believe he made it to the front of the church, shooting the pastor several times before he was stopped. Later, when parishioners were questioned, some said they assumed it was a play.

If you live in a suburb and see what you think, at first, is a bear, don’t dismiss it as a large dog. I live 30 miles from Minneapolis, in a fairly large suburb. The town next door had a bear wander in just a couple months ago. If you were walking your dog or small child, a hungry bear could be a big problem! The same can be said for any wildlife! In the last five years, I have seen reports of a puma, coyote, and an alligator all within 15 miles of me.

A few years back, while driving to work one morning I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It was, at the time, what looked like a very large model plane, flying fast and very low, less than fifty yards from the road. This was after we started hearing about drones being used in combat but before we started seeing images of them. I knew this was too big and fast to be a model plane, and too small and low to be even a small passenger plane, not to mention too military-looking to be a civilian passenger plane. At the time, I figured it had to be a drone. Later, when images started popping up of some of the drones used, I saw one very similar to the “UFO” I had seen earlier.

Big deal, I saw a flying object I believed at the time to be a drone. I’ll admit I was fascinated by how this thing was flying. Having been an aviation electrician in the Navy, attached to an Aircraft carrier for four years, I have seen hundreds of planes fly. I had never seen anything this small move like this. The operator was clearly trying to get somewhere before rush hour set in and the sun was fully up.

Now, let’s say this happened ten years from now and drone strikes on American soil are rare but do happen. What if the car in front of me was believed to be a terrorist and the drone opened fire on it? If I don’t trust and believe my eyes and act immediately, I could be caught up in the attack.

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.”

We can prepare ourselves for a great many things that we’ve never actually lived through. I do this by inserting myself in situations I see in movies, TV, news stories, books and so on. But we should also try and condition ourselves to take action immediately even if we can’t understand, process or make sense of what we are seeing.

If you ever see something that doesn’t jive with how things should be or normally are, that is your intuition telling you to pay attention! Don’t let your intellect silence it! Pay attention to whatever is out of place, if it turns out to be nothing, move on. If it turns out to be something, your mind is primed to take action.

If you see a 75 foot lizard spewing fire, a spaceship descend from the sky, Super Mario and Big foot playing checkers, someone may have slipped you a funky mushroom. Seriously though, there is a saying that goes, “If you hear the thunder of hooves, think horses, not zebras”. While I agree, you should still get out of the way and make sure what it is once you’re safe.

 
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Awareness and Security in Crowds

Awareness and Security in Crowds
I did something recently that I have not done in many years! I went to the mall; not just any mall, mind you, but the Mall of America, the nation’s biggest mall! I went for a work event, and since I hadn’t been there in almost a decade, I thought I would walk around and see what I could see.

I came up with several observations and suggestions that could help one stay alert and safe in a crowded situation. This could be a mall, a state fair, or, in an emergency, it could be an evacuation route or center.
 
 
Awareness

Practicing situational awareness in any public setting can be difficult at times. It can be nearly impossible when you add hundreds or thousands of people. I’m a big believer in the Cooper Color Code. For those unaware, this is a system of mental readiness that uses four colors to differentiate the levels.
Read the link above for a deeper explanation. Below is a brief overview.

White: This is a state of being unaware; the state you’re in when at home.

Yellow: Relaxed but aware of your surroundings; the state you should be in any time you’re away from home. This is where you scan for potential threats.

Orange: Alerted on a single threat; must make decision on when and how you will react if the threat escalates.

Red: You are ready to fight.

Using the Cooper color code is an effective way to gauge potential threats in low to moderately busy situations. However, if you are in a situation where you have, not only to scan for threats, but also need/want to take in the sites or look for someone you’re meeting, it is quite difficult to assess every passerby for more than a second or two.

In large groups of people, I change my scanning method somewhat. For example, a young teenage girl who is giggling with a friend is usually not going to be a threat. This being the case, I then dismissed groups of teenage girls as potential threats. The same could be said for a group of elderly gentleman, or any group of similar people. Now, of course, they would get a second look if they did something that got my attention, such as following me.

Because I was in a setting where people were there with purpose, I expected them to act in certain ways; looking at merchandise, walking to or from a store, looking for the next store to shop at, you get the idea. Anyone who did anything outside of these expected behaviors got more of my attention.

For example, there was a group of people sitting on benches. Some of them were talking, others were people watching and one of them was watching me. Because I thought it odd that a man in his late thirties or early forties was watching me, I made a point to look behind me as I passed. I then noticed that he got up and followed me. This could have been a total coincidence, but knowing my biggest threat in the mall is pickpockets, I decided to act instead of waiting to see what happened. I moved off to the side of the walkway and stopped, watching him as he passed. When he got a bit ahead of me, I went on my way again, making sure I knew where he was.

Maintaining awareness also makes you much more polite than the average person. At 6’0 tall and 220 pounds, I’m a fairly big guy. I lost count of how many people I had to dodge to keep from knocking them over or, in one case, getting run over by a motorized scooter. Playing this kind of leapfrog and trying to keep people at as much distance as I could also made me a harder target to pickpocket.
 
 
Sliding Into Condition White

I don’t care who you are, it is impossible to maintain perfect situational awareness at all times, especially when you’re in an environment where you need to split your attention between looking for someone in particular, finding a gift, maintaining a conversation, eating a meal and so on.

One sure fire way to slide back into condition white is using your phone. Below are some tips I used both on the occasions when had to use the phone, or when I was looking at an item.

I only used the phone in a non-busy area, and made sure my back was to the wall. I made sure to continue to scan every five to ten seconds. I also kept the phone close to my body and kept a solid grasp on it. I’ve watched footage of people getting their phones stolen right from their hands. They almost always have it as far from them as possible, yet not quite a full arm’s length away. I had my wrists touching my frame and checked my peripherals frequently.
 
 
Limiting Mr. Murphy

Because I dislike Mr. Murphy and his law and want to limit the amount of things that do go wrong, special precautions should be taken in large groups of people. Below are some random security related ideas when in a large group of people.

  •  Don’t put your wallet in your back pocket. The front is much harder to pickpocket from.
  • Women, if you carry a purse, carrying it cross body won’t keep it from being stolen but can limit pickpocketing.
  • At the mall there were some parents using those kid “leashes”. I used to think those were a bad idea until I watched a young couple with two kids. The wife was pushing the stroller, the husband was carrying bags and had the kid that could walk tethered to him with one of these. He frequently checked on him but the tether gave them a little more freedom than they would have had otherwise.
  •  Men – When using public restrooms, either do like the ladies and use the buddy system, or if going solo, use the stall. There was a crime wave here a few years back where a man was targeting men who were alone standing at the urinal. He would walk behind them and give them an elbow strike to the back of the head, then while they lay there unconscious he would empty their pockets.
  • Women – When using a public restroom, the safest stall is the one with a solid wall to one side. You can place your purse on the floor in the corner. There is then no risk of someone taking it off the door hook or reaching under and grabbing it.
    Always know the quickest way out of the area as well as an alternative route.
  • Pay attention to anyone paying more attention to you than they are anything else. A nod and a smile can let them know you are aware of them. They might just think that you remind them of someone or they may have sinister intentions.
  • If there is an emergency and everyone is heading for the exits; depending on the emergency, it might be best to let the crowd pass by and then leave. If you did as suggested above, you know where an alternate route is.
  • One would think that evil couldn’t hide in large groups of people. However, some very evil things were done at the Superdome during hurricane Katrina. The point here is that even in large crowds of people, those who want to do you harm can find pockets where foot traffic is light. This is one of the reasons to use the buddy system.
  • Make your valuables hard to get to. I usually wear cargo pants and button the pockets. If you carry a bag or purse, make sure it is zipped. If you have one that doesn’t close, while it might be handy, it is not secure from someone willing and with nimble fingers.

Staying alert and secure in crowds of people has different challenges and might need a different approach than around a low population setting. Please add any other thoughts or security ideas to the comments section.

 
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The Answer to “Prepper’s are Selfish”

Every now and then, I see a story about someone who said prepper’s are selfish. Granted, these comments are often made by non-prepper’s, during a time when they might be regretting not being prepared. If you ever encounter such a person, here are some things to keep in mind.
  

Selfish

Words and their meaning are important! Here are two definitions of the word “selfish”.

1. Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2. Characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself.

I can’t recall ever hearing another Prepper say that they were preparing for themselves exclusively. We say, “I am preparing for myself and my family”. By definition, we are looking out for others’ welfare and interests. “Everyone takes care of their family.” Uh, no! No, they don’t. I have some incredibly selfish people in my extended family who take advantage of family members at every turn and contribute absolutely nothing to society, let alone family.

According to the definition, if you are concerned with anyone else’s well-being, you are not selfish!
  

Acting in Self-interest

There is also a difference between being selfish and acting in one’s self interest. There is nothing wrong with acting in your own self-interest. It’s human nature! It’s when we act in our self-interest to the exclusion of everyone else, that we are selfish, and this is, indeed, a problem!

Every time you board a plane, you’re told that if you’re with a child and the masks fall, to put yours on first. This ensures that you have oxygen and will enable you to assist the child. If you and a friend are on a road trip, and a deer jumps in front of you, causing you to roll your vehicle and your friend to lose consciousness, you must first extricate yourself before assisting your friend. Neither of these makes you selfish! They are prudent decisions!

Acting in self-interest is not bad on a corporate level either! Companies stay in business and are able to employ people by turning a profit. Even a non-profit company needs to make enough money to pay their employees! If their costs go up, so do yours! Where I think corporations go too far, is when they cover up something detrimental because they would lose money if it came to light.
  

Selfishness in an Emergency

Almost every year we see either hurricanes or blizzards, followed by stories of people getting into fights over a can of beans or a case of water. In an emergency, prepping is the antithesis of selfishness for a couple different reasons; the main one is that because we made the decision to get prepared, and buy our preparations when the stock at stores was plentiful, we are not a drain on the system when the stocks are low! Secondly, when we are assured our families self-interests are met, many of us will venture out to help our neighbors, whether by providing a hot meal or lending some muscle and time to clean up!
  

Final Thoughts

Like every subset of people, we prepper’s have some selfish people in our ranks. The next time you hear someone say that people who prepare are selfish, ask them this: if the worst weather event (for your area; hurricane, blizzard, ice storm) in 50 years was scheduled to hit in two days, who is more selfish:

The person who runs out to the store at the last minute and buys the last loaf of bread on the shelf, when another family could also need it, or the person who spent their money months ago making sure their needs were met in case a storm like this ever happened?

 
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You Don’t Have to Outrun the Bear

You Don’t Have to Outrun the Bear

Two friends are hiking through a remote section of a national park. The subject turns to what they will do if a bear approaches. One friend says “I’m going to run like crazy”, the other reply’s “There is no way you can outrun a bear”. To which the first friend says “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you.”

The notion that we need to be totally prepared to make it through whatever flavor of extreme survival situation you can think of doesn’t make sense to me for a few reasons. This is a topic I’ve thought about for a while and decided I would share my thoughts with you. Please share yours with me in the comment section.
 
 
You’re On Your Own

I get the feeling that people might be under the impression that everything is going to fall apart and we will not have any infrastructure or any help coming whatsoever. For this to be true, the event would have to be extremely large. That has such a low chance of actually happening that I’m not terribly concerned about it.

The Yellowstone Caldera exploding, a colossal meteor strike or a full out nuclear war are a few of those events. I know some of you are concerned about the Yellowstone Caldera. I think it is something to keep an eye on, but not something that should cause anyone to lose sleep. With all but the colossal meteor strike, I think we would see aid from other countries in time.

With smaller scale events, such as any type of weather related disaster, aid and assistance from other states will pour in soon after the disaster. Images of Hurricane Katrina, and the cries on the news about “Where is our help Mr. President” might come to mind. Here is something you might not know, that I learned from the County Emergency Manager when I went through CERT.. The county needs to invite the state, and the state needs to invite federal help. The reason federal help was delayed during hurricane Katrina was that the local government officials were slow to request it. I think they may have even turned it down at first.
 
 
What Is a Reasonable Goal?

I’m going to use the largest scale event that I believe has the highest chance of happening; a pandemic. The pandemic of 1918 killed 6.5% of the American population. I believe that if we had one today, the percentage would be higher. In 1918 it took much longer to traverse the world, let alone the United States. It could’ve taken a week or more for an infected person to travel from their country of origin and make it stateside. Now one infected person could infect everyone on their flight, they in turn infecting people on connecting flights and within 24 hours we could have infected people in every state.

In 1918 the largest percentage of our population lived in a more rural environment and we were far more spread out. Today we have large percentages of people in high population urban areas and many more in suburbs that aren’t that far away. For more on my thoughts on pandemics, please read What You Need to Know About Pandemics.

So let’s say a pandemic with a high morbidity and mortality rate spreads worldwide. Stories will make it on the news within hours of multiple hospitals reporting being overwhelmed with sick people with the same symptoms. Imposing a self-quarantine for your family before anyone contracts the illness would be ideal.

It could take 4-12 weeks to be able to create a vaccine, so being able to stay in quarantine and have the ability to provide clean drinking water, food and to have enough medications and other supplies on hand with the ability to protect your family for three months should be a long term goal. I can’t see a realistic scenario that wouldn’t see federal or international aid taking longer than that to arrive.

I’m not saying that we should only prepare a little because Uncle Sugar will come to the rescue. What I am saying is that if basic services stop; if trucks stop delivering, for instance, those things will be remedied as quickly as possible. Medications and medical help will be brought in, as will clean drinking water if it is needed. We should be as prepared as we can be, but I fully believe help will be there in time if we need it.

If you’re just starting out, 90 days might seem like a very lofty goal, but it’s not as unreachable as you may think. Many of the things you might need are one time purchases, such as a water purifier. Food and medications are going to be the biggest hurdles for most of us. Here are a couple articles that can help increase your pantry and your medicine cabinet. Copy Canning is one way to inexpensively and quickly build your pantry over a few months. I cover several ways to add to your medical preps in Building a Stockpile of Medicine.

To me, this is a plausible worst case scenario, and I’m going to be very candid. If we see a global pandemic, the death tolls will be staggering. Those unprepared will resort to doing whatever they feel necessary to feed their families. The first month is going to be dangerous as the pandemic spreads and people deal with the breakdown of infrastructure. Any thing you can do to limit your exposure to the public, and to people that might come to you for aid, the better off you are. If you want to help, do so through a local church or food bank, or leave a care package anonymously.
 
 
Out-Running the Bear

I mentioned pandemic and self-quarantine above, but this is just one example. Try not to get tied to the event, but how you are prepared in general. If you are able to provide the Five Basic Human Needs for your family for an extended time, it means that if there is chaos in the streets, you don’t need to subject yourself to potential danger.

There are several things that we should be ready for that will have a far shorter duration than 90 days. However, once you reach 90 days, I don’t think you should stop there. I fully believe we will see serious economic corrections in the next 5-10 years. I think this will make the mess of recent years look mild. If you lose your job and cannot find a new one, having six months or a years’ worth of staples stored will stretch your savings and unemployment much further. I should know, when I lost my job at the beginning of 2013, we relied pretty heavily on our pantry, spending $50 or less some weeks on groceries.

Much like the friend who didn’t need to outrun the bear but only his friend; we don’t need to outlast whatever event takes place. We need to outlast others affected by it.

Eventually things will start being put back together, though they may not go back to the way they were. Whether it is a vaccine or cure for the pandemic, the grid being repaired or correction of whatever the event may be, things will eventually level off. If you can outlast those who were not prepared; those who fell during the event, you will be a part of the rebuilding.

Like I said at the beginning, this is something I have thought about for a while but admit I don’t have completely polished. I would really like to hear your thoughts.

 
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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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