What does preparedness mean to me? May 18, 2010

Survivalist. Prepper. Homesteader. Paranoid. A little of column “A,” a little of column “B.” Uncle Sam now encourages people to have 72 – hour kits and emergency plans. What does all that mean to me?

I grew up toward the end of the Cold War. My grandparents grew up in the Great Depression. I saw Red Dawn and The Day After. I read American Survival Guide magazine and the adventures of John Thomas Rourke in The Survivalist series of novels. In high school this led me to keep my .22 rifle and 12 gauge shotgun under my bed with a couple of cans of tuna and a 2 liter soda bottle filled with water. I carried a Swiss Army Knife every day and planned what I would do if DC got nuked or if Ivan decided to invade my suburban homeland.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps and watched from across the street as a Lebanese man held hostages at the recruiting office where I had signed my contract. A couple years later, I went to war against Saddam Hussein to help liberate Kuwait from a terrorist. A few years after that, I was a police officer, and I saw as a home-grown terrorist blew up a federal building. I also saw where sometimes, our government exceeded its authority and targeted those who were seen as “different.”

Next, came a little situation that was referred to as the Y2K bug. I was living in a rented farmhouse, and for two years, every spare dime, plus too much debt, went to being ready for a complete breakdown of society. Because billions of dollars were spent to fix the bug, it turned out to be a non-event. After years of nothing happening, I went to sleep. Being prepared was not on my radar. I sold or gave away a lot of my supplies. Even the 9-11 attacks did not rouse me from my slumber. That did not last long.

In 2003, I was getting ready to be married when Hurricane Isabelle hit. A year later, Tropical Storm Gaston again devastated our area. Also, I now had my wife depending on me. I was now awake. I have spent the last six years rebuilding my knowledge and preparations. I have sought out books, videos, training and other resources. I have become professionally involved in preparedness and emergency response. I see preparedness not only from the family point of view, but also as a representative of local government. One who realizes the limitations of government and plans to not rely on it. I have a circle of friends who also practice preparedness. We all now understand that it is more than guns, more than a box of MREs, more than tactical gear.

Preparedness to me means limiting my dependence on outside sources and increasing the ability of my family to prevail, no matter what life might throw our way. It could be natural disasters, pandemic disease, nuclear accidents, acts of war… It could also be something much more local and personal. A family death. Loss of a job. Debilitating illness. The key is that all of my efforts at preparedness will help us prevail after such incidents. Those efforts will also keep us living a good life even if nothing goes wrong. But how often does nothing in life go wrong? Preparedness is not a reaction. It is action. It is not a one shot deal. It is a lifestyle.

Please join me for this journey. Learn from me, and share what you know so that I can learn from you. Come back for weekly columns covering all aspects of the preparedness lifestyle and community. Thank you.

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