I came by my prepper credentials honestly – I inherited them. My dad was eighteen when the stock market crashed. My grandfather wasn’t around much, if at all, but dad managed to find work (not CCC government work) and go to college. When the “Great Depression” finally ended in 1946 he was thirty-five years old.* These experiences informed his worldview.
My mom was nearly a decade younger. She was a teenager during the worst years of the depression. Her dad was a federal employee, so she wasn’t greatly affected. She did, however, pick up the “vibe” of the period from the society around her.
I grew up in a household where canning, freezing, a huge garden, chickens, and “making do” were the order of the day. When I moved away from home at eighteen I, like all young men, thought I was indestructible. I gave no thought to planning ahead and being being prepared for possible disasters.
After I had children I became aware of the fragility of life—there’s nothing like caring for a helpless baby to teach that lesson. I began to make sure that we always had some food, fuel, firearms, and flashlights on hand – just in case. I also tended to become more aware of what was going on nationally and internationally. I had a misguided hope that I could be first in line at the grocery store.
Since then I’ve become more systematic in my preparations – though I have my doubts about the likelihood of a major disaster. I just think it’s a good idea to be able to survive for a couple of months without outside support. The city where I live, in Florida, hasn’t been struck by a major hurricane since the 1920s. That could change at any time; we could be isolated for many weeks. Readiness for such an event costs surprisingly little in money, time, and space.
This post is not intended to be a how-to guide. For that sort of information Google “prepping.” I encourage you to start out slowly and gently – don’t freak out! I got a chuckle a few months ago when I read that one of the major disaster preparation websites had managed to “successfully predict eleven out of the last one disasters.” People do tend to over-exaggerate the dangers.
One reason that I don’t give much thought to long-term prepping (besides my backyard garden) is because I have confidence that people will learn to work together – to rebuild society. After every disaster, economic collapse, or war people have always managed to rebuild a local society based on mutual cooperation. I have no doubt that any future major disaster – epidemic, war, economic collapse – will see the same thing happen. Besides, I have confidence in God and put my trust in his promises. he will not fail me (though I have failed Him).
This doesn’t mean that I’m blind to the fact that modern American society has a dearth of people who can take care of themselves. I do have a plan in case of hurricane, massive blackout, or the closing of banks and ATMs. We will hunker down for a few days or a week – fully prepared to defend ourselves as necessary. I will do nothing to call attention to my house – no generator and no smells of cooking food (unless my neighbors are barbecuing).
Very few people are so weak or lacking in resources that they will die from thirst or hunger in a week. Those with a tendency to panic or criminality, however, will tend to expose themselves. After the waiting period it will be time to re-engage with my neighborhood–see how we can begin to help one another and to trade with one another. That’s where society will begin its rebuilding.
*World War II did not end the depression. It merely replaced poverty for some with rationing for almost everyone. (Go back)