Monday, March 26, 2007

The Zen of Preparedness

There are many, many lists out there for last minute survival preparations. Our government posts them on various sites ( and even has plans to publish and distribute last minute preparedness tips in the event that some world crisis develops slowly enough for .gov to react.
Nothing is that slow.

The various Internet sites I visit have lists to hand out to neighbors, lists to give to loved ones and so on in the hopes of doing something to get the sheeple off of their fourth point of contact (butt) and prepare or at least to give them a chance to survive some calamity. Posters on these forums have a particular fantasy game they play called (by me) “ChinaMart shopping spree”.

It goes something like this: A sheeple (unprepared, clueless individual) suddenly wakes up to a rapidly developing situation just in time to go shopping. They have XXXX dollars – what should they buy?

This rapidly developing situation will of course occur just after they get all their newly purchased goods safely home. These items will allow the former sheeple, his/her kith and kin to survive whatever is coming down the pike. The fun(?) then comes trying to develop the best list within the given parameters of time and money.

There are variations to this game. One is the “You are caught far away from home on a business trip when the balloon goes up. You only have what was allowed in your carry on bag. You have XXX-amount of cash and credit. Let’s go shopping!” Another is one where you purchase your survival armory, or perhaps a week (or month or year) of food, and so on.

Why are these threads so popular?
A few reasons. First and foremost, most posters on the various preparedness boards are just engaging in another form of social activity. They surf, read, and post instead of watching some fat talk show host on TV. Hey, that’s cool – let’s just not make more of it than it is. It really amounts to a fantasy role playing game in which they are the central character. The goodness comes when, after surfing these sites for a period of time, a light bulb goes off in their head and they actually start doing something to prepare.

Another reason for the popularity is that preparedness folks (both the kind who merely surf and post – I need a term for them – and the actual preppers) are list makers by nature. I think I understand listing – I just don’t do it. Done correctly, it assures that one thinks out ahead of time one’s acquisitions and then quickly replaces any used or outdated items. Planning, tracking - cool - I dig it.

Another reason, and the impetus for this particular post, is that people place their reliance on stuff. They think of it (although they would strenuously deny this) as a magic wand. Worse, because they rely on stuff, they figure they can get it (or have a loved one get it) at the last minute (like they will have any clue when that is) and still survive – or indeed – prosper.

Thinking like this will get them killed.

One. They won’t have their stuff when they need it. Either because the emergency will come upon them unannounced (they are called emergencies after all) or they will have to fight all the other sheeple for last minute stuff and end up with nothing or dead.

Two. Assuming they do have time to go shopping and are safely back home surrounded with all of their new acquisitions, they won’t have a clue about how to use them or what steps to take to ensure their survival.

This would be a good time to scroll down and read my posts “Wonder Gear” and “Step Away from the Computer”

Is stuff useful? Yes it is. Sometimes it can even make the difference between life and death – if appropriate actions are taken and the individual knows how to use it. I read a survival article in Field and Stream recently where some elk hunter gets lost and decides to build a fire. If I recall correctly, he uses almost all of his matches and is not successful. Matches didn’t help him. I think he ended up lighting a game bag on fire with a lighter or something. He finally used his head. He should have used it in the first place to avoid the situation he was in – but I digress.

It’s not about stuff, people. It’s about mindset. I didn’t say stuff wasn’t important – I just said it is not the key. The person who waits until the last moment to get their stuff (assuming they get anything) will not have the proper mindset to use it correctly. “It’s better than nothing”. Not really.

When it happens it will no longer be fantasy. Lot’s of folks will not make it. You don’t want to be one of them. You don’t want your loved one to be one of them. The time to prepare is now. The time to learn is now. The time to get off your fourth point of contact and meet others, practice new skills, teach old skills, get healthy, get fit, get organized... that time is now.

It’s not about stuff.
It’s about mindset and knowledge.
It’s about getting up off the couch, away from the computer and Doing things.
It's not about planning to be prepared.
It’s about Being prepared – physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
Do not "get prepared" - BE prepared.

That is the Zen of preparedness.

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them. If they really interest me, I may even post them. You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


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