Monday, November 14, 2011

Small in size, limited in duration

Preppers like to think of themselves as being ready for trouble. Some people are in pretty good shape: food, water, medical supplies, alternative energy, land, gardens, bug out vehicle, guns, skills, and maybe even a community of like minded people. Actually, only a fairly small number of people are that prepared. Many have part of the package, but are working towards being better equipped.

If we are to be honest with ourselves, those preps are will only get us through situations that are small in size and short in duration. The acute phase of most things is over fairly quickly: earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes, floods, and so on. Afterward the initial shock, there may be days, weeks or even months of disruption. Eventually, debris is cleared, roads reopened, power restored, and houses rebuilt.

A well equipped prepper can deal with those disruptions much better than most people. While affected by troubles, the basics of food, water, shelter and security are taken care of.

That’s pretty much the level of trouble we are prepared or preparing for. Unfortunately, once in a while trouble is much bigger and lasts much longer.

Say you are a French farmer during WWI and the all the world’s great powers have decided to fight in your potato field. Imagine being a Russian during the revolution -and being a target of the revolution. Picture the poor saps in the path of Genghis Kahn. These aren’t situations you can handle with stored food and a few weapons. You are a flea in front of a bulldozer.

There have been times when most of humanity suffered. Even the period of “The Little Ice Age,” from about the 16th century to the 19th was a tough time for most people. Crops failed over very large regions. Imagine what a sudden true ice age would do? How about a massive comet strike? World wide plague? There are big disasters have have happened in earth’s history and will happen again.

What can a person do about really big disasters lasting long periods of time? Sometimes, nothing -they die. It happens all the time. The building falls on them, armies run them over, or the darn comet hits them in the head. Stuff happens.

If your luck is a bit better than that, drastic action is still called for. Some things you can’t wait out. Imagine someone going into their bunker to wait out the Russian Revolution and Communism. That’s a long lifetime of darkness and canned food.

For some things, the only practical action is to get out and stay out. If all the armies of the world are heading your way, don’t pick up a rifle, pick up your luggage. If food and water are a problem where you are, go where that isn’t a problem.

It’s not easy. Travel, especially during times of turmoil, can be difficult. When you really need to cross borders is exactly the time when governments make it very difficult to do so. If you do get into a safer place, problems of money, customs, language, race, and culture shock can be overwhelming.

There are some techniques and preparations that are useful. A person who’s traveled to foreign countries and speaks several languages has huge advantages. They know how to blend in with different people and how to function in new places -even if it’s a place where they’ve never been before. Adapting to new places is a skill and they’ve had practice at it.

Money makes all this easier. Things falling apart in your home country? Just go to your house in Rio, or maybe your ranch in New Zealand.

Middle class people have to be a bit more clever. A lot of whites fled South Africa at the end of Apartheid. They were worried about a black take over. Some may have had good reasons to worry, but that’s another story. To stem the tide, South Africa put tough restrictions on moving money out of the country and on travel.

Some got around that by putting all their resources into really nice sailboats. One night they sail out of the harbor and keep on going. That last night sail, a bit of gold or some diamonds might have found their way down into the bilge. Many of these boats eventually ended up in certain Caribbean islands where passports and citizenship papers could be had for reasonable prices.

What if you are poor? Then things are tough indeed. Just look at Mexicans crossing the border illegally. It’s a hard way to get out of Dodge. If you don’t have papers, or money, you’d better have a cousin who’ll give you a hand. Poor people get by with relationships. The hardest thing is to be poor, have to flee, and not have a friend in the world.

Most people won’t run, even when the smart thing to do is run. It is hard to leave everything behind. By the time it’s obvious it’s time to go, it might also be impossible. A prepper’s defense for the really big things is to keep his eyes and mind open. Being in the first group to recognize a big and long duration problem gives the wise person a head start. The danger for a prepper is that because they have make preparations, they might want to wait things out. That could lull them into making a fatal mistake.

As a thought experiment, imagine you have 30 days to leave your country. Where would you go and how would you get there? How would you survive in your new home?



  1. Now that is certainly something to think about this morning!

    Time for me to start asking some really tough questions, I guess!

  2. ..some things are impossible to prep for..if I had to leave my country( Canada ) the world would be in turmoil..and if it were, where could I go that has a lower population density than Canada..if I HAD to get out in 30 days I would sail transport...but a very complicated question.