Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What If The SHTF? Would You Be Ready?

When I think about it, I like to pretend that I am ready for just about anything. The truth be told, I am as are most Americans woefully prepared for a true Shit Hits The Fan (SHTF) scenario. Yeah, I am probably better prepared than many, probably even better prepared than most, but that does not mean I am properly prepared for a bad situation on a grand scale. Are you?

There are a lot of things wrong in the world today, and an awful lot of those things have converged into concentric rings that have formed around a place called the United States of America. Those rings have a dot in the middle and that dot is the center of the bull's eye - or ground zero for the next catastrophe. Now you may want to call me just another doomsayer, or simply some kind of paranoid kook, but I prefer to live by the motto that the boy scouts gave up so long ago - Be Prepared. In that regard I realize that the price of freedom is more than just perpetual vigilance, the real price of freedom is being prepared to do something about that which you have been watching for all of these years once it actually arrives on your doorstep. That bad thing, that shit that hits the fan, can come in many forms. It could be something like a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina with massive widespread flooding. It could also be a terrorist attack, something on a relatively small scale such as a small group of terrorists attacking a local shopping mall (something along the lines of the attacks in Mumbai). Maybe it will come as something on a larger scale, something like another 9/11 - maybe this time a dirty bomb, or several of them in various cities cross the country. Or maybe it will be civil unrest like race riots caused by a political assassination. Then again it could be civil war caused by the collapse of our economy, and then spurred on by ensuing collapse of our infrastructure, and the breakdown of our government as it ineptly tries to control the panicked masses who do not have enough to eat. Think that stuff like this is far fetched and that it cannot happen in our lifetimes, so do most Americans.

Then again, maybe you ought to think again because there are some who not only think it can happen but who have predicted the date. One of them, for example, is: Russian academic Igor Panarin. Go here and read this article at the Wall Street Journal:


For over 10 years now Mr. Panarin has predicted that the U.S.A. will collapse in the year 2010. All of a sudden he is being taken quite seriously. After all he is no kook. He has impressive credentials having been a KGB Intelligence Analyst, and now he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is a man whose opinions the Russian government take seriously. Sure, I know, there is a lot of anti-American sentiment in Russia, as the article points out, so they give him some extra credence when he spouts off anti-American predictions, but why not take a look at why he believes this country will collapse during a civil war. According to the article he thinks that the main problems that will bring us to that point are: a massive influx of immigrants (regardless of legal immigrants, how about just lack of any control over our borders and all the illegals who are swarming into our country), the decline of American morality (gay unions and marriages anyone, or how about rampant sex parades in the streets of San Fransicko, or how about giving child rapists sentences of a few weeks in jail ala that judge in Vermont about a year or so ago, or how about scheming to sell a senate seat, or how about oral sex from interns in the White House and on and on), and the failure of our economy (need I even point to examples here what with the recent bailouts of the financial, mortgage, and auto industries). Of course I could add a few more reasons for us to arrive at a point where the people might raise up arms in a civil war. How about: politicians who try to strip us of our liberties and rights at every chance they get such as Schumer, Feinstein, McCarthy, Boxer, Richardson, Clinton and the list goes on. What about the anti-American sentiment that comes out of the mouths of some politicos and celebrities - you know the type those who yearn for socialism here in the USA and who praise tyrants such as Castro, Kim Jong-il, or Hugo Chavez. Or how the outflow of our jobs to third world nations leaving us with the worst unemployment in years; no wonder no one could pay for those shaky mortgages. Then again what religious fanatics who have no tolerance for anything but their own visions of how it should be; but mind you they are just the same as ultra left wing atheists who feel the same about their own beliefs. This country has been in a downward spiral for quite sometime now, and even necessary things like the war against terrorism, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have only helped sap our economy of its prosperity. Kennedy was wrong when he said that Iraq is our current Vietnam. Iraq is more akin to our own version of the USSR's Afghanistan. That war sucked their economy dry, just as the Iraq war is doing to us at a time when our economy is floundering for a number of other reasons. Add to that the fact that the OPEC nations are trying to screw us royally by tightening the valves on oil production and the dimwits in our own government are too idiotic to allow for full scale oil exploration and drilling and you should see we are not all that far from a major catastrophe of the type that Panarin predicts. Heck we may also be the prime target of an alliance of nations that want to wage war against us too, that is not all that far fetched either when you consider our country is just about down on both knees without the strength to stand up again.

Now I am not saying it will happen, that is that the shit will hit the fan on that grand a scale. There have been many nations throughout history that have been in dire straits as are we now and that have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. Maybe we will be lucky, maybe we will wake up before it is too late, maybe we will win out and again stand tall and strong. Then again, maybe, just maybe, something bad will happen, and it will trigger something else bad, and that will do the same to something else, and the dominoes will start to tumble all over the place and we will be left in a huge stinking pile of shit of our own making. Will you be ready for it? I plan to be ready, because if the truth be told I think it quite possible that a major catastrophe is coming our way on a national if not global scale. One thing I can tell you is that my preparations do not include learning how to speak Russian or French Canadian, or boning up on my Spanish. So what else is there to do, in order to help prevent such a catastrophe or to be ready for it should it come.

I think there are several things, and I was brought up in a world that believed that a big SHTF situation was about to befall us. Yes I survived the Cold War, and I learned a lot about being prepared in a manner of which young folks today seem to have no concept. So exactly what plans do I have:

I have spare water in my house to last for about a week, maybe even two weeks. I plan to stock up on additional water. I also plan to buy a water filtration system or two such as used by wilderness backpackers or survivalists.

I also have spare food in my house to last at least for days if not weeks. I plan to buy more, and to buy it soon. I will includes the following in my cache of food: Canned Goods - a supply of food (and water in some types of caned food) that can last for about 3 years shelf life. Canned foods will include all of the major food groups. I will also stock up on dry goods such as sacks of rice and beans; and of course on things like flour, sugar and other baking needs such as shortening and baking powder. In addition I will stock up on high energy foods such as snack bars, nuts, and certain types of candy. Some MREs may also wind up on the menu. I plan to have enough food on hand for a family of 6 to last one month.

I am no doctor, nor a nurse, but I will keep certain medical supplies on hand. These will include several fair to good first aid kits. In addition I will stock up on some medicines even if only over the counter. Things like anti-diarrhea meds, antiseptics, first aide ointments, burn cream, aspirin, ibuprofin, and so forth. I will also keep things like hydrogen peroxide, providone iodine, and alcohol on hand. If I can swing it I will get some wide spectrum antibiotics with a long shelf life, and an extra supply of any meds my family currently requires.

Flashlights, batteries, radios, batteries, walkie-talkies, batteries, you get the idea; but I also have candles, matches, and magnesium fire starters (note I said have since I have all of this already). When I can afford one, I'll buy a generator. The thing about a generator though is that if you have one you probably plan to stay on site at your home to use it. I am none too sure that would be the case, but I suppose if an emergency turns out that way, where we can hold up in our home, it would be excellent to have a generator. Of course a generator means you need fuel for it, so some gasoline safely stored would be a good idea, and enough for the generator and a car might be a better idea. In addition extra propane for my barbecue grill will also be on hand. No not because I think I would be able to have leisurely BBQs in my backyard in the event of a civil emergency or natural disaster, but because if the power and gas go out, I'll still have some way to cook without having to resort to trying to find firewood in an urban setting. That grill might also wind up being a temporary source of heat in a cold winter. I also have a camping stoove and a couple of camping lanterns (Coleman fuel types, can also use unleaded gasoline in at least one of the lanterns).

In addition I keep a good supply of tools on hand. Nothing special but things like screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, saws, a hammer or two and a bunch of hardware like nails and screws can come in handy during a number of emergencies. I also keep scrap wood after completing a project. You never know when you may have to board up the windows or window openings due to an oncoming hurricane, or due to rioters who have destroyed the windows. I also have a decent supply of tie downs such as bungee chords, and nylon ties on hand - they have multiple emergency uses. Finally do not forget DUCT TAPE the all around wonder tool.

I have a tent to sleep 4. I only have 2 sleeping bags. I need a few more sleeping bags. They do not have to be expensive mountaineer types, just well made ones that will keep someone fairly warm down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ever watch MASH. Yep the sitcom about a American medical unit during the Korean War. One of my favorite scenes was when Colonel Potter yelled 'Bug Out' (happened in more than one episode as I recall) and the camp went into a tizzy as they tore it down to move it somewhere else because of impending doom. If the SHTF too close to home, or too badly near home, well we may just have to up and leave. If we do that we are leaving at least somewhat prepared for several days away from home and on our own. My emergency bug out kit includes grab and go bags (packs), garb and go boxes of food, a case or two of water, temporary shelter, blankets and sleeping bags, extra clothing, first aid kits, bug spray, sunscreen, a few days worth of meds, flashlights and batteries, candles, matches, magnesium fire starters, money, guns and ammo (where legal), knives, compasses, a road atlas, and so forth.

Gas Masks and filters come to mind here. Think you will never need one, well again I say: "Think Again"! The Department of Homeland Security, the U.S.Intelligence Services, The U.S. Military, and the FBI all believe that a future terrorist attack within our borders is coming, and pretty soon too. They also believe the next attack has a good probability of being chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear. I only have one gas mask now, but plan to buy others within the next few months. My guess is that most people in Israel, Iraq and Iran never thought they would need them either.

Body armor is another consideration. Now I doubt I can afford a new bullet proof vest for every family member, but it is not a bad idea if you can afford them. At least one piece of body armor for the person most likely to find him or herself in a defense situation is recommended (if legal in your area).

In other words, I take this stuff seriously even if other family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers or people I pass on the street do not. You can bet that if it comes to a SHTF situation, just think along the likes of New Orleans after Katrina, other family members will be happy you discussed some sort of plan with them, and that you told them what to grab before they get up and go if it comes to that. Along those lines you may also want to tell them were to meet. If you have to sit it out at home, wouldn't it be nice to know that you were safe and sound inside your house, ready to survive at least a week, or even more, if need be.

Believe me folks, I think that a nuclear attack on the USA by the USSR was more far fetched than do I think is the possibility of a serious large scale terrorist attack within our borders in the next couple of years at most. I also believe that Panarin may have something when he predicts mass scale civil unrest or even some sort of uprising within the next couple of years due to our economy and other factors. I am of course hopeful that they will not take place, just as I am hopeful that an earthquake or hurricane will not destroy my neighborhood. Then again, I am also pragmatic enough to realize that should something like any of those happen, my neighbors are not about to feed me and give me shelter when they are not prepared to take care of themselves. As for the government coming to the rescue on a White Steed - forget about it, it will be the government and its ineptness that will likely cause the problem in the first place. Me - I plan to be ready, and if I don't need the stuff, well I can use a lot of it on camping trips, at barbecues, and for pot luck dinners before the perishables reach their expiration dates. Then I can restock just in case because one never knows.

SHTF situations are a reality, they can and sometimes do happen, that is why the Boy Scouts have that motto "Be Prepared". The Boy Scouts though just never told you, or I, for what to be prepared! So I chose to be prepared for just about anything. Remember that other saying too about vigilance because being forever vigilant is a good thing too. Bear in mind though that vigilance is only part of being prepared, it only works to a point. While there are no guarantees you will survive an emergency situation uninjured or alive, being prepared and actually doing something about that for which you were keeping vigil will separate you from those who never had much of a chance to make it through to see tomorrow. While they will have relied on dialing 911 in a panic at the same moment when almost everyone else was flooding the emergency phone lines screaming for help, you will have been ready, willing and able to see it through with your family thanks to your preparations and planning.

All the best,
Glenn B