One of my readers, Eric, asked a really good question, in the comments section of my recent post about buying ammo in which I mentioned preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). The question, one that always has provoked a lot of activity among my little gray cells, is one that is not always so easy to answer because the answer to it depends in great part upon what form TEOTWAWKI takes. Does it catch us prepared or unprepared. Does it come quickly or does it develop somewhat slowly over time. Is it a natural disaster that brings it about or is it a man made catastrophe such as a world war that would likely last longer than a natural cataclysm. There can be an awful lot of answers depending not only on the different types of situation we may face. The answer to his question also may depend upon our preparation for TEOTWAWKI, and upon our own make-up - our will to survive and that can be different for each person. When it comes down to it, the right answer may depend fully upon the final outcome of any given person's attempt to overcome any set of circumstances relative to the situation in which he finds himself.
Me? I do have an answer it will just take a bit getting to it, just as it has taken me time to get to the actual question. Without further delay, let me tell you the very basic and seemingly simple question that Eric asked me but that has provoked the frantic activity of my little gray cells, even in the nether regions of my brain, and that has resulted in my very long answer:
"... what do you think is more important in a End of The World situation?.... ammo and weapons, or food and water?.... just curious..."
My Answer (this has been edited by me over the hour or two since I first published this, although the answer is essentially the same):
As far as prepping ahead of time goes, for something like a natural disaster, I would say it is sort of a toss up. If you are well prepared, say for a natural disaster like the aftermath of a Hurricane Katrina or for the massive earthquake they keep saying will hit California sooner or later, then you would have both guns and ammo AND food and water. Chances are that neither of these will bring total collapse of the government or of the infrastructure there to help us. Even if it does do so, it would likely not be long lasting in as much as help arriving would go. You might need to make it a week or two or maybe a month without help and without being able to gather supplies from outside your shelter. In a case like that, you want to have enough food and water on hand to last and enough firepower to protect yourself from vandals and looters.
The same thing sort of goes for a totally man made TEOTWAWKI situation such as a war on our own soil, or a major civil disturbance such as a revolution but that would likely be much longer lasting than the great majority of states of emergency caused by natural forces. It is great if you have them all, guns, ammo, food, water and so on and you are secure with them in your home or another shelter of some sort. Food and water are necessary for survival, you cannot survive long without water and not all too much longer without food. The difference is, if there is a total breakdown of life as we know it, and yes it can happen, such as a major war or insurrection on our soil, other people may be the primary threat you face as to deprivation of your life sustaining supplies. Not only would they be a threat similar to looters, after a natural disaster, but they may also see you as their enemy and be bent upon your destruction instead of merely stealing your supplies. They may also be well armed and well organized, something that vandals and looters are often not.
So which is more important in my view. I kind of think they are equally important for overall survival considerations when preparing for a really bad situation like an immediate SHTF or TEOTWAWKI due to natural calamity. It is that really bad situation for which I am preparing. I think we may face either a revolution or world war - on our soil - sometime within the remainder of my lifetime. I am preparing with stores of food, water, arms and other things. Not just for that but for a natural disaster or even an economic depression too. I also think other things are important to survival such as the know how needed to get food and water, in the event you do not have enough, and I must admit I could use a lot more knowledge there and have been getting it bit by bit. I try to do all that I can do to prepare. I think each aspect important. Then again, there are times when one may be more important, in fact the most important to survival.
What could be more important than food or water for our survival? Even more important are the will and the ability to fight to survive. If you have the will to survive then you had best arm yourself. If you look at situations like the American Revolution, or the Civil War both on our soil and both of which truly were TEOTWAWKI for those involved - if not for guns and ammo the outcomes of each would have been much different for those being oppressed or who were the targets of aggression. There are also other more recent examples around the world.
The example I am about to give may seem to be one that has been used and used again and again to the point where it seems over used. Yet, it has a lot to teach us about survival by looking at they who did not survive and they who did and at those who survived better than others. I make the comparison I am about to make with all due respect. I am not judging anyone over their convictions but I am going to give the rationale of why I believe some survived while others did not and why some, even if they perished in the fight, had better chance at surviving than others. Look at the Jewish people of pre-WWII Europe, who for the most part had few weapons and did not broadly prepare for survival. Yes, they prepared for hard times somewhat. They worked hard, they reaped the fruits of their labors. They saved money. They had some stores of food and some had stored wealth. They prepared spiritually. Yet, most did not have firearms. Most did not have the will to use violence to survive. most never thought something the likes of what was about to happen could happen even when it had already commenced most kept their heads buried in the sand. For the most part, the European Jews did not fight against the Nazis and Germany. Their supplies of food and water went to feed and quench the thirsts of their enemies. Their wealth went into the coffers of their oppressors and was used to help fund the very same war efforts that were used against.
Compare those people to some who did prepare to fight back even though overwhelmed and oppressed - those few in the French Resistance. No matter how much folks like to joke about the French, they do have a history rich in instances of them being ready and willing to fight. The Jewish people, we know what happened to most of the Jews of Europe. They were mostly unarmed, without the will to fight, rounded up into ghettos, then imprisoned, then outright killed or forced into labor. Those who lived to labor were deprived of food and water. Sadly the outcome was that so many, if not actually most of their population, lost their lives. There were tens of millions of Jews in Europe before the war and 12 or 13 million less after the war due solely to the dreams of a deranged master race that wanted to wipe them off the face of the earth and that does not count the ones who were lucky enough to have fled the persecution. Who would have believed it could have happened before the war and before the roundups started. Not many except for a handful of madmen whose dream it was to do it.
Ask yourself now, how could the outcome for them have been different in WWII had they been better prepared for TEOTWAWKI. Again, I am not judging them but I am giving a very hard look at what they did not do and otherwise could have done to avoid the outcome that so many of them met. I am learning from history. The one thing I have learned, that I truly believe that would have made the difference would have been had they been armed and willing to fight for their survival. Sure there are many other things that came into play but again, the most important aspect of their lives that led to their downfall under the Nazis was that they were not prepared to risk survival by arming themselves and fighting to survive. Think of how that could have been different had they been armed and willing to fight. We know it worked out better for the French in great part because of the resistance, because they were at least somewhat ready and somewhat willing and they were armed.
I think, in a situation like that, guns and ammo and whatever other weapons you can muster are one of the most important keys to survival. With them, you can not only protect what you have but you can go out and obtain, from others, what you do not have. I am not saying we should go out and pillage and plunder at every opportunity, I am talking about a TEOTWAWKI situation, such as a war, that could arise in our lifetimes. Think that is far fetched? We need to remember that the Axis Powers took over almost all of Europe in almost no time and then commenced killing of not only 12-13 million or so Jewish people but also of at least another 10 million, all too often forgotten about, non-Jews. They dies in the gas chambers, ovens and concentration camps and few died fighting for their lives. We also need to bear in mind that it happened as recently as within the last 3/4 of a century. It was in modern times and the government, on which so many had depended, was not there to help. The fact was that the government was the oppressor and other nations were already busy fighting the war and were incapable of helping while the war raged on. So who was there to help if not they themselves and they were, for the vast majority of them, unarmed and not willing to fight.
Think that a rare occurrence? Think again. There have been similar catastrophes since. There was Joesph Stalin killing millions of his own people and others that he oppressed; the estimates range from a few million to over 15 million and are seemingly incalculable. Then look east to Cambodia and Pol Pot. It is estimated that he killed off 800,000 to 3 million of his own people in Cambodia in the mid to late 1970's. That was only about 35 years ago. Look also to Africa. We hear, repeatedly, in the news about tyrants in African nations who are destroying populations of one ethnic group or another. It is ongoing. Look also toward Iran and their repeated calls for the utter destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. Look at the so called Muslim 'extremists' who are bent on ruling the world and who kill in the name of their god on a daily basis. Then look back to the example of WWII. When you think about it, there were some before WWII who cried out in alarm. They were looked at by most as being paranoid. Few saw it coming, fewer prepared for it, most just ignored it and lived on blissfully until the world as they knew it ended and a new world began, a terrible world. The same thing is happening today and if the world does become a terrible place again, I want to be prepared to help make it well again.
So what could have made the difference in WWII or any of TEOTWAWKI situations mentioned. Well, mostly being prepared for bad times. having food, having water, having shelter and having the means and will by which to protect them. The will is within the psyche, the means are within your own private store of guns and ammunition. Yep, I think guns and ammo are very important in any situation like that as are food and water, in fact equally important as are food and water and shelter. There are also times though, in TEOTWAWKI situations, (mind you not SHTF situations like you are lost in the woods, or your plane crashes in the middle of the desert) when guns and ammo are more important. As I said it depends and what it depends upon is the situation you are facing. You cannot know for sure what situation you will in the upcoming year, nor the next month, not even tomorrow or later today. Yet, you can prepare for almost any of them.
In preparation you should stock up everything you might need. I was about to key in "enough of everything" but there is no way to know what will be enough either. How much would be enough is probably a topic best reserved for another post but I will address it very briefly here. Enough food and water would be an amount to last at least 3 months, better yet a year with enough for each of your family members. Having that much water on hand is almost impossible for the average person. I sure do not have the means nor the room to store it. A lot of food is easier to store but again there is difficult getting it, long lasting survival foods are expensive. Of course you can buy as I have started to do, a bit at a time and build up your stores. As for guns and ammo, I buy them not only for survival but because I enjoy shooting and enjoy it a lot. I like to have extra ammo on hand for several reasons. The first being so I always have a supply to shoot for fun. The second being for survival in the event of TEOTWAWKI. The next reason goes toward both of the first two, I am concerned that the government will be successful at implementing laws that will make it almost impossible or actually impossible to purchase firearms or ammunition in the near future. So I want to have enough on hand to last a long time. In that regard, I ought to start buying some firearms parts too. I am lacking in that regard for sure.
Let's face it, the government putting an end to the right to keep and bear arms, or severely restricting firearms ownership, has happened before in many countries, when it has happened tyranny was sure to follow. If and when tyranny rears its ugly head here, well that is when TEOTWAWKI will have arrived and we will need to do something drastic to assure we are left with shelter and enough food and water to survive. The only way we will be able to do that is if we arm ourselves in the here and now and prepare to fight to survive. So, I guess when it comes right down to it - in the event of TEOTWAWKI coming in the form of breakdown of our government and disregard for our Constitution and implementation of tyranny or in the event of invasion or insurrection - I believe that the most important survival items I could have, so long as I maintain the will to fight for the survival of my family and myself, are weapons like guns and ammo.
All the best,