Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Daily Briefing For Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Back on Frequency

I trust all of you had a great holiday season.  There's much to discuss.  Let's get into it.

What Am I Doing To Get Better Prepared In 2014?

This year's slogan for me is "Skills, Not Stuff."  I got plenty of stuff.  I need more skills to use what I have more efficiently.  I'll be updating you throughout the year as I make progress on learning new things. 

Postscript:  The Second Annual Suburban Dad Survivalist Preparedness Conference

We had a great turnout again this year - 50 folks joined us last Saturday to hear presentations from a number of great speakers. 

As a result, we're at something of a crossroad - have we completely exhausted everything that can be covered in a seminar format?  Do we need to move exclusively to a hands-on workshop, or should we continue doing the January conference AND do a workshop?

I'm working with Karl and others at KR Training to develop a workshop for this summer.  It will be more hands on, and I'm very excited about it.  I'll post more here as we get the details hammered out.

On a side note - for attendees - if you still haven't received the handouts, please let Karl know.

"Why The Doomsday Prepper Idea That You Can Survive Apocalypse On Your Own Will Fail."
Not my headline, but rather one from AlterNet.org.  The Hampton Institute's Jeriah Bowser pens a piece explaining
why many of you people will fail in your preparedness efforts.

And for the most part, I agree with his conclusions.

But let's back up a bit.  According to their website, the Hampton Institute (named after the former Chicago chapter leader of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton)

is dedicated to not only providing commentary, theoretical analysis and research on a wide range of social, political and economic issues from a distinct, working-class perspective; but also to focus on the continuation of transforming these ideas into practical steps towards revolutionary social change. 

"The Hampton Team" is comprised of a number of individuals, and from their bios and issues of interest, it's safe to say they approach matters from a left of center perspective.  That's not a criticism; it's just an observation.

Back to the article.  Ron shared the link above, asking me for my take on it.  Here are a few thoughts:

1. The author isn't some Pollyanna, trying to sell the readers on the notion that everything is okay.  In fact, the editor's note says "The author of this article, himself a believer in a coming collapse, argues from his experience that cooperation is the only sure way to survive."

2. He (needlessly) laments the number of guns owned by Americans, paying no homage to the Constitution and what it's allowed us to do as a nation since our modest inception, or the fact that despite increasing gun ownership rates, violent crime continues to trend down overall.

3. He then goes on to complain about his wilderness survival students and what horrible people so many of them are. 

I have realized a startling and discomforting aspect of Prepper culture which has only grown more prominent since I first noticed it. I call it the "defend what's mine" phenomenon.

The "defend what's mine" mentality states that the moment "shit goes down," every other human in the world instantly becomes either a resource to be used or a threat to be eliminated. Whomever you designate as "your tribe" are the only people with any value - all others are simply mindless sheep to be picked off with your shiny new AR-15. Proponents of this mentality frequently either have or wish to have underground bunkers ready to hide in and defend themselves from "invaders," often with such brutal methods as land-mines, flame-throwers, electrically charged fencing, and of course, big guns. They regularly speak of their intention to protect "their land" and to destroy anyone else who would dare want to share that land. Never have I encountered someone who is prepping for the purpose of building a post-apocalyptic community or offering a haven of help and support for other less-prepared people in the event that something terrible does happen. No, the dominant formula for Prepper success seems to be: build a bunker, store a lot of food, water and guns in there, and kill anybody else who wants what you have.


"Sadly, even the students who 'get it' eventually graduate the program and must move on to the rest of their lives, dutifully fulfilling their role in the industrial machine, back to world of competition, scarcity, rugged individualism, and violence."

4. Despite these biases, the author pulls himself out of the proverbial ditch with these observations:

I very strongly believe that, in the coming collapse, those who are able to build communities and work together - abandoning their childish, apocalyptic fantasies - will have a much better chance of survival than any Prepper I have come across. Besides, what is "survival" even worth if you are encased in a concrete bunker for years, eating MRE's and drinking recycled piss water, living in a constant state of paranoia that someone will "take what's yours?" Not me, I would much rather live my last days actively doing meaningful work with people I love, creating a more beautiful world than the one we left behind; a world that is based on egalitarianism for all species and types of humans, a world built on cooperation, sustainability, simplicity, and freedom. You can keep your bunkers.

The guy is a bit naïve.  We need to look no further than the looting that followed Hurricane Katrina or the L.A. riots of 1992 to know that bad things will happen if civilization were to unravel.

And yet, I think he's right to conclude we need to be working in community both now and after an emergency to be good stewards with our environment, our tax dollars and our constitutional rights.  So many in the preparedness movement have a "go it alone" mentality, which will not serve them well long term. 

I'm reminded of that scene in the movie The Patriot where Lord Cornwallis admonishes an ambitious Colonel Tavington that "These people are our countrymen, and after this war is over we will resume commerce with them."  Like it or not, our fellow citizens - many of whom are not prepared and are making no effort to do so - are our countrymen.  We can find ways to work with them, or we can isolate ourselves from them.  Our forefathers did the former.  So should we.

A Year's Supply Of Food For $800.

Here's a great way to jumpstart your food preparedness plan.  By following this incrementally and making it a priority, this plan is well within the reach of most Americans. 

1 comment:

  1. So many in the preparedness movement have a "go it alone" mentality, which will not serve them well long term.

    I wonder how much of the 'go it alone mentality' is a product of marketing versus reality. Doomsday Preppers, the Bunker show, etc -- all go out of their way to highlight such mentality. I estimated at one time about a 3 to 1 bias (solo vs group) on Doomsday Prepper -- if you looked at just the selected quotes/statements. The author highlights those with draconian defensive measures without noting how relatively rare they are -- even with the producers selecting for 'drama' in reality tv.

    Yet, even in many of the 'go it alone' types, you have family groups, neighbors, etc as part of the plans.

    The other point I think the author of the article missed is "you have to survive the collapse in order to be a part of the post-collapse rebuilding " -- He acknowledges it a little then quickly moves on ; after describing the violent nature which permeates the country. A little contradictory -- the 'defend your self' mentality is a recognition of how bad things can get. Something even he acknowledges -- in the part discussing how bad people can get over a piece of soggy bread. I'm hoping that is part of the training sessions.

    Of course, I'm also less than impressed with his leadership/training

    However, every once in a while I notice a student who comes in with a different attitude. They are humble, honest, quiet, and patient with themselves and the process they must go through. They do not rip up entire patches of Yucca to harvest a small root with which to make soap, but instead carefully and respectfully harm the plant as little as possible while they remove just as much root as they need.

    Maybe I'm reading too much into it but it seems as if he allows most of his students to damage the environment more than is needed.

    Bob S.