I had a short conversation with my brother last night. He is a businessman, a high-echelon exec in a world wide company that you would recognize. At times he ‘commuted’ to South America – flown there by the company on Sunday night and back on Friday night for weeks on end. A trip to Europe is now mundane for him. And a trip to the far East is only good if he can stop at his favorite sushi restaurant in Tokyo. Or steakhouse in Australia. Indonesia is only good when he sees it in the rear view mirror of the limo. Why this background? He is a smart guy, has great business sense, and has worked in and seen the economies of countries throughout the world. He’s got a good global background.
After Shabbas dinner, we had a short conversation on the two recent mileposts China passed. They are now (1) the world’s leading automobile market and (2) lead in values of exports word-wide. I asked him about the potential for the American economy: “Not good”. Being a prepper, I then asked did he think an economic collapse of biblical proportion (it was Shabbos, afterall) was likely. “Yes”. He continued that because America has lost its infrastructure to manufacture, any collapse would be a long one. I then asked what he has done to protect his family from this collapse. His answer disappointed me. He told me he kept a lot of cash at home, has not bought any gold or silver, and has various accounts that could be ‘quickly liquidated into cash’. I know he has no weapons. Now I know he has no food. Hopefully, his paper money will retain some value but he sees hyperinflation ala Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic as a distinct possibility. I think he has good grip on reality but has been overwhelmed by the thought of the economy doing a nosedive compounded by hyperinflation: no one gets out alive.
So here’s a smart person with means to adequately prepare and not feel a pinch in the budget, and who feels that an economic crisis in the US is likely, and all he’s done is to stash some cash in his home. I was dumbfounded. I would email him links to this site and other prepper sites if I thought there was a chance he would prepare. He’s got 2 beautifully intelligent kids; his oldest boy is in Jr High and at a recent parent-teacher conference, the teacher seriously stated that he better start saving tuition money for Harvard. And yet seeing the writing on the wall, he refuses to read it and act upon it. My few probes discussing prepping where not well received. And I tried to figure out why not.
I think I got it. It’s a mind-set. And a future that he knows is possible but so nightmarish he cannot confront its reality. Perhaps he sees death as unavoidable in such a collapse and no amount of preparation will suffice. Perhaps he feels that if he minimally prepares for a collapse, the collapse will be minimal? Perhaps its fear of looking at a horrible situation in the face and realize how bad it will be.
The earthquake in Haiti accured just a few days ago. Aside from the looting and dire lack of water, I’ve heard that amputations are being done in parking lots without general anesthesia – the level of medicine has reverted to the Civil War era in about 48 hours and likely will take several days to resume some semblance of modernity. Its taken Israel, America and other nations about 72 hours to stage relief efforts, and much more emergency services are needed at 72 hours.
Maybe he’s a sheep, and refuses to look beyond the immediate area to where the sheepdogs (Police/Military/FEMA) watch and will wait for them to come to the rescue. Self-reliance is not an option for him. Hunker down, call 911 when the phone lines again work and wait for a 50lb bag of rice once the small amount of food in the refrigerator and freezer are gone.
Why am I preparing? Some of my impetus is simple common sense. In the event of an emergency, Emergency Services will take at least 72 hours to stage. So the first 72 hours are up to me, and I would rather be fed, hydrated and safe than sleeping in the street as they are doing in Haiti. I do not want to feel the need to become a looter nor do I want to be exposed on the street to looting. I got the first 72 hour down, but nowhere close to getting the first 72 days covered. 72 days, a bit more than 2 months or about 10 weeks. Not very much time but an eternity if there is no electricity, no food deliveries to the local stores, or gas delivery. The disaster in Haiti is not a great example for the US but it is a good example. You’re on your own for at least the first 72 hours, perhaps longer. Full blown help will likely arrive in volume after 72 hours.
Now the reality of storing food. The LDS preparation guide that Josh sited has a great monthly schedule of things to buy so that at the end of 12 months, you are very well situated. I’m in a funk now about that. I could start following the guide( see p. 28 in http://www.green-trust.org/freebooks/Preparedness.pdf: January’s list: Week 1: A case of canned fruit, 2 #10 cans of instant potatoes; Week 2: 3 #10 cans dry milk; Week 3: Another 3 #10 cans of dried milk; Week 4: 9 pounds yeast; Week 5: Anything missed) but I would need to multiply this to account for my parents, brother’s family of 4, and my sisters/brother-in-law. I cannot do it without their cooperation. I could not turn them away; I would rather go hungry with them than eat without them. Having completed SERE (Survive/Evade/Resist/Escape) training with the USAF, I know first hand how debilitating hunger is, how deep hunger can negatively influence your behavior – whether it is acting like a mensch or taking a risky shortcut.
If there is a large scale emergency with a definite end is sight as opposed to a much longer disaster such as a near-complete economic meltdown (hyperinflation for example), what then? First of all, it will be survivable. Those less prepared will make a crushing mass of people rushing the first relief teams when they first stage –perhaps 72 hours since many have eaten. There will be no etiquette, there will be no orderly lines. There will likely be injuries in the mad dash to get food and water. I hope me and mine will be able to watch on the sidelines and wait until some order is restored before our supplies run out. Additionally, as seen recently in Haiti, looting soon starts after an emergency as Police are overwhelmed and busy elsewhere.
And if it is logical to be prepared for a 72 hour emergency, then it is logical to presume that the future will hold far worse. What about an entire week, or a month. Folks in the Midwest have been without power for weeks due to floods and blizzards in the not too distant past. I am going to assume you do not live in rural farm and ranch country but suburbs within commuting distance to a city or within a city. Imagine some large chunk of the infrastructure goes belly up and interrupts the constant flow of food and energy for a 4 week period. What have you planned?
One of the first things Haitians did following the earthquake was to leave the cities for the suburbs and country side. In the US you would be hard-pressed to be able to walk from an Eastern City past the suburbs to reach country side, which means a mass exodus from cities puts the refugees in the suburbs. If you live in the suburbs, think ahead – what will be your response to hundreds of squatters on your front yard? If you live in a city, what will you do once you’ve walked to the suburbs? And remember, you do what you have planned and trained for, and if there has been no planning, then you might do just that – nothing.
How will you handle squatters on your property? I hope you do the best you can for them, sharing what you can. But what happens when you can’t share as much you want, or as much as they want, because you want to be able to feed your family for several more days rather than share all your food until its gone. Unless you’re a master at martial arts, handling ‘visitors’ who want more than you can give will be a problem, potentially one that threatens your life or your loved ones.
Yes, we will have a talk about firearms.
The odds of being part of a 72 hour emergency in the next 5 years may be greater than no emergency. The US economy is currently in dire straits with both short term and long term problems. The muslim world hates the US (remember the Palestinians dancing in the streets I response to 9/11) and continues to target it. Weather can always become newsworthy. First response to an emergency may take 72 hours.
But for now, I hope I have made an argument of why to prep for an emergency. Minimally for 72 hours, and hopefully more.
Some people finding our website may be wondering what is a Prepper and why does it have a religious affiliation? Well the short answer is...A Prepper is the modern day survivalist. It's not (necessarily) a right-wing militiaman preparing for Armageddon in the boondocks of Montana. But better represented by a normal, educated, middle class individual perhaps living in the most urban of cities, preparing themselves physically and mentally for any upcoming disaster, natural or man-made. This could include anything from earthquakes to volcanic eruptions, social unrest to an act of terrorism. Preparations include: food supply, medical supply, weapons supply etc. and the knowledge and skills to use them. Of course, a Jewish Prepper is just a designation for a small niche of the Prepper Community that is of the Jewish Faith. We are non-profit and nonpartisan. Enjoy!
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