This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Ed
Efforts with the Unprepared…
I have seen articles on the prepper web sites from time to time about the need to convince neighbors to begin prepping. On “Doomsday Preppers,” a woman in Utah made it her “mission” to knock on doors and to leave prepper starter kits with people in her town.
In this effort, she did have an advantage many do not enjoy in that, being in Utah, more of the people she approached would no doubt be Mormons (which is to say conservative, law and order types, and with better than average moral principles, at least that is this non-Mormon’s opinion based on past contacts). Mormons are urged by their church to set aside a year’s supply of food for emergencies, although I have read postings by Mormons indicating that, as with advice to members of many religions on various matters concerning behavior, the great mass of Mormons do not actually prepare to this level.
The benefit of making such an effort with neighbors is that, morally, you are making efforts that could save lives if the worst case scenario developed. In addition, from a purely self-interest perspective, you are improving your own security because the better prepared those individuals are around you, the better off you will be. “In numbers there is strength.”
The problem with approaching neighbors (with whom you have varying levels of familiarity) and/or total strangers nearby, is that the likelihood that you will actually convince these people to make serious efforts to prep is, unfortunately, small. The unemployment rate may be awful and European economies may teetering be on the verge of a collapse that will start a domino effect, but the average American is more interested in keeping track of who is ahead on “Dancing with the Stars.” These types are sometimes referred to as “sheeple,” and they comprise the great mass of the American population.
So what happens if you fail to produce any changes in your neighbors’ preparedness level? Well, frankly, you have made it very obvious to everyone around you that your house is the neighborhood “supply depo.t” When an emergency occurs, your unprepared neighbors will view you as their source when they need anything if the emergency becomes very prolonged.
Even if nothing worse occurs, can you imagine the chants of “Hoarder! Hoarder!” from those standing on the street in front of your house? From their perspective, a hoarder would be anyone who was wise enough to put aside anything for hard times which they now want to share (in essence, a socialist mentality on steroids).
I have seen references on survival web sites concerning some individuals’ troubling responses to those urging them to prepare. The responses were something along the lines of “I-don’t-need-to-buy-stuff-because-I-have-enough-guns-and-ammo-to-take-what-I-want.” While very unsettling, the God’s honest truth here is that this attitude is representative of those who comprise a significant percentage of the population. (My advice here would be to eliminate all further contact with such individuals on every level, since they are clearly sociopaths.)
Not nearly as troubling, but of serious concern, is the response, “I-don’t-need-to-buy-stuff-because-I’ll-just-come-to-your-house.” Whoa!
I just read a novel entitled “Shut Down” by W. R. Flynn. It is set in the Portland area and it involves an economic collapse and its aftermath. In it, members of a group are thrown together in a Portland suburb as a result of an incident that takes place after the collapse begins in the city. Neighbors first begin by cooperating with and borrowing routine items from each other. Everyone is helping others.
Desperation begins to develop as the breakdown is prolonged, however, and the group decides to “bug out” before things get really ugly in the neighborhood.
The small group is able to make its way to a farm (conveniently) owned by the parents of a member of the group, a farm in a relatively protected/defendable area not too far from Portland. While this survival yarn is entertaining, the author does not deal with how the townsmen in this relatively remote area deal with individual shortages when critical items run low. There also seems to be so much cooperation in matters involving common defense of the town so as to make the viewer wonder about whether the novel’s scenario is much too optimistic about likely human behavior.
As a bottom line here, I suggest that you keep your preparedness efforts relatively low profile so that your home does not become the “go to” place in your neighborhood for the majority of those who are unprepared. Share your views with only those close to you, those you would be willing to help even if your efforts to get them to prepare fall on deaf ears–since there is a strong likelihood that your efforts will.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
Second Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com A total prize value of over $600.
Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution” and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company. A total prize value of $107.
Contest ends on June 5 2012.