I thought I would bring up a few things that I see rarely mentioned on prepping and Survival blogs and see what people think. I believe that everyone must prepare for their own personal SHTF event. It happened to me. In a split second I lost everything, my health, my income, my ability to contribute and my independence. I don’t know that there will ever be a time that my family will have to “bug out” so to speak but I do know that a lot of what I see and hear makes me uncomfortable. I believe I’ve done more than most, more than I ever thought I would need to do to prepare for my families future. But no matter what I stock, what training I get for my family, there is one question that I cannot find the answer to.
From my experience, a personal SHTF can arise from something as simple as your car breaking down or losing a week’s pay due to illness. The economy has most people in such a financial position that they would have to choose between food and utilities if they unexpectedly lost the equivalent of just one week’s pay. In this situation most people will choose food simply because it is their own SHTF. The stores are still open and stocked, and the utility companies will work with you to skip a month and pay it off over time.
But, what if you were injured in a car accident? You have no vehicle because your car is now totaled, you’ve lost your job and though you do everything you’re supposed to be doing to get better you’re told by over twenty doctors that you cannot return to work due to your physical state. You apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) but you’re denied within a few weeks and told it could take over two years to go through the entire process and get an answer. What do you do now? You have rent and utilities to pay, food to buy, doctors’ appointments and transportation to worry about all while you are trying to convince your family that everything will be OK.
You have no choice but to swallow your pride. You’ve been out of work for weeks, you’re going to the food bank and feeling humiliated, your savings is not going to last forever so for the sake of your family apply for welfare. You’re approved for enough in food stamps to pay for milk bread and eggs for the month then told that since you’re not a minority you have to go on the waiting list for section 8 (housing assistance) which is now closed because they have a back log of 5+ years. You made just over $300 too much in the last quarter to be approved for cash assistance so you’re on your own, but you can apply and go through the humiliation again in two months.
Now, consider that’s it has been a year. You told the state to go to hell long ago and buckled down. You did the rounds of food banks, free clinics, and church assistance every month. Your children received their clothes, school supplies and Christmas gifts from the thrift stores because the charities were all full of families on welfare. You’re a month away from not being able to pay your rent and you’re now in a wheelchair. You’re told that you are on a list to see an SSDI judge which could take another eighteen months but your saving grace is that the insurance company wants to talk settlement.
You decide to do the right thing and think of your families future. You take advantage of the housing crisis and use the money to buy a house. You’re now forty miles from the nearest shopping center but you have no rent, no mortgage, and by moving to a rural area in another state your SSDI hearing is only 4 months away. You’re going to be OK now. You swear you and your children will never go hungry again, you will never be treated the way you were, and your life will finally settle down.
You’re approved for SSDI at 25% of your pre-disability wage but you have prepared and you can make it now that you have no rent. In your own home, in a nice rural town, you start seeing what is actually happening around you. The government says there is no inflation but you know everything is more expensive. You find an old grocery store receipt from almost exactly a year ago and decide to do your own experiment. You buy exactly the same things today as you did a year ago and compare the two. Amazingly the receipt today is up nearly 12% though the government is still saying there is no inflation. You decide it’s time to apply for food stamps but something in the application leaves you with questions because the wording is very vague so you call to get clarification and find out that since you own your home the state will place a silent lien on the property. They will take it in the event that you go into long term care or when you die, whichever comes first. You think “Is $30 a month in food stamps worth it?” You bought the house to make sure that your children would never be homeless, even after you’re dead. You throw the application in the fireplace and forget about it.
You suck it up, say you’re done thinking the government will help someone in their time of need that worked hard, paid their bills and was disabled by another person. You begin preparing for your future. On your limited income you stock up on extra food; cans, boxes, TVP, water barrels, etc. You dedicate your spare room as your pantry and feel comfortable that by adding to it a little bit every month in ten years, when SSDI won’t feed you, when your children have children, you and your family won’t go hungry.
Though you can no longer shoot a gun you save up and buy beautifully maintained old Mossberg 500 12g. You see, you’re spending more time watching the news and you’re questioning things you never did before. Are you paranoid? No, but you are a single disabled mother with two teen aged boys and what you see makes you ask yourself what happened to your country. A gang has moved into the town in the last few months. People have reported robberies while they are at work. You dog, your faithful 10 year old basset hound, has gone crazy twice in the middle of the night with his attention directed at your sliding glass door. The old man down the street, the only one who introduced himself to you, was killed in a home invasion. The teenager old who was caught said they were looking for his prescription meds. You buy a handgun, a revolver so the children don’t have to worry about jams if the time comes.
You have your children trained with the firearms and add cleaning/maintenance supplies and ammunition to your cache. You pay extra on all of your bills for over a year so you can send your boys to a four day survival training camp and enroll them in MMA, archery and survival groups. You make a deal with someone to take their online college classes for them in return for two dirt bikes. You make your children literally take the bikes apart and put them back together so they know every nook and cranny that needs to be maintained. Their last Christmas consisted of knives, machetes, brass knuckles, batons and SAP gloves. You make it seem that you are giving them all the things boys want when in reality you are trying to prepare them without adding stress to their young lives.
You believe they are better prepared than most their age. You believe you are prepared for your own financial SHTF a week from now or ten years from now. But, in reality nothing can prepare you if it were a state or country wide SHTF situation. Remember, while you can walk short distances you are basically confined to a wheelchair and cannot lift more than a gallon of milk on a good day.
You don’t consider trying to get a dirt bike for yourself because eventually you would have to walk away from it. You know that if SHTF the government would block all highway access in a matter of hours so the truck will be useless. You know that your children are of the prime age for the next seven to ten years for the military to pull them off the street or out of your house if the president says to do it. You see, every day, that more and more people are angry at the way our government is handling things. You wonder how far things will go before the nation cracks. You wonder if there will be a time that you will have to leave your home and your supplies because of a true government SHTF.
If there is a SHTF situation that forces you to leave the house it is because leaving is your best chance at survival. You know that you would drastically lessen your families chance of surviving because of your physical condition. How do you convince your children, the ones you have raised to be good strong men, to leave their disabled mother behind if that is their best or only chance for survival? If the time comes how do I ask them to live with that?
- The Prepper's Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How
- The Prepared Prepper's Cookbook: Over 170 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America!
- Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man's Solution
- 31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness