This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Brendan F
Preparedness has been debated and will be debated until the end of time is truly upon us. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to prepare. Preparedness can be broken down into physical preparedness and mental preparedness. How to physically prepare to survive is discussed in-depth by many and is a subject of great debate. However, mental preparedness is not nearly as popular as it tends to be more difficult.
Many people begin their preparedness lifestyle by stockpiling food. How long will this food last? What is the shelf life? Bottom line is, food cannot be stockpiled forever. At some point, it will run out or spoil. Mentally preparing for an adequate food supply is a worthwhile investment.
First, can one garden? Gardening is not as simple as planting some weeds in the ground and watering them. It takes knowing what to plant, where to plant it and when to plant it. Some vegetables do well in cold weather, others die.
Now, when food is still available is the time to learn how to garden. Don’t wait until disaster has struck. Next, can one hunt for the purpose of gathering food? One may think that due to a four-year tour in the military and a marksmanship badge they are automatically a skilled hunter. Truth is, they aren’t. Marksmanship does play a role in hunting but so does tracking and stalking. Take it a step farther, the animal was tracked and a fatal shot was made.
Now, how does one properly skin,gut and dress the kill? Keep in mind that spilling the intestines spoils the meat. This makes the recent purchase of an AR-15 almost seem useless. It is critical the survivalist learn to garden and hunt or otherwise have a means to get food.
Hand operated water pumps and fancy filters are a great tool but only if they are present when a person needs water. A person needs to educate themselves on where to find water, how to collect it and make it safe to drink. Will a filter catch everything? How well does boiling work? What about bleach? These are questions that a person needs to be able to answer to consider themselves prepared. A person needs to know how to make a solar still and a way to collect rainwater. Knowledge is your friend.
After food and water, a roof over one’s head is a basic human need. Shelter keeps a person warm and provides protection from the elements. The survivalist must be able to find or build a shelter. Building an effective shelter is a learned skill. This is why house framers are paid $25/hr. A person needs to develop sheltering skills such as making a small lean-to or digging a snow shelter. This construction may seem easy in theory but in practice, it can be much more difficult. To go with shelter, a person must be able to build a fire to stay warm. Fire building is not easy especially in damp and windy conditions. The survivalist needs to know how to build a fire, not buy fancy flints and magnesium.
There is much discussion over what the best means of self-defense is. Some will argue martial arts, firearms or even a blade. However none of these will be of any use if a person doesn’t first seek out the knowledge and then practice.
A firearm is useless without the mental preparation to squeeze the trigger when needed. What good does the blade do when attacking another human being hasn’t been practiced? Martial arts require time and dedication to master but the knowledge will last forever. It is critical that one selects their means for self-defense and seeks out the best instruction one can get.
A common survival thread is asking what is the best handgun, rifle or shotgun. To be blunt, if a person feels the need to ask., they don’t need a firearm. A defensive firearm has a single purpose, and that is to stop an attacker before he can do harm. Before becoming a gun owner, one should take a basic firearms class in the operation of the above mentioned firearms.
Buying a competition 1911 or a .308 bolt-action sniper rifle will not make a person an expert marksman any more than a Louisville Slugger helps one hit a baseball. Marksmanship is a skill and a perishable one at that.
A person familiar with firearms is able to evaluate the pros and cons of each operating system and and caliber and make well-informed decision as to which firearm will work for his or her situation. Regardless of platform or caliber, how well a firearm works comes back to how accurately the shooter can use the firearm. Inaccurate rounds render the gun useless. The survivalist needs to seek out training to become proficient in the use of arms.
It is quite easy to go to the store and purchase a first aid kit or even order a trauma bag from the internet. Most people can easily do this. It is much more difficult to attend a four-month long EMT Basic course taught at the community college. The knowledge from the classroom will always be with you. The fancy first aid kit or trauma bag won’t. The basic principles taught will allow a belt to become a tourniquet to stop a life threatening bleed and turn sweatshirts into slings for dislocated shoulders. The survivalist needs to pursue basic first aid training at the minimum to consider themselves prepared.
The fanciest tools are useless if the user cannot use them. Rather than rushing out to buy survival items,one needs to seek survival knowledge. This can be found online or better yet, the local community. Look for ads in the paper for the skill sets one seeks to develop. See what is offered at the local community college. Seek knowledge without ceasing.
Ultimately, the best survival tool is a person’s mind and the knowledge within. In order to be ultimately prepared, a person must be prepared to be a student for life. That person must attempt to learn to secure food and water, build shelter, stay warm and be proficient in the use of arms. The brain has the potential to hold the sharpest edge one can imagine, just apply the sharpening stone of knowledge.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.
Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.
Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.
Contest ends on March 30 2012.