Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest – By Georgia Boy
I see shows, articles and comments about the risk of one event-“I prep because I am worried about X.” The show Doomsday Preppers does this-“Jim and Joan are worried about the risk of an EMP attack. Our experts say the chance of that is 1 in 10,000.”
Ignoring for a moment that their experts may be wrong, the real problem with that approach is that it badly misstates the risk, and takes no account of the fact that prepping prepares you for numerous possible events. Even if (a very big if) the chance of any given event is low, the chance of ONE of them happening is substantially greater.
The probability of independent events are additive – for example, the odds of rolling a 1 on a single roll of a die is 1 in 6, the odds of rolling a 2 is 1 in 6, and the odds of rolling a 3 are 1 in 6. The odds of rolling a 1 OR a 2 OR a 3 are 1/6 +1/6 + 1/6 = ½.
So even if I’m willing to admit that the odds of an EMP attack are 1 in 1,000,
- And the odds of a major solar flare are 1 in 10,000,
- and the odds of the Yellowstone super volcano blowing in the next 20 years are 1 in 10,000,
- and the odds of a comet strike in the next 20 years are 1 in 1,000,000,
- and the odds of a major pandemic are 1 in 500,
- and the odds of a really major earthquake are 1 in 500,
- and the odds of runaway inflation are 1 in 500,
- and the odds of a major systemic collapse with some other trigger are 1 in 1,000,
then the probability that ONE of them will occur is 82/10,000. Still not terribly high, right – 8/10 of 1%, BUT (1) I think the true odds of some of those risks are higher, maybe MUCH higher, (2) that isn’t a complete list of threats (dirty bombs, an LNG tanker explosion in a major port…), and (3) at 8/10 of 1%, it’s still like playing Russian Roulette with a gun with a 122 round cylinder. I’d pass on that.
The other relevant factor is that if you do prep, you have some chance of survival following a major catastrophe. If you don’t prep, you have virtually no chance of survival. Think of a deep-sea fisherman –the odds of his boat going down are low, but if it does and he has a life vest, he has some chance of surviving and being rescued. If he has no life vest, he has virtually no chance. For lesser events, most people may survive even without prepping , but prepping will certainly increase your comfort and standard of living. Compared to the potential benefit, the cost of prepping is low.
So I don’t prep because I fear a specific event, and I would guess that most people here don’t either, I prep because there are many hazards out there, and none of us knows which might strike.
Focusing on the odds of a specific event might make it easier for a skeptic to make prepping look foolish, but it’s not the accurate way to look at the risk, or the costs and benefits of prepping.
Prizes For This Round (Ends December 21 2015) In Our Non Fiction Writing Contest Include…
- First place winner will receive – A gift certificate for $150 off of any bulk ammo at Lucky Gunner, three bottles of Fish Cillin – Ampicillin 250mg (100 Count) courtesy of Camping Survival, and a WonderMill Electric Grain Mill courtesy of Chef Brad Revolution.
- Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail courtesy of Augason Farms.com.
- Third place winner will receive – A copy of my book “31 Days to Survival” and a copy of “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat“.
Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.