Showing posts tagged TEOTWAWKI

Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization’s collapse

From Reuters: Original link

When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.

"In an instant, anything can happen," she told Reuters. "And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared."

Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as “preppers.” Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government.

Preppers, though are, worried about no government.

Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a “survival center,” complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present. She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home. And she thinks that emergency could come soon.

"I think this economy is about to fall apart," she said.

A wide range of vendors market products to preppers, mainly online. They sell everything from water tanks to guns to survival skills.

Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck seems to preach preppers’ message when he tells listeners: “It’s never too late to prepare for the end of the world as we know it.”

"Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity and fragility of our modern technological society, the chances of a societal collapse are increasing year after year," said author James Wesley Rawles, whose Survival Blog is considered the guiding light of the prepper movement.

A former Army intelligence officer, Rawles has written fiction and non-fiction books on end-of-civilization topics, including “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It,” which is also known as the preppers’ Bible.

"We could see a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots," he told Reuters. "The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures."

A sense of “suffering and being afraid” is usually at the root of this kind of thinking, according to Cathy Gutierrez, an expert on end-times beliefs at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Such feelings are not unnatural in a time of economic recession and concerns about a growing national debt, she said.

"With our current dependence on things from the electric grid to the Internet, things that people have absolutely no control over, there is a feeling that a collapse scenario can easily emerge, with a belief that the end is coming, and it is all out of the individual’s control," she told Reuters.

She compared the major technological developments of the past decade to the Industrial Revolution of the 1830s and 1840s, which led to the growth of the Millerites, the 19th-Century equivalent of the preppers. Followers of charismatic preacher Joseph Miller, many sold everything and gathered in 1844 for what they believed would be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Many of today’s preppers receive inspiration from the Internet, devouring information posted on websites like that run by attorney Michael T. Snider, who writes The Economic Collapse blog out of his home in northern Idaho.

"Modern preppers are much different from the survivalists of the old days," he said. "You could be living next door to a prepper and never even know it. Many suburbanites are turning spare rooms into food pantries and are going for survival training on the weekends."

Like other preppers, Snider is worried about the end of a functioning U.S. economy. He points out that tens of millions of Americans are on food stamps and that many U.S. children are living in poverty.

"Most people have a gut feeling that something has gone terribly wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they understand what is happening," he said. "A lot of Americans sense that a massive economic storm is coming and they want to be prepared for it."

So, assuming there is no collapse of society — which the preppers call “uncivilization” — what is the future of the preppers?

Gutierrez said that unlike the Millerites — or followers of radio preacher Harold Camping, who predicted the world would end last year — preppers are not setting a date for the coming destruction. The Mayan Calendar predicts doom this December.

"The minute you set a date, you are courting disconfirmation," she said.

Tegeler, who recalls being hit by tornadoes and floods in her southwestern Virginia home, said that none of her “survival center” products will go to waste.

"I think it’s silly not to be prepared," she said. "After all, anything can happen."

(Reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Greg McCune)



North Korea Tests ‘Super-EMP’ Nuke

I still maintain that EMP attack is a “low probability, high impact” event, but the news story linked to here definitely makes it seem more probable as nuclear programs among the “rogue” countries progress. Well worth reading that full article.  SS

For many years U.S. Intelligence agencies believed that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was a failure due to the low explosive yield of their tests. According to EMPact America’s President and former CIA nuclear weapons analyst Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, this is not the case:

North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states, says Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA nuclear weapons analyst and president of EMPact America, a citizens lobbying group.

North Korea’s nuclear tests have been dismissed as failures by some analysts because of their low explosive yield. But Dr. Pry believes they bore the “signature” of the Russian-designed “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting more gamma radiation than a 25-megaton nuclear weapon.

Pry believes the U.S. intelligence community was expecting North Korea to test a first generation implosion device with an explosive yield of 10 to 20 kilotons, similar to the bomb the U.S. exploded over Nagasaki in 1945. He said, “So when they saw one that put off just three kilotons, they said it failed. That is so implausible.”

Source: Newsmax

Since EMP is a line-of-sight weapon, detonating one of these nukes about 300 miles above Nebraska could end life as we know it in America in about one second.

While North Korea may be the latest country to test such a weapon, it is clear that the technology has been available for nearly 50 years, and it has since been leaked to rogue nations, and perhaps rogue terror and shadow elements with the financing, capability and wherewithal to use it:

Such a weapon — equal to a massive solar flare such as the “solar maxima” predicted by NASA to occur in 2012 — poses “substantial risk to equipment and operation of the nation’s power grid and under extreme conditions could result in major long term electrical outages,” said Joseph McClelland of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Senate testimony last month.

Pry said that a group of Russian nuclear weapons scientists approached him in 2004 when he served as staff director of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, to warn the United States that the technology to make that weapon “had leaked” to North Korea, and possibly to Iran.

When we talk about potential terrorist action against the United States, we discuss this in the sphere of any organization, be it Al Queda, state sponsored, or shadow government related. These weapons exist, and they are, without a doubt, the single biggest threat to the United States of America.

As we’ve previously reported, such a weapon, or group of weapons strategically detonated at lower altitudes, would completely wipe out the entire US power grid, vehicles, computers, cell phones, and anything else with an electric circuit.

The fall out would be nothing short of apocalyptic.

In July of 2010 EMPact America published an overview of the EMP 2010 Conference in which they discussed the threat EMP posed to the nation and the fact that very few people understand how great and imminent it is:

…An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is a super energetic radio wave that’s immediately harmless to people, but it’ll burn out all the critical electronic systems that sustain human economic activity and human life across vast areas, including the entire continental United States.

-Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, President, EMPact America

The Center for Security Policy, in a report issued last year, has estimated that in the event of a wide-scale EMP attack on the United States, as many as nine out of ten Americans would be dead within one year:

“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy. “And that is exactly what I believe the Iranians are working towards.”

North Koreans, Iranians, terrorists (Al Queda or otherwise), it doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is that very few Americans are prepared for such an outlier.

The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.

Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.

Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail.

For those interested in learning more about the after-effects of EMP and several different scenarios in which you may find yourself, we strongly recommend reading / watching the following:

With the information gained you’ll theoretically have a working knowledge of the supplies you’ll need for extended grid-down situations. Additionally, each story deals with a slightly different setting, so you’ll have an understanding of the organizational and defense requirements necessary to secure and manage an individual property, small community neighborhood, and an entire town.

Power outages happen all the time. But you’ll know an EMP has been detonated (or we’ve been hit by a massive solar event) if the power to your house goes off, cars are not starting, and your cell phone won’t turn on. If that happens, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and put the supplies and knowledge you’ve acquired to work, because it won’t be long before the golden horde wrecks havoc.

Related and Recommended Reading:

Congressman Warns: “Those Who Can, Should Move Their Families Out Of the City”

A Guide to Looting When the SHTF (And Your Counter-Strategies)

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

What Is The Best Place To Live In The United States

Author: Mac Slavo
Date: June 20th, 2011

Many thanks to Mac for permission to repost.


electromagnetic-pulse said: I'm concerned about the EMP topic. I know it's a scary thought and it needs to have more attention put on it. I feel as though the people who claim to know about it, really don't. When I heard about EMP I started to look more into it. I think that your followers are truly interested in different enviromental happenings. There is a guy named Curtis Birnbach that actually knows a lot about EMP, he's going to be on this site on Wednesaday: I hope that you check it out & your follwe - - - I think that your follwers would be interested !!!

EMP, thanks for the suggestion.  I’ll give it a listen.

I knew about EMP as a phenomena for a long time, but it never really struck me fully until I read William Forstchen’s "One Second After".  In my opinion, that book is one of the most realistically presented works in the post-apocalyptic genre.

After I read it I was fairly disturbed for a while and spent a lot of time reading the report from the EMP Commission.  The potential EMP threat was even making the news in late 2010 at USAToday.  That article is worth the read.  Here’s another report by an Air Force guy titled "EMP Threats in 2010”.

However, as I began to take a more centered approach to preparation and the types of events I prepare for I started looking at the list in terms of impact and probability.

An EMP event that put us back into the world we lived in several centuries ago is a “high impact, low probability” scenario. 

Is it a threat? Yes.

Is it as likely as an earthquake, tornado, or pandemic?  I honestly don’t think it is.

Here’s the most common scenario presented for EMP events - besides a large solar flare (coronal mass ejection):

A small EMP-optimized nuke launched from a container ship in the Gulf of Mexico could take out the power grid of the entire continental United States. The same thing could be done anywhere, like Europe or Japan.    Source

A commenter, Ben, on the post linked above effectively summarizes my thoughts on EMP:

For EMP Doomsday to be a risk, there must be a group out there with the following:

1. the capability to build a nuke small and rugged enough to fit on a ballistic missile and make it “EMP-optimised” – this is technology advanced enough that it requires the resources of a state

2. suitable ballistic missile technology

3. a desire to cause chaos in the US, triggering a massive global depression and wrecking everyone’s economies

4. the willingness to risk nuclear retaliation given that the source of the attack could be traced using informers, or satellite imagery of the launch correlated with shipping records, or possibly the characteristics of the device. The one part of Western society that would function well after the EMP attack is the military.

No state in the world has these things. North Korea and Iran don’t currently have the technology; I doubt India and Pakistan do either, and neither of those has the motivation; none of the remaining nuclear states with the technical capability to do the attack (which I make UK, France, Israel, China, Russia) would want to wreck a huge trading partner.

Nobody who can presently do it would want to. You could make up a political scenario where tension between the US and Pakistan or China, or the technology level of Iran, might greatly increase in the next few decades. But if an aggressor state was considering a first strike, why would it limit its initial attack to a single EMP missile, while inviting a full nuclear attack in response?  Source

I do think this is as real a threat as nuclear war, but the probability is low that someone will be able to pull it off any time soon. I find it hard to believe that the critical military functions needed to respond to such an attack would not already hardened. The rest of our infrastructure, well, that’s another matter.

If it ever does happen, we’re screwed. In that case, use your preps to survive while you learn to live like the pioneers. :)  My philosophy is that if you prepare for the more probable threats, you will eventually be prepared for the less probable ones.

Thanks for reading and keep posting. Your new Tumblr is relevant to my interests.


Pattern Recognition: Dramatic Earth Change - Trying to make sense of odd seismic activity

Large cracks, holes, mudslides, and rifts in the ground have been appearing in several countries around the world since the middle of last 2010. Natural events such as this have happened before, but it seems like it’s picking up recently. We know that earthquakes happen every day.  That is normal. But do phenomena like I have documented below happen regularly?  I just don’t know. 

Scientists will say that these are areas already prone to seismic activity and that reporting is better than in the past. Armchair skeptics will say that these things have been happening all along and that the prevalence of media coverage just makes them more visible to the average person. Doomers will say it’s due to Poleshift and the coming 2012 event.

I don’t know who is correct.  I hesitate to speculate, although I am very dubious about end of the world prophesies based on ancient calendars. . What I do know is that most of these stories were difficult to find and received little to no coverage in western or mainstream media. 

A good place to start would be to research whether the statistics about seismic activity that might cause things like this show it to be average or increased. I looked at the averages for worldwide earthquakes over the past decade.  

From Mar 16, 2011

The US Geological Survey data for worldwide earthquakes from 2000-2011 clearly shows increases, with a few dips and some major bumps, in the past decade. 2007-2008 were especially bad years. There were increases in earthquakes above the 4.0 level likely due to the fact that they stopped tracking them in 2009.

New Scientist, a respected science & technology magazine, reported this in their March 16, 2011 issue

Yet three of these [mega-quakes] - the December 2004 Sumatra quake, the February 2010 Chile quake, and now Sendai - have struck in just over six years. This presents a horrifying possibility: that there is a link between these megaquakes and that, as a result, more could strike.

Most geologists say that the number of megaquakes is too small to be able to make a statistically convincing case for a link. “You will get a lot of different answers from different people, but inevitably the ability of any one of those to convince everyone else that they’re right is going to depend on the statistics of small numbers,” says Ross Stein of the US Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California, “and we’re never going to get anywhere.”

A handful, however, feel there must be a link between recent events. “What is clear is that for the 6.2 years since 2004, there have been more great earthquakes around the world than in any 6.2-year period throughout the 110-year history of seismic recordings,” says Thorne Lay at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His colleague Emily Brodsky goes further: “The recent spurt of magnitude-8-plus earthquakes may be an extended aftershock sequence of the 2004 Sumatra earthquake.”

The article goes on to discuss some scientific theories on possible linkages between quakes. Statistically a review of large quakes over 30 years doesn’t show a linkage, but it the argument mentioned above, that reporting has been less in the past and has improved recently, could be potentially used against that study.

One quote struck me from that article:

For an example, Lay cites the 7.9-magnitude event that hit Sichuan in Chinain May 2008. “The 2004 Sumatra earthquake increased seismicity in that area as the [shock] waves passed by,” he says. “Was the 2008 earthquake a delayed, large aftershock, or a totally independent event?”

The trouble is that large earthquakes generate tectonic waves that ripple around the world’s surface and routinely trigger smaller quakes on distant faults, so increased activity in China is hardly a surprise. “If you have a quake of, let’s say, 6.2 or larger, every sand grain on the planet is moving to the music of that event,” Stein says.

I don’t think science always has the “right” answer, or even the best answer for everything. We just don’t know all of the contributing factors. I do think that we should question everything and not simply accept the first answer we are given, no matter how authoritative the source is supposed to be. What I do believe is that our planet is a giant system, interrelated, with may subsystems having effects on the others - Chaos theory

On March 10, 2011 National Geographic reported that scientists have recently found that “sleeping, dormant” volcanoes can wake up in a matter of months when they had previously thought it would take 500 years. Obviously we don’t have all the answers yet.

In the case of Pinatubo, the team discovered that the magma chamber took only 20 to 80 days to reactivate, versus the 500 years predicted by conventional theory. 

At the risk of sounding like the the Doomers I often poke fun at, I should draw your attention to what the University of Ulster’s professor of geophysics Prof John McCloskey said this week  after the recent Sendai quake, as reported by the IrishTimes

“For some time people have been afraid that Tokyo was due, or at least was a high risk area, for another earthquake.

“Preliminary work has shown that possibility has become more likely as a result of the [Sendai] earthquake.”

He has a record of success in being able to do this following the terrible St Stephen’s Day quake in 2004 off the coast of Sumatra. He analysed the fault lines afterwards and, in a report in the journal Nature, said that the stresses had been moved further along the Sumatran fault line.

He predicted that another large quake, probably up to a magnitude 8.5, would occur at a given point along the fault, with the report going out in the journal on 17th March, 2005. Just 11 days later an 8.7 magnitude quake occurred where he had predicted.

Look at the following stories and video. I have only scratched the surface of the coastal issues in Java and Indonesia. There are areas flooding there along the coasts with very little rain. The ocean’s salt water has been dangerously pushing far up into the Dong Nai river in Viet Nam all throughout February and March.

If nothing else it is amazing and pretty scary that this happens - whatever the cause. 

In chronological Order from 2010 - All links are from verified news sources

Massive sinkhole in Guatemala in June 2010

Massive Sinkhole in China in June 2010

Large Crack appears in Michigan on 10/04/2010

A 30 meter deep crack appeared in the road to the border of Indonesia-Timor Leste, in Atambua, East Nusa Tenggara, Java on Wednesday - 2/2/2011

"Mega-mudslide" covering a 250 acres fault area buries 400 homes in La Paz Bolivia on 02/28/2011 [pictures at the link are worth seeing]


Mudslides continue in 7 other districts in Bolivia - 02/28/2011

100 meter wide, 3 Kilometers long crack appears in Puno Peru, not far from La Paz Bolivia, on 02/24 or 25/2011

Several Days later a crack 2 meters deep appears in Ica Peru - 03/02/2011

Hundreds of homes cracked in East Java as earth moves - 03/03/2011 - [video after the link jump]

New fissure opens between Pu‘u ‘O‘o and Napau Crater in Hawaii after earthquake swarm- 03/05/2011

Philippines - Land Cracks and alarms people of Sierra-Bullones,Bohol - 03/07/2011

Two towns on the coast in Demak, Cebntral Java are erased as the ocean claims them - 03/09/2011

A small Bolivian town sees large cracks with underground fires coming out for weeksCochabamba Bolivia - reported on 03/11/2011

Large Crack 20 meter long in Nantou Tiawan on 03.15.2011

Cracks appear in Japan post earthquake 03/11/2011

Sendai Airport - crack follows middle of the road - 3/11/2011

Massive whirlpool off the coast of Japan following the Sendai quake - 03/11/2011

Venezuela highway moves an inch a day after months of land mass moving along a faultline - 03/14/2011

Massive crack opens in Pakistan - March 2011 [look, I know Dutchsinse is a pretty paranoid guy, but he does some interesting earthquake data scanning. I don’t agree with a lot of his conclusions, but the data he compiles is very interesting]


Emergency Preparedness: Making a 72 Hour Bag - A variety of approaches

FEMA recommends making an emergency bag with supplies you might need if you had to quickly evacuate in the event of an emergency. Here are several ways to do that.

Survivalists have been on this concept for decades and have taken the art of making a Bug Out Bag (B.O.B.) or Get Out of Dodge bag (G.O.O.D. or G.O.D.) to a whole new level.  I like the latter phrase less because the fundie survivalists seem to favor it, and Get Out Of Dodge Yesterday (G.O.O.D.Y.) bag would fit better. :)

My wife, who has only come over to my ‘dark side’ since the disaster in Japan, has instructed me to make sure ours is fully outfitted after the next paycheck. I’ve already been working on it, but with full budget approval from the better half I can make it GREAT! Now I can make one for each of our vehicles, and several for our home, including the kids.

What you pick will depend on your budget, but try to get the basics in there first. Alleviate disaster anxiety - prepare well. 

Understanding the BOB - Get the basics from Wikipedia

FEMA Recommendations - Basic 72 hour kit items. 

FEMA Recommendations - Where to keep 72-hour bags 

The 7 Types of Gear you must have in your Bug Out Bag - nice break down of categories

How To Survive The Apocalypse, on $20 and the stuff in your apartment - get started on a budget

How to Make a Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Emergency Evacuation Survival Kit - this one must weigh a ton, but it’s comprehensive

34 Essential Items For Your Bug Out Bag - focused on general disasters, no guns\

Buy a 72-hour bag - shop for backpacks and ready-made kits

Ultimate BOB - Amazon list with lots of items you might add - especially the Katadyn water filter if you can afford it, there are cheaper one out there though.

BOB Guns - lists the pros and cons of firearms for various scenarios

GOOD Bag tips from a northern Idaho housewife - some useful info on preparing your bag


Entry level intro

A Survivalist Wife’s Bug Out Bag For When SHTF

Kids BOB

British BOB

Hardcore - heavy on weapons survivalist :)

Breaking it down - the ‘Science’ of BOB’s - 1 of 3: The Purpose, Planning and Packing your Bug-Out-Bag 1/3


Rumination on “The End of the World as We Know It”…

It’s happening every day. In Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin, Christchurch New Zealand, and now Japan. Defining events that signal the end of life as before, and the beginning of something dramatically different. So different that there are very definitive factors that could be quantified. 

I’m not the first to say this and use a perspectivist, subjective interpretation of The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI), but it’s true. When the Native Americans first met the white man on the sea shore of what would become North America, it was the end of the world as they knew it. When the United States invaded Iraq it was the end of the world as they knew it. 

From this interpretation of a TEOTWAWKI event, even personal changes such as losing a job, a loved one, or our health qualify. Preparing for total Apocalypse is like preparing for a massive extinction event - who knows if it’s likely, possible, or even probable.  

However, you can be awakened from a dead slumber to find your home has been picked up by a massive tidal wave. 

We can’t control or prepare for everything. It’s not possible or healthy. We do the best we can, given the information and resources we have. If our luck/fate is such that we stand in the path of tsunami, then short of moving to the top of a mountain or to a safer place, which would fall under risk assessment and management, there’s not much else to be done. 

We would be better served to think in “End of OUR world” terms; preparing for a local, individualized, situational Dramatic Change Event (DCE - you heard it here first). 

My thoughts and best wishes are with the people of the world who are living in chaos and whose world has dramatically changed for the worst. Keep fighting, keep surviving, keep living…


"OMG the end is nigh, here come the marauders!" - Themes of Comments on SHTF Scenario Posts

I read a LOT of Survival blogs, lurk and participate on a variety of prepper/survivalist forums, and conduct daily environmental scans of a wide range of political, economic, and financial websites.

The tenor and trends in comments on the site often depends on the authors perspectives and point of view with like-minded folk being drawn to the content that best fits their own worldview. That’s a pretty standard generalization you could make about any website.

I’m going to make a few more general statements. On Rawling’s SurvivalBlog you tend to get the hardcore, “Schumer is Going to Hit the Fan Any Day Now” survivalists who are heavily Christian, Tea Party types.  The Survival Podcast’s Jack Spirko, while very libertarian, takes a more moderate, rational approach to modern survival and you see that reflected in the comments by his readers. Mac Slavo at SHTFplan is a bit more dramatic than Spirko, but still a sharp guy who does his research, and seems to draw a fair number of folks from all camps.

I read all of these guys and also listen to others like Bob Mayne, Chip Monk, and The Suburban Survivalist.  As a result I see continued evidence in the trend that caused me to start this little Tumbr blog. There are a large number of rational, critically thinking professionals out there who are preppers and survivalists. There are also a lot of racist, xenophobic, fundamentalist, tin-foil hat wearing nutjobs - a trend reflected in everyday life as well, so nothing new there.

Anyway, every time I start reading comments on on survivalist sites variations on the latter sentiments pop up like clockwork. I’ve taken the liberty in summarizing the most common for your amusement.

  • "OMG the end is nigh, here come the marauders!"
  • "Obama did it. Check his birth certificate."
  • "Get right with God. We’re all getting what we deserve." OR "God will take care of me. I’m ready for it to end."
  • "Screw the sheeple. I got mine."
  • "The NWO Elite/Freemasons/Zionists are all knowing. Get your ticket to the FEMA camps now so you don’t have to wait in line."
  • "Quick! Bomb Iran."
  • "Why are we worrying about this? We should be ragging on the Muslims/Mexicans/welfare recipients/liberals/et al."
  • "Alex Jones said it so it has to be true."
  • "Only 666 days, 5 hours, 36 minutes left until Dec 21, 2012" [actual count as of right now]
  • "Buy all the gold and silver your pack horse can carry."

Not all survivalists are crazy, but the ones that are make it harder on the rest of us.  But like I told Mac recently, it takes all kinds.


Making Sense of Fear of The End

Somewhere between Mad Max and Pollyanna lies a balanced view of emergency preparedness, survivalism, and self-sufficiency. Critics and prophets have been saying the world is going to end for thousands of years. In the most simplistic terms it is a competition between the full-on “Rapture-End Times” scenario crowd and the more secular “decline of Western Civilization” camp. In the former the world ends in flames, purged by God, while in the latter the flames might still be there, but it’s a result of man’s own decadence, hubris, and hunger for power - which by the way is what the fundies think are at the root of God’s anger.

If some major world changing event were to come about, the earth will survive, but the modern realities of human civilization will change. It could be that we come through the current environmental, economic, and political upheavals with our civil liberties intact, our food and fuel supply chains still functioning, and our money still worth enough to support and feed our families.  I hope that this is the scenario in the end. Whatever the case, we aren’t worried about the earth coming to an end, but rather our own lives and standard of living. In our minds, the earth is worthless without us on it. Sadly, from our perspective, this is true. 

A growing distrust of the US government and mainstream news sources can quickly lead one into an online maze of conspiracy theories, end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) speculations, and all manner of apocalyptic thinking. The fear that this stimulates can be paralyzing and overwhelming. Loss of control, fear of the inability to provide for and protect one’s family, and everything that comes with considering a return to 17th or 18th century living from where we are now can bring on an obsession with preparation for the worst case scenario.  I know. I fight this preoccupation and work daily to not let my fears for the future take away from the continued happiness I enjoy as a result of my current standard of living.

Ever Ready

When you venture into the online world of survivalists and preppers you find a wide range of views and political perspectives. Many are very well informed and have deep insights into the macro factors moving our economy and global politics. You also find numerous religious nutjobs, racist pricks, right-wing radicals, and all manner of like-minded folks who are convinced the New World Order is behind every tree and minor event, that the President/government is always wrong and can be faulted for all current problems, or that we are a matter of weeks from the total collapse of western civilization as we know it.

I’ve been following these conversations online for 10 years. The same people are saying the same things now that they were when I started looking in 1999. However, this is not to say that the events and trends they are addressing are without merit or consideration.  Just because I don’t agree with their political alignment, their speculation on the root causes, their religious views, or their assessments of how one should interpret the daily news does not mean that their arguments hold no water. In much of the speculation there are disturbing trends that continue to remind me of the old adage “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. 

Our planet is reeling from a century of all manner of abuses. We see this play out daily across the globe as weather patterns, glacier melt-off, droughts, flooding, crop failures, and massive bird, fish, and animal deaths show the impact of our reckless pursuit of profit.  Sure, it has happened all along, but the impact that industrialization has had on our environment is undeniable. Our global ecosystem is a system, and major trauma to critical sub-systems will cause errors throughout the whole. 

The worlds supply of oil is reaching, or perhaps has already passed, it’s peak level of production and everything that depends on fossil fuels for it’s sustenance will feel the impact as it becomes clear to even the mainstream that the expenditure of a barrel of oil to extract a barrel of oil is cost prohibitive and unsustainable. 

The global financial horizon, despite the propaganda of government analysts, skewed statistics, and continued temporary fixes, reveals an almost insurmountable chasm of federal debt, a steadily weakening reserve currency, and staggering state and local deficits.  Not to mention soaring commodity, fuel, and food prices across the board.

Couple this with an ever growing endorsement of the governments infringement on civil liberties and individual privacy, the perpetuation of an environmental of fear of the “Other”, misdirection of our attention from real threats to manufactured ones, and an obvious inability to provide even the most basic emergency support in times of disaster and it seems to provide a “perfect storm” of destabilizing elements not seen since the Great Depression. Except that now the ramifications of a Depression are not simply contained or influenced primarily by the United States, but by all players in the intricate web of global politics, finance, and power. 

The smallest dictators and terrorists pose as big of a threat as that posed by Russia during the Cold War. And yet it is that same threat that is used to further justify the continued infringement on our Constitutional rights and continued expenditures of trillions of dollars on fruitless foreign oil wars.  

We’re stretched dangerously thin and 50 years of complacency and convenience contribute to a normalcy bias that works to the advantage of those trying to keep peace and order while continuing to extort and abuse the poor while protecting the rich and powerful

This is not about politics. It’s about power and money. The majority of politicians, regardless of their party affiliation, will pander to their constituents through lip service while selling them out to the lobbyists of every financial institution, arms dealer, and palm-greasing corporation that steps through the doors of their office. Those that don’t follow this pattern will either give up or merely stem the flow of “business as usual”. This is nothing new and I can’t imagine it’s much different than the state of politics has been for thousands of years except that it’s a much more polished, established, and streamlined process now after centuries of perfection. 

So, with all this bleakness, what is there to celebrate?  How do we deal with the very real threat of Electromagnetic Pulse attacks, the possibility of the failure of the dollar as the reserve standard, and the myriad of other scenarios that could result in a culmination of factors that could bring about wide-scale collapse in services and supply? 

Don’t. Lose. Your. Head.  Remain calm. Forget about the root causes. It’s like trying to decide if God exists or if there could be life outside our solar system. There’s no way to prove one root cause over another.  It’s speculation based on the facts we have available to us. It doesn’t matter what’s causing it; the effects and ramifications are all that are important.

If things go south, how likely is it that X will happen? Given the current rate of X events, taken in light of past events, and given new factors Y & Z, where does that put us? Rational, logical analysis separated from political and religious biases is the primary strategy. Using information as the tool of choice, strip away speculation and look at facts.  Interpretation is unavoidable, but what really matters is identifying trends and pattern recognition.

I honestly don’t care if the New World Order or increasing demand in China is at fault for food riots and hyperinflation. I just care that I can take care of my family if that happens. If it never does I’ll be so fucking happy.  I like the comfort of my modern life and perhaps that’s what the powers that be are counting on to keep me in my place.

Still yet, I’m a country boy who grew up off the grid much of the time. However, while I may have redneck ways, I’m not a redneck in the derogatory sense of the word. I’m all about tolerance for others who are not like me, compassion for those who have less than me, and am a champion of your right to say what you believe even if I disagree in every possible way and hate your guts for it.  

I have a BA, an MS, and an AK. I dip snuff but can write at length about Neitzsche’s perspectivism and the vagaries of Buddhist religion. I can skin a buck, raise my own food, discuss modern art, and recite Yeats poetry.  My southern, rustic roots define and enhance my character, but in no way limit my intellect or inhibit my ability to see beyond common prejudices and take every individual as they come.

In the end I don’t care about anything but protecting and providing for my wife and children.  I think there may come a time when that will be much more difficult than it is now. Like any of the various types of insurance I now have, I have taken care to have “insurance” in the case of an emergency, major disaster, economic depression, or the end of the world as we know it. Much like with my life insurance, I’ll be happy if I never have to cash it in.  But I have the peace of mind in knowing that should I need to, I’ll be ready. 

Think for yourself. Question everything, even things you assume to be absolute. Love and protect those who depend on you. Keep hope alive, but prepare just in case. Don’t be so fucking sure of yourself. Chances are you’re wrong about some things - just like I am. Quit being so damn hateful. 

Fear of the End can be healthy or debilitating. Moderation, preparation, and planning are the key to controlling it. Take out your “insurance” and once you’re prepared you won’t have to worry about it. Peace of mind comes with preparation. 

I’m going to present information from lots of sources here. I don’t agree with the worldview that some of them support, but there are a great many folks doing deep research and presenting facts in sets and identifying trends that bear serious consideration.  Like I said, I’m less interested in the cause and more focused on ramifications.  I can’t change the powers that be, but I can change how I’m prepared for the future. THAT is within my control. 

Read critically and Enjoy…