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Are We There Yet?

By Tyler Woods AKA "The Bulletproof Pastor"

A friend of mine shared that a woman asked him what a ‘Prepper’ was. He replied, “You are.” She and her husband have a cabin on property in the hill country of Texas, they are active in practical shooting sports, and she stocks food at both her home and cabin locations. Still, she doesn’t think she fits the role of ‘prepper’.

The problem is a media that has waged an information war against words like prepper, survivalist, preparedness, and self-sufficiency.

Insurance policies cover home liability, fire, theft, automobile accidents, health coverage, and even damage to a cell phone. We also may tuck a twenty dollar bill into the back of our wallet or maybe keep some hidden cash for emergencies. Credit cards cover unexpected needs and keeping a Ramen Noodles package in your desk drawer may cover a missed lunch break.

All these are by definition “preparedness” and those of us who do these things can be called “preppers.” A bad stigma has been placed on the prepper title by the National Geographic Channel and their Doomsday Preppers documentary but call it what you will, we all need to and do practice preparedness in one form or another.

Any type of preparedness begins with analysis of your needs. Structured Analysis is the hierarchical approach to problem solving and generates well-organized solutions. It begins with defining and understanding a problem called “Threat Analysis.” For a home we would need to consider natural disasters such as fire, flood, earthquake, and storm.

Unnatural disasters could include liability, theft, and property damage.

Anything we depend on should be regarded as something worth protecting or to have a plan for dealing with its loss. I went back to school after military service and a fellow student told me the story of how God got his attention over a car he once owned. It was his life: a beautiful Mercury Cougar, red exterior with white convertible top and white interior. Under the hood was not only an immaculate engine and power train but it had chrome and accessories everywhere. He would scan muscle car magazines and not see anything his car didn’t already have. It was a show car. Knowing its value, he had it insured to the max except the one area his agent didn’t warn him about.... theft. One day he came out of a store to find an empty space where his car used to be and only then did he learn that he wasn’t covered for theft. Two weeks later the Sheriff called and informed him they had found his car. He told me that he never should have gone to see it. No engine, transmission, power train, wheels, interior, and the thieves even tore out the dash. It was a hulk of stripped and useless metal. This occurred several years prior to him telling me and he was still paying on the car he could no longer drive. His priorities changed.

The vast majority of Americans are just like my friend with the belief that all their bases are covered and life will continue as it always has without interruption. What if it doesn’t? What if the safeguards and assurances are not complete? Have all the threats been considered? Is there a plan ‘B’?

The System

“THE SYSTEM” refers to our infrastructure of information, power, and supply. Information is accomplished by phone, television, radio, and the internet. Food is supplied by local grocery stores. Power is distributed from a massive system called an electric grid. Fresh water is piped to our homes and sewage is piped away. Even our garbage is picked up regularly. Most system failures last only days to perhaps a few weeks but there are scenarios present which would take down THE SYSTEM for a long time and require at least six to twelve month's food supply for families who will be completely on their own. The six month supply applies only to those situations where the infrastructure can be restored. For those conditions where the systems cannot be regained (and there are many) survival could depend on becoming completely self-sufficient. Transitioning to self reliance is not without difficulties and expected failures.

How fragile is THE SYSTEM? Take a close look at your grocery store. Massive amounts of almost any kind of food, right? Where did it come from? Few items in our stores come from less than hundreds of miles away, some from much further. Even fresh bread, though baked locally, requires basic ingredients that are trucked in to local bakeries. Everything comes by truck. Since the efficiency movement found ways to avoid tax on inventory, stores don't “store” things like they used to. Computerized checkouts scan items and build inventory orders to THE SYSTEM for re-stock. National food warehouses (less than a dozen across the country) put together a distribution system that assures you will find cans of peas and corn on the shelf at all times, “just in time”.... unless... something 'out of the ordinary' happens.

Everything depends on electricity. Computer checkout, inventory orders, warehouse distribution, truck routing, and manifests, nothing moves without electricity. What applies to groceries also works for fuel, banking, police, fire, and rescue services. Everything comes to a stop if the power goes out for an extended time.

The worst electrical failure is called collapse because the electric grids across our nation are linked and when one falls the rest can go down with it. A problem is the vast majority of our electric producing plants cannot do what is called “cold start.” That means they are designed to interface and align with an energized and working electric presence on the grid. If the grid is not operational (zero volts) the interfacing equipment will not be able to bring up power because it will have no point of reference. The Department Of Energy has stated that it could take as long as three years to restore power to America if the grid were to completely shut down. (Recent correction by the Department of Energy now extends restoration of total grid failure from three years to seven, if at all.)

Napoleon learned what every military commander now knows. First: long supply lines are fragile and can be easily disrupted; second: lack of supply will defeat an army faster than its enemy can.

Fragile supply lines cannot respond to sudden changes in demand which explains why store shelves empty in the path of storms and why gasoline is unavailable when masses try to leave town at the same time. Power grids depend on large numbers of workers to keep them operating, as do our water and sewer systems. Anything that disrupts these systems or the availability of support workers can bring the system down and leave stranded those who depend on them.

Domestic terrorism only has to disrupt our supply for little more than two weeks before (as demonstrated in New Orleans after Katrina or more recently in Ferguson Missouri, Seattle Washington, Portland Oregon, and Baltimore) anarchy tears society apart from the inside. Almost any major event can trigger street violence, smash-and-grab looting, and social mayhem. Our police and National Guard are not sufficiently manned to address lawlessness on a grand scale. If one city gets out of hand, neighboring cities lend police resources to assist. When a larger area needs assistance the National Guard is called. Where would the resources come from if every city needed assistance? We don't have resources to restore law and order on a grand scale. As stated in “The History Chanel” documentary/drama After Armageddon “America is only about nine meals from anarchy.”

None of the pieces of the system can stand independently. Everything depends on electricity, fuel, the internet, computing, and armies of workers to keep things running. If one piece of the system goes down it can take the entire house of cards with it.

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