I had a conversation today with a friend who loves to talk about preparedness. Loves to collect and shoot guns. But beyond that he does very little to actually be prepared for much more than a stray coyote in his backyard. I like to compare him to the wanna-be cowboys who dress the part with the big cowboy hat and boots but who live in the city and have probably never even ridden a horse. The guys who were the inspiration for the old expression, “All Hat, No Cattle.”
And so it is that when I get into these discussions with my friend all I can think is he’s, “All Guns, No Prep”.
Owning and being proficient with firearms is critical but it’s just one part of the larger survival system we all need to be building. Having sufficient food, water, shelter, first-aid supplies, and survival skills has got to be top of the list.
There are several rather common events that put some percentage of our population in a SHTF situation each year. Literally every year there are earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, or floods that put millions of people in the middle of a disaster situation. Here at Prep-Blog we encourage people to keep current with the skills and supplies they need to get through the disasters they’re most likely to face. Concentrating the majority of your efforts in planning for those events most likely to affect you just makes good sense. But don’t forget, basic survival skills and supplies are incredibly transferable. Good knowledge is good knowledge and good tools are good tools. So, thorough preparation for one event will likely serve you well in any number of survival situations.
After the initial disaster event has passed, a time of struggle and barter for everyone in the affected area begins. Anyone who takes prepping serious knows they need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least a few months. Many others in our communities aren’t able to get through the first seven days of an event without needing food, water, or other basic necessities. This is the point where my friend realizes he’s got a safe full of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, but only one case of bottled water and a dozen cans of tuna. Just between us, I’m not even sure he has a can-opener! That’s okay, I’ll trade him one for a tricked out AR-15 plus 500 rounds of ammo. Of course I’m joking but I’m probably not that far off. Most people are not prepared to go more than a week or so without a resupply of food and basics. General availability and knowledge of water purification is even sadder and is always a problem.
On the positive side, my friend has a lot of items other people would love to barter for. If you’re in a disaster situation and have plenty of firearms I’d be willing to bet that plenty of folks will want to barter with you. Everyone needs to be able to provide for their own security in a time when the local government may have its hands full. The more the local populace is prepared to provide for its own safety, the safer they will be. Guns and Ammo (especially in combination with each other) are worth a ton in these barter situations.
Now that the immediate threat from the original disaster is over my friend is seeing that society is already heading towards a return to law and order. And the TEOTWAWKI situation he pictured (while spending too much of his resources stocking up on high-powered rifles and not enough on the basics like food and water) wasn’t quite going to take place. He spent all his time getting ready to defend himself from the zombie apocalypse but the zombies never came. Hunger and thirst did come though and they’re generally much more reliable guests than zombies, although not nearly as much fun….
In all but the worst SHTF situations there is eventually a “return to normalcy” and at that point everyone has to account for their actions during the time of crisis. All of us who are armed need to remember that before we decide to take target practice on anyone who looks the least bit threatening. When laws are uncertain we must rely on strong values to guide us.
So please, don’t be All Hat And No Cattle. Think ahead and think about a well-rounded approach to Preparedness.