Friday, August 10, 2018

Various Thoughts on Preparedness

First I reject the idea that you can only be prepared by taking super drastic life changing measures. I suppose what is drastic and life changing is relative though. If you live in NYC/ LA/ Chicago and have never shot, and certainly don't own a gun you might need to make some big changes. However for most people reading this; who probably live in a mid sized town or the burbs but not right in the middle of a major urban center and do own guns, you can get really prepared with minimal changes to your overall life.

Of course it depends on what you are preparing for. Being really blunt a lot of people are not preparing for realistic scenarios, they are preparing for survivalist doomer porn fantasies. The doomer porn fantasies they are preparing for happen to justify all of their decisions as being brilliant.

You should choose a lifestyle and area based on how you (and your family) want to live not on what some survivalist 'expert' says. By all means move to the hinterboonies to raise animals and grow a big garden, just do it because you want to!

Shaping your life based on the risk of a scenario that is to be blunt very unlikely is foolish.

The concept of diminishing returns is something we need to consider in preparedness and its camo wearing, maybe angry and racist, cousin surivalism. The way diminishing returns work is that essentially at some point you start getting less payoff for the investment. Often the initial payoff is really high in an area. At some point it drops considerably.

Put it like this. You decide to buy the wife/ GF/ whatever some flowers for no particular reason. For $20 you get a nice little bouquet in a color she likes at the grocery store. The wife/ GF/ whatever is happy. Say you order a $200 bouquet from a florist.  The $200 bouquet is probably not going to get you a woman who is 10x happier than the $20 flowers.

Preparedness is sort of like that.

Lets say a person sees some risks and decides to get prepared. They get a couple weeks of shelf stable ready to eat (crackers, peanut butter, canned soup, poptarts, etc), a couple water jugs and a filter, a few boxes of batteries for their flashlights and some extra ammo for whatever guns they have. They take $1,000 cash out of savings and keep it at home. This person is now prepared for the vast majority, say 80% of events.

Say they take it a bit further, push the food to 2 months. Buy a military pattern rifle and a case of ammo. A generator for when the power goes out. Put a bit of money into silver. Get some bug out stuff together. Now they are ready for like 90% of events. Rough math says we are at a few thousand dollars here.

Getting ready for the other 10% of events is going to be a lot more expensive. It is also going to have significantly more impact on your normal life. The really funny part is that for the other 10% of events the preparations people are making are generally for the wrong thing.

When war/ pestilence, etc come to your area GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! You don't need to be buying pallets of surplus razor wire, you need to make sure that your passports are current.



Aesop said...

This is the 80/20 Rule in action:

The first 20% of expenditures achieve 80% of your goals.
The last 20% of goals require the other 80% of expenditures.
Learning the difference between "good enough" and "perfect" will thus save you wasting 4/5ths of your funds chasing perfection.

Theother Ryan said...


Pineslayer said...

I have to agree on the passport thing, but where are you going to go? Central or South America? Canada or Europe? Do they want you or can you get there when things go shitty?

Can you assimilate on a moments notice?

Aesop said...


All good questions, but imagine asking them of yourself as a Jew in 1937 in Berlin. Then imagine asking yourself the same questions, in 1941.

Or as an Afrikaaner in Capetown. Yesterday.

It would certainly suck to be a socially awkward and barely literate Eastern European living in London in 1912.
But not when the alternative was third class passage to NY on the Titanic.

"Any port in a storm", and all that...

Pineslayer said...

It does come down to the fight or flight, bug in/bug out debate. When you are threatened by over whelming forces the decision must be made. We are at a cross roads of sorts now. Let the Marxists take the country or over power them. We will all have to make that decision soon in my opinion.

Harry Flashman said...

I look at it this way. Consider the most unpleasant event you might have to deal with, and get ready for it. That should cover you for all the mundane things on down the list between catastrophe and bliss.

For the most part, I like not being dependent on town, a job, the government, or anybody / anything else.

I'm sure something can happen that I didn't think of, but as I live in the boonies, I really haven't built much, bought much, or modified my lifestyle here much to specifically accommodate my "self sufficiency is best" lifestyle, other than to get through the things that do happen here, and be prepared if bizarre things happen. I have a generator, for instance, and it would be nice to have if TEOTWAWKI happens, but it's nice to have when we have ice storms, too.

Strange things, out of the blue, do happen.

I never bought anything, that I can remember, for preparedness purposes that I couldn't or wouldn't use if things just keep on cranking along and there's nothing besides storms and fires to worry about.

My only real regret is that my kids did not decide to live in a rural environment. Always figured I would pass this whole thing on to them, as a going concern. So it may happen that once I croak, I won't be able to keep the land, buildings, possessions et al in the family. But even so, I don't think I would have changed anything.

Pineslayer said...

Your last few sentences size up my only concern too. I guess if my daughters don't want to be up here then whoever buys this place will be stoked and in for a few surprises.

Theother Ryan said...

Pineslayer, You hit on an interesting point. Our friend Aesop gave the obvious reply. Didn’t work out so good for those Jews who ‘Bugged In’ at their homes and shops in Berlin. A crappy job and a little cramped flat in London or New York sounds pretty good by comparison.

I am thinking about a more in depth answer. Probably this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post sir. Taking care of the basics will help (but NOT guarantee) you and yours will come out the other side alive. The 'nice to haves' are barter materials but the other party had better be trustworthy.

Getting the Hell Out of the Way is the best course - getting and keeping a current passport makes a whole lot of sense.

PredatorHunter said...

I agree with @Aesop 80:20 rule; works like magic. The first time I heard about it was in an audiobook by Brian Tracy – I barely recall the title but it was about ‘Self Confidence’. Then I researched about it and it has worked wonders in my life. The goal is to always identify the 20% of the effort that will make give strides in improving your preparedness.

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