11:30 – November is coming in like a panda. That is, not the cute, furry pandas that women and children love, but like a real panda with fangs, claws, and a really nasty disposition. Today it’s raining, in the low 40’s (~ 5C), and with wind gusts to 30+ mph (48+ kph).
I keep getting emails from people that begin “I’m not a prepper, but …”. As in, “… I’ve stored a few months’ supply of food for my family” or “… we are in the process of relocating to a small town because I’m concerned about civil unrest in the cities” or (my personal favorite) “… my wife and have bought a riot shotgun and AR-15 rifle for each of us, along with a thousand rounds per gun”.
My usual response starts “Yeah, you are a prepper by any reasonable definition.” In fact, using a strict definition, nearly everyone is a prepper. If you store extra batteries for your flashlight in case of a power outage, you’re a prepper. If you keep a few cans of food on your pantry shelf and a small woodpile for your fireplace in case you’re snowed in, you’re a prepper. If you buy a disused missile silo and stock it with enough supplies to last a hundred people for a decade, you’re a prepper. It’s all a matter of degree.
I’m not sure how or when it happened, but somehow in many people’s minds the idea of being prepared for emergencies has become something to be embarrassed about. This is a new phenomenon. For tens of thousands of years, people were no more aware of the concept of prepping than fish are of water. It was just something everyone did as a matter of routine. If you didn’t store food in the summer and autumn, you and your family would starve to death that winter. If you didn’t lay in a supply of firewood, you’d freeze. And so on.
I think the root of the problem is that since WWII life has become too easy and that, despite history and all of the evidence to the contrary, most people believe “it can’t happen here”. This phenomenon is limited to the Baby Boomers and later generations, all of whom grew up safe, protected, and amidst plenty. Earlier generations, those who reached adulthood before, say, 1950, knew hardship: war, rationing, economic depression, soup kitchens, fearsome plagues like the Spanish flu and polio, and so on. They were perfectly aware that real emergencies were commonplace and that it could happen here. And essentially all of them prepared to the best of their abilities for such events.
Even as late as the 60’s, preparedness was the norm, probably because the adults who were making the decisions had lived through the Great Depression and WWII. Many families built and stocked basement fallout shelters, some minimal but many extensive. When I was growing up, I knew of at least half a dozen families in our immediate neighborhood who had done so. Even those who hadn’t built a formal shelter often stocked considerable amounts of shelf-stable foods, commercial or home-canned.
All schools had stocked shelters, and students participated regularly in drills. Not just for nuclear attack, but for other emergencies like tornadoes and severe winter storms. As a second-grader in 1962, Barbara spent a night in a fallout shelter with other students, eating shelter biscuits and drinking canned shelter water. Even young elementary school students knew where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. Nowadays, even most adults are completely clueless. This is not a good thing.