Saturday, 11 April 2015

11:34 – We’re doing the usual Saturday stuff. I’m doing laundry and Barbara if off running errands, having lunch with a friend, and visiting her sister. We took some time this morning to make up a batch of the non-regulated chemical bags for biology kits, which was the last subassembly I needed to build a new batch of those kits.

Speaking of which, I need to get some purchase orders issued for kit components. Yesterday, I ordered a bunch of bottles and caps. That was the first time I’d ordered caps by the case of 10,000 rather than by the box of 1,440. They’re 20% cheaper by the case, and we’ll use them eventually, so it made sense to order by the case. I’m just wondering how big a case will be. A box of 1,440 is medium-size, so at roughly seven times as many caps, the case will be a pretty large box.

I’m running out of Zippo lighter fluid. I have a couple of 4-ounce (118 mL) cans in our car emergency kits, but I won’t touch those. (I know they’ll store well because a few months ago I opened a can that had been made in 1979 and it was full and worked fine.) The two 12-ounce cans I keep on my desk and end table in the den are empty or nearly so. I’m going to refill them with VM&P naphtha, which works as well as the official stuff and at about $15/gallon (3.79 L) at Lowe’s is a lot cheaper than paying $8 per 12-ounce can for the Zippo-branded fluid.

I’ve been reading a lot of prepper fiction lately, and almost invariably it has the protagonists bugging out with backpacks across devastated urban landscapes. Also almost invariably these protagonists are in their 20’s or 30’s, with equipment, skills, and physical conditioning that would be routine for SEALs, Green Berets, or Delta Force but are anything but the norm for regular people, including those in their 20’s and 30’s.

Now, when I was in my late teens through mid-20’s, I could run with those guys, and shoot with them, for that matter. I thought nothing of playing serve-and-volley tennis all day long in the August heat. My eyesight was better than 20/10. I hunted. I backpacked. I shot frequently on ranges and in funhouses for everything from combat pistol to clays to rifles out to 1,000 yards. I was in shape and as ready as anyone could be.

But I turn 62 years old in June. The state requires me to wear glasses to drive. My BMI is well down in the so-called normal range, and I think I’m in pretty decent physical condition for my age. But I’m a very pale shadow of what I was 40 years ago. Barbara is also in pretty good physical condition. She goes to the gym twice a week and is physically active day to day. But she’s had both knees replaced. In short, in a serious emergency, I can’t see either one of us being able to hike out carrying heavy packs. It’s just not on. Oh, we have what we need in terms of gear and so on, and the spirit may be willing but the bodies are weak. If we were faced with the need to evacuate on foot, we’d give it our best, but we’d almost certainly die trying.

That’s why my focus is on hunkering down in our home. In nearly any type of emergency, staying put will be the optimum decision for us. And for almost anyone else. Sure, a man of 27 might be a good candidate for SEAL Team Six, but what about his wife, his child, his mother and dad, his sister, and so on? None of them are going to be hiking cross-country carrying 80-pound packs. Nor would any of them be your first choice in a firefight. What they can do is function as what amounts to garrison troops to help defend your home, if it ever comes to that. Let’s all hope it never does.