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  • Mike L

Are We Done Yet?

Updated: Jan 1




As the year cruises to a close, there has been no shortage of dramatic headlines, driven by innumerable tragedies, disasters, and incomprehensible acts. There doesn't appear to be an end in sight. Rampant street crime; more mass shootings; national paralysis due to perpetual political dysfunction; a troubled financial system; record corporate profits paired with flat wages and an increasingly angry planet are but a few. By now, avid readers of my blog know my feelings about spending too much time consuming the news and social media content. Stop it!


Whether you believe these are the end times or just a few rough years, one thing is clear, now more than ever, we need to be better prepared. Preparation starts at home and a thorough needs assessment is the first step.


Whatever your thoughts on climate change, keep them to yourself. Extreme weather events are more frequent, intense, and occurring in places not generally known for such events. Again, recall the Great Texas Freeze of 2021 and the August 2023 Hawaii wildfires. Experiencing and surviving a crisis is vastly different from watching a thirty second news clip. Street crime will never go away and the tendency to play armchair quarterback is seldom helpful. Worse, oversimplifying the underlying complex problems perpetuates the cycle of helplessness, grief, frustration, and rage. Worse still, it keeps us where we are now.


Here’s how to get yourself off the bench and into the game.


Ask the Right Questions

What would you do in the event of a tornado, landslide, power outage or other significant event that impacts not just your neighborhood but the entire region? In your immediate family and circle of friends, whom can you call for help? Would you? Where would you go if you were forced to leave your home? How would you get there? Do you have enough food to hold out for three weeks? How would you answer these questions if you live in the heart of Manhattan, in suburban Chicago, in the remotest part of Appalachia or the farthest reaches of Alaska?

Two masked strangers surprise you at the gas pump and demand your phone, wallet, and keys. As you’re staring down the business end of what is clearly a very large and menacing handgun, how do you respond? Such events are survivable, you just need a plan to do so.


Know Thyself

Are you more comfortable embracing your inner lone wolf or, do you see yourself as one among a pack of wolves? To be sure, the lure of the lone wolf has been romanticized and glamorized in all forms of pop culture; however, in real life, we’re mere human beings, not immortal. Try as I might, I can’t think of a scenario in which it’s safer, advisable, or more effective to go it alone. Get a partner or five. Build a network and grow a community. The peace of mind and security afforded by a group is immeasurable and sometimes it’s the existence of the group that allows us to survive. There’s a disconnect between how we see ourselves and the reality of our situation. Knowing that you can bench press your own bodyweight ten times or that you can hike ten miles in a day while carrying a pack that weighs fifty pounds are awesome baselines. Build from there.


You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Whether we can ever truly know another person is a great question. I’m not talking about social media posts or bathroom selfies although, such behavior is revealing. The level of despair and desperation others must experience to drive them to rob, assault, and threaten harm to others is almost unknowable. There’s no universally effective defense, either. You can’t barricade yourself in the house for twenty-four hours a day, nor can you rely upon your situational awareness to always to alert you to impending danger. The randomness and threat of violence associated with most street crime is what makes it such a frightening event.

It’s impossible and unhealthy to constantly maintain such a high level of alertness. The best course of action is to live your life and be mindful of your surroundings while not intentionally placing yourself in harm’s way.


Most of us live our lives in a small geographic area. This certainly describes how I live now. Identify the shortcuts to and from downtown, the mall and grocery store. Can you take a winding, circuitous route home if you’re being followed? If the major arteries into the business district are closed due to civil unrest or storm damage, do you know of at least two alternate routes? As best you can, remaining calm and compliant are the safest ways to ensure that you survive. Live in the moment with intention and a watchful, prepared eye on the future is the best any of us can do.


People Are People

It’s almost easier to identify the ways in which we differ than to find something that we have in common and can agree upon. Again, the headlines and trending social media posts demonize others who worship, believe, and live differently than we do. Overstimulation isn’t healthy and serves no useful purpose. I’m going to resist the temptation to go down a rabbit hole here because that, too, is neither helpful nor healthy.


Ditch the devices, get out there and live. Run your errands; celebrate the lives and accomplishments of others; find joy and fulfillment in everyday activities with other people. Make plans and take active steps to be better prepared. Contemplate the subtle differences between happiness and contentment. Reconnect with a lost friend or deepen the bonds of fellowship with your growing prepper community!


It is through the conscious act of living that we give meaning to our lives. Our experiences are what gives our lives dimension. Careful planning allows us to exert a greater degree of control over circumstances that otherwise seem overwhelming. The depth of our relationships are what sets us apart from every other living thing on the planet. Yeah, community is a thing and for that you need other people.

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