Hell to Pay
There’s been no shortage of disasters this summer. From random street crime to targeted, mass shootings to stunning technological failures to natural disasters, there’s been hell to pay. Wherever you choose to live, be it an unashamedly liberal metropolis or a bastion of staunch conservatism, loss, grief, and disasters are inescapable. The material things we cling to so dearly are distractions and have no meaning. The constancy we desire and the nostalgia we seek to recreate are also illusions. What matters is how we live.
We’ve long passed the point of engineering more robust and resilient cities and infrastructure, and constructing hurricane-resistant houses only moves homeownership further out of reach. That leaves our lives as the focal point. We can think whatever we wish; it’s a free country and no one can tell you what to think. I’m strongly suggesting how you should think!
While the ‘what if’ game is frustrating, the real value is in discussing scenarios and identifying potential solutions. At a high level, businesses, militaries, and governments do this very thing to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities. So how does this work on an individual basis? Let’s start with the question of water. For most city slickers and suburbanites, water is pumped into homes via electricity. Following a large-scale natural disaster, will you have access to the water you need for drinking and cooking? For that matter, what about hygiene and using the bathroom? Let’s further unpack this topic.
o How long can you store unopened bottled water before it’s no longer safe to drink?
o How much bottled water can you store in your one-bedroom apartment?
o Aren’t chemicals from the plastic leaching into the water?
o How do I effectively store bottled water for emergencies?
o I live alone, how much water do I need to have on hand for emergencies? (Substitute your family size in this equation to identify your specific needs.)
o Bottled water seems wasteful, what about tap water? How do I store tap water for emergencies?
o For that matter, how do I store tap water for the long term?
I could go on, but you get the idea. You can play the ‘what if’ game with other aspects of your preps and plans, too. And you should. Food, shelter, sheltering in place or bugging out, weapons, medical and cash on hand should all be similarly stress-tested to ensure their viability. If the abundance of crises and disasters this summer is an indication of things to come, there will be lots of excellent opportunities to test and refine your plans. Again, cast a critical eye at your plans to identify holes and obvious flaws before it's your turn to dance!
It’s easy and natural to attempt to explain away the events we see and hear reported in the news based upon our religion, political leanings, or nihilistic worldview. It’s just as easy to stick our heads in the sand and think that such things will never, could never happen to us.
The simple fact is that natural disasters lack the capriciousness of street crime and wait for no man, woman, or person. They’re ferociously frightening, utterly devastating, irresistible, and unstoppable yet survivable. This bears repeating; many people survive earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes without special equipment or training. You can stack the odds in your favor with well-thought-out plans and timely preps. To be clear, you still might die in the storm and the thug on the street may choose to kill you even though you’ve complied with his every command. Randomness and chance are as much a part of our lives as the seasons and the tides. Alright, I'm done waxing philosophical.
I’m merely illustrating my point that crisis and disaster are indiscriminate, inescapable parts of our lives and we’re better served by planning for them rather than doing nothing or assuming we will be alright because we've always been alright. Eventually, luck runs out.
Doing nothing squanders the one true advantage we have: time to prepare. The pursuit of material possessions, personal crises and career choices all dominate our daily lives. We strive to live meaningfully and purposefully. All of this is normal and as it should be. Adding prepping to the list can support these and other goals both subtle and gross. Get after it... otherwise, there will surely be hell to pay.