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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Survival 101

Survival 101

Unlike many countries on this old world, the United States hasn’t been invaded for almost 200 years and for most residents, the concept of a tragedy that could totally interrupt lives comes from weather related problems, rarely lasting more than a week at best.  The devastation suffered by those living in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina is a rare exception.  Most problems that seriously affect lives are also generally localized with help not far away.  This leads to the questions: would you be prepared for something like a long siege following an invasion by a foreign country, or a civil uprising lasting a year or more?

Most of us are aware of lists of things we should have on hand in the event of a short term interruption of our lives, but what about the long term problems?  Experts, and those we’re talking about are survivors of long term problems such as the Bosnia war, the current problems in Afghanistan, and other places around the world, say some of the most important items to have on hand are the mechanical aides we find being replaced by electrical ones in most households today.

During such a catastrophe as an invasion or civil uprising, there will be nothing on grocery shelves within a day or two.  There will be few if any service stations operating, so fuel will be extremely difficult to come by.  Few if any general merchandise stores will be open, and those standing will probably have been ransacked within a day or two.  In other words, you will be on your own.  This is survival 101 and those that get a failing grade will die.

Can openers are the first to come to mind.  Hand cranked grain grinders would be on my list along with hand cranked meat grinders.  Food gathering will be high on many lists, and those that can prepare from raw grains, meat such as dogs, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, all kinds of birds, and the like will survive.  A well stocked pantry full of canned goods would also open you up to those that would steal and kill.  A rifle, shotgun, and pistol with a large stock of ammunition would be essential.
I would want access to good bow saws, axes, and hatchets, along with a bunch of very good knives, a sharpening hone, and some flint with a striking steel.  A couple of shovels, a couple of full rolls of duct tape, and several lengths of long rope would be essential along with a full first aid kit and sheets that could be torn into bandages.  For the long term, I think I would want to attempt to set up my quarters relatively near a water source.

Protection from good old Mama Nature is also high on the list, which would include heavy jackets, shirts, long johns, work boots, underwear, and socks.  One problem that will hit home almost immediately, you will probably not have access to toilet facilities or toilet paper.  Keeping a one to two year supply of such paper on hand would be out of the question.

Those that have survived this type of catastrophe say that bartering becomes a way of life, and scrounging for what we might consider necessities is almost a daily exercise.  Those that have items for barter find some good deals, these survivors tell us, and it’s the little things like toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, and canned goods that bring the highest bids.  And are the hardest to come by.

It’s terrifying to have to think about, but millions of humans have survived this type of human disaster just in the most recent 20 year period.  Those that lived in New Orleans were not prepared for the disaster that befell them, nor was their government.  In the event of an invasion or civil uprising, all government agencies will cease to exist, most facilities that we depend on daily will not be operational, and individually, we will be on our own.  And, here’s another bad part, you will have a very minimal amount of time to put your survival package together.

One survivor of Sarajevo was quoted as saying, “there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper.  Its surplus value is greater than gold’s.”  Best bet?  Live near a well with a manual pump, raise goats and chickens, and have a store house full of toilet paper.  And, carry two big guns at all times.

As I like to say, read good books and stay regular.

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