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Friday, September 18, 2009

A thought-provoking post by Scarecrow

I really enjoyed this post by Scarecrow over at the Ontario Preppers Network and I hope that you will enjoy it too!

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Preaching to the converted...

There comes a point when every prepper comes to the realization that they can't achieve complete success when it comes to promoting being prepared amongst friends, family and strangers. The essence of prepping is the realization that you can make things easier for yourself should tough times come calling.

Strip away all the flashy podcasts, ads to buy survival seed vaults, calls to acquire a slightly used missile silo as a retreat location, buying up silver bullion to use in a "cashless" society and what you are left with is the essence of prepping - basic self preservation strategies.

Many moons ago when we lived in caves and everyday was a struggle to survive, people conducted their lives along the same lines as we do today. "Can I eat today?", "Do I have enough to drink?", "Am I warm and dry?" Essentially, nothing has changed. The requirements that one needs to satisfy today so that you may experience tomorrow are the same, only the method of gathering these essentials has morphed.

This is not a how-to article, but more of a let's stop and think about it message. Since you are reading this, on a prepping blog no less, it's obvious that at some point you got to a place where you were able to appreciate the need to prepare and maybe you have progressed beyond that simple realization and have actually done a thing or two towards some sort of prepping goal that you have set. Like the alcoholic who needs to hit rock bottom before they can understand the need for change in their behaviour, most people know in their heart of hearts, that times will not always be as pleasant as they are this fine sunny day. Until the individual faces a hardship, they tend not to take the proactive and preparatory steps that all preppers advocate. What you choose to do or not to do comes down to your basic personality type and what degree of comfort you choose to build into your short existence on this planet. Nothing more. Some people elect not to prepare for an apocalypse because they have conscientiously chosen not to live through what can be described as the collapse of civilization (a consumer based society). Others latch on to the self preservation instinct and want to pursue the option of walking down McCarthy's "The Road".

I don't have a lot of faith in my fellow man. Honestly, sometimes I think the world would be a much better place if some 5 billion people or so weren't here anymore. If we subscribe to Darwin's theory of evolution we have to understand that evolutionary change takes a long time. I don't see mankind as being able to act in unison for its own good and thus I foresee it being a vary long time before humans figure out a way to live more harmoniously with each other and the resources that are available on this orb, assuming we haven't lost the ability to continue evolving in the first place.

If money is the root of all evil, then guns are the protector of that evil. Firearms make the task of individual survival much more difficult. This is contrary to most of the high spirited rhetoric presented to the masses south of our border. The ability to fell another person at 1000 yards makes it too easy to behave in an "uncivilized" way. When we refer to the roving hordes of mutant zombie biker types that go from homestead to homestead laying waste to those struggling to survive and taking their "stuff" we are referring to guns as being the enabler of this type of behaviour. Why do people shoot other people? Because we can. Why do some feel the need to arm themselves to survive? Because our flawed logic doesn't permit us to acknowledge that the easier it is to kill people, the more people we will kill. I grudgingly admit, that having a "gun" or two for use in self defense is probably a good idea for no other reason than the zombies will have guns. I walk a very thin line with that statement. Except amongst the most self controlled individuals, having an easy and lethal means to accomplish a necessary goal usually results in someone being killed.

In all likelihood, if a group of "bad-guys" decides to raid your retreat with the goal of eating your food and using your stuff, you probably wont know about it until you hear the crack of the bullet implanting itself in your left temple. I don't see an organized group of attackers staging a flanking operation in the middle of a raging firefight in a lawless post collapse world. I do see snipers picking off people as they weed the garden, chop firewood or haul water from the river. I don't believe factoring firearms into your prep plans provides more basic security, I do, however, see guns as providing the survivors with the ability to act badly as their personal situation deteriorates.

For example, recently I read a post on a normally fairly rational blog advocating self defense by way of guns. As if that wasn't bad enough, the author proceeds to turn the equation 180 degrees and asks what would you as an individual would do if your child needs insulin to survive, there are no more drugstores and the only insulin you can find is in the possession of some stranger down the road. Self defense is one thing, having the ability to actively be an aggressor is not a survival choice, it is a character flaw. As for self defense, who is to say that your life is "worth" the cost to the species to defend your continued existence by all means and at all costs? Isn't it this me first attitude that gets us into these troubling situations in the first place? Your life is certainly not worth the lives of a family of four who have something to eat and since you don't, you decide to take it. Is it not more logical to go to the grocery store now and stock up on a large supply of stored food so that you don't have to entertain the notion of taking from others?

We are all guilty of saying things online or in an email that we would never dream of saying to someone face to face. We have a certain degree of separation from our typed words and the most probable result of behaving badly online is that the object of our discontent will "flame" us right back. In the real world, if you are obnoxious or threaten someone face to face, there may well be immediate and uncomfortable consequences. Our behaviour is patterned after the environment we are operating in. If you carry a loaded weapon to intimidate someone somewhere for some reason (justified or not), then sooner or later, someone is going to get shot. Guns allow you to inflict violence on others from a distance which makes this a viable and all too likely choice for a lot of selfish people,

If you are in a truly dire situation, where you are cold, hungry or in need of scarce medicine and have a gun, mankind's current level of evolution does not preclude harming others to satisfy that personal need. If it is an option, then some misguided soul will opt to exercise that option. It is for this reason that I believe that guns enable us to wage war, to attack and kill our neighbours and to basically behave poorly without the need to get up close and personal to carry out our antisocial desires. As long as we continue to make it easy to do harm to others, others will feel that they are justified in doing harm to us. There is no security by way of the gun, only an never ending cycle of bad decisions predicated on the ability to behave badly with a warped sense of impunity.

If a collapse happens, it might be best if times get really tough whereby individuals cannot survive without banding together for the collective good. The first order of business should be to forsake all means of harming others from a distance. If you want/need buddy's insulin and he wont share, then you need to bop him on the nose with your fist and see his reaction up close. With no personal cost at stake in a confrontation, there is no compassion and no humanity. As long as we can make a statement at 1000 yards, mankind is doomed as a species and all the preparation in the world is for naught.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

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For more of Scarecrow's intelligent, thought-provoking and extremely well-written posts - make sure to check out the Ontario Preppers Network!

10 comments:

Zenon said...

You know what Scarecrow ? I'm going to translate your post and share it with my network. I've been juggling with the idea of having a firearm in my prepping, trying to push aside some of my most important values, now I know I wont have one. Then again maybe a little shotgun for smallgame hunting, but nothing to take away some other poor soul from a distance. Your reflexion about this distance we put between us poeple and how it got us into all these modern selfish society problems is soooo enlightning. Thank you, thank you!

Scarecrow said...

Pas problem mon ami, bonne sante.

Rgds.

Kymber said...

I am posting this comment on behalf of Steve G. as he was not able to post the comment. We at the CPN do not screen comments as we believe that everyone has a right to their own opinions. Steve's comment follows - and thanks Steve for taking the time to read the post and offer a comment.
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"I don't believe factoring firearms into your prep plans provides more basic security, I do, however, see guns as providing the survivors with the ability to act badly as their personal situation deteriorates."

"It is for this reason that I believe that guns enable us to wage war, to attack and kill our neighbours and to basically behave poorly without the need to get up close and personal to carry out our antisocial desires."

"If a collapse happens, it might be best if times get really tough whereby individuals cannot survive without banding together for the collective good. The first order of business should be to forsake all means of harming others from a distance."

I am one of those masses from south of the border who believes that guns are a tool - they can be used for good or evil, but in themselves don't possess any moral status.

Reading the several paragraphs Scarecrow wrote about the evil of guns in a survival situation causes me to wonder of Scarecrow has lost the ability to continue to evolve.

It's hard to imagine how a person can get to the point where they would willingly throw away a tool that could mean the difference between life, death or worse - can you imagine watching your family and loved ones spend their lives as slaves?

The idea that a group of people should band together and foreswear any long range weapons seems ridiculous to me. Does this include not just evil guns, but also evil bows and arrows, evil spears and javelins, or the naughtyl swords, rocks, slings or knives? How long is long range. Are clubs also included in that long range category. Is it a foul if one lets go of the club so that it strikes the intended target, or would a judge have to be called in to determine intent?

Oh, and how about catching that food after all the groceries and unclaimed goods are gone? All of those bad weapons are also useful for getting food. If not, I hope you can run fast and far and are stronger than your prey.

What will Scarecrow do when a bear, feral pig or feral dog comes looking for food or humans to eat?

Guns are a tool. As with all tools, the actions of the bearer of the tool are what we are talking about. Any tool can and probably has been made into a weapon at some time. The critical point is what is the intended purpose of the action (not the tool), and what are the side effects and after effects (consider a discussion of flame throwers as defensive weapons)

In a catastrophe, the complicated structure on which we all rely for our comfort and safety can strain or break. When that happens, those who survive will be those who are prepared to provide comfort (shelter, water, food) and safety (self-defense and defense of loved ones) for themselves and their loved ones. That is the essence of preparation.

Those, even among preppers, who advocate or consider attacking others to take their resources by force have slipped from true preparation to predation. They are planning not for survival, but for conquest. Preppers would do well to call them out on it. At the same time, advocating rainbows and unicorns for self defense is naive and dangerous.

Steve G. from down south
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Kymber said...

I am posting this on behalf of CdnGuy as he was not able to post the comment. We at the CPN do not screen comments as we believe that everyone has a right to their own opinions. CdnGuy's comment follows below:

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Scarecrow - this post is awesome! I really like this post and would like to cross-post it to my blog at CanadaPrepared.com

CdnGuy

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Scarecrow said...

Guy,

Go ahead a cross post the article. It's not like I'm not already in enough trouble. :-)

Rgds.

Mary said...

I have to agree with Steve. an unarmed group wont survive if attacked by anyone who is armed. thats just fact.

wvsanta said...

WOW
Some very interesting opinions here but I would have to pretty much agree with Steve G. on this one.

I am sure there are some very different outlooks on this topic between the Canadians and the Americans but all in all the fact is guns are truly nothing more than another tool.

I believe that the greater number of tools we have and know how to use properly the better prepared we are. I could find a way to cut a rope without a knife but the knife makes the job a lot faster. Could you make ground meat without a meat grinder? Could you make flour without a grain mill?

I do not relate modern society's me first attitude to the fact there are gun's at all. Taking guns out of the equation will likely not change the way people are at all.

jambaloney said...

In hand to hand combat, there is an acute awareness of your opponent as another human being. Guns can reduce that awareness to an action of pulling a trigger at a black speck in the distance. That difference removes all humanity from the action of pulling the trigger. And I think that this is the point of the post.

I sometimes experience an inner fear that humans may have lost the last piece of their soul when they invented firearms. That fear is hit squarely on the head with this post.

Scarecrow doesn’t say that we shouldn't defend ourselves, for him it's the choice of "tool" that makes a moral difference. I agree - I would move to a world without guns in a heartbeat.

And if we consider everything that we can lay our hands on as a tool --- it is then too easy to explain the existence and use of nuclear and bio-chem weapons – is that really the direction we want to head? No wait – we are already heading that way.

Some choices we are better off without.

Anonymous said...

Your post, to me, defies all logic.

Firearms are not strictly for defense against your fellow humans. You may have to hunt for food. You may have to fend off hungry bears, or rabid raccoons. You may have to defend the crops you grow from groundhogs. You're not going to be able to do those things with hugs, lollipops and rainbows.

Yes, you might get nailed by a sniper while chopping wood. Does that mean you shouldn't be prepared to defend yourself at all? What if he misses? Wouldn't you want to be able to return fire? What if some drunken marauders waltz into your camp wielding baseball bats? You're going to wish you had that gun then, I guarantee it.

Few of us reading this blog, if any, has ever had to truly fight to survive. If there ever is a large scale breakdown of society, I for one want to have all the tools at my disposal that I might need, should I ever need to use them. I'm certainly not going to handicap my chances of survival by deliberately leaving an important tool out for some half-baked crap about wanting a kinder, gentler society.

I already own guns, and they haven't made me a bloodthirsty psychopath. I don't resort to violence to get what I want. My morals are the same with or without the guns. Someone who's a violent psychopath, or amoral enough to just take what they want from others by force is going to act like that whether they have a gun, a rock, or their bare fist. You make it sound like guns are coated in some magical dust that turns everyone into a bloodthirsty maniac as soon as they touch one.

Clearly you have not spent any time around legal, responsible firearms owners, for we are not the cold, hard killers you make us out to be.

Frazer said...

I'm of the persuasion that guns are a useful tool for survival. While I also don't believe that roaming Nazi robot zombies are a likely risk like some people south of the boarder think I think guns can be an excellent way to secure food. Plus I find hunting fun. I've had Americans try to get me to think of buying Semi-auto guns for defense and others but I find my bolt action rifles to be fine for the intended use. Many people from the USA have tried to make me believe in TEOTWAWKI there will be no law enforcement and such but I'm pretty sure the Military will take over by that point of it comes to it. The only way I see myself using a firearm as a form of self defense is if a bear or dangerous wild animal comes into my homestead and threatens my family down the road when I buy my country lot.

I agree on some points here Scarecrow and disagree on others. I think that is a great thing about society though, we can disagree without dropping bombs on each other's homes in most cases LOL.