I really enjoyed this post by Scarecrow over at the Ontario Preppers Network and I hope that you will enjoy it too!
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?]
For more of Scarecrow's intelligent, thought-provoking and extremely well-written posts - make sure to check out the Ontario Preppers Network!