What does it REALLY mean to be prepared?

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by townparkradio, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    Just some late night musing as I worry about my little black cat Mara.. my cats always come back at nightfall, and she isn't here. I go looking every 30 minutes.. it's like your own child didn't come home at night.

    I've had some... interesting times in my life, and things that have brought me to where I am now; shaped me into the man I am... there's ups and downs, and life is not a stroybook... but so what? We could all talk forever about the weirdness we have seen and done, and eventually it would end up sounding like a high school locker-room of people trying to outdo one another. While that's fun and sometimes has it's place; it's more an outgrowth OF these things which cause me to post this night.

    One of the things that has... always bothered me about survival situations and preparedness is that people speak about it as if it's something abstract; as if you're preparing for a "what if" and really are not sure how it would work out. I'm here to tell you that there are people who survive such situations every day. These people are the denizens of the deepest inner cities. Now, I will preface this by saying the skillset is, in many ways, extremely different: urban survival vs rural-ish survival. You can ask my wife (if she ever registers here) that there are plenty of things about rural survival I do not know. We tried to go camping recently... a hilarious tale which ends with us being sent back home because we had chosen to camp in badger country and what I thought was a bear might have been a simple black cow cut the edge and made us decide to leave... but I am digressing and rambling. Point is it took us almost 2 HOURS to get a campfire going because neither of us really knew what we were doing.

    She later asked me "I thought you were homeless for a few years.. why don;t you know how to start a fire?" and I answered her "Oh I do. Find one of the old style metal trash cans, fill it with whatever, and spark up a tiny bit of sterno near the bottom to get it all going." Point is, I'm not going to compare the base SKILLS of environment in which you survive at all. I'm here to talk about mindset.

    Firstly, I am not trying to insult with this, it is.. musing and discussion. The skills you will learn on a site like this are absolutely, undeniably valuable in an end of the world type situation, or even an "end of my employment". I am, however, going to say that you can prepare for that all you want, and some of may will still die anyway if the SHTF. The truth is that inner city territories, gang awareness, and a full understanding of the scope of human nature that it brings out ends up having more in common with true "survival" than the knowledge contained in a thousand well-researched prep books for one single thing that I hate to consider:

    Much of mankind gets scared easily, and therefore is more than willing to commit evil acts in order to alleviate that fear. I once said that "I love people, but I love MY people more"... this goes beyond that. The people who live in poor urban centers know an incredibly shocking level of violence and are prepared to commit it over respect and territorial defense and you know what? These folks have the survival mindset more than you could ever imagine. If society falls apart, these people will simply see it as a removal of what little constraints existed before, and they will take whatever they need.

    These people have truly spent their entire lives with firearms and violence. Many will put down a gangbanger and belittle their skills, but it is silly. Unless you have been a soldier, they are better than you at violence, and even many soldiers can't measure up. Sure, you take them to a range, and many could embarrass them in accuracy and speed drills, even making them look ridiculous in pistol courses. You can giggle about their holding pistols sideways (Protip: for what they want to do, that's actually a good idea!) but these people have spent their lives facing desperation and poverty almost since birth. When you want to get some target practice in you go to a range. when they want to get some target practice in... they go to a rival gang's known dealer corner and start a war.

    You wear camouflage and it helps you hunt deer, these people wear their colors and it helps mark their territory. They live a direct animal existence. they soldier into one another's territory and wage short wars over a block or a corner weekly. It doesn't sound like a lot, and it's nothing compared to what a wartime Marine goes through but you know what? It's a lot more than someone who fires 500 rounds a week at a range is doing. You train and train and train, and when it coems down to it you'll be a better shot.. but how can you be sure you'll pull the trigger and it won't ruin you? there are sick people out there, people to whom human life means nothing. These people will happily come up and take whatever they want from you because human life is cheap.

    And another anecdote.. my wife and I were discussing preparations, and I guess the city isn't all out of me because I heard these words coming out of my mouth, "Well, the people in the yellow trailer at the end told me they've got a year of food stockpiled and they are extremely proud of their pacifism and hate guns. We can easily take half of their supplies before we go." And I shortly after felt sick, because that's not something a sane person should say.

    It's sick to sentient creatures but.. look around you, look at nature. A few days back, a large-ish bird of prey grabbed onto the black cat that is now missing, and I thought she was gone. Turns out she was too heavy and fighting back.. the bird went down about 200 yards off, and shortly thereafter I found myself helping Mara drag that whatever it was home... it hit the ground and by golly, she tore it's throat out. At first I thought that bird was evil but.. then.. I began to wonder. The bird probably thought Mara was a mouse or something.. she's pretty small for a cat. Birds of Prey eat mice, it's what they do. Mice breed, mice eat a lot of protein, and mice have absolutely no defense against the birds beyond subterfuge.

    Are we really so separate from animals? I'm not going to get into good or evil right now but... while I felt abhorred at what I said, it was a natural, survival mindset. The living beings near me flat out TOLD me there was a copious resource necessary for survival, and made it clear to me they had not the slightest intent or capability to DEFEND that resource. I have mixed feelings on my thoughts.. and I'm thankful my reflex was to say "easily take half their supplies" rather than "Kill them and take what they have".. I'm glad I'm above your common animal by at least that much.. but you know what? That train of thought is the true core nature of survival. The ability to watch out for your own with extreme prejudice against anyone who would take what you have. My neighbors down the block have "prepared" admirably.. but they're not at all interested in what it takes to achieve "survival".

    It's conflicting, odd.. the primate/lizard brain versus our sentience. My cat, whom I love very much and think is so sweet... has a duality to her. She is kind and I imagine loves me, but she is also capable of great brutality, and, considering there's copious food available to her.. she does it merely to impress us, or just for practice. Mara, that sweet little cat who, frankly given the area is probably dead right now? She has what it really takes to survive, as well as a great capacity for (I imagine) love. Mara was prepared... and perhaps got a bit too confident.

    What about all of us? Are we REALLY prepared? There's skills I lack and must learn. That helps prepare... but what else is there to it? Can you shoot.. not at a target at a range, but at a living, breathing person? Do you find the merest thought of harming another to ensure your own survival abhorrent? Or worse.. are you overconfident? Do you carry around throwing knives or stun batons and honestly believe you're going to be absolutely fine against gun-wielding folks already prepared to commit violence?

    ...is it right to BE that "prepared" to commit violence? I know tonight I'll be in prayer, not just for my cat, but for something in relation to these questions.
     
  2. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    You bring up some very good points here. In the military they use silhouette targets to get soldiers conditioned to shoot another human being. Paper punching black circles was good for marksmanship but did little to overcome learned behaviors that taught us to not hurt others. Chief Joseph, once picked a select few of his warriors to stand a rear gaurd action against the cavalry to give the tribe time to pack and escape. He chose the proven warriors that he knew would stay cool in combat and would, without hesitation, shoot to kill. These few held a much larger force at bay for hours. While many people will shoot toward the "enemy" or enemy positions, very few could ever be snipers in which they pick a single human being, line up the cross hairs on a specific spot and carefully squeeze the trigger. Being a sniper is for very few people. Marksmanship is not the problem. Anyone can be taught to hit a target at long range. Being able to hit a specific human target is something else entirely.

    We must be prepared to kill but only to defend human life/lives or freedoms that must never be infringed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010

  3. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I have never "lived on the streets" so I don't know first-hand what you are talking about survival, but, I can understand what you are talking about. When I worked in the core, I would see many of the "homeless" sitting where-ever they could and not take up the space of the "productive people". I would hear about the little "turf-wars" between the different gangs when the wars spilled out of their little area and into places where children were present.

    I know some who were street-kids and cleaned-up and became part of the "productive people" group - but - the street-mentality won't leave them - ever.

    I didn't grow up "privilaged" but I did grow up with something that many do not understand / respect. I grew up in the mountains where my front yard went 1500' straight up to the top of the mountain and my backyard went straight down to the bottom of the valley. I grew up with deer, bear, skunk, porcupine, etc as my neighbors (well, there were also people in my small village of 1,100 people perched on the side of the mountain). Put me in the woods and in the mountains, I am in my element and I can survive / thrive.

    I am living in a city now, I am surviving, but, I don't feel like I am thriving - too far from my element.
     
  4. Diego2112

    Diego2112 Well-Known Member

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    You bring up a VERY vaild point my friend. One my friends and I have discussed ad infinium, actually.

    In my younger days (not that I'm all that OLD now), I was involved in gang related violence. I've seen and done things I'm none to proud of, too. Hell, I dont even REMEMBER my junoir year of high school I was so fried. By the grace of God, and the love of a woman who saw BEYOND WHAT I was, I got my life turned around. Today, I'm a decent husband to that woman, and a (in my opinion) decent father to our daughter.

    I am a pacifist, now, as well. I've done my share of violence, and first hand, there is NO fulfillment in it. My friends and family all KNOW I'm pacifist, and know that I am stocking up on food/water/survival items (as they are doing). But they also know that WHEN (not IF) the :shtf:, my family comes FIRST.

    Do I have what it takes to pull the trigger on another human being? God help me if I ever have to, but yes. I have seen the side of humans when bad things happen (just look at New Orleans when Katrina hit... People shooting at RELIEF workers!). I have lived in war zones and seen what refugees deal with on a daily basis. If it is a choice between my family or THEM, God save their souls, because I wont think twice.

    I will NEVER strike out an a defenceless individual, OR take THEIR means of survival, but I WILL keep my family safe, at ANY cost.

    Ok, wow, that got a little more serious than I wanted, so, to offset it a bit: BOINGO BOINGO WHOOPSY KNICKERS!:D
     
  5. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    Mmm. 2 AM rantings sure look weird the next day.. though somewhere in all of that is an object lesson best summarized this way:

    Not all the animals in this world run on 4 legs. If you're not prepared to meet them on their level, they will do to you exactly what a wolf will do to a housecat. And they've had a lot more practice than most of us.
     
  6. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    TPR- has your little furkid showed up yet?
    I do know what my limits are-I've been in life or death situation before and am still here. I know that if I am defending home and family not just me that I will probably be more ruthless than when I was just fighting for me.
     
  7. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    No.. and she was behaving in a certain way that gives us the feeling she went away intentionally to die. She seemed to be desperately trying to teach our other cat to hunt, and was bringing us mouse after mouse after mouse; like mother cats who are dying do for their kittens. We comfort ourselves knowing that Mara got to say goodbye before she went, even if we didn't understand what she was doing at the time.
     
  8. 101airborne

    101airborne Well-Known Member

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    couldn't agree more. especially with todays weaponry that will not only allow you to take out an enemy from a mile or more away. But let you be able to see the color of their eyes while doing so. Shooting at an ememy from a distance away is fine for most people as they can detach the human side and use the conditioned shape. BUT after seeing the human face in the crosshairs it's way different and IMO less than 2% of us can/could still pull the trigger.
     
  9. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about your baby! I have three furkids at the moment and two were rescues and I dread thinking that they will all pass before me.
     
  10. MaryV

    MaryV Well-Known Member

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    I cant kill anyone else for any reason. If someone comes to take my food and or kill me, so be it. I am preparing to survive, but only to a point. I will NOT take another human life no matter what. I am not against others who are determined to protect their food supplies. we each make our decisions and neither is right or wrong. this is just how I am.
     
  11. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    I'm guessing you don't have family to protect? No spouse, children, or even parents? That certainly makes it easier to stand there and be killed. I'd feel the same way if I didn't have a spouse, children, their spouses, and grandchildren. I'll lay down MY life if I have to, but I won't give it up easily, and they'd have to take my life to get to the rest of our family. My husband, MMM, would be at my side with the same opinion, I'm sure, as well as most if not all of the kids and their spouses!

    Maybe some of that ability to pull the trigger depends on whether a loved one's life depends on it. I sure hope I don't have to find out.
     
  12. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    Uhm...Dear? I'd probably be off a ways to your left or right so we'd have overlapping fields of fire. More effective that way. There'd probably be a few more off in the bushes somewhere taking aim too. ... But you are absolutely right in the family aspect. Anyone who is a legitimate threat any of ours will be taken out. No hesitation on my part at all. They won't even have to fire the first shot. I'll gladly do it.
     
  13. flatwater

    flatwater Well-Known Member

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    Being prepared really hinges on your mental condition and can you digress from a civilized good person to the other end of the spectrom and turn basicly to an animal with just a little bit of humanity left. After things settle down could you live with yourself on what you had to do. with out that preperation you would not last long.
     
  14. Diego2112

    Diego2112 Well-Known Member

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    I just want to say, I think this is quite possibly the best post I've ever seen in my life! :D

    But ya know, it's funny... I actually learned a little lesson in preparedness today. It's way to long to put here, but it's in my blog on this site. VERY humbling experience, to say the least!

    http://www.preparedsociety.com/forum/blogs/diego2112/almost-lost-7/

    There's the link. To put it quite bluntly, I messed up. I messed up BAD.

    But we live, and we learn, right?

    :dunno:
     
  15. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Glad you guys got out okay, Diego. (I read your blog post) Thanks for sharing it. We can all learn from it.
     
  16. lhalfcent

    lhalfcent Supporting Member

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    I don't know how to use a gun or anything like that. I would like to learn but not sure who could teach me.
    I would be more like the medicine woman and cook who would take care of those who can do those things. :p
     
  17. desertfox

    desertfox Desertfox

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    Cat

    My cat, "Kitty", I have very little imigination when naming animals, said good bye. She was a pet, but she also was in individualist, and stayed gone a lot. She would let me pet her, but never rub her belly.

    She came home once, laid on her back, and let me rub her belly. She had a large lump in her stomach that I decided was a tumor. Then she got up, went to the door and ask to be let out. When she got outside, she turned her head and meow'ed and left. I never saw her again!!
     
  18. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Diego! Glad that you are all fine--Your little adventure has done in many folks who have done the same thing--"just going for a little hike to the (insert senic spot here) and lost the trail!" My family pick on me but I usually pack water enuf for everyone that I know is coming with us-and I make them carry it..
    I have done it myself with my MIL and this was years before I even thought about prepping. Lucky for me I am all about the being comfy while out for a walk and had water, jerky, and those little cracker/cheese combo packs and lighter and towel and it all fits in this nifty fanny pack. And while I was not concerned about being lost(the area was only about 10miles square) my MIL is not in the best of health and could not travel as well as she thought she could.. By the time I got us turned back the right way and going towards home and on the main trail again it was totally dark and lucky for us- the whole family was out with big lights looking for us. so we only had the "panic" feeling and just a bit uncomfy compared to being totally lost and with nothing.
     
  19. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    There are courses that you can take and groups that you can join. WildMist and I took our firearms safety courses together and we both passed with flying colors. We are both members of a local gun-range and will meet up with friends for "skills-testing" .. aka - target-practice.
     
  20. 101airborne

    101airborne Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree with gypsysue here. It's one thing to kill over stuff NOW. However in a shtf/teotwawki scenerio. things are different. It's not like you can run down to the local market for a bag of beans. Food IS life. If you let some scumbag take it what will your family, your kids do? Are you willing to sit by and watch them starve? Sorry but it may be my military training BUt if someone decides they are going to try to take my supplies..... I MIGHT bury them.... But My family will keep their supplies as long as I can "pull a trigger"