Forward Thinking – The Coming Tipping Point

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When I first wrote about the burden of truth and knowledge, I was referring to the weight that we, as preppers, carry on our shoulders as we attempt to make sense of the world around us. Since then, time has marched forward and not much has changed.

There is a sense of uneasiness among the informed masses that take the time to open their eyes and view the truth about our global economy, world hunger, Wall Street corruption, corporate shenanigans and the ever-growing threat of a world wide Armageddon.  The question is still asked: What are we preparing for? And the answer, in truth, is “we don’t know exactly”.  There is a coming tipping point but its shape and form is a bit vague.

Today on Backdoor Survival, I am pleased to bring back Richard Earl Broom, with another thought-provoking “think piece”.  He and I have some thoughts on how to carry this concept forward to the next level but first, grab a cup of coffee and read his timely muse on “Building A Culture of Preparedness”.

BUILDING A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS

Often on the prepper blogs there is a pressing question by contributors, when will we know… this is it? In other words, to borrow from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, when will we recognize that we have finally hit the “tipping point” with an event that could really bring things down?

This is the fundamental question many preppers must ponder at some point. It has no determinate answer, but rather sits in your gut as an uneasy feeling. Is this it? Am I prepared? What do I do now?

My belief is that this moment will be hard to recognize and most likely come from a direction most of us are not looking. I think it will be what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls in his books a “black swan event,” an event that comes as a surprise to us, as something we had not anticipated, and then we rationalize about why we missed it and its significance.

I believe massive catastrophic events (e.g. a nuclear attack, a global pandemic) are the least likely black swan candidates. We are looking in that direction all of the time and doing all we can to prevent them. If they ever occur, we will most certainly know we are “there” right away and act. Rather, I think the most likely black swan, the cause of a tipping point, will be an unexpected collapse caused by a cascading event that starts in an innocuous way and then slowly undoes us. This will be much harder to recognize.

The mathematician Edward Lorenz considered one of the primary theoreticians about a concept called Chaos Theory, demonstrated by his research that small changes, cascading over time in very large and very complex systems, could ultimately result in a much greater effect.

He coined the term, “The Butterfly Effect”. The common example used to explain The Butterfly Effect is the mathematical ability to show how the effect of a butterfly flapping its wings in some remote part of the world could, over time, be the origin of a hurricane.

As we stock and store, as we figure the how and the what of prepping, I feel we must also spend more time thinking through the “what if?” We should not just prepare for what we expect could happen, but also what we don’t expect to happen. We need to learn to be able to look around the next corner while we are still walking down the street.

What could a malware attack on bank’s international information systems and databases potentially, ultimately result in? Think of this in terms of a chain of events:

Initial Event  –>  Immediate Impact  –>  Cascading Impacts  –>  Ultimate Possibility

What if your ATM quits working someday and your credit card won’t process? Not for a day, or two weeks or a month, but longer. The sky will not fall right away, but out of the blue you are suddenly dependent on the cash you have on hand. So will everyone else. What happens when you finally run out of cash? When everyone does? Are you ready to barter? What are your set-aside items for this kind of a potential event? Can you spare them? At the end of the day, where could we all as a society find ourselves?

After Hurricane Sandy long gas lines formed in the areas in New Jersey that still had power and could operate the pumps at their stations. Things were, for the most part, orderly. There were enough working gas stations in the region to support the less fortunate.

However, what if all the electricity in a five hundred mile radius was out due to an unexpected event and you could not get gasoline? Communications would be limited because people would be on battery or generator power. Deciding what to do, or where to go, would be very difficult. It could very quickly become ugly. Few would dispute this.

If you consider our incredibly complex global society with all of its many facets – food chains, financial systems, communications systems, transportation systems, the internet and so on, these make up the structural underpinnings of our civilization. Yet, they are all vulnerable to disruption. I think the black swan will most likely come from the collapse of one of these very complex, but essential processes.

Where does that leave the average prepper who doesn’t sit around during the day thinking about such things as Chaos Theory or the cascading effects of a yet to materialize black swan event? How do you learn to better recognize the “this is it” moment? That moment when others rationalize and dither away about what they are seeing on their TV screens, but you would know right away that now is the time to act quickly, and equally important, know you are ready.

I think we need a kedge. We, as a community, need to start kedging.

A kedge is an old nautical term. It is what sailing ship’s captain’s did when the wind stopped blowing. It was how they kept the ship moving until they caught some wind. The captain sent part of the crew out in a long boat carrying an anchor until they were well in front of the ship. Far enough out, the crew in the long boat dropped the anchor into the water and the crew left on board pulled on the chain and moved the ship forward. They did this until they reached a position where the wind was blowing again.

To do nothing meant they just sat dead in the water hoping for the best, waiting on their fate to be determined by other forces.

There is an identifiable set of asymmetric risks facing us as a society: terrorism, financial crisis, severe climate, pollution, unexpected changes to the food chain and so on. While it is not possible to envision each and every possible, distinct chain of events for these broader risk categories, you can certainly examine common scenarios and likely chains of events in a structured, disciplined way to measure your preparedness against them.

I believe the prepper’s anchor for our ship called “Preparedness” is to toss out into the water, in advance, more thoughtful community discussions about the “what if this happens?” kind of an event based on these potential threats.

Forward-thinking discussions that expand our understanding about what could be the ultimate impacts of a discretionary event are at the very core of any decision about whether we are reaching that “this is it” moment, need to act now and are prepared. Moreover, if we routinely engage in this kind of wide-ranging thinking and structured discussions as a community, we will learn far more from each other than we ever can alone.

How do we do this?

One of the things I did both as a military officer and a business professional was to develop for my colleagues and clients exercises and war games that tested our preparation for an event by examining the soundness of the strategy and tactics we planned to follow. I did this by developing potential scenarios, like the examples above, with a set of questions to challenge our thinking about our preparedness if such an event ever did occur. I then asked the players, how would you respond? If you knew this was going to occur, what would you do now, in advance?

It made them all think more deeply about these potential risks. They debated courses of action and shared ideas. The discussion and debate, the sharing of ideas, was extraordinarily powerful and we usually came to a group consensus about what we would all likely do given a certain set of circumstances. From each other, we discovered the holes in our planning and preparations. More important, if the real event or something similar ever did ever occur, having already discussed this possibility, we generally knew what the consensus for action was and how we would respond as an organization.

For preppers exercises and war games can be done in different ways, during a live gathering of preppers or on a blog using an exercise facilitator with an entire prepper community playing together online. Develop a scenario, ask questions, challenge each other’s thinking, share ideas, and come to a group consensus about the best course of action. But…there is even a larger potential benefit then just this for all of us.

If you have ever watched the TV show, “Mad Men,” on many levels it is both fascinating and a little horrifying. We did act that way. We drank too much, smoked, and ate whatever we pleased. Exercise was that occasional game of tennis or golf. This has all changed for the better. We pay more attention to diet, nutrition, exercise and avoid doing the things we know hurt us. Over time, as a society, we developed a culture of health and fitness. It took us years, but we made the cultural shift. What caused this was that we all raised our level of understanding about causes and effects and the ultimate impacts of poor choices about heath and fitness.

To achieve a similar kind of a societal-wide transition for better preparedness, by fostering the community discussions that I am proposing in this article we could, over time could start to create and begin to build an overall culture of preparedness.

To do this we need to start doing thoughtful kedging with community exercises and war games about the potential risks and threats we face, that we can match our preparedness against. Until we learn how to challenge both our individual and our group thinking and raise the level of understanding as an entire community about all of this, I worry we may have not yet prepared enough.

By: Richard Earl Broome – All Rights Reserved.

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About the Author:  Richard Earl Broome has lived an extraordinary life rising from an Army private to an Army colonel who served on the White House staff for two Presidents of the United States as a member of the National Security Council staff. This was followed by a successful business career as a disaster recovery/business continuity expert. He now lives in a small community in Montana and is on the faculty at Montana State University.

His novel, LEAVING THE TREES was published in 2013 and is a part of the Spring 2014 Backdoor Survival Book Festival.

THE NEXT STEP

One of my greatest concerns is that when the stuff hits the fan and we reach the tipping point, all of our sacred preps and lessons in self-sufficiency will be meaningless within the context of a less informed and less prepared society.  Those of us living away from urban centers – whether in small homes like mine or on substantial acreage – will fare better, at least for the short term.

But what will happen after that?  What will happen when the tentacles of a massive EMP or the fingers of global pandemic reaches our own backyard?   In my view, all of the reading, learning, and prepping we have done will not be worth a darn without the dimension and yes, intelligence, of human dialogue and strategic action.

The question is: how do we do that?  Is it even possible to mobilize the like-minded and formulate a solution in advance of the tipping event?

THE FINAL WORD

Two years ago I said:

Many of us find that our shoulders are not strong enough to carry this burden alone.  And yet we attempt to do so in the very best way we can.  We stock up on food, we learn survival and coping skills and we become accustomed to living with less not because we have to but because we may be forced to one month, one year, or even ten years from now.  It can be a lonely journey.

How lovely it would be get up each morning, put on a happy face and go about the day.  With a few extra dollars in our wallet, perhaps we would purchase some new shoes or go spend $100 on a night out on the town.  An emergency fund?  What is that?  Pay off credit card debt?  What for?  Just keep on smiling, keep on having a good time and assume that if something bad happens, the government or those crazy preppers will take care of us.

And so, if you are like me, you do your best to carry on in spite of it all.  Some days are better than others.

In this short span of time, I have come to realize that this burden of truth and knowledge has, if anything, become heavier with each passing day.  In the spirit of optimism, I hope that together we will find a way to share this burden, and become all of the stronger for it.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and purchase my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage from Amazon.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: Here are some items for you’re your grid-down bucket list.

Leaving The Trees:  Richard’s book is a fictional account of the meltdown of global society, as we know it. It has at its root cause a malevolent Chinese cyber attack on global financial networks and systems – an attack so bad that everything to spins out of control.  This is the first in a series with the second book coming out soon.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference: The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon.

One Second After:  For many, the novel “One Second After” was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared.  I did not realize until now that the price for the Kindle version was only $2.99.  If you have not read this book, you really should.

Coleman Mini Lantern:  You already know that I have a think about flashlights but this is a slightly different take on portable lighting.  It is 7.5 inches tall lantern and weighs just seven ounces, including batteries.  And boy does it give off light.  Inexpensive (less than $10) plus, it is a genuine Coleman.

Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stove:  This Coleman One-burner Propane Stove is an easy-to-use portable stove that should meet almost any camp cooking need. The PerfectFlow regulator provides consistent cooking performance by producing a steady fuel stream, even in cold weather, high altitudes, or when fuel is low. Equipped with one 10,000 BTU burner, this fully adjustable stove will last for 2.2 hours on high or up to nine hours on low.

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Comments

Forward Thinking – The Coming Tipping Point — 61 Comments

  1. This is why I enjoy reading post-shtf/ apocalyptic/ disaster/ etc books and websites. Since I don’t have anyone local to sit down with and discuss things like this, I get my discussions from the authors. If I can read a book or website and come away with one tidbit of new information or something to think about, then I feel that it was time well spent.
    Because of the info (and, sometimes, humor) you provide here on BDS, I am greatful that George Ure let his readers know about your site.
    Thank you for all the work you do for us readers!

  2. We will never know what hit us in a SHTF situation, however, being of sound mind and 54 year old body, I will help myself and others if need be. What’s the use in surviving if you can’t help others along the way.

    I have been prepping all my life, my parents did, their parents did and so on…

    I would rather have survivalist knowledge and supplies, than go on vacation. We live in a log cabin in a rural area with fresh water and wildlife. We plan to bug in, our community is tight with preparedness.

    • I dont know where you live, but my husband and I are, and have been searching for that kind of place. A place where everyone prepares,and cares for one another…Tacoma Wa, and Astoria Oregon we found are definately not that place, so on to Alaska, we continue the search..I have always been a “prepper”, always had 2 years of supplies in the house. At one point I had a farm, self sustaining one with 17 horses for transportation as well with wagons! Unfortunately husband #1 did not believe in prepping or being self sustaining, and also unfortunately he paswsed away at a young age.. Fortunately for me, husband #2 does believe in prepping, hunting, fishing and being self sufficient…Unfortunately our family thinks we are crazy … so be it..but we both know that when it does happen, we pray it doesnt, but when the kids come to us for help, we will…

      • Laurie,
        The head of Emergency management lives on our private road, also an Army Natl. Guard member and they are both firemen. Our fire department is 1/2 mile away.
        We have a HS chemistry teacher, a brick layer, a chef and nutritionist, a mechanic, a woodworker and to top it off two nurses and a construction company owner with lots of big equipment.
        It WILL be necessary for you to form relationships if things go wonky, you can’t do it alone unless you have no choice.
        We are situated in the mountains of Pennsylvania, with the best outdoor activities you can imagine.
        Alaska was too far away from civilization and our families, my partner has a married daughter here and is looking forward to grandchildren in the future.
        I have instituted conversations about being prepared to friends and family forever. I was so prepared for Y2K, that my boyfriend in the Air force who was the Supt. of Space Command wasn’t even as prepared as I, guess who’s house we stayed at that night?
        I don’t care if my family or friends make fun of me, I am a hippie that lived in Boulder, CO and gained a lot of useful information while I was there from my Mormon friends who are on top of prepping.
        Good luck in finding a hospitable area, we grew up here and everyone knows who you are and are willing to help.

      • Laurie – If you are already living in the PNW, consider the San Juans. We are remote from the mainland – so much so we feel and act as though we are a country separate from the US. The downside is that this is an expensive place to live.

          • Likewise.

            Most of my adult life was spent in Bellevue but I would never go back there to live. Most of my friends that live in the city are clueless. One case of bottled water from Costco and they think they are prepped for the worst. (But they do have a new Lexus in the driveway – priorities, after all.)

            • Exactly. Friends say “We know where to go when the Schumer hits” I say “not here” They that will not work will not eat. Close friend said she had to finish getting her store bought tan for her AZ vacation first! Can her grandbabies living w her eat her tan!? This is a woman with beautiful flat sunny acreage and water. Hasn’t even planted a daisy. She knows what’s coming. Another friend says she doesn’t like to think about it so she distracts herself raking the rocks on her land. She has 5 kids aged 1-13. This makes me so exasperated…but mostly sad. 🙁

              • “Schumer hits the fan” LOL! (ex-NYer here…)

                It may sound pompous, but sadly, most “prepper types” I’ve encountered are in fact among the least prepared (second only to rank clueless city-dwellers and the average suburbanite). I’ve known people who keep “bug-out bags”….yet have nowhere to go! (They wouldn’t last 3 days, even just a natural disaster…much less under Martial law…

                Living a sustainable independent lifestyle, when coming from the city/suburbs, is something that has to cultivated over time- it’s not just like: You go to a litle place out in the country and wait it out for a few days.

                I moved to my acreage 13 years ago. It took a lot of time to get to where I could keep cows and grow things- you can’t just start a new way of life in a pinch, in the midst of disaster- but a lot of people seem to think you can- which shows how truly ill-prepared they are.

                And even now that I’ve got a nice homestead going, I know that this is just “for now”- as our most formidable enemy- the state, and it’s goons, can not be staved-off with carrots and grass-fed beef or gold…but will instead be the ones to take those things…as well as our liberty/lives (just look at what the cops are doing today, all over this country!)

                Prepping is a fairy tale. At least the lady with the phony tan is enjoying herself, whereas many preppers are living as though we’re in WWIII already. But I think that both will fare equally poorly when the Schumer hits.

                I also see so many looking for “support networks”, whereas, if anyone has better odds of survival, it will be those who are fiercely independent; whose neighbors don’t know what they’re doing [In NY already, they encourage people to report “suspicious people”- and their definition of “suspicious” includes “buying flashlights and ready-to-eat meals”…)

              • Oh how I’d like to disagree, but cannot. I have been recently stunned by ppl who call themselves ‘preppers.’ Not. I bought the farm 17 years ago, but this is how I have lived most of my life. I think of it as more self sufficient, not dependent, not expecting or needing ‘services.’ Out where I am you need to be able to do without electricity for a couple of weeks as a matter of course. It happens. We are too far from stores to just run out for something. There aren’t neighbors watching because ‘neighbors’ cannot see each other and often cannot hear each other. I found that networks were generally silly little social get togethers to talk about gadgets and buying pre packaged exorbitantly priced pucky they don’t know how to use. One woman said, ‘but I still will need to be on my paleo diet!’ aaaarrrggghhh ah well, we will just continue to watch schumer from the underground bunker with our tin foil hats on….. 🙂

      • No Tacoma wouldn’t be. That’s kinda like trying to find the love of your like in a bar…..anyway, try not looking for the life you want in a city. Tacoma has it’s share of preppers, but from what I found they are ‘rhinestone cowboys’ I live on a small peninsula in W WA. There’s fresh water, fish, game, land, good growing, fruit trees etc. I am very well versed in growing, canning, homestead arts etc. There are 2.5 acres adjoining my larger land for sale at 29k. I believe he will come down on that. We are looking for a like minded neighbor.

        • Herronridge, you mention fish, are you talking fresh water or salt? Are you able to take advantage of the Sound and it’s abundance or not? I ask because I”m wondering what happens where you live when those “preppers” come out from Seattle, Bremerton, Winslow and yes, Tacoma to find their place near you. I’m not knocking, I’m truly interested in what plans you’ve made for those types invading the land around you. It’s something I’ve been considering.
          I see these non-experienced people flowing out and shooting at anything that moves, and if they die then where or what to do with the bodies? These are concerns which came up as I considered my distant bug out location.
          I do agree, the cities I mentioned may have preppers and even some who don’t consider themselves preppers but who may well be able to manage away from citifications, sadly the majority will not. Those are the ones to be concerned about. O and I forgot about Lewis/McCord being next door to Tacoma…that’s more people but also many able to survive but at what cost to who??? As you can see I have some knowledge of the Sound area. Lived too long up there not to still love it but I have to be able to answer questions like these before choosing a place away from my current one, which though not the best, is good for now because I know what’s here. If, as someone mentioned about the govt doing things…..well, even the best of plans don’t always work so you make alternative ones. That said, I’m still an American through and through—call me naive or anything else, I’ll stay here in this country and fight for what’s right and especially fight for what we have here in the Pacific Northwest. 🙂

          • Dee,
            It would be really stupid for me to answer your questions in an open forum like this. No intent to be rude, but you’ve assumed much. I will generally answer. Both salt and fresh, yes to access. This is not a place that people from Tacoma would come to, even if they knew it was here, most even in Gig Harbor know little. It would be too far, too hard and too much risk to travel so far on the off chance there was some reason to come out here when there is no where to go but back the way you came. Other than the small parcel mentioned, all the land around me is large parcel, occupied, no one leaving, and well defended. Newbie preppers think this is too inconvenient. Lastly, of course I have thought about all that. Will I detail what I have done about it? Of course not. 😉

              • Ah ha! Testing me for my stupidability lucelipidity! That’s Latin for dumb big mouth!

              • not testing, I’m just an inquiring mind to know how to find my own long distant BOL. I don’t even think in terms of stupidity or dumb.

              • That’s good. If you want more info on this location, contact me privately by replying that you’d like to do that and we can arrange it.

  3. i think its doubtful get a group of preppers together and they will argue over whats the best rifle,handgun what to put in a BOB etc .to think they would work together ahead of time is the stuff of fantasy .Dont get me wrong i would embrace it if it were to happen just that i dont see it happening .the first person to say “well no with that attitude ” gets a virtual slap

    • I think it is like any group of people. Some will insist that they lead and others would have to be forced to lead (I’m in the latter category). You’ll also find the prepper snobs, who think anything you do is substandard in some way.
      But–you’ll also find those who are great and are willing to conceded that, although your stuff isn’t the best available, it is good enough. And if it’s all you can afford, then it’s great for you. They may even be able to help you improve on what you have or your plans.
      If some mega disaster happens we will all need help, and will need to depend on each other. Otherwise, we become like a bunch of rabid animals and nature WILL dispose of us.

  4. I couldn’t agree more with Richard Earl Broom. When gathering people around for those disaster events, one of the things I want to know is whether anyone has experienced any disasters. These may be the people who are the survivors; using that experience can help others get past that initial shock, which will hit at some point.
    Making a pre-assessment of just what people will do or are capable of, may only lead to mistakes in future choices. I love doing ‘what ifs.’ I do that when doing workshops and parenting classes. Anticipation is a good thing, the problem is when we anticipate what someone else will do w/o basing it on anything but what that person/people appear to do, may deprive us of someone valueable.
    Not only having been in a few crisis but having helped people get through some personal crisis, I can say, even when we prepare well, being in a disaster isn’t the same as playing “what if.” Nevertheless, roleplaying, creating plans A-Z WITH people, works better because even when you have people who can only do small things, when you gather all those small parts, it takes a big load off those who must carry more.
    Example, myself. Looking at me, all you would see would be an old woman in a wheelchair. Visibly, you would note I have tremors, you might assume Parkinsons but you would be wrong. You also might assume that I am ‘bound’ to my chair. You’d be wrong again. You wouldn’t find me being very vocal because I’m by nature an observer, but as the next oldest of 10 children, I do know how to lead if needed. I much prefer to back up the leader, yet I’m not a yes person.
    Having worked with many people, I believe I can say, many who might be judged unworthy may just surprise you and vice versa. As to the different types of people. YOU WANT those differences. They will see things you don’t and you, or the leader need to see so much and won’t because being human you can’t. So you have some snobs…….even they will have their value, as will the person(s) who appear lazy or unmotivated.
    OK stepping off my soap box. Sometimes it’s the most unlikely person who comes through in the pinch which makes the best leader. 😉 Sorry Jim, I’m more optimistic about survival than that we will turn into animals. Some will, some will also panic and some will go crazy. Even so, it’s about not just getting stuff but making connections so in the pinch, we can each have our backs covered by people we trust. Let’s not judge before we get to know those who may be our way of surviving.

    • I agree with you Dee!
      I was referring to trying to be a loner and not having anyone around, because you might not agree with them. There are very few people who could go the loner route without becoming, basically, amimals.

      At one time I worked as a computer tech for a mental retardation facility. The (so called) mentally challenged were some of the nicest people I have ever met. They would often want to help carry my equipment into the building, but due to laws I had to refuse. However that didn’t mean I couldn’t talk to them and enjoy their company while I was working. So – I consider very few people as worthless.
      In addition, my maternal grandfather had his left arm amputated. I never experienced it, but my mother said he could give a heck of a spanking with that stump! Never underestimate the “handicapped”!

    • Dee,
      We had a tornado two years ago, before any official help could arrive, townsfolk had chainsaws, front loaders and back hoes ready to remove downed trees and do clean up to open the roads.
      We didn’t need to convene a meeting, we just all got together and drove around to help our neighbors. That is the true sense of the word, NEIHBORHOOD.
      I’m sure there will be the difficult personas to deal with, but I know the personalities around me now and I know I can count on these kind and caring neighbors and friends.

  5. Over the past 5 years I have been adding to my preparations but one thing has always bothered me: We are told by so many people to store gold and silver. When I envision the chaos after some kind of collapse or cyber attack closing the banks, I wonder how we would sell that metal if no one has any money available? Does anyone have a good answer for me? I don’t want to invest in gold or silver unless I can trade it for money or materials.
    Thanks for any assistance!

    • I believe precious stones and metals will be just high value barter items until organization can be re-established whether by government or otherwise. At least that’s the pattern from history. I’m not sure but what I would be holding on to that until the last, with the idea of trading skills and other barter items first.

    • Patty,

      I’ve been faced with the same dilemma. At this point I am reasonably well prepared. I have land, tools, some building materials and food storage. Were the S to HTF tomorrow I will be fine for a year or two. So I asked myself why would I need precious metals? At this point I envision people coming to me with gold or silver more than me to them.
      I’ve decided to put away a small amount ($5000)of small denomination gold and silver. My reason for doing this is property taxes. I suspect that the county government will somehow survive and come to collect. I want to have the means to pay them for at least 5 years.

    • Patty – We have invested in food not precious metals. Our food stores will be worth their weight in gold (a cliché, I know) as will medical and first aid supplies. Probably bullets too but I would not want people to know I had any to spare.

      — Gaye

      • When the unitedstate military pulled out of South Vietnam many of the locals rushed to trade what they had for paper thin sheets of gold, then a lot of them went off into the mountains to live among the hill country people while trying to survive.

        Paper thin sheets of gold used in trade has a history in that region of 100’s or possibly even thousands of years. I wish I could find the link to where I read about that. I thought it was fascinating.

    • Hi Patty, I think the decision about whether to have precious metals is dependent upon what you are prepping for.

      If your concerns are largely about natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and the like, precious metals might hold relatively little interest.

      If you are concerned about serious inflation or even hyperinflation like Germany or Zimbabwe experienced, precious metals might be a critically important component of your preparations. So might meaningful amounts of fixed-rate debt, like a mortgage on your house or farm- so long as you were assured of being able to make the payments even during a major economic dislocation. Inflation reduces the real value of the debt.

      Some of the people who did very well economically during the inflationary period we had in the 1970s were the people with big fixed rate mortgages- at least those who were able to continue making their monthly payments. They did very well.

      For us, US silver coins of any denomination may be useful for purchasing power during a major, long lasting dislocation. They let one buy stuff right now, during a disaster so bad that the dollar has little value. Gold is useful for getting some wealth through a collapse and out the other side.

      So, silver is for small purchases like bread, milk, honey, or a day’s labor. Gold is for having some capital left when things get better, or in a terrible event for crossing borders with some flight capital.

      Money makes economic exchange more efficient: I can do a day’s labor today for my neighbor in exchange for silver coins, knowing that I can go 5 miles to the market next week and exchange the coins for honey from a guy who knows he can go across the street and exchange the coins for bread. Making such a group of transactions purely through barter of goods and services would be almost impossible, and at best very cumbersome. Money makes economies more efficient, so I am satisfied that money (in some form) will continue to be useful.

      That isn’t to say that other things aren’t important. They are. Water and the means to store and sterilize it, food and the means to cook it, medical supplies, means to produce heat in winter, are all critical, and I think should be at least adequately squared away before looking at precious metals.

      At some point, though, one can start thinking in terms of continuing to add to the basics, but also adding new preps such as metals or even gemstones. Remember the scene in “Casablanca” where the elderly European refugees sell the wife’s ring? Whether they had thought of it as such or not when they bought it, that ring was flight capital: It gave them some money as they fled the Nazis. Not as much as they would have liked, but some was better than nothing.

      People have used gold and silver as stores of value and media of exchange for thousands of years. That history is no guarantee, but I think it is pretty safe to say that people will continue to want them.

      And if I am wrong, we will still have our other preps.

    • Patty:
      The other responses were good.
      Additionally, If I were a … (rancher, farmer, blacksmith, had dairy cows, doctor etc.) There will be a larger demand for my products than I will have for others’ property. I.e. how many tomatoes, liquor, ammo, etc can I take before I am overwhelmed. Albeit, this is more ‘long term’ problem.

      Regarding what types of silver and gold to get. I have been avoiding bars and rounds because they can be counterfeited. Unless you have the tools and knowledge, you may trade good stuff for silver covered lead and other materials. That, and real coins, not commemorative ones, will be recognized by more people as “real money”. At least until everyone is educated.

  6. I just finished listening to the audio book “One Second After”
    I’ll admit that there were many times when I had tears in my eyes. And a few times that I had to pause the audio and come back later.
    I did find the story a bit depressing, overall, but it was still a great story. Especially when you consider how easily it could be a fortelling of the future.
    I would recommend anyone that thinks an EMP wouldn’t be very bad to read, or listen, to this book. And, if you have any ability to place yourself in a story, be prepared for a very hard read (emotionally).

  7. I don’t think surviving will be a matter of having strong shoulders to bear a burden. I think it will be a matter of having enough to live on while keeping clear of dangers. The Apocalyptic Bear will rampage around for a while, catching and eating all the victims that it can find. Be sure that it starves to death before it finds you. Be sure that the hellish period damps out and turns into historical dust before you reappear and reattach yourself in society.

  8. I wonder what’s going through Mr. Broome’s head, as one who’s apparently lived off of the state his entire life and now finds himself prepping against the hand that feeds him??

    • We all depend on that government hand, to one extent or another. But, many of us, known as ‘prepper’, understand that hand can be withdrawn at any time and try to prepare for it. Our very infrastructure is based on that ‘hand’. We get our electricity, water, foodstuff, mail, entertainment by the grace of that ‘helping hand’. Yes, we could do all those things without government intervention, if we had started that way and kept the government out of them. If we tried to do it now, as a nation, it would be a disaster. It will probably take a disaster, either natural or man made, to allow us to rebuild. Hopefully, doing it right this time! Just my opinion.
      I am currently drawing my social security and every month when I get my check, I can’t help wondering “What if this is the last one I ever get?” – – Thus – I prep!

  9. Here’s the problem:

    “There is a sense of uneasiness among the informed masses that take the time to open their eyes and view the truth about our global economy, world hunger, Wall Street corruption, corporate shenanigans and the ever-growing threat of a world wide Armageddon. ”

    No mention in there of the biggest and most present threat, the Orwellian totalitarian (and violent) state? Everyone’s so worried about city-dwellers coming out and robbing them “when TSHTF”, and “prepping” for such things….but what about what is happening right now; and about how THAT will be on steroids if there is a major insurrection/catastrophe?

    And WTH? If you were in a building and saw a tornado heading straight for it, you’d get out and go somewhere safer, not in the path of the tornado, right? Well, if you see the tornado approaching this country (as it is) why not GET OUT while you have the opportunity, rather than trying to huddle in a corner with your arms over your head? All the prepping in the world isn’t going to keep you out of a FEMA camp…just as it wouldn’t have kept the Jews out of the ovens in Germany. (And only those Jews who sw what was coming, and fled when they still had the opportunity, survived. NOT the ones who tried to ride it out!)

    Be warned people. Such events as what you are expecting have happened everywhere at one time or another. Those who survived them were usually not the good guys, or the responsible people who “prepared”.

    • Maybe you should find another example. Ask the survivors of the Moore, Oklahoma EF5 tornado. Many of them that “hunkered dowen” in their storm cellars came out and found the slab where their house stood a short while before. They survived. Why? Because they prepared! By building a storm cellar. Many times trying to outrun a tornado will only lead you to be directly in it’s path, costing you your life.
      I do understand essentially what you are saying, but most of us cannot become ex-patriots. Either because of finances or loved ones, and feel our time and lives are better utilized in trying to help our families and neighbors.

      • This country is a mobile-home without a basement! 😀

        No offense- but just to be realistic: Your reasoning is the same as that of those in Hitler’s Germany. 1000 reasons why they couldn’t leave when they still had the opportunity- then one day, they suddenly found that all the reasons for which they had to stay, were destroyed anyway.

        It’s never easy. But you have to be realistic. One day, you’re going to wake up in the morning, and suddenly everything’s going to be different- and there will be no more choices. It will not be what you think or expect. In most cases, the prepping will be of little if any benefit. You won’t be able to help your family. (from afar, amybe you could).

        Believe me, I finally got me some nice acreagte in the country/got out of the city; would be content to stay here the rest of my life if I didn’t know where we were headed. I have no debts…own my place free and clear…it’s like I’m walking away from the best life I’ve ever had….but I know darn well that if I don’t walk away now…I’ll be trying to run away in the very near future…and then won’t be able to.

        We can’t have everything. We have to make a difficult choice. Those who see what is happening are privileged to see what they do. You can act on that vision…or kid yourself, and try and preserve what you have now…only to end up losing it all anyway in the near future. It’s not an either/or type decision…it’s more of a life and death type thing. Be with your family in a FEMA camp (or dead) or be free and alive while they’re in a FEMA camp/dead. You being here now isn’t going to save them, it’s just giving you a little more time with them now- at a great cost- that of your freedom and life. Think about it.

        Me, I’m going to Uruguay. I’ll email/call the relatives. I haven’t been able to help them here, now…I certainly won’t be able to even help myself nor them when things deteriorate even more; and when what little freedom we have left is gone.

        • Hi Moleman, It sounds like your concerns are exactly those which militate toward having flight capital, and if you are even considering a move to Uruguay I suspect you do too.

          The best way to get capital out of a country is while it is still legal to do so, and lightly taxed. Using US capital to buy a house, apartment, farm, a company, whatever, in another country is a great idea if one is reasonably familiar with the other country, can speak the language, and especially if one has skills which will allow one to make a living.

          The grandfather of a childhood friend of mine had a meaningful amount of money in Germany (the ancestral country) during the 1930s. The Nazis made it difficult or impossible to get the money out of the country, so he told his then college age son to take several months off, take a liner to Germany, and spend it all.

          The kid had a blast, got to see something of what the Nazis were about, and had several months of high living. That was the best they could do after the controls were imposed. They did not get any capital out, so the options were to spend it frivolously or lose it.

          If they had been able to get the money out, they would never have spent it on good times: they would have invested it. That was no longer an option.

          Flight capital is one reason some people buy very expensive jewelry. While it is nice to have fancy stuff, it is even nicer to be able to wear some capital as you leave an unfriendly home country. If you wait too long, you may not be allowed to do so, but better to have the option than decide to lose it all.

          When it became clear that the British were going to turn Hong Kong over to the Chinese government, there was a big outflow of capital from Hong Kong. No one knew what the Chinese would do, so those who could, sent money to other countries.

          A lot of Hong Kong Chinese did so by buying condos and houses in Hawaii and Vancouver. Both places were seen as politically stable and friendly to property rights. Both had sizable Chinese and Chinese-descended citizens so there was a built in cultural familiarity.

          As it turned out, the Chinese government did a decent transition with Hong Kong, but there was no knowing that until it would have been too late if they had come in and crushed the capitalists. A lot of people decided to play it safe by getting some money out ahead of time.

          • Thanks for thoughts, Penrod. I don’t have much capital- just a little savings and what I’ll get for my little farm- but it’s a lot to me- and I am definitely concerned about the things you mention- as these days here in the USSA, they watch you like a hawk if you try to do something with $1000. That’s one of the reasons I say that it’s essential that people go now…as every year, they are tightening the noose. It seems that all totalitarian countries end up prohibiting their citizens from leaving…and we’re certainly heading in that direction. People also need to realize, that although other places may not be perfect; or you may not even know what they’re like until you’ver lived there, it is important just to go and make the break, and be where you can have more freedom (at this point, even Russia offers more freedom than we have here)…and then one can always assess things, and take it slowly and move on if need be.

        • So you have decided to leave to another country and live like royalty for the next hundred years or so – ok , fine.
          Now –
          Why are you coming to a prepper website trying to discourage people from making any preparations? Does it really pain you to know that some people are not blowing their money by partying every day? Should people not even prepare for natural disasters like storms or forest fire?

          • I’m not trying to discourage people from prepping- actually, as another poster said, real preparedness is a matter of living a self-sufficient life and not being dependent- and that’s what I’ve been about all of my adult life, and encourage others to persue.

            What I’m a little down on, is this little subculture of “preppers” who are basically playing Boy Scouts; buying a bunch of crap; and just living in the cities and suburbs, thinking that they can just drive away from a catastrophe when it hits.

            I’m just trying to encourage people to be realistic, and to open their eyes and not just follow some little subculture. (And I really didn’t know I was coming to a prepper website…I just clicked on a link to read this article)

            • Exactly! I think it’s about taking responsibility for ourselves and our families, and not expecting the government to do it! FEMA is not your mama! I watched Sandy victims rail on how FEMA was not caring about them etc (as tho govt cares…..) and how there was no water for them, can’t cook etc. I kept thinking, you knew where you lived, you knew this was a possibility, even a remote one, and you couldn’t be bothered to just fill a 2L soda bottle with water and drops of bleach every time you emptied one? Pick up a 24 btl case of drinking water when they are on sale for $1.99? Prepare a way to cook without electricity? This mentality that we are all someone elses responsibility needs to stop, that thinking can be fatal. “prepping” isn’t a club or a fad, supplying yourself for down times (whatever they may be) and learning how to take care of yourself used to be a matter of pride to not be dependent….oh, sorry for the rant….sometimes I just get concerned for those I care about 🙂

              • So true, my friend! My biggest fear of a natural disaster, is not the disaster itself…but gov’t reaction. A few years ago, there was a tornado 50 miles from here. Not a huge one…but of course, an “emergency was declared” and there were National Goon…I mean “Guard” bozos in tanks in the streets of the town where it hit, etc. etc. All because 4 buildings got blown down in a little rural town full of white folks? I can deal with whatever…just keep FEMA and Big Brotyher and gun-confiscators away from me. I’m more concerned about having to defend myself and my peroperty against them, than against my neighbors (because my neighbors- good old-fashioned country folks, would be a help- not a hinderance). Katrina was a perfect example though- Half of LA. is on the dole…the people are like animals in a zoo- they expect to be fed and cared for while they do nothing except make babies and occupy the habitat that is provided for them. They couldn’t live a free existence, even in the Garden Of Eden; they would die/kill each other.

              • But it’s true Herron. It used to be that people had to be forced to accept “charity” (government handouts). They would either manage to pull themselves out of whatever situation or very reluctantly accept government help.

                My sister and I are researching our family genealogy and we ran across an old newspaper article where a town had been wiped out by a tornado. There was NO government help given or expected. The people or surrounding towns all pitched in and helped the people in the town that was destroyed.
                When power was out here for over a week, due to ice storms, I kept my freezer and refrigerator cold, had some lighting, and charged my cell phone and batteries. Because several years ago I had bought a gasoline generator, just for emergencies, and had about 15 gallons of gasoline for it. So, I didn’t even have to leave the house while the power was out. Others, who lost all of their food in their freezer, were expecting the government to give them a check to pay for what they lost due to their own non-responsibility.

              • Hi Herronridge, Good rant!

                I think part of the problem…maybe the foundation of the problem, is that groups like FEMA tell people that FEMA et al will be there for them. Even though FEMA actually does preach preparedness, the message which gets through is “We will be there to help.”

                When government tells us that long enough, a lot of people start taking them at their word and then they wait to be helped. Instead of getting on with their lives after a disaster they wait for the promised assistance which never arrives. That is really debilitating.

                When government says “We will help you finance reconstruction, but only after we finish the new flood zone map”, people wait for the assistance. Then after two years go by without the government finishing the new flood zone map, they get tired of waiting and complain about the lack of promised help.

                If the government had said in the first place that people were free to rebuild on their own property, at their own expense, at their own risk, with no insurance subsidies, they would have had a house 18 months earlier than the point where they still have no house because they were waiting for promised help.

                I think an awful lot of our lack of preparedness as a country is based on promises that may or may not ever come true, but even if they do, are debilitating.

                Why on earth should people who can afford water front or near waterfront property get subsidized? I don’t know, but many believe they should, even to rebuild in spots proven unsafe.

                Taxpayer subsidies are an abomination. They lead to grossly inappropriate building, and force the less well off to subsidize the better off. I knew people in Florida who had waterfront houses, in neighborhoods where bare lots today run over $3,000,000, and every single house in those neighborhoods got federally subsidized flood insurance.

                It’s madness. It promotes an entitlement mentality, and a dependence mentality at every economic level.

                Put an end to the subsidies, and people will learn again that they need to be responsible for their own well-being, and for the consequences of their own decisions.

              • One more thing, if I may: I have to laugh- my 89 year-old mother (who lived in the city the majority of her life) can actually fare better than half of these people. She was raised during the Great Depression. Even though she’s from NYC, she knows how to do things! She doesn’t even know what prepper is, but she has no problem going a few days without electricity- or making do with what she has during an ice storm. Heck, I read where some preppers were celebrating how they endured the big ice storm in Atlanta last winter, for a few days. I laughed. That wouldn’t have even been considered a minor disruption by my 89 year-old mother!

              • Ok, moleman, I apologise.
                I do have to mention that part of my problem with your post may be your name! 🙂 (mole – man?) Subconsciousness kicked in!

                The way I see things going, it won’t matter where you go. This tyranny is global. If the USA falls, then they will place an iron fist around every inch of the planet. I can only hope that the people can put a stop to it now, and reverse what has already been done. Already they drone attack individuals, and if some innocents get killed too? So what? They don’t care. Patriot Act, NDAA, ACA, surreptitious gun control, imminent domain, … I don’t think there is enough room to list them all in one post!! Even “Social Security” is unconstitutional and a socialist program. It’s just another tax with a fancy sounding name.

  10. To Penrod, Moleman, and Jim-
    I think the problem is that people have forgotten what government is for, and more to the point what it is NOT for. It is not there to provide for me. Period. Consequently, it doesn’t matter what promises are made or kept. The fault is with the person who thinks governments role is to fix life for them. It is not. Out government has for gotten it’s place. We the people are not subjects! We are citizens, and the government our employees. I do not want government help. Period. Therefore I cannot be hurt by FEMA not showing up. Frankly, I can only be helped by FEMA not showing up. 🙂

    • I couldn’t have said that better! Part of the problem, is that parents don’t teach their children what America/minimal government/personal freedom is supposed to be about (and they’re certainly not going to learn such in the gov’t schools- whose very existence is an afront to freedom!)- Heck, the parents and grandparents don’t even know these things anymore. Instead, most people now persue a communal agenda- and the state is their god- the old pagan temple- which controls the money and the conduct of the people and the minute details of their lives. They’re content to be slaves, and as obedient slaves, just expect their master to take care of them. They even advocate that their master take more from those who are not as enslaved as they are, and give it to them…and the more ‘Massa’ does this, they more they love him. Once a cultural has lost the love of freedom, all they will do, is seek perceived ‘security’ and advantage at the expense of others (not realizing that their enabling of the state to rob others, is in reality destroying the verry future of their own children…)

      • Hey give me back my soapbox! 🙂 I home schooled all my kids. This is the last year, 33 years! All my kids went on to college, all well employed. All can think! None think the government has any role in their lives other than to stay the blank out of it

        • Then you must have some of the smartest children left in this country!
          Too many potentially smart children are dumbed down in state schools.
          I tried to convince my daughter to home school her children since she wasn’t working. But she and her husband decided a rural school didn’t have the problems schools in big cities have.
          Of course, what does daddy know!?

          • I homeschooled as a single mother for years. I believed that God would enable me to do what He called me to do. My children were my responsibility, not the state’s. I could not obey Deut 6:7 and 11:19 while sending my children into teaching that calls God a liar. This may greatly annoy some, but sending your children into public school and hoping they will return unscathed and in their right mind is like sending your daughters into a brothel and standing outside praying they will remain virgins. Daddy knows a lot Jim!

            • You’re a woman, Herron?! Now I’ve seen EVERYTHING! It’s rare enough to see a man these days who has a good understanding and who takes responsibility for his own….and who obeys the Word….but a WOMAN?! I don’t believe it! You’re the female counterpart of….me! I thought the Proverbs 31 woman was completely extinct! God bless ya!

              • Yessir! A woman with a woodstove, a chainsaw and who is the best cook in 50 miles!

          • Heh, yeah… Having come from NYC and now living in about as rural a county as ya can get (we have ONE traffic light in the whole county), the gov’t schools might be a hair better/safer than those of NYC, but what is taught there is the exact same garbage- socialism; statism; conformity to the group; hatred of the Founding Fathers (They were terrible “racists” you know…not like the enlightened wonderful people walking around today…); and how to rely on computers and not be able to think. Then they learn more garbage from the other little cretins who go to those schools, who are awash in the pop culture. I wouldn’t send my dog to one of those schools! If only even 10% of our population were like you and Herronridge, we might have hope of actually saving this country!
            I’ve never in my life seen kids as dumb as the ones going to pooblik[sic] skool today! Talk about a slave-class. The slow kids from my day (70’s) were brilliant compared to these dumbed-down drugged-up[Ritalin] automatons.

  11. @Jim: No apology necessary, my friend. Sometimes it’s hard to know where someone is coming from when their viewpoint doesn’t fit neatly into well-accepted norm. 🙂 And I do agree with you- it’s definitely not just a USA thing-it is global- but Anglo/former commonwealth countries are getting hit especially hard; I believe because it is in the agenda to destroy the wealth and power we once had, to “equalize” us to the rest of the world (as well as to destroy the Christianity we once had, because that is the main resistance to their evil agenda…).
    There are still plenty of places in the world- especially when one gets away from the major cities and population centers, where one just does not have to deal with government on a regular basis, and life goes on like it always has. I mean, in South America, you just don’t see chemtrails- it would worth the move just to get away from them- which I see almost every day over my farm.
    Just the regained freedom and quality of life I experienced by leaving NY has been a major improvement in my life- but, it won’t be long before NY comes to where I now am, because the dumb sheep have been groomed to demand/accept the same things which NYers did 40 years ago- We’re just a few years behind, here in the rural south- but catching up all too quickly. (It’s a shame, really- I have a nice place, with nice neighbors, and am debt-free. I’d be content to stay here the rest of my life, if we weren’t devolving into an Orwellian police-state.)

  12. Followed all these posts to the end; enjoyed it very much. We definitely have some independent, deep thinkers here. I, too live in Washington State, on the Kitsap Peninsula. We realize we will probably never make it onto the mainland because of the traffic choke points at both bridges. It is scary to think of what may happen. Sometimes I feel like all my prepping will be for nothing; that we will be targets living so close to the major metropiltan areas. But we can’t just do NOTHING. So, we keep on keeping on and take comfort in knowing we will at least be helping our own grown children who live mostly in the same area. *sigh*

    • Robbyn, if you’re on the Kitsap Penninsula, you may not have to worry with your family around you. There are many places there which can be very secure. The other thing, most will be trying to leave for the same reason you’re thinking it’s unsafe as other places. In fact it’s one place I was and am still considering because I know the area well. Stay positive and know you have options and possibilities. 🙂

      • I completely agree Dee! Kitsap is not far from me and I know it well. There are alot of worse places and not a whole lot better.

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