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For many of us, the term Survival Joe or Survival Jane is a generic one. We apply the term to ordinary folks who have embraced the preparedness lifestyle and committed to an life if independence in self-reliance.
But did you know that there is a real “Survival Joe”? Now those of you that are Backdoor Survival old-timers may remember that for the longest time I featured Survival Joe’s free eBook “How to Survive the Coming Food Shortage” here on my blog. (Now that I think about it, I need to di that again).
Recently, I was lucky enough to have an extensive telephone conversation with Joe and he graciously agreed to an interview sharing his thoughts on our world, the global food situation and more. But first a little background.
Who the heck is Survival Joe?
Joe Jacobs is just a regular guy, living an regular life with a wife and four kids. (By the way, one of those kids came in to the world just a few weeks ago . . . mazel tov!).
I’m just a regular dad,” says Joe Jacobs, “who can’t ignore the fact that a disaster is bound to happen.
“It could be a natural disaster. It could be economical collapse. It could be war. Doesn’t matter. You have three choices: You don’t think about it. You get scared. Or you get prepared.”
Born in Florida, Joe Jacobs now lives on the outskirts of Denver with his wife and three children. “A single man can probably fend for himself if all hell breaks loose,” says Joe. “But that’s not a responsible mindset when you have children to take care of.”
Somewhere along the line, Joe – up to now an ordinary Joe – became Survival Joe. He shares many of the same feelings that I do about our economy, our government and uncertain future. I was absolutely thrilled that he was will to answer my questions.
Shall we get started?
And Interview with Survival Joe
Gaye: One of my favorite questions – and something I often learn from is this: When did you start prepping and why?
Joe: It’s actually hard to remember… I think it was around 2007. At that time, I had gotten myself into a lot of debt. I began to make a concerted effort to pay it all off. To help me get there, I started a debt blog where I shared my progress.
The more I researched topics for my debt blog, the more I realized what a mess we’re in. So I would say it was ultimately my goal to get out of debt that caused me to become a prepper.
Gaye: A few years back you wrote an eBook HOW TO SURVIVE THE COMING FOOD SHORTAGE. What has changed since then and how do you recommend we deal with those changes?
Joe: The world macroeconomic situation has actually gotten worse. If anything, we’re closer to crisis today than ever before.
The just-in-time food delivery system remains basically unchanged. On a positive note, there is now more interest in urban gardening and hydroponics than ever before. We’ve got some urban garden plots in my town, and I’m growing a garden in one of them.
Unfortunately, we still are nowhere near producing enough food locally to support urban populations. If we are faced with a food crisis, it won’t be easy.
So I think this advice still applies: Stock up on food and start growing your own food. These two things will go a long way toward dampening the effects of a crisis — no matter if it’s a personal crisis (like a job loss) or a national crisis (like a food shortage).
Gaye: Given that you have adequately prepared your family for a food shortage and SHTF situation, how would you deal with neighbors or relatives who showed up at your door asking for a handout? Or have you even thought about it?
Joe: I’ll answer the second question first. Yes, I have thought about that. And I don’t think there’s any way I could turn away friends or family or neighbors who genuinely needed help. I would probably attempt to ration my resources to help as many people as I could.
In a serious crisis such as the one you’re talking about, pulling together as a community will be of the utmost importance. Pooling resources will be essential for long-term survival. So the more prepared I am — and my neighbors are — the better our chances of getting through it unscathed.
Gaye: There are many in the prepper movement that feel we are headed toward an apocalypse of one sort or another. Shows such as the Nat Geo Doomsday Prepper series seem to perpetuate this mindset. What are your thoughts?
Joe: Well, my faith colors my thinking on this issue, so I hope you don’t mind me talking about that for a minute.
First, I do not believe in modern-day Antichrist and Rapture theology, so that sets me apart from a large segment of the prepper movement.
Here’s what I believe:
We are currently living in the age that is pictured as the feet of iron and clay in Daniel’s vision. A large stone crushes the feet of the image and grinds the whole thing to dust. This is what is happening right now.
In parallel with this, Revelation talks about Mystery Babylon, which is the United States. We are witnessing the collapse of Mystery Babylon and its system of enslavement.
The effects of this will depend on which side you’re on. If you’re heavily invested in paper currencies and 401(k)s and charging interest, you will suffer great loss. If, on the other hand, you’re anticipating God’s kingdom, the results will be positive.
Ultimately, God plans to set us free from the Babylonian captivity that began with the establishment of the Fed in 1913.
But — and this is a big “but” — we as a nation are going to have to repent of our lawlessness at some point. And God is going to turn up the heat until we repent, at which point he will set us free.
How much heat will it require? I have no idea. But I would not be surprised to see us partner with Israel to go to war with Iran. God will then use Iran to bring disaster on our heads. And I guarantee you that will not be pleasant for anybody involved.
(And if you find anything I’ve just said offensive or crazy, forget about it. I’m not trying to persuade anybody of anything… just sharing my views.)
Gaye: What are your thoughts about the economy? Are we in Recession, Depression, Recovery or something else?
Joe: That’s an interesting question. I believe we are still in a recession. A few years from now, we will probably look back on the period beginning in 2008 and call it a depression. That’s because I believe the next leg down is going to start this fall, possibly as early as September.
The dishonest foundations of the banking system are being exposed (the LIBOR scandal is huge), and it’s only a matter of time before the whole system comes crashing down. This will be bad for bankers (obviously), but good for ordinary people like you and me.
What most people don’t understand is that the real assets of the nation don’t go away in a recession. They’re still there. The problem is lack of cash. These cash flow problems are created by our system of central banking and fiat currency. The entire thing is dishonest and far too open to manipulation. So we get booms and busts, each bigger than the last.
Have you ever looked at a dollar bill and seen the words “Federal Reserve Note”? Dollars did not always say this. At one time, they were silver certificates, redeemable for silver. But now they are “notes.”
A “note” is a debt instrument. Therefore every dollar in your pocket is not actually money… it’s a debt to the Federal Reserve!
All money in circulation today is debt issued by the Fed that must be repaid with interest. And there lies the heart of the problem. If all the debt were paid off (which is numerically impossible), there would be no more “money” in circulation!
For an in-depth look at how the Federal Reserve came into being and how it operates, I strongly recommend The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin. Get it, read it.
Gaye: What is the Survival Joe Mastermind Club and how did it come about?
Joe: The Survival Joe Mastermind Club is a private membership for people interested in learning about all different aspects of prepping.
It came about because I only know so much, and I wanted to keep bringing fresh material to my subscribers. Other people know things that I don’t know. So each month I seek out an expert to interview about a particular subject.
We’ve recently talked about community preparedness, bugging out, home defense, and how to raise rabbits. So we cover a lot of different topics.
Gaye: For those suffering in today’s economy, $17.95 per month is a hefty cost. What suggestions do you have for those that cannot afford it?
Joe: I did my best to price the membership fairly. It helps to cover the cost of my paid conference line and the amount of time it takes to line up interviews, edit recordings, and create “cheat sheets” every month.
But if $17.95 is too much, then it may be better to just focus on the essentials: stock up on some food, get a few ounces of silver, and make sure you’ve got some basic emergency supplies.
Gaye: For many, procrastination reigns. What do you feel are the top five reasons people refuse to prepare?
Joe: Reason #1 – Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.
Reason #2 – Feeling like there’s not enough time to get fully prepared, so why bother starting.
Reason #3 – Lack of financial resources.
Reason #4 – Normalcy bias: A belief that things are going to keep on going as usual. (By the way, Sinclair Lewis published a novel in 1935 called It Can’t Happen Here, which explored how a dictator could rise to power in America. The title of the book speaks to that normalcy bias.)
Reason #5 – Feeling turned off by the fear-based approaches used to sell survival gear. (I think the basis for fear is legitimate, but some people just don’t like it.)
Gaye: What are the three top pieces of advice you would like to pass on to my readers at Backdoor Survival?
Joe: It’s a mistake to expect to be fully prepared for any and all situations in a month’s time. Preparation doesn’t happen overnight. Try to do a little bit each month and over time you’ll be much more prepared than you’d be otherwise.
As you prepare, it’s important to think about both your physical needs (food, water, shelter), as well as your financial needs (getting rid of debt, buying silver and gold). Focusing exclusively on one side of the equation or the other could be a mistake.
Lastly, don’t forget that there could be good things up ahead. I’m a very hopeful person. And while a financial collapse will certainly be a difficult time, I expect we will be much better off once we get through it and finally have honest money again.
The Final Word
I think Joe is a pretty cool guy and that he has his head on straight when it comes to survival. Like me, his feeling is more an issue of when and how bad the coming crisis will be. (And of course, we hope that what we fear is coming, never comes.)
Be sure to grab a copy of of Survival Joe’s free eBook. No strings attached and since it is only 30 or so pages, it is a quick read. It is a real eye-opener.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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From the Bargain Bin: Today I share some of my favorite self-defense items.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.
Windstorm Safety Whistle: This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.
Pepper Spray: This compact pepper spray with a quick release key ring is perfect for everyday carry.
Sabre Family Home and Property Protection Pepper Spray: When deadly force is not warranted, pepper spray or even wasp spray can be used to deter a prowler or suspicious person. This particular type can be mounted next to a door in a manner similar to a fire extinguisher.
Kimber Pepperblaster 2: Unlike typical pepper spray, PepperBlaster II isn’t aerosolized. Rather, each unit contains two cylinders with powerful concentrations of near-pharmaceutical grade oleoresin capsicum (OC). Each cylinder is driven by a pyrotechnic charge and a piston, and the solution travels at 90mph, giving it enough energy to wrap around glasses or a face mask. The range is 13 feet.
Rothco Type III Commercial Paracord: You can get 100 feet of Paracord for very affordably. This is a real bargain but be aware that price can vary substantially depending on the color.
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