Warning: This is neither an upbeat nor positive post. Wonderful Wife says it is downright depressing.
Over the last several decades I have become ever more concerned about the state of our nation and the state of our world. Maybe it is fear related to age or maybe it is wisdom related to age but sure seems like the world has become a far more dangerous place. I grew up with the threat of nuclear annihilation as something very real and tangible. There were regular drills in school for what to do in case of fire, tornado or nuclear strike. The riots and unrest that accompanied the Vietnam war, the forced integration of schools, race riots and Watergate were more common fare on the one TV set in our house than cartoons but as a TV junky even back then I watched it all. Still, today seems worse. Like I said maybe it is an age thing or maybe it has to do with being responsible for a family, I don’t know.
Concern over the direction things were headed (thankfully) forced a very rude financial awakening in 2007 or so. We began trying to dig ourselves out of the mountain of debt we had piled up. Debt seemed to be of little concern when you work in an industry that at any given time you could jump ship at just about any time for a 20-30% bump in pay but those days were over and it was time to live like all the other grown ups and by 2010 we had made some pretty good progress…financially.
Hurricane Katrina hit just a few hundred miles down I-10 from us. We watched the devastation and the ensuing breakdown in societal structures on the news and, to some degree, in person as we volunteered locally to help those streaming in from New Orleans. Then came Ike and, while were were spared the worst, it made it very clear that we were not properly prepared. It wasn’t until 2010 that we finally decided to do something about it and made a conscious decision to be more prepared.
At that point we began researching and studying. To be honest, we felt pretty silly and embarrassed at first. We thought we were the only ones around here thinking along these lines. We worried that we had become one of those crazy couples the media loves to ridicule. As time went by we found that we were not as far out or as alone out in left field as we thought. In fact, just this weekend we found three members of our Sunday school class were actively involved in some degree of preparedness or another. Counting us, that’s about 50%.
Our first priorities were pretty simple and basic and revolved around being prepared for another hurricane or a similar natural disaster. Food, water, supplies, and fuel for 3 days was our first goal. Later we expanded that to seven days and then fourteen. Reaching those goals were fairly easily accomplished and , with a few exceptions like a generator that took some time save for, fairly quickly achieved as well.
Over the last eight years we became increasingly worried about a different set of disasters. As the national debt soared and the economy slumped the government seemed intent on fanning the flames of division within the US. They also seemed fairly hellbent on taking away the right and the tools required to defend ourselves. Being prepared for financial and societal upheaval became almost as important as being ready for the next hurricane. Making sure we had the firearms and ammunition on hand should become unavailable was a pretty high priority especially as runs on guns and ammo have been pretty much the norm for the last eight years.
Back in November something changed. The expected election result did not happen. The Whitehouse would not be occupied by someone who seemed intent of driving the nation to civil war. Although I was fully expecting some sort of last minute trickery, the inauguration also happened. For a few weeks I have felt that things might be OK; that maybe we could change the trajectory we have been on.
Sadly, I think I was just on a brief, mental vacation.
Hurricanes will still hit the coast. Several more major cities around the nation, including the one I live closest to are heading for bankruptcy. There is no easy or short term fix for the US national debt or the Social Security shortfall. The external threats to the US are not going away anytime soon. Most concerning, the division within the nation is not getting better, if anything it is worsening. As the previous administration marginalized and angered those who hold traditional American values the current administration seems to be doing exactly the same to those who don’t. While physical infrastructure may be built, bridges between the various groups within the US will not. We’re still headed down the same path. The timeline might change a little (one direction or another) but we’re still headed towards a dark time in this country.
That is what I am preparing for.
I don’t claim to know exactly how dark that time will be; Great Depression dark, Civil War dark, Balkan wars dark, Mad Max dark (not sure if that is actually much different), or full on post apocalyptic mutant zombie biker dark.
That’s a bit of a problem when it comes to planning and preparedness.
Without the gift of prophesy, I’ll just have to make some assumptions and plan for those as best I can. Over the next few weeks I plan to spend some time thinking about those assumptions and making plans based on them. My goal is to share that process here. I want to do that for three reasons. First, to get feedback on what I might be missing or if I am way off base on anything. Second, to share what I am doing so that it might help others determine their own set of assumptions and plans.