Civilization as we know it will collapse at 10 a.m. tomorrow; thank you for your business and y’all come back now, hear? Really? Probably not, but what if it does? What if some new government-certified “natural” virus, say monkey-goat-chicken-rabies-pox, wipes out 90 percent of the Earth’s population overnight? Everyone you know is dead and everyone else who survives would most likely kill you for a Klondike Bar. What are you going to do besides wish you had been a bit more forward-thinking? Not much because you are probably going to die. It is, however, my sincere desire to help you not die. So let’s see if we can get your passing rescheduled for a later date.
If you are one of those normal people who keeps telling yourself you’ll get the survival gear you need “later,” today is your lucky day because I’m about to give you some advice that may save your life. Are you ready for it? OK, here it is: STOP DOING THAT. Survival preparedness is one of those cases where procrastinating really could kill you. Preparedness and knowledge are two of the most important components of survival along with confidence and attitude.
How many dead people do you know who actually planned on dying that day? OK, excluding dead lunatics, how many dead people do you know who planned on dying that day? Probably none, huh? Yeah. Funny how things work out, eh? When you put off preparing for survival til next week, what you are really doing is saying to yourself, “I am going to do that stuff next week because I know nothing bad is going to happen before then.” Awesome!. Since you have ESP, I would like to get together with you and do some sports betting. You know, I can’t help but wonder how many people have suddenly found themselves in a submerged car with electric windows that won’t go down and then had this thought, “Man, I was gonna get one of those window breaking thingies next week.” Aint that a kick in the crotch?
I know, I know. It doesn’t flood where you live. Uh huh. That’s what Noah’s neighbors said when they saw the truckload of lumber and two 350HP Evinrudes. in his garage. (Ark? We don neeed no steeenking ark!) The fact is that most people who drown in cars drown in a body of water they did not know was there or in an area not usually prone to flooding. And in nearly every case, something so simple as a ten-dollar window smasher might have saved their lives. Sad.
What if tomorrow your car, with you inside it, ends up at the bottom of a ravine somewhere so wild and thick with growth that your only hope of ever being found is by archaeologists a thousand years from now? When you realize that self-rescue is your only option, you know what you’ll be thinking? Yep. “Man one of those survival kits that crazy writer was always harping about would sure come in handy right now. And just last week I was thinking about making one.” And what’s really going to hurt, besides that big ol’ knot on your skull, is the knowledge that everything you need to fix yourself up and get out of that ditch, could have been assembled in ten minutes from stuff you have around the house. Ouch. Man it sucks to be you.
We could all take a lesson from the Boy Scouts of America. Ever notice their motto is “Be Prepared” and not “Get Prepared”? I should mention that the Girl Scouts of the USA use the very same motto. Now I don’t know a lot about the Girl Scouts, but I know they are for sure-as-heck prepared to sell me some cookies. Having been a Boy Scout myself, as well as a Scoutmaster, I can tell you the Boy Scouts Handbook is a great book to have on hand when things get primitive.
What we are talking about today is minimal preparedness because even minimal preparedness is better than no preparedness. So this article is for you hard-headed people out there who have not listened to my past ranting. We are going to talk about some areas in which you can become minimally prepared in a short time and with little expense – physical, mental, and logistical preparedness.
Unless Bruce Lee was your uncle, most of you can probably use a few tips on self defense. So, everyone who is not related to Bruce Lee, pay attention. Take a simple self-defense class. Remember, this is about minimal preparation so you don’t have to move to China and live with blind Kung Fu monks who call you “Grasshopper”. And you don’t have to wax any cars or paint any fences either. (Unless you just love doing that – we’ll talk.) Just take a simple, basic, self-defense class. Every town has them; call your local cop-shop and find out when and where you can take a class. You can learn some good basic defense techniques in as little as one class. Plus you get the added pleasure of being tossed around for a couple of hours by a community-oriented law enforcement professional. This is not something that would be neat to do; it is something you need to do. Trust me.
While you’re not at the police station learning how to beat up your husband, start a light exercise program with a focus on endurance. All of us need to be exercising at least three times a week anyway, so have at it. If you don’t have a treadmill, get one. If you can’t get one, walk. Decide how long you want to walk and then walk away from your house for half of that time. This way you have no choice but to walk the entire time because you have to walk back home. And it wouldn’t kill you to do a little toning. Don’t forget to stretch before and after exercising.
We covered bug-out bags in an earlier article so, if you haven’t made yours yet, this is for you: If you are not going to spend the time and money to make a real bug-out bag, then please, PLEASE, at least do these two things: get a survival manual, and make a mini-bag. Get a large hunting or survival knife, a fire kit, some cordage, a bottle of water, and some kind of high-calorie snack, and keep them together. Ladies, you can put all of these things in your purse along with your keys, makeup, space shuttle flight manual, and all the other mysterious stuff you have in there. I directed this toward women because men already have most of these things in our pockets anyway. That’s just the way we are. This way, when someone accuses us of being a moron, we can whip out that piece of cord like a gunslinger and say, “Oh yeah? I have string.” (Now picture Lenny from “Of Mice and Men“.) Oddly, this rarely inspires the awe you’d think it would.
You can get 100 ft of 550 paracord (parachute cord) for a couple of bucks, and they actually make a little bracelet out of braided paracord you can get for a couple of dollars too. Both of these can be found on amazon.com and in just about any store with a sporting goods department. Paracord consists of 7 individual strands inside a nylon sheath. The sheath has a tensile strength of 200 lbs and the individual strands have a tensile strength of 50 lbs each. So, if you do the math, paracord will hold 75, 000 lbs. If you do the math correctly, it will hold 550 lbs. Thus “550” cord. It is one of the most versatile items in your survival kit. You can use it for building shelters, small-game snares, making a bow-and-drill fire starter, and many other things. The inner strands can even be used as fishing line. And of course there is my favorite: strangling your enemies. Hey, just sayin’…
Your small fire kit ought to contain at least three ways of making fire, say a disposable lighter, waterproof matches, and a magnesium fire starter. Don’t use a liquid-fueled lighter such as a Zippo because liquid fuel evaporates. You can also use things like fire pistons (which are ridiculously expensive), magnifying glasses, chemicals, etc… I’m a bit reluctant to encourage using chemicals (such as glycerin and potassium permanganate) to start fires because they are bulky and, when amateurs start messing around with volatile chemicals, sooner or later as any 12 year old boy can tell you, there is going to be an explosion.
The knife should be a big sturdy one because, not only is it going to take some abuse, such as being used as a hammer, but it needs to be big enough to be lashed to a pole (with your paracord) and used as a spear-point. And hey, not only do spears come in handy for fishing, hunting, and self-defense but, there is almost nothing that looks as cool as a hot chick with a spear. Unless there is absolutely no other choice, try to avoid using a skinning knife. Curved blades make very poor spear-points. In fact, I would just use a sharpened, fire-hardened, stick rather than a skinning knife.
In the event of a catastrophic change, If you haven’t prepared yourself mentally, you are going to have a rough go of it, if you survive at all, because you are going to wast valuable time diddling around wondering what to do. You need to steel yourself to the idea that things can suddenly change at any given moment. Recognize that and then make a conscious decision that you are going to remain alive. Spend some time daydreaming about it. Ask yourself questions every day: How much do I know about survival? Could I make a shelter if I had too? Could I kill for food? Could I eat a rat? (If not, give your rats to me; I’ll eat ’em.) Could I kill a human being in self-defense? Who played Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie? See what I mean? You’ve got to deal with these tough questions before things go south.
The idea of this rant was to get you to take at least one proactive step toward being prepared for survival in the event of a catastrophe. Congratulations then; having read this, you are now probably ninety percent more prepared than everyone within sight of you right now. Don’t spend all day admiring yourself though; get busy and make that mini-bag if you haven’t already made your bug-out bag. Order that survival manual and at least flip through it once in a while. And stop looking at me like I’m weird.