Cogitation: Your Enemy Has A Vote

Cogitation: “Your Enemy Has A Vote”

Cogitation is concerted thought, reflection, meditation, or contemplation.  “Cogitation” highlights cognitive ideas that cross our paths.  These ideas and thoughts don’t really warrant full articles.  They are important enough to be shared as food for thought before forgotten.

Cogitation: Man Made Conflict

Recently, Ed Turzanski, Co-Chairman of the Center for the Study of Terrorism at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, was on a local morning talk show.  He was discussing the July 17th shoot down of the Malaysian passenger jet over western Ukraine.  The attackers appeared to be the pro-Russian rebels in the area. He was highlighting failures in US foreign policy in regards to the on going conflict.  He framed an idea that I found very simple and profound at the same time.

Paraphrasing, he said, “Your enemy has a vote.  Even if you disengage, your adversary will still be active.  It is better to have some positive control, than to have none at all.”

I can’t help but think that his statement is central to the concept of Full Spectrum Preparedness.  On many different levels it holds true. “Your enemy” doesn’t necessarily have to be a somebody. It can be inaction.  It can be bad government policy. It can even be the entropy created by a SHTF scenario.Cogitation: Natural Disaster

Stay engaged in actively preparing and learning how to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. Stay engaged in the political world around you and your community.  Help craft the decisions that frame your world. Create a mind set of staying engaged when confronted with direct conflict.  Even if your strategy is to disengage on different levels, try to maintain some of control over the situation.

In the end, you would be well served to remember; your enemy DOES have a vote.

 

Self Reliance Skills: Teach Someone Something

Why learn new self reliance skills

Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, and trying to cut down your reliance on outside entities is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that must be worked on and fostered. Part of that entails learning the skills and gathering the knowledge to do so. Without continued learning, your efforts stagnate, and you never achieve your goals. There is not a single person that I know who is traveling the path towards self reliance who is not constantly trying a new technique, or reading some book or manual in order to learn new skills and accumulate more knowledge.

Teaching4Why pass on your self reliance skills

For many, a natural progression after gaining, or mastering, new skills, is to pass them along. The obvious answer as to why they do this is that they are propagating the idea of self-reliance and independent living. On the other hand, many people don’t consider themselves teachers and don’t have the confidence to teach others what they know. If you fall in to the latter category, there are a couple of reasons why you should reconsider becoming a teacher or mentor, if for no other reason then for your own self-improvement.

The first reason is that by teaching others, you are forced to critically break down the process. You gain a more intimate knowledge of what you are teaching. By doing so, you become better at whatever you are passing along. The second reason for teaching others what you know is that you expose yourself to new ideas and outlooks on the subject matter. A student may give you fresh angle on the topic, or impart some knowledge you don’t have.

Andrew’s Note:  In my Army life I’ve always volunteered to teach topics that I struggled with…preparing to teach others is the best way to learn a difficult topic or perfect your knowledge.

Teaching Fire Making Skills

Teaching Fire Making Skills

How people learn new self reliance skills

People learn new skills and knowledge in through three primary methods. We all incorporate all three methods when we learn. Everybody will gravitate towards one primary method dependent on their personality and hard wiring. It is important to know how your students learn and what method(s) are best suited to your topic.  Tailor your class to have the maximum impact by incorporating multiple teaching methods appropriate for your topic.

The three types of learners are:

  • The visual learner – This person gathers most of their information through their visual senses. They like to watch videos, read and take notes. They tend to organize the information in a format that is balanced and aligned.
  • The auditory learner – This person’s primary learning input is via listening. They prefer lectures and often ask questions. They tend to prefer discussions over what they don’t understand, and remember verbal instructions well.
  • The tactile learner – This person learns best by doing. They prefer to attend “how-to” workshops, doing labs and studying with others. They tend to dislike lectures and prefer to be active in their learning process.
Cody L. giving a class on survival techniques

Cody Lundin giving a class on survival techniques

Techniques for teaching self reliance skills

Since we now know the primary ways people learn, let’s go over several ways to go about teaching people the skills you know.

  • Direct instruction – This technique uses lectures to pass along information. It is good for passing along large amounts of information in a short amount of time. The drawback of the technique is that is very inflexible.
  • Problem based – This technique gives the student a problem, and then allows them to come up with an answer. It is used to develop critical thinking skills. The downside to this method is that it takes more teacher guidance, supervision and time.
  • Co-operative – The technique allows students to share and develop their knowledge with group members. Not to be confused with simple group work, true cooperative learning activities are highly structured. Again, it takes a lot of teacher supervision and guidance.
  • Field based – This technique takes students out into the real world to experience new information firsthand while being able to use all their senses. The upside to this is that it accommodates all learning styles well. The downside is that it is dependent on multiple environmental variables.

Teaching5Effecting teaching of self reliance skills

Now that we know how people learn, and several methods of teaching, it is important to touch upon some personal skills that will help you translate your skills and knowledge into student learning:

  • Communications – The ability to effectively communicate is key to keeping students engaged. This applies to the written word as well as the spoken.
  • Presence – Patience, demeanor and leadership are paramount in the classroom. Remember that the students are always watching you, and their behavior will be a reflection of what they see.
  • Planning – Have a good lesson plan. Even if you know the material inside and out, a good plan will help you stay on track and make the most of your time.
  • Flexibility – Be flexible, the unexpected will happen. Be ready to change directions and still keep the students attention.  Capitalize on mishaps, surprises and mistakes as ‘teachable moments.’

“I can’t teach anyone the self reliance skills I know!”

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin

AJ teases me about being an “evangelical prepper”, because I am constantly trying to bring new folks into the fold.  I gladly take that title on, and so should you.  Your teachers and mentors passed along the self reliance skills and knowledge that you are using to live a more self-reliant and independent lifestyle.  Pay it forward and teach and mentor others even if the thought terrifies you. At the end of the day, you’ll have gained more than you gave out, and chances are that you’ll have learned something along the way.

Conflicted-The Survival Card Game Review

Recently, a friend said, “Hey I’ve got this new card game that looks like it would be a hoot.”  He handed me the deck, and briefly gave an explanation of the idea behind the game.  I thumbed through the deck, and replied, “Looks interesting, we’ll have to play some time.”  Several weeks later, we decided to do a cook out and give the game a try.  I purposefully did not look the game up online so as not to taint my view of it by reading promotional material or other reviews.  All I knew going in was that it was a called Conflicted-The Survival Card Game and that it presented moral dilemmas for the players to discuss.  Game night finally arrived, and Mrs. Grumpy G, or as I more affectionately call her “She Who Must Be Obeyed” arrived on target.  The ladies made small talk, while our host and I sat on the deck watching dinner cook.  After dinner and a few drinks, we retired to the front room and commenced the night’s journey.

Conflicted-The Survival Card Game Review – What you get:

The publisher describes the game as:

Conflicted: The Survival Card Game is a brand new way for survivalists to share their philosophies about prepping. It’s a game that can be a serious conversation between established prepper groups, or it can be a fun way to introduce someone to the concept of prepping.  Conflicted helps you show other preppers why you are prepping, why your reason for prepping matters, and what your survival philosophy is when choosing life vs your morals. 

The quality of the cards is good.  They are nice and thick.  On one side is the game’s logo and deck number (there are two decks currently out).  The other side contains a short blurb describing the moral dilemma you face.  The scenarios range from mundane to “who’s the sick puppy that came up with that one?”  The mundane would be something like, “You have advanced warning of a coming disaster, and only $200.  What would you purchase, before the panic buying of the masses kicks in.”  On the other end of the spectrum would be “A witch doctor shows up at your compound offering gold and ammo for the livers of the dead littering the landscape.  You are short on both.  Would you risk disease, and potential death collecting livers for him?”  For the record, that was probably my favorite card of the night, because the answer was so simple, at least to me.  I won the card by stating without hesitation that I would put a bullet between his eyes and feed him to the pigs.  That kind of evil can’t be dealt with in a civil manner.

The lettering and the scenario side of the cards is white, on a black background.  Font size is a little small so those with weaker eyes should bring reading glasses.  In fact, this is where my only complaint about the card deck itself comes in.  There are a pair of rules card in the deck as well.  Rules are quite simple.  Basically, one player draws a card, and reads the scenario to the player on their left.  The other players then grade the answer and award the reading player from 0 to 3 points, giving them a score for that round.  Play passes around the group, until everyone has had a turn; ending the current round.   Scores are tallied for each player, and after the end of 12 rounds the player with the highest score wins.  There are currently 2 decks available, the basic deck, and an add-on with more scenarios.  I gather from the publisher’s web site that more are in the works.  They even have a scenario submission link on their home page.

The Players:

Our group of players consisted of a mixed bag of personalities.  There were two men, and three women.  I and the other gent are both versed in survivalism/preparedness, even if we have slightly different approaches on the subject and are both military vets.  The women had all been exposed to the prepper world, even if they don’t have 100% buy in.  All three fall into the mamma bear category but they each brought their own world view to the table.  Mrs. Grumpy G is a bit conservative, even if she can’t quite express it at times and occasionally gets tripped up by the liberal media.  By the end of the night I realized that Mrs. Host was what I good naturedly calling a ‘stealth hippy’.  Her answers were just as often guided by her heart and need to be “good” as they were by reason.  Don’t interpret that as necessarily a bad thing (more on that later).   The last person, Auntie D could be considered a compassionate pragmatist giving equal weight to doing the “right” thing as what’s called for by the ‘reality’ of the scenarios.   After we all got settled, drinks were topped off, and the game started.

Conflicted Card GameThe Game:

We quickly modified the rules to have the active player pick a card and read the scenario to the group.  Everyone, in turn, explains how they would handle that particular situation.  The reader then decides who gave the best answer, in their eyes, and hands the card to that player.  Like I said, the scenarios run the gamut.  Some are straight up moral questions.  Some with easy answers, like the witch doctor one mentioned while others engender a more philosophical approach.  Others, are nuts and bolts questions like “What would you buy, and why?”  After a couple of revolutions around the table, it became apparent that each player’s outlook on life flavored their answers.  The men in our group tended to lean more towards swift justice, prudence, and violence of action when necessary.  When it came to matters of honor, we tended to value it more than safety.  When presented with enough evidence to suggest our sacrifice wouldn’t be in vain we were willing.  The women tended to answer more with their hearts; some more than others .  The only exception seemed to be with scenarios that involved children at which point the women became a vicious cut-throat bunch.   Also… apparently, neither Mr. Host or I have enough feminine hygiene products on hand for the end of the world.  We agreed to work on that.

Surprisingly…or maybe not… the women took an early lead in the game.  I honestly think they thought we were a couple of blood thirsty nut jobs at one point.  Mrs. Grumpy G, even after being exposed to me for 22 years gave me a couple of sideways looks as I answered questions.  That’s OK… she generated a couple of WTF moments for me as well.  As the game went on and we explained our answers more the men began to win more cards.  Some of the cards have a theological bent; like “Would you deny God, just to live?”  Interestingly, these cards created a lot of sidebar discussion.  It gave us a chance to discuss how Christians are supposed to deal with these questions compared to how we actually do it.  About midway through the game it dawned on me that what we were seeing was a rough psychological profile of each person developing.  It also demonstrated how the different personalities in a group can complement or contrast with each other.  I made a comment about that fact and Mr. Host said Conflicted was absolutely a tool that could be used in that manner.  As the game went on, I decided that if we were thrown into an cataclysmic end of the world situation, the group playing the game would probably work well.  Mr. Host and I would be the hammers when the problems were nails, and the women would be there to ensure that we didn’t decide that every problem was a nail.  They were compassionate but Mr. Host and I were able to get them to admit that sometimes… in trying times… very unsavory things must be done and that doing them doesn’t necessarily forfeit one’s humanity.

Conclusion:

The game was enjoyable and not solely based on the company.  The moral scenarios are thought provoking, and if you enjoy discussing ethics, you’ll get that in spades.  The nuts and bolts questions give a good opportunity to educate and pass on knowledge to the less seasoned members of the group.  Used as a tool for exploring group dynamics, I think the developers hit it out of the ball park.  I learned some stuff about others in the group that kind of surprised me, and I know I surprised a couple of the other players.  In the end, if you are inclined to this sort of thing, Conflicted is a game that lends itself to an enjoyable evening.  I’m not sure about the replay ability of it.  If you played with the same group more than a couple of times you would need to purchase the add-on decks, or bring new bodies in to the mix to keep it fresh.  There were some discussion in our gaming group about inviting a couple that are decidedly NOT of the survivalist strain to join a future game night.  One member thought it wouldn’t be a good idea, while I just think it would be a hoot to see how they handled it.   In the digital age, I think another great way to play this game would be hosted on-line.  All in all, I think I am going to invest in Conflicted-The Survival Card Game as I enjoyed it and would like to see how other friends would answer and react.

Addendum:

You may have noticed me mentioning drinks a couple of times.  In all honesty, the reviewable portion of our game ended about half way through.  As more drinks were poured certain members of the group (Mrs. Grumpy G and Mrs. Host) became more affected by the alcohol and their answers became a bit less inhibited and a great deal more hilarious.  By the end of the evening I think I could have convinced both of them that we needed to start our own head hunting mercenary group and rid the world of left handed midgets.  The suggestion was even made at some point that maybe we needed to larder up more alcohol, should TEOTWAWKI come.  I am not advocating drinking in excess.  I will say that if your group does drink, the dynamics of the game will change as the night wears on and the ‘dead soldiers’ stack up.  If you have some happy drunks in your midst, then Conflicted-The Survival Card Game can also be very funny.

Andrew’s Note:  Conflicted is a Prepography advertiser.

I’m Not A Prepper!

Andrew’s Note:  Today’s article “I’m Not A Prepper” comes to us from Grumpy G as an addendum to the first article he wrote for Prepography, The End Of The World Starts At Home.  Grumpy G and I have been discussing some of his home food production techniques and he has graciously offered to share some of his techniques with our readers but he must have been getting a little grief for a comment he made in that first article as he asked for an opportunity to clarify his comments.  I find his perspective which I call ‘evangelical self-reliance’ refreshing and distinct from my own version of Stealth Prepping.  Both approaches seek to maintain Operational Security (OPSEC) but each system seeks privacy from a slightly different approach:

A.J. and I have been discussing some contributions I can make to the Food Preparedness facet of his Full Spectrum Preparedness discussions but before I do, I have to explain a comment I made in my inaugural post, The End Of The World Starts At Home.  The blasphemy I uttered was that “I hate the word prepper.”  I know it seems weird that on a site named “Prepography” a featured writer would declare “I’m not a prepper” but let me explain…

My dislike of the word “prepper” comes in two forms with the second form building on the first.

First, the word prepper has developed negative connotations recently in some circles.  In these circles, prepper translates more as “That Prepper Guy”, as Prepography‘s editor, AJ describes him.  It’s not a flattering picture that the non-initiated create in their minds.

People enjoy talking about what they are passionate about.  Say in conversation it comes up that you have three months of food set aside (I know, major OPSEC fail but bear with me).  They ask, “Are you a prepper?”  You have prepared some, so you proudly reply, “Why yes, I am!”  Thanks to pop culture and sensationalistic journalism (I use the word journalism loosely) the mental picture many people paint is that negative image.  In their ignorance, they view you as a kook and anything you say thereafter is tainted by that “prepper” image no matter how pertinent, factual or well reasoned.   On the other hand, if in conversation you tell someone how you’ve canned, dehydrated and frozen your garden harvest, or hunted meat; those very same people will become curious and begin to ask questions.  In this teachable moment they become open to the possibility that maybe they can do these, dare I say it…preparedness activities as well.  I’ve piqued the interest of several people talking about hunting expeditions, tending my garden, and raising rabbits; all without using the word “prepper.”  By breaking the ice this way I’ve even managed to get a few folks to admit that being more prepared and self-sufficient is a prudent course.  A few have even taken steps in the right direction and asked me for additional guidance along the way.

My second objection builds on the “that prepper guy” stereotype as promulgated by some elements of our pop culture.  Many self-identifying “preppers” started down their path thanks to those very same pop culture references we’ve mentioned.  The fact that they are becoming more prepared is a good thing in itself.  However, the problem as I see it is that these pop culture influenced trendy preppers miss the preparedness point.  Sure, they’ve hit the local COSTCO, WalMart or online Mountain House sale and purchased three months of storage food.  They may even have bought a gun…which was most likely an AR…(or as I like to call them a “Barbie Gun.”  [Andrew’s Note:  I hereby and forever disavow any besmirching of Eugene Stoner, Armalite and Colt’s legacy by referring to one of the greatest firearms ever built as a “Barbie Gun”]  Maybe the new prepper has even shelled out the big bucks for their very own Bug Out Location (BOL).  At this point, many Johnny-come-lately preppers sit back and revel in the size of their stockpiles.  While material preparedness is important and an integral part of any preparedness plan they’re missing the most important facets of their preparedness plan.  Without knowledge, skills as well as resilience (physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual) these ‘preppers’ remain unprepared no matter how big the size of their stockpile.  Unfortunately, for many motivated by the current “prepper” craze, those preparedness efforts more in depth than opening their wallet is rejected because they don’t want to risk becoming “that prepper guy.”

The smart or intuitive among them understands that once the material supplies run out there will be nothing left.  In most survival, grid down, disaster situations this won’t be a problem because the event will be relatively short lived but in a truly catastrophic event the lack of knowledge, skills and resilience can be the difference between life and death.  Being prepared means than just having the stuff…it involves doing the things.  Gathering ideas, build knowledge, practice skills, improve your self…body and mind.  True preparedness means changing your lifestyle to be more self-sufficient.  It means mentally preparing for the worst even while hoping for the best.  These are some of the reasons that I like sites like Preography, The Survivalist Board, and The Survival Podcast; amongst others.  These sites are about leading a more prudent and self-sufficient life rather than just stockpiling preparedness supplies and toys.   In the end, you will most likely see me use the term “prepper.”  It is simply too hard to discuss preparing and preparedness without using that most descriptive of nouns to describe the preparedness minded individual.  Just understand that I am using “prepper” under my terms as a way to describe someone who is prudent, far sighted and attempting to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Andrew’s Note:  Regardless of what Grumpy G chooses to call himself I think he’s got a lot to offer Prepography‘s readers.  To read more about Grumpy G’s background and self reliance philosophy check out his author biography.

The End Of The World Starts At Home

Andrew’s Note:  Today I’m pleased to present the first article from my friend and fellow self reliance aficionado, Grumpy G who in spite of hating the term ‘prepper’ is a rather accomplished…prepper…I mean ‘survivalist’ himself.  You can read more about Grumpy G’s background and philosophy from his author biography.  Grumpy G is absolutely right that preparing for the end of the world starts at home.  

The end of the world must be a very sexy thing.  Volumes of books, reels of celluloid and mega-gigabits of electronic data have been devoted to describing it, exploring it, and dissecting it.  “Preppers” (oh how I dislike that term; that is another topic, though) read the books, watch the films, discuss and debate the subject, because they see the threat in it and know it is smart to be prepared.  Many a “prepper” has their pet fear, even though they won’t admit it.  That fear is so overwhelming to many that it seems to take center stage in their preparations.  In fact, the idea has become so prevalent that National Geographic has built an entire series around it named “Doomsday Preppers”.  These pet fears range far and wide, from worldwide pandemic, to economic collapse, to “climate change”, to peak oil, and so on. Just cruise any forum devoted to “prepping” and you will see that a large portion of survival devotees fanatically focus on their individual pet fear at the exclusion of other possibilities.  These single fear prepper argue their points with non-believers and purveyors of alternative pet prepper fears ad-nauseum.  They spend thousands of dollars preparing for their ‘favored’ apocalypse.

The top may pop off of the Yellowstone Caldera, a 500M asteroid may hit the earth and the political class who are so much ‘smarter’ than us may very well drive the world’s economy into total collapse.  All of these things, along with their associated aftermaths, are very real threats.  Truth be told though, even many of these genuine threats are statistically unlikely to happen in our lifetimes.  By pointing this out, I am not saying that these fears aren’t real or valid in fact, if there is one thing that my time on Earth has taught me is that anything is possible, and most things can be classified as bad to those who are not prepared.

The point of these ramblings is that I think the “prepper” who focuses on a single threat misses the whole point of preparedness.  The important part of “The End Of The World As We Know It” isn’t “The End Of The World”…it’s “As We Know It”.   99.9% of us will never experience a truly cataclysmic event and the vast majority of us won’t even experience a major calamity like the Boxing Day earthquake of 2004.  I guarantee, though, that 100% of us will experience an event right in your very own home that will change your world.  In fact, over the course of your lifetime, you will experience many of these types of events.  Prepography’s editor describes these events as “The End Of The World As You Know It” (TEOTWAYKI) in his commentary Why Prep.

These events will come in the form of a job loss, house fire, a physical disability of some sort, or the loss of a loved one.  All of these events affect us on a very personal level and have an impact on the 3 S’s of survival…sustenance, shelter and security.  Whether it’s the loss of income impacting our household food budget, or the loss of shelter due to a natural event or the loss of a loved one, these are the things that one should look at as the most likely threat to their stability with everything else including a worldwide (insert your pet fear) coming in second.

If you lose your job and are able to provide meals for your family by dipping into your “End of the World” preps, great but what if those preps cost $20,000 and you have no emergency funds to pay for your health insurance, your power bill and your mortgage?.  If you lose your house to a fire and you have a bug out location to retreat to that’s fantastic but what if that location is too far from your job to commute?  My point is, don’t prepare for the black swan event at the expense of the everyday living and the mundane “The End Of The World As You Know It” events.  Building on and developing a more self reliance mindset and lifestyle will serve you equally well with the big scary events as it will with the personal tragedies and set-backs.

I admit that focusing on and preparing for cataclysmic events is great fun but don’t take care of them to the detriment of the little everyday things you can do to become more self reliant..  Taking care of things like your personal finances, health and household concerns are prudent measures and guaranteed to improve your readiness and preparedness even if you never even experience a local natural disaster much less TEOTWAWKI event.

If you play your cards right, prudent life choices and those preparations you make can lead you to a life where those unexpected events and emergencies that crush others will become mere inconveniences to you.  The survivalists that balance the little and the big are the ones who will not only survive but will truly prosper when and if a TEOTWAWKI event happens in their lives

Simple Sabotage – OSS Field Manual #3 Part 2

Today we present the second installment of our serial publication of OSS Field Manual #3 covering “Simple Sabotage.”  This sabotage manual was issued by the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of Strategic services or OSS on 17 January 1944 and presents OSS doctrine for encouraging acts of Simple Sabotage by soldiers and civilians within the Axis controlled territories.  Today we pick up where the Introduction left off and discuss the Possible Effects of Simple Sabotage.

As we noted yesterday, acting on any of the techniques presented here would not be good for your job security if employed today.  This information is presented for historical and entertainment purposes only.

(more…)

Simple Sabotage – OSS Field Manual #3 Part 1

The OSS Field Manual #3 covering “Simple Sabotage” was issued by the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of Strategic services or OSS on 17 January 1944.  Today we present the preface by William J. (Wild Bill) Donovan [a Medal of Honor winner] and the Introduction.  Check Prepography daily as we publish subsequent chapters or download the original declassified version from the CIA online archives.  What follows was OSS doctrine for encouraging acts of Simple Sabotage by soldiers and civilians within the Axis controlled territories and would not be good for your job security if employed today. (more…)

Preparedness Lessons From The Amish

Recently I traveled to Amish country with my wife Rachel and a small group of friends.  Our guide was an “English” who has cultivated long term friendships within the Amish, Mennonite and other faith communities in his area.  I enjoy learning about other cultures and often find preparedness lessons in what I learn and observe…my recent trip was no exception and here are the Preparedness Lessons From The Amish community.

Technology Mix:  Amish communities carefully select what technologies to adopt.  I won’t go into the spiritual side of why the communities make their decisions but suffice it to say that they live with a mix of modern technologies like solar panels intermingled with anarchistic technologies like horse drawn buggies and kerosene lanterns.  As a prepper you must also decide on what mix of technologies you employ in your daily life and just-in-case preparations.  Some preppers think that they’d be lost without a generator, deep freeze, electric heaters and electric lights.  Others are willing to heat with wood, store food in root cellars and rely on LED flashlights and lanterns recharged by solar panels.  Choose the best solutions for your environment, experience, physical abilities and financial resources.  Mix and match technologies to fulfill your needs.  The Amish are much less reliant on modern technology than anyone reading this article but even the Amish aren’t unwilling to learn and adopt certain modern technologies…take this same approach in your preps by learning and including antiquated technologies and practices when appropriate.

Community is Key:  Your immediate community represented by family and faith connections makes up for the inability of any one household to be fully self sufficient but the greater community represented by neighbors, co-workers, business colleagues and acquaintances is just as important.  In the community I was in the Amish, the ‘English’ and the other communities have a symbiotic relationship where the Amish provide craftsmanship (construction, furniture, crafts, etc.) and quality foodstuffs while the ‘English’ provide transportation (drove Amish work crews to the city for construction work), markets (conduit to get Amish goods to the tourists and channel the tourists to the Amish services) and communications (facilitate Amish access to the internet to purchase necessary items that can’t be procured locally as well as provide telephone service to the phone booths outside most Amish homes).

A Little Tolerance & Decorum Go A Long Way:  You’d expect that with so many immersive faith communities sharing such a small community that there would be constant conflict between those living the ‘right way’ and those living the ‘wrong way.’  In my short foray into the Amish communities I often found myself surrounded by an eclectic mix of Amish, Mennonites, Methodists, Baptists and the unchurched.  Even my normally rowdy travel mates fell into a comfortable, culturally neutral  pattern of behavior where everyone not only tolerated each other’s differences, but accommodated their views of modesty and decorum.  I found the small community I visited much more civil and less fractured than communities I’ve visited and lived in that were much more homogeneous in their demographics.

Reputation is Everything:  When dealing with others across the void of radically different cultures you must be even more scrupulous in fostering and preserving your good reputation.  The person you’re buying from or selling to may not understand who you are or where you come from… he may virtually live in another century technologically…the only thing he or she may know of you is how you treat with him.  Your reputation is your most valuable asset and may someday represent the difference between life and death…protect it accordingly.

These are the lessons this tourist took away from my Amish community visit.  I’d be interested to know what preppers that live alongside the Amish day-to-day feel they’ve learned from their Amish friends and neighbors.

Next time I want to learn more about Amish appliances like kerosene powered refrigerators and washing machines…might come in handy some day.,

Back In The Jungle Again – Today’s Quote

Duel

Well, you never know…you just never know.  You just go along figuring some things don’t change ever, like being able to drive on a public highway without someone trying to murder you and then one stupid thing happens.  Twenty, twenty-five minutes out of your whole life, and all the ropes that kept you hanging in there get cut loose, and it’s like, there you are, right back in the jungle again. 

Dennis Weaver as David Mann in the movie Duel, released in 1971.  Duel was directed by a young Steven Spielberg and was adapted for the screen by the short story’s author, Richard Matheson.

Prepper Pete Prepares – A Book Review

In general I’m very hesitant to expose very young children to the idea of preparedness.  Children need to feel loved and safe and the idea of preparedness can cause extreme anxiety in those not yet emotionally able to deal with the possibilities…heck, in my experience most adults aren’t intellectually and emotionally mature enough to understand the need for preparedness.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for teaching children age appropriate preparedness skills, just not scaring the wits out of them.  That said, when Kermit Jones, Jr. contacted me and said he’d like to send me a preparedness book he’d written for kids, I thought I’d at least see if he had a better approach.  That book is Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids.

(more…)

« Older Entries Next Entries »

%d bloggers like this: