Note from Andrew: The complete Why Prep Series has now been consolidated HERE.
Today we present the fourth and final article in our series on why prepare for disasters. In today’s installment we’re going to talk about the personal tragedies that are all too familiar for anyone who survives to adulthood. These are the types of individual and family disasters that affect each and every one of us eventually. These personal disasters are no less capable of causing The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) or more appropriately, The End Of The War As You Know It (TEOTWAYKI) than the dramatic political, environmental or societal changes that we have discussed to date.
In the first article of this series, ‘Why Prep, The Introduction’ we asked and answered the following question:
Question: Why Prep…why become more self-reliant?
Answer: Because it’s the only reasonable and logical response to an unknown future and even a cursory study of history.
In the second article, ‘Why Prep, Historical and Current Examples’ we discussed examples of places and periods where preparedness could have made the difference between survival and suffering (or worse) for you and your family.
In the most recent article of this series, ‘Why Prep, Triggers & Stressors’ we discussed stressor events and individual triggers that have the potential to dramatically change life as we know it on a societal level. These were the big perils that could affect us on regional, national and even an international basis.
Think back on your life. If you’re like me your life has very defined stages. The transition between these stages was likely stressful even if the transition wasn’t due to a traumatic event. While we’re only going to focus on potentially traumatic TEOTWAYKI events in most of this article, the phases of your life may look something like this:
In just a few minutes we took our hypothetical person through 9 life phases…yes the transitions were joyous events but they did signal a transition from one ‘world’ to another. Each phase was distinct from the phase before and the phase after. Is a life so blessed the norm? Hopefully so, but let’s take the same person we discussed above and consider the affects that everyday, mundane disasters…the type every family sees periodically would have on their life.
The traumatic ‘transitions’ listed below have the power to create TEOTWAYKI of a different kind in your life but by becoming preparedness minded and beginning your journey towards preparedness you and your family will become more resilient and have resources necessary to weather even these mundane, everyday tragedies.
As of the writing of this article the most recent U.S. unemployment statistics available are from July 2012. The official, U.S. unemployment rate is 8.3%. This rate, known as the U.3 measures only those people seeking full time work. As you may have guessed from the discussions you’ve had with your friends, family and neighbors this rate doesn’t reflect our true domestic unemployment reality. That’s because the long term unemployed have now been removed from the statistical ‘universe’ from which we calculate the U.3. If you shrink the statistical universe you improve your unemployment numbers…which is a good thing if your boss promised unemployment no higher than 8% and is running for re-election.
Another of the government’s unemployment measurements, the U.6, also includes those “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.” The U.6 includes those who have become discouraged and given up looking for full time work. As of July 2012 the U.6 unemployment sat at 15%.
Shadow Stats, a well respected private analytical firm estimates that true unemployment is currently at 22.9%. If this number is true then almost a quarter of the U.S. workforce is unemployed which has dramatic affects on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and tax revenues.
What do all these different statistics mean to your family…not a thing unless you’re one of the statistics. An extended period of unemployment can shake your confidence and sap your emotional strength. Additionally, it can derail your ongoing preparations for the big disasters and force you to fall back on your prior preparations. However, if you take the time to prepare for any of the big disasters we’ve discussed in our previous articles than you will be in a much better position to deal with the peril of unemployment.
Unfortunately this is another employment situation that is becoming more and more common. The resilience you build prepping for the big disasters will also serve you well here. If you take the time to turn a preparedness related hobby into a part time business you may be able to replace your lost income. Worse case you can live off your preps until your salary rebounds or while you plan your next move
This is a type of loss that virtually all of us have or will experience during our lifetimes. The emotional loss caused by the death of a family member can shake you to the core. Compounding the emotional loss are the potential financial and labor losses. Many of your preps will potentially ease those non-emotional burdens and by becoming more physically fit (an important facet of preparedness) you will be able to deal better with stress…even the overwhelming and emotional stress brought on by the loss of a loved one.
A physical fitness regimen will also help you stave off many health problems and help you rebound faster if you are hurt or sick. Most of our health problems are related to poor physical fitness and a sedentary lifestyle. For those issues that improved physical fitness won’t alleviate your other preps may help you deal with the financial burdens often associated with health problems.
Even ‘safe’ neighborhoods aren’t completely…safe. Copper thefts are a nationwide epidemic, kidnapping is the biggest growth industry for our neighbor to the South (and their moving North) and even cattle rustling is making a comeback. I have an uncle who was robbed by gunpoint in a bank parking lot during the day in his city’s nicest neighborhood and a neighbor who had to chase off home intruders after they kicked in his front door. Part of preparedness is opening up your eyes to the possibilities that life isn’t always safe and developing situational awareness. By becoming more wary you will reduce the likelihood that you will be victimized but some of your preps (like keeping cash and precious metals on hand) will set you up for crime if you don’t practice Stealth Prepping.
As bad as victimization by criminals is…at least you expect criminals to assault you or steal your stuff. With all of the societal changes of the last few years one thing has become perfectly clear…your property is only yours as long as your local government doesn’t have a ‘better’ use for it. Eminent Domain is when the government seizes private property for public use. The 5th Amendment’s Takings Clause in the U.S. Constitution requires ‘just compensation’ when private property is seized and that power has been extended to the states and local jurisdictions. Unfortunately this power has developed into a tool tailor made for tyrants. Over the last few years it has become commonplace for eminent domain projects to be undertaken where private property is taken from one citizen only to be sold to another for a private purposes like a shopping development. Several municipalities and counties in California are even considering using the power of eminent domain to seize performing financial assets (mortgages) from investors. That’s right, there’s justification out there now to seize not just your real property, but also your investments. Make sure to have backup plans for your preps!
Your home is your refuge, your retreat, your castle and the place you likely keep most of your preps. Make sure that you have adequate protection including the installation of protective equipment (smoke detectors, fire detectors, extinguishers, etc.) and only use fire safely (and supervised) in your home. There are additional steps you can take to protect your most important preps like storing them inside a safe room if you have one. Make sure that you have adequate insurance protection on your home and an agent that you can trust (knows what he/she is doing and how to keep his/her mouth shut) who is willing to help you take the additional steps necessary to protect you (preppers have unique insurance needs).
It’s coming folks. Pension underfunding (primarily public) is the dirty little secret that folks are just now starting to talk about. It doesn’t take a Bernie Madoff or complete economic collapse to make your nest egg disappear…it can happen to anyone. Find an advisor you trust, diversify your investments and take advantage of plan vesting schedules to take control of your own money. Consider tangible investments and precious metals during this coming period of economic uncertainty. Many advisors say you can’t take physical control of precious metals in a qualified retirement plan, but I know an attorney who swears he’s figured out a way to do it legally.
Taken alone, these individual tragedies are bad enough, but many of these situations are dramatically more likely to happen as the big stressors we’ve discussed in previous articles take shape. Prep for the little tragedies, prep for the big tragedies…just prep.
In this series of articles we’ve discussed the reasons why we prep. We looked at historical & current examples of TEOTWAWKI, stressors & triggers that can create TEOTWAWKI as well as the individual tragedies that befall us all and create TEOTWAYKI. I’d like to remind you that we prep because it’s the only reasonable and logical response to an unknown future and even a cursory study of history. Additionally, I want to leave you with one final, very important thought…don’t prep out of fear…prep because preparedness banishes fear and leaves you better able to protect and care for your loved ones.