Three Blind Mice In Night Vision Goggles

This is an oldie but goodie. I posted this with some email readers a couple of years ago but the information remains pertinent today . In many the classes I teach about mindsets and a person's psychological well being. The well-fare of the mind is critical in all stages of preparedness.

When selecting the topic I wanted to share a difference of opinions to the topic. I will give you three different perspectives to the point of being prepared and surviving. We all have opinions and how can I tell you that you are wrong when it's your opinion. Right? Only you know how you react to things.

Now, you may not have been dealt a traumatic experience in your past or maybe you have and now you are tougher and more balanced to deal with stress and making decisions with your feet grounded. I found the three authors below, all interesting, to have good points. The author of "If you are not thinking tactically you are not a survivalist" kindly attacks the second author, "Selco" (mentions Gray or lone wolf however the narrative fits Selco) and suggests some of his points are not exactly correct. I won't agree or disagree with either of the authors. But, I will say this, author Smith, is writing from a ten year experience in the field with lots of training and discussion on the topic. Selco had no experience in his real life experience and was thrust in to the conflict by a reality of "act or die." The third author, Gayle's approach is one of managing stress and is a female. A prepper without past experience. She suggest remaining grounded and planning for what you can control and avoiding the "doom and gloomer" authors who seem to appear in increasing numbers weekly. Folks no one knows what tomorrow brings. Or next week or next month for that matter. Through salvation we know our eventual destination. However, these folks are speaking strictly from earthly realities. I have to revert back to a famous line by former heavy weight boxing champion, Mike Tyson when he said "having a plan A, B, and C, is great until your opponent punches you square in the chops."

A select few of you who I have spent time around discussing the topic of "Preparedness" understands what I'm about to say. I can tell you from personnel experience, we as individuals can train 24/7 and read every book available, however, until you are put to the test YOU will not know how you will react or how long you can sustain the pressures of the stress and event. In my life, I have responded to stressful events and witnessed career professionals with all the simulated training and text book knowledge fold up like a cheap suit. A REALLY cheap suit. And because of this, personnel deployed to do other functions were immediately reassigned to do the main task. In this specific case, recover dead bodies. This is not a slam on those who folded. It's just a reality of fact and what stress and levels of psychological trauma can do to the most prepared.

It's easy to buy weapons and spend hours at the firing range shooting at targets and simulated scenarios we like to create. But, until you are faced with looking down a barrel and a projectile coming back at your head........you won't know how you will respond if faced with it. I'm telling you, nothing will get your attention as quick as that "whiz" sound zipping by you and the thud of it hitting behind you. I pray that none of you ever face this. My No 1 suggestion would be when you go to the range practice your quick drawl as much as your target ID and engagement. Sometime when you are bored with nothing to do, practice your three step quick draw method. Just make sure your weapon is EMPTY!!! Don't want any Barney Fifes in the gang. Even though I've experienced things I would rather forget, my question to myself is "has aging and attitude changed where I stand today compared to years ago when I endured these events?"

One of the things I really like in the last article by author 3, Gayle, is her approach to basic stress management. Author Smith is talking tactics in preparedness before the event. Selco is talking survival when thrust in to a war in the Balkans. Author 3, Gayle, approaches the key ingredient to it all. Before you can have tactics and survive you MUST do basic preparedness. I.E. Secure your food, water, shelter, and security for basic needs like we should do for a snow storm, ice storm, tornado, hurricane, or any other possible threat.

Remember, we prepare ourselves to be balanced and have the ability to take care of our home and family, right? If we start focusing on this threat and that threat, we will be prepared for one and not the other. You can read and balance yourself to your own circumstances. YOU know YOU best, right? I can tell you, I have my own moments where I get overloaded with all of the information afloat and what is or isn't true. I normally find some space and pray more than usual or lean on my buddy DP (reader) to help me get both feet back to the ground. I try to avoid having baggage at home in order to prevent my stress from becoming my wife's stress. I always know when she is stressed because she covertly gets on her IPAD or IPHONE at 2 AM to read on a topic or research it to get me more info on a topic. It is a very covert approach however I must get her some of the colored screens for her IPAD. Her backlight lights up the bedroom like Yankee Stadium. Ha. It's easy to get sucked in to the vacuum of information. We like to know, what is true and when can we expect it. Just a trait of being human. So, back to what I wrote above, "I'm not going to slam any of the three authors" and I hope you now see why. So, what say you?

Author 1 - Smith

If You Are Not Thinking Tactically You Are Not A Survivalist

Thursday, 26 March 2015 05:16 Brandon Smith

I am taking a short break from my latest series on the real numbers behind our failing economy to address an issue within the Liberty Movement that I find a bit disturbing; namely the issue of inadequate strategic thinking and common sense amongst a certain new crop of survival writers, "gurus", and their fans. I have only been a survival and prepping enthusiast for ten years, and I have been training in tactical methodologies for six years, but I think the near constant saturation of training I have received over that time makes me at least moderately qualified to discuss survival philosophies. During my work in the alternative media, I am also exposed to all of the undercurrents and trends within the movement, including many negative and destructive trends.

The following article is only a summation of my personal observations. I am sure some people will disagree with my conclusions and claim that the exact opposite reality is true for them, and that's great. If they don't see the same problems around them that I see, then they are lucky. I can only relate my experiences based on my dealings with hundreds of thousands of liberty proponents on a monthly basis.

Surviving has become in some ways a mainstay of popular culture over the course of the past few years. The mainstream still calls us "paranoid kooks" and "doom and gloomers", but they can't seem to get rid of us. Survivalists are a fact of American life now. However, surviving as a philosophy remains in the infant stages of its progression.

Most of us have never lived through a full spectrum crisis event. Most of us have not lived through the peak damage of an economic collapse. Most of us have not been trapped in a war zone (except by choice through enlistment). Most of us have NO real world experience whatsoever in terms of surviving a true catastrophe. Therefore, it behooves us to NOT make detrimental assumptions where such an event is concerned.

Every once in a while, a person who claims to have survived a collapse event in a foreign nation gives instruction to the movement. Sometimes this instruction is based on true insight, but sometimes the instruction is so amoral and dishonorable it becomes clear that the person only survived because they embraced their inner psychopath (see my article 'A Moral Code For The Post-Collapse World' ), destroying others in order to subsist rather than having any actual sustainable skills, and they lucked out in the fact that no one had the chance to visit revenge upon them. This is, of course, piracy, not a legitimate survivalist; for without other people to plunder resources from, the pirate is useless and dies. What the world needs are producers and intelligent innovators in order to function or rebuild. The problem is, the existence of "pirates", looters, thugs, and in some cases corrupt government funded murderers, makes life for the average producer rather difficult. I would say that for some survivalists destiny will require them to risk their lives in order to protect and defend producers, not to mention the very values and morals they hold dear. Unfortunately, it is not enough to have "sheepdogs" around, and anyone who thinks the sheepdog is the end all be all of a thriving post-collapse society is living in a fantasy land.

The reality is, EVERY GOOD PERSON, young and old, man and woman, producer and protector, gardeners, engineers, doctors, etc., MUST become tactically proficient in order for free civilization to survive post crisis. Every good person must become as dangerous a human being as possible, and they must organize as dangerous human beings, if they hope to have any chance of facing the terrors ahead. I'll say it again; the post-collapse world will require honorable men who are also incredibly dangerous men. If you are not both of these things, then you are useless to the future.

To become incredibly dangerous, average Americans and liberty champions must train in tactical methods, and they must be willing to organize in a tactical manner. If you are not training tactically, if you are not thinking tactically, and if you are not organizing locally, then you will not survive a large scale calamity, and you are thus, not a survivalist. I really wouldn't know what to call you. A "faux survivalist", perhaps... Here are just a few of the obstacles I see stopping good people from adopting a necessary tactical mindset: Fear Of Public Perception

This is often the worst hindrance to training and organization within the Liberty Movement, and I blame it partly on the militia movements of the 80's and 90's. Open training was common during the golden era of the modern miltia-movement, including rifle proficiency, team tactics, communications, and asymmetric. This is not to say that their training was especially advanced, but at least they had the balls to do it within the public sphere despite the rabid propaganda attacks of the federal government.

The Oklahoma City bombing changed everything, and within months, the once vast and growing militia movement mostly vanished. Group tactical training immediately became taboo - a methodology survival adherents would not touch with the business end of their M1 Garand. For all intents and purposes, they ran and hid when they should have stood their ground, leaving future generations without a breathing example of tactical knowledge within the civilian world or an outlet for training aside from joining the military.

Even today, some people within the new survival movement cannot seem to shake the Oklahoma City induced fear of what others might think if they train in high grade tactical methods, or train as a neighborhood, church, veteran's hall, town, or county. Surely, only insane bombers and right wing extremists have any interest in such activities, right?

Now, some folks might say that because I was not involved at that time, I would not understand what it was like, and I might have acted in a similar fashion. I say this is nonsense. In my work with groups like the Oath Keepers Community Preparedness Team, I will NEVER stop training others and helping to organize others. Another Oklahoma City-style event could happen tomorrow and it would have absolutely no bearing on what I know to be the right thing to do. Public perception is as meaningless as it is changeable. Frankly, the kind of public that shrieks about honest citizens training for self-defense is not the kind of public I take very seriously. The "public", as it were, can kiss my axe.

Delusions of OPSEC

A lot of faux survivalists throw the term "OPSEC" around without having any real understanding of what it means. They seem to think that it is a two syllable argument that invalidates any rational call for organization. This is simply naïve. In a true collapse, there is no such thing as a "lone wolf" or a "gray man". These are fictional musings common only to the imaginations of cinema and the minds of inexperienced preppers.

If you look at the actual proactive survival responses to breakdowns in places like Argentina or Bosnia, or the survival response to the cartels of Michoacan, Mexico, or the survival response in Rhodesia, or even the Kurdish response to the horrors of ISIS, the same scenario always presents itself - common citizens banding together for mutual aid and self-defense. There is no denying this tactical response, nor the fact that in most cases it increases the survivability of all those involved.

Yet, again and again the Liberty Movement is cursed with delusions of "Operation Security" in which no one talks to anyone. No one organizes their neighborhoods because their neighbors "might" turn on them. No one organizes past the two or three man "secret cell" because corrupt government might identify them and put them on a "red list". I think OPSEC has become an all-encompassing excuse for faux survivalists to remain lazy and afraid.

First, if you think you are going to go "gray man", and remain stationary, think again. Hiding who you are from your neighbors will not stop your neighbors from looting your house anyway as soon as the inclination strikes them. And, it certainly will not stop more aggressive pirates from simply moving house to house at random through your neighborhood until they get to you. Gee, in that situation it sure would be nice if the neighborhood was working together rather than huddling like rats in the dark corners of their tract homes.

Second, if you really believe you have no neighbors with the moral fortitude to work with you rather than against you during a crisis, then you should be planning to leave the area anyway. Again, this is tactical common sense that is being suffocated by the idiocy of the OPSEC argument. Third, if you have ever visited a liberty website on a regular basis, then you are probably already on a government list. Sorry, but that's just the way it goes. I prefer to make that list so big it becomes useless to the establishment.

Finally, there are many levels of OPSEC. There are public institutions and there are private institutions within any activist movement; both serve vital purposes. You don't have to tell the whole world who you are and where your supplies are stored, but you do have to work with other people if you want to live. Period. No one has the ability to do everything. No one has every skill set needed to ride out a violent social storm. No one. Either you work within a structure of people you have trained with and you trust, or you die.

Invalid Assumptions Against Military Equipment -There are as many opinions on survival gear as there are survivalists, but, some opinions are utterly wrong. These opinions are often based on assumptions of use, rather than experience. For example, I can't tell you how many times I've had a faux survivalist think himself brilliant for admonishing the use of camouflage. "Camo makes you a target!" they claim, without any context as to why. And yes, if you throw on your army digital while trotting down main street during the initial stages of collapse, you'll probably stand out like a sore thumb. But the issue here is one of context of use. Most environments you will encounter across this country are rural, not urban. If you have ever practiced camo tests as I have with multiple survival groups, even a half-assed keyboard survivalist would be able to see the difference between a person wearing normal clothing (even in muddled colors) verses camouflage. In fact, most of the time you will not see the person in proper camo until he is right on top of you.

The root of the anti-camo argument is rather hilarious. Essentially, this crowd is stating that one should not wear camo because camo is a red flag for training, and training makes you a target (if you are seen). So, their solution is for you to wear less effective clothing which makes you easier to see, leaving the potential bandit the option of deciding whether or not you look like a threat (in which case he might shoot you regardless). Why not have clothing for both urban and rural situations? People who do not think tactically often try to make discussions on gear an all-or-nothing proposal.

Another problem common to the new survivalism is that some survivalists simply do not have the money to purchase certain pieces of kit, and so they badmouth said kit so that they don't have to admit to themselves that they want it but can't have it. I can't afford a Barrett semi auto 50 BMG rifle system, but I'm not going to pretend that it's not a useful tool or that a survivalist might not find an occasion where he could apply it. I see faux survivalists downplay all kinds of useful gear from night vision to ballistic armor, gear that is infinitely useful in all kinds of situations, based on the assumption that the average survivor "won't ever find need for it". This is like Dianne Feinstein's claim that no one "needs" a mag capacity of over ten rounds because when will they ever run into a problem where eleven rounds are necessary?

For those who are tactically minded, ALL gear, especially gear in common military use, is also useful to the survivalist, and if they can afford it they will buy it. Why limit one's own tactical potential because of a blind assumption?

Real Survivalists This is the bottom line - tactical training matters, and strategic organization saves lives during terrible times. If these two things are not a priority for you, then do not call yourself a prepper, a survivalist, or any variation of the term. If you want a real chance at survival for yourself and your family, then you must:

1) Master the operation of your weapons system, whatever that system may be. This means daily dry fire practice, weekly live fire practice (even if your ammo is limited - training is more important than a large stockpile), shooting from multiple positions, reloading drills, transition drills, and speed drills. This isn't advanced training, it is the very basic fundamentals you need. Going to the shooting range once every three months to sight in from a bench is simply not going to cut it.

2) Build a team. Organize starting with family, friends, church group, neighbors, and then outward. Without a team, there is little chance of survival.

3) Train in team tactics. This is where the majority of people freak out and scurry away to avoid being labeled "paramilitary" or "extremist". It's time for the movement to get over these meaningless labels and get some work done.

4) Learn to operate as much gear and kit as possible, regardless of who says it is "useful" or "not useful".

5) Maintain a practical level of operational security, but do not let it prevent you from organization. Without organization, you will probably fail, and all your carefully planned "OPSEC" will have counted for nothing.

6) Push yourself to the best of your abilities. In the end, survival is about force of will; the will to endure, the will to fight back, the will to stand by one's principles no matter the state of the world. Will and training trump all other deficiencies and enemies.

This article might seem critical, and it is, but there is a purpose here. I want people to live. I want good liberty minded activists to carry on. I want a future where the best people rise from the ashes, not the worst. In order for this better future to become a reality, a number of deluded conventions and poor judgments will have to be changed. Survival, at its very center, is about identifying one's weaknesses and turning them into strengths. If the Liberty Movement is not willing to do this, then we do not deserve to survive.

Author Two

Selco - "There was little room for error....either you learn fast or end up dead." (www.SHTF.com) 17 Mar 15

The items for trade during my SHTF very often changed value, and some of them became unavailable for some period of time, just to suddenly show up again much more expensive.

Yes, situation in the city dictated that, but also people, the black market lords made this happen. The whole situation was always changing where and if you can find what you were looking for.

Some of the items that were circulating in the city were completely new to everyone, one of the reasons was that all sorts of stuff from humanitarian aid was coming to the city through different channels and from all different parts of the world.

Some of those things became popular fast, others remained completely strange for us, but all had some kind of value.

Of course practical things like MRE were very good to have. Some other things like Turkish army crackers (salt cookies, or so called "Turks") were strange for us. Taste was awkward, thats why they had lower value, but we were starving so of course everyone would eat it and trade it. In one period there were big amounts of some French cigarettes in the city, we called it "black tobacco".

It was very very strong tobacco, packaged in nice small boxes, and you simply did not need too much of those daily, even if you were very passionate smoker. Simply way too strong.

Some "smart" guy smuggled this into the city and it is perfect example of successful product besides weapons and ammunition for trading.

There were many new items for us, strange new kind of rice (was much too soft), canned meat without any declaration of meat type or expiration date (we called it "sick horse"). We ate it and used grease leftovers for lamps. Sometimes there were also big metal sealed boxes with dry cookies inside - some of the boxes had expiration dates that said it was expired like 20 years ago, we called it "Vietnam war cookies" and we ate it and trade it as well. Of course it was always a good few days when we had some sort of food. In many other periods (most of the time) we ate much much worse things. Often soup with anything we could find that could provide some energy.

One of the items in the beginning of everything that was very interesting for me was powdered eggs.

As I can remember, we did not see that before, I mean we heard it from the stories of the old guys who survived WW2 that they used it a lot in the years after that war (and they call it Trumans eggs) because it was coming in the area as a part of humanitarian aid since everything was destroyed and folks were starving.

Those eggs were interesting for me because we loved eggs, and obviously it became impossible to have real eggs. That is why food in urban survival is just a very bad version of food in wilderness survival. Rats and pigeons and some people probably also ate all dogs and cats. That was in the later months after we were surrounded without any way out and lost all basics like power and drinking water.

One day we heard that powdered eggs can be bought from some guys who had lots of stuff taken from humanitarian aid convoy.

Violence and shootings were already happening everywhere in the city, but it was period when we still believed it was temporary. There were three of us who went there to visit these guys. One of us had pistol, but that was not much help because none of us already realized how dangerous everything had become.

It was time when the police force still existed but on the other hand other "police gangs" started to operate and you could not say who is who, and what will happen when you run into them.

We had German money for buying the eggs, at that moment you could still buy something with (foreign) money, but you could not expect any fixed price and price of everything was completely based on what happens in the negotiation.

Guys were in apartment on second floor in apartment building that was maybe already half empty.

Man who opened door for us took us to the living room of the apartment after we told him that we want to buy some goods from him. There were 4 more guys sitting next to table there, actually one of them was sleeping with his head on the table.

One was trying to make some kind of sandwich with dry meat using a big old bayonet, room stank like someone died there.

All of them looked pretty rough and ready for everything, three of us with one pistol looked like easy prey for them.

Man who opened door for us asked us who sent us, we said name and he said: "Who is that? I do not know him."

Silence was ankward, I could feel like something is crawling over my back at that moment, especially when I noticed rifles standing next to the chairs where those guys were sitting, and on the carpet under the table there was big stain that suspiciously looked like blood.

Man started to laugh and said "OK, I am kidding, I know him, just say what do you need."

Fear that crawled over my back started to disappear slowly, but still we were like sitting ducks there.

We said what we wanted and he asked for how much money we want powdered eggs.

My cousin stupidly took his money from pocket and said how much money we have.

Guy said "Give me that!"

Few seconds there was nothing, but when other guys from the table started to stare at us, my cousin gave him the money. From one of the rooms, we herad that someone shouted "Oh you m$@#!erf!*&er" and then sounds that someone is being beaten.

Man started to slowly count money, looking at us with smile, after he put money in his pocket and said: "Ok, you can have one box of powder for this money"

Three of us knew that we were ripped off, but I just said "OK, it is a deal, we need to go now". We took the box and left the apartment.

On the outside hallway we noticed one more guy who was standing there as a guard for the apartment. When we were entering the apartment we did not even notice him.

We came home safely that time, feeling that we were scammed there was gone very soon because we realized that guys could kill us very easily if they wanted to.

Luckily at that moment they maybe did not feel like it, or what was most probable whole situation in the city had not reached level yet where they could do that easy and openly.

Everyone still thought absence of rules and laws are temporary. That changed soon, people started to kill each other as a part of trade scams. Later often just out of curiosity what other guy might still hide in his pockets and did not show.

The one of us who had gun on his belt during the trade said "Oh man, I completely forgot that I had weapon with me there because how those guys looked".

Then we realized it was luck too because he did not pull the gun there in the middle of everything because we would end up dead for sure. Do you see a pattern there? Yes, in post collapse so many things can go wrong and often did.

That's why learning about survival and preparedness is most important right now. Do not delay when SHTF it comes out of nowhere. We still have registration for limited amount of students for the Survival Boot Camp open for few days if you want to get better insights into this.

I remember that trade very well because we were scared, but much more important was feelings afterwards when we all realized that feelings of "kindness" but also "fear" went away. That day we realized we are living in new world with new rules and acting like we did in civilized times or showing weakness can have brutal consequences.

We started to change and learn. We started to look and act like those guys during our trades, and whenever we found someone who was even harder and better at trading we also did what they did to us. We were lucky or maybe smart enough that we learned new rules very fast. There was little room for error. either you end up dead, or learn fast.

That was one of my first trades after the collapse, I traded many times later again, and I often used similar setup of intimidation like those guys there.

But there I learned for the first time few simple rules about trading like: never go to (closed) places where you do not know who to expect, how many, how well armed they are and similar stuff. Never have all your goods (or money) for trade with you, have plan what to do in case of surprises, never accept offers so easily because it can be seen as weakness, and weakness is sometimes call for problem, and many more.

And one more rule that we learned and you should never forget is to never go and risk your life because of pure "luxury items" like that powdered eggs were for us at that moment.

Author Three - Gayle - 10 Ways to stay calm and prepare for a disruptive event - www.backdoorsurvival.com (24 Mar 15)

Over a recent dinner at my place with like-minded friends, the conversation turned to the state of the world, our country, and society in general. While this was supposed to be a fun evening and a much needed break from long work-days, the conversation became quite sobering as we started to rattle off all of the disruptive events that the four of us prepare for. Events that may happen tomorrow or events that may never happen.

I began to squirm in my chair as I realized that each of us felt challenged both by the need to keep our preps up (meaning stuff and skills) and the need to live a joyful life. The two, it would seem, do not always mix. We want it to, and most assuredly I write about it, but believing and doing are two different matters altogether.

Since then, I have given some thought to coping while living in a world where a disruptive event could turn life upside down. Today I want to throw down the gauntlet and tell you that even for me, it is a extremely difficult. And if I am feeling it, you must be too.

What the Heck is a Disruptive Event?

Do you like that word? Disruptive Event? For the past year that has been my catch-all phrase for the myriad of things that could happen to alter life as we know it.

I use this term to describe any event that could potentially transform our personal lives into one of chaos, distress, confusion, or all of the above. Interestingly enough, today I could not find many references to this term using Google so the how, where, and why I started using it most likely has to do with my own thoughts on TEOTWAWKI.

Note: TEOTWAWKI = The End of the World as We Know It

TEOTWAWKI was a commonly used acronym in preparedness and survival circles until the end of 2012 when various predications of the end of times did not materialize. The term is still used today, in a much broader sense. At Backdoor Survival, for example, TEOTWAWKI refers to anything that disrupts our normal way of life. This could be something as devastating as an EMP taking down the power grid, to a more mundane (but equally devastating) job loss or loss of a family member.

Disruptive events are common and that is why we prepare. In 12 Months of Prepping, as I have defined it, we are preparing for short term disruptive events and in doing so, we are better prepared than 95% of our friends and neighbors.

But honestly and truly, that is just a start. What about after that?

The trite answer is that we focus on skills and projects that foster self sufficiency without modern conveniences. We also focus on defensive tactics and how we will defend not only our homes, but our person, and our rights under the Constitution. More difficult is that we prepare our mental state so that we will be level-headed and calm when our world becomes a sea if chaos.

The Plight of the Prepper Who Carriers the Burden of Truth

The past four years have been rather remarkable in that on the surface and to the naïve and uninformed, they have appeared outlandishly normal. Those in the know, however, have been able to peel away the layers of deceit and recognize that information coming from so-called official sources changes daily to suit some unwritten agenda.

While living in the moment, everything appears copacetic. But in truth, for me it almost feels as though we are entering twilight zone. Does it for you?

Plenty has already been written here an elsewhere about being prepared but precious little is written about how you overcome the personal sense of being alone and lonely in your preparedness quest. That, to me, and I suspect for you, is the plight of the prepper who carriers the burden of truth.

So, without resorting to doom and gloom, today I am sharing my take what we need to do to prepare for a "disruptive event" or tipping point in a reasonable and calm manner. This is a mixed bag of both practical preps and lifestyle choices. I hope this list helps you, as it is helping me.

10 Ways to Stay Calm and Prepare for a Disruptive Event

1. Have a frank and unemotional discussion with a close family member or someone you trust about your concerns. Share with them the specific disruptive event that will constitute your own tipping point. Even if they are not a prepper (and many times, a prepper goes the journey alone), it will be good to share your concerns out loud.

2. Relieve stress with laughter. Don't be afraid to have fun. Tell jokes, do something goofy, play stupid games and try your best to have a good time. If things get bad, you will undergo extreme stress. Plan for that by thinking through some fun activities now, while your mind and focus are still clear.

3. Having an abundant back stock of food will give you peace of mind. Fill your pantry with enough food to eat during an extended lockdown. How much is enough? I am not one to quote specific quantities as it relates to time because individual calorie needs vary. That said, here is a list to get you started: 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan.

4. Go the extra mile when it comes to clutter, cleanliness, and sanitation. If a disruptive event happens, your own personal ground zero will be clean and tidy. Your personal space will be much easier to maintain going forward and besides, when the disruptive event occurs, doing routine housekeeping chores will be the least of your worries. Store fresh bleach (no more than six months old) or pool shock.

Print out instructions for disinfecting surfaces and purifying water. Stock up on hand sanitizers, alcohol, and purifying essential oils. Read Survival Basics: Water and Water Storage and How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.

5. Nail down access to water within your home. By that I mean within your living space and not outdoors in the carport or an out-building. If there is a disruptive event and you are required to hunker down, you will want plenty of drinking water in your home, not outdoors, Start filling repurposed juice and soda bottles with water and tuck them away so that they will be accessible.

Learn how to remove water from your hot water heater and if you can, keep a hose nearby so you can get the water out of the tank and into your living space.

6. Stay informed by reading news from a variety of sources. Take the time to visit a variety of websites in addition to tuning in to mainstream media reports. If something you watch or read sounds like fear-mongering, move on.

7. Protect your immune system with healthy eating including lots of antioxidants in the form of colorful fruits and vegetables plus plenty of high quality protein foods.

8. Practice saying "no" in everyday life. This, for some, can be extremely difficult. I am someone who has difficulty saying no to people and as a result, I often find myself in a pickle as I become overworked and burdened with things I have promised to do for others to the exclusion of my own task and chores. You are going to have to say "no" to those that come knocking on your door asking for help if the SHTF. Better start practicing now!

9. Prepare a written plan of action detailing what you will do if a disruptive event occurs. Start with one type of event then later, create a plan for a second type of event. Speaking from experience, having a plan helps even if, when the time comes, a portion of the plan has to be tossed. The added benefit is that if you are a solo prepper, you can share the plan when your non-prepping family starts to come around (as I guess they will if things get bad enough).

10. Continue to live your life normally. Go to parties. Enjoy family events. In the back of your mind you may think or even know that a mess of a freight train is heading your way. But while you are waiting, just live!

The Final Word

Now is the time to be calm and to mobilize your energy so that you will be mentally prepared for a disruptive event that we hope will not happen. More than anyone, I realize how difficult this is. It can be lonely, depressing, and tiresome. Trust me, I feel your angst and your weary spirit.

Hang in there and know you are not alone. As I said in point #1, sometimes it helps to just talk about it and to share your feelings. That has worked for me and I hope it works for you. What say you?

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