I’m asked this question from time to time, and it never ceases to amaze me. A guy asked me this a few days ago in fact, a bit unexpectedly. I turned and looked at him with a mixture of incredulity and amazement, and asked if he was kidding. Sadly, he was not.
I have to accept the fact that preparing doesn’t come natural to most folks these days. It’s hard for me to understand because of the way I was raised. I grew up in a rural area, and very poor. Unbeknownst to me at the time was the fact that there were a lot of years that had it not been for our rather large garden, our orchard, and the food preservation we did after harvest in the summer and fall, our family would not have had enough food the following winter.
It was just how we lived. Again, I didn’t think anything of it growing up because I thought everyone lived that way. There were no “preppers”, no end of the world doomsday events (ok there probably were, but Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet so we didn’t know about them), it was just normal life.
Life is different now for most people.
Living a life of basic preparedness, basic self-sufficiency, is no longer common. Most people these days are not prepared for even common life events, let alone something out of the ordinary. In my experience talking to people about it, this lack of preparedness is usually for one of two reasons: ignorance and/or normalcy bias.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The saying goes (and it’s an annoying one) “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Well yeah, of course not, but that’s the very core of the problem. Many people simply don’t know why common sense preparedness is important.
Nothing bad can ever happen to me. Or to you, right? That’s normalcy bias – things are currently good, therefore they will always be. Even if you yourself aren’t this way, chances are you know someone who is. They go through life with their head in the sand, thinking that bad things happen to other people, but not to them. They are, of course, much mistaken.
I see this one a lot surrounding the discussion of gun control. I hear people ask “well why do you need a gun in the first place? What do you think is going to happen?” These people have normalcy bias, usually with ignorance sprinkled on top to taste. They think that other people are robbed, raped, and murdered. Can’t happen to them.
So Why Prepare?
I don’t prepare because I think the world is ending. I’m not a Doomsday Prepper, nor am I suggesting that you should be one either. However, I do live in the real world, and in the real world bad things happen, and unfortunately, they happen all the time.
Bad things come in all shapes and sizes. For example, I think everyone should have a couple months worth of food in their house. Why? Because if you’re like most people, you eat several times a day, and chance are, so does everyone else in your family.
What happens when the grocery store doesn’t have food for you to buy for a period of time for whatever reason? We saw this most recently with Hurricane Sandy, but it doesn’t take a hurricane to make it happen in the world of just in time inventory.
What if the power went off for a few days or even weeks, again, like it did with Hurricane Sandy or recently in Kentucky after a large ice storm?
What if you lost a loved one and couldn’t work for a period of time? Could you afford to take that time off financially? What if you got sick and had a lengthy stay in the hospital?
What if a major earthquake happened in your area, you lost power, running water, and there was nothing in the grocery stores? Would you have food and water, and would you be able to defend it from the looters? Just this past week, officials in Southern California warned residents to be able to survive two weeks on their own in the event of a natural disaster. Could you go two weeks?
Preparing, being a “prepper”, isn’t necessarily about the zombie apocalypse. Should you be prepared for a potential financial collapse and the breakdown of society? Yes, I believe you should, but start with the things most likely to happen to you first. Have some food and water, and a way to purify water. Get out of debt and put some money away for a rainy day, both in the bank and out (Federal Reserve Notes and real money). Have a way to defend yourself and your family.
Preparing isn’t crazy, it’s the common sense that used to be common.