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Author Topic: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012  (Read 4384 times)

Kaso

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2012, 07:13:40 PM »
I'm not sure if it should be considered 'prepping,' but I just blew most a paycheck on 9mm.  Freedom Munitions had a great price on factory reloads, and if the president is re-elected, I'm expecting prices and availability to mirror 2009.

I'm already stocked up on 5.56.



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xsquidgator

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2012, 12:09:39 PM »
I'm not sure if it should be considered 'prepping,' but I just blew most a paycheck on 9mm.  Freedom Munitions had a great price on factory reloads, and if the president is re-elected, I'm expecting prices and availability to mirror 2009.

I'm already stocked up on 5.56.
Kaso

Yep, agree.  I too just spent a lot more than usual on a big stockup just as a precaution.  I'm a member of the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network and like it's level-headed approach to most subjects and situations.  I was a little taken aback when in their September newsletter, Marty Hayes strongly recommended a big stockup, like a 10 year kind of stockup, on ammo and reloading components.  His take was more about getting it while you can because of what we could expect a 2nd term Obama to nominate to the US Supreme Court than it was about a Matt bracken-like presidential order of some kind just outright taking things away.  I think enough of Marty Hayes though to have considered what he said seriously, and I bought quite a bit more last month than I usually would even if it's not a 25 year stockup to last me the rest of my life.  (Even if I could afford tens of thousands of $ in ammo and stuff, where would I put it all?)

If nothing else, I remember Fall 2008 and the purchases I made and the ones I put off back then.  There were several things I procrastinated buying and when things looked really bleak after the election, there was none of the good stuff left anywhere.  That may well happen again, but if you buy before next Tuesday it need not happen to you!

Kaso

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2012, 12:50:15 PM »
If nothing else, I remember Fall 2008 and the purchases I made and the ones I put off back then.  There were several things I procrastinated buying and when things looked really bleak after the election, there was none of the good stuff left anywhere.  That may well happen again, but if you buy before next Tuesday it need not happen to you!
Exactly my point.  Freedom Munitions has the best prices that I have seen in a while, (excepting steel cased) so this is the time to 'buy low' before the spike.  I was seriously considering another AK, to flip for a profit in a few weeks, but I went with ammo instead...



Kaso
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xsquidgator

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2012, 11:56:24 AM »
Funny how emotions work.  This morning I got a call on my cell from one of the people who was too busy to train, who's now worried as hell and on fire to learn to shoot.  Go figure.
I hope for her sake that Walmart still has ammo of any kind.  I'd suppose they're cleaned out by now (lunchtime EST).

sarge712

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2012, 12:41:00 PM »
We slacked off for a bit since we reached our food storage goals but I'm going to start again adding a few extra cans of this and bags of that every trip to the store so its not a big sacrifice all at once.

I'm not a crackpot nor a sensationalist. In fact I consider myself passionate but level headed and a "look for the silver lining" type of guy yet I say this with all sincerity just as George has in the past: We are headed for civil war.

If you think we can't possibly do so in this advanced day and age, you delude yourself and you ignore history. I think the ideological divide is too great, anger is too deep and the oppressive changes coming in the next four years will be too much to keep the peace. I am not advocating civil war by any means. I'm only predicting it.

Please calmly and methodically prepare while you still can.
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RetroGrouch

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2012, 01:40:27 PM »
I expect the Middle East to break out in active warfare now that the election is over.  The Israeli's cannot let Iran get nuclear weapons, and there is no way that they are going to put their very existence in the hands of Obama.  Expect them to do something soon.  There will then be retaliations.  This will destabilize things even further, causing the price of oil to radically increase.
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xsquidgator

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2012, 05:23:46 PM »
I expect the Middle East to break out in active warfare now that the election is over.  The Israeli's cannot let Iran get nuclear weapons, and there is no way that they are going to put their very existence in the hands of Obama.  Expect them to do something soon.  There will then be retaliations.  This will destabilize things even further, causing the price of oil to radically increase.

This is just one of the things that could go wrong and mess everything up.  If Israel doesn't try to take out Iran's nuclear program, Iran will use it on them or us or both.  And if by a miracle neither of those things happen, our currency could collapse at any time or any one of a host of calamities could make the fragile modern society quit working.

I was sure that Israel would attack Iran after the '08 election and they didn't, so we'll see what happens this time around.  I don't think the Iranians will be as restrained with their bombs when they finish making the first ones.  Geez, to think so many millions of people in the US chose more chocolate Carter at a time like this just blows my mind.


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Colin

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2012, 06:45:20 PM »
You know, as much as I have felt strongly about being prepared for a whole host of occurences, and more and more in recent years, I have always just felt a little bit of doubt, that perhaps I am just a crackpot. 

I'm not in panic mode after yesterday, but I have to say its almost a strange kind of relief.

Logically, I have been feeling that things have a very good chance of falling apart in a big way, there was just that little bit of doubt that I suspect even the most paranoid (and I don't use the term in a negative fashion, perhaps aware would be better) of us have that same niggling doubt. 

I think alot of us grew up in an era where the conspiracy theorists were very very fringe types whose conspiracies usually involved alien spacecraft and tinfoil, the kind of thing others used to create a negative stereotype. 

I'm trying to look at the upside of being that much more certain we are headed for rough times free me to take more and more steps to further my acquisitions and the time I spend learning new skills. 

I have been preparing already, but I'm not where I want to be even if romney had won.  I'm hoping to change this soon. 

I have the basics pretty well covered, now I'm just adding a touch here and there and trying to make sure I can live more comfortably if and when things go south, be it a hurricane or currency failure or uprising come to terrible unlife....

Daylight

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2012, 03:46:05 AM »
I went to schools with civil defense shelters.

This was before my time
(High Quality) Famous "Daisy" Attack Ad from 1964 Presidential Election
but I remember wondering how many Soviet missiles were targeted at the local Army, Air Force, and Navy bases.  As a teenager I played The Morrow Project and Twilight 2000 with friends.  I knew people who served at the Fulda Gap, and who protested the White Train.  The idea that things could come crashing down suddenly was very real in my childhood and teen years.  It actually seemed much more stable after the USSR turned into a chapter in history books, but I soon realized that while the big doom might be gone, it seemed like the world had become much more uncertain.  Take away the tension that held conflict to (mostly) low grade brushfire wars, let nations with new found freedom take the opportunity to settle old scores, and the world suddenly gets a whole lot less predictable. 

Who would you rather worry about, hard line Soviets, Long March central committee members, or Twelvers?
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xsquidgator

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2012, 02:12:27 PM »
You know, as much as I have felt strongly about being prepared for a whole host of occurences, and more and more in recent years, I have always just felt a little bit of doubt, that perhaps I am just a crackpot. 

I'm not in panic mode after yesterday, but I have to say its almost a strange kind of relief.

Logically, I have been feeling that things have a very good chance of falling apart in a big way, there was just that little bit of doubt that I suspect even the most paranoid (and I don't use the term in a negative fashion, perhaps aware would be better) of us have that same niggling doubt. 

I think alot of us grew up in an era where the conspiracy theorists were very very fringe types whose conspiracies usually involved alien spacecraft and tinfoil, the kind of thing others used to create a negative stereotype. 

I'm trying to look at the upside of being that much more certain we are headed for rough times free me to take more and more steps to further my acquisitions and the time I spend learning new skills. 

I have been preparing already, but I'm not where I want to be even if romney had won.  I'm hoping to change this soon. 

I have the basics pretty well covered, now I'm just adding a touch here and there and trying to make sure I can live more comfortably if and when things go south, be it a hurricane or currency failure or uprising come to terrible unlife....

Yep to that sentiment, too.  If you get a chance, watch David Grossman's "The Bulletproof Mind" presentation sometime.  There's probably nothing wrong with you or with your outlook, but with the people who deny that there's anything of concern for which to prepare.  As he says, denial is the nice white blanket you pull over your face to convince yourself that nothing bad can happen.  If or when it does, though, not only are you in bad shape for whatever happens, but you're going to have trouble living with yourself if you or someone in your family gets hurt because there were simple things you could and should have done, but you didn't.  Denial kills you several times - once when you're not ready when the bad man comes.  Again when you have to deal with the guilt because you should have been more ready, but weren't.  If you do everything reasonable that you legally and morally should have done, and it's not enough, at least your conscience is clear, you did what you could and the rest was out of your hands.

All that, and also try to keep perspective which is hard to do with all the high emotions and group panic running around this week.  Keep your head, and continue to do what makes sense.  Don't stampede even though a lot of other people around seem to be doing it.

xsquidgator

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2012, 09:17:50 AM »
A little update.  Most of the people in the first group ("first group" in my little story) were mostly Tea Party-type activists who spent most of the Fall doing political work like poll-watching, get-out-the-vote (unfortunately unsuccessfully), precinct walks and the like.  After last week, now they're saying they're newly committed to being able to save themselves.  We shall see.  We all met for several hours over the weekend and will see where or if anything goes.

One big potential problem when trying to form something like this is that not everyone's on the same page.  We're leaning towards having two levels of participation- a first, easier level which amounts to using the group as a resource to learn about food/water/supplies and camping-out survival kinds of skills.  For those willing and able to equip themselves and who can earn the trust of everyone else, a second, higher level of participation & commitment involving developing the skills and teamwork to actually survive as a team.  Trying to get every single person in the original group to do the second thing to where you could count on them, is doomed to failure.  Hopefully by separating the food & medicine type prepping from the protection prepping, things will be more successful the second time around.  We'll see how that goes.

One other thing I learned about and am doing for this is HAM radio.  I'm taking the General licensing exam this Saturday and will hopefully have my license by just after Thanksgiving.  Assuming I'm successful, which I should be based on being able to comfortably pass multiple practice tests, you're looking at an investment of maybe one or two weeks of several hours an evening studying the material and taking practice tests.  Less time required if you already have an electrical background or radio experience.  My shootin' buddy prepper friend got his first two licenses a few months back and after hanging around him and going over the material, I'm beginning to appreciate a little how much communications capability you pick up with a license and a simple UHF/VHF radio.  Not to divert too much from the OT but HAM radio and comms should be up at the top of the priority list along with all the other supplies and medical skills.  (Just where is that doomsday comms thread?  i looked for it and couldn't find it...)

PS- check out
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session
to learn about the amateur radio licensing exam, study materials, classes, and where tests are being given near you.

PSS- I previously forgot about being able to use the Search function which is why I couldn't find the Comms thread.
Here it is (with mention of HAM radio that I can follow a little better now)
http://wethearmed.com/strategy-and-tactics/end-of-the-world-comms!-cans-and-string-wont-cut-it!/msg3058/#msg3058
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 09:44:37 AM by xsquidgator »

Evil Jim

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2012, 04:15:00 PM »
Hmmmm... I have this Connex 500ish watt mobile just sitting around.
I need to mount it up, just in case.


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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2012, 04:47:16 PM »
Zippos and lighter fluid.  Everyone is getting flint firestarters...  Why dick around with sparks when you can light something on fire right now?
Zippos are small, light, and solid. 

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xsquidgator

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2012, 01:04:46 PM »
Another two months of experience gone by with some of these kinds of people in several different groups I've met.    :hmm

I think I made it clear a few posts ago that some of the people who say they're into this or that preparing thing, aren't.  Some are all talk, some are kind of out-there nutty, some are ok people but just don't have what I'd call "good sense", and occasionally and all too rarely I'll run into someone who really seems to have their act and their head together.  Every time I meet a new group of people or perhaps an individual who comes highly recommended, like the x-files tv show slogan "I want to believe".  I've learned to be cautious, not unfriendly or anything, but spend the time to get to know the person or people over time to size them up.  First impressions are important, but a close look at a person over time is critical too.  Several of these groups I've met who at first seemed awesome, prepared, with-it and would keep us safe and sound, turned out upon closer examination to not be what I thought I was seeing at the beginning.

What I have learned from talking, meeting, networking, and even working with some of these people is that almost everyone who wants to "prepare" has fairly strong opinions about it and what they hope to do.  If you put 10 of these people in a room, at least 2-3+ of them aren't going to get along well with the others.  The first group of people I was with had a major blowup between two of the couples leading to several people leaving.   Apparently this isn't uncommon with prepper groups trying to form, or even just prepper groups disintegrating over major differences of opinion.  The more people I meet doing this, the more I think a group such as that described in John Wesley Rawles "Patriots" is a utopian group, not to be found in the real world of people.  Either that, or, it really will take you 10 years or so (which is about the time the group in the book had spent preparing) to sift through enough people to find maybe a dozen people who could be trusted, who will all contribute, and who aren't nutjobs, jerks, or who won't keep it together under stress.

Refreshingly though, I have run across a few pretty good people in the last several months, after sifting through something like 40+ people.  I think my wife and I have thought out an approach to dealing with everyone in the most sensible way too.  Our approach, now, after several months, is to network like crazy and meet/talk with as many possibly prepper-minded people we can.  If we run into someone we can help, we do that (such as by giving them advice on bulk food storage, water purification & storage, and other things we've learned about while doing things for ourselves).   Once in a while we get lucky with this, and we pick up useful information & advice from some of these people ourselves.  (We just learned about tower gardens for instance and will be getting into that)  We're gradually expanding our group of new friends who we've met and "interviewed", and as we do stuff for ourselves, I think we improve our chances of finding people and getting to know them well enough that we can consider going further maybe.  But forming a group of people together who you'd possibly trust your life or your family's lives to, that's a tricky business.

We're still not ready to deal with the end of the world, whatever that is, but we're much better off with supplies and skills now than we were even 2-3 months ago, and we're still building on all of that.  We've made at least a couple of new, good-quality friends that I'm optimistic that if we and our new friends keep working with each other, and keep networking and meeting/sifting new people, we'll have much better chances of building our tribe, as some of the bloggers call it.  I wasn't sure what to expect getting into this months ago, and it's not all smooth sailing, but, if nothing else it's been a good personal growth experience in a number of ways and a very good thing for my wife and me to do together.  Even if the world doesn't come to an end.  Cheers!
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 01:17:39 PM by xsquidgator »


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The Stinker

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Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #39 on: December 30, 2012, 03:42:00 PM »
There are about 3 or 4 families where we are all friends and have been for some time. One has about 1900 acres about 30 miles outside of the big city that him and his parents raise Herefords. We have that staged as a muster point. It's a smaller group (about 15 people) but everyone is trust worthy and we all get along.
Texas

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2012, 12:16:03 AM »
There's a lot of "trendiness" to prepping right now as we have the Mayan 2012 doomsday prophesy phenomenon and various tv shows waving that red flag in front of our faces night and day.  A lot of this kind of thing is similar to the millenium doomsday silliness back around the turn of the century.   With any luck the posers and the nut jobs will fade from the scene and leave most of us where we have been all along - quietly preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
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Daylight

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2013, 10:06:20 PM »
After Y2K there were a lot of generators and water tanks on the market when people realized the world hadn't ended, and assumed there would never be a big emergency.
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Coronach

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2013, 11:04:08 PM »
Did anyone take the mayan thing seriously? I mean, really?

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goatroper

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2013, 11:26:34 PM »
Did anyone take the mayan thing seriously? I mean, really?

Mike

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From what I've read online, descendants of the Mayans were pretty much fed up to the gills with new-agers wanting to come down there for their end-of-the-world celebrations (for want of a better term).

VirginiaGoatroper

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #44 on: January 02, 2013, 11:41:31 PM »
There's a lot of "trendiness" to prepping right now as we have the Mayan 2012 doomsday prophesy phenomenon and various tv shows waving that red flag in front of our faces night and day.  A lot of this kind of thing is similar to the millenium doomsday silliness back around the turn of the century.   With any luck the posers and the nut jobs will fade from the scene and leave most of us where we have been all along - quietly preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

Another, more pedestrian aspect, is what we'll do when 401Ks and the like have no more value, and it's take the gov handout or survive for a few months on what you had the foresight to hoard up.
VirginiaGoatroper

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2013, 07:35:30 AM »
Another, more pedestrian aspect, is what we'll do when 401Ks and the like have no more value, and it's take the gov handout or survive for a few months on what you had the foresight to hoard up.


you mean confiscated---the numbers I've seen are around 7 trillion sitting in 401 or IRA accounts.
already happened in other countries
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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2013, 11:31:34 AM »
you mean confiscated---the numbers I've seen are around 7 trillion sitting in 401 or IRA accounts.
already happened in other countries

The idea has been floated in the US over the past few years.  Confiscate private retirement accounts to cover public pensions and government liabilities.   The victim of the armed robbery would be placed in a government pension of some sort or be allowed to keep a "fair" portion of their money that was being seized for the greater good.

I wouldn't be surprised to see it happening eventually.  Probably sooner than anyone realizes.
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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2013, 07:18:26 AM »
The idea has been floated in the US over the past few years.  Confiscate private retirement accounts to cover public pensions and government liabilities.   The victim of the armed robbery would be placed in a government pension of some sort or be allowed to keep a "fair" portion of their money that was being seized for the greater good.

I wouldn't be surprised to see it happening eventually.  Probably sooner than anyone realizes.



http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-03/spain-plunders-90-social-security-fund-buy-its-own-debt
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xsquidgator

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Ressurected--Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #48 on: August 03, 2013, 09:56:22 AM »
I just made a post in the Comms thread that I thought might be useful to people looking for radio information.  In that vein, I thought I'd update where I've gotten to in this thread...

The only new thing I've learned about trying to find people I'd want to perhaps band together with if the world ended, is that it's even harder than I thought it was.  More difficult even than I learned it could be after spending some time with several different groups of people.  It's just really a low-probability-of-success thing to find people of the 'right' mindset, develop relationships with them, and accomplish stuff.  Each of the three or more local prepper groups I've spent some time with in the last year has either disintegrated or fallen on hard times, each for different reasons.  A couple of the groups, as I mentioned before, had people who probably weren't really 'the right stuff' and either got mad at each other and quit, or got discouraged and quit, or something like that.  Another group of nice people I met are indeed nice enough, but have a problem of not having a group identity.  As a group of several dozen people, they can't collectively make up their mind what it is they want to do.  Some want to be out in the woods survivalists, some want to be kind of like a local citizen's Red Cross kind of deal to help post-disaster victims, etc.  That limits the amount of time and effort, and $ everyone will contribute.

I still hang out with the last group as they are good people, even if it seems that they spend a frustrating amount of time talking and having meetings to talk about what they want to do.  I have met people with valuable skills in that group, and have made good useful friends with some of the people there.  One of the guys there started a HAM radio study group that's been great in helping get people ready for the FCC radio license exam, and it helped a lot to get me into using my radios and getting into the HAM radio community.  Indeed, some of us in that group might go a little further in making contingency plans with each other, now that we've spent 6+ months working together on radio stuff and getting to know each other.  There are other skilled people in this group that have a lot to offer, people who I intend to cultivate to learn camping-out type skills too.

Now, almost a year after we started thinking about prepping, buying some equipment and putting some time and effort into things, I feel a little better qualified to answer some of my original questions I had about 'how do you start a group like this', 'how do you feel someone out about this without sounding like a nutcase', and 'how do you build your network of people'?

One suggestion I'd have when raising the subject in conversation with someone, someone who you've judged might be of similar mind but you're not sure, is to call it "self-sufficiency" don't call it prepping.  Around here in Florida, we're entering hurricane season so it's a natural topic of discussion anyway.  I don't bring it up with many people unless I have some reason to think they're of an appropriate mindset.  But this is a quick litmus-test thing you can do safely without them thinking you're some kind of weirdo.  If the person indicates little interest in at least buying some food/water supplies to get through a week or two, you probably don't need to go further.

If someone is interested in "self-sufficiency", after helping them get at least some food and water supplies set up, then you can feel that person out with respect to other self-sufficiency items too.  Medicine, how about backup power, how about radios?  Most people aren't all that interested in this stuff, don't want to or can't spend much on it, and that's ok.  If the discussion turns to it or if they ask, you can gently broach the subject of "protection".  Not just guns and self-defense, but all of the other common-sense (to the people on this board, anyway) things such as locks on your doors, don't do stupid things like flaunt a bunch of expensive possessions, be on good relations with your neighbors, etc.

Someone who's interested enough to pursue many of these things, now that's someone who is much more likely to possibly be interested in participating in 'a group'.  And if you've discussed or helped the person through some of these other self-sufficiency topics, you'll have a much better idea of how well he or she can take care of himself/herself, will that person contribute to others if needed, is that person trustworthy, will he/she do what he says, etc?

My thinking on this tribe-building is still evolving, but, I think I'm making progress.  I'm not in any end-of-the-world group like I'd hoped to be by this time.  I don't yet have a survival retreat to go to with a group of well-equipped and sturdy, dependable people.  I've been part of several groups that thought of themselves as this kind of thing, but none of which worked out or are likely to.  Despite that though, I'm encouraged and think my wife and I have made a lot of progress over the last year.  We're much better situated with respect to food and other supplies than we were.  We have better disaster-related equipment in the event something happened to our house.  It may turn out that developing the amateur radio skills and people connections that I have, could be a very valuable thing.  At least through the group of 'radio friends' I have now, I know and trust them well enough that I'd consider hunkering down with them somewhere if there was say a big riot or whatever going on.  And very key, we all have radios and backup power, and can talk to each other anytime independent of the phone, electrical, or internet grid being up.   I'd still like to become part of some Rawles-like retreat survival group someday perhaps, but for now I can at least communicate with some good people in case of emergency. 

So, in addition to trying to increase our survival skills and supplies, going forward I think I'm going to continue to try to meet and talk with people who I think might be good to know in case of emergency.  I can perhaps help some of those people if they're getting started with this, and if I do meet people who are further along than me, I can learn from them and perhaps be able to contribute as well.  Just work on it one person at a time and not try to found "The Group" as Rawles puts it in his stories.


PS - In the event you are forming a similar group, I did hear one person articulate what I think is a good group goal.  (I mentioned that the 'nice people' group has a problem deciding what they want the group to be.  One guy I met in that group is one of the people I'm doing more stuff with outside of the group - he has skills I don't have and will teach me, and I have skills he doesn't have but wants to learn).  Anyway, he said something that is basically what I think is a worthy group goal or mission statement, and that is "NO FEMA CAMPS!"  My goal, his goal, and I hope the goal of a lot more people is to be able to take care of ourselves and each other well enough that none of us or even none of our neighbors will have to go to a FEMA camp.  That means supplies but it also means a lot more too, including being able to protect each other, and it also avoids I think much of the 'militia' stigma that some people associate with groups like this.

coelacanth

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Re: Thoughts on prepping in the Fall of 2012
« Reply #49 on: August 04, 2013, 09:57:30 PM »
Interesting.  Thanks for updating us on your progress - or lack thereof.   :doh    I've always looked at this subject the way a lot of people look at finding a church in their new hometown.  They visit a few and sit through the services and let the kids go to Sunday school and then go home and compare notes.  Sounds like you are going through the same basic process.

I think being raised on a farm set my own personal compass squarely on the direction of self sufficiency in as much as it can be had.   Nothing is 100% but the closer you personally are within your own family group the better off you'll be.   That gives you a basic plan to follow within your own family that doesn't depend on anyone else to arrange meetings or group buys or whatever.  You just steadily make progress as you are able and if/when you are presented with the opportunity to join another family or group together with yours you are able to look at the decision rationally instead of hopefully.  Not such a big deal when everything is going well but potentially very important when things get rough.

My wife and I offered some basic self sufficiency skill classes at our church and met a lot of interesting people that way.  This was boy scout level stuff and not intensive, one on one instruction.  We started with kitchen skills, food prep and storage, small space gardening techniques, basic home repairs and stuff like that.  The audience ranged from high school kids getting ready to go away to college to single mothers to newly single older folks who had lost a spouse.   The learning environment was easy going and the church supplied the kitchen space so it was actually pretty successful.   We no longer attend that particular church but have kept in contact with a few of the folks who joined us for the classes.   The kind of people you seek are where you find them and may or may not seek out groups like you have mentioned.   

I agree with the "no FEMA camps" sentiment.   Refugee camps all over the world have one distinguishing characteristic and I want no part of them.
"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot." 

            Robert A. Heinlein , "Friday"


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