Saturday, September 13, 2014

Three Percent is a Scary Number

When talking to our family, friends and neighbors about the need to prepare for emergencies, we should think about limiting disaster descriptions to unusually large run-of-the-mill disasters like hurricanes. When the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metro-Plex hosted the Super Bowl a few years ago, we had a major ice storm that shut down travel in the area for three days. After three days without truck deliveries, even the Super Wal-Marts and Super Target stores were sold out on groceries. People around there remembered that long enough to convince a few to stock up a bit on emergency supplies. Most people still reacted as if my tinfoil hat must have blown off.

If you want to be able to say “I told you so!” then by all means, just tell them they need to be prepared for emergencies. Nobody will listen. My own extended family are pretty intelligent, but they have no concept of how bad things are getting and they do not want to know. If instead, you want to actually make a difference, an entirely different approach is needed.

I hear lots of people talking about how to secure their bugout locations against all attackers. The problem with this is the need for a dozen or so well-prepared households to make long-term defense of a location practical. Any time you have that many people around, someone is going to want to add their nephew, cousin or lifelong friend after the fact. Most of these Mutual Assistance Groups (MAG’s) have rules barring any additions without a vote, if at all. As a Christian, I don’t think I can stop being such just because the world is upside down, so there are any number of unexpected mouths that will need to be fed. I'm not bugging out. My wife and I will be bugging "in". This doesn't mean that we are not prepared to hit the road or trail if need be, but that is a last-ditch option for us.

I have also heard that fewer than three percent of the households in our country are prepared for even a brief disaster. I suspect the real number is quite a bit lower than this. Even with three percent, there are more than thirty households between yours and the next prepper. That’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed. It might be possible to work this to your advantage though with careful consideration beforehand.

I do not think a significant portion of those ninety seven households will be convinced until zero day, when whatever is going to happen has just struck. Emergency generators and bottled water were still hot sellers in our area six months after the Super Bowl ice storm. A terminal event might not even be noticed at first except by those few of us looking for it. Even if it is something really dramatic like a complete shutdown of the power and communications grid, people will be slow to respond. Sure, there will be long lines at the grocery store and the shelves will be picked bare in a day or two, but we are all used to that. It might take a few weeks or even a month for the vast majority of people to realize that the scope of the problem prevents a meaningful federal response. By that time, it will be too late to organize your community because the human predators will already be moving.

I think a few preppers have the germ of a great idea going. We all need to work on a “sales” campaign to be launched on or immediately after an emergency. We need to be thinking of how to convince the other ninety seven households that organizing the community is going to be critical to survival. Perhaps you could just convince them that you need to be somewhat self-sufficient until the government is able to reach you and help out. (I know what you’re thinking. I don’t want anything to do with FEMA, but we are trying to convince people to prep). A cohesive neighborhood (if you add in reliable communications) is also a good defense against predation. Human predators, like their four-footed counterparts, are averse to risk. They will pick an easier target if they can.

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