Here Thar Be Monsters!

From the other side of the argument to the other side of the planet, read in over 149 countries and 17 languages. We bring you news and opinion with an IndoTex® flavor. Be sure to check out Radio Far Side. Send thoughts and comments to luap.jkt at gmail, and tell all your friends. Sampai jumpa, y'all.


Blow Morpheus Blow

With the Sun whipping up a seemingly endless supply of major storms and earthquakes around the world, this seems like as good a time as any to revisit one of our favorite topics: prepping.

A few people may remember the the very old school fable of Aesop fame - the Ant and the Grasshopper.  As you (gods forbid) read or (even worse) watch TeeVee, anyone you see panicking is a "grasshopper."  Anyone you see sitting on their porch with a shotgun is an "ant."

In Aesop's fable, the ants worked all summer to stock up for the coming winter, while the grasshoppers played in the sun and mocked the industrious ants.  Come winter, the grasshoppers were freezing to death with no food, while the ants were safely underground with their stores, riding out the deadly cold.  In some versions, the grasshoppers even mount a war against the ants to take the supplies by force.  This latter group is what we call "government."

One thing that is highlighted by Harvey, Irma, Katia, and the Mexico earthquake is how one preps.  Most people will think of grizzly, bearded wildmen burrowing in the desert floor and piling up boxes of dried food, water and LPG gas tanks.  While effective in some cases, the recent tragedies worldwide show the ultimate futility of this kind of prepping.

Some people spend inordinate amounts of money stocking up on these kinds of things only to find they can be lost, abandoned or stolen when it comes to the nut cutting.  Ask the people in the wakes of Harvey or Irma how effective their caches were in the wake of the storm.  Ask the folks in Mexico whose houses collapsed how well their supplies helped them.  Ask the folks in the Caribbean how useful their food and water stores were after their houses vanished in the storm.

Yes, I agree that having stored food, water, a genset, gas stove, guns, ammo, and some basic tools are essential for any well-prepped individual.  I have personally enjoyed myself with power, a decent meal, fresh cup of coffee and a loaded shotgun, while everyone around me sat in the dark unable to cook or even see at night.

But putting all your effort into supplies that cannot be easily carried, and are just as easily stolen or lost, means that you are only partially prepped.  None of it makes a good goddam when your house is underwater, or surrounded by a hungry mob, or simply gone.

The well-prepped individual can be dropped in the middle of any situation with nothing but a knife and within 24 hours, he can have shelter, food and fresh water.  He can also navigate to (or away from) the nearest outpost of civilization.

Real prepping takes place in the mind.  It is a set of skills and mental preparedness that allows one to take advantage of whatever comes to hand, and the mental capacity to remain calm and rational while everyone else panics and the world turns to chaos.

Skills and mental discipline are highly portable.  They require no packaging, weigh nothing and cannot be stolen.  The only physical items a well-prepped human needs is a good, sharp knife.

When all else fails, the abilities to hunt/trap and fish, build a lean-to, forage for fruits and vegetables, and determine location and direction from the Sun and stars is all one needs to survive the worst disasters.  Along with a good knife and a calm, rational mind, one can manage in even the worst situations.  Even better, one doesn't have to watch year's worth of work and thousands of dollars invested vanish or fall into the hands of ill-prepped mobs.

It is rather difficult for rampaging mobs to see, much less steal your skills.  You appear to have nothing worth stealing if your entire survival investment is tucked neatly in your brain and strapped to your leg.  Even if someone commandeers your shelter and food, you can easily move on and acquire all it again in a safer location, using your navigation skills.  You also have nothing to carry to weigh you down or that requires constant guard.

An additional benefit is that you will require absolutely nothing from government "officials."  If the recent disasters have proved anything, it is that all government assistance comes with enough strings attached to hang a hundred men.  When your hand is out to anyone, much less a government goon, they have all the power and can make you do anything they want to get your treats.

Most people will argue that they are too busy to practice these skills.  Maybe they prefer a vacation in Cabo San Lucas to a week of wandering naked in the desert trying to survive on wits.  Maybe they are too pacifist to become handy with weapons.  Keep in mind these are the people who will become the rampaging looters and mobs when the world ends - and the world ends at least once in everyone's lifetime.

Here's some simple tests of your preparedness.  Go outside at night and see if you can determine where north is and your approximate lattitude by looking at the stars.  Walk around your neighborhood and see how much edible food you can find in an hour (hint - there's a lot).  How much water can you collect overnight using nothing but found items (leaves, sticks, etc.)?

If you are truly prepped, you should be able to figure the cardinal directions in 30 seconds, and your approximate latitude in an hour.  You should be able to make a decent salad out of found food within 100 meters of your house.  You should be able to collect one cup of water in most locations overnight.

That's prepping.

Water stores are good when the public supply is contaminated, as it usually is after major storms.  What will you do if your supply runs short?

Food stores are great when stores are shut and roads are blocked, but what to do when your rations don't stretch far enough?

A house and a genset are wonderful when the power is out and the rain is pouring down, but gensets need fuel and houses can be destroyed.

Take your prepping to the next level.  Buy a high-quality hunting knife and learn some useful skills in your spare time.  Remember, the time to learn these skills is NOT when you need them.  Teach yourself how to build water purifiers out of found items.  Don't rely on having stores for emergencies.  Not only might you have to abandon them, but they make your a prime target of the masses who didn't do anything to prepare.

Most importantly, discipline your mind so as not to panic.  The worst thing anyone can do for their survival is panic.  Once one stops thinking clearly and rationally, the rest of the fight is over.

If you are lucky enough to have avoided all the recent disasters around the world, count your blessings and start some real prep.  Two things we can always count on: disaster will strike at some point, and government never helps anyone but itself.