Category Archives: Preparedness

Shortening the supply chain

Kevin and Sarah at Living Traditions Homestead offer some thoughts on “shortening the supply chain of getting food to your table,” beyond stores and growing your food. Wonderful ideas here:

They made me think of one of my favorite novels, My Antonia, by Willa Cather. Kevin and Sarah, like many of the modern homesteaders, are so different from the back to nature movement of the 70s, where the ones that came to my rural area were hippies, into communal living, and they gave me a jaded view of modern “homesteading.” Many of these new pioneers embrace debt-free living, they do a lot of research on gardening and farming and they try to build diversified income streams. Here’s a bit from a piece I wrote in 2012, but despite this old post, I hadn’t even thought of these ideas Kevin and Sarah offer:

Throughout the story, Jack’s grandmother exemplifies the indomitable American spirit and she’s a testament to planning not just to survive, but to live as comfortably as possible in an unforgiving environment.  The Shimerdas, city-dwellers in their home country, fail to take responsibility for their own survival, necessitating good neighbors to prevent their demise.  In one scene the grandmother packs a hamper to take to the Shimerdas, she offers this line:

‘Now, Jake,’ grandmother was saying, ‘if you can find that old rooster that got his comb froze, just give his neck a twist, and we’ll take him along. There’s no good reason why Mrs. Shimerda couldn’t have got hens from her neighbours last fall and had a hen-house going by now. I reckon she was confused and didn’t know where to begin. I’ve come strange to a new country myself, but I never forgot hens are a good thing to have, no matter what you don’t have.”

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Filed under General Interest, Preparedness

The search for “like-minded” people

In a few recent posts I took a dim view of this pretty prevalent mind-set in the online prepper community about weeding out the “undesirables” among friends, family, acquaintances and figuring out who are the people you are going to help and trust in a crisis or SHTF emergency. I like Sensible Prepper’s channel and even he had some suggestions about putting together a group of like-minded people – like interview carefully if you’re putting together a group that’s going to form up when SHTF. This weeding out undesirables and finding “like-minded” people was like a warning light going off in my head.

This very same idea has been circulating among the right-wing echo-chamber for years and it’s one of the worst ideas for Americans to embrace. I remembered writing about an effort that some grifter was selling on Glenn Beck’s show back in 2013. That man was selling his oasis of liberty as some community they were setting up in Idaho that was ostensibly based on finding people united by their belief in patriotism, liberty, pride in American exceptionalism and preparedness. Beck gave this con man a platform on his show, despite knowing this man had a criminal record for extortion and this oasis in Idaho existed only on a website – the planners didn’t even have property in Idaho. They were carefully selecting residents for their new community, The Citadel, on Skype interviews and then collecting an application fee, plus $50 a month to raise money to buy property. The most perfect con was this guy was playing conservatives dangling that this new vetted community was going to set up a firearms factory as a means for the community to generate jobs and income.

George Washington is my favorite founding father. Beck, like most of these right-wing media talking heads, has gotten rich playing to our conservative values, patriotism, and even more to right-wing Americans’ fears of the left’s culture war for decades and yes, I have been alarmed about the left’s culture war my entire adult life too. After that show I stopped subscribing to Beck’s online show and I began to be much more questioning about what exactly these big right-wing personalities are selling, but since I hate to part with books, I still have my copy of Beck’s “Being George Washington.”

I had been listening to Rush Limbaugh from the early 90s. I had agreed with many of the ideas the Tea Party was promoting and as right-wing media started elevating a growing crowd of “celebrities” I listened to them and too uncritically bought into a lot of the ideas they were selling, because we’ve been trained to buy into the red vs. blue politics in America and if you’re conservative, so much of the liberal agenda is an affront to all the values you hold dear. Here’s the hard truth – much of the right-wing media echo-chamber is just a huge grift – selling merchandise, books, the big shows, like O’Reilly and Beck used to do and now Trump has turned his “rallies” into his trademark. For the record, I voted for Trump in 2020, out of complete dread of Democrats controlling Congress and the White House, even though I believe he’s a total con man and was just running the largest reality TV show from the White House, at least his administration was pushing many policies I agreed with… and even more that, at least he wasn’t Joe Biden.

It was easy for me to see the left-wing media culture war craziness. I mean being told I must now accept that men dressing like women are really women or being told we’re supposed to refer to pregnant women as “birthing persons,” had me telling my family that I don’t want to hear anything about this insane alphabet gender politics on the left and um, sorry, I can tell you where to shove your “pronouns.” And of course, watching new radical racial politics where white people, even little kids, are commanded to denounce their “white privilege,” left me wondering if America was now embracing Maoist struggle sessions, which were a form of public-shaming and torture that Mao used to enforce conformity. It took a lot longer for me to recognize the right-wing culture war craziness.

In another blog post I’ll try to step away from the partisan politics and talk about this idea of picking the people who you will help in an emergency and why I don’t believe finding “like-minded” people who are prepping like you are and to the level you think makes them worthy and weeding out the undesirable non-prepping people would really work well in an actual real world crisis. It might lead to you excluding people at a time when pulling as many people together as possible really will help your chances of survival. I believe in working to include as many people as possible, even ones who don’t meet my preparedness standards – especially in a crisis.

Here’s the link to my 2013 blog post, Sweet land of liberty….. (or land of the gullible?)

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Filed under General Interest, Politics, Preparedness

Cordage: A Very Useful Prepper Supply

This blog post is going to be about prepping, in a roundabout way. Years ago I took an interest in kumihimo when I worked at Walmart as the department manager of the fabrics and crafts department. Around stores you often see merchandise, mostly impulse purchase items, hanging from plastic strips, which we called clip strips. We had a clip strip of small, round foam kumihimo looms, that cost a few dollars. I kept looking at these looms, because I knew nothing about kumihimo. So of course I bought one, because who can pass up learning another craft or needlework technique, right?

There are crafters who make beautiful beaded kumihimo jewelry, but with my ever-growing list of crafts and needlework hobbies, I just learned how to do a few different braids, using various types of embroidery floss and yarn. I haven’t really gotten into kumihimo, but I’m glad I learned a few simple braids. Please excuse my terrible photography, but here’s the foam kumihimo loom with a few of the braids I made.

In my last blog post Sensible Prepper mentioned how it’s good to have how-to books, in case of, for instance, the power goes out or the internet’s down. He also mentioned how it’s good to have cordage, like paracord.

Cordage has been something that’s interested me for years. When I make small counted cross stitch projects, often I need to make a hanger out of embroidery floss to hang the finished piece and the most common finishing instruction is to use a technique of twisting 6-strand embroidery floss, which I’ve done for over 40 years, but then I saw a needleworker online recommend a cordmaker, that looks similar to a fishing reel. You can make yards of twisted cord in only a few minutes. I bought a cord maker, but haven’t used it yet. I will use it eventually, because I have several cross-stitched Christmas ornaments done and need to finish them into ornaments and they’ll need hangers.

Both the cheap foam kumihimo loom and this cord maker could be useful at making rope and cordage for more utilitarian purposes, I think, if you couldn’t buy any at the store. Even if you don’t have a ton of craft and needlework supplies like me, it’s simple to take apart a piece of old clothes, like a sweater and reuse that yarn or to even cut thin strips out of all sorts of materials – like an old bed sheet or t-shirt or even try cutting strips from black trash bags and making cordage in a pinch.

If you are a prepper and you don’t watch Townsends, I highly recommend their YouTube channel. They do a lot of 18th century cooking there, but so much more than that, as they explore early American life. They built a cabin, they have someone who does blacksmith work like they would have in 18th century America – to include making their own nails. A few years ago they had a guest, Dan from Coalcracker Bushcraft, which is located in the Appalachian Mountains of PA and part of the Appalachian Trail runs through the Pocono Mountains, not far from my childhood home. Dan showed how to make cordage from tree bark using a simple twisting technique:

One of my favorite YouTube homesteaders is Patara at Appalachia’s Homestead. She’s feisty and opinionated like me, so even when I disagree with her about something, I know her heart’s in the right place from watching a lot of her other videos. She did a video a few days ago with her husband, James, who is very quiet, but in this video he talked more. They both came up with their own general category type lists of prepper supplies to think about having and I found it interesting how different their lists were. James thinks outside the box. He’s like me, with his “well, I could take this and repurpose it to do X, Y, Z type thinking.” At minute 16:52, James lists twine and string and I was sitting here, going, “YES!” Patara’s facial expression cracked me up, but hey, I’m on Team James with the twine and string, but I’d add ropes, fishing line, various strength threads and needles, like having curved needles to repair heavier materials and leather needles. A pack of homecraft or home repair needles is a good thing to have or several, because often when working using heavier materials, I’ve had to use pliers to pull the needle through and I’ve had needles break.

A lot of preppers have mentioned acquiring reference and how-to books. I’ve got a whole bunch, even an old Yankee Magazine book on olden days stuff, that explains everything from how to make your own paint from scratch to how to manage a small woodlot. With cordage in mind, years ago I picked up this book on knots and ropework, thinking it would be good to learn some of these knots sometime.

Learning as many skills as you can really matters as much as stockpiling supplies, I think. A few years ago I came across this interesting effort by some crafty people to cut plastic shopping bags in strips and turn them into “plarn,” a plastic yarn of sorts, which they make into mats to donate to homeless people.

Back in the 1970s, my great-grandmother saw some crochet project in her Workbasket magazine, using plastic bread wrappers to crochet rugs, so this “plarn” sleeping mat idea isn’t new. I remember those bread wrapper rugs, because everyone in the family was saving bread wrappers for her to crochet those rugs and also, because I found the rugs fascinating and my mother was not impressed with them, lol.

Before I end this long string (or yarn)… there’s a bad pun there, about cordage, I’m going to add this link to a YouTube channel devoted to rag rugs. Erin Halvorsen is absolutely the queen of rag rugs and has loads of information and tutorials on her channel of how to create your strips for various rag rugs to step-by-step instructions on how to make the rugs. Erin has loads of videos preserving many unusual and old-fashioned techniques. In this video she makes a unique twine rag rug, where she shows you how to make the twine, using a similar twisting technique as the cordage from bark that Coalcracker Bushcraft used in the Townsends video, then she crochets the rug together:

I hope I’ve “tied” together all of these interesting ways with creating and using cordage and I hope that more people start learning to “shop” their home first before rushing out to buy more prepper supplies.

Have a great day!

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Filed under American History, General Interest, Preparedness

Don’t Join The Crazy

I’m going to start off this blog post with a Dave Ramsey video clip from October 13, 2021 and then I’m going give my assessment of the non-stop social media craziness and finally talk about my personal experiences and a few tips that I think might help you be better prepared to deal with whatever crisis is up ahead. Not a single one of them involves stockpiling supplies, turning your home into an armed fortress, looking at fellow Americans with opposing political views as your enemy, or giving up on the United States of America. Here’s the Dave Ramsey video:

A few weeks ago, I decided to read the George Orwell dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which created a fictional totalitarian superstate, Oceania, that encompasses what was previously western civilization. The rest of the world in this novel is composed of two other totalitarian superstates, Eastasia and Eurasia, which might or might not actually even exist, because all the people of Oceania know is what information the Party provides to them. In this story, Oceania came about after nuclear war, an anti-Capitalist revolution, and mass starvation, but who actually makes up the Party or how the Party actually operates is never explained. People live in constant fear and anxiety worrying about social conformity, because there is no rule of law, only people disappearing after being apprehended by authorities. Oceania operates as a massive surveillance state.

I hated this novel when I read it when I was young and I hated it after reading it a few weeks ago, but it is brilliant at portraying the evils of totalitarian states, complete loss of individual rights, and how horrible living life in constant fear of the government would be. Yes, there are lots of comparisons I could easily make to the information control in Oceania and our American spin information war, but Orwell comparisons aren’t really going to help us figure out a way forward for America. In Oceania – there is no hope left for individual liberty. In America, I believe there’s still much to be hopeful about and to be thankful for, even now.

There’s been a lot of things that have developed in America’s culture war, politics and our American politcal/media spin information war that have worried me since this form of “spin war” began in the 1990s. All of the dishonest liberal media word games didn’t just start since Trump. They’ve been going on since the 1990s and for years I’ve felt like a lone voice on the internet writing about how this corrupt Dem spin information war works, but since Trump, the spin war went so off the rails, that plenty of right-wing pundits and politicians now catch the dishonest spin word games quickly, but the liberal media, liberal activists and Dem politicians never admit they’re dishonestly portraying events, so we ended up with liberal news media’s surreal reporting last year on rioters burning down a police station in Minneapolis as “mostly peaceful protesters.”

Trump posed the first real threat to the Dem’s spin information war, by engaging in the same corrupt spin info war as the Dems. Unfortunately, Trump and a lot of right-wing pundits & right-wing media now spin as dishonestly as the left’s spin war garbage. And then there’s the internet where on social media anyone, from politicians, news reporters, hostile foreign operatives, American activists and ordinary Americans can post videos and photos on social media that can go viral in minutes and drive millions of people into mass panic and anxiety.

Granted, there’s a lot to be concerned about with the COVID craziness and now more economic craziness beginning to impact, but here’s the thing I learned decades ago is that analyzing photos and video is challenging and often hard to verify, as I read a lot about intelligence analysis. With modern technology, there have been advances with deep fake technology and even some amateurs can do some pretty amazing photoshop work. I have no training in intelligence analysis whatsoever, just an interest in it, so this information on the difficulties analyzing photos and videos stuck with me as the online “viral” video phenomenon grew.

With the BLM activism, finding videos (often selectively edited) that can be sensationalized to generate massive anger at the police has become a common feature, but BLM isn’t the only group to try to generate media firestorms and there are groups and activists on the right doing this too. Often videos that create national firestorms or “national conversations” that the media talking heads blather on about are posted online by ordinary people. Here’s the thing – we rarely are given much information about who took the photo or video, when and where it was taken, whether it was edited and if how the narrative attached to the video is accurate. I’ve been telling my kids for years – don’t react to photos or videos that have gone viral – just wait until more information comes out. And this advice now extends to all news reporting – right or left.

During Trump’s presidency there were so many inaccurate and downright dishonest news stories ramped up by the liberal media that I started trying very hard to wait a day or two to see how much of the story was a lie. Often all of the story was a lie, like the Melania Rose Garden renovation hoopla, where liberal media went nuts spouting insane stuff like it was an “authoritarian design.” On Twitter some liberal hysteric went berserk tweeting that the new garden design was racist and had mostly white roses. The truth was liberal media had reported on the Rose Garden renovation plans before it happened, they reported Melania put together a team of experts, including experts on the history of the Rose Garden and she wanted a design that was more like the Jackie Kennedy Rose Garden and all those white roses, were JFK roses. That’s the kind of insanity that can create these constant media firestorms.

Lately, I’ve seen empty store shelf videos being hyped constantly and while I don’t doubt lots of stores in America are having shortage problems, but some of these videos being spun up are from last year during the COVID lockdown and I saw one a few days ago on Twitter that was someone hysterical about the shortages in America, but the photo was from Great Britain looking at the shelf labels. The news media, politicians, activists and even many online “influencers” make money creating and selling agitation propaganda or clickbait. Getting people riled is the content that garners clicks and viewers. There’s no reason you have to react to agitation propaganda or clickbait- it’s a choice.

I mostly use a nearby little Walmart Neighborhood Market store and since the COVID craziness last year, there have been some skimpy shelves, occasional things they are out of, including a particular soup, which I have to buy at my local Walmart Supercenter, but after the initial toilet paper shortage, it’s been pretty well stocked. I haven’t had to in any appreciable way change the meals I prepare, the snacks I buy or gone without anything. Of course, the supply situation might get way worse and large scale panic buying assuredly will exacerbate the problem.

Yes, I expect there will be more shortages, and heating costs and gas prices are projected to rise dramatically too, but I am hopeful that with some American can-do gumption, some of the most dire outcomes can be avoided. I saw Governor Ron DeSantis suggesting rerouting some of the backed up ships to FL ports to alleviate some of the backlog. These kinds of ideas are what I expect from American leaders – we aren’t Venezuela and if we all pull together, I am sure we can get through this economic crisis without our country falling apart. It will take Republicans, Democrats and ordinary Americans to stay calm and work together though.

All I’m saying is stop getting worked up by all of this constant social media and news media incitement and a very alarming, unchecked online rumor mill, that is fueled in large part by dedicated partisan spin information warriors and people with an agenda every single day. The Twitter politics rumor mill seems to be fueled mostly by actual news journalists, politicians and cadre of partisan political operatives, who hang out on Twitter and rush to retweet “news” and spin it up without verifying it. These are the folks driving the American news media…

Last year when the BLM protest/rioting craziness occurred, the level of dishonest lying by Dems and the liberal media jarred me. The insanity of talking about “defund the police,” as if it was a rational policy debate, left me deeply disturbed. It was plain nuts!

This year, though, on the right, there are pundits floating the idea of a National Divorce, balkanizing America, which would leave us totally unable to defend our country and create total chaos and pandemonium. These people, I think despise the far-left, don’t have any solutions to fix what’s broken in America, so they are selling National Divorce as a means for like-minded Americans to “save themselves.” National Divorce is a misguided suicide pact – people who gave up on defending and protecting the Constitution and the United States of America.

Rich Lowry, at National Review, responded to the National Divorce idea this way:

“There is no doubt the country is deeply riven along political, cultural, and religious lines. Yet a national divorce has nothing to recommend it.’

“The practical obstacles are insuperable, and the likely effects would be very unwelcome to its proponents. If an insufficient patriotism is one of the ills of contemporary America, then a national divorce would prescribe arsenic as a cure. It would burn down America to save America, or at least those parts of it considered salvageable.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/10/national-divorce-is-a-poisonously-stupid-idea/

The crazy people on the left who want “Unvaccinated” Americans to be banished from polite society are the same as the crazy people on the right who are running around trying to figure out how to hide all their food in their homes and debating which “undesirable people” they aren’t going to allow to be part of their “tribe” when SHTF, because they didn’t prep or they don’t hold the same political views. The only way we can all get through a major crisis is by pulling together as family, friends and communities.

If you get a bunker attitude, then you might survive, but you’ve surrendered to mass panic and fear and in the process thrown away all of the things that really matter. Kindness, compassion, generosity and being a good neighbor matter – in good times and especially in bad.

When my husband deployed to Desert Storm, we were living in Germany. Three of our kids were in elementary school and the youngest was still at home. The U.S. military and German authorities ramped up security massively, due to increased concerns about terrorism. The increased security measures in and of themselves created some increased anxiety among some young Army wives and that was added to all the fear and anxiety of our husbands being deployed to war.

The elementary school my kids attended was in a US housing area, but it wasn’t the one where we lived, so my kids rode a bus to school. There were two bomb threats at their elementary school and pandemonium broke loose. Mothers in that housing area rushed to grab their kids and teachers had a hard time keeping track of their students. My kids came home on the school bus that day and told me all about the hysterical moms grabbing their kids. By the time Desert Storm happened, my husband was a first sergeant of an infantry company and he had deployed to Grenada in 1983, when I was pregnant with our second child. We had moved several times to different Army posts and over the years, both of us had gotten used to a lot of packing up and setting down roots in new places.

Some wives were so scared they didn’t want to let their kids return to school. Another time there was a bomb threat at a Post Exchange store (PX) at a another US military installation, or at least I think there was a bomb threat. I remember some wives calling me and telling me that a bomb exploded at that PX. I called a friend, another Army wife, who worked in that area, and she told me everything was fine. That’s an example of how rumors can incite a whole lot of unnecessary panic and fear. Thankfully this was before the internet and cell phones.

Nowadays we’ve got this dynamic playing out constantly on social media with people sharing and retweeting loads of hysterical warnings and “news.” Stay calm, wait for some verification, and most of all, unless authorities in your area have put out official warnings or directions, just sign off online and go about your daily life.

One of the things we always did when we moved was unpack our household goods quickly and get our house set up and running in our normal routine. I cooked dinner almost every night, I taught my kids to set the table and we all sat at the table and ate together. We continued other family activities as normally as possible throughout military moves and even during Desert Storm. Lots of Army families do the same exact thing, heck I learned a lot about how to function better around the Army from other soldiers and Army wives. My husband was very calm in emergencies and his calm helped me stay calm, because I am a worrier. Try to keep daily life as normal as possible. Some wives didn’t do that even during field training exercises, let alone their husband going to war. They invariably had lots of problems. They did not have the experience and/or skills to function living in new Army locations and far away from home and most of all they were the ones who got worked up about every rumor that circulated. Everywhere I lived around the Army, I always met many nice people and had other Army wives offer help and advice. I tried to help other Army wives too.

Keeping your daily life as normal as possible, especially in crazy times, will allow you to function better, stay calmer and keep everyone around you more confident. If you’re running around in panic putting more effort into preparing for every possible SHTF event imaginable or falling apart over store shortages now, you aren’t going to fare well in a SHTF event. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to be a prepper, but it’s not good for your mental health to live in a constant state of, “Omg, the sky is falling!”

Take time to laugh each day, take time to keep to as normal a daily life as possible. If you have kids, your kids are looking to you as an example of how to react to any crisis and while it’s important to be honest with kids, it’s also important to not let your fears and anxiety brush off onto your kids. Don’t create unnecessary fear or anxiety in your home. There’s no reason to do crazy crap inside your home – whether it was the COVID fear-based craziness of people going to extremes wearing masks inside their own homes/extreme disinfecting everything to now preppers talking about hiding food in their homes and running around turning their homes into bunkers. Yes, home security and personal defense matter every day, but keeping your home functioning as normally as possible will help you and your family function better through any crisis. During the Great Depression my grandmother set the table every day for meals, she cooked whatever she had to keep her family going. My mother picked potatoes and vegetables for a larger farm as a young child and handed the money to her parents, as did her sister and brothers, because everyone in their family worked together to survive.

Soldiers are great at turning anywhere they’re at into ‘home” and most have little things they do or snacks and personal items they take with them for training and to war. Most also develop a very keen appreciation for dark humor, because they often face some awful situations and being able to laugh is a huge stress-reliever.

Learning to adjust and adapt without getting all worked up constantly will help you feel more positive and also more hopeful. That doesn’t mean you need to pretend things aren’t bad or pretend there aren’t very troubling things happening, it just means you focus on the things you can control in your life. For the life of me I can’t understand why so many right-wing preppers are so invested in this prepping idea of turning their homes into a bunker and figuring out who in their family, circle of friends, and community they’re going to help and who they’re going to cut off, when right-wing folks were mocking left-wing folks who were acting like this about Trump-supporters and then the dreaded “Unvaccinated.” There’s no reason to add to the crazy.

Calm down, smile more, find some simple joys in life.

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Filed under Emergency Preparedness, General Interest, Preparedness

Another round of COVID hysteria strikes

Just when it seemed America might get back to some semblance of normal, within a few days time our American liberal media, pundit class and Dems catapulted us back to the Spring of 2020 – full-blown COVID hysteria, again.

It’s time to prepare for more draconian rules and dire, “We’re all going to die… UNLESS,” warnings. Unless we embrace all the mitigation ideas floated, unless we meekly obey the experts, unless we stop being selfish and give up our rights, as directed by government bureaucrats. Unless, we, not only get vaccinated, but now it’s get vaccinated and wear masks.

In May, the CDC finally agreed to lift the face mask recommendation and the political momentum shifted to the side of life returning to normal. Now, COVID virtue-signaling has ramped up and “The Unvaccinated” has become the new label for rural white Americans and/or Trump-supporters… those dastardly Deplorables, again.

I did get vaccinated, first shot in March and second shot in April. I did and still do follow the COVID restrictions in public, because by nature I’m a rule-follower. However, truthfully I’m sick to death of the politicized media COVID melodramas, especially the virtue-signaling, which always comes with massive amounts of othering Trump-supporters, rural white Americans, and even some academics, who disagree with our thoroughly politicized health officials in Washington and media “expert” class.

Yet here we are and rather than let the latest media’s FEAR, Inc. effort get me upset, I’ve been thinking about what good things I learned throughout this experience. The first thing I relearned is to never let my guard down and trust politicians selling infringing on our basic freedoms, as being altruistic and part of being a good citizen – under any circumstances. “15 days to slow the spread is what we were told, as we should all remember. I was very open to mitigation efforts (too open and trusting), in the beginning, because I trusted the government’s medical experts and I trusted political leaders, due to the seriousness of a pandemic, would act for the good of the American people, not to grab as much power as possible. Watching the ever-changing rules, recommendations, conflicting guidance, dubious data and flat-out politicization of COVID by many of the government’s medical “experts,” and the politicians’ shameless power plays, let’s just say I have very little trust in their information and absolutely no trust in any politicians selling lockdown or more mitigation restrictions now.

A more important lesson from the past year is don’t ever let fear win. No matter how loud the media noise becomes, each of us can control how much or how little we pay attention to the news media hysteria, which our politicians and all these government “experts” exploit. We can control how much we let the news media fear-mongering impact our daily decision-making. The American news media and the entire spin war ecosystem peddle in fear and if you buy into it, you lose control of your decision-making, while handing power to those selling fear.

Now that I’ve vented about the politics of COVID and my displeasure with the state of our American news media, I’m going to meander onto another thing that’s been on my mind more in the past few years than at any point in my life – being prepared.

There’s a huge difference between most of the trendy prepper movement and actually learning to be prepared. The former is filled with a whole lot of people selling fear, just as much as the politicians and the media. The latter is a mind-set and way of living your life to be able to, not just survive in emergencies, but to become more self-sufficient and better able to cope with life’s ups and downs. It’s not about rushing to the store every time there’s alarming news and stockpiling guns and ammo or ordering expensive freeze-dried survival food, that will blow your budget for the next six months.

I’m not saying buying guns and ammo or high-priced survival food is a bad idea; I’m saying these are purchases you shouldn’t make reacting to our Fear, Inc. news media, politicians peddling fear or listening to some online prepper or survivalist. If you blow your budget on stockpiling an arsenal of weapons or that very expensive survival food, you just might end up literally living on rice and beans for a long time. There’s loads of good advice within the online prepper community, but there’s way more fear-driven advice and loads of people who make their living, just like the news media – selling fear.

As I began writing this post yesterday, I read a blog post, recommended by JK, Perspective..or…its more than just guns, which covered the pervasive “guns and ammo” mind-set, in the prepper and survival community. Here’s what Commander Zero there had to say:

“You know what I’ve discovered to be The Most Valuable skill for a ‘survivalist’ or ‘prepper’? Not having amazingly fast split times at the range….not being able to consistently ring the gongs at 200 yards…useful, but not as important as: being able to think logically, critically, and objectively. Your mileage may vary but I would say the most important skill I’ve picked up as a survivalist is… accounting. Once I figured out how to allocate, budget, and monitor my financial adventures it put me in a position to have all the other thngs that make surviving a crisis easier. But thats just me… it won’t be the same for you.”

http://www.commanderzero.com/?p=8771

Accounting, which I took to mean learning to budget your money wisely is a very valuable skill, but while Commander Zero wrote he’s 50, speaking from my 60 years of life, I think learning to think for yourself and not let fear guide your decision-making, is the most important. A calm, cheerful can-do mind-set is a bit higher on my survival skill set list, but he’s right, getting a grip on your personal finances matters way more than stockpiling a massive arsenal of weapons (or a warehouse of high-priced survival food).

Being prepared does require thinking and planning ahead, but letting the pervasive Armageddon-type fear-mongering on the right or the “we’re all going to die” fear-mongering from the left get you worrying should be the trigger to make you go find something constructive to do around your own home or with your family and friends.

Smile and laugh more, worry less, because geesh, we’re in for another round of massive COVID hysteria.

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