Linda was kind enough to respond to the MZB article two weeks ago in her inimitable and prodigious style. Where she finds the time to pen these insightful ripostes, I don’t know. I take minor issue with the readiness condition of “Erma” but Linda provides yet another mountain of food for thought. -BB
A great article, even though I think you were over-intellectualizing MNBZ. I saw that first in Lights Out, I think, and supposed it to be meant as an amusing quip of the sort people under stress come up with. I like your presentation better.
Yes, the hatred and the anger show more every day, but the ones who are going to be most riled up haven’t felt the pinch yet because they are living as they always have on food stamps, their families, and/or the proceeds of crime. At present we’re the focus of those who have finally exhausted all sorts of “unemployment compensation,” or didn’t qualify for it or any other sort of statist largess. Preppers turn away some of the anger by babbling cheerfully about family reunions, office picnics, bake sales, and anything else we can come up with to explain why our carts are full. It is demeaning, annoying, and the better part of wisdom.
We have times when we’d like to read the riot act about how we have worked and saved to be able to take care of ourselves and we refuse to feel guilty because the world is full of grasshoppers. We don’t like to think about the reaction of those great big famished grasshoppers, and can only determine to become fire ants. Try as we will, it is very difficult to keep family, friends, neighbors, and workmen from noticing that we seem to have ample supplies of many things, even when we unload after dark or at times when there are few around. My first project as soon as Spring settles in is the long-overdue task of preparing caches.
This will play out in phases, supposing we don’t get nuked in five cities or the dollar isn’t crashed suddenly (note the verb form I just used; this could be inadvertent or deliberate, and it will make a difference.) We can expect a build up in anger, frustration, and violence while the Statists claw desperately to stave off disintegration–and/or declare martial law. The better part of valor will be to stay tucked up safely where we are as long as we can, or take the plunge and get our families moved to our chosen locations. It will be no time to run to the grocery store casually even when there are still items on the shelves. This will definitely be a time for a low profile–at least until we see if some miracle will calm things down. My children are pledged to head home–my son, unfortunately, is in Seattle–the moment I tell them to leave or when the first city anywhere goes up in flames. Andrew has made reasonable preparations and worked out three routes and chosen his companion. Madre, as he calls me, has pitched in some lovely goodies.
Eventually the 18-wheelers which carry supplies will slow or cease, and the three-day supply of food in the cities will be exhausted. There is slightly more in small towns but only because delivery is expensive. At that point those of us who are unable to be as far away from “civilization” as we would like will have to flee, temporarily, taking as much of the dense preparations we have made but haven’t gotten cached with us as possible. I applaud your decision to take the back side of the mountain and have a well drilled. Moving your stores out there will be a dreadful task, and I’m sure it has occurred to you not to make a visible trail during your many trips. Remember to filter your smoke through trees or some other baffle, and pay attention always to which way the winds are blowing. Hungry people have very good sniffers.
I have an, um, “internal check” on how bad the situation is. It is very late, the hands are in their quarters, and MDC (sorry; “my darling Charles”) is slumbering peacefully. I can see two external doors from where my computer is located, but those aren’t locked because my ancient rescue dog likes to go out frequently. “Erma” is stashed out of sight but available quickly. The important part is that she is loaded but not on safe and there is not a round chambered. If invaders burst in suddenly I won’t get a shot off, and will feel extremely stupid as I die. However, the dogs and chickens are sleeping, as well, but they are very aware of sounds at all time. Mostly, it isn’t tense enough nationally; I don’t need to worry about rough, hairy strangers and Tuller Drill range. Yet. MY personal signal will be the day Erma is ready to fire instantly. If it gets to the point of anticipating unwelcome company, it will be time to get plans for the next phase implemented.
Like you, I have lots of “stuff,” but I also have ample preparations for BO/GOOD, including the ability to transport a great deal. My plan is to slide gently out of the way into deep cover and let the locusts flow out over the land. I can’t defend what I have against crowds that could number in the hundreds or even thousands. I dislike this intensely but it simply isn’t practical to attempt to sell on a bad market, lose a devastating chunk on 3/4 or more of what I get to capital gains, try to buy land farther out, and move everything. All we can do is weigh the risks and then accept what we have to work with. I know how many drivers I will have, and motor homes for all except the one who will be hauling cattle. Anyone who doesn’t think I’ll load goat girls and chickens into our 40 foot, forty-year-old Greyhound bus which was built as a motor home doesn’t know my determination! The girls will be fascinated. If there isn’t time for enough trips to move cow critters–and we must expect that there may well not be–all we will be able to do is haze them deep into the woods and hope the mighty hunter types don’t shoot at them. Hunters? Bah. I am very scathing about those who sit in blinds and shoot deer who come up to feeders they use year ’round.
There will be a scary, uncomfortable period involving privations such as no hot food (delicious odors travel far), no cigarettes (ditto), no noise (no generators for heat or air conditioning) and no light at night unless our blackout provisions are successful. Go to ground and wait out…oh, three weeks at a guess? How long will it take most to die from exposure, violence, disease, lack of water, and so forth? Six weeks until the prepared and the most ruthless are the preponderance of those left standing?
Eventually we will be able to return to the ranch…and all of us had better prepare mentally to find a lot of useless destruction. At the very least everything left in plain sight will have been stolen or battered or smashed in senseless rage, and we’ll be lucky if the mobs and gangs haven’t burned houses and crops. If it happens soon no crops will be sown, and our fields and gardens will be at risk constantly up until harvest is over. How naive city people can be! They don’t get it that there is only one corn crop a year and that it takes nine months for a cow to reproduce. True, she can be milked 300 of those days, but only if it is done regularly.
It may take as much as several years to subdue the stronger gangs, and there is always the possibility that the National Socialists will clamp down hard and strip us of everything under Executive Order 11921…or shoot us, or throw us into concentration camps.
It is going to be the South all over again after the march to the sea. With preparation, care, and luck, some of us will survive to start over. We will deal with a variety of evolving social orders on a local scale…there are myriad possibilities, all fraught with danger. Anthrax, suitcase bombs, the sort of behavior typical of Rita and Katrina, Kristal Nacht, a Reichstag fire, we can’t call at present which butterfly will cause our world to fall apart.
The best my analysis foresaw nearly four years ago was The Greater Depression. I expect something more on the lines of “civil unrest” or dictatorship. We all know we can’t fight armies (Well, all except James Wesley Comma etc.!) Depending upon the location, strength, determination, and alertness of our individual preparations we may come through fine. My “wild cat” back up plan is that once more things will stabilize, that this will be “just another bump in the road.” In that case, eventually the ranch will at least pay taxes, expenses, and for a live-in manager and his wife until my children want the place decades from now. They’re great young people, and while they think Mama is crazy, they recognize that I am happy puttering with goats, cows, horses, chickens, and greenhouses. They were happier before I sold the MacMansion (which didn’t have a mortgage on it, praise be to God) and turned it into livestock, farm machinery, and, uh, so on.
Anyone who doesn’t have food for at least three months is living a pretty, probably fatal, fairy tale. My definition of the new luxury is, “Sustainable supplies of food and energy and the ability to protect them.” Laughter…at this point luxury is knowing what will be for dinner tomorrow in the sense of we have made plans and don’t have to think of what we would like. The day is coming when luxury will be knowing what is for dinner tomorrow night. Call me a pampered elitist, but my idea of a good answer to that question is not “Whatever sort of MRE I can steal,” or “Dinner will be ready in six months when that chick you’re looking at is big enough to broil, plus half an hour for me to make smashed potatoes and cream gravy, supposing there are any potatoes ready to dig.”
I wish I thought your estimate that one in ten is preparing is accurate. If you can back that up with figures it would soothe some of my anxiety. My guess is probably less than two per cent. Probably much less than that. I know a lot of people who talk about it, and there are a lot of blowhards out there spouting, “They’ll take my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.” The problem is that there will be vast numbers of those who already think any excuse to riot is a good one, the newly desperate, and those working towards a depopulated world in chains who will be glad to take their guns on those terms.
Good luck to all of you, and keep on prepping.
Linda Brady Traynham