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Monday, December 13, 2021

SHTF delusions that can bite you in the butt


A delusion is a mistaken belief held despite rational arguments to the contrary; a belief not centered in reality. Over the years, I have encountered many preppers, both in real life and online, who seemingly have some delusions when it comes to being prepared.

I have talked about a few of these before in previous articles, and yet these delusions have seemingly grown stronger over the past few years.

A long-term, grid-down disaster is not going to be like what is portrayed in movies and on TV. It is going to be a extremely difficult. It is going to tax you mentally, and test you physically.

You will find yourself just trying to make it day by day, doing what you can to survive. It won’t be glamorous. It won’t be exciting. Instead it will be hard. VERY hard. So if you find yourself falling into any of the following thinking patterns, you need to reevaluate your plans.
I will rise to the occasion despite not being in shape

So many preppers plan for a long-term, grid down scenario and do not realize just how hard and strenuous on their bodies it would be. TV shows and movies love to heroically portray survivalists as roaming the country side, battling groups of marauders, and hunting for their food. But for the most part that is pure fiction.

In reality, in a long-term survival event, much of your time will be doing things like gardening, procuring and treating water, cooking and preparing food, battling the elements, etc. Nothing that is exciting to watch on TV. Yet I promise you it will be physically and mentally exhausting.

For example, if you are trying to survive with the grid-down in the dead of winter, your body will burn over 300 calories an hour just shivering. In the course of a day, that’s thousands of calories trying to maintain your core body temperature. Now add in doing things like chopping firewood, caring for live stock, etc and you can see how quickly you could hit a calorie deficit.

In the summer time, you will sweat much more than you are used to as air conditioning and other climate control devices will no longer function. The amount you sweat is based upon things like your metabolic rate and body weight. If you are outta shape, you could be dropping as much as 10 quarts a day in sweat. Dehydration becomes a huge factor, and is exacerbated by being out of shape, overweight, and not conditioned to the heat.

The ease of 21st century living that we are accustomed to will be gone. We will no longer be living a sedentary lifestyle. To think you could go from coach potato to lean, mean survival machine is flat out wrong. I’m not saying you have to be able to run marathons to survive post SHTF, but you absolutely must be active and keeping yourself in decent shape now if you hope to survive long-term should the grid go down.
I will engage in and win multiple gun battles

One of my favorite sayings is “Avoiding conflict should be a primary goal. Your firearms are the back-up plan!” I see a lot of “Keyboard Warriors” with dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition just waiting for their time to engage in an all-out battle for survival. They talk to “picking off enemies at 500-600 yards” in urban areas or never running out of ammo in huge gun battles. They think the ability to shoot accurately trumps everything.

In my opinion, many of these people would not last nearly as long as they think they would if we ever have TEOTWAWKI. (The End of The World as We Know it). This might upset a few people, but that is ok. They need to understand that having a gun does not make them bullet proof. I hate to break it to them, but Rambo is Hollywood FICTION!

An eagerness to engage in gun battles during SHTF means that you will have lead flying in YOUR direction more often. That increases the odds that at some point, some of that lead will find you! Or it will find a family member. Or it will damage much needed supplies or gear.

Bullets do NOT discriminate!!

If you or a loved one takes a bullet wound, are you medically trained to remove the round and treat the wound? I’m not. And medical trauma teams will be in VERY short supply in a post apocalypse world! So the mortality rate of bullet wounds would sky rocket. In many cases, that will be a slow and painful death as infection and fever set in!

Bullets don’t need to hit you to potentially kill you. For example, we have huge, 1200 gallon barrels on our homestead that we use to collect rain water. A few rounds in those barrels and we could lose much of our water supply for our livestock.

Sure, hopefully we could patch the barrels, but not before much of the water had leaked out. And if the barrels are too damaged for repair? We couldn’t replace those after the end of the world!

Again, bullets do NOT discriminate!!

Bullets don’t simply stop when they hit or miss their target. They keep going, and could end up traveling into someone else’s house and hitting them for example. Now you have accidently hit a neighbor across the street. That will cause you some problems. Bullets also have a tendency to be very loud and let everyone in the area know where you are.

Bullets SUCK at OpSec!

The ability to protect you and your loved ones is VERY important in ANY setting. But an over eagerness to engage in conflict runs the risks of unintended collateral damage, injury, and/or death to you and loved ones. It also leads to the potential destruction of vital gear and equipment.

Your primary goal is to avoid conflict. Guns are the back-up plan!

And if your plans involve taking others’ supplies by force, you are NOT a prepper. You are a thief. Be forewarned…a large majority of preppers also have firearms, and will not be afraid to use them! If there is ever a time of WROL, attempted robberies will not be dealt with by the police but most likely by the business end of a gun!
I will hunt for food when the grid goes down

No matter what your skills as a hunter are, those skills are USELESS if there is nothing to left hunt. In a true long-term SHTF event, the animals available to hunt will be exhausted relatively quickly.

Using the deer population in the US for example, deer numbered around 33.5 million or so in 2017. With over 300 million people in the US alone, and the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, you can connect the dots and see the potential ramifications when you have that many hungry people with 390 million or so guns.

A large percentage of people do not know how to hunt, let alone field dress an animal. But that would not stop them from trying. Hunger is a POWERFUL motivator.

Suddenly the number of hunters in the US would skyrocket. And the rules and regulations in place to help ensure that the animal population remains intact would be right out the window.

Unfortunately, it won’t be just the deer. The entire animal population would be sent into free fall. Small game, birds, fish, etc will be wiped out as the shrinking human population become more desperate for dwindling resources.

And once wild animals are gone, “Whiskers, Mittens, and Fido” are up next. If it moves, chances are someone will be hunting it. And with it the sustainability of animals as food would most likely cease to be.
My gear will work despite me never using it or testing it regularly

Most preppers, myself included, love getting new prep gear. Be it new flashlights, firearms, or rechargeable whatever, we all buy new gear with the belief that it could someday save our life. But if it sits in its box, unopen and unused, would you know how it functions should the SHTF and seconds count?

Sagan Life products have been thoroughly tested and certified by an independent water laboratory to meet or exceed the EPA requirements for the removal of bacteria, viruses, and parasites from water.

Even if you have used it and know how it works, when was the last time you checked it? When was the last time you made sure it was fully charged and in working order?

We recently experienced a major snow storm in my area. Temperatures in the negative degrees (and that’s BEFORE the wind-chill) with over a foot of snow. That maybe common for Minnesota and Montana, but not for the southwest.

Because we had a few days warning, I took the time to reassess my gear. I’m glad I did as I found a few issues. For example, I have several wool blankets, and typically keep a sturdy wool blanket in with my camping gear. When I went to check on that particular blanket, I realized that something (most likely a mouse) and gotten in an chewed up parts of it. As I said, I have several so this was not a major set back. But if that had been my only one, that could have caused me problems down the line.

At the same time, I went back through and recharged ALL of my equipment. This turned out to be a wise choice, as three days later we began to have controlled blackouts. The southwest is not used to winter storms of this proportion, and the power grid was overwhelmed by the amount of power being used to keep people warm.

Fortunately, all of my electronics were in good working order and fully charged. But what happens if I lose power and have no advanced warning? What if some of my vital gear is not ready to go when I need it most?

Equally as important is knowing where your gear is. I have a room in my house dedicated to some of my preps, gear, and tools. But I also keep some preps in my garage. When I took an entire day before the storm to double check my gear, I realized that some items I thought were in the garage were not there. And some items that I thought were in the storage room were not there.

I was able to locate everything eventually. But I was fortunate to have adequate time to find it all. I realized that in a different scenario where I had no warning, things may have been very different.

You should consider coming up with a list of all of your gear and preps, its locations, and last time it was inspected. This is a great way to ensure that you know what all you have, where it is located, and the last time it was checked.
Prepping for only sudden/abrupt scenarios

Most of us imagine that an epic and massive SHTF scenario will be a rapid, immediate event. We figure that the grid, society, law and order, etc. would all go down relatively quickly after a massive SHTF event.

But this may not always be the case. What happens if the collapse happens slowly, over time? What if we are witnessing the collapse right now, but it is moving so slowly we do not realize it?

That is what happened in Venezuela. What was once the richest country in South America did not reach abject poverty and overall decay of their grid, law and order, etc in just a few days or even weeks. Events inside that country started years ago, and began to escalate slowly over time.

Things are now so bad that in 2020 about 97% of people in Venezuela were not food secure. This means that they do not know where their next meal will come from. Grocery stores there are empty with over two-thirds of Venezuelans report losing an average of 25 pounds in the last year and 61.2% of Venezuelans report going to bed hungry. There is about an 85% shortage of medicines, and while the power grid there still functions, there are rolling blackouts regularly.

Crime has skyrocketed. Venezuela has one of the highest number of violent deaths in the region and in the world. Last year closed with an estimated 16,506 murders and a rate of 60.3 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, well above any other country in Latin America.

I think it is safe to say that Venezuela is completely in a SHTF crisis. And yet the power grid is still up…sometimes. Society has not collapsed entirely. There is still law and order, if you can call it that. There are still hospitals, although 70% of them report regular power outages and a lack of clean water.

What we as preppers should take note of here is that it took years to get to this point in Venezuela. I have read many articles from preppers who escaped Venezuela who stated that all of their preps and supplies were exhausted years ago. Many of them wish they had taken more of a self-sufficient, homesteading approach to prepping. But then again, several reported that if they had they would most likely have been robbed, either by gangs or corrupt government officials.

The point here is that we do not know what sort of crisis and emergencies the future holds. So we shouldn’t prep for just a few scenarios. I am beginning to focus more on homesteading as opposed to just stockpiling supplies. We as preppers should be doing both, as they should be going hand in hand.
I have some preparedness books, I’ll read them when the time comes

I’ll start out by saying that I have been guilty of this in the past. I will order a preparedness book, put it on my shelf believing that I will get around to reading it, and then watch as it collects dust. This is not doing me any good. As Tom Edison once said,

“A good intention, with a bad approach, often leads to a poor result.”

Much like having gear with no idea on how it functions or if it works, skills that you intend to study and books you intend to read will do you no good when the poop actually hits the fan. Now is the time to learn and develop the skills you will need as a prepper.

I had an discussion with a fellow prepper on this topic a few years ago. “Joe” felt like he would have a lot of down time in a post apocalyptic setting. Joe said he would use this time to brush up on those books.

My reply to Joe was that it could be that the skills and abilities he develops NOW by reading and studying those books, and practicing those skills could be what gets him to that point in time where he has time on his hands post collapse.

The truth is, you do not know what will happen when the SHTF. There could be little to no warning of an upcoming disaster. You maybe forced from your home and away from those books you planned to read. The grid may go down, and you can no longer access those books online.

The only guaranteed time, means, and ability you will have to study up on these books and learn these prepper skills is RIGHT NOW. So make the most of it.

I’ll be the first to admit that on occasion I have found myself falling into some of these areas. As the saying goes, when you point the finger at someone, you have 3 pointing back at you. So over the past few years, I have really had to reevaluate my preps and my plans. Hopefully you are continually evaluating and updating your preps and plans.

What prepper delusions have you seen or had to work through? Tell us in the comment section below.

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