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The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 1

What is a "prepper?" What image comes to your mind when you hear the word "survivalist" or "prepper?" Some think survivalists are a group of crazies living in a bunker with enough weapons to hold off Patton and living off cold Spam. In this case, Spam is an acronym for squirrel, possum and muskrat. I have some shocking news for you. Every man, woman, child and living creature on earth is a survivalist. We all need exactly the same things, shelter, food and safety from predators. Each day begins a new day of survival. It doesn’t matter one iota what the condition of the world is around us. The goals remain constant. The only difference is the method used to reach these goals. One common conception of the "after" life, in our case meaning after calamity strikes, is a horrifying affair with suffering, death, starvation, deadly battles to hold what's yours and doing without any pleasures of life. I believe this is a myopic vision at best. The post-apocalyptic world has been played to death in Hollywood. Perhaps we've all seen one too many Mad Max movies. I believe we will once again discover the best of humanity shines through the worst of times. Life after whatever disaster happens will certainly be different. It does not have to be worse. We might even awaken to a new and better world. The Amish will probably wonder what all the fuss is about. When the world really is out to get you, paranoia is smart thinking. For centuries, society has ridiculed people for believing disaster is imminent. "The sky is falling" has a prominent place in the English language to mean the world is about to end. Dating back to 1895 this story has been applied to people accused of being paranoid and trying to incite action in others. The tale has become a political tool to demean anyone who speaks the truth about the condition of our times.


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 2 To further complicate the issue, psychologists tell us most people have a "normalcy bias." The normalcy bias says since something has never or rarely happened, it won't happen now. Most humans are guilty of normalcy bias. Even preppers can show signs of denial. To properly define who or what a prepper or survivalist is, we have to consider what they are preparing to survive. The range is as broad as what people can conceive, or fear the most. In some degree, everyone is a survivalist preparing for some degree of misfortune. We all follow the old standard Boy Scout motto to "Be Prepared." In the mildest form possible, our laws require everyone to prepare. We buy insurance on our cars, boats and homes. We prepare for the financial consequences of accident, theft, flood or fire. The next level of being prepared is optional and proactive. When warned of an approaching storm, we rush out and fill the gas tanks of our cars. We clear store shelves of flashlights, batteries, candles and food. We check the propane tanks on the grill or get out the camping stove. Some board up windows for hurricanes or get out the snow shovels and blowers for a winter storm. We are preppers and consider those who aren’t to be foolish or idiots. One step higher on the prepper scale are those who live in a constant state of moderate, short-term preparation. They recognize bad things happen, but have faith in the system to come to the rescue. Instead of waiting for disaster, they keep enough food and water in the house for a couple of days. They might own a generator or some other source of off-grid electric. They probably have some kind of bug-out plan with a place to go if needed. Minimal preparations are fine as long as civil systems remains intact. What makes the difference in people who prepare at the next level is how much faith they have in the system to rescue them. For those who have little or no faith, prepping takes a more serious attitude.


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 3 Here is where we get hardcore. It's where we also start to see the split between people who practice prepping. The normalcy bias kicks in and people go into denial. We refuse to believe that anything could happen so severe that longterm survival past a few days is necessary. History repeatedly proves how dangerous the normalcy bias is. Natural disasters, which cause the need for longer-term survival, are fact. The need for this level of preparation is not a matter of if it will be needed; it becomes a matter of where it will happen and when. Think natural disaster such as hurricane, tornado, tsunami, earthquake, flood or other natural events. There is not a single year, a simple 365 days, which has not seen a cataclysmic event somewhere in the world affecting millions of people and overpowering any hope of help reaching them for months. The normalcy bias says because it has not happened to you, it never will. The facts do not support this. After Hurricane Katrina, those who survived waited weeks for help. People were dependant on government for survival a year after the storm hit. In the grand scheme of things, in the realm of what could happen, this was a minor event. Government was overwhelmed and 1,833 people died. Things get a little fuzzy for the real hardcore survivalists. We're talking about end of the world scenarios, the Apocalypse or collapse of civilization, as we know it. The most ardent preppers fear to speak of it; fewer are willing to prepare. If things get that bad, they don’t want to survive. This level is most often called the lunatic fringe. They definitely are the fringe element, and perhaps fanatical, but they're not wrong. Again it's not a matter of if, it's when. Although this level of calamity is rare, it's not historically accurate to assume it won't happen. Asteroids will hit the earth. They have in the past, they will again. Volcanoes have destroyed entire civilizations in the past, and we know they will in the future.


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 4 Sunspots are a regular natural occurrence. Most are harmless, some not so much. Astronomers warn us they are on the increase. How long before we find ourselves in the dark ages as the result of one knocking out everything electronic on the planet? The only thing we know for sure is sooner or later it will happen. Calling this group a prepper is perhaps not quite accurate. These are the disasters you can't really prepare for. Survivalist is more accurate since the world will not be able to sustain those who can't claim the ability to survive in the wild from nature's bounty. Who is a prepper? Everyone is to some level. Who should be a prepper? Everyone should be. The level you take is a matter of what you're preparing for. There is no shortage of possible misadventure in the world. Some are natural and just as many are man-made. Economic Collapse and Civil Unrest. We begin here for one simple reason. It's the most likely disaster you should be prepared for. As a preamble to this topic, this is about prepping, not politics. The purpose is to present an honest and non-political representation. The US is on a steep downward spiral and we've already passed the point of no return. Here comes that nasty normalcy bias once again telling us everything is going to work out, because it always has in the past. People will point to the Great Depression and say, we came out just fine. True enough, but we're in much worse shape now. In the 30s, unemployment numbers were calculated in a much different way. Today we use applications for new unemployment benefits. In 1930, they had to use real employment numbers. If we calculated today's unemployment using the same exact method, instead of between 7.5% and 8.5% it would be between 23% and 28%. The height of the depression in 1933 saw unemployment at 24.9%i.


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 5 To realistically analyze employment figures we must also consider those who are under-employed or part-time, less than a 40-hour week. Harder to fix a number to are people who have given up looking for work. This brings the employment levels down to 40% - 50%. This is validated by another figure, persons receiving government assistance. That number is currently over 47%ii and rising. Poverty is not the cause or effect here. A full 58% of government assistance goes to the middle class 60% of the population. The bottom 20% receives 32% of government benefits. During the depression we had no such programs. At that time, we didn't even have unemployment insurance. What we had was the New Deal. The CCC, Civilian Conservation Corp was the most popular program in the New Deal. Young men (17 – 25) were enlisted at $30 per month for 6 months to work at various projects on federal land. One requirement was to send $25 per month back to their families in the cities to stimulate the economy there. Over 3 million men came through the CCC program by the time it ended. The Public Works Act, PWA, was another New Deal program considered to be successful. A great many structures, dams and bridges still in use today came from this program. It continued until 1941 when the war effort provided jobs and created a manpower shortage. The sole program to survive long past the New Deal is the Social Security Act. In the original form, benefits were paid by the worker and returned after retirement. Of course today, Social Security is one of the main causes for our national debt. People are living longer and receiving more in benefits than paid in. It is also no longer just a retirement program meaning some people collect who never paid a dime into the program. The problem with SSI is funding is now coming from the current labor force which is smaller than the number of people receiving benefits. It's a Ponzi scheme at the end of a pyramid cycle.


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 6 On June 30, 1930 the national outstanding debt was a little over $16 Billioniii. That number was considered outrageous at the time. Our national debt today, including unfunded liabilities stands at approximately $70 Trillion. An unfunded liability is the amount of future payment obligations which exceed the present value of funds to pay them. These are often ignored when calculating the national debt since they are not technically part of the current budget. They are however, entitlements we have already committed to pay out. We have no idea where the money will come from. Okay, we're in a mess. No one argues that point. That's not what will cause the great economic collapse in the US economy. We're able to survive for one simple reason. Our currency is the world standard. This makes us the only nation on the planet able to print money to pay our debt. As long as we keep this status, we're good. Should that golden goose fly the coop, we'll be forced to actually pay our debt. In other words, the economy will fail under it's own weight. This is what puts the USA between a rock, and a hard place. If we don’t stabilize our economy, we will lose our status as the world currency standard. That's the rock. The hard place is in order to correct the problem the government can't continue to pay out entitlements. All those wonderful programs designed to ease poverty and prevent the suffering we saw during the great depression will by necessity have to end or be seriously curtailed. How would you like to be the President announcing the end of welfare, SSI payments or pension plans? Half the country dependant on these programs would be out for blood. In a recent session, the house tried to pass the Farm Bill iv with an insignificant 3% reduction in funding for the SNAP food assistance program. The outrage was so great the bill was passed on to the senate without the reduction. If we fix the problem at the expense of entitlements, civil unrest –aka riots- will occur. Look at Greece or Spain as examples. If we don’t fix the


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 7 problem we'll be forced to spend only the money we have, ending entitlements. Riots or civil unrest will occur. There is no possible way to dodge this bullet. There is a gold lining to this cloud. Before you jump off a tall building I want you to remember a fact not often discussed about the depression. There were preppers during the 20s and 30s who saw the bubble the stock market was sitting on and prepared for the collapse. More people became wealthy DURING the depression than at any other time in US history. When the depression went into full death dive, businesses and corporations, real estate, luxury items such as houses, cars, jewelry and art went into a downward spiral too. Those who were prepared took advantage of the opportunities. When the depression eased, they became the new titans. That same spiral has already begun. Recently houses in Detroit sold for $1. A 33,000 square foot commercial building sold for $800. So far, the Chinese are the only ones investing. Mega yachts are being sold today for half value. Property auctions in places like Palm Springs failed to bring in even close to value. Wait for it. It gets better. Think of preparing not as a means to survive, but as a means to THRIVE! Grid and Infrastructure Failure The deadliest aspect of a widespread grid failure is the unpredictable nature. It will happen in the blink of an eye and create instant panic and chaos. Power grid failure is the best reason to prepare now. You can't wait until it happens and there will be no warning. The blackout will not be televised. We've all experienced small short-term power outages. Storms, power lines down, technical and mechanical failures have left us all in the dark at one time or another. They were inconvenient, but not usually life threatening because the power came back on within hours or perhaps a day.


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 8 Retail and the manufacturing industry have combined to form the very model of efficiency. Warehousing goods costs money, a lot of money. One of the biggest changes in how retailers operate is to forgo huge inventories. They now operate on a very close 3-day supply of goods on hand. It's a supply as needed system, which is great as long as everything works. Within the first 24 hours you'll lose lights, water, access to money in banks, refrigeration / AC or heating and food suppliers will be inundated. Travel will become nearly impossible and gas stations will close immediately. Water and sanitation will reach critical levels after 48 hours. Flooding begins in areas normally kept dry with pumps. Perishable items are gone from stores and homes without refrigerators. Expect widespread looting in heavily populated areas. Law Enforcement will be pressed to the limit. Hospitals will be over run. Fatalities will begin. A total of 13 people died in 2003. In 72 short hours, all goods and services will cease. Stores will run out of all usable items since they only stock a three-day supply. It won't matter though since leaving the relative safety of home will be far too dangerous. Without outside assistance, casualties will begin in cascading amounts. Estimates are 50% of the population do not keep three days of food and goods at home. The big question is, how likely is this scenario? Since 1984, utility companies have been required to report power outages. There have been 11 outages of over 4,000 megawatt. Ten years ago, seven states in the northeast US and parts of Canada suffered the worst grid failure in North American history. Over 55 million people were affected. Some cities were without power for four days. The system has improved since 2003, but the general opinion of world experts is we're far from a stable condition. The 2003 blackout was caused initially by a tree branch in Ohio touching a power line. A technical fault and


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 9 human error completed the route to disaster. The same chain of events can still bring the system down. In spite of improvements to the system, Arizona, California and Mexico's Baja took a major hit in 2011. The rest of the world has experienced worse grid failuresv with the granddaddy of all belonging to Brazil in 1999. What are the odds of power outages or grid failure? That's easy, 100%. The only variable is how long and how widespread. Due to the common nature of the event, being prepared for even a minor short-term disruption of power is not being paranoid, it's being smart. The Tenth Crusade, Nuclear War & Terrorist. To reinforce the previous statement, this is not about politics. It's about preparing for the possible and the probable. We are at war, and given the nature of the enemy, probably will be for decades to come. Historians say the war between Christians and Muslims began in 1096 with the First Crusade and ended with the Ninth Crusade in 1272 AD. It might be accurate to call contemporary conflicts around the world between Islam and infidels to be the Tenth Crusade. Mankind has seen almost 1,000 years of destruction with no end in sight. Most of us breathed a huge sigh of relief when the cold war ended. Anyone who grew up in the 60s remembers the hysteria of that era. Rather than being ridiculed by the media, survivalists were encouraged in an effort to give us a false sense of security. An underground bomb shelter was standard for public buildings and many homes. Children practiced "duck and cover" drills at school. The only thing duck and cover accomplished is putting your head between your knees made it easier to kiss your ass goodbye. Prepping in those early days was actually silly, but at least we tried. We believed survival was possible even in an all-out nuclear exchange.


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 10 In 1950, two nations had nuclear capability, the USA and USSR. The only reason we survived the cold war was M.A.D. or Mutually Assured Destruction. That works fine for two countries with stable borders at odds. Today's conflicts are caused by ideals instead of geopolitical borders. M.A.D. will not prevent the use of nuclear weapons or any other W.M.D. There are at least nine countries today with nuclear weaponsvi, and several more in the process of developing nukes. Most of those countries don’t like us very much. We're closer to nuclear holocaust now, than we ever imagined in the 60s. The very nature of war is far different. Centuries ago, a man stood with sword in hand and looked into the enemies' eyes. It was bloody, brutal and fearsome. War was the survival of the fittest taken to the limit. Star Trek fans will remember a prophetic first season episode 23 written by Robert Hamner called "A Taste of Armageddon." Two planets waged war by computer for over 500 years. Waging war had lost the horror. We're near that status now. We have "pilots" who sit at a console in Kansas and bomb a building in Afghanistan via a remote controlled drone. ICBMs can launch from Omaha and strike a target on the other side of the world. A ship at sea can send a cruise missile through the doorway of a building. Killing has become a sanitary task. A nuclear detonation or war does not necessarily mean the total annihilation of people and infrastructure. Dubbed the "e-bomb," a nuclear detonation 300 miles above the USA would roll the calendar back to 1850 in 1/500th of a second. The Graham Commission studied the problem and stated, "The United States has seen the rapid growth in its dependence on electronics, telecommunications, and information technology. This technology has infused itself into the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR). These


The Prepper With the Most Toys Wins! Good news for survivors in a new age. 11 include the energy sector, banking and finance, petroleum and natural gas, transportation, food services, water, emergency services, and space systems. These technological innovations have brought great benefits, but also make the United States—and its component states and localities—vulnerable to an EMP attack." Cars and transportation would roll to a stop instantly. Aircraft in flight would fall from the sky. Overhead phone and power lines would melt, shallow buried cables would be fried. Satellites would go off-line stopping everything from television to cell phones. The internet would cease. It wouldn't matter because there would be no computers left to use it. Any item computer controlled – basically everything - would become a paperweightvii. There are no effective means to determine how likely an attack of this nature is. The only thing we know for sure is at least nine countries have tested EMP generating devices and we're not friendly with any of them. N. Korea and Iran have been testing missiles launched from ships. Both countries have declared a willingness to use them against the USA. The most chilling statement by the Graham Commission is, "Many Americans have experienced the burdens of a short blackout. But the U.S. could not survive as a unified civil nation with the long-term loss of the electrical grid." Our once lofty position as King of the Nuclear Mountain no longer matters. In fact, we're more like the hideously over muscled body builder who can barely move. The huge arsenal of weapons, which kept us safe under M.A.D., is now a burden. We're nearly defenseless against such attacks and completely unprepared as a nation.


i http://www.shmoop.com/great-depression/statistics.html ii http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/09/18/whoreceives-benefits-from-the-federal-government-in-six-charts/ iii http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo 3.htm ivhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/25/usa-agricultureidUSL1N0FV2JA20130725 v http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/the-smartergrid/blackout-threat-unmitigated-a-decade-after-the-northeast-wentdark vi http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/15/the-danger-ofdismissing-north-koreas-nuclear-thre/?page=all vii http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/11/emp-attackswhat-the-us-must-do-now

The prepper with the most toys wins!  

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