This article is a summary for those interested in prepping for bad times in the US. “Prepping” is a popular term for “preparing.” Examples during “good times” include making sure you have enough or your favorite gourmet creamer for tomorrow morning’s coffee, locking your front door, having fuel in your car, clean clothes for tomorrow, etc.
What could cause “bad times?” An earthquake, a war, racial or religious conflicts, a tsunami, Quantitative Easing resulting in hyperinflation, government oppression, societal economic collapse due to government restrictions on productivity, uprising of a competing government or other type of gang, etc. Throughout human history, almost everyone has lived during bad times for many years of their lives. A few exceptions include most readers of this article and other people throughout history that have also been among the wealthiest 3%, in times when wars were fought far from home.
First, a six-word summary of the most important parts of this article. Guns, ammunition, water, hygiene, skills & team.
As you consider what could go wrong in bad times, these are some common things that might no longer be available by traditional means:
- Water for drinking, flushing toilets, washing dishes & clothes and bathing
- Electricity for powering your refrigerator, heater, air conditioner, computer, phone charger, etc.
- Food might not be available at stores or by delivery
- Emergency medical services might not be available, even doctor’s visits might not be possible
- Police might not be available, and if so, response times will be very long
- Delivery services like Amazon to your home and even commercial deliveries to local stores might be disrupted
- Sewage systems might stop working, consider toilets and sinks backing up
- Cash (Federal Reserve Notes) could lose half or all of previous perceived value
Natural “market rules” like supply & demand still exist, even absent a ruling class with a strongly controlled system. Barter will remain. What is of value in “bad times?” People throughout history have bartered the following items and services:
- Drinkable water
- Disposable lighters
- Refillable lighters
- Fuel to provide a lighter-refueling service
- Whiskey & other alcohol
- Hope (religious, snake oil, political, positivity books & speeches, etc)
- Firewood, coal etc
- Gas masks & filters
- Sexual services, prostitution, stripping, etc
- Defensive tools including firearms, bows & arrows, knives, pepper spray etc
- Survival tools like wood saws, plastic tarps, etc
- Specialty skilled trade services like carpentry, medical, auto repair, welding, plumbing, etc
- Food services like planting a potato garden, baking, etc
- Defense services including personal and property security
- Offensive violence, roving gang robbery services, etc
- Food including rice, dry beans, pasta, grains, honey, salt, canned meats, canned vegetables, tea, etc … (Know that “best by” dates mean what they say. Food does not become “bad” the next day)
- Gold & silver, pre-64 coins
- Soap, toilet paper, plastic trash bags, other hygiene items
- Antibiotics like Neosporin, etc.
- Gasoline, kerosene etc.
- Paper, Styrofoam and plastic plates, cups, utensils
- Coffee, cigarettes, booze
Common causes of injury and death during bad times include:
- Violence – robbery, assault, homicide, rape, etc.
- Infections, disease (often due to drinking water quality)
- Temperature issues – freezing, hypothermia, heat stroke etc.
Following are 16 considerations summarized from thousands of pages of information on the subject. They are not all-inclusive, and in many cases their primary purpose is to allow your back brain to subconsciously develop strategies and responses.
- If you live in a cold climate and your electricity is out, your gas heating runs out and your firewood is stolen, how will you heat your home? If your home has more than one room, which rooms are worth heating?
- History has shown that when times are bad, human niceties, ethics and principles diminish dramatically. Burglary, robbery, gangs demanding taxes and other forms of theft increase. Good neighbors and friends who know you have a loaf of bread will be faced with a choice between 1) their child starving to death and 2) stealing from you, using whatever force is necessary. Consider other hungry, scared and needy animals and their natural instincts. Frequently, individuals join with others of like mind to combine efforts, and this includes gangs of robbers and rapists. As “bad times” progress, groups of 15 to 25 men, sometimes double, frequently join together to steal while defending each other.
- If the public water supply you have always taken for granted stops working, where will you find water? Where will everyone else in your area find it? The clean river four miles away will not stay clean for long, how will you make the water safe for drinking? How will you transport water?
- If your toilet does not flush, how and where will males and females urinate and poop? Will you dig a hole in the back yard with your shovel? Will you have plastic trash bags to put into a bucket, and for real luxury, will you have a seat and lid like this? https://amzn.to/2UdCNO8
- Historically, loners do not do as well as small groups with tight bonds, family being best. An ideal situation would be extended families with many able-bodied members living beside each other. Choose your friends wisely and rationally. Choose honest, capable, loyal, principled people with a strong work ethic. Appreciate that you and your neighbors can still work together, however be very careful who you trust.
- Only you and your spouse should know how much of what supplies you have. Loose lips sink ships. Remember that hungry neighbors and friends have historically killed and robbed to feed those they love.
- Rural homes are generally more defendable than urban or suburban neighborhoods if there is sufficient manpower. During dangerous times, at least one person from your team needs to watch the street for approaching threats. Organization and tactical knowledge is important.
- Societal norms and pretenses change, and humans revert to a more natural state. This means that many individuals and crowds will not rationally think and behave as their morals dictate during good times. Remember, good fathers and grandfathers will do bad things to protect and feed their families. Most people will neither be as morally principled as Carl Watner nor as ruthless as Genghis Khan. Natural gender-based tendencies will return, and greater than 80% of the childcare and nurturing will be done by women. More than 80% of the door repairs, fighting and leadership will be done by men.
- Furniture, doors, window frames and other things made of wood can be used for heat. Abandoned houses are ransacked for fuel for fires.
- In some bad times, cars and other debris block the streets. Vehicles are rare because of a lack of fuel, and driving in one will get everyone’s attention. Sometimes, bandits will employ sniper tactics. It is harder for a sniper to hit a moving person in the dark than a person standing still in the light. The best tactics for traveling include moving quickly in groups of two or three armed people, but not too closely together. Move in the shadows from positions of concealment, keeping in mind that occupied homes will defend themselves from men lurking in the shadows on their property. Make sure your team knows basic tactics.
- On the positive side, humans are smart critters. Unless a coercive democratic social structure exists, individuals will seek what is best for themselves. Austrian Economics prevail, and to better provide for one’s own family, a man will build, create, invent, grow, serve and trade. If he wants to always have plenty of water, and he knows that building stoves to trade for water is worthwhile, he will use his skills and other capital to create value to exchange with others.
- Many times, governments will take weapons away from citizens at the beginning of hard times. Some people choose to hide guns and ammunition, even though it is illegal. In most places, guns are registered, and the government will know about those guns and require them to be turned over. Many people have to make the difficult decision of what is best for their family. Some fear possible imprisonment more than they fear the probable death of their family if really bad times arrive and they are unarmed.
- It is wise to be a handy person with “real” skills. In good times, being a stockbroker, transgender studies professor, attorney, coder, advertising executive or many other professions can be profitable. In bad times, your family and neighbors need different skills and talents. Medical services, handyman, mechanical, agricultural, and other skills to create and repair are of great value. If you have peroxide, tweezers and antibiotic salve; it is likely that people with bad splinters will trade a can of food for a splinter removal treatment. Your supplies will run out or be stolen, but you will always have your practical skills.
- Mental heath can determine outcomes. A survival mindset is very important. Observing the world from a stoic perspective is of great practical and emotional value. Trust your gut, if a situation makes the hair on your neck stand up or gives you a funny feeling, trust your instincts. Do not trust mentally unstable family and group members, they can do things in anger, depression or stupidity that jeopardizes everyone’s safety.
- Historically, humans have noticed that having strong and tall walls around their property was a good way to keep people away. When the windows in your home are all broken, what will you use in terms of materials and tools to close the windows up? If your home appears wealthy, if there are bars on the windows, the sound of a generator running and wonderful smells of food cooking; your house will be a target.
- Make yourself and your home appear to be “not worth it” in terms of being targeted. Appear poor, hungry, mean, crazy, fearful and desperate. Do not wear expensive tactical clothing and carry a fancy rifle.
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