Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How much is too much?

Food, water and shelter are what you need to get by. Being able to protect yourself is also important.

Guns are fun but too many people go too far with them. I firmly believe that every American household should have at least one firearm. I don't think that it should be law. I just wish that people would accept the fact that the threat of armed private citizens has helped dissuade several would be attackers throughout our history. If you don't already own a gun but you want to get prepared don't run out and buy a safe full of guns along with thousands of rounds of ammo before you do anything else. Just get a cheap handgun, a milsurp bolt gun or a shotgun in a relatively common caliber and buy a few hundred to a thousand rounds for it. A CZ-52 and a 1200 round sealed case of ammo will set you back less than $300 and it's enough gun to handle just about anything. That's just one option out of several. The key here is to not go crazy with your "arsenal" until you have everything else squared away. Once you're good on food, water and shelter then go as crazy as you want on your gun cabinet. Just remember that if you actually survive long enough to use a thousand rounds of ammo then you'll probably end up with plenty more ammo and guns.

Food is, in my opinion, the most important prep item. When people start to tighten their belts and things start to get scary food is going to be the first thing to get scarce. Just look at the bread line riots going on in the middle east right now. These people are living in a desert and they're more worried about food than they are water. Luckily food is still plentiful and cheap in the US. If you learn how to garden it costs next to nothing and being able to can your produce just adds to the value. There aren't too many areas in the US that can't support a garden on some level if you know what you're doing. Grain is cheap. If you've got a feed store near you you can find wheat for next to nothing. Costco sells bulk beans and rice for ridiculously low prices. Grain lasts almost indefinitely if stored correctly. Get a good grinder and you expand your options even more. Canned food can often be found on sale. If you find it cheap enough you'll be hard pressed to find a better storage option for certain food items. For a couple hundred dollars you can easily have enough food for a person for a year. If you buy a 50 lb bag of rice here and a 25 lb bag of beans there with spare cash you won't even notice how much it cost you to get a big stash. No amount of food is too much as long as you don't have more than you'll ever be able to use. It doesn't do any good to buy 500 pounds of apples if you won't be able to eat more than 10 pounds of them before the rest go bad.

You can't live without water. Luckily it's pretty easy to find. The important thing is knowing how to make it drinkable and having the means to do it. Because of how bulky and heavy it is it's not really an option to store a huge amount of fresh, drinkable water. A decent, portable filter can be had for under $100 and that'll be enough to get you through most disasters. Get a couple of berkley candle filters and a couple of buckets and you can easily filter 5 gallons at a time of nasty water as needed. A rain catchment system is also a great idea. Naturally it's a good idea to have several gallons of fresh water on hand as well but don't go overboard with your water storage unless you actively use it.

If you're not homeless then you've got your shelter covered. If things get really bad in the world but you don't have to leave your home for anything because you've already got your preps covered then you'll be better off than 90% of the other people around you. While everyone else is fighting over the last few cans of food at Wal-Mart or looking for a victim to rob so that they can feed their family you can just stay home and try not to draw attention to yourself until everything blows over. If things last long enough where you actually have to worry about your preps running out then a big enough portion of the population will probably have been killed off which will make it even easier to get by. If the golden horde starts roving the countryside then the people that think they're in the middle of nowhere might just be in as much danger as the guy with a house in the burbs if not more because they'll be easier to single out.


Anonymous said...

I am a regular reader of this blog and really enjoy it, however the last couple of sentences said some things that I just don't know about. I am referring to the so called "Golden Horde" milling about the country side looking for food. I am sure that there will be some of that going on, but in a true TEOTWAWKI situation, I am persuaded that most people will be sticking to familiar ground i.e. walmart, kroger, whatever your local chain grocer is etc. I say this because even though most people know that meat comes from chicken and cows, most people do not make the connection between the animal itself and food. Look at what happened when Katrina occurred. Weeks after the flood had already wiped what it could out of existence, and the looters and pillagers had already raided all the local retailers, there were still tv news reports showing people milling around walmarts and grocery stores looking at the empty shelves. Why did they do that? Well, because it was "home" and it was what they were used to. They could have moved along long before, but they did not. Now this was just a localized phenomenon, not a Sit-x where everyone is in the same boat and nobody knows where there is greener grass. These people knew that they could move on and find what they needed in another city/state, but they did not.

The Urban Survivalist said...

Obviously the media is going to have an easier time sticking close to the cities. It doesn't surprise me that there were still people hoping that the grocery stores would be restocked after weeks had gone by. It also doesn't surprise me that the news cameras were camping out there rather than at people's houses in the country. Just remember that when you turn on the news you only see what the news is filming.

Have you ever heard of Ferfal? He's given everyone a lot of insight into what it's like living through an economic collapse where the government is still functional on some level but things aren't exactly honky dory. One thing he described that stuck out in my mind was how bands of thugs would attack homesteads and farms because a) they tend to have plenty of resources and b) they're isolated enough that they can do whatever they want with no fear. These guys would take their time and even torture and kill the residents until they got bored and moved on. If a bad situation lasts long enough then eventually the bad guys are going to realize where the "easy" targets are. Desperate times call for desperate measures. These are the people that I consider "the golden horde". I don't imagine everyone migrating from the city to scour the countryside for whatever resources they can find to survive. I just imagine a lot more resorting to criminal behavior to get what they need.

tjbbpgob said...

This is probably the best post I've read in awhile that sums it up so succinctly as does this post. I believe anyone will stay close to home if they can and if you look to "bug-out" you may put yourself in more trouble than you and the wife and kids can handle. Most of us who live in the "boonies" prefer it that way for a reason. STAY THE HELL AWAY!!

theotherryan said...

It is far too easy to get focused in on guns guns guns and not pay attention to food and water. I know that I went through a stage like that for awhile and have just recently gotten to a somewhat balanced wholistic approach on things.

Anonymous said...

Solid post, Urbansurvivalist, and solid logic behind it. FerFAL's posts remain forefront in my mind, because that is exactly what you will see here first and foremost as the slow decent into chaos continues. Rampant crime, shortages, unemployment, loss of faith, pullback, black markets forming, hyperinflation, banks collapsing, etc.
The same occurred in other nations facing a severe downturn/early collapse in recent years (Soviet Union, Liberia, South Africa, North Ireland, etc), isolated farms and settlements were the worst off, lawlessness came to these areas hardest and soonest, and as with the failing years of the Roman empire, citizenry actually moved into the burbs and cities, not out of them, for security and resources. The rural areas and small towns were hardest hit, even in areas with no violence.....services were discontinued, trucks quit coming, stores were emptied, industries closed, etc.

+1 on the CZ-52 and spam can of Tokarev ammo for the budget minded. I recently acquired one, solidly made, shoots incredibly straight, and very potent penetration (puts holes in 1/4" steel plate and an old kevlar helmet), if a bit lacking in stopping power.

Anonymous said...

I've spent hundreds more than I needed on guns. I'd say I wasted hundreds but then again I've learned what I believe that I need.

I could have stopped at the surplus bolt action, 12g shotty and 22lr bolt action and I'd have been set. But I don't think I would have KNOWN that I was set if you know what I mean.

So now I've got more guns than I personally need but I look at it like this. I've got spares for my non gun owning (but military trained + farm raised) parents.

I ended up with 12g shotty (coach gun + Over and under), 1 x military surplus 308, 1 x 22lr, 1 x 223 tactical sniper set up, 1 x Steyr scout in 308 and a 30-30 (who hasn't got one of these?). Now all I need is a couple of hand guns.

If I were to be ruthless it'd be. Steyr scout (tack driver), 22lr, coach gun + 2 handguns. That's me and the missus sorted + parents looked after.

My advice for those starting out is not to spend to much on guns. If you are very unlucky you may discharge one in anger / self defense ONCE. What will be a dead set cert is that you will want to eat every day ;-)