COVID-19 = Prepper’s Pop Quiz

It’s true. There’s no denying it. The absolute maelstrom of rapid change and devolving societal norms that every prepper author in every novel in the genre ever predicted are coming true. Across the US, the prepper types are finally getting to say they told you so.

I started to title this Prepper’s Final Exam, but that wouldn’t be accurate. What has been going on throughout the US and the world these past two months has literally been ripped from the pages of most every post-apocalyptic author I’ve ever read, but this crisis is still far from the apocalyptic civilization-ending types of events preppers plan for. This isn’t a CME, EMP attack, Chinese invasion (well, maybe that last one. Hmm. Too soon?) But is has provided a chance for the preparedness types the world over to take stock of their game plans, test their preparedness, and give some tough love to the rest of the society that has absolutely no idea how to live in a world where you can’t simply buy everything at the store any day of the week.

Am I a prepper? Schmaybe… yeah. I don’t wear a tinfoil hat and I don’t think there is a hostile fore out there plotting at this very moment how to take down America, but I DO believe in living your life based on the reality you find yourself surrounded with rather than the Utopian one you think the world should resemble. If you back away from it, study it, and examine the flaws in it – that reality is scary. We are one financial collapse away from total failure of the Republic at any moment. The doomsday clock has been close to midnight most of my adult life. North Korea is one successful ICMB test away from nullifying the November elections most all the time these past few years. It’s a novel time to be alive if you’re paying attention… there’s literally never a dull moment.

How it started with me

I became interested in being prepared back in 2011. I was literally sitting on the toilet reading a book titled “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse.” I remember where I was because the incident in the book I was reading almost directly mimicked the state of the world I was living in that day.

I was reading about a financial crisis that hit one country, quickly escalated, devalued the US dollar, triggered hyper-inflation, blah blah blah. As I’m reading this, the parallels to the what was currently going on in Greece hit me. I’d literally heard this same story playing out in the world news 30 minutes before.

What I didn’t know at the time was that I’d accidentally stumbled upon what was affectionately known at the time as “the prepper’s bible.” I was just bored and the story sounded interesting.

Since then I’ve read everything by every author in the genre. What’s important to understand here is that these authors aren’t bored geeks writing fiction. Many of them are writing from the perspective of their careers. One author, William R Forstchen, wrote a book titled “One Second After” which details a fictional account of what could happen if the US was struck with a nuclear weapon detonated in the stratosphere. You think a nuke from North Korea scares me? Nope. That’s just one little area. A single atmospheric nuclear detonation could wipe out the the entire North American continent in less than 1 minute without the blast killing a single living person or ever touching the ground…..

It was so amazingly accurate (and technically possible) that it opened up the eyes of a lot of America’s forward thinkers about how we need to better shield our military infrastructure against EMP. I might discount the author’s advice if he didn’t actually have a PHD from Purdue University with focuses in military history and the history of technology. Kind of scary when you realize this guy actually knows what he’s talking about. It’s even more scary when you read the afterword written by US Navy Captain William Sanders about the EMP technology and the reports from the United States EMP Commission and you find out that yes, all that you just read could actually happen.

I could talk all day about survivalist fiction, but we’ll get lost in the weeds. Let’s move on and just agree that I started focusing on being prepared back in 2011.

Today, in the news…

I’ve been adjusting my way of thinking, my skillsets, and my preparations for the last nine years. Tens of thousands of other people, if not hundreds of thousands in the US have been doing the same thing.

If you know where to look, the memes are starting to jump out of the woodwork. A friend of mine shared a status on Facebook, something along the lines of ” What are all the preppers doing now?” and I commented back “Umm, nothing.. we’ve been prepared for years.”

I didn’t realize how actually true that was until I saw things start to devolve over the last week or so. It’s not even bad yet. So far we’re only dealing with mild disruptions to societal norms, but even these come right out of the cliche’ pages of every preppers novel ever written.

People with absolutely zero sense of how to prepare are raiding grocery stores and buying ALL the wrong things, stocking up on useless items, and in general just trying to comfort themselves with the fact that they did SOMETHING to better prepare for their family- all while mostly accomplishing nothing useful.

That guy

You know “that guy?” The guy in the book that’s just too much of an ass to be real and you wonder why the author went so over the top in creating his character? Turns out they didn’t… that guy is real. Here he is below. He’s in MY town in a Facebook response to one of my posts.

I can’t believe people like this are actually stupid enough to post this kind of stuff online, yet the world keep on spinning and churning them out fresh every day.

Another guy, Justin Rhodes, was the one running around Walmart in my town daring someone to mess with him. He’s got the virus and no one can tell him what to do! (How’s it feel now, big boy? Wiped that stupid smile right off your face didn’t they? I told you it was going to happen. I literally told you exactly what was going to happen to you… shoulda listened.) The rest of us can see his story in the coming months on news and TV outlets throughout the country. Mark my words… I’m telling you now he’ll be a TV special before long.

The clueless

We have the cliche’d bad apples, but we also have the B-string book and movie characters. You know them. Us trekkies call them “red shirts”. That’s right, most of America is just ONE away mission with Riker from a reality check.

In my interactions with people over the last month and a half I’ve had conversations of every sort. I was talking to a friend two weeks ago and asked if they had stocked up on groceries for their family. They looked surprised and asked “You really think it’s going to get that bad?”

How do you respond to that? I make a diligent effort to know what’s going on in the world, and not by relying on mainstream media to get biased information. I usually triple-check anything. If three sources cover a story, chances are you can pick out the overlapping truth and then semi-discard the rest as editorializing. I probably spend about one hour per day right now digesting news from all angles, seeing where it connects, forecasting where it’s going, and determining how the likely effects are going to impact my business, my family, my friends, and my country…. because I like to be prepared. I’m the only person I know that even reads the news in my circle… people jut run around freakin’ clueless and just assume the world will give them a heads-up before the fit hits the shan.

I know we’re in the largest pandemic in modern history. I know enough about epidemiological models and the relatively short time it takes viruses to travel thanks to modern transport and shipping methods that I know this is going to go global without waiting to hear about it on Fox.

I gently informed this friend of mine that I they take the time THAT VERY DAY to go to the grocery store and get enough food for a month for their family. I saw them two weeks later. She thanked me and said how hard it was to find even basic things in stores this week and how glad they were that they stocked up two weeks ago.

This kind of thinking comes so naturally to me that I simply can’t imagine people not planning for their own families.

Financial Markets

I’ve never been wealthy and I’m not wealthy now, but I’ve learned to save over recent years and I put every penny I can into savings and investments for the future.

Rule one in the pandemic playbook is that markets are going to fail. I mean, next to a missile flying through the air, or a giant ball of molten fire descending from the heavens, it’s the single biggest sign of the impending societal collapse.

Once I realized what was going to happen, I pulled my money out of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING and liquidated what I had invested. The day after I got my last check back from the financial institutions… the market crashed.

Throughout the following days and weeks I talked to lots of friends, people much more wealthy than I’ll ever be, whose entire portfolios tanked. And they can’t imagine why…. really? I mean.. it IS a GLOBAL PANDEMIC… as in the worst thing to happen to the world economy in the history of the actual world economy – and you just “let it ride?”

Yeah, they did. 401K’s are gone. Stock market investments portfolios wiped out. I mean, if you have enough money to use the word “portfolio” to describe it, you should just have better sense. I’m just a dumb ol’ redneck. I just “got some money put away.” That’s my level of investment smarts and I had enough sense to put that shit in mason jars, or the modern equivalent thereof, almost a month ago.

It’s survivalist fiction 101 folks. Don’t people read? It’s a pop-quiz and most of the nation failed the first two questions right off the bat.

People are impatient – it’s going to get worse.

We’ve been in this for about a month now, and while it doesn’t follow the apocalypse model (because those usually revolve around a single incident that rapidly escalates the deevolution of societal norms) this virus does cause the same symptoms. They just take longer to appear. People are already showing signs of mass-stupidity. As COVID-19 mitigation strategies are put into place across the nation, people are already starting to rebel. It’s most often related to the fact that they don’t seem to have any idea that things are going to take longer. They don’t understand that government is passing them details in small enough bites that their brains won’t explode.

They think when the President said “15 days” that he actually meant 15 days. That’s so cute…. really. It’s like looking at a kitten… fuzzy and cute and clueless…

It’s not going to be 15 days. It’s going to be 15 days at first because if they tell you it’s going to be 3 months they know that most of you will absolutely lose your minds and immediately panic, probably to something stupid, and the general lawlessness will be too difficult to contain. So they tell you 15 days…

Our governor closed schools for two weeks. We knew school was done for the year the moment they closed them. Most people just believed the hype.. After the two weeks are almost up, they close them for another month. It’s bite sized legislation that people can handle, can wrap their minds around. The next closing (Hint, it’s coming) will be for the remainder of the year.

I’ll spell it out for some of you since you’re obviously not going to read the books. It’s going to get to the point, at least for a while, that when you want to pick up a gallon of milk, you’re going to have to wait outside the local convenience store because the clerk has the door blocked and is only serving one person at a time. Rather than letting masses of unwashed bodies in their stores, they’re going to limit exposure and do your shopping for you, bring it up front, and let you pay for it – all without setting foot in their store.

This will massively increase delays in lines for a bit. Plan accordingly. If a trip to the store used to take you 2 minutes, it will likely take you 15 before this is over. Adjust your schedule.

Your average person is clueless about how to divide responsibilities.

If any of your grandparents that farmed and survived the depression were alive today, they’d beat most of you to death with their walkers over the amount of stupid most families are displaying today.

Entire families are going to Walmart at once. What are you, asking to be the cut out before the first season even ends? You won’t last two episodes. Watch some Walking Dead. Read a book. Something. You people are idiots!

If you’re a husband/wife team, one of you goes to the store. There’s nothing in Walmart that needs two of you. Literally, nothing. Exposing yourself to the chance of infection just because you’d rather “get out of the house” than be smart is almost Darwinian level of foolishness.

People will eventually get stupid, and stupid things are going to start to happen. Having your 11-year old with you in the corner market is just one more stupid thing you’re going to have to watch out for. It’s one more set of germs/infection to worry about. It’s one more loved one to have to watch out for if something pops off in a store somewhere.

You know what your eleven year old can be doing? They can be home working on digging your dumb asses a garden. Best case: Your kids learn something, do some hard work, and you get to eat a lot of Okra. Worst case: you’ve got something to barter with or feed your family with in 2 months if this thing isn’t done and over with.

Did you stop and think how much produce gets imported in to this country? What about how that might slow down/stop if things get bad in other countries?

What about if cash becomes worthless?

Masses are Asses

This is an important lesson to take from history. Masses are asses. People, taken individually are fairly rational most of the time. Given enough time you can usually explain something to a person and make them get it through their heads.

When groups get together, and it doesn’t take large groups, four or five people are plenty, they get herd mentality. And a herd-mentality in humans is absolutely never a good thing.

Ever wonder how many scared cattle it takes to start a stampede? It takes exactly one.

One animal freaks and the ones beside him blindly follow and start running, naturally assuming there MUST be something to run from because you’re running. Within seconds, the entire herd is running terrified and none of them have any idea why.

It should humble us to realize that when herded together, even in small groups, we continually underwhelm the universe. We’re literally no smarter than cattle in those situations.

One person in a group gets mad and starts yelling “Hey, that asshole is trying to rob me.” Which are more likely to do? Are you more likely to say feel defiant and want to correct the problem or are you more likely to try to start mitigation strategies and have rational discussions to get to the bottom of it? Even if you DO believe enough of your own bullshit to think you’d choose the second option, the decision is taken from you when the person next to you who is not quite so cerebral yells “That ain’t right. Get him!” Five seconds later you’re in a mob.

Let’s be clear here. At no time in the history of the world has a mob ever worked the OTHER way. At no time has a mass event broken out where common sense and a desire to be intensely rational just overwhelmed a crowd. Literally never.

My advice to you out there – avoid mobs and avoid crowds. There ARE absolutely 100% guaranteed going to be stupid things happen in places they don’t usually occur. It’s going to happen all over the country in what appears to be random places, which in itself will fan the frenzy of the conspiracy theorists and the “don’t tread on me” types.

If you know me, have you ever seen me in a crowd? Not likely. If you DO see me in a crowd, I’m always on the periphery, always on the side nearest my vehicle, never drinking alcohol, and always armed… because stupid happens when people get together in groups.

The Golden Horde

There is a principle played in most apocalypse novels. Some authors skip over it because they don’t want to write all the boring details it involves. Others use the plot device as part of their story, often as an object for the heroes to overcome. The principle was first laid out to me by author James Wesley Rawles in the novel Patriots, but it’s playing out today in front of your faces on the national news in 4K High Definition format!

The principle is this: Whenever the sheeple, pencil-pushers, soccer-moms, and general useless types that can’t fend for themselves run out of something in their native environment, they always (and I mean ALWAYS) break out in search of it – usually heading to rural America where the population density is much less. It could be food, healthcare, umm.. access to ventilators, fear of contagion, or any other number of things. The idea is that they know they can’t fight 1 million people for access to the resources in the bigger metropolitan areas, so they rush out for unspoiled lands…

If this were a good old-fashioned nuclear threat, we’d have the traditional elements of every good authors setup. People would be fleeing with the possessions on them at the moment, no preparations made, no extra fuel cans, and within hours major highways would be grid-locked because it only takes about 4 cars to run out of gas to stop 1 million travelers going both ways dead in their tracks. Remember, the horde are desperate. They’re not smart. That’s why they got on the interstate in the first place. Every prepper knows you avoid interstates at all costs during a crisis. It’s the prepper equivalent to walking willy-nilly into a face-eating zombie horde… it’s just stupid and you shouldn’t do it.

Anyway… since we are NOT suffering a rapidly escalating event but rather a frog-in-the-pot scenario, people are actually able to get out on the roads and flee their homes to what they assume is the relative escape and freedom offered by the unknown rural landscape they just know is teeming with nice people that want to serve them jam on biscuits and let them sleep in their barn…. idiots.

If you think I’m making this up, I challenge you to read the news.

New Yorkers are fleeing the state into Rhode Island so much that the state is trying to stop them from spreading the infection to their population.

Did you ever think you’d see this in America?

Just yesterday the President of the United States had to step back his comments about considering quarantining an entire state due to how many people are fleeing the state to get health care.

New York went from a place everyone always wanted to visit to a disease-infested slum in the eyes of the world in less than 24 hours. I found out myself that we had three New Yorkers drive to a hospital the next county over last week because their own state told them they wouldn’t be treated there. Florida, Rhode Island, and other states are considering closing their borders to another state’s residents. You realize that’s never happened in the history of this country?

That’s how bad it’s gotten in some places. Meanwhile, much of the nation bumbles around clueless to the magnitude of that circumstance.

Today it’s New York. What if it’s your state tomorrow? Or next week? Neighboring states are getting blasted with refugees they never planned for because no one in modern health-care ever planned on having to accomodate another state’s entire population in their figures. Guess what they’re talking about this week in Zoom conference calls across the east coast?

The Strategic National Stockpile (Or the oh-shit-box)

If you’re like much of the nation, you’re probably just hearing the words Strategic National Stockpile for the first time these past few weeks, or maybe this article is your first introduction to the topic. Let me take a minute and clue you in on two things:

  • What it is.
  • Why we’re fucked.

What is the SNS?

The SNS is a nation-sized “oh shit box” of supplies we can turn to in times of a national disaster. Warehouses of critical types of medical equipment, common vaccines, PPE, foods, supplies, and other types of materials are stored around the country in super-secret locations, ready to be dispersed quickly if the need arises.

So basically the USA has a vastly larger supply of “Go-To-Hell” supplies or zombie apocalypse starter kits than any of us preppers at home. Got it?

So why are we fucked?

I know I shouldn’t curse if I want this article to be widespread amongst certain groups, so please take heed that I knew that and still used the word – mainly because I feel the need to stress to you the importance of the reader truly understanding the actual extent to which many states (mine included) are about to bend over and take it up the rear….

The SNS isn’t fully stocked.

Have you ever meant to work on a project, then other things kind of get in the way? Kind of like when I started prepping. I made my own food canisters, packed away rice and beans, bandaids, triple antibiotic ointment, etc. Well over the following years I didn’t eat all that rice. Some of it went bad. I used up some of those bandaids and darn it… I really DID mean to replenish them, but other things were more important. And that 100 pounds of rice we had’ well 15 pounds went bad and I forgot we’d used up 35 pounds of it, so we only have about half what I’d planned on when I started that pantry.

Yeah, that’s basically exactly what happened to the SNS. We’ve never replenished its stocks from the 2009 bout of H1N1. We’re about 25% low from the time we opened the pantry door.

It’s paid for by a bureacracy.

Money to buy supplies for the SNS has to be allocated by congress like anything else. Imagine this line item on the national budget talks… “Um, Mr. Speaker, don’t forget we need to buy another 2 BILLION dollars worth of masks and gowns for the um… well, for the zombie bunker.”

Can you almost see the eye-rolling that item gets every year? Someone’s probably saying “Oh, for Fuck’s sake Bart, we’re not giving you more money for blankets. We need those funds to provide free healthcare you jackass.” Obviously, it was a democrat that poo-pooed the pantry-poppers, right?

So yeah, we simply don’t spend enough money on the supplies or prioritize it enough. So there’s that…

It can’t do this job.

To be REALLY blunt, the SNS was never designed for what we’re using it for. There are approximately 8 billion dollars of supplies in those bunkers across the US. They are designed for the kind of “normal” emergencies we have. The stockpile is designed to be a bump until retail can kick in and normal supply chains catch up. Let’s storyboard this.

Hurricane Katrina was bad, right? It devastated a lot of land and a lot of people, but it only impacted one tiny part of the country. FEMA and other agencies were able to respond and coordinate their attack on ONE geographic area. The SNS was ready to serve one area for a short time until the federal government could start finding ways to help the state get the supplies they needed. American companies helped. Overseas production helped. Amazon probable made billions. There was no disruption to the world’s supply chain so the SNS could fulfill its role and do an OK job of it.

Now let’s examine the actual reality we’re dealing with on the ground.

  1. The ENTIRE country needs the supplies.
    We don’t have enough in the SNS.
  2. The ENTIRE WORLD needs the supplies.
    No one we normally buy them from will sell them to us.
  3. There ARE NONE TO BE HAD
    The factories that make them are all in China and have been closed for 2 months.
  4. The SNS can’t serve 50 states.
    It was never designed to, can’t do it, and no amount of wishing will make it so.

The SNS cannot and will not be able to serve the needs of the emergency preparation teams that keep talking about how they’re just waiting for their first shipment. I live in North Carolina. Our governor came out on television on Friday March 27th and basically admitted that we’ve received nothing that our state was expecting. Somewhere, someone is most likely deciding that New York, California, and Louisiana apparently need all the supplies more than we do. They’re doing what they do best… triage. It’s not a “what’s fair for everyone” scenario.

In their shoes, I’d do the same thing. I’d prioritize where the supplies can do the MOST good right now rather than what would be nice and seem fair to everyone.

The problem is, I’m not in their shoes. I’m in MY shoes. And my county has ordered a LOT of supplies from the state of North Carolina. Nothing has shown up. North Carolina has ordered a LOT from the SNS. Nothing has shown up.

Half the time when I’m in these command meetings I feel like I’m the only one seeing the writing on the wall – and the writing says the supplies aren’t coming.

It’s our own fault at every level

I deeply abhor people who blame their problems on everyone else. It’s NOT the fault of the SNS that North Carolina, or a certain hospital, or a certain county doesn’t have the supplies they need. It’s that hospital’s fault. It’s that county’s fault. It’s that families fault. It’s on YOU to prepare to care for those you’re responsible for.

If you’re a family, it’s up to you to prepare for every eventuality your family will ever come across to the best of your ability. You’re probably thinking something like “Yeah, but really… who the hell plans on keeping spare high-particulate filtration masks in their house asshole?

Let me retort….

Again, I’m not saying you should or should not have a certain thing to provide for yourself or your family or your county or your state… I AM saying that whatever preparations you plan for need to be in your control, not residing in the control of others.

That’s a lesson we, as a county, a state, and a country are learning the hard way right now. I absolutely guarantee that when this is over, the USA will have a massive manufacturing facility if not more than one cranking out N95 and Surgical masks within our borders on a regular basis and that American companies will be incentivized in one way or another to purchase from those companies. No more will we have to wait on supplies from China to make it here.

I also guarantee every state will up their supplies. So will counties, cities, hospitals and more.

All of the sudden it’s just not so crazy to keep enough emergency supplies around to supply yourself for two months during a pandemic. Counties and municipalities will spend more money on storage, and new buildings to house this equipment, and maintaining stock will be come a thing people care about again.

Families will add masks, and an entire BOX of gloves to their first aid kits that previously contained no masks and maybe 2 pair of latex gloves.

Could our county have had more supplies on hand? Sure. We could have. But we would have come up against the argument of “Come on, just exactly WHY would we need to spend THAT MUCH MONEY on face masks?” I bet I’ll have no problem bringing that one up at the next meeting now though…

Stop Relying on phantom supply chains

This pandemic underscored something every prepper knows from day one. Only an idiot relies on what someone else SAYS they can do. You can get me 150, 000 masks this week? Really? Have you ever actually TRIED to do that? I didn’t think so. Chances are they’ve never seen that many in one place at one time.

Families/counties/governments/people need to learn these lessons for themselves as well. If you’re relying on someone else to get you through this, at some point in your life you are very liable to find out just how far down that person’s priority list you really are.

Becoming Self Sufficient

There are a million things to teach yourself, and starting now is pretty late in the game to figure it out, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.

Heirloom gardening: You want to talk about something that’s hard! Whoo man! Most seeds and plants you purchase at a plant store today are hybrid plants. They’re easy to grow and insect resistant. Great right?

Starting my first heirloom raises beds by making greenhouses out of bamboo and plastic tarping

They’re also sterile most of the time…. so forget saving those tomato seeds for next year. They won’t germinate.

Heirloom gardening is what our grandparents just simply called gardening. You’re putting natural, unmodified, fertile plants in the soil and then raising them from seed to fruition and all the way back to saving the seeds for the next year. Talk about difficult! I had no idea how hard it was going to be to keep insects off my plants when there wasn’t a chemical inside them repelling them. It took me two seasons of learning tricks from the masters (READ AS MY GRANDPARENT’S GENERATION) to get good healthy plants again and again.

There’s never a bad time to start learning this valuable skill

It took me a bit and I had to sacrifice some yard, but I learned how to do it.

I quit gardening for a bit once I knew I’d learned how to do it right. I bought some books on companion gardening, took copious notes, and put the skill aside to learn something else.

Today, we decided it was time to dust off that set of skills and put in a garden just in case this thing still isn’t over in June/July. At least we’ll have fresh vegetables.

Starting my new Corona-garden for 2020.

Hunting – how about raising chickens?

I’ve got hunting rifles, land to hunt, but it’s not always just simple to hunt and clean deer and rabbit. Maybe I need to learn how to raise chickens.

So we started with building a coop. Check! A few friends and I got together to make this all happen so we could all share in the spoils. One skillset I DO have already is carpentry. I can build ANYTHING if given a piece of paper, a pencil, a cup of coffee, and enough time to sit and think. So we build this coop, shown above.

We put it where no one’s gonna find it, but how are we going to get water to it? Ooooh… let’s try this idea! So yup, gravity fed rain barrel filled from the roof gutter…. 10 feet of hose and we’re set.

Raising chickens isn’t actually that hard. It’s cumbersome, annoying, and can be costly, but it’s not actually HARD to do. A friend managed the coop until we simply got tired of dealing with all the chickens. We know that we know how to raise chickens, so we put it all aside and went to learn something else..
Guess what? We’re firing that coop back up right now and getting some hens, just in case. I’ll already have fresh vegetables. Now we have eggs and meat too!

Become Self Sufficient

Nobody in today’s world can become 100% self-sufficient if you’ve got a family to care for. Life and work gets in the way. I understand that. Plan the work and then work the plan.

Find a friend or friends to help. Form a group, a community. Determine what your skills are and then find people with skills you don’t have. I can shoot and hunt. So can a friend of mine. Chances are if we ever needed to, I’d let him to all the hunting. I’ll do the building stuff. I can help with the gardening. Another person can handle the chickens. Collectively we can care for ourselves. Every person out there should be able to do this.

This isn’t a new philosophy. It’s how the world ran for the entirety of its history until the last 100 years. Humans have existed this way since the beginning of time. It’s not THAT much of a stretch to get back to doing it again, even if only for a short time while things regain their balance.

Maybe you never need to. Hopefully you don’t. But if you don’t at least TRY to find ways to be better prepared and the worst happens – your only option is to try to take from those who are better prepared that you are – and unless you can REALLY REALLY shoot – that’s never a good option.

Chapter 127: The need for toilet paper

You never read this chapter in the novels, any of them. That’s because the inexplicable need to hoard flimsy white sheets of asswipe never found a place, even in the worst of fiction. No one understands why this happened, yet it once again argues for my mob-mentality premise being true.

Somewhere, some guy decides to buy it all up. A fellow shopper sees him and thinks “Oh no, he knows something I don’t” and proceeds to do the same. It spreads like everything else does… through a mob mentality and within days there is no toilet paper on any store’s shelves anywhere in the nation.

The day I saw this happening on the news I went to my pantry and checked. Four rolls left for a four bedroom house. Hmmm. Do I really want to drive to Walmart just to see that people truly ARE insane? Nah.. I’ll see what Amazon has.

Two days later, these arrive and have been sitting my pantry for almost three weeks now, unopened. I’m not sure when we’ll NEED two 24-packs, but while people are fighting over it on the shelves, I had UPS dropping it off on the front porch for the regular price.

Food and how to do it right

My wife has been helping me stock for the apocalypse for years, but truthfully anyone could do it with $1000 in one day if they needed to. The problem is two-fold. Most people don’t have $1,000 lying around and if you bought it all today, it would all expire at the same time.

My strategy has been to buy double of most things for the past few years. If we need one mayonnaise, buy two. Then when one is finished and you grab the one from the pantry, put another back on the list. Do you need 14 packs of mayo? No, but 1 extra bottle might be good to have. God forbid I can’t enjoy a banana and mayo sammich in the middle of the TP-pocalypse.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can do a lot with beans, rice, flour, and sugar. Stock up on those a little at a time, but ONLY IF YOU ACTUALLY COOK WITH THEM NORMALLY! Stocking up on stuff you don’t actually eat just means it will totally go to waste and you’ll never use it. That’s a waste of money.

If you’ve got the time to save some money, purchase some pre-made stuff from the professionals. It costs more but it will last a WHOLE lot longer than what you’re buying at the store and it will keep for 25 years. This is a two-month supply that takes up very little space in my garage or pantry.

If you’re thinking of ordering now, I wouldn’t waste your time. Wait until the pandemic dies down and THEN order. I ordered before I went to Key West, back when this was just a blip in China but I figured it couldn’t hurt to be a little more prepared. I just purchased this to bump up the month’s supplies we already had. It took over a month to get here. I checked this afternoon and they are currently backlogged 3 months.

Current backlog is 3 months, maybe more.

What else are preppers doing?

Oh honey.. let me tell ya. Every guy that’s a prepper (and most are men) FINALLY feels vindicated thanks to COVID-19. They’re breaking out every toy they’ve ever bought and using this an excuse to get all the ones they didn’t already have that they wanted all along anyway.

I dusted, updated, and fine-tuned all my ham radios. Sidenote: Yes, after 2011 I decided that off-grid communications would be a valuable skill in the event that cell towers ever went down, so I learned how to use HAM and got my license a couple years back.

Cleaned up my HAM station in the house. This unit can talk local (UHF/VHF) and just easily can reach the other side of the world on HF with no need for anything except power.

Then I just HAD to finally get the new radio for the new truck. I’ve been going back and forth on it since I bought the Tundra, but I’m not going through a pandemic with no radio in my rig, so I decided to go whole-hog and get one with DSTAR. Then I had to update, test it, update it some more, tweak it, test it some more, you get the idea…

Then I had to check on the rig in the other truck. It’s got both UHF/VHF and CB built in.

With nothing except some old 1960’s technology I can talk on between these trucks at distances of 100 miles apart with no need for a cell phone. It’s pretty amazing what you can do if you take the time to learn how.

But preparing takes two things to do correctly. It takes TIME and it takes MONEY. If you want to spend MORE time, you can spend LESS money. Conversely if you can’t be bothered to invest the time then the money side is gonna hurt.

If I had to sum up ALL my expenses I’ve incurred in prepping over the last nine years, I’m pretty sure aside from guns, it comes down to less than ten-thousand dollars. But that’s over almost a decade… for a family my size with two working adults, that’s $40 each per month, or about $10 per week each.

Other Articles I’ve Written

As an admitted prepper and a little bit of a survivalist, I’ve written a few articles over the years. Most of them are more “survival” related and not as relevant to the current situation, but I think there are some things there you can find useful.

I would start with the “Building a Go-To-Hell-Bag” article and work you way up from there.


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