Fear(With the eco­nom­ic events of the past few days I feel it is impor­tant to get this though out now instead of a cou­ple of months from now when I first planned to pub­lish it.)

I am that dread­ful, blight­ing thing,
Like rat holes to the flood.

Like rust that gnaws the fault­less blade,
Like microbes to the blood.

I know no mer­cy and no truth,
The young I blight, the old I slay.

Regret stalks dark­ly in my wake, And ignominy dogs my way.

Some­times, in vir­tu­ous garb I rove, With facile talk of eas­i­er way;

Seduc­ing where I dare not rape, Young man­hood, from its hon­or’s sway.

Again, in awe­some guise I rush, Stu­pen­dous, through the ranks of war,

Turn­ing to water, with my gaze, Hearts that, before, no foe could awe.

The maid­en who has strayed from right, To me must pay the mead of shame.

The patri­ot who betrays his trust, To me must owe his tar­nished name.

I spare no class, nor cult, nor creed, My course is end­less through the year.

I bow all heads and break all hearts, All owe me homage — I am FEAR.

(Gen­er­al George S. Pat­ton, Jr — 1944)


It isn’t com­mon­ly spo­ken of but to be a prep­per is to have fear. That’s just the way it is. Some pre­fer to call it “con­cerns” or “wor­ries” or “pos­si­bil­i­ties”. But ‘fear’ is just as cor­rect. There is noth­ing wrong with fear. It’s a nat­ur­al feel­ing that evolved as a self-preser­va­tion mech­a­nism. Not to con­fuse fear with “ter­ror” or “scared to death” which, while are com­mon phras­es, typ­i­cal­ly rep­re­sent an irra­tional state of mind (syn­ony­mous with “pan­ic”). And philoso­phers say the best way to over­come fear is to face it head on (it is though often a life time of effort).

If you ask most prep­pers they will say they fear some nat­ur­al dis­as­ter, or plague, or EMP/solar flare, or zom­bies (if the CDC can warn about then just maybe…), or eco­nom­ic col­lapse lead­ing to Mad Max land, etc etc. All very real­is­tic pos­si­bil­i­ties. We can debate the like­li­hood of each but all are at a min­i­mum wor­thy of at least being on the radar. (OK, maybe not the zom­bies.)

How­ev­er, for me my fears are glob­al. Not that I don’t con­sid­er at least some of those pos­si­bil­i­ties but my fears are in a broad­er view­point or “life approach” sense.

While I have always con­sid­ered myself to be “pre­pared” (at least more than the next guy usu­al­ly) for what­ev­er life throws at me, I nev­er took spe­cif­ic steps that at least I con­sid­er unusu­al or excep­tion­al to pre­pare. The things I did, the way I lead my life, all seemed very rea­son and log­i­cal. And non-spe­cif­ic. That is, what I did could be applied to many sce­nar­ios not just one or two spe­cif­ic cas­es. And if these sce­nar­ios nev­er hap­pened, no big deal. My actions didn’t cost all that much and cer­tain­ly could be used (and in fact were used) for oth­er events in life that hadn’t entered my think­ing at that time. In oth­er words, what I had pre­pared for – and again, noth­ing spe­cif­ic — didn’t hap­pen but I was able to apply my prep­ping to oth­er events of life and all worked out just as well.

But now the game has changed.

I have turned a cor­ner. To me it is no longer  ques­tion of “if” but sim­ply when.

As of writ­ing this the econ­o­my is my #1 top con­cern. I don’t like to make eco­nom­ic pre­dic­tions but in this case I do think at the very least it’s going to be much worse before even a glim­mer of get­ting bet­ter – if at all. I have writ­ten on oth­er sites that I do think the point-of-no-return has been reached and is now being exceed­ed at warp 10. And all the pos­si­bil­i­ties that an eco­nom­ic col­lapse brings are in the fore­front of my con­cerns and prep­ping thoughts. I have no idea when that col­lapse will come or what it will look like. No one does. Every nation­al eco­nom­ic col­lapse has some sim­i­lar­i­ties but all unfold in their own way.

Yes Vir­ginia, I do believe this time is dif­fer­ent.

(I do NOT want to get into a dis­cus­sion of the econ­o­my, the nation­al or local debts, eco­nom­ic col­lapse, etc etc etc. That is not the point of this arti­cle.)

I have always said that if it were just me, by myself as a sin­gle man, I wouldn’t care so much. If all oth­er things in my life unfold­ed the same (more or less) I would sur­vive what­ev­er comes. And if I didn’t, so what real­ly in the big­ger pic­ture of the uni­verse.

If it were just me and my wife and all oth­er things being the same we would sur­vive more or less good for the rest of our lives. Not eas­i­ly. Might take every­thing we have to do it, dying total­ly pen­ny less. But I think we would. At least much bet­ter than any­one else we know.

But it isn’t only me, nor only me and my wife. It’s our chil­dren now. They can’t take care of them­selves. Not even in a fer­al sense in the extreme sce­nario. And won’t be able to for many many years to come at the ear­li­est.

So it is for them that I pre­pare.

And it is for them that I have prepa­ra­tion fears.

Comes to the crux of this arti­cle.

Not sim­ply am I doing enough or am I plan­ning cor­rect­ly, but even more basi­cal­ly:

  1. Is prep­ping – food, water, defense, etc. – even the right thing to do at all? Or should I be sav­ing and hus­band­ing every dol­lar for the future? Or just live life as I always have been?
  2. If I real­ly believe the econ­o­my and Amer­i­can soci­ety are going over the cliff at full steam why haven’t I bought more gold? Is it because in my heart I don’t believe it real­ly is so bad? Or am I suf­fer­ing from the “nor­mal­cy bias”?
  3. What if I’m wrong? Sure we can eat the food. And my wife will thor­ough­ly enjoy rib­bing me for all my prep work (she already does). But that mon­ey could be used for oth­er things right now.But of most fear to me is:
  4. Should I be spend­ing more of my hard earned assets on preps while the Amer­i­can dol­lar still holds val­ue? Or con­vert­ing more of it to gold? Or spend it on oth­er aspects of dai­ly life now? Or do noth­ing?

It is to the last point that I focus most on these days: To see all that I have worked for and saved for all my life become worth­less in front of my eyes such that I can’t even feed and pro­vide for my fam­i­ly rips at my heart and soul!

To put it anoth­er way: I would just want to crawl off and die if one day all that I have man­aged to save and achieve in my life became worth­less (for all intents and pur­pos­es), lit­tle more than num­bers on a piece of paper when I could have spent those num­bers on some­thing mean­ing­ful for my fam­i­ly while it still held some sort of val­ue.

I’m remind­ed of a movie from the 70’s I had once seen on TV. Don’t recall the name. It was low bud­get. I think it was a Cana­di­an pro­duc­tion too. No major actor names in it. The plot was sim­ple: Some­thing has hap­pened to the world’s food pro­duc­tion capa­bil­i­ty and food was in very short sup­ply and run­ning out fast. The sto­ry focused on two friends, one a farmer and his fam­i­ly liv­ing on a fam­i­ly farm try­ing to pro­duce enough food to sur­vive while fend­ing off ban­dits; The oth­er a busi­ness man in a city try­ing to make sense of what was hap­pen­ing in the world around him and get enough food for his fam­i­ly to sur­vive the win­ter. The movie showed food was so valu­able that at a wed­ding guests brought gifts of food – loafs of bread, bas­kets of pro­duce, etc. – instead of the usu­al mon­ey and house­hold gifts. Near the end the busi­ness­man meets with a guy who we today would call a “prep­per” who clear­ly has put away a vast store of food. The guy is now basi­cal­ly a “God Father” of food, with body­guards paid in food, etc. The busi­ness­man offers him a pile of stock and bond cer­tifi­cates, a box of fine jew­el­ry, etc all for just enough food for his fam­i­ly to make it through the win­ter. The prep­per scoffs at the busi­ness­man say­ing quote “Peo­ple like me stock­piled food while you stock­piled gold. Now who’s in charge!” (I remem­ber that quote so vivid­ly after all these years!) In the end, the prep­per doesn’t give the busi­ness­man any food, and the busi­ness­man uses his com­put­er to com­pare the pop­u­la­tion of North Amer­i­ca to the cur­rent food sup­ply in stor­age and deter­mines there’s only 60 days worth of food left. Not a hap­py end­ing.

Then again, just how much food can you store? At best a year’s worth (and I don’t have all that much space to store, not with­out trip­ping over box­es). Plus water, plus the means to reli­ably heat water at a min­i­mum. Etc. At some point liv­ing off stored food will end and you need to have a sub­stance source of food, either your own pro­duc­tion or by trade. Liv­ing in a sub­ur­ban or near-urban loca­tion that lev­el of pro­duc­tion just isn’t pos­si­ble. (And urban is total­ly impos­si­ble.)

And there is the cost. As I write this I’m look­ing at a well known food stor­age company’s web­site. They have sev­er­al “extreme” food stor­age pack­ages. One of their pack­ages is a 1‑year sup­ply cost­ing $6,600 (round­ed) for 3200 calo­ries per day, $5,500 for 2400 calo­ries. Or just a 6 month sup­ply is $3,600 for 3200 calo­ries or $2,900 for 2400 calo­ries. (This is of course a one per­son sup­ply so for a fam­i­ly of four it would only last a few months at best.) This stuff isn’t cheap! But then again what good would it be to need the food, unable to get it, but still have num­bers on paper? Can’t feed the paper to my fam­i­ly.

On the oth­er hand, just how much gold can you – should you — con­vert your assets into? It doesn’t both­er me too much if I bought gold at these lofty lev­els ($1,674/oz. as of writ­ing this) then see it fall two or three hun­dred or even four hun­dred. Wouldn’t be the first time I over paid for an invest­ment nor had an invest­ment fall prompt­ly after I pur­chased it. Goes with the ter­ri­to­ry. But if I did con­vert much more of my assets to gold and some­thing did hap­pen to make gold drop back below $1,000/oz that would be an imme­di­ate evap­o­ra­tion of a large amount of wealth. And there is the issue of a con­fis­ca­tion or oth­er gov­ern­ment enforce­ment that makes gold effec­tive­ly worth­less in terms of trade for sup­plies or con­ver­sion to cur­ren­cy (don’t for­get the new 1099 rules start in 2012!).

I sup­pose the mid­dle ground is the best answer: Do some prep­ping but keep liv­ing life oth­er­wise as best I can. That way if some­thing does hap­pen my fam­i­ly will be bet­ter off than many oth­ers. But of noth­ing hap­pens I haven’t lost every­thing on events that didn’t unfold. But I just don’t know if I will be hap­py with myself on the mid­dle ground.

Yes, my fam­i­ly will be bet­ter off than most of the peo­ple we know if an eco­nom­ic dis­as­ter hap­pen but I’ll always have the nag­ging though that I could have done more. But if noth­ing hap­pens, even just trudg­ing along for 10 years in a malaise, I will have spent much need­ed funds for some­thing that nev­er hap­pened. Maybe even a sil­ly notion. In that sce­nario cash flow will be king.

Can’t dwell on fear.
Fear eats the soul.

We’re going to need all our souls to make it through the next cou­ple of years – I fear.


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