Preppers are people who prepare for some disaster in various ways, means, and manner. Natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina is a good example of an event to prepare for. Disaster could occur in several forms, natural and humanly caused and be severe enough to put people back into conditions of the 1800s and early 1900s. Preppers are singular and in groups, some forming some sort of militia for various reasoning and purpose. The best militia is the constitutional militia – available on call and working with the local constitutional sheriff for the protection of community and region. Unfortunately some militia have been established that are organized by people who base their actions and training upon Hollywood depiction and video games instead of reality – most of whom never served a day in the military and are “wanna be’s. They have given the concept and ideology of the militia a bad name, fodder for the corporate media that focuses upon them instead of constitutional and traditional militia’s concept and ideology. Some militia depict a Confederate flag or a Nazi flag, and their purpose is not in tradition with the constitutional militia. Their intent is not honorable and truly as the corporate media depicts of ALL militia. Such groups, with the help of mainstream media are depicted as renegade terrorists whose purpose is totally against the government, when traditional constitutional militia is an on-call arm of a constitutional government. Therefore, a government that fears a people capable of self-defense is a tyrannical government whose intentions are not constitutional or honorable.
Prepping is preparing for the worst scenario thereby being ready for anything in between in terms of its severity. People in the 1800s and rural early 1900s lived life without electricity and those who lived in rural regions depended upon what they grew and produced to make their lives better or just to survive. Bartering was more common than exchanging currency.
Researching life in the 1800s through records, historical books, and personal diaries published by various historical organizations, one can quickly see that life was much harder than today. However, people today are more educated [most] and knowledgeable about things the folks in the 1800s did not realize could exist. If the breakdown of civilization is severe in an economic collapse, natural disaster, or a combination of both – too many people would not have a clue as to how to survive. In this generation, cooking is done with a microwave and too many do not know much about preparing meals – eating out of ready-mix boxes and fast-food establishments.
If one examines the circumstances that occurred after Hurricane Katrina, one can readily see that people who were unprepared depended upon others, mostly the local authorities and FEMA government agencies to survive. The criminal element took the opportunity looting and committing despicable crimes. Law enforcement broke down, the modern militia, the National Guard, was called in and soon martial law was established which removed rights and liberties of lawful citizens along with the criminal element. Overall, instead of helping fellow citizens they unlawfully confiscated firearms by criminally entering homes without warrant and due process, even injuring an old woman in a scuffle when she showed an unloaded revolver [evident because the cylinder was open] to demonstrate that she had a firearm but was not loaded. This video and testimony from Louisiana citizens clearly demonstrates that the government looks upon citizens as their enemy in times of disaster, instead of citizens requiring help. Those law enforcement and military personnel are citizens who followed unlawful orders by terrorizing neighborhoods and voiding their civil rights and liberties. In the final analysis, it was for no concrete purpose. The people had firearms to protect themselves, family and property from criminal predators, not the government.
Preppers are also people who live in a rat race world, see society breaking down its values and morals, some wishing that things were back to living the basics of life. The concept is understandable, but their perceptions are misconceived because they rely on what is depicted in films and video games – not the realities of life; and too often rely on myths originating from those who never experienced Spartan military life or trained for survival.
Living without technology we have come to take for granted would not be a camping out experience, as some of us take vacations to get away from mainstream life. The result of a disaster may be temporary or degrade into permanency; we cannot be sure. I have tried to live my life with a philosophy that it is better to be prepared and not have to use experience and knowledge in those situations than not. That goes for what one needs to prepare for considering there would be a myriad of circumstances that may or may not occur.
The object of this article is to provide a scenario of what it would be like for total breakdown of civilization as we live it daily and what it would take to survive. Urban folks will experience different situations that rural folks, but the gist of survival remains the same. For folks in the city, they could prepare ahead of time by organizing with their neighbors on the block in order to pool resources and make a stand against criminals and raiding groups that would most likely be the local street gangs. Problem with urban folks is that the bigger the city the less contact they have with their neighbors, a situation that seems to occur naturally when so many people group in one square block. Too often, they do not even know the names of their neighbors. This occurs less often in the rural or less urban areas; being the nature of rural life.
A society is only good as its people, and people within that society are only as good as their character, integrity, and moral-values they possess. This becomes most important when civilization breaks down without those elements of the good society, and sometimes-desperate situations make people change. Once upon a time being an American was unique because of our established individuality, yet aware of the local community, unifying and helping each other that are different from forced collectivism by government or local authorities.
If you would like to know how to survive you need to do more than read books. It would be a good idea to talk to an Amish person who is experienced and practice what you learn from books, videos, and advice from those experienced.
A Prepper can have a library of books on survival and preparation for survival, and even understand the principle of something as simple as making a fire without matches or lighter; but they key thing has it been tried. Knowing about something is a follow-up to actually knowing how to DO something. Some things must be constantly practiced in some sort of training program like what military do. Repetition may get boring at times, but the reward of being to know what to do in certain situations and act accordingly, sometimes without really thinking, is beneficial towards success and reaching a goal.
For example: Your get away or “bug out” pack may be well stocked – but are you proficient in the use of its contents?
If life becomes like the folks lived in the 1800s, you have one major advantage over our ancestry – knowledge of the existence of things that did not exist then. However, those battery operated devices and other modern things have a definite period of use. Batteries can be recharged by using solar devices, but batteries eventually die out and hold a charge and equipment may require parts that you do not have or able to obtain. Careful planning and adding hand-operated tools, as a standby would be a good idea. For example, when the power drill becomes useless, do you have the old-fashioned hand drill on hand to replace it?
Hand saws to replace power saws?
Alternate means of transportation and energy when your vehicle or power generator becomes a useless hunk of metal?
You will also find that things that become useless can be “cannibalized” or recycled for use in making something else.
Pioneers, homesteaders, and other rural folks in the 19th century had no electricity, but you can with proper planning and preparation. In today’s poor economy this preparation, if you have not done so over a period, can be costly – out of our budget. While it takes more food to feed numbers, it would be a great idea to meet with neighbors and discuss and plan action to take as a group, which will increase success of survival beyond the immediate family. Using the diversity of the group in terms of experience and skills can also be beneficial; but always keep in mind the larger the group the more food and essentials are required. If you are an urban dweller and decide that bugging out is the best option away from the city – you will have to have a specific place to go to, preferably owned by you. It would also be beneficial to coordinate with a neighboring family to bug out together. Just bugging out with no specific place to go is a bad idea, for you will end up a scavenger or be forced to dwell on land that belongs to someone else – unless it is a state or federal park. An established place is best in several ways – one is that a log cabin or other livable structure would be already built, hopefully designed to ward off predators, four-legged and two-legged. Living in a tent is best for nomads or temporary structures, a permanent dwelling is key and provides a place to grow and create resources required. For example, when fuel stores deplete, it would be a good idea to create your own alcohol [ethanol, for example] that would replace gasoline for engines [not diesel]. However, be aware that home-made alcohol will not be as efficient or as good as processed gasoline for vehicles and things like generators. It if runs on propane the engine will have to be modified to operate with other fuel. Gasoline has much less storage life than diesel – bottles of chemical preparations are available to extend the storage life of both. If you have a private fuel storage tank [with hand crank pump] this is a plus, but another attractant to raiders and criminal element. Defending that and other assets would be one of the major priorities, best done with a group than just a single family – another reason for organizing and pre-planning with neighbors, relatives and friends.
Rural folks in the 1800s did not have access to an apothecary [drugstore] or Walmart, so they relied on herbalist knowledge and knew how to splint a broken leg and know the signs of gangrene.
The nearest town in the 1800s, like some places today was quite far, so going to town for supplies was performed when bulk could be purchased or bartered. Flour, kerosene or lamp oil from whales [when affordable], coffee, salt, and sugar were usually obtained in bulk. They would purchase bolts of cloth to make clothes if they did not have the means or knowledge to spin, weave, and knit.
If folks in the 1800s did not have a horse or mule for transportation, they walked pulling a handcart to carry supplies back – or bartered with a neighbor who had a buckboard to go into town together for resupply.
Folks today in rural areas have their own wells, but it relies upon electricity; therefore, it would be a good idea to have a hand pump installed as a backup to your well. Make sure it is self-priming. Most wells in the 1800s were dug out until water was reached, few being drilled. Unless one had the means or money to install a hand pump in the kitchen, water was carried from the well with a bucket. Some homesteads lived close enough to a creek, river, or lake to gather water.
Wind power was used to pump water from drilled wells. Today, wind power can generate electricity, something to consider on your rural property or bugout location. Solar cells are okay, but what happens when the cells deteriorate and need replacing? A combination of both is good if you can afford it. The same government that preaches to citizens about the importance of alternate energy is the same government that makes it difficult to install a wind-powered electrical system. The bureaucratic tape is ridiculous and I have driven through neighborhoods with signs against wind power claiming it degrades their property values. Many farmers and ranchers are successfully generating electricity with wind power, if they do not have access [or funds] to install a geothermal system. The initial cost is prohibitive. Most of the systems on on-the-grid, which means they sell surplus generated electricity back to the power company. Something one should consider, if you have the funds to do so and get your red tape paperwork completed.
Pregnant women in the 1800s gave birth at home, often assisted by neighboring woman or the local midwife. Doctors, when available, usually could not arrive before the child was born. About 50% of the children born in the 1800s died before the age of five, dying of things like dysentery, typhoid, scarlet fever, and measles.
Folks got up at sunrise and worked until sunset, reading by candlelight, oil lamp, or the fireplace. For those who could afford it or could carry the weight with them, folks cooked and heated the dwelling with a Franklin stove – its design not changed much today. Otherwise, in the winter they cooked from the fireplace and in the hot summers cooked from open fire outdoors [too hot for kitchen inside].
Folks slaughtered pigs and other livestock for meat, wasting little of the body parts.
Personal hygiene was nothing near standards today, another thing we take for granted. They carried water from the well with a bucket, unless the luxury of an indoor hand pump was present. A pan of water was used for washing hands and face and most of the time shared by other members of the family. Toilets were outside, built far enough and downwind from the house to be a problem in terms of smell and health, always important to keep an outhouse away from your water source. Saturday night was designated as bath night and everyone used one bath tub of water. It was heated with hot water from the stove or fireplace. Women kept a bag of rags for cleaning and feminine hygiene, a testament of where the term “she’s on the rag” comes from. Many preppers forget this. Patriot Nurse is the best source for practical tips and discusses areas that most preppers overlook. Her website has tips on what antibiotics to keep, a bookshelf section for reference, medical kits, how to prevent and control disease, and a myriad of YouTube videos she has made over time.
In the 1800s, self-reliance was not an option, it was a requirement. It is something we need to reinstitute in American society, doing away with the government dependent ideology – beneficial to individual citizens and our nation. If families did not store enough food for the winter [winters are long here in the north country] or had a bad harvest, they starved.
Infants wore diapers made of cloth, if they wore anything at all, and the diapers boiled and hung to dry even in the winter. Clothing was brought in after out in the winter sun and ice was broken off and drying completed indoors. The sun is nature’s sterilization source.
Clothing was minimal and practical. Mothers had one dress for church and one dress for the rest of the week. Fathers had one pair of pants and one shirt for Sunday and another set for the rest of the week. The children wore hand-me-down clothes. Clothes were repaired or remade until only good for the rag-bag. Women usually did not wear panties under their dresses, but usually wore corsets, et cetera.
Not only did rural folks need to know something about medicine and first aid, they had to know animal husbandry and veterinary practices. They treated Thrush on horses’ hooves with iodine, tended to infections without antibiotics. Folks knew that one never drank water downriver where animals drank.
Work animals got fed before farmers and ranchers ate, and relied upon neighbors to swap for things they did not have like seeds or a bull to inseminate cows. Animals, like horses, cattle, pigs, and roosters kick, bite, and claw making one sore or injured during the course of a work day. Severe cuts were sewn and alcohol washed out wounds.
Dwellings varied among pioneers and rural folks, those on the prairie regions having limited timber built their houses out of sod [they were called sodbusters] and used cow or buffalo chips [dung] for their fires. That must have imparted a unique flavoring for food cooked on the fire. If timber was available, ten cords of wood would get one through a winter. A cord is 8 feet by 8 feet by 4 feet and with a chainsaw and splitter it takes a one or two weeks to cut and split ten cords of wood; so plan on taking longer with a handsaw and ax. Wearing gloves reduces chance of blisters and protects the hands from cuts and bruises.
The only food to be had was either grown or killed – only canned foods like peaches existed, and they were usually canned in jars; otherwise canned foods were produced at home. The ways to preserve foods was by drying, salting, or fermenting. Having a springhouse or root cellar was beneficial, but if not, stored in the dugout well.
Making cheese was the way to preserve milk without refrigeration. If flour could not be bought in bulk amounts at the general store, it was milled from wild or agricultural grain grown on their land.
Until after the American Civil War there were no “left” or “right” shoes and boots. After a period of wearing, they worked into “left” and “right”. Children normally went barefoot, except in winter and when they went to school.
Counting the high mortality rate of children, the average rural person in the 1800s usually did not live past 40 or 50 – there were exceptions. Urban folks lived longer on the average. By the time they aged from the hardships of their life, wrinkled, worn out, and missing most or all of their teeth, they were ready to pass on. Mentioning teeth, another factor forgotten by preppers is ensuring that there is a suitable dental care kit available. Most are designed to take care of tooth problems until able to reach a dentist.
I guess, by now, you have determined that maybe the “good old days” were not as good as imagined; probably because of Hollywood depictions in films making it seem romantic and simple.
If civilization goes into total collapse, there will be little or no law and order. I hope that communities will organize with their local sheriff, who also has family to protect, and the return of the local militia and posse system exists. Obviously, a constitutionally minded sheriff would be ideal. Keep that in mind next time your local sheriff wants to be re-elected or someone wants to be elected as sheriff.
Remember that criminals will organize as well, and if the collapse lasts for any length of time, tyrants will become like feudal lords. Depending on the situation, effectively the federal government would collapse entirely and those serving in the military will be focused upon reaching their families – a difficult task if stationed abroad. Military personnel must always keep in mind that unlawful, unconstitutional orders cannot be obeyed, and that if they are given orders against rights and liberties of fellow citizens they are obligated under oath to protect those citizens and their rights and liberties. A repeat of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is unacceptable. Citizens should not be fighting amongst themselves but strengthening in unification and keeping constitutional law.
Whether it is a family unit or an organized group of neighbors and friends, sharing knowledge, logic, experience is essential and training and practicing against aggression is essential to the safety of people, property and assets required to survive. Always have an alternate plan to the original. In the military, we call this contingency planning. Normally there are deviations between planning and actual practice and turn of events.
As you can see, there is more to survival than stockpiling ammunition and worrying about have the “right firearm” for defense. If one is not proficient with a firearm and practices with it in different mock situations – it does not matter what type of firearm or caliber it is. Military personnel constantly train for a reason. They practice medical, evasive, survival, and combat techniques; as well as being proficient in using their equipment and weapons. Cross training is one of the reasons why Americans have been successful in many combat situations. If your mortarman or anti-armor personnel are killed or incapacitated, everyone must at least have fundamental knowledge of how to use their equipment and weaponry. Also, repetitive training will reduce panic in stressful conditions, and make you an asset instead of a liability for your family or group. Panic causes failure and not practicing safety techniques with firearms and equipment could cause unexpected casualties or death. A non-trained and clumsy person can shoot his/her own foot in a stressed situation just trying to get their sidearm from their holster. A person not following safety procedures knowing when to have the safety selector set could be more harmful than attackers. Realistic training is important. Use the knowledge of combat veterans and anyone with police training in order to be an asset in a pinch. Constant training makes reactions faster and a natural reflex. Like martial arts, it requires constant practice to remain fit and ready. It is not like “riding a bicycle” where once learned you never forget. I have had martial arts training during my military career, reaching brown belt level; however, I did not keep it up, so I am much less proficient today – but still know more than the average individual knows.
There are qualified instructors out there. If you intend to or have a permit for a concealed carry firearm, it is imperative you obtain proper training from a certified instructor and continue that practice at your local firing range.
Do your homework, plan logically and realistically, and use those nifty survival aids and tools you have gathered to become proficient at using them BEFORE they are actually needed.
I certainly hope that this helps folks, and I certainly hope we will not be needing to deal with such a scenario. Insisting that our political leadership from local to federal government reform back to the constitutional republic that the Founders created and reforming ourselves and our society into becoming self-reliant individuals, unified as a nation under the mindset of being all Americans will be the key to improving and making our nation great once again. It will take time to get it done, but the reward makes it worthwhile.
Be determined to have good character and retain established values and morals that make societies and nations successful. Reinforce and return the strength and unity of family units and teach children what they need to know about character, integrity and self-discipline – all strengthened with love.
That is what makes a great nation – not collectivism, statism, and relying on others to get us through life. Racism, segregation, and cultural breakdown must end if we want to survive and return to being a great nation.
We must think as individuals but practice unification in that we are all Americans protecting our rights and the rights of others, establishing liberty and freedom of choice as the natural right that it is.
Let this Second American Revolution – fought with logic and determination, using the voting ballot as our ammunition and the strength and pride of being an American is our weapon against those who would destroy what ancestors worked so hard and suffered to achieve. This revolution will not be fought against a tyrant from across the sea, but among us because We the People failed to protect our own rights, trading it for broken promises and crafty misinformation – indoctrinating our children to be loyal to the state instead of themselves and the family unit. This must stop now.
I hope and pray that Americans stop and think and resolve to people of good character, united, now and in the future.