Semper Paratus (I’ll handle the liquor)

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While we all love a nice beachfront view, being near the coast is a poor choice. Higher ground is a good goal.

I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoy the recent spate of zombie and/or space invader films. While each has small-to-gaping plot holes (Tom Cruise saves the world?), they’re good fun. While I lose no sleep over someone’s great aunt rising from the grave to try and nibble on my spleen, and I suspect E.T. isn’t likely to blaze in with a few million of his terraforming friends, there are real dangers out there. Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, for example. A well-placed EMP, and everything with solid-state circuitry which isn’t case-hardened is toast. No more zombie movies on your television and no more phone calls to the Air Force because Representative Dennis Kucinich thought he saw an alien. Your world just became a sequel to Hurricane Katrina; only this time, even if the Democrats wanted to help, they couldn’t.

Fortunately for you and me, there are abundant resources available to help us prepare for the worst, while hoping for the… less worse. Our own site has Peggy Layton’s food and storage tips plus an entire section on emergency preparedness here.

But if you’re like me, you’re still trying to figure out whether you can get a solar still to make hooch that won’t blind you. So I read a few sources, talked to a few folks who will probably live a couple of steps up the food chain from me in what the “prepper” community calls a “TSHTF” scenario, and I’ve come up with a basic plan to live past my next birthday should the proverbial merde hit the ventilateur.

Location, location, location!

While we all love a nice beachfront view, being near the coast is a poor choice. Higher ground is a good goal. Actually, I’m thinking of heading for Mr. Livingston’s place (probably should have told him that before now). Arable land is important. Defensible land is equally so. Do a little research and find a place that fits both bills.

Getting there is half the misery

If an EMP is deployed against us, your minivan is a 2 ½-ton doorstop. Unless your vehicle is at least 50 years old, it’s not going anywhere. And something tells me you don’t have a mule team in the shed. Buy a bicycle and keep it maintained. That reminds me: I need to air up my tires.

Gimme the cure

Try to get a medical professional into your group. If not, kidnap one (just kidding, doc!). No matter what, you’re going to need basic first aid supplies. And you’re not going to be able to knock over the Rite-Aid and tote it with you. Have a ready supply of rubbing alcohol, bleach and iodine (they purify water, as well).

Where there’s smoke

Without fire, you’re just a heavy squirrel. Parasitic infections are awful. You’re going to need to cook your food and boil water. Buy a fire-starter.

Eat ’em and smile

Every “prepper” I know talks about their “bugout bag” and the canned food they’ve stored. That’s terrific if you’re already in a good location. If not, canned food is heavy, and it runs out fast when you’re feeding people traveling on foot. Learn to field dress an animal and cook it properly. Yeah, it’s nasty work; but in an extreme situation, you either eat or you’re eaten.

Lock’n’load

This is the single most contentious issue I’ve encountered among “preppers.” What weaponry to bring? My suggestion is to avoid the endless “AR vs. AK” debates, and find a weapon with which you’re comfortable. The weapon (and the ammunition) should be portable, easily wielded and reliable. Sure, that Barrett .50 is awesome; but in a severe scenario, it’s a millstone around your neck. Plus, if you use it on anything smaller than an elephant, you’ll need a straw.

The rest of the story

Durable clothing and footwear are a necessity, obviously. That Armani suit will have to wait for the archaeologists. Also, leave that uber-cool katana sword at home, and get a machete and a decent field knife. Paracord and portable shelter are also vital.

I know I’ve left out a great deal. Feel free to add your suggestions; hell, I welcome them. I figure my rank amateur’s take on emergency preparedness won’t help, but it might make you think about how well prepared you are. We live in an increasingly disturbed world. Better to be safe than — well — dead. Also, anything I forget, I can pick up at Mr. Livingston’s house.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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