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The Folly Of Preparedness

December 8, 2011 by  

I sometimes close a column with a reminder to store water, food, guns, ammo and gold. Inevitably, that remark will spark a rejoinder pointing out the folly of preparedness.

Some people just don’t get it, and apparently no amount of “preaching” to them on the subject will get through. Boy Scouts, apparently, they aren’t. For them, normalcy bias — the belief that things will always be just like they are — is just too tough to overcome.

They don’t understand that being a prepper does not mean you believe a “zombie apocalypse” à la AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is eminent. It just means that you are preparing for whatever might come along: be it a vehicle breakdown in a remote location, a storm that knocks out power for several days or something much more catastrophic than even Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

A look back to New Orleans after Katrina provides an example of how quickly society can break down into anarchy once basic services are lost. What’s foolish about having a backup survival plan and enough water, food and medical supplies — and the means to protect them — to get you through at least a week in a situation in which you are on your own?

Those in New Orleans who were unprepared for the chaos found themselves dependent on nonexistent or ineffectual government services. Many died or suffered greatly as a result.

I believe that soon the dollar will collapse. It is unclear exactly how that is going to affect basic services (including those we depend upon government to provide), plus the banking system and the supply chain of food and other goods to stores. I know we have historical precedent to study; and I’m certain that when it happens, there is going to be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I believe that when that occurs, a barter system will develop in which tradable commodities along with gold and silver become the monetary system, if even for a short time. One reason I recommend you buy “junk silver” (pre-1965 silver coins) is that it could easily become the currency of choice. The coins look like the money we see every day but have the value of their silver content. Besides, both silver and gold have had value as “money” throughout every society in our history.

When disaster occurs, if you find yourself without the means to barter something of value, you will have to sell your labor or skill set to others or resort to scrounging or theft to survive.

So, is it foolish for me to have enough essentials stored away that my family and I will be well-set if (when) a weather event or something even more catastrophic occurs? I think it’s foolish not to.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • former walmart person

    My favorite response that I seem to get is people mention that they would just commit suicide if it turns out people like us are right and the world falls apart. Indeed, I wonder how many people would kill themselves in the first week of an end of the world scenario. Sometimes, I think that to survive hyperinflation and collapse of society, you just have to survive a week. By then, many will have died in riots and many probably killed themselves.

  • taminator013

    I like to stock up on things when they go on sale. In my neck of the woods a grocery chain called Shop n Save has some nice 10 for $10 deals sometimes. This is great when they have pasta and instant soup mix. They also do this with shampoo, soap, etc. I’ve saved a lot of money over the last couple years just by purchasing these things. I just rotate my stock before things get near expiration. I’ve also been learning to do and make many things the old fashioned way instead of relying on premade and prefab purchased items. It does give a nice sense of accomplishment when you eat homemade and homegrown foods. The best is the homebrewed beer, though. I’ve even given a shot at malting my own grains. I also grow three varieties of hops. My next project will probably be smoking meat and fish.
    I pray to God that

  • taminator013

    oops, accidentally hit the post button before I was finished. I was going to write that I pray to GOD that nothing catastrophic happens in our or our childrens’ lifetimes, but we must prepare for it none the less. I don’t know how long my wife and I would survive, but I think that we could give it a good shot.

  • dv

    Yes preparing is very important. Funny thing though is that we MAY be labeled a terrorist if we do so! Over 7 days of food along with quite a few other things like owning a gun or PM fit into that description as well. Scary thoughts.

    • Marky

      Dv-where did you hear of this? Just wondering…..

  • taminator013

    We just need to keep our preparations on the QT.

  • FreedomFighter

    Are you prepared for RIOTS, SOLAR STORMS, and Yes, the “Next” Economic Crisis?

    Yep its the sidebar advertisement Im looking at as I post this, the first to die are usually the unprepared.

    Dont be one of them

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

  • Incredulous1

    I was in Boy Scouts as a kid and always thought the motto was pure wisdom. The question becomes; be prepared for what? With 5 decades under my belt, what I’ve seen I am prepared to happen again. But it is far more difficult to prepare for the unknown or unprecedented. Bob says we have historical lessons from which to learn – there, I respectfully disagree. The collapse of the dollar will be nothing like the collapse of the German Mark in the Weimar Republic because we are talking orders of magnitude bigger. And when you’re talking about (entitlement mentality) human reaction to unprecedented economic upheaval, there can be no comparison with the much more self-reliant Germans of the 1920′s. No, I’m sorry to disagree with Bob but I believe there are no historical references with which to compare the upcoming calamity.

    • granny mae

      Yes it is difficult for us to compare item for item and line for line with the past but it is not hard to know that we are in a lot of trouble and we must look at our own situation and prepare as best we can for our own situation. I doubt that anyone from the past that was starving or without shelter or clothing would say we will have it any worse than they did. Hungry is hungry, cold is cold and a cardboard box on the street is not much different than being curled up under a tree someplace ! You know your family’s needs as well as I know mine. Some of us will not be able to prepare for a lack of money so much but there is always barter and paying ahead for times of difficulty. Not something most people think of now days, nor did they in times past. However this is the time to think outside the box and make moves to secure your living conditions. For us right now we decided to pay our taxes early, because we don’t know what will happen between now and the first of the year or even whether our money will be good enough to pay the taxes to secure our home for another year; so we paid the taxes and did without something else that we could do without for the time being ! I don’t expect to eat as well during a crisis as I did before but I will have something to eat to keep from starving. There is a lot we can do every day until the crisis hits, so we are still working every day. So can you, and our attitude toward our circumstances can become one of hope and we can move forward through this trial until we come out the other side. I refuse to look at my circumstances as doom and gloom and in all honesty my circumstances are not that great even though I do have my food storage secure, but there are other things to consider too and they are not so easy as a food supply. I have found food and water really are the easy part. Convincing my friends and family to follow my lead has been the most difficult. I will continue to encourage others but I will not let them effect my thinking and working on what I know I must do. Last let me say this, Don’t loose hope and keep encouraging your friends and neighbors and family to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. We will succeed !

  • http://na Jim

    I’ve been reading all kinds of calamity scenarios and agree with INCRED. I survived Katrina and scavanged off of the land for four days before finally walking out of the area. I was a Boy Scout and I have many survival skills learned from childhood and the military. It was no big deal to me then but it sounds like were talking a event that will make the entire country if not globe the same as Katrina was just locally in the gulf states. It is very hard to prepare for long term for something like that and I have been toiling over this for awhile without being employed. I want to do right by my family but I can’t convince them anything other then your typical economical hard times is coming. I have resigned to the fact I’m going to have to look out for myself and they to themselves. But still I would like to know exact whats going to happen so I don’t waste my limited rescources. Any suggestions?

    • granny mae

      There is no way we can know exactly what things will be like for each individual, but we must concentrate first on the necessities first. We must have water to live, and food to stay healthy and then shelter for protection from the elements. Concentrate on those things first. If all you have is some left over soda bottles then wash them out and fill them with water and set them aside. For food start with what you can afford. Ramen noodles are a good start for someone without much money to spend. There are now little cook books out on the market with all kinds of recipes on how to use Ramen noodles. for not just dinner but also for desert ! Start from there and continue on. Look for every sale you can find and don’t spend your money on anything that you can get for less someplace else. I search the news paper adds for every kind of sale but please be sure it is a sale and not just a come on ! I shop the dollar stores and also the feed and grain stores. A few months ago I bought a 50 lb. bag of wheat for $12.00. Do you realize how much flour I can grind from that wheat and how many pancakes or bread or noodles I can make from that bag of wheat? I assure you it is a lot, but the trick here is to fumigate the wheat. Put it in a freezer for a week or two and then all the little critters will be dead. If you don’t have a big freezer then ask a friend or a family member if you can use their freezer. Like I said before think out of the box. Be on the look for an extra pair of shoes. Or an extra pair of pants etc. If you buy used, so what? Who knows but you that it is used from someone else? Unless you tell everyone no one knows where you got your cloths or how long you have had them so get this second hand business out of your head. I’m not just speaking to you but to everyone that has a fobia about second hand cloths. I say to them Get Over It ! Jim sit down and make a list of the things you will need and as you get them cross them off your list. If you have a home and a yard , be sure to purchase some seeds for planting and make sure you have a shovel and a hoe and a rake ! That may be what stands between you and starvation so make sure you have them. In the meantime look around for someone that may be getting rid of things you can use , at yard sales. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You will make it. I would also advise you to get a used bycicle for transportation and make sure you keep it safe from someone wanting to take it off your hands ! I do home canning and for those who can afford the equipment I strongly advise you to invest in it. I never stop canning all year long. This time of the year is a great time for sales on Turkey and so we can Turkey! Christmas time is the time for bargins on Ham so then we can ham ! Any time we can find bargins on chicken so when we find them we can chicken. When I find a sale on butter I can butter ! You get the picture! My pressure cooker canner is the best investment I ever made and I made it when I could least afford it. I just knew it was very important to my family and our future ! Most of all Jim never give up hope ! Keep your eye on the sparrow !

  • oldbill

    All the reasons for not preparing whether it is being at work and can’t get home, or radiation or poison bars one’s way, or public and private transportation isn’t working any more, or any of the other reasons, simply don’t hold water to the reality that, more than likely, we will be at or near home when disaster strikes. Can we prepare for everything? No. What we need to prepare for is the survivable event, not the unsurvivable. If we are dead or otherwise compromised, then it won’t make any difference. Not being dead and not being compromised is the issue.

    • granny mae

      You have said it all. We as a family have tried to consider what to do in different cases, and so in the case of an EMP attack we have a plan if we are in good shape and for an econimic collapse we have another plan. We know what we need to do and will continue on from there. We cannot plan for what we don’t know but we can be prepared for what we can consider might happen. Just remember to love your neighbor !


    former Wallmart person mentions suicide as a method of coping with loss and the breakdown of society. That happened when the stock market crashed during the Great Depression. People who had lost their means lost their lives also, many by jumping off tall buildings. I was told by an eye witness that as a kid they used to go to downtown Chicago to watch them jump. Ugh! If worse comes to worse here, expect curfew and travel restrictions, locally and otherwise. It happened in Alabama during a recent hurricane event when the power was out and widespread damage occurred….store shelves were bare…The infrastructure is fragile….prepare!

    • granny mae

      Suicide is not an option ! It is a cowards way out !
      Preparation is the answer. What could be worse than loosing a loved one to suicide ? Nothing that I can think of. I can endure anything as long as I have my family beside me.

      • http://na Jim

        Thanks for the info and moral booster Granny Mae. The basics is not a problem for me and I already grow a good garden. The canning thing is something I’m clueless about and I just saw a local news spot on this small easy solar set up. All of these things have been on my mind for awhile and some others like the solar flare deal. I’m pretty determined to get out of my current house and get some isolated farm area instead. I can produce much more that way and be off the beaten path for security reasons. I want to be set up complety self sufficeint in all ways. The wheat idea I’ve been pondering as well, storing it for long times might be hard, and growing it unlike a garden could be difficult as well. But as the original article said barter your surpluses/skills.

  • tenncowboy

    I am putting up water, food, medicine, clothing, boots, blankets, etc. I bought a van and am going to buy a 28 ft camper, just in case I have to get out of Dodge or I loose my home. My son thinks I’m a nut case but I duplicate everything I get so he will be prepared to.(go dad)
    But a word to the wise. I see there are 46 million people living on food stamps today. They live on Uncle Sams Plantation like kept dogs. When that is gone they will go to the burbs and the countryside and take what they can find, they have no plan B, no other option. The #1 staple is a 22 cal rifle and lots of ammo. A good man with a rifle is a force to be reckoned with. It will put meat in the pot and keep your enemy’s at bay,(200 yards). 22 ammo will be worth more than gold. It is cheap, small, light weight has good range and you can carry a lot of it. It will be the new money to barter with. A gun without ammo is a club.
    You can get a box (brick)of 550 rounds at Walmart for about $17.00.
    I would say you need a minimum of 4 bricks but 10 would be best for barter. Remember when starving people come to take your food, if you can’t defend it and your staples by force, they will kill you for them. Glenn Beck said it best: “I’m being dragged to a place I don’t want to go and being made to be someone I don’t want to be.” I don’t like being a dooms dayer but we have to have a mind set. I do hope to have enough food to give a starving family one of my 5 gal buckets of rice, beans,flour and sugar if it comes to that.(God I hope and Pray it does not)I don’t like this subject but if I have helped anyone with a clear vision of what we could all face and how to survive, this is time well spent. Some say we can turn the tide, others say it’s to late, I don’t know ? GOD BLESS AMERICA AND EACH AND EVERYONE OF US. Semper Fi…..

    • Rachett

      tenncowboy, looks like we think alike, you gave very good advice and I hope people follow it. It will mean the difference between surviving or losing the battle.

  • Rachett

    Of course stocking up on food and water supplies is very important, but just as important is having the means to keep others from taking those supplies away from you. A basement stocked full of food will not be of any use to you if you can’t protect it from the inevitable gangs that will be roaming the countryside armed to the teeth with weapons of all kinds looking for easy marks to steal from. When a great disaster strikes and food is in short supply or nearly non existant, you will see a large part of the population going hungry and resorting to any kind of violence necessary to feed themselves and their family. Believe me when I say that humans can turn into the most vicious animals on the planet when it comes down to who will survive or not survive. People would murder you in a minute for a can of beans if it means the difference between living or dying. Guns and ammunition will be just as important to you as your food. Having adequate food supplies will not do you any good if you can’t protect them from the hundreds of hoodlums that will surely be looking to steal them from you. You will be shocked at how quickly that thin veneer of civilation will disappear from even your close neighbors after a couple of days of going without food or water. People will quickly revert back to survival mode and survival of the fittest will be the rule for everyone. The haves and the have nots will be bitter rivals and you will be killed if you can’t defend your food, yourself and your family.

  • s c

    Preparation is a word that is best defned by the individual. To be truly prepared is to look at the issue as though it’s a life-or-death challenge. That means to consider every possible angle, get what you need and decide if you want to be defensive in existing or offensive.
    There is no such thing as ‘simple’ preparedness. I believe single people may have better odds in surviving than a family. If you’re lucky enough to live amongst like-minded people, that might be the best approach (good luck in a population center).
    I’d be interested to know how this website’s utopians and similar types think they can prepare. It assumes that they won’t bombard anyone with questions about why or for what or when. The idea that anyone living at this point in history can think that life goes on forever and that it’s not possible for life in America to get so bad that surviving daily could ever happen. I guess utopians just can’t get certain ideas into their heads.

  • KevinFFF

    A childhood of travails, years of intense competition in sports, 8 years in the Marines, and a quick corporate ascent taught me a valuable lesson. Fear is your biggest enemy in a dangerous and unpredictable situation. And this forum positively reeks with it. Your attempts at brave words and boasts of preparedness make poor camouflage of your obvious terror. The stench manages to be palpable even through my computer. In any real disaster of epic proportions, you all will be overwhelmed by fear, self-doubt, and indecision. Of this I have no doubt. So try to shout and drown me out, recoil from my words, or react with contrived displays of bravado. It is of no importance.

    Because I know tonight- when the lights turn out and the pall of darkness falls upon you with that weight you can never quite shoulder- you will once again shrink from the dark.

    Don’t believe the old adage. You meek types will get nothing, not even the patch of dirt you die on. It will be as it always has when the world gets torn asunder. Those without fear will inherit the Earth.

    • BDUBB

      Kev, What made you feel like you had to post here? You said that you played sports. Did you practice to get good at these or did you have no fear and were instantly good at them. If you did practice. Why? were you getting prepared to play? When you did practice were you afraid of losing? I would think that everyone would be afraid of something terrible happening which would cause people to starve, die, and kill others to survive? I also think you need to check the definition of meek. All of the people here are proving through actions that they are not meek. I do not understand why you posted this response here. If you are a marine then what caused you to be one, Why did you choose to defend this country? And why do you disagree with people preparing for a disaster? If everyone was prepared for a disaster then there would be no riots and murder for survival. I think maybe you only have you to worry about. We worry about our families and neighbors. If we all prepare, there will be no need for violence. If you look at the things that happen now you can see why people here are worried. We have people in this country that will take a can of pepper spray to a store and spray people to get an x box. We trample over people for sales at stores, what will happen when this turns to a survival situation. My aim is not to belittle you or even change your thinking. I just want you to let people do as they want without having to tell them that they are afraid and will all die, While you and people like you fear nothing and believe that somehow will come out on top. If that is your thinking,good for you and good luck with that. I just ask that you let us prepare and live as we chose, even if it bothers you. All we are doing is putting food and security for our families first. My largest fear in life is to watch my family starve or be killed by someone who did not prepare for natural or man made disasters. Why this bothers you I do not know.

    • Alheimstead

      Obviously Kev, you are the type that does not plan ahead much less was ever a Boy Scout. Sure would hate to be you if a disaster was ever to hit us.

  • Lisa

    Wow, Kevin- So preparedness is fear? Why don’t you just try getting into my place looking for food, supplies or whatever if or when things get really bad? If I am fearful, it won’t make a difference to you when you’re lying dead out in my pasture- I’m a pretty mean shot with my .22. Being prepared is not being meek- make no mistake about that.

    • Alheimstead

      Bingo Lisa, being prepared is the same as being wise.

  • nilpatriot

    Wow, Lisa. If you think a .22 is going to take someone down….we here up in Chicago land just had a Marine shot by a .22 TWICE and he plugged the holes with his fingers and chased after the thiefs! You better get something a lot more powerful than that!

    • Terry

      That reply tells me you don’t know what your talking about, you nead to be better informed before making such a statement. you can drop a deer at 100yars with a .22 if you know what your doing. The incident of that whitch you are talking about was more than likely carried out by some ignorant fool that barely knew which end of the gun the bullet exits from, probably never practiced with it, it bet they never even fired a box of shells through it. most of these punks or gang members think they are bad asses when the get a gun in their hands, it’s like putting an 8yr. old kid in a nascar and telling him he can race, how far do you think he is going to get. look at drive by shooting or gang shootings, whear hundreds of rounds are firedand only one or two people are hit and most ofthe time no one is injured. these are cowards without a clue. if you are compitant a .22 will do, I would rather have something larger myself for two legged vermin but in capable hands a.22 is alot better than nothing.

      • Terry

        oops! hit the reply button. just wanted to add no matter how big a gun you have it’s not going to be of any good to you if you are not proficient with it. pactice, practice,practice.


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