Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.
In email, someone asked me what got me started in preparedness. Being a smartass, I replied “An overwhelming desire not to die.”
But, in all seriousness, I thought I had perhaps posted about it at some point but as I trolled through the posts trying to find it I discovered that I may not have made such a post.
So, how did I get involved in this?
I can’t recall the exact date, but I can get the year down: 1980. When I was 13 I was doing some book reports for extra credit. One of the books I read was ‘Alas, Babylon’. No idea how I came to read that book, but I do remember the book report. For some reason that book struck a chord in me and it was followed by a few handfuls of similar literature, including ‘A Canticle For Liebowitz’ which wasn’t exactly light reading for a 13-year-old. At about this time I stumbled onto a copy of Aherns first book in ‘The Survivalist’ series. Again, for some reason it just made an impression on me. Yeah, it was pulp fiction of the dorkiest kind but I devoured every book in the series. At that point in my life I was very much enamored with being outdoors and being alone. I suppose in some ways, to a young boy (read: idiot), being on your own in a post-apocalyptic world would be the ultimate adventure. This was, of course, before I had the maturity to think about the unpleasant consequences of such a lifestyle…little inconveniences like dysentary, DIY dentistry, compound fractures, hypothermia, food poisoning and the like.
So the idea of survivalism (which is what it was called back then, this being the 80’s and all) was put into my head. At that point, like many impressionable youth (read: morons), I glossed over the mundane things like food and energy and focused on, naturally, guns and big honkin’ Rambo knives. And thats pretty much where things stayed for a number of years. After all, when youre 13 years old you really arent in a position to do much about preparing for the seemingly inevitable Soviet-American nuclear exchange that we were always hearing about. Plus, guns and knives were cool!
Flash forward about six years. Nineteen years old and moved to Montana to go to college. Away from home, away from draconian gun laws, and still a ways from being a mature adult…….I started buying guns as fast as I could (and couldnt) afford. No rhyme or reason, just whatever struck my fancy. Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while and I wound up with a lovely HK93A3 that I paid the enormous sum of $600 for. Wish to hell I’d kept it. Those suckers are rare. At the time, I didnt consider myself a preparedness/survivalist type of person, although I did consider my self a world class ‘gun nut’. Around the age of 24 I went from living in crappy rentals to a nice house. Lotsa room, big basement….pretty nice. I was still more a gun crank than anything else. I was hanging out with more people and started developing what might be politely termed ‘conservative values’. It was also about this time that Ruby Ridge occurred and the crowd I was running with was full of talk about black helicopters and Executive Orders and that sort of thing. Hey, it was Clinton and Reno’s America…it looked like anything could happen. More and more, the talk was about just wanting to be left alone by .gov and pretty much everyone else.
Also about this time I hit a very rough patch in my life where I was no longer in school, had no job, no money, and was staring down the barrel of being darn near homeless. Food was a little hard to come by and there were some days where it was easier to just not eat than deal with trying to figure out how to get ahold of something to eat. I wouldn’t call it ‘going hungry’ but it was about as insecure an existence as a person could get without hitting bottom and landing in a cardboard box. That little episode didn’t change anything for me at that moment, but years later it would.
By now we’re rolling up into the mid-1990’s. The Clinton Assault Weapons Ban has occurred, Brady background checks are a new inconvenience, Black Talon ammo is in the news, and someone just blew up a building in Oklahoma. At this time all my friends are gun nuts and ‘patriot’-types. Some folks talk about how armed uprisings seem inevitable, others talk about things like UN interference in American government. I may or may not agree with what my friends say and think, but they’re my friends, we get along, and I enjoy being with them.
Move ahead a few years. It’s 1998. People are starting to make noise about Y2K. On some levels it seems as absurd as can be, and on some levels it seems to be a genuine threat. Gradually, I start moving in the direction of increasing my level of preparedness as best I can on my budget. At this time all of my friends, except for one, are people who are to some degree or another into preparedness. 1999 is the year I started making bigger steps into preparedness. Bythe time Christmas of 1999 rolls around I’m more prepared than I ever have been and my way of thinking has changed. I’m taking a more ‘well rounded’ approach to preparedness….meaning I’ve stopped thinking that being prepared starts and ends with something that has a caliber marking stamped on it.
Y2K comes and goes without so much as a hiccup in my world. Doesn’t matter. I like the feeling of security that comes from being prepared, and smaller, local, events like blackouts and blizzards have convinced me that I’m on the right track. 2001 changes the threat likelihood to terrorism-related events and suddenly ’security moms’ are the norm and airport travel takes a turn for the worse. I continue to lay back food, ammo, gear, etc, etc. I read more, research more, think more, play ‘what if’ more, and start to think that perhaps the biggest threat isnt terrorism as much as the economic consequences of terrorism. In short, I start moving towards the notion that the biggest threat is economic…high unemployment, prolonged recession, a new depression, that sort of thing.
2003 I start the blog. From there you can read about what happens or doesn’t happen. And that’ll bring you to….now.