Back in the day, I was considered somewhat of an activist. Although normally quiet, unassuming, and nerd-like, I fought for the end of political tyranny, power to the people, and women’s rights in the workplace. I was a small voice in a big sea of voices, but, to this day, would like to believe I have made a difference.
Now, years later, in my own quiet way, I have proudly labeled myself as both a “Prepper” and a member of the Prepper Movement. In addition, I have gone so far as to publicly define prepping as a form of personal activism.
Along the way, it has been my intent to create Backdoor Survival as a kinder and gentler prepper website. This is a site that welcomes everyone without political or religious overtones. It has also been eclectic in content covering a wide range of topics spanning preparedness, homesteading, healthy living and life in general.
With that introduction, today I am going to step outside my normal comfort zone and suggest the we define the prepper movement with a call to action. I do so knowing that this opens up a level of personal responsibility for which we may not be ready.
This latest think piece from contributing author author Richard Broome, asks that you to open your mind and your heart to the realities of who we are and what we are trying to accomplish as forward thinkers in the 21st century.
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THE NIGHT
“Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light.” –Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
In my last contribution to Backdoor Survival, “Mind The Gap,” I talked about the global, structural “assurance gap” that I think exists. The essence of my argument was the assertion that the growing threat to all of us, outmatches the countermeasures we have in place.
In all of my articles this year, as a contributing author for Backdoor Survival, I have offered similar thoughts. So, on this cold, snowy morning in Montana, I decided to address this once again, but with some additional thoughts. As a like-minded community of preppers, we can no longer be so gentle, but must rage.
I have, in previous articles on Backdoor Survival, talked about “The Coming Cyber War” something I feel is no longer just looming event, but starting to happen all around us. With all that is in the press recently, how could anyone not feel this way?
Just ask the executives at SONY, as the impacts the cyber attack on them continues to unfold. I subsequently wrote about “Building a Culture of Preparedness.” In that article I beat the drum, urging us to change our national mindset about personal preparedness and readiness, also advising more political activism by preppers.
All three of these articles had one common theme. Mainly, we all need to be thinking more deeply about our true state of preparedness, both as individuals and as a nation, and we must do it now before we run out of options.
Speaking of trees, my two recent novels, Leaving The Trees, published in July 2013, and Good Crazy, published in November 2014, were created to depict what the cascading effects could be if a cyber event in the financial markets did spin out of control, freezing our financial systems and ultimately the supply chains we all depend on. A cyber event, such as this, really could undo us all, and like in my novels, have us living in camps within the trees trying to survive with what would be left.
However, in addition to the cyber attack scenario, many other scenarios could undo our society, such as an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack, Pandemics (think Ebola) or an ISIS gone wild. All of these could have similar devastating results.
In short, I believe the “assurance gap” which I frequently write about or discuss on radio shows, is still there and just getting worse. If the SHTF moment really does happen, any of these scenarios could cause it. As the witches in Macbeth predicted, something wicked this way comes. We all just guess about “what” and “when.”
So…where do we go from here?
Almost forty-five years ago, as a brand new army lieutenant, I was asked to teach a class to a group of young soldiers about the correct technique for throwing a hand grenade. Properly throwing a hand grenade is something you really want everyone in a military unit to completely understand.
The instructions are simple enough.
“Hold the hand grenade with your hand over the safety band.”
Seemed easy, yet many soldiers would do things like:
–Throw the grenade before the pin was pulled so it would bounce harmlessly at the feet of the enemy. This would allow the enemy to pick up the hand grenade and toss it back at you. However, with the pin pulled this time.
–Pull the pin, release the safety band, and then look at me to tell them what to do next.
–Fumbling the throw and having the damn thing rolling on the ground at our feet getting ready to go off.
Yet… despite all of that here I sit, alive and well. I survived the experience and, by the way, I should have told you we used dummy grenades to practice with first. (Whew!)
Thinking about that experience as I ponder the state of global affairs, my central question does remain: “Where do we go from here?” I ask this question, very mindful that with the multi-level complexity of all the potential threats that beset us these days; these possible events could already be too much for us to understand how to cope with.
If even such simple instructions like throwing a grenade could become so misconstrued, what is to become of us with more complex challenges that could suddenly occur? Will we fumble around while the grenade is getting ready to explode?
As the recent Ebola crisis unfolded before us in the news, I kept having the same thought, “What a debacle!” The procedural steps we asked medical professionals to follow appeared to be flawed. Finger pointing erupted. No one seemed in charge.
The result of this inept leadership was the public lost confidence in our government’s ability to handle a pandemic. It was all very unsettling and pointed out to me that the Prepper Nation is right to be skeptical about what we can expect from government.
If our elected leaders cannot do any better than what we witnessed with the handling of Ebola, maybe the Prepper Nation can? We do, after all, spend time thinking, preparing and doing more than most of the people around us.
We talk on sites like Backdoor Survival, sometimes argue, but always try to share ideas and help each other. We also talk straight to each other and do not hide behind comforting, but vapid platitudes and homilies that we see politicians use to reassure citizens, but actually mean very little and solve nothing.
However, even with all of the good information preppers share, I feel something is missing.
There is an old story about a young boy walking with his grandfather through the family garden. The grandfather was carrying a bullwhip. Every time he spotted some kind of bug eating his plants, out came the bullwhip and SNAP! The bug was gone. At the end of the garden they came to a tool shed with a large hornets nest built in the apex of the roof, right over the shed door.
The boy turned to his grandfather and said: “Grandfather! What about that hornets nest?”
The grandfather turned to his young grandson, looked at him thoughtfully for moment, and then finally said: “Boy. Let me tell you something. Bugs is just bugs. But…hornets…they’s organized!”
I feel we are now at a defining moment where the prepper community must start to step up and become an organized movement. Yes, I said an organized movement. We need to stop feeling the need to explain ourselves as a community but rather embrace more publicly and assertively our different perspective from others. We are right about what we think and what we do. They are wrong. Like a grenade going off, there will be no “do-over” to get things right if we ever really face one of the many serious events that could occur.
This is essential. I feel we must start to make some forward progress dealing with all the emerging threats facing us and close the “assurance gap” that I believe exists. If we don’t, considering the current trend of global events, I am quite concerned things will suddenly unravel all around us.
Ayn Rand once said: “The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see.”
So let’s be honest, if you follow the news and politics at all, you can see our country is now being sold to the highest bidder who has the money, the votes, or both, for our politicians on either side of the aisle. To counteract this reality, preppers need to be able to move the needle on the political Richter scale. At the end of the day a more structured and organized prepper movement increases our power as a voting bloc. We need to seize the attention of political leaders with a prepper agenda for change that has some political muscle behind it.
I know this idea is a fairly prodigious, complicated undertaking; yet, we do have the power of the Internet behind us to share ideas and find a way to make a nation of preppers come together.
My belief is we should start this conversation about how to build an organized prepper movement on Backdoor Survival. Right here. Right now.
I think we start with the question: “What should be the Prepper Nation agenda for change?” Then, let us see where this conversation takes us. Let us all talk about how to make this a safer country. Let us all come together and try to do a really big thing.
Before… we all become that bug in the garden.
Richard Earl Broome . . . All Rights Reserved . . . December 13, 2014
Richard Earl Broome is a contributing author to Backdoor Survival. He has lived an extraordinary life rising from an Army private to an Army colonel who served on the White House staff at the National Security Council for two Presidents of the United States as a member of their National Security Council staff.
He is considered a national expert on the subjects of crisis management, disaster recovery and survival. He is a frequent contributor of articles about the many threats facing our society, appearing frequently on radio shows to discuss issues such as pandemics, ISIS, and the cyber threat.
Now living in a small community in Montana, he is a member of the faculty at Montana State University where he teaches leadership. His two books, Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey) (Volume 2), can be found on Amazon.
The Final Word
Without question, this is the most difficult article I have shared with the Backdoor Survival community. I have thought about it, struggled with, and ultimately embraced it for indeed, it is a think piece of the highest order.
The call to action is this: please consider responding with your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below. Do you agree, disagree, or are you somewhere in between? This is my website but it is your forum. Let us continue to be the best we can be.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.