The Overriding Principle of Prepping

15 May

What is the overriding principle of prepping? What separates a true prepper from the average guy or gal? A great post over at Apartment Prepper (Big City Obstacles to Getting Home in a Disaster) got me thinking about this.

That post wrote about the advantage of taking the stairs over the elevator. Elevators can fail. They can fail during power outages.

Every time you step into an elevator, you’re counting that it will work, because if it doesn’t, you’re basically helpless. Sure, you can try to summon help. But your rescue will depend on others. You’re trapped in a little metal box, not much different than a prison cell. In the movies, heroes climb cables and escape. In real life, you sit on your butt and wait.

The total feeling of helplessness (& claustrophobia & the lack of a restroom!) is what makes stuck elevators terrifying. If you’re not rescued soon, dehydration is your biggest risk.

The overriding principle of prepping is this: Never put yourself in a position where you’re helpless. At least, be alert and minimize those situations.

One of the most common ways people make themselves helpless is by getting drunk to the point they lose functionality. How many stories are there of young men and women who become drunk while partying and then become the victims of crime? A young man died aboard a cruise ship, murder is suspected.

He partied and drank so much that strangers took him to his ship cabin. His wife? She was passed out somewhere else. How can you expect not to be at risk of a crime when you can’t stand up and you’re relying on total strangers?

Another way you can become helpless is not having an exit or an exit plan. Driving is a good example. Those who follow too close, are going too fast, and are hemmed in by traffic, have no where to go if the car in front of them stops suddenly. They crash. They were made helpless by their driving method.

What a person considers “helpless” varies with experience and with what you expect. Some veterans with PTSD have issues with driving back at home. The fear is being trapped by traffic. In Iraq, that could lead to an ambush.

If you can’t exit an area quickly enough, local events can overwhelm you. Experienced hikers don’t put their hands in crevices where they can’t see. The fear is it could be a snake’s den. A climber died after his rope got too close to a beehive.

Preppers store food, so they’re not helpless if the grocery stores aren’t open. Not carrying needless debt echoes the point too: Carrying a lot of debt puts you at the mercy of the banks.

Most elevators are usually very reliable. In normal daily American life, we don’t worry about being ambushed on the road. Most climbers aren’t killed by bees. But if a twinge of concern hits you when you take an action because you realize you’re putting yourself into a position where you could become helpless, that’s not a bad thing. It just means you’re aware of risks of the situation.

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