I love acronyms. BFF, LOL, are just a few of the many that have crossed my radar screen in recent years. But this one, WTSHTF, is a mind-number. “When The Shit Hits The Fan” speaks to those of us whom some might call pessimists or maybe alarmists. It refers to the time in the future when apocalypse, nuclear holocaust, or natural disaster will reduce life, as we know it, to a struggle for survival. Not a pleasant scenario to consider, but, when considering climate change, political unrest, and social upheaval, it is not a situation to take lightly or to totally and absolutely dismiss. I have become a much better Boy Scout today than when I was 13 and 14 years old.
Remember the scout motto; ‘Be Prepared’? In today’s world, it is no longer merely advice for youngsters plying their survival skills in a controlled outdoors environment, it is a blueprint for survival in a world beset by governments and boogeymen intent to overpower, control and relieve us of our liberties and freedoms. Please do not think it can’t happen in 2023 in the USA. Some of us believe it has started and is imminent.
My duty as a patriot, human and world citizen is to prepare as best as possible to carry on to the best of my ability those values and virtues that I and my forefathers have held near and dear. It is not a negotiable mindset. Compromise is unacceptable. But, to be in that position, we must stay alive in the face of extreme adversity. To this end, social opinions, religious and political beliefs long held to be truth sometimes must change. And so it is.
This way of preparing for future events is not alien to my upbringing. As a young boy, along with my Boy Scout experience, I was herded weekly to Sunday School and church. The stories from the Bible had a great influence on my developing manhood. The wisdom of Joseph saved Egypt from famine because he advised the Pharaoh to store enough food to survive for the seven year drought….a lesson practiced traditionally by my farming forefathers. My grandparents were never hungry during the lean times because Grandma stored up volumes of canned produce and meat in her cellar cabinets. Grandpa knew how to butcher the beef, pigs and chickens he raised. He created delicious sausages and hams which were then smoked in the 10’X10′ smokehouse. When smoked the proper amount of time, those delicacies were carried to the attic of our house for storage. Grandma’s schnitz (dried apples) and other dehydrated foods were also stored in the attic. Grandpa was a fixer and amateur carpenter. Grandma was a seamstress and quilter. Country folk know how to survive instinctually and by traditions handed down one generation to the next.
These skills were handed down one generation to another. Farmers were and still are the epitome of preppers. Prepping is in my genes. So, when I hear about WTSHTF, my mind immediately goes to the preparations I need to make. Whether stockpiling foods like beans, rice, pasta, canned vegetables or necessities like water, TP, soap, Bic lighters, batteries, or a good knife, I want to be a good Scout, have what I need or can barter thereby not being a burden to those around me and possibly saving the lives of me and loved ones.
This, naturally, includes the skills necessary to survive without running water, electricity, cell service, natural gas for cooking or a source of heat. The conveniences we have come to depend upon will probably be unaffordable or taken from us. Do I know enough to live under a tarp, catch fish, forage for food and hunt for protein? Can I light a fire, cook that fish, treat my water for pathogens, dispose of my waste? Do I remember from my teen years how to skin a squirrel? Or raise from seeds some green beans, squash and corn?
And, most troubling to me is security. Do I have the means to protect my stashes of food and necessities? How about protecting my loved ones? There will be, in a rogue environment, folks who would not think twice about ending our lives to steal what we have accumulated. Hungry bellies are not guided by conscience…..not a moral judgement; rather, a fact of life.
Also, very importantly, who are my community? Whom will I need to depend on when the chips are down? What are their survival skills? First aid, cooking, mechanical aptitude, the ability to fix and improvise the unfixable, bushcraft skills….what can my community bring to the table?
Lastly, am I overly concerned about what others think of my prepping? Am I rattled when those close to me voice opinions about my mental health? Fortunately, the days are long past when I valued the opinions of others over my own intuition and life’s experience.