Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Being ready no matter what happens

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

When I sat down to write this post, I intended to write about what I see as the disconnect I see between the demands for firearms control and readiness and how so many people who demand such regulation are also the least prepared for when that regulation fails. Then, I realized to doesn’t matter.

The fact is that the people who are going to be ready are going to be ready irrespective of whether an overbearing government imposes firearms control or demands that people submit to any other kind of forced dependency. History is replete with examples of people being ready no matter how horrible the government restrictions levied against them might be. For some people, the instinct to survive and carry on is stronger than what any government or group can do. We owe our very existence to those kinds of people.

If you consider yourself one of those people, then I am talking to you.

It is very easy, in the face of the trials of our time, to lose focus on the one thing that drives being ready for whatever comes next: life goes on. Life will go on if the government takes all the guns. Life will go on if the government takes all of our money. Life will go on no matter what until the moment life ceases to exist altogether.

But if life is to go on, it requires certain things. For humans, that is, as a minimum: water, food, clothing, and shelter. Without those things, no other preparation matters.

That’s why it’s important for those of us who are ready no matter what happens to remember that we are ready no matter what happens. Eve if the government takes all the guns. Even if the government takes all of our money. We will be the ones who endure because we have dedicated ourselves to being the ones who endure.

I am not suggesting that we should not be concerned about what is happening around us. If we were not, we would have no cause to prepare. I am, however, saying that we should not lose sight of what we are preparing for.

DLH

One Second After

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

I just finished reading One Second After by William R. Forstchen (in fact, I read it in one sitting last night), and this is a book I must recommend to anyone who cares about being ready for whatever comes next.

While Forstchen’s apocalyptic electromagnetic pulse event is flawed in some ways and his aftermath scenario is a definite worst case, his story does an outstanding job of pointing out the incredible vulnerabilities our way of life faces if we experience a disruption of the critical goods and services we continue to expect to be delivered to us without fail.

This book, like others in its category, is not so much about trying to predict the future–although Forstchen is trying to deliver a stern warning about the very real threat posed by EMP–as it is trying to point out that we’re all at risk because we have so little capacity to support ourselves in the event we do not have access to electricity, technology, global distribution systems, and fuel.

Forstchen’s story may scare you, but if you are smart, it will force you to think. And if it forces you to think, then it should force you to act. Do so while there is still time. Be ready now.

DLH

 

Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Establishing self-sufficiency

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Establishing self-sufficiency

  • Immediate: Make a list of all of the things you depend on in order to provide yourself and the people to depend on you with necessities. Such a list will likely include things like your source of income, where your food, clothing, and shelter come from, and similar things. Next, make a list of how you could provide for the same necessities if one or more of the things you currently depend on become unavailable. Finally, make a plan for how to implement each change will take place.
  • Intermediate: Consider replacing things you depend on others to do for you by paying them with things you do yourself. If you are unable to do them yourself, seek out the most local source for the thing you are paying for. Pay special attention to the sources of your most basic necessities.
  • Long-term: The best way to establish self-sufficiency is to surround yourself with people trying to do the same thing. Typically, such people gravitate to small, rural farm communities, and they do so because of the lower population density, the access to arable land, and the general tendency for rural people to be more self-sufficient than city dwellers. Before undertaking such a task, carefully consider what you can add to such a community–that is, what are you going to do to be self-sufficient yourself that would compliment what others are already doing.

 

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact meabout ways you can support this effort.

DLH

Will you be ready in 2011?

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I believe being ready is more than having a stockpile of supplies just in case something happens that deprives me of the modern comforts I have come to expect. Readiness is a state of being; a world view focused on the art of living and a lifestyle adaptable to whatever circumstances might present themselves at the moment.

I want to inspire other people to pursue being ready the way I want to be ready myself, hence this weblog. Yet, over the last year, I have discovered just how much of a task readiness is and how hard it is to convince other people it is worth doing at all.

That last statement is not despair of trying. To the contrary, it is an acknowledgement of the difficulty of the task at hand and an acceptance that it is not going to happen quickly or easily.

I plan to be more ready when 2011 ends than I am now that it has started, and I hope you will join me in the quest.

DLH

An aside: who the hell is Dennis L Hitzeman and why is he lecturing me?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

At some point, someone is going to ask who the hell I am and why I think I can lecture other people on readiness.

Frankly, I’m nobody more important than anyone else. My readiness experience is average and some of my qualifications are tenuous at best. A lot of what I am repeating here, I have learned from other far more qualified people, and to them we all owe a debt of gratitude.

Yet, while I am not some sort of super-secret-squirrel-ninja-ranger survivalist, I am a halfway intelligent person who can read and learn and observe the world around me, and what I have read and learned and observed over the past several years leads me to believe that it is very likely that you are not ready for whatever comes next at all. In fact, I used to not be ready at all too, and frankly, I still have a very long way to go to be ready in the way I think being ready should work for everyone.

So what makes me think I’m qualified to be saying what I am saying and doing what I am doing? Mostly, because I care enough to say something even as I do the something I say.

Five years ago, I was part of the Ohio National Guard’s assistance task force to the state of Mississippi as part of the response to Hurricane Katrina. One of the images that sticks in my mind more than most is the clear difference between people who were as ready as they could be and the people who plainly weren’t.

Among those memories was a sign tacked over the door of what was otherwise an innocuous ranch style house in Waveland, Mississippi. It read: “We’re fine and don’t need help. We are armed. Please help those who actually need it.”

Later, I discovered that there were as many as 10 people in that house: its original residents and probably family, friends, or neighbors who banded together for common survival. As far as I know, those people never took more from the relief workers than some water and ice.

That image and those people changed me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Then, just two years ago, the freak windstorm caused by Hurricane Ike knocked power out to the area I was living for almost two weeks. While not everyone lost power, many, many people did, and I was without power for ten days.

So, I began planning in earnest and have learned quite a lot along the way. And what I have learned is that, even if I do manage to get ready the way I think I should be, in all likelihood you won’t be, and what good will that do me? I want everyone to be ready because, if we’re all ready, then even if something bad does happen it won’t be as bad as it could have been.

Hence this blog. I may not be an expert and I may not know everything, but I do care enough to try to get you to think about something I think is very important. If I succeed, then we will all be better for it.

DLH

Getting ready Part 4: What does readiness look like in the end?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

For me, the end state of readiness is that my everyday life won’t change much if local, national, or international circumstances suddenly change. Of course, that kind of readiness is almost impossible to achieve, especially in the face of an event like a natural disaster, but I believe it is possible to come close, and that closeness is what readiness should look like in the end.

This end state will look different for every person based on each individual’s outlook and priorities, but I think that every ready person’s end state will share several things in common.

First, true readiness is local. Even if someone is not growing his own food, building his own house, or making his own clothes, if he is getting those things from people geographically near him, it is far more likely that those things will continue to be available if circumstances change than if those things are coming from far away. What local might mean is different for every person, but everyone must consider things like the availability of fuel and personal fitness when considering that range.

Second, true readiness is sustainable. If someone needs something now, he will also likely need it after circumstances have changed. Of course, identifying needs is the tricky part, but once someone has identified them, then he must also identify how to keep having them. Developing sustainable systems for everything from food production to energy generation must be a central theme for true readiness or someone is not truly ready.

Third, true readiness is flexible. An old military axiom is that no plan survives the moment of first contact, and readiness plans are no different. If someone is ready, then his plan is flexible enough to be able to adapt to a variety of contingencies.

Now, applying these standards can mean a lot of different things to different people. How I might plan and implement readiness might not work for someone else, and someone else’s plans might not work for me. Yet, if everyone is working toward readiness, then we can establish the kinds of networks that allow our plans to be local, sustainable, and flexible.

DLH

Getting ready Part 2: Items to consider in a readiness plan

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

One of the aspects of readiness that separates it from what most of us consider normal life is that it forces us to look at our priorities and reduce life to the several items that are really necessary for our everyday existence. While I argue that these several items are the only items one should really focus on once they are identified, I understand that not everyone is at the same point. As a result, that is where readiness planning comes in.

Almost every readiness plan consists of the same several items of consideration. I will present each of the items here as a general overview, and I will discuss each of the items later in detail and in discussions of the various aspects of readiness planning. Also, the order of the list of these items is my own priority set. Each planner must determine what priorities work for his or her individual plan.

Water

Lots of people have readiness plans, but I think too many people overlook how hard it may become to get potable water if modern water delivery systems fail. The general rule for readiness is that you there should be one gallon of water per person per day covered by the plan. Keep in mind that having this kind of water available probably means storing it and rotating it over time. Also, having the necessary tools to access, move, and purify water is a must for intermediate and long term readiness planning.

Fuel

Keeping extra fuel on hand can mean the difference between weathering a crisis well and not weathering it at all. While how much extra fuel should be kept on hand is a matter of significant debate, the fact remains that there should be some.

Communications

Cell phones are notoriously unreliable forms of communications during times of crisis and may become unusable if the crisis lasts long enough. Establishing reliable alternative forms of communication with the people involved in your readiness plan is essential for that plan to function.

Protection

No one really wants to think about it, but let’s face it: during a crisis the need to protect yourself and those involved in your plan may become very high. More than likely, especially if the crisis is widespread enough, the police and military will be delayed or unavailable to provide protection. Having sufficient means of protection on hand, knowing how to use those means, and having the ability to resupply those means are an integral part of any effective readiness plan. These means may also be help ensure there is enough food available for intermediate and long term planning.

Food

Many people will protest that food should be far higher in the list, maybe even at the top. I think that there is far more food available than most people realize, and unlike water, people can survive without adequate food for quite a long time before bad things start to happen. That said, having adequate plans for food is an essential part of readiness planning, even if it may not be the most important.

Power

Especially if a crisis is an enduring one, having the means to provide power is an essential consideration. Providing power when regular electricity delivery is not available can be one of the most expensive and time consuming parts of readiness planning, so how that power will be provided must be carefully considered and implemented.

Medical

If the crisis is intense enough, providing medical care for people participating in your plan may become a necessity. Providing such care is more complicated than just having medical supplies on hand. Someone has to know how to diagnose what needs done and use the supplies effectively.

Shelter

It is entirely possible that the crisis that activates your plan may involve the destruction of your shelter. Having a plan and the means to provide for shelter is then and essential part of readiness planning.

Mobility

It is entirely possible that your readiness plan may have to involve leaving where you start. The means by which that might occur can be highly variable, but they still must be carefully considered.

Caching

Along with having a cache of supplies where you live, maybe at work, and maybe in your main mode of transportation, you should also consider caching supplies other places.

I know this can be a daunting list, especially if someone is just at the beginning of their readiness plan, but these things must be considered in order for a plan to be effective and complete. I will discuss each of these items in detail in future posts and as part of future posts on planning.

DLH

Being prepared for whatever comes next

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

For many people, hearing about readiness evokes images of a small cache of bottled water and energy bars in the basement or of wild-eyed survivalists in western states hunkered down in caves with a year’s supply of dried foods. While both images have some elements of what readiness might entail, they both miss the fundamental point of what being prepared is really all about.

From my point of view, readiness is about living the kind of life and lifestyle that means, even if the power goes out or you can’t buy gas or the government is no longer around to help, you can go on doing what you were doing before with few or any modifications.

Of course, most people have a far different view of readiness. They think of readiness as being able to weather some kind of abnormal time until things return to normal. But, what if things don’t return to normal? We all like to believe that such catastrophic events cannot happen, yet history shows us that they can and do with surprising regularity.

I already know that my view of readiness means significant changes in life and lifestyle for most people, so the goal of this weblog is not to be just another source for hardcore survivalist mumbo jumbo that most people will have no use for. Instead, it is my goal to present practical and actionable steps that people can take to be ready.

In doing so, it is my hope that, along the way, more people will see the things I have come to see about modern society and readiness and will be willing to make the changes they need to make to be truly ready. The payoff for all of us will be that we will be able to weather future storms on our own terms and will be able to help other people weather them too.

Are you prepared for whatever comes next? If not, let’s get ready together.

DLH