Be Prepared. That is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America. And everyone loves the boy scouts, right? Okay, maybe not everyone. I remember hearing kids in school make fun of boy scouts. I also remember those same kids, not too long after high school, stumbling around drunk at a local grocery store, making fun of anything they could manage to focus on. Kind of puts things into focus, doesn't it?
What does it mean to me to be prepared? I don't board an airplane without snacks, bottled water and sufficient reading material; you never know how much time you'll spend in the air or even just on the runway. I keep small sewing kits and first aid kits in my car, along with a flashlight, a roll of paper shop towels, and of course, jumper cables. And I've used all of them. I keep a spare laptop power brick in my work backpack, and have ended up using it on a number of occasions, sometimes because I forgot mine, but often because somebody else forgot theirs.
Being prepared means thinking about things that might happen, so that if and when they do happen, you don't get caught with your pants down. Of course, we can't think of everything that might happen, but we do our best. And one of the things that I like to keep stocked is my food storage. I started slowly building it when I got married, and when I got laid off a year and a half later and was out of work for six weeks, my family and I were fed.
I was dismayed some time ago to discover that there is a name for people like me: preppers. It sounds like "pepper", which is kind of cool, but reeks of "Trekker", which is completely uncool (even for me, and I also reek of uncool). But it gets worse. See, a lot of preppers believe that in addition to their food storage, they must also prepare for things like civil unrest. I don't think this is entirely unfounded. Anyone that's been through, or even seen on TV, riots and looting in large cities because of everything from natural disasters to local sports teams winning (or losing) would be a fool to find civil unrest unlikely.
I don't mind them stocking up on their guns and ammo. It's not my thing, but I'm not going to slam on them either. But what kills me is when their efforts to ensure their families' safety makes them look like gun-toting fanatics who will try to cease power at their earliest opportunity. I don't see it like that, but a lot of people do.
That's right. Some people actually have actually expressed discontent and fear at preppers, for a variety of reasons, including the one I just mentioned. One person, who's vanity mandated that her blog's name included the words "pretty girl", has stated that "Preppers Scare the Crap Out of Me". Her post is filled with a torrent of misinformation, and even tries to bring politics into condemning what I consider to be common sense: being prepared. For the record, I'm a little jaded that the post that refered me to hers also brought politics into it. Look, I don't care whether you're liberal, conservative, moderate, etc: when disaster happens, if you're not prepared, it may mean the difference between life and death, or at the very least, confinement and freedom.
Hundreds of years ago, back before the days when American politics invaded our society, way before the Boy Scouts, there was a dude named Aesop. I don't know if he really came up with the story of The Ant and the Grasshopper, but the moral is clear: being prepared can save your life.
My favorite part of the pretty girl's post is her closing thought: "For now though, I’m stocking up on sugary rum and tequila and calling it a day." Well, at least she has a plan, even if it is no more than to drink herself into a drunken stupor.
Kind of puts things into focus, doesn't it?