I recently received this email from a reader:
I just started a CERT training course and stumbled on your site last weekend I have already learned an enormous amount from it. I really appreciate your work.My question basically is about the rest of us - the ones who are not ex-military, not willing to shoot people, not willing to live in the woods,not big and strong. Are we all just a writeoff when TSHTF - collateral damage.I am storing food, cash, gold coins and now, all the survival gear that you recommend. But the reality is I am a 64 year old woman who weighs 110 lbs and lives in a senior mobile home park.I was born in England during the war so I know that people can live through hard times. But they did it by government rationing and supply and mutual cooperation. The difference here and now is that there will be no government help and people here are so aggressive and lawless. In one of the comments I just read someone said that a study showed that people will steal food after3 days and kill for food after 7 days. So what hope is there for people like me? Am I wasting my time getting all this gear? Should I stick my head back in the sand like everyone else?
Here's my answer:
First of all, congratulations on taking the CERT (community emergency response team) training, that is a wonderful way to get prepared. Although I write about preparedness, my hobby is preparedness, my work entails preparedness, and I am in awe of people who could survive being totally isolated for a year because of their skills, preps, and efforts, some of the people that I feel who will best be able to weather any difficulty, are also the least likely to look/act like survivalists (and are the least "officially" prepared). These people include the older people in our community who still remember how to survive hard times with creativity and ingenuity instead of cash and stored preps, illegal immigrants who can walk with literally only the clothes on their backs from Central America through Mexico to the US then find jobs and a place to live and food for themselves and their family all without the help of anyone (including the government), and the single mother with a passel of kids who can get by on barely anything--money and supplies included.
There are plenty of people in your exact situation and all you can do is what you can do--some basic preparedness skills, having some extra food and water on hand, talking to your friends, neighbors, and family members to both build close bonds with them and plan some shared efforts during a disaster, and using your mind instead of your brawn or a weapon.
Some final thoughts...People will survive--they have survived plagues, genocide (think Nazis and what is currently happening in Africa), and other horrible conditions. Preparation can only take you so far (what happens when your preps run out?)--ingenuity, social skills, and attitude can take you much further. People are generally good--they want to help those in need as shown in the many recent disasters. Fear makes people behave irrationally and become depressed--instead of listening to the news that seems to find pleasure in inciting fear and worrying that you aren't doing enough, make the preps that seem logical to you and spend the rest of your time enjoying your life.