This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Benjamin Burns. The first round of the contest ends tomorrow at midnight so get your entry in now for a chance to win! Benjamin discusses his experiences when he tried to develop a group around him.
Do you wish a certain friend would start prepping? Are you the only prepper, that you know of, in your area? Are there people who are essential to your end of the world plan that are not preppers? How do you approach the subject? Is it possible to influence a people who are completely unprepared to become serious preppers? In this article I will explain how I have spent the past year setting up the preppers I need, so that I can survive when SHTF.
It started right after I returned from my second contracting job in Afghanistan. I had a little bit of spare money to beef up my supplies. I picked up a few thousand rounds here and there, some bulk food stuff and everything else that I could think of. As I gathered, inventoried and prepared my supplies, I realized that I was missing a key element. I could bug out or bug in and survive for years without ever talking to another soul, except for my two sons. That’s not living, that’s just surviving. I don’t want to just survive.
I unfortunately tried to start out large and loud. I told my friends, their friends and complete strangers about why prepping was a great idea, how I had prepared and even what I thought they should do. This was one of the biggest mistakes I could have made. It pushed people away from me. I made myself look like a crazy person. The most common line I heard was, “I’ll just come live with you if anything happens.” It made a lot of people unhappy when I said that I am going to turn away anyone that shows up. I finally realized that I was spreading the idea the wrong way.
Over the next couple of months, I started picking out certain people who I had regular interaction with. The lady that runs the daycare my children go to. My boss and two veterans in my workplace. My former squad leader, who now owns his own construction business and has a very close group of employees and is also a leader at his church. The last one is one of the most important, for discretion we will call him John. I knew these people were rational and would be the right ones to have around, after SHTF.
You may wonder why the lady at my sons daycare. I want to make sure that my sons are cared for, in case the initial disaster takes my life. Over a few months of talking, I was able to get the daycare lady to start thinking about some of the disasters happening around the world. Then I started talking about theoretical things that could happen. She one day commented about how scared she was of something happening in our area. I asked if she had anything put aside for an emergency. She did not. I mentioned that I would be glad to give her some advice on putting some things away.
I started her off with a general list of standard, long-term foods and water. A few weeks later she proudly announced to me that she had “enough food to care for her family for a full month“. I acted very happy and congratulated her. On my way out, I casually asked if she had enough lights for a month. I don’t know if she figured out what I was doing or just decided that she liked feeling prepared but she finally asked for my advice on everything she would need for a disaster. I went all in. Her list included first aid supplies, a firearm, radios, fuel and everything I could think of. Then I asked the question that made me start turning her into a prepper. I asked what she would do if some of the parents don’t show up to get their kids after a disaster. Will she kick the kids out? Will she keep ten extra kids for three months? She admitted that she has started asking herself that same question. As of now, she has decided to attempt to keep every child as long as they need a place to stay. It was what I wanted to hear.
Why my boss and two coworkers? My boss used to have his FFL. He collected and sold firearms before moving to Gatlinburg. He was an obvious choice to talk to about being ready. He likes the idea of short term prepping but not long-term. He says that he keeps enough to last three months but he doesn’t want to have to keep going any longer than that. I’ve tried talking about this but he’s set on it. I’m hoping that he will change his mind when the time comes. The other two at my work are both veterans, like myself, and they both have seen how bad humanity can be. They were really easy to sell on the idea of prepping. One is a single father that loves his child and the other really loves life. Together, the four of us have made some very large bulk purchases. Pallets of food, thousand round packs of bullets, bulk firearm purchases and bulk first aid purchases. Our work is a ‘gun free zone’ but we all four carry. The only ones that know are us. Why would my boss turn us on when he is one of us? They have all brought up things that I never thought about and have greatly helped me prepare for when SHTF.
Last but certainly not least is John. John lead me through two tours in Iraq. He runs a very successful construction business and influences a lot of people. He was one of the easiest and hardest people to convince. John is very religious. He originally thought that as long as his soul was prepared then he wouldn’t need anything else. We discussed so many different scenarios and past events. The point that finally got him thinking was the Christians that were killed in Iraq. We met some of them. We recognized one of the neighborhoods that it showed ISIS killing people in. It showed him that he wasn’t as ready as he thought he was. The thought of his fellow Christians be slaughtered motivated him beyond what I expected.
He went full prepper in less than a month. He started stockpiling ammunition and multiple weapons. He bought seed vaults, literally hundreds of pounds of freeze-dried food, canned meat and enough stuff to filter water for years. The crown jewel though is his house. He’s so proud of the way he changed it. His house still looks normal. However, he has made complete safe areas. It would take a serious, sustained assault to get through. The entire place has been made as fire safe as possible. His basement was just for storage. Now he has ten sets of shelves that are each three high. These are meant to be used as beds. I would bet that sixty to eighty people could shelter in his house, barn and garage for at least four months. He said that his whole church will be safe with him and he has started talking to other senior people at his church as well as his employees. I did not expect John to go as far as he did. He showed me two things. He showed me that a single, childless, sober man can save a lot of money and that the deaths in Iraq affected him in ways I will never truly grasp. I’ve never seen someone as motivated as he has become.
Creating this group of preppers has made me feel not only confident about some of my friends but I also feel rewarded. I believe these people will be ones that not just survive, they will thrive. If something ever happens, I have people who I can count on and who can count on me. Most of us are pushing each other to be more prepared. One of them will build a can rack that rotates oldest to the front whenever a new one is dropped in. This normally gets another of us to either build the same thing or try to make something better. We share books, tips and email each other videos. My attempt to create some more preppers has turned into my prepper community. We are now a tight knit group that is ready for when SHTF.