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why prep?

Y2K - Not the Real DealI haven’t studied economic history enough to know (or at least to remember) what the causes of the Great Depression were. It might be a good idea for me to Wiki it because I believe with all my heart that we are currently living in a time of impending worldwide economic collapse. I don’t harbor any illusions that my coming to an understanding of the roots and causes of the Great Depression will prevent the onset of the next one, but I know that when we don’t learn from it, history has a way of repeating itself. So it might help me to more clearly see the signs of times if I were to revisit the Great Depression. I’ll put that on my list of Things To Do.

My parents were young adults during the Great Depression. It made a big impact on their lives long after the depression was over. Just as my parents were molded by the Great Depression, a lot of my prepper ideas have their roots from the Y2K scare. (Y2K is the abbreviation for “Year 2000.”) That’s when I first became aware of the need to be prepared for world-changing calamities.

For those of you too young to remember, or if you just weren’t paying attention at the time, Y2K was a scare that was born out of the growing pains of worldwide computerization. Computers run on data. One of the most common pieces of data used in computer databases is a date — month, day, and year — stored as numeric values for purposes of calculating… well, lots of things. Most early computer software was written to allow only two digit abbreviations to define each portion of a date, including the year (for example, June 28, 1907 would be 06/28/07). So instead of storing a year as “1907” it would just be “07”. It was assumed that you were talking about the 20th century.

As we approached the dawning of the 21th century, some forward-thinking programmer was dealing with future events that crossed over into the 21 century and ran into the problem of dating. Anything that was going to happen in the year 2000 or beyond was understood by the software as being in the 1900s.

Every calculation that was based on a date either gave the wrong answer (best case) or crashed the system altogether (worst case). Virtually every significant computer system in the world would be affected by this error — banking systems, public utilities, military applications, manufacturing, government, healthcare, everything! If steps weren’t taken to replace old hardware and software to accommodate date codes that used four digits to define a year rather than two digit year abbreviations, and do date math correctly, there was a real risk of computers malfunctioning on a global scale and the world suddenly reverting to the level of technology of the late 1800s overnight.

Governments and businesses spent train loads of money to update their software and hardware to avert the problem. The result was that Y2K was rung in with traditional fireworks and celebrations, instead of the world going dark as power grids failed.

There were many skeptics in the run-up to Y2K. But let me repeat the first sentence of the previous paragraph: Governments and businesses spent train loads of money to update their software and hardware to avert the problem. People who understood the problem and its implications weren’t skeptics — they were preppers!

I was working at the global headquarters of a Fortune 500 company at the time leading up to Y2K. It was reported around the water cooler that the CEO of the company installed a 15,000-watt generator to keep the power running at his large home in the event of a Y2K blackout.

So there were many skeptics and nay-sayers during Y2K, but the fact remains that businesses, industries, and governments fixed their computer systems (at great expense) so that they wouldn’t become part of the problem. The experts were believers, and they convinced their bosses who held onto the purse strings to become believers, too. They took the necessary actions to avert the disaster.

I see three impacts from the Y2K scare.
First, the emergency expenditures made to update computer systems worked, making all the personal preparations that Y2K preppers did unnecessary. Many uninformed or unaware people thought that Y2K preppers were a bunch of nuts. The success of the business and governmental preps solidified this opinion among skeptics. “There’s no need to prepare for disaster! Even if the threat was real (and many believed it was not), the government will take care of everything. You don’t need to get your panties in a bunch.”

Second, I believe that the massive amount of expenditures made all at the same time to update computer hardware and software has created (or enhanced) a new economic cycle of boom and bust. Let me point out here that I’m not an economist. I don’t pretend to be one. I’ve never read an article that discussed what I’m about to say. I’m just a guy who has lived through some events and put some pieces together.

Here’s what happened in the run-up to Y2K. IT departments were staffed to the rafters, and computer hardware and software companies had an unprecedented boom because of expenditures made to avert the Y2K problem. Everything had to be in place by January 1, 2000. When it was over, it was over. Business and government now all had new computers and software, forcing a very artificial arrhythmia in the normal upgrade cycle for hardware and software. No one was going to be in the market to buy new stuff for another three or four years.

Three months after the world stopped spending money to upgrade computer systems, in March 2000, the “dot-com” bubble burst. Over the next two and a half years, the stock market lost five trillion dollars ($5,000,000,000,000.00) in value. Telecommunications company World.com was one of the most notable to fail, filing the third largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Coincidence, or cause and effect? The dot-com bubble was followed by the housing bubble in 2007, which is the cause of the Great Recession that started in 2008 which bankrupted our federal government and has never ended. I predict more bubbles to burst in the days to come. The next one may be the personal debt bubble, perhaps led by the school loan bubble. People can’t find jobs, so they take out huge loans and go back to school. When the jobs still aren’t there, they’ll default on the school loans, bursting that bubble. China’s booming economy may be all smoke and mirrors, too. We’ll be posting a shocking video of a story that ran on the TV show 60 Minutes that will make your financial toes curl. (No, not in a good way.) But to sum this second point up, I believe that the expenditures made to prevent the Y2K disaster from happening set up (or at least exacerbated) a series of boom and bust bubbles that will eventually bring down the global economy.

The third result of Y2K is the Cassandra Effect. Cassandra was a figure from Greek mythology. She was human, but Apollo, the god of the sun, fell in love with her and gave her the gift of prophecy. But when Cassandra rejected Apollo’s romantic advances, he put a curse on her so that her prophecies would never be believed by anyone. There were so many skeptics speaking out against the efforts and warnings of Y2K preppers that a book and organization called The Cassandra Project were launched. I don’t know if they still exist, but we need them. The general public has their head more deeply in the sand now than during Y2K. Our culture is dominated by ease, comfort, convenience, instant gratification, entertainment, and a hostile sense of entitlement. Take away any or all of the first things in that list and see how long it takes for the hostility to raise its ugly head. Preppers are regarded as kooks and extremists. Most people still think that our bankrupt government will come to the rescue of the entire country if hard times come. There’s no need to change our personal habits. “Just as in the days of Noah…”

So Y2K didn’t pan out to be the global disaster that it was warned could happen. I believe that’s because it was caught and fixed in time, but with repairs that have caused these three long-lasting repercussions. I saw the potential for hardship that Y2K posed, so I was among those who sounded the alarm within my circle of influence, and I took some baby steps toward personal preparation. They really wouldn’t have served me well or for very long if I had needed them. We all need to do much better now.

But 13 years later my take on Y2K hasn’t changed. I believed then, and I maintain now, that Y2K was a wake-up call, a “dress rehearsal,” for what is to come. Golfers take a practice swing before they step up to hit the ball for real. I got a practice swing during Y2K. Now it’s time to get ready for the Real Deal.

Header-ForSquareGraphicGreat questions!

About Us
You’ll find the more interesting version of our stories here. The short of it is that we’ve become convinced that the world is a fragile place and we don’t see it tipping toward stability. We don’t want to be unaware or caught unprepared for future challenges. Making preparations now gives us some assurance that we will have things like food, shelter, and heat whenever life-as-we-know-it changes significantly. And the more we prepare now, the more we’ll have to share with others later.

Are we putting our hope and trust in these things? No. Our hope and trust is in Jesus. But we believe that He’s made us aware for a reason – so that we can prepare wisely. So we are preparing. And we’re sharing our knowledge with others. We’re not experts. In fact, in some areas we’re just getting started. Perhaps that makes us uniquely suited to create such a site – we understand where the prepper newbie is coming from.

If you’d like more on the question “Why prep?” check out these two articles:

About Our Site
Welcome! We’re just launching the site, so there’s a lot of content that is planned, but not yet in place. You’ll see that the menus have many, many pages identified. Not all of those pages have content yet. We’re working on it! We’ll be blogging about twice a week as we fill the site. We also hope to have a “Prepper U” page that takes newbies (and not so newbies) from prepper kindergarten through graduation. But that’s still just on the drawing board. In the meantime, browse around the site and check out the content. Let us know what else you’d like to see or the topics you’d like us to blog about first.

We’ll also be letting you in on specials, sales, and deals by various vendors we’ve used or who have a good reputation. As with everything else in life, prepping takes time and money. Our goal is to help you save both. We’ll do the research so you don’t have to and we’ll let you know when things go on sale.

Wondering how to approach our site? I can understand that. We’ve had quite a challenge organizing it.

  • If you’re brand new to prepping:
    • Go to the Getting Started page and you’ll find an article titled Prepping for Beginners.
    • Then head to the article titled How do I Begin in the Getting Started section.
    • Don’t miss the section titled Proverbs for Preppers – you’ll find Christian studies and devotionals related to prepping.
    • From there, roam around the site reading about anything that peaks your interest or needs.
  • If you’ve been prepping for awhile:
    • You’ll probably want to head directly to the Prepping Topics area. This is the heart of this website. You’ll find articles and blogs about many topics, with more on the way.
    • Check out the Proverbs for Preppers – you’ll find Christian studies and devotionals related to prepping.

About You
We hope you’ll visit often. Sign up to receive our blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. If you find the information helpful, we hope you’ll share it with a friend. And we’d love to hear from you. What areas of prepping would like to learn about?

Everyone is preparing for something. Some of you are preparing for a storm that could cause you to lose electrical power for several days. Others are stocking up to prepare for the possibility of being laid off from their job for an extended period of time. Other folks are preparing for more exotic calamities like draught, an economic collapse, war, widespread civil unrest, solar flares (the cause of the beautiful aurora borealis in the slideshow above), pandemic disease…you name it.

The possibilities are endless. Sadly, the probabilities of one or more of them occurring in our lifetime is increasing steadily.

Our concern is that the only thing many people are “preparing” for is to stand in line for the government to rescue them when hard times come. Instead of pre-planning and saving for their own rainy day (or week, or year), too many people are planning to make their problem everyone else’s problem.

I understand that line of reasoning. We’ve worked hard, paid our taxes, and seen Wall Street banks and big corporations be bailed out (with our money!) for too long. So now when we need a bailout, we expect the government to be there for us, too. But the government no longer has any money. They broke the piggy bank long ago. They can’t just “go to the bank” and get more.

There comes a time when there is no justice as we’ve known it in the past. There’s “just us.”

I remember Hurricane Katrina. Families relocated by the government to another state. Living in motel rooms or small trailer homes for months and months after the storm. And those were the lucky ones. How many others endured the refugee camp environment of the New Orleans Superdome?

What all of those people had in common is that they didn’t provide for themselves. An overwhelming need arose that they hadn’t prepared for and suddenly their need for food, water, shelter, security, and more became someone else’s responsibility. Their desperate need caused them to lose the ability to make their own decisions and plot their own course, and placed those things in the hands of overwhelmed government agencies. Their desperate need and unpreparedness also caused them to lose the ability to help others.

I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be put in that situation. I don’t want to live like a refugee. And I don’t want you to, either. I can’t guarantee that developing an emergency preparedness plan, stocking some extra food, and learning some new skills will save you and your loved ones from everything that might come your way. You could be out for a night at the movies and return to find your house burned to the ground. But I strongly believe that doing something to become more prepared for the things that you think may adversely impact you is better than being doing nothing and finding yourself helpless to meet your own basic needs.

The people of New Orleans were warned repeatedly, days in advance of the coming storm. Some didn’t believe the warnings and went about in business-as-usual mode. Others just didn’t seem to care and allowed their problems to become someone else’s problem. But others heeded the warnings and took action. Which would you rather be?

I believe that the warnings are sounding all around us today. I believe that it’s time for all of us to take some steps to get ready for the approaching day.

 

Events to Prep for - a Collage Within the community of those who are preparing for The Approaching Day, you’ll find a broad spectrum of speculation about what will bring about that day and therefor what that day will look like. Each of us has our own answer to the question “Why prep?” Each of us must decide for ourselves what we anticipate and those expectations will guide our preparations. Yes, in all scenarios you will want to have an adequate amount of food and water stored. But how much of each and how or when you expect to replenish your stock when it’s gone will depend largely on what you expect will happen.

Here are some examples of events that preppers anticipate and are preparing for:

Severe weather — Recent weather patterns have shown us how unexpected and far-reaching these events can be. Having food and clean water, a heat source and backup communication plan makes your experience of these events significantly better than those who have not prepared.

Economic collapse — Whether it is a collapse of the US economy or the world’s, such an event will usher in a time of high unemployment, scarcity and civil unrest.

Terrorist strike similar to 9/11 — Such an attack could hit anywhere and could bring about chaos and scarcity.

Nuclear strike — A generation ago, the population was trained in how to react to a nuclear strike. Most people alive today aren’t. But you can see how preparing for a nuclear attack would be significantly different in many ways, yet similar in many ways, to preparing for an economic collapse.

Pandemic —A pandemic is a widespread outbreak of deadly disease. Thousands of people could be infected before they are even aware that they are sick. Thousands more would be infected before the sickness was diagnosed. A rising death toll could cause worldwide panic, chaos, and food shortages.

Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) — An EMP would wipe out all electronic devices over a widespread area. That means nothing operated by electronics will work — not only your computers, laptops, and smartphones, but also the power grid (that means you now have no electricity), sanitation systems, gas pumps, and all electrical service. A power outage in our town a few years ago left our local gas station unable to close its doors, run its cash register, or pump gas. They had merchandise they refused to sell because they had no way to process the transaction, yet they had no way of protecting the merchandise. It was an odd and exceedingly uncomfortable experience. An EMP would take that experience and multiply it exponentially because the outages would be over a much wider area. Again, scarcity and chaos would quickly result.

Civil unrest — Any of a number of events can precipitate civil unrest, but once it takes hold it is difficult to contain. Looting and violence are typical.

There are other events that could occur, but you can see that each of these events have several things in common: scarcity and civil unrest are common denominators. Regardless of what you anticipate the cause of The Approaching Day to be, your preparations should consider these things. Beyond that, your preparations will be directed by your expectations, your resources (both money and time), your skill set, and your degree of motivation.

What event are we prepping for? Phil and I have approached prepping with an “it’s anybody’s guess” attitude! So we go with what we know. What we know is that the world is becoming more dangerous and more fragile. We also know that most preparations we make now will be helpful in a variety of different scenarios. And we know that we cannot be prepared for everything and we’re not to be anxious about what we can’t be ready for. What does that mean for us? It means we are preparing for scarcity of food and water. It means we are preparing for a world with limited electricity, heat and gas. It means we are gradually expanding our preparations to include other precautions.

What are you prepping for? What steps are you taking now? What time frame are you working within? We encourage you to keep reading here to learn more about being ready for when a calamity of any sort occurs.

Why prep? Well, there are many reasons or potential reasons. All fall into one of these three areas. Here’s the top three reasons to the question “why prep?”

Because the world is a fragile place – Phil did a great job of discussing these in his story. You can read it here. We also discussed it a bit in the article titled What are You Prepping For? So for this short introduction, suffice it to say that the world is a fragile place.

Because you want to be able to care for your family in a disaster – Prepping gives you peace of mind that you and your family will have food, water and shelter in an emergency. It doesn’t matter whether that emergency is caused by an extended power outage, losing your job or a significant disruption in the food distribution chain. Providing for your family by prepping makes as much sense (or more) than providing for your family by purchasing life insurance.

Because you want to show Christ’s love to your community in a disaster – Starting now gives you an opportunity to prep items that will be more than enough for your family – food and water that you can share with friends and neighbors. Disasters are opportunities for the Church to shine.

You can read Sandy’s answer to the question “Why prep?” in her story here. Phil tells you his reasons immediately following Sandy’s story. And of course, you’ll find tidbits of our thinking throughout the site.

Events to Prep for - a Collage

Everyone is preparing for something. Some of you are preparing for a storm that could cause you to lose electrical power for several days. Others are stocking up to prepare for the possibility of being laid off from their job for an extended period of time. Other folks are preparing for more exotic calamities like draught, an economic collapse, war, widespread civil unrest, solar flares (the cause of the beautiful aurora borealis), pandemic disease…you name it. Or read more about it here.

The possibilities are endless. Sadly, the probabilities of one or more of them occurring in our lifetime is increasing steadily.

Our concern is that what too many people are “preparing” for is to stand in line for the government to rescue them when hard times come. Instead of pre-planning and saving for their own rainy day (or week, or year), too many people are planning to make their problem everyone else’s problem.

I understand that line of reasoning. We’ve worked hard, paid our taxes, and seen Wall Street banks and big corporations be bailed out (with our money!) for too long. So now when we need a bailout, we expect the government to be there for us, too. But the government no longer has any money. They broke the piggy bank long ago. They can’t just “go to the bank” and get more.

I remember Hurricane Katrina. Families relocated by the government to another state. Living in motel rooms or small trailer homes for months and months after the storm. And those were the lucky ones. How many others endured the refugee camp environment of the New Orleans Superdome?

What all of those people had in common is that they didn’t provide for themselves. An overwhelming need arose that they hadn’t prepared for and suddenly their need for food, water, shelter, security, and more became someone else’s responsibility. Their desperate need caused them to lose the ability to make their own decisions and plot their own course, and placed those things in the hands of overwhelmed government agencies. Their desperate need and unpreparedness also caused them to lose the ability to help others.

I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be put in that situation. And I don’t want you to be there, either. I can’t guarantee that developing an emergency preparedness plan, stocking some extra food, and learning some new skills will save you and your loved ones from everything that might come your way. But I strongly believe that doing something to become more prepared for the things that you think may adversely impact you is better than being doing nothing and finding yourself helpless to meet your own basic needs.

The people of New Orleans were warned repeatedly, days in advance of the coming storm. Some didn’t believe the warnings and went about in business-as-usual mode. Others just didn’t seem to care and allowed their problems to become someone else’s problem. But others heeded the warnings and took action. Which would you rather be?

I believe that warnings are sounding all around us today. I believe that it’s time for all of us to take some steps to get ready for the approaching day. Are you ready to take some first steps toward becoming prepared?

Sandy’s Intro – It All Started with Phil

Phil is a researcher by nature – that means he reads a lot…on a wide variety of topics. Sometimes it drives me crazy, but usually I recognizes the value of it. And it’s really handy when I’m looking for someone else to learn about the best gadget to buy to solve some problem I’m having. Well, about a year and a half ago, he got hooked on reading about what we now know as “prepping.” So you can blame all this on Phil. Actually, the more accurate way to put that is that Phil should get all the credit for this. OK, maybe not all the credit, but certainly the initiating credit…

Phil’s Intro –  Sandy Jumped on Board Fasts

I can’t believe how quickly Sandy went from being a person who knew nothing about prepping to being fully on board with the idea. I was totally surprised when she accepted the research I’d done and asked “OK, what’s our next step?” The rest, as they say, is history…

Read our stories here. Buried in the stories are our answer to the question “Why prep?”

What’s Your Story?

We’d love to hear your story. Post a comment here or on our Facebook page.