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Why bother with prepardeness at all?

This is an older post we are moving to our new blog site, please overlook any dated references.

In the past ten years our nation has experienced many extraordinary events; 9/11,
Hurricane Katrina, mass power outages, localized storms, riots and terrorist threats.
With relatively little effort you can find reports from prominent think tanks, as
well as the government, projecting serious instability around the world, including
here in the United States, stemming from both man-made and natural causes.

In EM Gear staffers’ travels around the globe, we’ve personally witnessed the sharp
contrast in standard of living of thriving nations versus emerging and struggling
nations. Industrialized cultures take for granted the comforts of modern life and
give little thought to the massive infrastructure that affords us the luxury of
having minimal life-threatening concerns. Our biggest worries seem to revolve more
around entertainment, relationships and day-to-day minutia with no real concern
about the basics such as food, shelter and clothing. And, no, your internal struggle
of buying Versace versus Armani doesn’t count.

So if life is so grand, then where is the worry? The concern lies in the fact that
you are part of this great infrastructure. You are plugged into the grid and it’s
plugged into you and your family. This is how we enjoy the lives we have and is
the result of many years of industrious people making monumental strides towards
improving our world through technology, alliances and compromise.

Ask again, where is the worry? This structure, our society, is not impervious –
it is a living, constantly balancing, constantly evolving system that has many internal
and external forces acting upon it; government, politics, Mother Nature, foreign
influences, ideological stances, financial powers, wars, etc. The concern that we
each should have is, “What would it mean to me, personally, if this structure was
removed, or somehow drastically altered in my lifetime?” A visit to one impoverished
nation can give you a glimpse of what such a society can look like.

At present, the U.S. remains an oasis of liberty and security in the world. But
the integrity of our oasis is not guaranteed, and the security that we take for
granted can be stolen away in a single moment. The infrastructure that our life
is built around could fail. Consider the following: a one-day power outage is annoying,
a two-day outage is very inconvenient; what if the power goes out and the anticipation
is 3 months, 6 months, maybe even much longer before it can be restored?

With such a daunting, gloomy outlook, “Why Bother?” is the next logical question.

The fact is there are many things in the world that we, as individuals, can’t change
or even influence. The ability to control the weather, prevent disease, stop terrorist
attacks or avoid industrial disasters is, to a large degree, beyond the power of
the individual. We can, however, control our ability to recognize and assess situations
and, ultimately, how we respond to those situations.

As a society, our government has trained us to instinctively look to them first
for help during emergencies (and increasingly, even in daily aspects of our lives
– but that’s another topic). Not only is this antithetical to the independent spirit
that created our country but it’s also extremely unwise to outsource your safety
to any third party in any situation. No one cares whether you and your family live
or die as much as you do.

Control is a powerful thing. Studies have shown that in emergency situations, just
having a semblance of control or working towards gaining control can make an amazing
difference between survival and the alternative. Taking the option of “hands off
the steering wheel” and giving up your control to the government to best handle
your situation is a crapshoot at best. We all know that the government, with all
their benign intentions, can be a nightmare to deal with even when there isn’t an
emergency – think IRS, DMV or the post office. And if this is not enough incentive
to keep you on the path of self-destiny, witnessing the drama of Hurricane Katrina
unfold on television should cement one fact above all others – just say “no” to
government refugee camps.

The reality of an emergency is that in the middle of one you are likely to encounter
both extremes of human nature. You can find in all walks of life, citizens, law
enforcement agents and, yes, even government officials going above and beyond; selflessly
risking their lives to help others. Unfortunately, you also see the other side;
some of the same citizenry, law enforcement and government officials who use the
chaos to violate the rights of their fellow citizens at a time when they are most
vulnerable.

What you don’t control is which one shows up at your door. What you do control is
how you identify, assess, prepare for and respond to who’s knocking.

So why should we bother to be prepared?

We bother because it’s common sense. We bother because we will not be idle victims.
We bother because it’s unthinkable to ask someone else to take risks to protect
you and yours when you are unwilling to take action yourself. We bother because
we are independent people that value our freedom above the illusion of security.
These are our lives – and we are in control.

&

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