Do People STILL Think You’re Paranoid For Preparing?

by David Morris on May 24, 2012

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by the Urban Survival Course and the ultra-fast preparedness course. This week, we’re going to talk about whether or not you’re paranoid for being a prepper. 🙂 Also, I’ll tell you about a special promotion that we’re doing with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in honor of Memorial Day.

On that note, if you’re currently deployed or ever served, thank you for your service. I feel that way every day…so saying it on holidays seems kind of redundant, but I don’t think that those who have served are told how much they’re appreciated often enough.

Are you a Paranoid Prepper?

It’s amazing how many emails I get that start with either, “I might be paranoid” or “My family thinks I’m paranoid.” The simple fact is, if you think that it’s smart to prepare for likely disasters, some people will call you prudent and others will call you paranoid.

In reality, the passage of time is all that will shed light on whether someone is being paranoid or not. As an example, Joel Rosenberg wrote about terrorists flying planes into a skyscraper before 9-11. (It was after Al-Qaeda had started preparing, so he didn’t give them the idea.)

Many thought that the idea was the creation of a fiction writer with an overactive imagination. And those who thought it was possible were merely paranoid—until it actually happened.  Then he was seen as a visonary and every alphabet soup government agency wanted him to come consult with them.

That’s the way it is with many threats. Some in New Orleans thought that preparing for a levee break was being paranoid—until it actually happened. For awhile after Hurricane Katrina, there was only one operational hospital in the entire city. It was Ochsner Hospital, and they had been taking practical steps to prepare for a levee break since the 50s.  Most people thought they were paranoid too, until they were the only working hospital in town.  Then the city that hadn’t prepared thought that they deserved $80 million of free medical care from the hospital that HAD prepared.

Other threats never pan out…like Y2K. People who were myopic and focused on Y2K ended up looking paranoid after the dust settled. BUT, those who looked at Y2K as simply being one of many potential threats on the horizon didn’t need to miss a beat when nothing happend.  Those Y2K preppers who kept their supplies and training up to speed look pretty smart right about now. They may have been paranoid about Y2K, but their understanding of the need to be prepared was practical and timeless.

“Paranoia,” if you want to call it that, isn’t necessarily a bad thing…unless it starts affecting your sleep, your relationships with others, and your mood. Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to look at the threats that we’re facing in a way that will allow you to keep balance in your life.

So, here are some truisms about being paranoid/prepared:

1. There will always be a “new threat” to worry about. They’re kind of like waves in the surf zone. If you focus all of your energy on one, there’s always another one coming. Your best bet is to power through, keep moving, and keep your eyes on the big picture.  Greece might collapse, the US will probably have another government shutdown this year.  The sun will keep having solar activity.  Terrorists will continue to increase and decrease their “chatter.”

2. General preparedness will help keep you from the emotional rollercoaster of going from one probable disaster to the next. EMPs, bio attacks, economic collapse, & infrastructure attacks all share common elements…people who are prepared to take care of themselves and are familiar with some hardships fare better than those who expect to always be able to pay with plastic and to always have a plentiful supply of food, water, fuel, and electricity at their fingertips.  Focusing on these common elements will give you a broad preparedness base.

3. TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) may or may not happen during your lifetime, so don’t waste all your time on Earth focusing on it. Some day you’re going to look back on how you spent your life. Spend your time today in a way that you’ll be happy about tomorrow.

4. If things do collapse, life will get REAL stressful, so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses while things are relatively stable…and figure out the magic combination of factors that let you manage personal stress.  (I devote a big chunk of the course to this very skill.)

5. If you’re losing sleep now because of what MIGHT happen, you should learn how to get your mind under control for when things actually do happen.

6. Spending time making forward progress on your preparations will ALWAYS beat spending time reading about every possible disaster that could happen.

7. Unless your plan is to live in a cave, completely isolated and alone, make sure to spend time on relationships with family and friends. They’ll make your life richer if disaster never happens, and they’ll make life livable if disaster does happen.

8. Many of the things you worry about will never happen. Some might. But, as Matthew 6:27 says, “Who by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Try to convert worry into action and/or prayer.

Efficiency = Vulnerability

We live in a time of incredible efficiencies. Our power, water, electronic banking, just-in-time food supply, travel options, communications and other infrastructure are simply amazing. All of these systems are streamlined and relatively predictable. And we’ve become dependent on them to the extent that they have become some of our biggest vulnerabilities.

These systems are all vulnerable to natural disasters, solar events, terrorists, foreign interests, and simple accidents.

Ironically, if we wouldn’t have any of these efficiencies in place, preparedness wouldn’t be so unusual because everyone would have to practice preparedness in order to survive. You can see this by looking to undeveloped countries or by looking back 70-80 years.

But our society is advancing so quickly that we’re increasingly vulnerable to more and more threats. In fact, it seems like a new threat/vulnerability combination is announced every week. One week it’s a possible solar storm. The next it’s overprinting money, foreign economies tanking, and nuclear reactors half way around the globe melting down. The week after that, it’s foreign countries’ ability to launch EMPs off of our coasts.

The threats are not going to stop. Even if they do, journalists will just recycle old threats & vulnerabilities to get viewers.

Eventually one of these big disasters is going to happen, but how do you absorb all of these threats in the meantime without going a little nuts?

I wrestled with this question a few years ago when I was getting my family prepared…and it’s one of the reasons I took what we learned and created the Urban Survival Course. At one point early on, I was so focused on all of the new threats I was learning about that my mind was pinging around like a bunch of sugared up kids in a bounce house.

I know from the letters I get that many of you and even more of your relatives are in that very situation.

It causes some people to stick their head in the sand and ignore the problems. It causes others to end up in a repeating loop of fixating on the latest & worst threat facing us but not taking any action. Fortunately, there’s a better option that I’ll cover in a minute.

There are just SO many big threats to prepare for…it’s hard to know where to start and whether or not to simply throw in the towel, and abandon life as you know it in preparation for an immediate breakdown in society.

A few years ago, I didn’t think the country would last more than a few months, let alone until 2012. And every week I have people telling me that they think things will collapse within the next few weeks. Fortunately, I was wrong a few years ago and many people have been wrong since then, but at some point people worried about immediate collapse WILL be right. It could be a day from now, a decade from now, or a generation from now. We just don’t know.

So what do you do when you’re being barraged by threats, know you need to act, but have limited time & money and don’t know what to do first?

Calm Down

The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath. In a survival situation, panic can kill you quicker than a lack of oxygen. One of the best ways to prepare for the stress of a survival situation is to learn how to handle stressful situations in everyday life as efficiently as possible. This isn’t a switch that you can flip…it’s a skill that’s developed over time—and a skill you can start developing today.

Practice calming down while driving, while talking with customer support that doesn’t speak English, and with friends and relatives. There are some situations where escalating conflict helps, but in most cases it doesn’t.

If you’re frantically preparing, you might also want to calm down a little. I believe preparedness is both urgent, and a way of life. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s easy to prepare at such a frantic pace that you quickly burn out or make expensive mistakes. But when you make it a part of your life, it becomes quite fun and enriches every day in addition to preparing you for disasters.

Listen to your body.  If your “fuse” is shorter than it should be, figure out what you need to do to get calmed down.  More sleep?  More exercise?  Less caffeine?  Everyone’s different, but everyone shares similar bio-chemical needs.

Make a Plan

The next thing you need to do is make a plan. What threats are you MOST concerned about? What preparations can you do that will help you no matter what kind of disaster you face? What skills & supplies do you currently have? Which skills do you need to develop & what supplies do you need to start getting? What if you have to bug-out? What if you can’t bug-out and you have to Survive In Place?

You will continually be modifying your plan based on opportunities and your unique situation, so don’t feel like the plan you make today will be set in stone.

Control Your Time, Control Your Mind

It’s easy to spend hours and hours reading, watching, or listening about the next worst thing that’s going to happen. It’s also intoxicating to read about other people’s survival plans and about other people’s survival skills instead of actually doing stuff yourself.

I encourage you to control what you watch, listen, and read. There’s no shortage of information out there about all of the threats that we face. And it’s not a bad thing to be aware of them, but think about every potential disaster you hear about as encouraging your decision to be prepared rather than as something new to worry about.

One of the best illustrations of this is helicopter pilots. Helicopter pilots are a unique breed. Airplane pilots know that if their engines go out, their plane will naturally glide some distance and they have a good shot at being able to land safely.

Helicopter pilots, on the other hand, are basically flying a rock attached to a few spinning tongue depressors through the air. If the engine goes out, autorotation will buy some grace, but landing a dead helicopter becomes more like landing a rock than landing an airplane.

As a result, helicopter pilots are very aware of all of the threats they face and everything that could go wrong at any given moment and cause a series of cascading disasters. The ability to accept and deal with all of these potential threats, embrace them, and enjoy finding solutions to them is what makes for great helicopter pilots. They learn that at some point you have to stop over thinking what might happen and just start flying.

Similarly, the more aware you are about the political, natural, and terrorist threats that we face, the more you’ll want to develop the mind of a helicopter pilot…always aware of what could happen, but never dwelling on any one thing and letting it paralyze you.

Fortunately, there’s a balance.

What I encourage you to do is watch & read enough to spur you to action and spend the rest of the time that you would have spent reading/watching actually DOING things to get prepared. Once you’ve read and or watched enough to make you want to take action, then you don’t need to watch anymore.

That’s a big reason why I am so focused on not only writing about vulnerabilities that we face and big picture preparedness, but also simple, fundamental things that people can do on a daily basis to get themselves prepared. I want every article that I write to have actionable steps that you can take immediately so that you become more prepared every day.

Take Action!

Once you’re aware of the threats that we’re facing…both in the US and globally…the biggest thing you can do to get prepared and stay sane is to take action.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” “Slow and steady wins the race.” These are all good sayings to remind you to pace yourself. If you have to sprint, then look at your preparedness as interval training and plan for time to catch your breath and regroup.

Think you’re a tough-guy and can sprint the whole marathon?  Ironically, the marathon event immortalizes a Greek messenger who ran as fast as he could for 26.2 miles to Marathon and fell over dead from exhaustion as soon as he delivered his message.  In other words, pace yourself.

Do something on a daily basis to get more prepared. Don’t just read about skills, practice them. Do things that will earn you the right to sleep soundly because you’ve made forward progress.

Don’t kick yourself for waiting to get prepared. It’ll only waste mental energy. Learn the lesson and get moving.

Don’t think you’re going to go from newbie to expert in every facet of survival overnight. It’s a process—and any progress that you make will give you that much more of an advantage over the general public.  Decide right away whether you want to become an expert at one area at a time or throw yourself at everything at once and be content with a low level of proficiency in several disciplines.  (You’ll probably want to take a hybrid approach)


For my wife and me, prayer is the biggest thing that gives us peace and strength. We’re facing some pretty huge threats to our way of life and talking with God is the biggest thing that helps keep our heads from spinning around in frustration with what’s going on in the world. We’re living in crazy times and we’re thankful to have a rock that we can hold onto.

What to Do Next?

Still don’t know what to do next? That’s a big reason why I wrote the Urban Survival Course and the Ultra-Fast Preparedness Course.  They’re step-by-step guides to get you and your family ready for breakdowns in civil order after disasters. To read more about it and see if it’s right for you, please go to or

Do you have any stories about how you went from being paralyzed or panicked by what is going on in the world to feeling more at peace? How about how you won over relatives who once thought you were paranoid? And, if you’ve gone through the Urban Survival Course or the Ultra-Fast Preparedness Course, please share how it helped you feel more confident in your preparations by commenting below.

This weekend, in honor of Memorial Day, we’re going to donate 10% of all sales on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Warrior Foundation has a two part mission…The first is to pay for college for the children of members of the special operations community who die on a mission or training accident. The second is to provide financial assistance to make sure that family members can travel to and stay with operators who are wounded in action or training.

Why the Warrior Foundation? Simple. Several of my close friends happen to be in SF, SEAL, PJ, and MARSOC units.  In addition, my brother is SF, and the Warrior Foundation helps the kids of one of his teamates who was killed a couple of years ago in Afghanistan. In other words, it’s got personal meaning for me.  We do this a couple of times a year and the checks that I get to write to the SOWF make me happier than almost any other check I write.

Until next week, God bless & stay safe!

David Morris

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

+7 Vote -1 Vote +1Scott
May 25, 2012 at 6:10 am

If one word was needed to described this fantastic article I’d say it would have to be “BALANCE”. Devote yourself and your time to prayer as much as you dwell on the “what If’s” or preparing and your plan will come together with a peace that passes all understanding! Great Newsletter!!


+10 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
May 25, 2012 at 6:20 am

Twice in recent history (Hurricanes Rita and Ike) I’ve seen what folks do to prepare for a hurricane on the TX Gulf Coast. Not much until it is knocking at the door then it takes less than a day to deplete all major grocery stores. And just like the hospital in New Orleans that was prepped, folks will want to tie into your generator, loan them things and some will need food and water. THEY EXPECTED IT… Hurricanes are a good way to practice prepping for alot of folks. The ones that are not prepped will be the ones needing your help. In a long term survival situation you will become that hospital in New Orleans. Give me- Give me- Give me… And the things (tools and such) I loaned out to neighbors had a very hard time making it back home and some of the equpiment was useless when returned. In a long term survival situation you will have to deal with those same nay-sayers.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
May 25, 2012 at 6:21 am

Thank you for sharing!
I really believing in praying everyday, especially since preparing for “TEOWAWKI” can be overwhelming! Have a great weekend!


+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Gina
May 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

I find this to be a really useful article with good sound advice. It has been easy for me to get overcome by panic, worry or trying to accomplish too much at once in the name of preparation. Like the author, I also encourage the spiritual side of preparation. In times when intense situations arise or fear is moving through the media and populace like the plague, how will you really KNOW what to do? What is your foundation? Reading the text of The Great Waves of Change by Marshall Vian Summers ( definitely made an impact on me and continues to help energize my preparation– a very fine resource!


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr House
May 25, 2012 at 8:11 am

Yes Sir, God bless your brother and all that serve our country.My father spent his 18th b-day as a POW in Germany and never spoke about it around us at home,but it was never far from his memory.When my Dad was 14,his Mom changed his birth certfigete to 16 so he could go to work in the coal mines.So when he was 16,but 18 on paper,he was drafted into the Army.Just a kid.My brother was a ‘Lifier’ in the Marines.But Paris Island never sent his brain back.Once a Marine,allways a Marine! I enlisted in the Marines,but they said i did’nt play well with other people.Knowing what was happening in Vietnam and the war being fought from DC,my thinking was if we take a hill and lose many brothers,then give it back,only to be ordered to take it back again,and lose more brothers,never made any sence to me.The Shrink aggreed with me,but i was unfit for duty.My Dad never said a word again’st me,and was glad i did’nt go.This has been a special day for me,cuz Dad also served in Korea and was wounded and came home.He told my Mom if she got a MIA,not to believe it.He would not be captured again. Understood. My thanks to you,not only your newsletter,but knowing that you pray with your wife.We prepare for the worst and contnue to smell the roses.God bless both of you.The wisdom gleened from you is helping others’ around me as i share with them. Shalom, A Christian Patriot


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1norman
May 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

It’s better to be six years too early than six minutes too late. While it may be politically incorrect to say so, it would be wise to have guns and ammunition handy to ward off the “gimme guys” as Rick (above) so well described. “Cooperate and graduate” is another good policy. Get to know your neighbors and learn who you can trust. You can have a mutual defense team this way. If you all stock up on the necessities – food, water, batteries, etc. then the likleyhood of your being plundered by those around you.


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Jude
May 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

It’s also wise not to tell too many people you are preparing for your own family.
And enough to help parents or siblings, but don’t let it fall on your shoulders and pocket book to help everyone that will not help themselves, and you be out of supplies in the end.
Pray, be prepared and be armed, that nothing ever comes our way as a disaster.


+8 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim
May 25, 2012 at 8:44 am

David, I appreciate your emphasis on prayer. It is virtually impossible to be prepared without having the peace that passes all understanding. That’s why I shutter when I watch shows like Doomsday Preppers and see the panic in people’s eyes as they demonstrate how they have prepared. Most of them are ready to shoot someone on sight. I pick out the nuggets and disregard the rest. The one factor that is going to be their downfall is not having community during a real crisis. We will need each other. But most of all we will need God to be our Rock as you mentioned. Once again the article is right on and keep up the good balanced work. Tim


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Christian
May 25, 2012 at 8:53 am

Hi David! GREAT theme, and (as you demonstrate), a VERY NEEDED differentiation.

But, as a balance, let me quote a gentleman who’s LIFE LITERALLY DEPENDED on a healthy dose of Paranoia: “You say I’m paranoid tadpole? Hell yes I’m paranoid! It’s what’s kept me alive!” (Crmd. Richard Marcinco — founder & first TEAM Leader of SEAL TEAM 6).

My point being that, paranoia DOES have a place in the VISION for “PREPPING”…yes! There ARE bad people out there, and yes, bad things DO happen to good folks…so…do your best to be a faithful boyscout & “BE PREpared”! The imbalance comes when paranoia RULES ones decision making, RATHER than simply keeping one awake & continually practicing “situational awareness — & an “O.O.T.A. Loop” defensive attitude. Paranoia SHOULD simply be your “spirit” calling you to be more aware of your surroundings, and to properly assess your situation….FEAR is debilitating, and can cause both confusion, and “freezing”…rather than inspiring calm response, WITH an already well rehearsed, (practiced), PLAN. THANKS for reminding & teaching us to remember to keep a proper balance!


Vote -1 Vote +1John_T
May 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

Point of clarification, explanation and origination:

“The OODA loop is the theory of conflict professed by the late Col. John Boyd.
OODA, or Observation Orientation Decision Action loop

OODA loop. That term was the invention of the great fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd. It’s an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.”


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1David
May 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

I enjoyed your article. We have been preparing in earnest the past year despite the fact that most of our family and friends think we are crazy. We are relocating to a large parcel of land out in the country, but we have to stay in the city this summer until our new house is completed. In preparation for the move, we took most of our food storage, tools, seeds and weapons to my folks’ house. They live just a few miles from our new property. Since we have been preparing I have felt less and less stressed about events I see unfolding around us. I didn’t realize how much peace our preparation efforts brought me until our supplies were far away. I’m amazed at how much I feel their absence. Ignore the naysayers and find your own peace of mind.


Vote -1 Vote +1jerry sweet
May 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

great article dave and very good comments.the real threat we face today is God .we allowed this nation to throw him out and we are going to pay a terrible price for that.i too am a dsciple of Jesus our Rock.i also love the genesis moses is told by God he will not be allowed to enter the promise land because of the fit of anger he showed striking the rock for water.(God will not share his glory with anyone)then he tells aaron he cant enter either.aarons responce is why can’t i go i did’nt do anything and God tells him thats why you’re not see aaron did not stand up and defend God against his brother moses.thats exactly what Christians in america did.we did nothing to stop a nation of God haters from throwing CHRIST out.He still loves us but we may have to suffer some of the wrath HE is going to pour out on the united states of america.obama is just one instrument of that wrath.obama thinks he’s slick but he also is a CHRIST hating pray and keep praying.but pray that Gods wil be done here as it is in heaven.believe me and HIs precious bible His will is going to be done.hang tight to the Rock.choose you this day whom you will for me amd my house we will serve the Jesus asked peter and john if they had swords they responded yes Lord we have two and he said good then you have house has our swords and they are sharp.i will defend my house


Vote -1 Vote +1charle2
May 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Yes, we may have to deal with God’s hand being removed from the USofA.
This will be because America’s current administration turning it’s back on Israel. The Word of GOD states that ‘HE will Bless those that bless thee (Israel) AND curse those that curse thee.’
This will be a removal of HIS protective hand that has been on America, as in the past we have always stood by and for the nation of Israel. The current administration has shown it’s disdain and disrespect for Israel, JUST AS THE MUSLIM COUNTRIES have. Watch and see what natural and un-natural disasters occur when they force Israel to ‘give back Jerusalem’. Jerusalem is GOD’s city, and we had better watch how we treat HIS city.
Believe this or not. It is an issue that America does not want to get on the wrong side of.
Pray for our country and prepare to care for our families. ch.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr Brain
May 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hmmm, I have always been told GOD cannot create a rock he cannot move. GOD also never makes mistakes and is aware of everything around Him. GOD may remove himself from USA, but if only one lamb truly believes then His heart is softened. There are no aethiests in a foxhole. America is a tolerant nation and has allowed religions from all over the world to come to our shores and preach their teachings. What if Christianity, Judaism, or the others had been rejected at Parris Island, and sent home. Would we still all be Catholics, Protestants, or Jews? How would America be able to survive with just one allowed religion? There are times during the day when God is not on my mind, but not often. Always ask for guidance and help each day and you will be surprised how well you sleep at night!


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Jack Harrell
May 25, 2012 at 10:19 am

Anyone that thinks the Y2K event was paranoia were not involved in the software patching and system testing. The state agency that I was working with in their IS department at the time spent lots of $$ and at least hundreds of manhours of time testing systems, installing software patches, and replacing un-patchable software. If we and other agencies including public utilities, retail establishments and financial institutions there would have been a major negative result.


+6 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
May 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Exactly right. Y2K was the first time that most IT organizations were faced with a deadline that was absolute and could not be put off.

There is a story here that might be relevant to the survivalists reading this blog.

The interesting thing is that surveys from a few years after Y2K indicate that those companies that spent the most on Y2K did financially better than those who spent less. Seems impossible, as all that money spent fixing software was simply lost, right? Wrong! Y2K preparation was first and foremost about discovering all of the computers and software in use in a company. Then each element was analyzed to see if it was Y2K compliant.

The result, in those companies that did it right, was to create an inventory of everything in IT, which they then continued to maintain into the future. This allowed those companies to make better decisions in future years than those competitors who retained dozens or even hundreds of small barely maintained systems run by individual departments and employees. For example, they could decide whether to upgrade all of their Windows systems because they knew exactly how many they had and what was running on them. Also, every company that did Y2K right shut down “pet projects” of corporate officers which were draining resources without any likely benefit. It was hard for a VP to justify paying for a Y2K remediation project for a system which had never made any money.

The relevancy to modern day survival? Your preparations, done right, should have you looking at your life, the way you spend your time, and the systems that you use to keep you and your family alive. This kind of investigation is never undertaken by most people in America who simply buy something from Walmart when a need is felt and never consider what actually makes sense, works with what they already have, is cost effective, will last, or saves precious time. Survival is all about building backup systems, which you cannot do if you don’t think about what your existing systems are and how they work.


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Paranoid101
May 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

Maybe I am paranoid, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me!!


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
May 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I understand that five to ten percent of people who report to their shrinks that they are being followed, are.


Vote -1 Vote +1Charlie
May 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm



+1 Vote -1 Vote +1willowa
May 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

Great article! Remember, you can only do what you can do. However, as the saying goes, “just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you,” Ask Saddam, oh that’s right you can’t, they got him, he’s dead!


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Etta
May 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

Self efficiency should by a life style. Looking to others, institutions, governments for your stability and well being leave you vulnerable. Learning about gardening, medicinal herbs and first aide are relatively inexpensive ways to self reliance. Buying a book about editable wild plants and taking walks in the woods to learn how to recognize these plants will increase your chance of survival AND you get to enjoy nature. Camping for vacations instead of spending LOTS of money on expensive resorts & thrill ride parks will help you learn about survival situations and give you more quality time with family/ friends. The camping equipment/ trip will give both joy with the family and be a survival preparation. A good investment of booth fun and use of money. Instead of spending every evening watching meaningless TV try using the internet for real information of what your government is doing. … some of the free sites you can access for information that the mainstream media does not and will not report. Thank you for those who have served. You have honored our country and citizens with your service.


Vote -1 Vote +1Barb Healy
May 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

How do you pronounce TEOTWAWKI? Tote-wow-key?

I worry about this constantly, even though I’ve been preparing for almost a year now, because 1) I’m not organized 2) our house is not defensible (too many large windows) and 3) bugging out isn’t an option.

How do you defend a glass house?



+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Barb Healy
May 25, 2012 at 11:50 am

I just did a search on this and it’s pronounced tee-oat-waukey (as in Milwaukee)


+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
May 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Nearly all houses have windows which can be “opened” with a baseball bat far enough to crawl through or reach in to open a latch. You defend by (1) low profile (nothing attractive to a looter); (2) lots of light (motion sensor lights are good); (3) lack of places for someone to approach except in the open; (4) firearms. You could also consider some kind of ornate grill or replacement with hurricane proof glass.


+7 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
May 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Without seeing your house I can only make a few general suggestions. For the windows I recommend a clear polycarbonate. There are a few brands out there but the only one I have personal experience with is Tuffak. I have bounced .38’s off the 1/4″ Tuffak and some of the .357’s would bounce depending on the bullet and loading. I was looking at a video of the recent demonstrations in Seattle and watched one of the vandals attack a large store window with a baseball bat. After five or so strikes he gave up and moved on. I guess nobody told him that after three strikes you are out. The thicker the better so purchase the thickest you can afford. Attach this with screws of differing screw heads. You don’t want someone with a Leatherman to walk past your barrier. These products drill easily and cut easily with a saw but resist impact to an amazing degree.

A steel door in a steel frame with long screws and no windows in the doors.

For the rest of the walls I would suggest rock or brick facia at least five feet high and all the way up if you can afford it. I am sure there are a few books out there that would give you this information in more detail. You will also want to look into an interior defensive plan for the possibility of an armed intruder that made it past your perimeter defense.


Vote -1 Vote +1Liz
June 14, 2012 at 2:01 am

I kinda have the same question, my husband and I live in a Travel Trailer in an RV Park… great for staying mobile, not so great for defenses. It’s basically a big tin can, with all it’s storage in outside “cubbys” and one that can be tipped over by a mob at that!


Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Ann
May 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

AMEN! very good to think about and apply! Thanks.


Vote -1 Vote +1John Panagos
May 25, 2012 at 11:28 am

I don’t know if Y2k was real or not but I do know that i worked for a forklft dealership in MA and my area was NH, one of my customers recycled old computers and electronics, mostly from goverment entitie. At the time of Y2k the plant was bursting with computer systems to be recycled for parts and scrap, they had three plants in the country and were in ths process of building a fourth to help handle the influx. If for no other reason, maybe we got through that one due to the purchases of new computers by both government and bysinesses, John.


+7 Vote -1 Vote +1Neal
May 25, 2012 at 11:52 am

Good article, but I’d like to take exception to two points, in a moment. I use hurricanes as a blunt to people who question stocking up and prepping. After Hurricane Ivan, we were without power for 5 weeks. Actually, the neighborhood was without, but not me. And my system, which combines batteries and generator, much like an old Delco plant, only consumed 43 gallons of diesel in those 5 weeks. Mom’s neighbors were surprised to see her with clean clothes, doing laundry in a hand-cranked antique washer I gave her! A routine cop stop found $1200 cash in a lockbox in my truck. Cops were going to confiscate it, because anyone with “that much” money must be a drug dealer. I just told them that was my hurricane money, because you can’t use credit cards when the power is out. They thought about it and let it go.

Now, to the exceptions. First, Y2K (the tech bubble) WAS a devastating event, but not what people expected. Companies spent insane amounts to have all new gear on every desk. Then, suddenly, NOBODY needed any gear. It was the trigger to a 12 year (so far) depression, a cascade of popping bubbles, the worst of which we are yet to see.

Second, I think TEOTWAWKI is here. These things sneak up on you, but look what you are paying for food. Health insurance? I am seriously considering dropping it, as my policy has tripled in a few years, with no claims. My income, primarily from investing (since I lost my job) has plummeted as the market no longer operates by any known rules. I find myself now investing in metals, food and useful things while the dollar still has a little value. By the time everyone KNOWS TEOTWAWKI is here, it will be too late to do much about it.

If I am wrong and things become wonderful, I will still have stuff I can use. We get a new hurricane season every year! Maybe it is tornadoes, floods or earthquakes in your area. Use them as your excuse to prep. People can relate to their own experiences.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Ann
May 26, 2012 at 11:13 am

Right on man.. some of us are old scouts and learned early on to BE PREPARED. That was for anything that might happen.. but your emphasis on the storm of likelyhood in what ever area you live in is probably more germaine in this day and age.. good thinking! We need to find some way to remove heads from sand!


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Montego Man
May 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm

As always, a good article and WELL-BALANCED!
Also, a big Thank You and salute to our current, retired and deceased warriors. You’re commitment was not in vane.
The Chaplain


+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Eddie Hinson
May 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Thanks for your donations to SOWF, we must not forget our wounded warriors. We now have many young wounded warriors to go along with the many that we still have from Vietnam, and Korea. I notice at the VA Hospital in Asheville that we Vietnam Vets are replacing the WWII vets, and the younger vets are beginning to come in now in larger numbers.
Prayer is also a mighty tool that we must have in our arsenal. We need to pray for our country, all veterans, and our fellow man.
Our best survival tool is to mobilize everyone to get out and vote this year. The biggest threat to our survival is the current administration. If we love our country and constitution, then replacing the evil that is now in the White House with someone that is a Patriot and will follow the Constitution is left up to us.
No one will ever be fully prepared for a disaster, so re-learning lost skills is important. Having guns and knowing how to use them, stock up on plenty of ammunition. Know how to hunt, fish, garden, shoot, camp, use dutch ovens for cooking, start a fire, basic first aid and cpr, have a root cellar, know how to use a solar shower, how to purify drinking water, have your own personal hygiene kit, have and know how to use hand tools, like axes, saws, knives, and many other hand tools. Also a few silver coins may come in really handy. Learn how to can and preserve foods grown in your own garden.
Just think what skills may be needed and practice them.
Our grandparents were pretty much self sufficient, we can relearn these lost skills.


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1John Thomas
May 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

1. Outstanding article!
2. As a Viet Nam helicopter pilot, I confirm that your analogy is spot-on.
3. Taking action is a key to survival. Even if you do something “wrong” you can correct and learn; being paralized (no action) rarely helps.
4. Taking a calm approach to doing what you can DO now (and over time) will definitely beat frantic, last minute “preparation” or panic.
5. God IS our only sure defense. On-going spiritual preparation will always be a blessing regardless of what does or does not happen.

Thanks to all who have served in the righteous cause of freedom.

Keep the faith, and keep up the good work!


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Eddie Hinson
May 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Thank you John for your service to our country.


+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Audrey
May 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I live in a large urban area and I know that if major disaster strikes, there will be no realistic way of getting out. I am also not inclined to change my whole life-style to focus on “pioneer” survival skills when I have no practical way to learn or practice them. I live in a city and I accept the risks that go with that. Nonetheless, I also know that there are things I can do to help my family survive “personal” and “minor” disasters–things like a house fire, loss of job, power outage, winter storms, and so forth. So I am trying to concentrate on these things.

I recently made the effort to create a bin that contains “no cooking” meals to last for 3 days for my family (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) in the event of some situation where we need to eat without having to think about it during a crisis. Each meal is self-contained in a bag in the bin–just grab, open and eat. I focused on using easily available foods (hence, easy to resupply) that I know my family (including kids) will eat. The shelf life of the foods is six months, so twice a year we will have the opportunity to test our emergency meal plan by actually consuming and replacing them. My total cost was about $3/meal/person. This is more than I would normally spend for food, but for the convenience, shelf-life and peace of mind, I figure it is worth it.

I came across this idea on a blog post and thought it sounded like something that I could actually DO. It made sense to me to have meals that you know you can prepare without having to cook it. The claim was made that it takes most people about 3 days to really get their head around a crisis and start being able to really deal with it, so anything you can do to relieve stress and decision-making for those 3 days would really help. “No-brainer” meals fit the bill nicely. Anyway, this is one practical way that I have been able to move out of just thinking about preparing and actually doing something. Makes me feel good!


Vote -1 Vote +1juan o aguirre jr
May 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm



+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ron Georgi
May 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Old psychiatrist story: A guy goes to see the Shrink & is told ” The good news you are NOT crazy; The Bad news is They really are trying to get you.”


+6 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
May 25, 2012 at 8:00 pm

For those who roll their eyes at my prepping I point out the time that I got ill and was not able to work for the entire construction season. I wish I had had more stored up at that time. I also mention that at the way food and other prices are going up I get a better return with my food storage than I do with my savings.


+7 Vote -1 Vote +1Lulu
May 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Thank all of y’all for the good information and ideas. Here in the Pacific Northwest it is really no mean feat to find like-minded folks. It is difficult living in a nest of liberals, but I’m trying to do what I can to get more people on board. This is a wonderful site and I like the fact that everyone is so encouraging. This is my first time writing in, so it was a little scary. All the best to everyone, and please remember our service men and women in your prayers.


Vote -1 Vote +1Liz
June 14, 2012 at 2:16 am

Lulu – not all “liberals” are as they would be portrayed… I tend to think of myself as quite a “live and let live, fairly take and fairly give” kind of person, and often get called “liberal” by others. Yet I feel everything here is spot-on and I’m doing what I can to prepare. Just remember that all these “labels” like Christian, Muslim, Liberal, Conservative, and so-on will not matter when the shite hits the fan – nor do they help anyone create a community of folks who are prepared and therefore less likely to beat down your door. Let God (or whoever you pray to) be the JUDGE of people (and they WILL be judged, never fear) and remember “that which you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me also.”
Just a word to the wise….


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Quilty
May 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

I understand how friends and family can think you are nuts when you talk about WTSHTF stuff. I have a dad who says he is ‘prepared’ because he keeps several extra bags of charcoal. At least I know he has a pool for water. I also have a sibling who lives in a tract house, but has done some prep work and has discussed with like minded neighbors and DOES believe there is trouble down the road in some form or another.

We are tucked away on the fringe of a medium sized town, but will soon be moving further ‘out’. My concern in choosing a location is: moderate weather where we can live ‘OK’ without heat or AC, a good well, getting solar to run the well, and decent soil to grow our food. On 2 of those 4 fronts I am not so satisfied with my spouse’s choice of our probable location. But, at least he is starting to think in a more like manner as me in regard to prepping. He used to only think of prepping as a need to have a whole house generator to run computers, TV and HVAC! I would like us do be able to dig out and have at least a concrete walled root cellar of some sort to be able to store our ‘stuff’ in. While estimating what it would cost for the actual move and whether to do it all ourselves (we are in our 60/70’s) vs using a moving company, he was completing an online form. It asked questions about how much and which furniture, etc. and he was asking me if we still had our DD’s bike. I said to heck bikes, it is the 2 years’ worth of food, supplies and paper goods that will take more room!

I do have to stop occasionally to breath and pray to ask God for solace as watching and reading the news and sites online (as well as this moving to a new location) can make me anxious. I think David has good advice about not reading/watching too many articles/sites as that tends to make me, at least, more anxious than prepared. But, his advice to keep God at the head of all of our preparations and keep in prayer is the best advice any of us can get and to give.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rich Easton
May 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Thanks for useful, practical, moderate articles. We appreciate them.


Vote -1 Vote +1ron
May 27, 2012 at 2:14 am

great advise david and thank you very much. also so really good advise offered and things
to think about as well as keep preparing but try to take the time for enjoyment, family and
of course the lord and prayer.
thank you all, take care and god bless.
god bless america.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Craig
May 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

First off David ty for your weekly newsletters. This weeks especially is very practical and good for all to hear. All of us have daily stresses of work, family, paying bills, and just living life. Add to that worrying about what could happen and ot can get messy quick! Because we were aware of prepping but needed help getting a plan together, my wife and I decided to go through surviveinplace course. It has helped us in many ways and we ty for putting it out there for us. We lack one lesson to finishing the entire course.
Where to next? Putting the plan in action. We started a garden this yr and in addition to giving us food we raised it also brings us comfort in knowing we can help our self. Keep moving forward keep learning keep preparing. Thats life.


Vote -1 Vote +1jc
May 29, 2012 at 12:00 am

Paranoia is defined as an unreasoned fear. We preppers are not unreasoned nor are we fearful. In most cases we know that although we have only scant evidence, bad things can and do happen. We do not buy automobile insurance because we are going to crash our car; we buy it because it could happen. We prep for similar reasons. Be a year
early or a day late. You decide.


Vote -1 Vote +1Judy D.
May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am

Dear David,
In your course, Fastest Way to Prepare you recommended the Motorola Nextel Sprint Direct Talk phone i576. I just saw an article today that Sprint Nextel is shutting down as early as June 30 next year. Do you have another recommendation to take their place?


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Since I recommend buying them used, this is GREAT news! I would anticipate more coming on to the market as people cycle onto other plans.


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