Entitled

By Brad M

After getting home from a 12 hour work day, shoveled the snow off of your driveway and walks, and find that you are tired and hungry. You decide you want a plate of Nacho’s, so you make them for yourself. Just as you are walking to your couch to sit down and enjoy your Nacho’s while you watch the big game, your doorbell rings. You answer it and it is a neighbor from the next street. His power is out and asks if he could stay while it is being restored. You say sure, and invite him to watch the game with you. He sits down and the game gets going. A few minutes later your neighbor mentions how good your Nacho’s look, and smell. He then asks if he can have some. You only made a small plate and you don’t have any more Nacho makings to make more. He eye’s your plate waiting for a response.

power-outage-northeast

You apologize because you have been eating the Nacho’s with your fingers, and don’t have any more supplies with which to make more. Your neighbor asks if you have anything else because he is very hungry. You offer to cook up some spaghetti, and he looks relieved. You go into the kitchen and start preparing the food. As you are in there your friend makes a phone call on his mobile, and then returns to watching TV. He changes the channel and starts watching a movie. Just as you finish the spaghetti and serve up a plate, just as your doorbell rings again. Upon opening the door you find your neighbor had called to invite his family over for dinner. Since you had made spaghetti you server up all that there is to his wife and two kids. They eat and thank you for the food. While you are cleaning up after dinner you hear a newsbreak on your TV, which announces that the power outage is going to last for a bit and will be spreading to most of the area as it was due to damage done to your local power network by some misguided individuals. Just after the announcement your neighbor walks in and repeats the outlet. He is concerned because his house will not have a working furnace without the power. There is an uncomfortable pause after which your neighbor asks if they could stay there for the night. As he is asking the power goes out at your place too. You tell him that they can stay for the night, but they would have to go home in the morning, to which he agrees.

New York Blackout 2003

Through the night you hear some commotion outside, but stay indoors to keep warm. In the morning you arise to find your neighbors family eating breakfast at your table with no food left on the table for you. They apologize and say that their kids ate too much, and would be happy to make you some if you would like, but knowing you would have to go to the store you politely decline. You clean up the mess in the kitchen and walking back into your living room you find them all comfortably sitting at the table. You pull the father aside and remind him that they need to be heading out, as you need to get to the store. After a little more prodding, they leave begrudgingly. You look through your pantry, and find that much of your food is gone, and the wood you had stacked by the fire has all been burned to heat the living room. Now it is time to restock. Can you? Now let’s assume that the power does not come back on for the next couple of days.

Your neighbor returns a couple of days later and says that his power is still out. You remind him that yours is too. He says his house is very cold and they have no wood to burn to heat it with. He further says that his kids are hungry. You empathize with him, but remind him that his family has already consumed your food and wood, and you have nothing left to give him. You further remind him that you have not been able to go to the store because they closed the night the power went out. His desperation is apparent on his face, and in his voice. You tell him you are sorry and start to close the door, but he puts his foot in it. He demands to see if your lying to him, and questions your honesty, and Christian beliefs. You open the door and allow him in. He quickly pushes by you and walks into your kitchen to find the cupboards empty and the fridge open. His shoulders slump as he realizes that he was wrong. He turns and leaves. You close the door grateful that he hadn’t discovered your food storage, and wonder if he would have been even more upset if he had found it.

Would you do it again? Or for that matter, would you have done in the first place? You have provided shelter for your neighbor and his family, fed them two meals, and then cleaned up after them. They did nothing but ask for and expect more. How far off is this example from reality? I mean charity is a worthy pursuit, but I also believe that you give to those who are in need, not just those who want a handout.

I have been involved in a renewed emergency preparedness effort in my church, and have met all sorts of people with many different views on the subject. Thankfully, I have not met any who openly state that they will take what they need in bad times, but some of their attitudes seem a bit strange to say the least. There are even some who say that they are preppers, but it seems that they always want something from members of the congregation. For instance, Mom will be out of town on business or what not, and they will need their meals brought in for the two teenage Eagle Scouts, and Dad who is home in the late afternoon daily. How will these people survive when times are bad, when they can’t even provide for themselves when mommy is away for a couple of days? Even more surprising is that the notification for help is not a request, it is just that. It is a notification that meals should be provided at 5 pm daily. It is expected. I am thankful that this form of thinking is just foreign to me and my family. Expecting others to provide for us? No my job is to provide for the needs of my family and to teach my family to provide for their own needs. I do teach them charity and to love our neighbors as well, but to recognize need and sloth for what they are.

Then there are those who say that “it would be nice to have food and supplies stocked, but they don’t have the money to do it”, but they make that trip to Disneyland every year, have those season passes to ski resorts, or maybe spend the summer traveling the tristate area with their kids so they can play Lacrosse. Will that feed, or defend their family in bad times? I am thinking no, but maybe that is just me. These people do take comfort though in the ‘fact’ that when bad times happen they can rely on FEMA, or their local government Emergency Responders. I wonder if they have ever read what FEMA tells people to do in case of an emergency or disaster. I believe it is something like “Make a plan, get a kit, be prepared.” And when you read on their website and in their literature, they further say that you be prepared to make it on your own for a “PERIOD OF TIME”. They don’t say what period of time it is, but if Katrina is any indicator, then that time would be for about a week. That means that before they are able to turn over the safety of their spouse and children to someone else so they can rest at the local FEMA Shelter, they must have enough ‘stuff’ to supply for a week. Of course that will depend largely on what type of event has occurred.

In 1991, when I lived in LA County, there wasn’t time for a friendly FEMA facility to be set up, and if it would have been, it would have likely been burned to the ground. Of course Emergency Responders were not really going into the dangerous areas anyway. That would be the areas, where people were that needed help. My neighbor was ‘lucky’ enough to be a resident of ‘Nahlins’ and was forced to relocate to one of the Emergency Shelters in the aftermath, “for her own protection”. During this stay at the local Shelter, she was assigned a cot in the middle of a gymnasium full of cots, but no privacy. She was given food and water when it was available, and was able to take long cold bath’s out of a sink in the bathroom sink using baby wipes she always carried. She found privacy by putting a large opaque, thin painter’s tarp over her cot with her under it. Her only change of clothes was a t-shirt she kept in her purse. They separated children from Parents, and many of the children were then relocated further away to ‘better provide for their safety and needs’. In some cases it took weeks to months to even locate their children afterwards, and until parents provided physical proof of relation, they couldn’t get their kids back. That sounds just wonderful, doesn’t it? My friend fared better than most, but did endure listening to two sexual assaults that occurred at the shelter.

So to those who feel that they don’t need to prepare for anything because they pay their taxes and that is all the preparation they need to take, what do you say to them? For me I say that they are ‘ENTITLED’ to whatever they get. To their children, I say “You deserved better”.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Brad M- Well put. It may be a good idea to do some educating at your church and suggest that training be given for teens and spouses to learn how to cook and be prepared.As long as others in your church community cater to those that do not prepare then it becomes enabling.Eagle scouts should be helping others !!
    No matter how well prepared many of us are if the SHTF there will be chaos.
    I am so glad that your neighbor didnt find your extra food. Unless they come with a gift basket thanking you dont ever open your door to them again. Arlene

  2. It’s a truly sad reflection on how far society has decade when even some “prepper’s” preparations extend only to, and not beyond what they can “beg, borrow or steal” to survive.

  3. Brad M, as Arlene said, well put. Having been involved with two weather related emergencies, Blizzard of 78 and hurricane Andrew you meet a lot of people, some prepared and some who will take what they want, so be careful as to who you let into your home. A few in my on family into the latter catagotry.

  4. This weekend I was re-reading “A Failure of Civility” and the piece regarding the police officer who tried to help out someone who then killed him and his family by way of deceiving him into a false sense of safety. I ask my wife what her take on that situation would be and she brought up a different idea. Her idea was that if someone comes to your front door asking for food or water, and you do plan to help them, then don’t return to the front door to do so. Instead put everything in a plastic bag and throw it over the house, or fence, from a different location. This provided a different option than I had thought of, and allowed for charity to be offered. She did say that it would depend on other circumstances as well like: The type of event that had occurred, the demeanor of the people, our level of supplies remaining, what had been happening in the area.

    I just thought it relevant to the topic in regards to providing to those without. By definition my children are ‘childish’ in the way that they ‘ask’ for things. Sometimes they say “Give me…”, or “Get me…” when what they mean is “Could you please…” and I remind them of this. I find myself being offended by adults who have grown past the stage where their childish statements should have been purged from their vocabulary like: “Who is going to take care of my and my kids?”, or “Someone needs to take care of my kids”. I fear that being self reliant, like being industrious, is a thing of the past for many. Those who actually believe that they have the right to whatever someone else has earned, without so much as a please or thank you.

    Anyway I will get off of my soapbox and say “God helps those who help themselves” and working with like minded neighbors will be a great help WHEN things go badly.

    “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

  5. the “neighbor”wouldn’t have made it in the door. . . . . I have enough of my own to look after. . .I am not taking care of everyone, especially when I know they have made no effort to help themselves. . . the foot in the door would have earned a quick shove of the porch

  6. The biggest thing you have to fear in a shtf scenario is other people period. Prepare to defend, and i mean relentlessly if you think your bugging in! If your not prepared to take life in the deffence of your family and your preps, i strongly suggest you bug out and avoid ALL contact with anyone not prepared.

  7. Thank you. I needed that. A WAKE UP to what happens when others need help and end up HELPING Themselves to what others have with out thinking about the person that just helped them.
    Its a good lesson to learn before things get really BAD (SHTF). Family is expected… but Neighbors like what is described in the article will get you killed.

  8. 1. “Eagle Scouts” are not the Eagle Scouts, I knew. I am 33 and the Eagle Scouts I am referring too, were not handed the badge. I know a troop where every boy becomes a ” Eagle Scout.”

    2. I live in rural Mississippi, I have seen paper work appearing from DHS, say keep supplies. Also they are running radio ads here, heard one today while working in the shop.

  9. Liked it Brad. Please write more. Reminds me why I don’t have any neighbors and don’t live in a city.
    PR

  10. Hate to have to think about refusing my neighbors but I can only afford to buy so much and I have warned them about a problem that could interrupt any and all services, most do not heed my warnings and think the government will be there in a short time with what the will need. Any one who has gone through an emergency situation knows this is not usually the case.

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