Prepping and praying and pass the bullets please.
I strongly suspect prepper burnout is a direct result of new found awareness of how vulnerable we are both as individuals and as a nation. It is this very awareness that drives many to prepare for exceedingly remote happenstances. In a way, this is like asking how many cartridges are enough, 100, 1000, 10,000? If a hundred rounds will get you through the week and 10,000 a lifetime, then what about your children’s lifetime? Why not then stock a million rounds? Insidious? You bet it is and destructive of peace of mind, certainly. When I pursued collegiate education, my father laughed remarking that all education was good for is to make unhappy people. I think what he was saying is that effective education creates multiple opportunities with the concomitant drive to optimize individual circumstances. It is the very opportunities education generate that causes unhappiness. The easiest of choices involve three or fewer possible outcomes. With more possible good outcomes, one can never be certain of having made the VERY BEST choice and therein is a root of unhappiness.
For this reason, I recommend beginning preppers first secure a residence – and an alternate in a different geographic region, water, food reserves, method of protection, and reserve specie. These things form a core of stability from which the prospective prepper can then expand and build upon.
An awareness of multiple threats on the horizon drives the prepper lifestyle. As knowledge of these threats increase so does the desire to develop countermeasures – and burnout may occur.
Live in an unsupportable region? Tied to it by family or job? Know you should relocate but feel trapped? Then unhappy you are. Knowledge breeds unhappiness. You know what to do, but yet do it not. My ranch in the Texas Panhandle had much to offer and my situation there may have been better than most. The very moment I became aware of new vulnerabilities of that region, I began research aimed toward relocation and I was miserable – until effecting that relocation.
Jewish people of pre-WWII Germany knew what they needed to do yet many did not – and generations of highly educated, productive, and innovative people were destroyed, and in a crucible most hot.
A core component of prepping aside from the drive toward self-reliance is courage. Courage to do what is right regardless of circumstances, courage to draw lines in the sand clearly delineating good from bad and right from wrong. Courage to face criticism, courage to face ostracism, courage in conviction setting you apart from the teeming masses of people seeking to get along by going along.
Protected and cuddled by our ever protective rich Uncle, too many people have never been faced with hard moral choice. I call the dilemma of hard choice, ‘being in the crucible’ because it is these very situations that remove the dross of our lives and serve to refine and purify character. With good fortune, we find ourselves in incrementally difficult situations that allow us to build increasingly good character. Others less fortunate find themselves thrust into the hottest of fires with no warning. I have been a Texas judge. I know of which I speak.
My best daughter (the only one I have and by default, best), always exceeded expectations and those expectations were high. One day she telephoned me ever so distraught. She was in her second year of medical school at an institution with formal codified academic honor code. Her professors routinely made previous years’ tests available to the students as study material. Students regularly congregated in study groups to review these old tests. On the eve of an examination my daughter was approached by one of her study group seeking individual help. Her friend produced an old test and the two worked their way through the questions. Exams were passed out the next day and to the best daughter’s surprise, the questions were identical to those just studied. My Phi Beta Kappa daughter diligently answered the questions and handed in the test. After class she naively remarked to her classmate how remarkable it was the questions were identical to those just studied. Something in the classmate’s reaction bothered her, hence the call to ole dad. I suggested she confront her friend again. Turned out the ‘friend’ was also a member of a click of female medical students who received ‘special’ tutoring from the professor. The friend admitted obtaining the test in advance, explaining that the professor often did so in order to help struggling students maintain an effective grade point. The daughter knew some of the classmates that were in the other ‘special’ study group.
The daughter was inadvertently placed in academic jeopardy; being in medical school made dismissal especially horrible. Admitting advance knowledge of the test would also serve to expose her witting study mate along those other specially tutored students, and the professor as well. Under the academic honor code, many of her class faced dismissal. The daughter knew what she had to do. My job was to help her see that she really had no choice regardless of consequence. She camped outside the office of the dean of the medical school. The dean told her that she might want to hire an attorney and hinted that she would be dismissed from medical school for cheating on an exam.
As it turned out, one of my friends was a professor at the same university’s school of law. He had been a colonel in the US Army JAG corps. He had significant life experience. I called him and briefed the situation. Of course he would speak with my daughter. The law school professor then met with the president of the university taking the matter beyond the school of medicine. The law school professor told the president a little about the daughter – and the daughter’s father, and I suspect mentioned that I was just the sort of person to pursue the matter ad infinitum and perhaps even make a call to 60 Minutes if this thing didn’t get resolved properly. An internal investigation ensued. The daughter was cleared of wrongdoing and a written apology issued. The medical school professor was censured and should have been cashiered as I strongly suspect that he was using his position to extort ‘favors’ from the specially tutored female students. Rather than dismissing half of the daughter’s medical school class for violation of the academic honor code, everyone was issued an automatic A for the course protecting the medical school from external criticism. I would have dismissed the lot of them with extreme prejudice and did mention the matter to the medical school accreditation committee. By exposing the fraud, my best daughter was shunned by many of her class who lost their ‘easy ride.’
Such is a minor sort of crucible of which I speak. Crucible situations all too often happen with no advance warning. Having survived several with honor intact, I remain alert for circumstances leading to the possibility of one occurring in the future. No one who has been in the crucible ever wants a repeat experience. It is too horrible, too awful, the consequences too dire. Yet it is these very situations that create – or destroy – character.
If you are still with me, you might ask, ‘What does this have to do with prepping?’
Quite a lot actually. You see I believe there is a time is coming when we all will be thrust into a crucible most horrible. When this happens, we will either cave to the very real pressures of the moment – or to somehow find the courage to rise above petty circumstances and become something greater. With great fortune, that something greater may be a Patrick Henry, a Colonel Chamberlain, or even a George Washington.
Friends, I fear a storm is on the horizon, a storm of awful wrath and horrible consequences. I suspect that each of you intuit the same, else why prep? I fear each of us may someday have to make awful decisions, decisions that will have consequence, not only to us as individuals, but also to our families, and perhaps even to our nation. We can hear the roar of that storm in our ears right now. We look to the horizon and see dark clouds. With hatches well battened down, some of us will be prepared for the storm. In those days of strife and woe and gnashing of teeth, our neighbors and friends will look to us for leadership. Let us all pray for the courage of Leonidas, the courage of Washington, the courage of Lincoln, and that of Churchill. I dread this storm, for in those days we shall need every last particle of courage. Let us pray that we weather the storm, and perish if we must, but as proper men and ladies, and with honor intact.