Thursday, March 26, 2015

Remember what happened to the oysters in Through the Looking Glass?

II don't want to seem like I'm setting myself up as the supreme arbiter of logical thought. I've made plenty of decisions that later turned out to be wrong. But at least they had some basis in reality.  Lately I've seen several posts on other blogs where people say things like "I don't want to make any changes to my home to improve my security because then I would worry more."  I even got one comment that I didn't publish because the writer chastised both me and the people who come here. She said " I don't store any food, or have any weapons. I just live each day. Why can't you all just relax?"

I think about some of the things I have seen in my life and I wonder what environment would produce attitudes like these? I'm not disparaging these individuals, I simply cannot understand them.

I have added this link because it's germane to the discussion. Do you remember the Scheiss Sturm that this woman caused?  She back pedaled, but what she really thinks is in the first article. That she later tried to cover her tracks is irrelevant. 27 March 1548.

Preppers are Socially Selfish.

Addendum 27 March 1458:  I am getting some comments that disagree vehemently with the feelings most of us have expressed here on this subject. Unfortunately, they are almost certainly from the Troll that popped up last week, under the names Sandra and Monika.  As I'm not publishing the comments, I'm being blasted for censorship. And that's true. But I was warned that these people will post plausible comments and then suddenly launch a troll attack, which I don't want to deal with. So, I'm just letting everybody know that I am, in fact, declining to publish some comments. Not because they disagree with me, but because I don't want to facilitate Trolldom.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"
"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."
"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"
"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"
"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.


  1. How so very condesending of her. She's either stupidly naive, or knows for a fact that she's living a charmed life.

    More power to her, but if it doesn't work out for her, she shouldn't come knocking on my door.

    1. Well, I know there are people like that. I think it was the first season of Doomsday Preppers where there were some older people in Maine who were growing copious amounts of food and canning it. When asked what they would do if attacked by brigands and pillagers, the old woman who ran the group said they would reach out and share what they had. I wondered what made her think the bad guys would be amenable to sharing?

  2. I'm dealing with something similar within my own family. Those who refuse to even talk about putting some food and water back seem to be of the opinion that nothing bad will ever happen. It is sort of like if they don't talk about it, everything will just go along as it always has and everything will be just fine. One chastised me, saying that I complain about the high cost of prescription drugs (which I do - who doesn't?) but yet don't mind spending my money on several years worth of food. They just didn't understand. The money I spend on food now may save my life and the lives of family. But according to popular opinion, I am just foolish.

    I call it the "head in the sand" syndrome.

    1. It reminds me of the parable of the ants and the grasshopper. You're the butt of jokes and snide comments, but when things fall apart guess who will show up on your doorstep under the impression that they are entitled to share in what you have?

    2. I agree with Vicki above - if they refuse to think about it, they won't have to deal with it. What is more confusing is these people are willing to shell out big $$$ for insurance they won't ever use. Until they need to - and then is when those payments really were worth it (hopefully :^)

      Prepping is just an insurance policy. If things go badly, you have options others don't. Maybe that is what angers them.

    3. One of the big reasons people like to mock survivalists is that the survivalist deals with future scenarios and does so seriously. If you are a hivist, this is absolute anathema because they believe government will keep a chicken in every pot, no matter what. We offend their sense of security by postulating a future where people are responsible for themselves, and in their view no one should ever be responsible for themselves. That's why they hail Nanny State things like "we are going to ban big sodas" because people are obese. Or, as has been in the news more recently, the ban on building new fast food joints in Southern L.A., so as to force the poor to "eat more healthy foods."

      Challenge that philosophy and you become an enemy of the state, and by extension, of the people.

  3. They are threatened by reality and simply refuse to deal with it, Harry. Like Scarlet O'Hara, they'll think about that tomorrow (except tomorrow will never come).

    1. I believe there is a lot of truth in that. Without a doubt there are people who are so uncomfortable with the thought that things may not go on as they are forever, that they are constitutionally incapable of considering the idea.

  4. oh Harry - i am as confused as you. there are many in this world that are just not gonna make it...not even to the doors of people who might help them. they don't know what's coming...or they do and simply don't care or don't have the brainpower to help themselves.

    here's a crazy thought - imagine that you have beans, bandaids, weapons and ammo stored and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING happens. hmmm...i guess that means that you have some supplies stored and if you, anyone in your family or a friend needs some extra stuff due to hard times...well, heck! you might be able to help them.

    my soul cringes and my skin wants to get off my body when i think of those living paycheck to paycheck, in debt, renting, with children...and no safety fund. yuhikes! i just feel so bad for them.

    'nuther great post! much love! your friend,

  5. Kymber, you have put your finger right on one of the things about preparedness that is so important. How can it really be a bad thing to keep supplies and equipment that you can use in the routine of daily life? Can a person have too much food, medicine, clothing, and all the other necessities of life? Nor do you need some cataclysmic event to need those things. Suppose someone gets sick and can't work, or loses their job. I think the trauma of such a situation would be greatly lessened by the comforting knowledge that you were good on basics for six months, a year, or whatever.

    I know generous spirits like you and J would want to help others. I would help my blog cronies but as for people I didn't know, I just can't answer that until faced with the situation.

    1. I find it difficult to even think about helping those who have looked down on us in their utter arrogance calling us every derogatory name in the book. What goes around eventually comes back around.

      Who am I to stand in the way of Karma?

    2. Well, on the one hand, I adhere to the belief that you make decisions and it then becomes incumbent on you to accept the consequences of those decisions without whining or blaming others. On the other hand, I was raised in an era when it was expected of men that they protect women and children. Subsequently I am hesitant to say with any confidence what I would do until I'm actually faced with the situation. I do feel resentment against some individuals who make decisions that place their dependents in jeopardy. I resent being mocked and deprecated by those who do nothing to prepare for unexpected crisis and then want help. I suppose there's no real solution to the Sheeple problem.

    3. You're absolutely correct on that last sentence. Trying to apply absolutes to a situation such as this will always result in someone coming up with a "what if" situation.

    4. When you add into the mix that I will have others up here with me, whose opinions I will have to take into account, it gets even harder to say "well, I will do so and so." Someone will have to have ultimate responsibility for making "final decisions" and I've made it clear to all who will be coming here that the someone is me. But I have to be cognizant of their opinions, since too dictatorial a leadership style will not end happily. I've chosen people who could plausibly get here in an emergency, who have skills, who are team players, and who are ready to work on having our act together. Once the S hits the windmill it's too late to iron all that out. I don't want to become The Great Dictator, though.

  6. " I'm not disparaging these individuals, I simply cannot understand them."

    No problem. lemme disparage them for you: they're idiots.

    1. They are. I know this is true. But as long as they accept any negative consequences of their belief set, then I don't worry about them. What does worry me is whether or not my normally fairly ruthless nature would be compromised by people in need who were not directly responsible for their dilemma. Do you deplete your resources to the detriment of your own family because the head of household made bad decisions on behalf of his own? I know the answer right now for my part would be no. Whether I am capable of implementing that in actuality I honestly don't know.

    2. Well, that IS the popular "Would you..." discussion topic on most survivalist forums. Do you take from your own resources to assist those who chose not to prepare? This would be good blog fodder, actually. The 'Christian charity' crowd would say that you should store some stuff specifically for the purpose of distributing to the unprepared but I'm not really onboard with that.

      My life has hit the stage where I simply don't have any friends or family members who *aren't* prepared for this sort of thing. I suppose my neighbor will be stuck sitting in the dark watching her freezer defrost, but depending on the severity of the situation I might run an extension cord over there. What will most assuredly NOT happen is me helping someone because "you have all that stuff and I have nothing!".

      As an aside, I take umbrage with the notion of "duty of charity" or "a responsibility to others". If being charitable is compulsory or mandated, then it isn't really charity.

    3. I feel largely the same. I would not make a decision to help anyone if I felt I were under duress to do so. There was a time when I absolutely refused to consider it at all. I think as I have gotten older, I have lost some of the intensity of will that would have enabled me to stick to my procedures without any thought. Now I review some issues and find that in minor ways, I'm not so vehement as I once was. Maybe I'm not as angry as I was as a younger man. Maybe I have dementia! Who knows.

      Some people who are religious do feel an obligation to help those in need. There's lots of passages in the bible that exhort the reader to do so. I'm not religious, but I can understand how that would be an extra issue to consider if I were.

      There's no easy answer that's realistic, which is why this issue gets such play in all the really good post apocalyptic fiction.

    4. On the other hand there are several passages or verses that I can think of that show that when a certain point or cutoff is reached, then that's it. Time's up. What you have or where you are is the situation you are stuck with.

    5. The old testament is a pretty practical document in tone and I'm sure that's true.

  7. Harry - thanks for always understanding the point i am trying to make...even tho sometimes it comes out a little screwy! you are dead right - there is absolutely nothing wrong with having all of the things that you need in daily life stocked and stored. any other way just doesn't make sense! it's what our ancestors have done for thousands of years. and i truly believe that at some point - it became genetic.

    however, i will stray from the point of your post just a little in order to get your opinion (which means the world!). many bloggers and websites have noticed and pointed out that throughout history it was those living north of the equator who developed schemes and plans of storage...and for very reasonable reasons - THEY HAD TO! because they had to have enough "stores" (lets call it beans, bandaids, weapons and ammo) to get them through cold winters. it totally makes sense to me! most people living south of the equator, and especially those living very near or close to the equator never had to think of such things.

    so here i am confessing to my nordic and caucasian roots and admitting that yes - i believe that those of us whose ancestry is made of people who lived north of the equator have an innate sense of stocking up. what say you to that?

    very much looking forward to your response. much love, like always.

    u no hoo

    1. That seems reasonable to me. After all, the environment here is what started me on the self sufficiency path. The first big blizzard after we moved to the mountains was a huge eye opener. I learned the hard way that if you lose mobility you better have everything you need in place to last you until mobility is restored. It's not a stretch of the imagination that, by trial and error, people living in more challenging and harsher environments adapted by doing more planning and preparation for hard times. People living in less challenging environments would not have had this stimulus to stash and horde food, clothing and the other necessities of daily life. You're quite right in so far as I can see.

  8. Hey Harry,


    I'm a little more cold blooded than most. Don't come to me asking for handouts if you have been warned already. If things get ugly, I may offer a lead and brass donation.

    I will feel sorry for the ones that have no clue whats going on but are good people never the less. What I mean are the ones that have never heard or 'prepping' or self reliance in any form.

    The parasites of society are the ones I worry about. They are the ones that 'take' without asking and expect something for nothing. The ones on multigenerational welfare, the hood rats, the frequent flyers in our prison system. The ones that will kill you and everyone you know over a can of corn.

    Those are the demons that go 'bump' in the night.

    1. You said it better than I did up above. I have sympathy for innocents who find themselves in a bad way, though I don't know what I would do about them. Anyone who had done nothing and approached me with an eye towards using force would get short shrift from me.

  9. Grasshoppers and ants. Sheep and goats. Ya can't tell a grasshopper anything, but they will eat you out of house and home if they get a chance. Ya know, ammo and food are better than money in the bank. Living in cold country and far from stores, we always stocked up, even before it was called prepping. We always figured It was just country living. Now city people are a whole different story. We are also hardening our place. Don't even think of coming around when things get tough.

    1. I've been improving the security system here for a long, long time. Years ago I had a much more active system, but now I rely on passive detection devices. I figure if I know somebody is coming, and am not expecting anybody, they aren't here to sell Girl Scout cookies. I'm too far out, too far off the roads, and they had to come around my gate.

      I would have some trouble with my wife and some of the other folks who will be here if the empty hand syndrome folks were to show up after a TEOTWAWKI event. Especially if there were children. I can't see my wife turning away kids to starve, and I know at least a couple of other people who might be here would not be ok with that. So I am hoping that my very remote location would keep this from being an issue. In truth, though I know the correct procedure is to husband your supplies, I think in reality I might give people something and tell them to keep on moving. I know I have said differently in the past, but I sometimes have trouble knowing if I am being honest with myself about things like this. I hope it just doesn't come up. If you read a lot of post apocalyptic fiction, you can't help struggling with the question because it's always discussed in the books.

  10. I would make a lot of changes to home security if I had the $. But we have done a few things over the past couple of years that add to security. It never hurts - and you just hope you don't need it!

    1. Lisa, some of the experiences in my life make me particularly vulnerable to anxiety about security. So I devote considerable resources and thought to improving it here. As you say, it doesn't hurt anything. I have thought a lot about putting up a double apron concertina wire loop around the main buildings, but I am sure that deer would get caught in it so I haven't done that. The crux of security from my perspective is to have early warning you have a problem, and then have the means and will to alleviate the problem. I may have questions about what I would do in some situations, but an intrusion is not one of them. Like you, I hope I never have security issues, and also like you, I take precautions to see that I don't.

  11. Harry,

    Living prepared means security for my family. We've lived through disasters (mother nature and even man made) and even unemployment over the last 20+ years. I don't mind helping or shall I say educating those who refuse to prepare however, for those who feel they're entitled to my security (beans, bandaids, weapons and ammo) better think twice.

    1. It's a curious concept that some people have, the "fair share" idea. If you have something they don't, then they feel you should give them some of it because they are entitled to a "fair share." About a year ago there was a very vehement attack on survivalists and preppers by a young woman who felt that the very concept of storing supplies was "anti-social" and "unAmerican", since it implied that in some circumstances it would be acceptable for some to have more than others. This got picked up by the major news distributors and I had it linked in the interesting articles column on the blog. The thing that appalled me was not that she had ideas like this, but that she garnered a huge amount of support and praise for the idea. Those are the ones that worry me. Industrious and Stupid is a bad combination.

  12. We would love nothing better than to relax, not worry about anything, not be prepared for anything.
    That would only ever happen if we were 100% prepared for anything.

    So it won't ever happen. Cheers!

    1. I think people who are situationally aware and have the intelligence to realize that tomorrow may not be a carbon copy of today would agree with that assessment. About a third of the rest figure they'll just take whatever they need once there aren't any laws to stop them, and the other two thirds don't give it a moment's thought at all.

  13. That's classic. "I don't store any food, or have any weapons. I just live each day. Why can't you all just relax?" Lady, it's BECAUSE we store food and have weapons that we can relax and sleep soundly.

    On the topic of uninvited guests showing up at the door in a time of crisis, I get that a lot from friends who know our supply situation. They say, "Well, if anything happens I know where I'm coming!" To which I reply, "No problem. Make sure you bring a month of food and water with you."

    - Unbreakable AZ

    1. I think all of us get hit with that, sometimes in jest, and sometimes with the idea that since you have all this stuff stored away, you will be glad to share it.

      One of the things that really aggravates me is that some of the people who don't have a can of beans set back are the same one's who take luxurious cruises, drive "dig me!" cars, and live in McMansions. Yet they don't see a thing wrong with using you as their insurance. I honestly find that hard to understand.

      Some things, you can't do anything about and you just have to ride it out. Someone getting sick , losing a job, etc is like that. But it can be made easier if you don't have to worry about food, or about some half wit breaking into your house with a machete, or any of the other "what if's" that the self sufficient plan for. Kymber was exactly right when she said that money and effort spent on preparedness are never wasted.

  14. Growing up most folks I knew had deep pantries. That's how you survived the winter. Putting up a year's worth of food was normal and prudent. Guns are just part of rural living. Never know when a pest has to be eliminated.

  15. Harry, another well written post still makes me stop and think how to improve my family for the better. Its that time of year to buy canned goods from the cannery. My son says I don't think we need anything we still have some left over. His words, not mine. my words we can never have enough.

  16. I confess, I am not as well prepared as I should be. I do try and improve my situation every chance I get, and slow and steady is adding up. I believe it is MY responsibility to take care of myself. What the woman who wrote the article just does not get is this. The "almighty Government" that she relies on to provide for her, and the millions like her out there, flat does not have the resources to do so. Every "prepper" that has planned ahead, and takes care of his/her family, or "tribe" if you prefer, is one less group of faces that will be helping divide what the government has to hand out. Our survival, will perhaps make her survival possible at all. Save us from Idiots.
    Jesse in DC

    1. Well said, Jesse. I understand why so many think they have no responsibility for themselves. What I can't understand is demonizing the few who do take responsibility for themselves. You wouldn't believe the comments I get that I just edit out or don't publish. There are a lot of people out there who resent "preppers' bitterly, and "survivalists" are completely beyond the pale. I don't even give them space on here, because they just spout insults, don't make lucid comments about their points of view. If someone is just stupid and unable to express themselves, I don't publish them.

  17. I like to have some back stock. In our laundry room one room is lined with shelves down a wall. We keep our canned food, boxed milk, and baked goods in that room. When we do use it we always re-stock.

    Travis does have a gun. I wish we had a security system, but they are kind of pricy.

    1. You can build your own security system, Alissa. Radio Shack and Home Depot have everything you need, and you can build it a bit at a time.

      Having a rotating food storage program can save your life. I once watched a show where the California Emergency Management Agency head did everything but get down on his knees and beg people to have at least three days of food and water on hand. You'd think out there they'd have at least that much common sense, but apparently not.

      It's good your husband has a gun. Can you use it comfortably as well? You might be home alone with the kids sometime and need to be able to "take out the trash."

  18. Even the great American experiment started with this problem. Early colonists established a communist colony where they pooled their resources for the "greater good" of the community. They soon learned that the lazies did nothing for themselves expecting the diligent to take care of them. After a few years they dropped the communist system and implemented the practice of personal responsibility, and we have what has become the most prosperous nation in the history of mankind. While all others who have followed any measure of the opposite model here or abroad have consistently been abject failures and models of oppression. Despite our proven track record we still have those who passing themselves off as pointy headed academia insisting that others provide for them. And so you arrive atrocities like Obamacare and good knows what other maleficence is currently in the making.
    It all goes back to the simple issue of responsibility and personal accountability. A concept that today has been bred out of, and long forgotten by most. Most folks don't even seem to have a sense of self preservation left in them and willingly put themselves in danger and assume astoundingly idiotic risks just for a self absorbed adrenalin rush. All too thrilled by the notion of extreme this and that, just to get their rocks off in some kind of hedonistic self gratification and unwilling to take on the real hard, distasteful or boring tasks in life such as putting some away for a rainy day. Heck most wont even save or invest their earning instead expecting the government will provide for their elder years. Sadly this narcissistic ideology is all too often promoted by the main stream media and taken advantage of by those without any scruples in power. Fundamentally it is based on the mistaken notion that you can separate authority and responsibility. So in the modern day molly coddling world, way too many today believe that others should provide for them and they are some how owed and entitled by their mere existence to certain benefits. Free medical care, free housing, free education and the list goes on. All the while not realizing that responsibility and authority are inexorably linked and it is scientifically impossible to separate the two without incurring other critical losses and vulnerabilities. Thus if one relinquishes his responsibility and puts the duty on others to provide for them they also assign their authority over to the one they demand provide for them. And thus folks put themselves at the mercy of the "benevolence" of the provider. And so they assume the vulnerability of depending on some other party's questionable intentions and benevolence, and the provider gets to choose when, how much, how often or even if to meet your needs. And even if the provider is truly the most well intentioned you are still subject to his abilities limitations. No thank you I'll take care of myself. The bottom line question to them then is, do you really what to be his bitch? or as the other Harry once said, "So punk, do you feel lucky? well do you?"

    1. That's a pretty accurate synopsis of life today. I taught 5th grade for three years before I threw up my hands in despair. Small kids are taught from the get to to make no decisions for themselves, to make no judgement for themselves, to do nothing on their own behalf. Instead, they learn that some authority figure will address all their woes. It was sickening.

      It's no surprise to me that things are the way they are. I read statistics like 65% of the population receiving government largess in one form or other, and of course you are right, if you take the coin you wear the collar.

      There's no going back now though. The infrastructure will just go on getting creakier and creakier until it collapses under the weight of the great unwashed, and then we will all have to take care of ourselves. Those that can't , won't last long.