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The Ugly Truth About Prepping


The fruits of prepping have gone mainstream. After the pandemic, the US toilet paper epidemic and the summer riots of 2020, it became clear the crazy preppers were not so crazy after all.

I talked to Business Insider and the New York Times who all wanted me to rub it in the face of the unprepared. Of course, I laughed at the idea.

As the world is navigating what could be the pretext for WWIII, I find myself much less worried about the accolades of all that we preppers have achieved both for ourselves and for the nation at large. Instead, I am thinking about the ugly truths of prepping and what to expect next.

It Might All Be For Nothing

There are two ways to look at this ugly truth. The first way is through rose-colored lenses. Perhaps the brilliance of human innovation and the minority of great men and women find a way out of all this mess we have gotten ourselves into.

Maybe we navigate all of these crazy challenges and wind up safe in the end. Prosperous even. I can hear some of you chuckling but there is always that chance. Then all the prepping and planning we have done might be for nothing. Though, the flaw in that thinking is that my life has become so much better from prepping and homesteading.

However, there is another way to look at this ugly truth and that is the fact that fate could simply have it out for you. There are catastrophes that we can neither predict nor prepare for.

A mass extinction event like a comet could kill everyone on the planet, a nuclear exchange could come so swiftly that even some preppers haven’t enough time to react. There are lots of instances where being prepared might still not be enough and then all your preps might be for nothing.

You Will Have To Turn People Away

I like to say that preppers are limited by three things: Time, Money, and Space. If you don’t have a spouse who understands your urgency, then it becomes four things and that one might outweigh the other three! We all have our limitations.

Because of this we simply cannot plan to take the entire world onto our personal Ark. There will come a time when you have to turn people away. It’s best to identify who you plan on taking in, now, rather than figuring that out when your mom, dad, cousin, siblings, niece and neighbor are on your porch. Can you handle that many people? For most preppers, the answer is NO. We spend enough time and money to get our own family as prepared as possible. You will have people that you need to turn away in a serious collapse. You will not have the room or the resources to take them on.

You can help this situation by having a list of duties and tasks that can be assigned to people who would like to be part of your group. This can be very effective when someone shows up at your door with their hand out. Things like cleanup, cooking, gardening duties, animal care, security and waste management are all going to need to be done. “I will put something in that hand of yours, but you will earn it first.” Another tactic is “don’t show up empty handed; bring whatever food, water and supplies you have, with you.”

You Could Become A Target

When people start to notice your garden, community, rain barrels, or preps in general, you could very well become a target. You could become a target by the government who believes you have enough food so they will confiscate some and spread it out amongst the ailing population. [This won’t happen in the Hill Country as long as we vote intelligently.] You could become a target if you don’t get to know and trust your neighbors. Maybe a larger group targets your entire neighborhood because they catch wind that a prepper is living in their midst. The potential for a prepper to have an excess of resources will be reason enough to target you in times of scarcity. Good OPSEC will help keep you from being so easily targeted.

You Cannot Prepare For Everything

If anyone tells you different, they just haven’t thought about it enough. You cannot be prepared for all eventualities. We all have our capabilities and our limitations. Every plan you create has them, too.

While you cannot prepare for everything you can at least create a PACE plan that will give you options if your initial plan falls through or if you find yourself in a situation you are unprepared to deal with.

Primary – Alternate – Contingency – Emergency

[Primary, alternate, contingency and emergency (PACE) is a methodology used to build a communication plan, but it can be adapted to other preparedness plans as well. The method requires the author to determine the different stakeholders or parties that need to communicate and then determine, if possible, the best four forms of communication between each of those parties. PACE also designates the order in which an element will move through available communications systems until contact can be established with the desired distant element(s). Ideally, each method will be completely separate and independent of the other systems of communication. For each method, the receiver must first sense which one the sender is using and then respond.]

PACE is a powerful ally for the modern prepper and with just a little forethought you can be prepared for even more. I like what Joe Fox of Viking Preparedness says, “Contemplate the Unthinkable.”

Your Family Is Not A Fighting Force

In 2015 I attended a course on Nuclear, Biological and Chemical survival that was taught by Dave Jones the NBC Guy. This was an incredible course that really changed my prepping direction in several ways. There was a small family group attending the course and while Dave was teaching night movement, we started talking about running into bad guys. What Dave said next changed the way I looked at my family and fantasy Dystopia forever.

“In the army we have what is known as acceptable casualties. When we plan a mission, we are prepared to lose a certain amount of people. I want you to look at each other and tell me who your acceptable casualties are.”

The family was stunned and from that moment on I realized that my family was not a fighting force.

I realized that I had to change the way I looked at community security and assure that we’re not putting ourselves in a situation where we would be fighting off bad guys as a family. On my 10-year journey along the preparedness path, I have certainly enjoyed more good than bad. Learning and preparing has made me a better man, father, husband, and person in general. For me it all started because my mind was capable of going to these ugly kinds of places.

If we ever face a true collapse of our society, these ugly truths will come to light. How will you deal with them? Have you already thought these through, or will you choose to face whatever comes your way and deal with it in that moment?

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