> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Reader question: why do you want to waste your life on preparing?

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1/16/14

Reader question: why do you want to waste your life on preparing?

An old post was hit by a wave of comments today - all, I think, from the same guy: 

Hi there.
 

I have a question and I also hope that you could explain the life as a preper a little more, when you started and who got you into it. When I read stories like these ( I have a read several ) it always hits me “ why do you want to waste your life on preparing for these catastrophes?” . The odds of some of these things happening are so minimalistic, that you can compare it to preparing for winning in the lottery, or maybe even the odds of world peace. I would recommend you to think through your decision being a preper, live your life while you still are alive. Anyway, my question to you is: when do you expect $%!@ to hit the fan? And I would also like to know what makes you believe in these theories, the amount of things talking against it is a lot higher. 

Thank you in advanced, Denmark, HTX, Simon.


Well, Simon in Denmark, I think you've been watching too much Doomsday Preppers. I think you've been misled by the media (shocking that the media would mislead someone) about what the average 'prepper' is like.

I'm a normal person. I'm married, have two kids, live in a normal house, hold a good job, obey the law, vote, pay my taxes and go to church.

I can assure you that I do live my life.



I'm not hiding in a bunker somewhere, listening to my HAM radio, while sitting atop a throne of MREs and ammo cans.

I enjoy time with family and friends, watch my share of movies and TV.

I love a good, unhealthy, Comrade Bloomberg unapproved meal.  

I sleep well at night and, despite the name of the blog, I am not overly concerned with the world as we know it coming to an end any time soon.
 I believe that, as a husband and father, it's my job to protect and provide for my family. And that's not just food, water and a safe place to live--it includes doing what I can to protect their liberty and rights.


The vast majority of people interested in preparedness are like me--completely ordinary people, living and enjoying their lives.

They're also people who appreciate the fragility of life and modern society, and take steps to be able to take care of themselves in good times and bad.

Taking care of yourself used to be the norm. Now--for some reason--it's abnormal.

Ever hear the old Aesop's fable about the grasshopper and the ant? Lazy grasshopper wants to play, ant works hard and puts back some extra food for the future. Guess who survives the cold days of winter?

SPOILER: the ant does.

Preparedness is not just about preparing for a comet to hit or the Yellowstone caldera to blow.

It's about living providently--like Mr. Ant. It's about putting back reserves for hard times--financial reserves, food, water, etc.--and being ready to deal with threats to life and liberty.
 
Having some supplies on hand in case of a disaster/emergency?

You've heard of insurance, right? Sure, you don't plan on getting in a car crash, having your home burned down or needing major surgery...but it happens to people all of the time.

The world, for all of its beauty and wonder, is an uncertain place. Mother nature and mad men with bombs have killed a great many people over the course of the world. Seems prudent to have a bit of insurance around in case, doesn't it? 

Do you know when you're going to need the insurance? Nope. But it's still wise to have around, isn't it?

Heck, even the government recognizes the importance of having some basic items stored at home in case of emergency. See: FEMA, the CDC, dozens of others.

And, if you're doing it right, preparing and self sufficiency makes a great, productive and enjoyable hobby. A great many interests and skills fall under the 'preparedness' umbrella--gardening, hiking, hunting, bush crafting, camping, sewing, numismatics, history, raising livestock, alternate energy, amateur radio, vehicle mechanics, shooting, gun smithing, reloading and a host of others. Lots of stuff to learn and have fun with.

What sounds more wasteful to you? Hours spent on the couch watching sports or hours spent learning new skills and improving my family's position in life and ability to take care of itself?

Anyways, Simon from Denmark, I'd recommend opening up your eyes and ears a bit to the world around you. Read some history books--while Europe is a generally pretty calm place, not too long ago folks feared nuclear war and invasion by Communist hordes...and not too long before that, well, World War 2 happened. Maybe take a trip south to Switzerland--they get it.

Sooner or later, the cold days of winter arrive. 

Comments open. Unleash the hounds!

38 comments :

  1. Nicely said.

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  2. Definitely well said! Being the husband, father, and son I am it is my responsibility to provide for, protect, and enhance the life of my family. In my family we don't call it prepping we call it 'Domestic Life Insurance'. We do whatever we can to insure we can thrive in any environment the Lord brings to us.

    Some people choose to live life without any cares and more power to them BUT it is pretty well documented that everyone will experience some type of disaster or event at least once in their lives. When that time comes the unprepared suffer because of their ignorance to their current state. I refuse to let my family suffer for my inefficiencies.

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  3. Amen brother. Fantastic response.

    -Mervo

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  4. Denmark, like all of Europe and virtually the entire first world, lives under the umbrella of United States military protection. If it weren't for us they'd be goosestepping to work every day right now. When your entire country doesn't feel the pressing need to protect itself its not a big leap when individual citizens don't feel a personal responsibility to do so either. Rights and freedom don't cost anything right? No one ever has needed to fight or die for them. They don't need to be protected or safeguarded--freedom is free after all. And food, warmth, shelter--those all grow on trees too right? And if disaster or unexpected turmoil rears its head don't worry--I'm sure big Government will be there to magically spoon feed you every single one of life's necessities. I mean all Governments are omnipotent, all knowing, and have only the purest intentions towards every last single soul of mankind. Just ask the American Indians...or the Jews...or anyone the commies didn't like in the Soviet Union, China, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, or Vietnam.

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    1. Typical American crap. You guy's have never won a war you started. You helped finish one that was ending. No one needs America.

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    2. I'm not going to feed the troll.

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    3. No but I will respond to the troll. Your right the war was ending when we got involved. The Nazi's had kicked your ass!!!!! Should have let them keep you.

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    4. They had hardly achieved final victory. The Nazis didn't have a realistic chance of crossing the Channel due to the presence of the RAF, which meant that Germany wouldn't have ended that war for at least several years, which in turn would have given the Soviets time to prepare further. Knowing this, they turned on the Soviet Union, and for a time looked as though they could beat them, but by 1942 with the Battle of Stalingrad Germany had lost the war, irrespective of the USA entering the war. The invasions of Greece and later France decreased the time until Germany surrendered, but no more than that. It is the Soviets that Europeans have to thank for the victory, and the US to thank for making sure that the Russians didn't 'accidentally' take the rest of Europe once they'd dealt with Germany.

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    5. You Americans did not save Europe.
      You only got involved after the japs took out Pearl Harbor. Sounds like you're the one that's goosestepping

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    6. All right, this is now waaay off topic. This one's a wrap.

      Why do so many sensitive Europeans read this blog, by the way?

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    7. I realize as a U.S. Veteran that the U.S. is Faaaaarrr........(echo) from perfect, and could learn alot from Europeans, but the U.S. provided massive amounts of aid to Europe in supplies and vehicles as well as the transport for these goods before we entered the war. We also opened the second front against Germany, which ultimately caused Germany to lose the war. Had the U.S. and allies(England and Canada), not invaded Europe on D-Day all the troops the German held in reserve in Western Europe would have been used against The Russians. I believe that Europeans would have lost in the end and now be speaking German and Russian. People usually think in black and white but things are never that clear cut and are mostly grey.....

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    8. Anonymous Brit,
      You fail to realize that the war may have dragged on as the eastern front was stalemated until D-day Germany had to fight a two front war after that that is what ended the war . If the war had dragged on for another year the mushroom clouds that appeared over Nagasaki and Hiroshima may have been London or Coventry instead , the Germans had the Uranium Oxide ( yellow cake ) and the technology to electromagnetically separate it . Another year we would have faced a very different outcome , Dr Heisenberg was very close to developing a fission based weapon .
      Remember you also had destroyed most of your small arms after WW1 and had to ask Americans for help to arm your home guard , American citizens donated arms that you needed FOR YOUR OWN DEFENSE.
      You should be grateful to the American people for this even II you detest our Goverment. If it was not for American blood being shed on your behalf you could very well be writing to this blog in German.
      The only things Americans have asked for in Europe is a place to bury our dead we did not claim conquered land for our own, Remember that .


      Semper Fi 8541

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    9. Or the could very easil have been over NY, DC etc.

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    10. Foolish thinking. If the US hadn't gotten into the war, the Jerrys would have vaporized London. You REALLY need to brush up on your country's history... you Brits were on your last legs... your supply lines were cut(US warships lend leased to you guys)... the RAF was almost out of trained pilots(US volunteers came to help our cousins out)...and every major English city had taken damage. Please try to READ something other than Page 3 in the Sun. My grandmother told me about the Blitz... and I was born in Edinburgh, just so you know not to open your mouth and make yourself look dumber than you already do.

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  5. I would submit that any modest study of European history would show that the recent 'everyone is happy friends' trend is a historical phenomena. A young person, say under 35 to toss out an arbitrary number, whose formative years were after the Cold War that was raised by parents whose formative years were after WWII could think differently but they would be mistaken.

    Europe's history is pretty nasty. Between minor wars about moving a border a few miles and somebody or another trying to take over the whole place it's been a bloody mess as often as not since the fall of the Roman Empire.

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  6. "Investing in yourself" is more of what modern survivalism is about. Invest in your skills, your personal growth and your tangible wealth. With rogue governments around the globe spending currency like they have it in this depression cycle, the citizens of Denmark have a debt load that has doubled in the past 3 years from 27% of the GDP to 45% of the GDP. If this continues they could see the same economic meltdown that Greece has seen. Don't let that worry you though, I'm sure it will all be OK and the money fairy will bring along some Euro's to keep our little dissenter afloat as they continue to double their debt load to the levels that many other near catastrophic EU economies are holding.

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  7. I use "Zombie Apocalypse " as a prepping theme, not because I fear zombies are coming, but because if you are prepped for a zombie outbreak everything else is Charlie/Sierra. Single event Preppers like on the TV show are missing the point. I prep because my magic 8 ball's batteries are broken, and I cant see the future.

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  8. You only need to look at recent events to see why its a good idea to set aside a few stores in case of catastrophic events, such as Katrina or any other weather event.
    Recently the "Obama Food Stamp Cards" were off-line for a few hours, and those who are so dependent on them to feed their kids start crying about how they have "nothing to feed them" in the house. They were threatening to storm the stores and start looting. That's just crazy. These people are so conditioned to never spending their own money on food, it doesn't even occur to them to do so.
    I would hope everyone has at least a weeks worth of food in their homes, but obviously that's not the case. As a wife and mother, I want to be sure my family is fed.

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  9. This is also something that alot of us prepare for, the people who did not see the need to.

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  10. Well all I would say is when hurricane Katrina hit what did the government do , how long it took to do what ever they did , how man people died before our government stepped up, and who are the governments first priority to protect in a emergence situation ? Hin t not its dam citizens and that goes for all countries. I rather prepare for the expected as well as the unexpected than to rely on someone else for my survival especially when our governments let you know you are not of importance to be first. Second of all wake up and see the government has prepared shelter, food, protection, and dam security for them and their families now the question should be HAVE YOU DONE THE SAME ? For you and yours.

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  11. I know there were errors made during the Katrina debacle, but the federal gov. did not legally have jurisdiction to activate until requested by local or state level gov. The governor of LA l, and the mayor of NO had no intention of requesting aid because it would not help their cause, nor fit the s,ript they were using. AL, FL, MS, and TX all requested aid, and when LA finally called for help the 900 mile long appx. 30 mile inland affected areas were already pulling resources away. NO was below sea level, and loss of power doomed sections when pumps stopped, plus local leadership had for decades squandered Army Corps of Engineer, federal, state and local support rather than actually do the job they were elected to do.
    The Bush administration did have its own issues, a politically, connected horse groom as FEMA manager, failure to control the dialogue, and lack of empathy with displaced refugees, but they are not the cause of the disaster, and can not be blamed for the unrest, or deaths resulting from that storm.
    Democrats controlled that state and city, and managed to make it sound like the only area hit was in NO. Sorry, 900 miles of coast were hit, and everyone was affected, not just the 9th ward.
    RANT OFF, I NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING

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  12. No.We POS Americans have only started 1 War....and we won it.
    Since then, we helped many others win theirs.
    Nobody messes with us on our ground without running and hiding in fear.
    We will never be conquers or occupied, because the few of us today prepare, and stow away enough to feed and defend not only ourselves, but the neighborhood.
    Get out from our umbrella if it bothers you.

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  13. If everyone left they're nationalism aside,he has a good point! If you read all these survivor websites,they all say,"AR15's and a million rounds".Even this site promotes the latest greatest gear.Freeze dried food,water filters,so on.If you do the math on current prices,you'd spend a fortune on it.Nothing wrong with learning to can food,dehydrate,a decent couple of guns,but if you think you can out do a band of zombie bikers,well,good luck! Just get normal camping gear and pray,its cheaper

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  14. Everyone spends discretionary income on things that are meaningful, interesting and enjoyable to them. That's part of "living life," right?

    Yep, you can go broke on guns, survival gear and food storage...but people go broke spending money on their interests all the time--cars, vacations, electronics, clothes, jewelry, homes, sports, gambling, collecting, etc.

    Self control and moderation are important life skills.

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    1. Exactly! I see the amount of money some of the more extreme folks spend on "prepping", and I sometimes find myself shaking my head. However, I also figure they might shake their head at what I spent on my Harley a few years back. I know my wife does. ;>)

      As for "sacrificing our lives" to be "preppers", we do not commit all resources to it. We lead what most people would consider very fun lives. By age 16, my son had been scuba diving with me in three different countries...my wife and I crisscross the country on a Harley...family vacations to places like Yellowstone, the Keys, etc.

      But, a while back, I sat down and watched as hundreds of people stood in line for the few supplies they could get from FEMA, Red Cross, etc., and it disgusted me to think that my lack of basic preparation could mean that same fate for my family. That launched me on a mission to have at least six months of supplies on hand...balanced out across most all categories my family currently uses. We have met that, and beyond, and have done it in a way where we do not have huge investments in items that would never get touched except in case of extreme emergencies. Now, when we need something, we simply retrieve it from the "stock room", and I re-supply once a month. At first, my wife kind of rolled her eyes at it all, but she now regularly makes suggestions for items we might want to add to our supplies. Also, a side benefit, is that it saves us money in that we hedge our bets against the prices we see rising all along, and that we make fewer trips to the store, where our efforts are focused, thus eliminating almost all impulse purchases.

      It's quite interesting to see the attitudes of folks towards such lifestyles today, given that just two generations removed, almost all people I knew lived as such. The only items my grandparents purchased from supermarkets were salt, sugar, flour, etc...i.e. staples. Everything else they either grew in their own garden, or bartered for with neighbors. My grandfather would trade for a piglet and/or calf every year, and raise them for meat, and rabbit, squirrel, deer, etc. were regular items on the dinner table. It would have been absolutely repulsive to him to even think about being dependent upon government, and related agencies, to take care of his family, regardless of the circumstances.

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  15. My husband was hurt at work and we ate out of the stockpile for over a year. We only needed to buy fresh items and ice cream. A stockpile is a beautiful thing. Saved our behinds

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  16. I personally think it is possible to do it quite cheaply. For instance, go to an army surplus store and get a canteen cup, then buy some coffee filters and just like that (about $10) you don't need an expensive water filter. Also, a pump shotgun can be bought for about $250, depending on how fancy and what model you get and then get 200 rounds of field loads to train with for another $50. That is not much more than the newest iPhone or about the same price of a cheap tablet or laptop. And in my opinion, if someone gave me a shotgun and 200 rounds and told me have fun, or they gave me a phone or cheap laptop, well, I personally would take the shotgun. Then I would still have a shotgun and I could get some buckshot and I would be ready to defend my family. On food storage and water, how much does a can of (chile, beans... whatever flavor you want) and a case of water cost? $5 maybe? Whats $5? Now every time (or every other time) you go shopping for groceries, spend an extra $5 and before you know it you will have a good little stockpile. As far as gear (camping) goes, most people have some camping gear laying around and probably little things that would be helpful too. Any way, take a camping trip (try to be minimalist) and then what ever you get there and go "Wow! a (knife, tarp, metal container, rope...) would have been really useful/needed" and then go again later and, if you already have said really useful/needed stuff add that and go. You might be surprised how little you can use especially if yo have a tent. Then as you learn some skills (youtube is free) you can use even less gear when you camp. Lets assume you spent $50 bucks in the end on camping gear. That brings (covering all the bases) to a cost of $370, just a little more than half what a new iPad would cost. As you get more into it (shoot up your ammo, get more food/water, and if you enjoy camping like I do, some new/better camping gear) you can build up more and as long as there is no reason to eat your food, it will just keep growing until you have a week/month/year/decade worth of food and water.
    Who says "prepping" is expensive?
    P.s. If you smoke, quit smoking and you can pay for all of that and have about $100 left over in 3 months.

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  17. I enjoy being outdoors, camping, hiking, shooting, working with my tools like knives, axes, hatchets, and saws. I love the martial arts. I enjoy learning about medicine. As it turns out, those are helpful if the @#$% ever hits the fan.

    What will $%^& hitting the fan look like? The East Coast of the US gets a does every few years, and sometimes several times a year. The Gulf of Mexico got a taste. Colorado got a taste this year. Joplin, Missouri, got a taste. I got a taste several times when I lost city water and electricity.

    So, I pursue my hobbies. Those hobbies happen to be pretty useful. I also happen to have a few extra groceries and a little medicine on hand. It's not a big deal. If a weather disaster hits my area, I'll be better off than my neighbors. If UN mind controlled ninja raccoons ever manage to find their way out of the national parks, wearing their black uniforms and blue helmets, I'll be prepared. There is not a lot of difference between being prepared for a week or two (or three) without electricity or water, and being prepared for ninja raccoons.

    WG

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  18. I should say, in addition, I believe the Doomsday Prepper show is scripted. I read a comment by one of the people featured, saying they were assigned a topic and had to present their research and preps for that event on the show. They are real preppers, but the events featured are scripted. After I read that, I realized that fit with the pattern of the show. The producers give them a scripted event, the folks (real preppers) then show what they have been doing to prepare for that scripted event. Some of the stuff they come up with is pretty bogus, some of it is clever.

    Watch 10 or 15 episodes in a row. Look for the patterns. The scripts become clear.

    WG

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  19. Not so sensitive European here and *drummroll* I do prep. Having basic (or not so basic) necessities at hand is just prudent, if just for “beating inflation”. If I need amount X of a certain product over a certain timespan, I might as well just buy it in bulk to safe money. I hope this post makes it through, cos the last 4 didn’t show up here and I do not think that they were offensive or have been censored out by the host for other reasons...are they out to get me??

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  20. if one were to read JW Rawles,he assumes we all need to spend 100k on preps,guns,ammo,freeze dried anything,and radiation detectors...what a jerk

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  21. You cannot talk sense to people who believe in the socialist ideal and that big gov. does everything best and has only its citizenry's best interests at heart. Actually, anyone who believes that government does everything better and only cares about its citizens must refute the prepper mentality in order to protect and defend his or her belief. Maybe nothing ever happens and they "win", or maybe something big or small happens that seriously impacts their lives and they "lose". End of the day, it’s about me and mine. If you think and believe as I do and have planned and prepared as I have we may become allies. But if all you have is a sad face and a hand out, better start getting used to the hunger and cold.

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  22. Day TripperJanuary 20, 2014

    Storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards...they all happen, and so does the power outages, food and water shortages, and civil distress that accompanies them. Doomsday Preppers always seemed to be a bit out there with some of their fears, however, in the past 2 years I've experienced a local power outage for 14 days with 90-100 degree temps, a handful of blizzards that basically forced us to stay home for a few days at a time, and now a chemical leak in a river that thankfully didn't affect us directly, but has affected thousands of people in West Virginia and Ohio.

    Having the necessities to deal with such situations on hand is priceless to anybody who has ever experienced them. Hell, just being able to endure the incident without having to go out for food, water, gas, etc. at the last minute when the store shelves are going bare and there is mass hysteria is worth every penny. I've seriously seen people get in fist fights over a bag of ice during a power outage. I've also seen someone almost get ran over while trying to hold a gas pump for someone else when there was a line nearly a mile long just to get to one of the gas pumps.

    If you think it can't happen to you....you are very wrong.

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  23. Back to Simon in Denmark: I've been to Denmark and love it and the Danes. On the long term catastrophic side of the conversation, your grandparents almost starved toward the end of WW2 under German occupation and the subsequent collapse of order as WW2 ended. I would also suggest that it was a miracle from God that Denmark didn't get swallowed like more than half of Germany by the Soviets. If the Soviet had been a little more aggressive about how far they pushed west, the outcome for Denmark might have been completely different. But these were both long term catastrophes and a years worth of food is better than a week, but it is certainly not enough to insulate you entirely from the event.

    Any event lasting longer than a year (massive EMP, economic collapse, pandemic, Terrorist destruction of power grid, war, what ever) will require a fundamental changing of the way we live, if for no other reason than survival. Few, if any of us are really prepared for full on change in the way we live.

    The rational person prepares for short term events, if only for comfort and convenience. But more importantly you might have kids and family.

    Let me give you an example of a short term but huge catastrophe that effected more than half of Europe in living memory and should be reason enough to start prepping - Chernobyl !!!!!

    Did the Russians warn anyone - No. It was discovered when workers in a Finnish (or Swedish- can't remember which) Nuke plant set off alarms from the radioactivity they had picked up from outside the plant. No one could drink milk for months. People had to stay inside their homes. Traffic flow and food distribution was affected in many areas. It was bad, really bad, but it could have been a lot worse. The Japanese plant is still partially out of control and you can bet that the civilians are not being told the whole truth.

    There are old Soviet Nuke power plants still running with in 500 kilometers of Denmark. The people running these plants aren't evil. They are doing the best they can with what they have. Same as Chernobyl. Would the Chechens attack and cause a melt down of a Russian power plant if they could?

    So Simon, how lucky do you feel?

    Simon - do you have a car? Does it have a spare tire? Do you have a flashlight with extra batteries? If so, why? Does making sure you have this and say, a first aid kit, a sleeping bag and a camping stove along with a few other items interfere with living your life? How about some extra rolls of toilet paper and some canned food and bottled water? How about good utility knife ? Do you have a dog? How about an extra bag of dog food?

    You start by getting prepared to loose power/communication/and outside support for a week. From there you push to a month, 3 months, 6 months, and a year.

    Just prep to your comfort level. But, if I lived in Denmark, Germany, Poland, or anywhere in Europe really, I'd be prepping for 90 days and a Nuke plant accident.

    Good Luck my Danish brother. If you don't know history, you will probably repeat it

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  24. I agree with first post Demark: the possibility of any catastrophic world changing event is very slim. Many here will disagree but, I respect that. Tornados, hurricanes, fire, car break down, job loss, power loss,....etc. happen everyday, that is what I prepare for. Like many other posters here I do not have a bunker, my wife is not trained sniper, and my kids are not trained as ninjas. For most it isn't about being prepared for the of the world but, being prepared for what LIFE throws at you.

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  25. I do it because it's fun. That's not the only reason, but it is certainly near the top. Friends hold a winter shoot where we get to test all our gear in rotten conditions, and then laugh about it over fabulous steaks. Our excuse for another camping trip is "We've got gear modifications to test!" I love raising chickens and ducks, and would do it even if they weren't freeing me from dependence on the grocery store, but I appreciate that freedom, and the much healthier eggs and meat. I like to hunt. I love to learn new skills... and since I already knew how to quilt, it just made sense to learn to spin and weave to make the cloth to do it. Also, I live where the power goes out for weeks at a time every winter due to ice storms taking out the power lines. Knowing how to live in these conditions only makes sense, since it would be expensive and inconvenient if I had to leave every time this happened. It's not like moving is an option - my husband's job is here, and the real estate market is still awful. Prepping doesn't run my life. It isn't about fear. It's just one aspect of a well-rounded education, it's fun, and it makes the conditions I live in safer for me and my family, so it would be stupid NOT to do it.

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