Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A failure to communicate

My my my, what a tempest.

It seems that Ms. Valerie Lucus-McEwen’s rather snarky article entitled Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish ignited a veritable firestorm of comments, nearly every single one negative.

The degree of protest apparently surprised Ms. Lucus-McEwen. Who’da thunk, after all, that calling people selfish – those who dare to take personal responsibility for meeting the needs of their families during a disaster – would be met with universal contempt?

In an effort to clarify her position, Ms. Lucus-McEwen posted a follow-up article entitled What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate, which essentially reiterated her original position. She seems to think there is a critical difference between doomsday preppers and disaster preppers, a distinction that seems to be based solely on her opinion of the preppers’ plans for their own supplies.

These are the supplies, I might add, on which preppers spent their own money, time, and effort to acquire. Without the slightest bit of evidence or proof, Ms. Lucus-McEwen claims doomsday preppers are selfish and won’t share with others, whereas disaster preppers will be the souls of generosity who plan to willingly distribute everything they have, without reimbursement or complaint, in a time of disaster. She’s the expert, after all.

Ms. Hyphenated-Lastname puts more emphasis on “community” than on “individuals.” What she believes, and I quote, is “…good disaster preparedness starts at a community level.”

Wrong. Good disaster preparedness starts at the individual level. As one commenter put it, how on earth can anyone contribute to the good of the community if their own needs are not being met first? Even on airplanes, the emergency instructions tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping those around you.

Preparedness is a three-legged stool: knowledge, supplies, and community.  But community holds different meaning for different people.  Our nearby town is NOT our prepping "community."  Our prepping community is a core of like-minded friends and neighbors who have spent years working toward increased self-sufficiency, who plan to band together and share knowledge and resources during hard times, and who do not plan to be a burden on others unless they are faced with circumstances beyond their control.

So when Ms. Lucus-McEwen says, “I'm advocating that community should have a disaster plan that everyone understands, that identifies where resources are…” and goes on to say that everyone will be taken care of, that strikes me as eerie.

What I’d like to know is, whose resources is she talking about? And what, Ms. Lucus-McEwen, will you DO when you find those resources? Steal them?

Ms. Lucus-McEwen loathes “hoarders.” But her definition of “hoarding” differs from that of one commenter, who writes: “Hoarding is buying an item in short supply beyond the amount you need to survive. This distinguishes hoarding from those who buy and store in times of plenty.”

Ms. Lucus-McEwen defines “hoarding” as “when preppers won’t voluntarily release their supplies to the community at large.” But why is it the responsibility of the individual to prepare for the entire community? It is financially impossible for individuals to prepare to support a community in a disaster. Therefore (Ms. Lucus-McEwen concludes) if preppers won’t distribute their personal store of supplies according to her diktat, they’re selfish. Y’know, hoarders.

Lady, I got news for you: Most preppers are on a tight, tight, tight budget. Most can barely squirrel away enough supplies for themselves, much less a thousand other people. Preppers don’t buy the latest whiz-bang electronic gadgets with their spare cash – they buy beans and rice. But what happens when those grasshoppers, who spent all their surplus cash on nonessential junk like big screen TV’s, want the beans and rice of the frugal preppers who were wise enough to see the handwriting on the wall?

Who are the selfish ones?

It is no more logical to ask preppers (“doomsday” or otherwise) to be responsible for the entire community by distributing their supplies, than it would be to ask Ms. Lucus-McEwen to distribute her 401(k) to the community when a disaster strikes. You might say that preppers’ 401(k) is their pantries. Same thing. Exactly the same thing. But no one calls those who refuse to liquidate and distribute their retirement savings “selfish.”

In the comments of these articles, Ms. Lucus-McEwen says over and over, “It’s not what you have, it’s what you do with it.” Really. Beyond the obvious – it’s none of her business what preppers “do with it” – her opinion appears to be that the only acceptable option for preppers is to donate all their supplies to the community so the community as a whole benefits. To her, it doesn’t matter that this would reduce preppers to the level of every other unprepared individual who stands in line at FEMA camps. The “collective” is more important to her than the individual.

Ms. Lucus-McEwen puts complete emphasis on community and maligns those who don’t work at the community level to prepare. What she doesn’t acknowledge is most preppers have worked at the community level. They’ve tried, over and over, for years and years, to convince people to prepare. But now… if they don’t distribute their 401(k)s… er, supplies… according to her criteria, they’re “selfish.” Got it.

She herself admits her job of community preparedness is an uphill battle. How much more uphill is it for individuals, desperately trying to convince those around them to take sensible precautions? How can you force someone to prepare when they refuse to do so?

Another thing Ms. Lucus-McEwen forgets is what the Doomsday Prepper television series was all about. It focused on individual preppers and what they were doing. It did NOT focus on community preparedness – it was a show about individual preparedness. Why won’t Ms. Lucus-McEwen make that distinction?

Of course, trying to distinguish between doomsday preppers and disaster preppers is academic and absurd, since her claim that Doomsday preppers won’t share their supplies has never been tested. Sure, most Doomsday preppers are preparing for the survival of their immediate family. But if a tornado/hurricane/wildfire/earthquake/name-your-disaster hits, how does she know they won’t generously help out in any way they can? How does she know? Answer: she doesn’t. She’s just making an ill-informed judgment call about people she doesn’t even know. With no proof, she assumes that these preppers will be “selfish” (according to her definition). And she doesn’t see the unfairness of that assumption?

Look, preppers are not a heartless bunch – not even the “doomsday preppers” she maligns. I’ve watched the show. Putting aside the proven fact that the preppers featured are at the extreme end of the bell curve (or they wouldn’t have agreed to be on the show in the first place), many of those interviewed taught classes in their communities, or were prepping for large groups of people beyond their own families. Selfish? NOT.

The preppers I know – and I know a lot – have every intention of helping those whom they can, until that help begins to harm their own family.  That’s the critical factor Ms. Lucus-McEwen seems to dislike – that people instinctively want to put the safety of their own families above the safety of strangers.

I don’t know a single prepper – not one single one – who doesn’t have a bucket list of unprepared people (friends, neighbors, relatives) they’re willing to take in and care for in a disaster situation. Thanks to preppers, these friends, relatives, and neighbors are people who won't need to use the stretched resources of FEMA or the community. Now tell me again how “socially selfish” doomsday preppers are?

In short, Ms. Lucus-McEwen’s attitude encompasses the government’s public war against private ownership.

I’ve copied some of the hundreds of comments below (in no particular order) and italicized a few lines for emphasis. Pay special attention from the comments by Ms. Lucus-McEwen. To her credit – and I give her huge credit for this – she makes a good-faith effort to answer a lot of the comments.

We do indeed have a failure to communicate. In fact, it’s like talking to a brick wall.

Eli | Commented 11 Hours Ago
Let me make sure I understand this. An individual who’s an Emergency Manager is saying its selfish to prepare for an emergency? How do you draw the line in the sand between reasonable amount of preparedness and selfish levels? Do YOU determine that Ms. Emergency Manager? You get to decide who’s being practical and who’s being selfish and greedy? Does that line in the sand move depending on whether you need to go confiscate some supplies to address an emergency? How about we all just take care of ourselves, and how about we applaud those who are capable and willing to take care of themselves rather than demonize them? There’s a new thought.... I think you may be in the wrong field of study if you are trying paint those who prepare in a bad light.

Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 7 Hours Ago
Eli - I certainly wasn't trying to be disrespectful of emergency preparedness for individuals and communities. The line (in my opinion) is drawn when one hoards supplies and resources selfishly instead of using that time and energy to prepare his/her community for survival

Marcia Lynn | Commented 1 Hour Ago
I'd like to propose a question to Valerie: What would be your solution to a prepper or group of preppers who will not share with an unprepared community around them? If the prepared group won't help take care of the unprepared group, would you advocate MAKING the prepared group share their provisions, by any means? I think anyone reading your articles knows your answer, no matter what you reply here.

Justsumstuff | Commented 11 Hours Ago
I'm still not sure what you mean by the "good of the community", so I'll pose this scenario. Hypothetically: a disaster (snowstorm?) visits a neighborhood of 1000 houses. 500 of these houses are Doomsday Preppers, so their resources for self-sufficiency are almost infinite. The other 500 are Disaster Preppers because they have their 72hr kits. The govt can't provide services for well over 72hrs, maybe a few weeks. The govt can give an answer for when it will be in the area to assist residents. What is your answer for the 500 with only 72hrs prep? What is your answer to the other houses that are self-sufficient for months? Are you advocating that the Doomsday Preppers should share with the others for the good of the community? Thanks.

Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 10 Hours Ago
I'm suggesting it shouldn't come to that. It should come to a community that has worked together ahead of time to be able to understand and meet the needs of all its members. If that doesn't happen, realistically, you are more likely to have 250 Doomsday preppers, 250 Disaster Preppers and 500 who aren't prepared at all. Then what? The preppers all barricade their doors to keep their neighbors out and watch them die on their doorsteps? Seriously? I'm advocating that community should have a disaster plan that everyone understands, that identifies where resources are, what individual responsibilities are, where are the disabled or dependent or latch-key kids, the rest homes and day care centers, the clinics and the schools, how to set up warming stations, how to feed people who can't feed themselves. Are there going to be people who don't participate and just want help? Of course there are. Those people are everywhere. But they make up a small, small percentage of the whole. Do we abandon the folks who can't take care of themselves? The key is the work BEFORE the disaster to make changes that will kick in when a disaster happens. Will your 500 Doomsday Preppers refuse to help because they can take care of themselves, thank you very much, and there is no reason they should provide any assistance to the local senior center. What's in it for them? That is what I mean by socially selfish.

Marcia Lynn | Commented 1 Hour Ago
"The preppers all barricade their doors to keep their neighbors out and watch them die on their doorsteps?" WHAT? According to you, a prepper should let all unprepared people in, allow them to loot his entire savings, then watch his own family die a few days or weeks later because his hard-earned supplies were given to beggars who didn't prepare? Are you seriously that short-sighted, lady?

jjyergler | Commented 12 Hours Ago
So, you post an intellectually indefensible article, get hammered in the comments, then post another article trying to parse your words to mean something that you didn't say the first time. It still comes down to this: You are saying that if I prepare for a "power outage" and put others first, I'm cool. If, however, I am preparing for something more significant, a "black swan," and am only going to help myself, then I'm selfish. The truth is more complicated. I am preparing for whatever comes my way, more than just a power outage, but I believe the sun will rise on Dec 22. Most importantly, who the hell are you to label me by how I'm going to use the preparations that I have made? I earned the money, used my wisdom, dripped my sweat, and am now more prepared than 99% of those around me. Why is it selfish of me to look after myself first? Who are you to judge me? You liberals keep saying "don't force your morality on me." That's exactly what you are doing to me. You have your version of how people should act, then you judge them by how they conform to your view of the world. You are a hypocrite. You didn't fail to communicate the first time, you are just trying to cover your tracks.

Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 11 Hours Ago
I'm sorry I haven't been able to communicate my thoughts more fully. Being prepared for bad things to happen are good regardless of what the underlying reason is. What I believe is good disaster preparedness starts at a community level. We aren't an island and trying to be one is destructive to the stength and continuity of our communities. I guess you are right in how I judge people. If they aren't interested in helping humanity survive and prosper, I can't help but judge them more harshly that those that do. My opinions, my ideas, my belief. I understand and support you even if you disagree. That is all I really want from all these commenters. I just can't seem to find the words to make it happen!!

All you have are mine | Commented 13 Hours Ago
Valerie wrote… I'm sorry, Dante. It really doesn't matter how much food you have or what you buy with our money - the tipping point is how you use it. All of that works well in a disaster. I was only asking how you were going to use it. Is it something you are planning to hoard or are you working in your community to make sure everyone else is prepared also. I'm not sure how else to say it. So, you are saying that if I don’t “share” in the manner prescribed by my credentialed, government betters, then I am a hoarder. Credentialed. Not creditable.

The Concerned Citizen | Commented 15 Hours Ago
When I read your original comments I said some pretty horrible things under my breath about your lineage. I find that your language in the original article does not address the fact that we preppers have been trying FOR YEARS AND YEARS to get people to realize that things can happen and they should stock up...and we are subsequently listed in the nutcase column with all the tinfoil hat wearers. The show "Doomsday Preppers" is a highly politicized and hyped show about people who are forced into a box. Its made to be radical and attract viewers. Facts and logic are missing, as well as realistic preparations. I find it insulting that you would refer to it, even in passing, of people being socially selfish: Its a *TV* *SHOW*. Its entertainment. Over 50% of the episodes are beyond lunacy. We don't prep for doomsday. We prep for a variety of disasters. Once you start prepping, you realize that a stretch here and an addition here would also cover you for ???. ...and thats what we do. Dooomsday? Sure, why not. A few additions and we've got that covered too. Nobody ever really says it but in reality preps only give you a buffer so you can have time to acquire other resources before you starve or dehydrate. While I think some may be a little harsh on your comments, I also see that it may be that 20 years of bureaucratic brainwashing may have made you more than just a little closed minded to the ideas of personal responsibility and independence. After all, you're comments are coming from a position of helping those who have had little forethought in even their everyday lives, much less a disaster.

Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 13 Hours Ago
Exactly!! I don't want you waiting in a FEMA line, either, I want you to stock up and work with all your local agencies to get them involved. That is the difference. Not what you have, but what you do with it.

michael | Commented 10 Hours Ago
Valerie, here is the difference. Stripping away all the idealism, and the way things -should- be, we are left with one hard reality. An individual can do almost nothing to affect the prepardness status of a community. However, they are in completely control of their preparedness. It is not selfish, even if you do not plan to share. The supplies even a doomsday prepper lays in could be exhausted in an afternoon. If we are so worried about a collective response, shouldn't everyone in Marin county stop being selfish TODAY? They could divest and live on much less, couldn't they? Shouldn't they ensure than their wealth is far better shared with those without a roof? With the waitress across the Bay with two kids, who wastes her money on dope and makes awful life decisions? That is precisely what you advise us to do. If i have supplies for two weeks on hand, I get ridiculed by most family members. And of course, that is always followed with "if anything happens, I’ll just come over here! hardeeharhar) The story of the little red hen, baking the bread was and is the standard of value. Of course we should all educate our community. But your opining is very disheartening. Your position is also a bit revealing of the disaster managers mindset. A FEMA community initiative means they are viewing preppers as nothing more than a lucrative resource, for them to manage for the benefit of all. They should view preppers as people who will not need so much assistance. In closing this feels like accusing a lotto winner of selfishness for not redistributing the prize back into the community until they are left with the amount the paid for the ticket. It defeats the whole purpose. Most doomsday things will never occur. So why should I spend my time and money to ensure that it will go nicer for those who laugh at me and enjoy spending on the things I would now forgo?

Sam Linder | Commented 12 Hours Ago
Valerie - I'm getting a bit tired of your insistence on "social responsibility". I prep for my immediate family first and foremost. I have also wasted a lot of energy trying to convince other family members, friends and neighbors to do likewise. Now you are telling me I have to step up and help the very people who ignored my pleas to plan ahead? Sorry, but I only plan to help those who truly were unable to help themselves. Everyone else can stuff it as far as I'm concerned.

Neo | Commented 9 Hours Ago
Dante is offering a very valid concept, prepare in times of plenty to ride out the storm ahead. Val is a revealing a communal collectivist thought process, (polite way of saying Marxist commie) by naming the results of your wisdom "Hoarding" if you fail to redistribute to the community. This is so so so awful.Why? example: We know the Hurricane is coming for a week or two maybe, so we use our last two paychecks to "stock up/ board up", ok cool. you and yours are all good through the event, candles water, food extra plywood and nails for a couple boards that blew off...But you have these neighbors, who got the same warnings as you, and instead of preparing they ignored all media warnings to prep or evacuate. now their windows are blown in, they and their kids are freezing and wet and hungry, and there is like 16 of them. and they see you're all dry and cozy with the kerosene heater. Now you're a Hoarder!!! they get the National Guard to bust down your door, take all your food to give to their starving kids, take your heat and leave you with nada, and the rain now pouring in on your family. Val taking your words, "I don't know how else to say it": You're a communist! We have all tried to get our neighbors to prep, they refused! Now its up to them to watch their kids freeze and go hungry. I may choose to share out of mercy, but more likely they can have a month food supply bucket and a blanket in exchange for something nice, since they were out buying a new car/i-phone/bling etc while we were prepping. Redistribution from the wise to the unwise? is that your plan? label the wise as "hoarders" and take their supplies? That's government looting. That's what we are all opposed to. Where is the moral obligation to assist those who were warned but partied until the fire was under their butt? Its no failure to communicate we see it for what it is. Communism.

Dante | Commented 13 Hours Ago
You still didn't answer the questions I posed. How is it selfish for somebody to purchase, at their own expense, supplies when they are plentiful? And what business is it of yours that they do so? Selfish is spending your money on trivialities, and then expecting the government to steal supplies from the frugal to save your life after you decided that instant gratification today was more important than preparing for the future. News flash: "Hoarding" is buying an item in short supply beyond the amount you need to survive. Buying an item that is plentiful and saving it for a rainy day is NOT hoarding. Any government apologist who thinks somehow I owe supplies to the person who bought the latest version of the iPhone and overpriced designer clothes (instead of being sure to provide for themselves and their families) is nothing more than a thief. For the record, I do have "handout" supplies set aside for the foolish, but not having extra isn't selfish except in your bizzaro world. Those people are doing what they can to prepare for their families. Other peoples families are NOT their responsibility unless their needs have already been met. The "failure to communicate" here is your inability to acknowledge that prepared families contribute to the strength of a community even without providing supplies to others because they are one less drain on scarce resources; and the fact that it is impossible to contribute to the health of your community if your personal needs are not met. If after all these responses you still can't recognize and/or admit your error, then I respectfully suggest you look for alternate employment. I repeat my hope that my family is never under your jurisdiction. Digging your heels in and stubbornly insisting you are right and everybody else is wrong is not the type of leadership people respond to during a period of crisis.

Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 14 Hours Ago
I'm sorry, Dante. It really doesn't matter how much food you have or what you buy with our money – the tipping point is how you use it. All of that works well in a disaster. I was only asking how you were going to use it. Is it something you are planning to hoard or are you working in your community to make sure everyone else is prepared also. I'm not sure how else to say it.

Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 11 Hours Ago
Blackheart: What I don't get is how that person prepping for themselves to survive the end of the world is going to help their community survive a more expected disaster. If you are preparing to ensure you survive a Doomsday event, but don't care whether your community survives with you -- where does that leave you?

ValerIe Lucus-McEwen | Commented 3 Days Ago
Lauren: You are right, there are a few stories thrown in there about preppers who are working with their community, but that isn’t what this series is about. This reality show celebrates extreme people who are determined to take care of themselves and their families from a 'black swan' event through extreme measures with an overriding emphasis on security; as in “it doesn’t matter how many preps you have if you can’t keep others from taking them.” They are CASTING people to appear on the show. Do you really think community spirit is one of the criteria that is taken into consideration? I’ve spent most of my professional career promoting emergency preparedness – but not this kind. This kind hurts everybody.


  1. Apparently Ms. Hyphenated-Last Name subscribes to the redistribution of preps. She will starve as she tries to community organize, and we will have our buffer in a community of our choosing.

  2. Hmmm- which community would I be sharing with? The unemployed, welfare abusing neighbors? The ones who won't even bend over to pick the trash out of their yards? The ones using their access card to buy soda at the local convenience store. Could you even imagine the look on their faces if I showed up on their doorstep with a bucket of wheat? This womans ideas aggravate me beyond words.

  3. Dear Patrice, everything you say makes SUCH good sense. Everything Valerie says makes NO sense whatsoever, and she knows it. However, being a loyal and brainwashed liberal-progressive, she will never EVER admit she might be wrong. She probably graduated from college with a degree in psychology, so she thinks she understands people and knows more than the rest of us about everything. She keeps repeating the same baloney and lies, over and over, trying to justify her errors and faulty beliefs. Very typical liberal-progressive behavior. She's only repeating what our phony president has been saying for the past 4 years: "Spread the wealth" and "share the wealth." This is socialism, plain and simple. They take from us and give to those who won't fend for themselves. And I'm NOT talking about the elderly or anyone who physically or mentally can't cope. I'm talking about the lazy jerks who want to just sit back and rake in the FREE stuff from Obama's "stash," while we taxpayers pay for it all! This Valerie Lucus-McEwen is beyond reasoning with. We WILL accept her skewed ideas and beliefs, or else! WE are wrong, not her. She's the only one in step in the parade. I've had enough of her. She's just one of many who can't tell the truth from fiction, who can't see what's really right and wrong in the world. I'm not reading anymore of her ignorance or any comments sent to her. It's a total waste of time! --Fred in AZ

  4. One wonders what level of preparedness that she has? Are supplies registered with her local government managers? Is she in any way prepared or does she expect the government to save, which is a fatal mistake.

    1. I think I read in her second acticle that she has done NO preps as she plans to head to her headquarters ASAP after whatever hits the fan.

      So SHE expects everyone ELSE to take care of HER needs.


  5. Ironically at the same site another Emergency Manager did a post about creating more positive PR so more individuals would prepare.

  6. Wow. Just wow.

    The Grasshoppers are in charge and the foolish are demanding oil from the wise.

  7. Here is my comment and her response.

    The Bard of the American Redoubt | Commented 1 Day Ago

    Obviously you have hit upon a nerve here, which is ... good I guess. Trying to assign motives to someone's actions is always a precarious thing to do. In truth you do not "know" what motivates people or preppers, at best it is your opinion. And your opinion shows a very exclusionary and demeaning approach to other people. You assign a fairly demeaning generalization to an entire group of people. This is classic exclusionary supremacist thought process. See how I assign motives to your actions? People may prepare for anything they wish, it is their money and time and different things keep different people up at night. Some events have a high likeliness of happening, like an earthquake or a brush fire in the right geographical area. And some have a lower chance of happening, like a terrorist attack with a dirty bomb. Many serious preppers dislike the show Doomsday Preppers because it does not represent the average prepper very well. However no matter how or why you take responsibility for you and yours, all people should be applauded not decried for taking personal responsibility for their safety. It is my opinion the prepper movement is heavily libertarian and conservative or a form of traditionalist (and yes a bit of generalizing), anyway traditionalist tend to see the family unit as the basis as society, while progressives, which you appear to be by the spelling of your hyped last name “Lucus-McEwen”, generally see the individual as the basis of society. Thus your misunderstanding. For many of us it is our Christian duty to take care of or "prepare" our families. As a prepper we are not just taking care of “ourselves” we are fulfilling our civic and religious responsibilities, and in doing so we are not a burden to our fellow men.
    Reply to this Thread

    Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 1 Day Ago
    Thank you, Bard. I believe I have hit a nerve that I didn’t expect to hit. I certainly didn’t mean to be exclusionary or demeaning. I truly want to help and truly believe it starts locally and within communities. Just so you know, a lot of my family is Mormon, so I understand the duty to take care of family. I also know that part of my family interacts fully with their community and their disaster plans include all of them in their disaster planning, whether they understand what that means or not. I admire that as a model (the model, not the religions part) and would love to see that kind of social/community responsibility more widely understood. We really are in this together. On the other side, having been in government, I know there are good people and bad people and good ideas and bad ideas. FEMA has been up and down with the administration in power, but right now they are trying as hard as any government agency to make things better. It just seems it is hard to get some folks to understand all that. :-)

  8. Wow, getting her to understand the crux of the matter is like banging your head against a brick wall.

    "If you are preparing to ensure you survive a Doomsday event, but don't care whether your community survives with you -- where does that leave you?"

    Well, let's see, that leaves you the only family alive with enough brains to repopulated and build a smarter community. Call me crass and unfeeling, but the Bible is filled with stories of people who didn't heed a warning and found themselves out of luck. Anyone remember the Ark? Talk about abandoning the community and focusing on family safety while doomed laugh!

    I don't think she realizes that we have made a national "community" of like minded people, and we don't all happen to live in the same place. "Community" is a crock. Charity is a virtue, but it is a choice.


  9. Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 14 Hours Ago
    are you working in your community to make sure everyone else is prepared also. I'm not sure how else to say it.
    Then let me say it...that's...not...my...job!!!!
    There; wasn't that easy??

  10. The story of the 'Ant and the Grasshopper' always impacted me as a child. Maybe it is applicable here.

  11. Wow. My head and heart hurt from all that. Kind of scares me that there's more folks out there like that one woman than not.

  12. A community is comprised of individuals. Ignoring that simple fact will lead her nowhere. If each individual is prepared than the community will be also.

    Collective strength is powerful but it doesn't just come out of nothing. Each part had to have some strength to lend to the whole.

  13. I'm not a prepper....maybe....I guess I like to think of it as pursuing self-sustainability (and if I happen to have 6 months worth of emergency food supplies, that's something different ).

    In my community, there are absolutely people I would let in the house during an emergency, and there are people I would turn away at the end of a shotgun. I don't feel bad about that, or selfish. Can't decide which group Ms. Lucus-McEwen would fall into into yet.

  14. Well, I think we now have an idea of how well prepared she is....

  15. I'm still trying to figure out how taking care of my family is selfish, since she can then redistribute our share of the community resources (which we neither need nor want) to someone who has spent their life talking on their Obama phone while playing the latest online video game... so by taking care of a select few, I free up resources for others. Now get off my lawn.

    Xa Lynn

  16. Why are there people being snarky about her hyphenated last name?

    1. I was going to try to explain it, but realized that we're probably such worlds apart that I can't express it to you. To some of us, it's apparent though.

    2. What about Patrice's column of being kinder than necessary? Surely you wouldn't make assumptions about about a person's last name. Perhaps it's been hyphenated since birth. I believe that Jesus would always be kind no matter what the person's name, appearance, or even actions were.

    3. Anon, why are you so judgmental?

      Mary kindly expressed a differing opinion and you mounted your high horse as fast as you can.

      And you really should read the New Testament. Jesus wasn't kind always, especially based on people's action.

  17. Wow, just reading this article makes me not want to read what she has wrote. As sad as it is I think in a real disaster senario the government and your community probably will try to take your preps. I may not be a hard core prepper, but I have a nice stash for my family. I hope the day never comes, especially if I happen to live near this woman.

  18. This Valerie Lucus-McEwen is beyond reasoning with. She is so conditioned, indoctrinated and BRAINWASHED in the way she thinks that there is just no getting through to her. If she made up her mind that 2+2=5, there would be no changing her mind, no matter how much proof and facts you showed her. If her mentors told her 2+2=5, she will believe them totally and implicitly. Yes, her liberal masters have done well. Please, folks, stop trying to point out good sense and truth to her. It's a total waste of time. She has her own set of rules, her own idea of what "truth" is, and it is totally the opposite of what sensible, open-minded people know and understand.

  19. Valerie is interested in ensuring that everyone gets what they need today. She is unwilling to accept the possibility that there might not be enough to go around or that relief may not come before “the collective resources” run out.
    She is exactly the sort of “Government help” we all need to fear in a disaster situation.

    Valerie if an event happens and I’ve 14 days of food for my household stored and on day 4 everyone around me has run out of food what do you propose?
    A] I share all my food with 9 other houses and on day 5 we all go hungry?
    B] I keep feeding my household until day 14 with my own food?

    It sounds like you are advocating option A.
    If I go down option A there are two huge problems
    1] If the disaster ends before we all starve will I be compensated for my food? Even if I am why am I taking all the risk (buying food that may never be used) but not getting the reward when its useful. If it all goes stale the neighbourhood won’t all chip in to buy me fresh supplies will they?
    2] If the disaster doesn’t end before we all stave, NO-ONE SURVIVES. While it would be nice to be able to have enough for everyone there are scenarios where not everyone is going to make it. Dividing up the resources evenly (irrespective of who owns them) just ensures that everyone dies.

    While I’m buying prep food by neighbours are buying big TVs and going to the cinema, how come I’m expected to “share” my food with them but they’re not expected to share their entertainment with me now?

  20. She's the one who keeps her money while saying I have to lose my money to people who want the government to take care of them.


  21. Valerie L-M asks what preppers expect of a dooms-day event if they don't simply relinquish their supplies to benefit the "community" (for all the good my 1,200 lbs. of beans and rice will benefit 20,000 refugees. She denies the very concept that she and all the other elites hold so dear -- Darwinism. Taking the scenario to its logical conclusion, those who are prepared with skills and supplies to weather an extended large scale disater, will help their families, and themselves to survive the disaster. Most of those who don't will turn to looting and robbing in the short run as a survival tactic, but eventually succumb as well. The survivors will pass on their skills to a new, much smaller, more independent and self sufficient population, that will naturally band together to form new communities. Probably not Marxist communes.

    I'm not going to direct this at Ms. L-M specifically, as she may be what communists call "Useful Idiots" who diseminate the party line, believing her own blather - hook, line and sinker. Most of the time when aid is doled out, it is HOARDED by the bureaucrats in charge who then use it to take care of themselves, and use the rest to barter for luxuries. In Uganda they were having people at gun point take a pound of rice and a bottle of water for the camera, and then making them give it up after they were out of the camera's view. The food was re-distributed to the army, traded for ammunition, and sold off for luxury items for those in charge. I fear this will be the reality of a true societal collapse. This is the norm and not the exception.

  22. Ms. Lucus-McEwen's thinking is so typical of the "entitled-mentality" (I'm not gonna work, earn a living or take care of myself because the gov't will). That's her community. I hope it works out for all of 'em.

    My community is like-minded folks mirroring exactly what you described Patrice....no big screen tvs, ipad/pods or fancy new cars. We take care of OUR own.

    In a nutshell, preparing for "bad scenarios" is simply insurance or saving for a rainy day. That's what my Daddy taught me...

  23. MS Whatever wants me to give to the "community". I looked in the phone book but I couldn't find a listing for "community" so just who am I supposed to give everything I've worked for to?
    JW M

  24. "Valerie Lucus-McEwen | Commented 14 Hours Ago
    I'm sorry, Dante. It really doesn't matter how much food you have or what you buy with our money – the tipping point is how you use it. All of that works well in a disaster. I was only asking how you were going to use it. Is it something you are planning to hoard or are you working in your community to make sure everyone else is prepared also. I'm not sure how else to say it."
    This one statement from this woman sums her up completely. She is delusional. One preps for disasters to ensure them and theirs SURVIVE. Her community that did not prepare? They're in for a world of hurt. To her I also say, preppers are also prepared to protect what is theirs from being taken by those that did not...

  25. In ValerIe Lucus-McEwen comment rebuttals she said..."What I believe is good disaster preparedness starts at a community level."... that's a great idea... but we live in a world were everything is a political fight! Ever try to get a law passed. It takes YEARS! How do you expect us the individual to get the community prepared. Try just getting a zoning law changed and see what headaches you get. If I spent my time getting a COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM started it would take the rest of my life and probably still wouldn't get implemented. And would cost 500 times more than it should.
    The American People have given up trying to get common sense ideas passed. The Smart ones have stopped beating our heads against the proverbial wall and started taking care of themselves (AKA...Preppers) After all, were the Katrina Victims Safer in the Super Dome or Alone in their Own Homes, With their own Supplies.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Many years ago a wise person said to me that there are two kinds of therapists: those who recovered from childhood trauma through a painful process of therapy, and those who are practicing their disease on others.

    In her response to the Bard, I believe Ms L-M provides us insight along these lines. Her comment "Just so you know, a lot of my family is Mormon, so I understand the duty to take care of family." causes me to wonder whether she is trying to prove the Mormons wrong re: family preparedness. Conversely, perhaps she is trying to force the re-creation of what she liked about the Church's process, (her next sentences "I also know that part of my family interacts fully with their community and their disaster plans include all of them in their disaster planning, whether they understand what that means or not. I admire that as a model (the model, not the religions part) and would love to see that kind of social/community responsibility more widely understood."). Forcing the Mormon model minus the religion through a secular humanist form of illogic will never make up for whatever she doesn't care for in her relationship with either the Mormon Church or its individual members.

    In any even, trying to work out this pathology through her work with communities and her disdain for 'individual preppers' seems pathological to me --i.e. practicing her disease on others. Perhaps the reason she is unable to communicate her concept to others could be becasue it is neither rational or logical, just an unfulfilled personal issue from her adolescence.

  28. I've read Valerie's comments and the ones posted here -and posted one or two of my own last time Valerie's opinions were brought up. You all could comment and try to convince Val until you are blue in the face, but she will STILL be the "do-gooder" standing in the FEMA office when the looters and rioters bust the door down demanding food and/or vengeance for the finally collapsed political and economic world.

    The comment "What happens when you argue with a fool?" comes to mind...

    Val isn't ever gonna change her mind. We know that, right?

  29. The reason that she can't get people to understand her explanation/rebuttal is because we understand her first post. She said what she meant, and meant what she said, everything else is just a lame attempt to sugar-coat the first article. Nothing has changed and the emperor still has no clothes.

  30. Wow.

    I look at it like this :
    I want to build a house and I need 10,000 bricks.
    I only have 28 bricks.
    Somehow, those 28 bricks are supposed to fill the space that should be filled by 10,000 bricks.

    Ain't no way.

    This ties in well with your "forced sharing" post.

    - Charlie

  31. I used to be what I termed a "born again hippie"; never did drug's though (a child of the 80's, I followed Nancy Reagan's advice in that!) I have since recanted and am a "9/11 constitutional constructionist". I know who Valerie is-I know her agenda. I used to sit in a circle with other's of her ilk plotting on how to re-make the world in our image. Anything that wasn't what WE were doing was evil. We wanted "tolerance" for OUR ideas, yet had none for the ideas of others. We were totally for redistributing wealth; giving freely what others had to those that had not. (Of course we had nothing, we were too busy meditating, taking a class, working a part time job so we could have a lot of free time to "work on ourselves".) We had to get the country to "understand" that those who were struggling were just "doing the best that they could" and we "shouldn't judge them" and "we should all help each other." And while those platitudes are well and good, this Valerie person is taking them too far.

    I lived in Florida for 12 years under the yearly threat and sometimes reality of hurricanes. It was drilled into our consciousness to "get prepared." And there were always those who just would not do it. Some of those who refused could still buy cigarettes, beer, dvd's, junk food, or have cell phones and satellite tv; yet said they had no money to stock up.

    It's all about prioritizing. And when those who prioritize "today" over "tomorrow" think they can trade their big screen tv for some canisters of water or food in a serious emergency, they can think again. My (step)daughter was born with severe birth defects and is a heart transplant patient. We have fought for 21 yrs to keep her alive and healthy. If we hit a real "doomsday" scenario, we know her anti-rejection medication will eventually run out and she WILL die. So, Valerie, HEAR ME ON THIS: I will care for my daughter who has struggled literally since the moment of her birth for life. I will provide food, water and shelter for her until her last breath. I will give her the food off my plate and shirt off my back. And if someone else cannot have the foresight to do that for their own family, so be it. There are no guarantees, Valerie. That's life.

  32. I'll add on to what "Anonymous' with the heart-transplant stepdaughter posted. I too know where Ms. Lucus-McEwen is coming from. I am the son of a civil rights activist father and a hippie mother. I was raised in altruism and it's usually a good value to have. When Ms. Lucus-McEwen learns of a disaster the first thing she thinks of is "What about those who aren't prepared?". She thinks those who haven't prepped should be helped---and the government should be the one to lead the way. What she is missing is most preppers have realized that the government CAN'T help everybody. And that some people will never prepare, like that relative who the family constantly has to bail out. So the best thing to do is sacrifice now to take care of yourself later, because no one else will. Ms. Lucus-McEwen hasn't come to that realization yet.

  33. What, exactly, is "hoarding selfishly"? Is two cases of soup too much? In my opinion as long as the food supply is ample and grocery stores are full to overflowing anyone who "hoards" (an intentionally disrespectful word) is doing the community a favor. Reducing the number of mouths to feed in a disaster can only be good. True they may well be eating while others are starving but: A) whose fault is that? and B) They could also be charitably helping those who did not prepare so to prejudice the discussion by lumping them all as selfish is stupid.

    But lastly and most importantly some of us believe that the coming great depression (or economic disaster or whatever it will ultimately be called) may well last years and years. So how much is too much and qualifies you as a "selfish hoarder"? Is one years supply selfish? Two? Three? Where exactly do I cross the line from FEMA's advice to have some food to cover emergencies and "selfish hoarding"?

  34. I've yet to read the two words from Valerie Lucas-Mcewen that would bring real weight to her "in-an-emergency-what's-yours-is-ours" argument:

    Thank You.

    Or did I miss that somewhere?

    Until I hear that, I'm ignoring her.

    Just Me

  35. Patrice, I read this woman's comments with interest. And in the end I've decided I don't give a whit what she believes or doesn't believe about preppers. We are all individuals anyway and whatever we do for our families, I'm not giving her a clue. If she's not prepping in any way, then she is certainly being the selfish one. That said, another thought occurred to me.

    On all these prepper web sites and blogs, I don't remember reading about folks who have certain survival skills that they can share "teach" to others. As a nearly 70-year old woman, I'm not the person I used to be physically when I was younger. However, I am a spinner and occasional weaver and have taught others these soon-to-be much needed skills.

    I think it would be a good idea to have a list of folks who know all kinds of skills and that they would be willing to share what they know. Many years ago back in the 70's when I first moved to Idaho, I too bought that wonderful book of Carla Emery's on how to do everything yourself. I even went to Kendrick Idaho and visited with her. She was pregnant at the time but still working very diligently for her family. I admired her so much.

    I have spun into yarn everything from wool, alpaca, pygora, cashmere and angora (goat), and silk, to bamboo, soy fibers ... the list goes on.

    If a disaster goes on for more than a short time, spinning your own yarn and knitting, crocheting, weaving could become a valuable skill.

    Just as a side note, my great pyr Bella is your Lydia's litter sister. I have spun Bella's beautiful fiber and well as my previous pyr Dolly's soft fiber. I have spun our long-haired kittys' fiber that was soft as cashmere. Just about anything you'd care to spin, providing it is long enough, is possible from animal fiber to plant fiber.

    I'm hoping some enterprising persons might make lists of people from their own areas. I know for a fact that in your own area there are many spinners and weavers as well as the farms who raise sheep, goats, alpacas, and who knows what else.

    Not all are preppers, but I'd bet most would be willing to share their skills before its too late.


  36. Sheryl @ www.WovenDreamsFarm.blogspot.comDecember 8, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Sorry, wrong URL for me: Correct to www.WovenDreamsFarm@blogspot.com

    Thanks, Sheryl

  37. Patrice, I'm totally shocked by this woman's statements. I live in an area that has over 51% welfare recipients....and do you think they share their largesse with ME?????? I DON'T THINK SO...but *I* will be expected to share with THEM? What? Take care of them? Pay their cell phone bills? Pay their oversize TV weekly rental fees? Diaper and feed their children? Give them the equivalent of what the local soup kitchen gives them every weekday in addition to their EBT cards? Yes, I'm bitter.....but I'm surviving, and have paid taxes for years so that they can have all these goodies...while I'm debating whether or not to register with said soup kitchen to get a box once a month.....NO WAY.....

    Kathleen in IL

  38. Wow, this person knows how to push our buttons!!

    Those of us continuely prepare by choice, had a lesson in life taught to us about "personal responsibility".

    We were NEVER to accept charity of the federal government. That money came from someone's else pocket book and they needed it more than you. Social welfare was looked down upon, yes, we went hungry, but survived. Life skills were taught, hunting, canning, growing and preserving your own food, sewing,(never could knit to save my soul).
    If you mention learning life skills to those on welfare, they look at you like you came from another planet.

    Wonderful progressive ideas are being taught in the school system, and it is only going to become worst.
    This Ms McE is a product of such teachings, or as nicely put she is the jello dumped from "Brave New World".