Country Living Series

Monday, January 18, 2016

That inner panic button....

The closing of Frank and Fern's blog, it seems, is causing a ripple effect. I've received several emails (not to mention numerous blog post comments) in which people are confessing -- well, concerns.

I received permission to anonymously post one reader's email to me:
I was really surprised to see Frank and Fern pull the plug. I have always enjoyed their blog and have several side conversations regarding goats with them also. I just finished re reading the Patriots by james w rawles and I must say the reality of that book becoming real came crashing down on my head. I guess it was overload from this week’s dismal economic state, the Patriots, and Frank and Fern pulling the plug to finish projects and such. I felt the 1st tendrils of fear, which I do not like, and spent quite some time discussing the situation with God. I guess I should mellow out by week’s end, hopefully. I hope we are all worrying for nothing but I trust my inner panic button, which is signaling trouble.
Along these lines, let me show you what I've been doing this past week. I made two enormous batches of chili...



...which I then canned.


I've also been canning pinto beans, which I use to make quick refried beans.

I've noticed something about myself: I can when I'm nervous. I've been very nervous this week. Stock markets all over the world are tanking, oil is plunging, and, well, it makes me nervous.

Frank and Fern's parting advice included the following: "We encourage you to apply the final touches to your preparations. The events unfolding in the world appear to be creating the perfect storm. How that storm will come crashing down around us, we do not know, but it is no longer way out there on the horizon, it is at the door. The wind is blowing in our faces, bringing with it the still small voice of warning which gets louder everyday. Time is short, get everything accomplished that is in your power."

They're right, folks. Time to get busy.

55 comments:

  1. I completely agree. So, when a friend of mine said she had started Spring cleaning early and was getting rid of her stock if Thrive freeze dried foods and asked if I wanted them, I said yes!! When she dropped them off she went on to explain that she understood that they had a 25 yr shelf life but she wanted them to get used instead of just sitting around. I looked at her incredulously and told her that they were supposed to be part of her storage. She shrugged her shoulders and said that she would come get them if things got that bad. Well...that comment made me very uncomfortable to say the least especially because her husband has a large gun case...

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    1. No, she just "gave" them to you. They are now yours. You're not her storage unit. Kind of an odd comment for her to make.

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    2. Uhh... No. I had one neighbour look at my water tank in the garage and jokingly say she knew where to come. I said 'no, this amount of water would last our family of seven for X amount of time.' I think she got the hint.

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    3. Uncomfortable and incomplete conversation. One assumes/hopes one will have time to sor it out. I think (I just love hindsight!) I would have stopped right there and asked if she were really giving them to me, or just asking me to store them for her. BIG difference. There is no taking back later when you realize your mistake - it is no longer yours to take back. As Patrice has pointed out in a post long ago when friends laughingly said that during a SHTF scenario they would simply come to her house. She seriously replied "No, you won't." So, let's everyone practice saying, kindly and with love, "No, you won't." The size of the gun case shouldn't matter.

      Reminding yourself to stand strong and be brave is in the Top 10 of your prepping whether you realize it or not.

      God Bless,
      Janet in MA

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    4. I think I would tell my neighbor that I had donated the food to a family in need and then store it in a safe place out of her sight. However, regardless of what you tell her, she will be your first problem when the grid goes down. SuccotashRose

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    5. it isn't a lie. it will be your family who are in need.
      if she knows you prep you my be in for trouble.
      on the other hand you might clarify that you are not a storage unit and give them back if it becomes clear that that is what she thinks.
      better safe than sorry.

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    6. If she comes back for them, tell her that you thought about her comment that she said she would rather them get used, so you used them and no longer have them.

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    7. I would have given them back right then and there all the while telling her I didnt want her to use it as a way to get something back in the future. A gift is a gift. She should have never said "take backsies".

      Texas Mama

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    8. Doesn't sound "friendly" of your "friend". It sounds more like she wanted to expand her storage space, or divide her food storage for security purposes and you were "it".
      sidetracksusie

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  2. I see that you made the chili on the new wood stove. A, how do you like it and B, have you tried pressure canning on it yet?

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  3. I had the very same reaction to Frank and Ferns post without the resultant Chili. It was like a slap in the face. Time to get real not just for the heck of it.

    Carl in the UP

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  4. First point: I believe Frank and Fern are making the best decision for THEM. Parents with young children especially need to take heed. Prepare by all means. But keep a low profile. Avoid drawing attention to yourselves or violating OPSEC. Avoid social media.

    Second point. Most decisions I've made in fear have turned out to be poor decisions. For example, I'd go overboard in one direction and ignore an equally important area. God said, "Fear not". Stay focused, but think before you jump.

    A wise retire Navy Commander friend woke me up to reality. He gave me a copy of 'Patriots' and some great advice. He said that I will need to live in 'two worlds', today's pre-chaos world and tomorrow's chaotic world. Avoid the temptation to jump completely into the latter. Circumstances seemed dire then. That was SIX YEARS ago.
    Montana Guy

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    1. I agree with you, Montana guy.

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  5. Patrice,
    The same eerie feeling came over me when I saw your post concerning Frank and Fern's blog. It seems that when we are prepping the concept of a collapse is so abstract that it is almost a fantasy. Some of us have been prepping for years and our senses have become dull. Until there is a 'trigger' event that causes all of this to become real, we just plod along with our preparations with no real purpose in mind. Maybe this is what is needed to make things more real to us.

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  6. Been trying to get busy, but it seems like eveything we have been trying to do has been an epic struggle. We moved to our property last year & commenced construction with a bulder. Should have been 3 month to dry in, took 6. We are still waiting on little thing to be done, but these folks are not in a hurry like we are. We are working on what we can dilegently, but we are behind and stressed if we will ever get it finished. This is just the build - still have to get pasture cleared, a barn/shed, other projects and goals. It's overwhelming.

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  7. Ahhhhh! I'm late to this party….LOL Really it's not a laughing matter, I'm new to prepping and I feel like I'm behind the eight ball. Need to step up my game. Any pointers?

    Coleen

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    1. Step up your game,do something even if it's wrong.

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    2. Virgil, are you joking? If not, that advice is not only ridiculous, it is dangerous.

      Colleen, yes getting started can seem daunting. Tess Pennington's 52 Weeks to Preparedness: An Emergency Preparedness Plan For Surviving Virtually Any Disaster may be helpful to those starting out. It is essentially '52 weeks to preparedness'.

      Link: http://readynutrition.com/resources/52-weeks-to-preparedness-an-introduction_19072011/
      Montana Guy

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    3. Thank you, Anonymous for the link. I will definitely read it. Thanks!

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    4. That is one awesome site.

      Can't believe I didn't find it before.

      I know what I'm reading if I get up at 2 o'clock panic attacking again tonight!!

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    5. Coleen, It's okay to start small so you won't be overwhelmed. You can not drink from a fire hose, nor can you scurry around to make up for years worth of not prepping. Relax and take some simple steps that are easy to do such as doubling up on what you use every week, or prepping for 2 weeks. For example if you use 2 cans of green beans each week - buy your usual 2 cans plus 4 more. If you use 1 large container of oatmeal each week, buy your usual 1 container plus two more. You may want to just do this for the staple items that will keep you and your family going in an emergency so you don't break your budget. Don't forget important weekly things such as medicines or feminine products, but don't go crazy either. If your family gets hungry enough they will happily eat and drink whatever you can provide.

      Remember, nothing lasts forever so it is nearly impossible to prep for a 20 year siege. Just do your very best to gather 2 weeks worth of 'whatever' and some emergency drinking water, and then move forward from there. You will already be way ahead of most of your friends.

      Don't crank yourself up about it and don't let everything you read (doom porn in a lot of cases) scare you into doing anything foolish. Just my humble 2 cents. We all had to start somewhere, and none of us started at the finish line. It is an ongoing process, just like your life. 8-)

      God Bless,
      Janet in MA

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    6. Sue Gregersen is also a very good source of advice about prepping with very little money.

      I didn't know about her when I started out (with no budget whatsoever, and not in the spend-whatever-you-see-fit sense). I wish I had.

      http://povertyprepping.blogspot.com

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    7. I start with prayer, asking for guidance. What Janet said is exactly what I did. Get more of what you already use, and make sure you have a few first aide and medical supplies. I would also add getting some heirloom seeds, gardening tools, and gardening and medicinal herb/healing books. This will enable you to feed and care for your family. Don't worry that you're late to the game; just step up to the plate now.

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    8. Thanks you everyone for your kind words and great advice. After reading these comment, I don't feel so behind, I have more ready then I thought, but I'll keep doing more….Thanks again!!

      Coleen

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  8. I, too, have had a sense of loss as well. Glad to know I'm not the only one feeling this way. On the positive side, the news kicked me into action. Finished something on my to-do list today. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

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  9. I too have been caught up in thinking about F&F's decision... Though I did do some cooking (learning how to use a pressure cooker, fun times) on my cookstove, mostly I revisited an old worry - my kids. With my youngest recently out (that's the nanny one) and my special needs son out 8 months (Praise God, working well), and the other 3 doing well (married, great spouses)I wonder how their lives will change over the coming months and years. The younger 2, adopted when we were a bit "older", would likely come home if something big was going on. My son is sort of local, but my daughter is 350 miles away. How would she get home? I need to continue to have conversations with her about the nitty gritty details. Thankfully the older kids are more aware of world events. My oldest daughter is having a baby girl this month (she has 3 boys) and the extreme vulnerability of this little one, and her less then 10 year old brothers, and my other baby grandson, and my youngest two children.... I am very grateful for my big kids and their spouses and most of all, my very hard working husband.
    Well, that was rambly. I guess I am thinking more of the why we need to prepare - my family, the vulnerable ones and the capable ones - than the what else needs to happen. It is great incentive to me.
    Brenda

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  10. Those who only stored guns thinking they will take food from others will find out that those who stored food also stored guns. Be mindful of where you are and what you are doing. Be cautious about what information you share with whom. I dig the new stove, thanks for sharing the info. about it.

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  11. I can when I am nervous also. 47 quarts of chicken and pork put up in two days. 7 more in the pressure canner right now.
    However, I went into hyper drive. There is more.
    Paper products, rice, beans, wheat berries, peanut butter, 2 more Berkey filters, Wise food entrees. 800 lbs of chicken scratch. $550.00 worth of seed from Mountain Valley Seed. I drove a hundred miles for 5 more laying hens.
    I think I could win the "what so you do this week" contest.

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  12. Hi Patrice,
    Frank & Fern's blog will be missed , but they left us with good advice about the coming storm . Like the above mentioned Navy commanders advice to his friend , we need to keep one foot in todays world and one foot in what ever comes our way tomorrow and be prepared to slide them both over in tomorrows world when it arrives .
    It is critical for folks to use logical decision making at this time , not emotional . I don't know what the "trigger" will be to get things rolling , but we need to be as prepared as we possibly can .
    The chili looks good,enjoy.
    Bluesman

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  13. I am sorry one thing that I don't see, is getting out of credit card debit for any of you
    that may have alot of debit.I wished that we
    just could pay off the house, but we can't.
    but the house and truck are the only debt that we have.But any way that is also something to think a bout
    Blessings
    Debby

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  14. There are two kinds of collapse. The first is due to a catastrophic event. The second is slow collapse where nothing significant acts as a trigger but things slowly unravel.

    Frank and Fern's departure has bothered me ever since I read of it. They are smart folks and when smart folks do things, it is worthwhile for the rest to take notice.

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    1. That is like when a politician brings up the subject of preparing I automatically think, "wait, what just happened here, what do they know that I don't". If they go through the trouble of telling you to prepare for anything, there is a heck of a lot more they are not telling you.

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  15. Tis past week I checked my notebook to see what we would really like to have on hand, and we just got back from buying all the lumber and fencing we could bring home. And tomorrow is my canning day. Will roll over all last years freezer goods to the canner, some of last years canning (mostly meats) into the dehydrators. As long as you rinse most of the fat away everything can dehydrate well even soups and stews. Blessings to all and may you stay steady and true with peace in your hearts.

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  16. There is a great scene in the movie "Little Big Man". The Indian Chief is growing old and tired and declares he will go lie down and die. Dustin Hoffman sits beside the old man and waits quietly for the predicted death. Time passes... Then a few drops of rain hit the chief in the face and slowly his eyes open and he says something like. Well maybe it's not today. And he goes on to live throughout the movie.

    We cannot know. Signs shouldn't be ignored but they should be considered appropriately. I would look for a stronger sign than the current stock market position. Now if it drops by half and continues plummeting that I would say you are a little late to start preparing now. But the point is keep everything in perspective. There are indeed many things that could happen suddenly that would be terrible disasters but those things don't typically give warning.

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  17. I think we are about as prepped as we can get without more money coming in . . I have let everyone I talk to know that I will shoot to kill so don't bother coming to my house fir food, ect . . they wouldn't help us prep/prep themselves and I already have a child to raise . . so many people here simply plan to die ~ "sit out front smoking and die" . . meanwhile, we have a plan at our house and skills to get us through . . waiting fir spring to put in our gardens :)

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  18. Something funny: We did the story "Little Red Hen" at nursery school this week. Maybe I Did do something to help prepare "my" kids after all. Ha.
    Brenda

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    1. You must have used an older book. Now they end that story with the hen generously sharing her bread with her friends. I threw that new version out!

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  19. Blah, Blah, Blah...

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    1. why are you bothering?

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  20. i've seen people steal from gardens. maybe have a hedge that cannot be seen through? behind which to put your garden.

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  21. While this isn't the same as prepping for 'the big event' the recent major storm and resulting tornadoes that ripped thru Florida just showed that people were not prepared nor did they listen to the weather reports.

    We were in the path of the storm but had no damage. A house 2 blocks away had a palm tree come down on the truck in the driveway resulting in slight damage. We keep our vehicle in the garage.

    Power went out and people had no lights, the storm happened around 3am - 6am, we had flashlights & matches and candles ready. We have no sirens to warn of tornadoes so no one took shelter - we know where to go in our home and were prepared to do so. People did not secure items that would blow around in high winds, we walked around our house & yard and picked up and secured what needed to be. Our downspouts had been removed for painting the house so that was a major concern of ours.

    Emergency Manager recommended an app for phones and leaving the phone on or a weather radio - common sense items to stay safe. While we have the app we are going to get a weather radio too. The old 2 is 1 and 1 is none rule.

    And, yes, we have food, water, an alternative power source, and 3 ways to cook without power.

    All scenarios that fit your location need to be considered in your preps.

    We thank Frank & Fern for their contribution to the prepping community and wish them well. And the same to you, Patrice. May we all stay safe.

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    1. Thank you, Bellen, for this reminder about being prepared for natural disruptions. I'm also in Florida about 2 hours from where the storms hit, and kept an ear out (and weather radio turned on) to see if the storms were headed my way. I had a plan if a tornado warning covered my area, but never thought about being prepared for the disruptions if a tornado damaged another locale in my area - i.e. power outages etc - the local news said 100k households lost power after those storms. I would have been prepared ok but that was happenstance rather than planning specifically for that.

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  22. It's pushed my "inner panic button" too.

    I guess I should just breathe or something.

    We're in a good position to weather "common things." Recessions, 'normal' job losses, trucking strikes, all the stuff that EVERYBODY knows is out there.

    It's not the "common things" that worry me. It's the stuff that "everybody" says can't/won't happen here (and then lists reasons why for the sake of reassuring themselves).

    I'm worried. Very, very worried. Laying-awake-at-night-considering-doing-things-behind-my-husband's-back worried.

    I wish I was better spoken, and could get the people in my life to listen to me.

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    1. Yep -I do a lot of planning like that. I am just behind on time and resources. As the supporter of the family (DH is old and worn out enough he has been out of the workforce for over 5 years-no disability payments of any sort I should add)I work to do most of it. He looks after his folks and helps 3 of his elderly aunts. He also is very knowledgeable and good at research and finding deals. Still, not so SHTF worried as I am. Hey we all just do what we can-in the end only faith I the Lord will see us through. Never, ever forget that. It will help you sleep - trust me. Natokadn

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  23. I should add that it's common knowledge that I've got a documented anxiety disorder. I'm a worrier, and prone to catastrophize.

    So maybe that's what I'm doing now. I don't know.

    From my point of view, for me personally, that's all the more reason to plan for the worst. For someone who worries ALL THE TIME, the peace of mind is priceless.

    From the point of view of most of my family, though, it's just another reason that my opinion needs to be "dealt with." As opposed to heeded.

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    1. You're not alone. There are people who think all preppers need to be dealt with. Do what you know is right, but try to live as normal a life as possible.

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  24. The list to prep is endless, so I do what I can, when I am able. I felt worried too, when I read F&F's final post. But we live in the now, I can handle NOW, and just keep planning for a chaotic & frightening future.
    Be sure to plan for your pets. Don't assume that a pet which has been cared for all of its life can just be turned loose to fend for themselves. Wild animals bring cunning to their bag of tricks; pets have had that bred out of them.
    I wish that I were farther from the city, but I am where I have to be. I can have a garden, I do have a bicycle when gas disappears, and an attachable cart for moving items. It is important to constantly review your preps and consider all options.
    I do know that when things go topsy-turvy, we will be on our own. I love my country but this government is useless.
    -Sandra

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  25. The anxieties come and go but you keep doing what you can when you can. After prepping for several years, we sold our house in town the first of last September. The buyers were gracious enough to give us 60 days to close since our new house out of town was not yet finished. My father, now in his mid 80's, started telling me we should close on selling the house in town ASAP because the economy was going to crash October 10th based on some scheduled financial event... that was not helpful. We waited until November to close on the house and move as scheduled and the economy didn't crash. It is amazing how long "they" can keep all this going and it's not if but when so keep doing what you can when you can because nobody knows when "when" is.

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  26. I found some tomatoes I canned in 2010 hidden in the back of my shelf. Is home canned food this old still edible if properly canned and sealed?

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    1. I've eaten lots of home-canned food older than that without a problem. If the seal is still strong, likely it's fine. Obviously I would discard it if it smells off; and regardless, I would boil the contents for about ten minutes. But yes, properly-sealed older food is perfectly edible.

      Please see this post:
      http://www.rural-revolution.com/2012/08/how-long-will-home-canned-food-last.html

      - Patrice

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    2. Thanks. I want to use it for chili now that I found it.

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  27. I've just had to repeat and console myself that I'm where the good Lord wants me to be at this time, physically and preparedness wise.
    We bought a second place in Idaho near a town we found on the way to somewhere else, when a realtor said, Hey, I just got this listing today, and my husband that usually uses an entire legal pad to figure real cost, pros /cons, etc, said,"We will take it" without even discussing it.
    His reasoning was "providence".
    Our first, paid for place, has not yet sold and we know we may need to put this one on the market. It will probably sell quickly.
    As I wrote above, trying to be where the Lord wants me to be. We've done a lot of hard work here but maybe it's not for us to reap the benefits. It's made us look at all the stuff we moved here and KNOW we would sell much of it if we have to move back to Wyoming. Both places are great, the other one is better for younger less "disabled/worn out" folks.
    The mortgage has placed limits on purchasing preps but it helped us focus on doing rather than buying. I've always canned but producing food is so much easier here. The off side is we are without friends and family. The mountain town we lived in was populated with people that had to prep: blizzards and being snowed in without power for days every year helps to weed out or convince people.
    The ground is buried in snow there right now but the snow is melting here and I'm planning ways to keep my clothing dry as I weed my garden and reclaim it from whatever took over while I was caring for my dying dad. The Lord keeps us humble but it's for our own good.
    Praying for comfort and clear thinking for all of you.
    Sidetracksusie

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  28. I try to understand this panic but just can't. I am not against being prepared but what is everyone so worried about? If the economy/government/society is failing it will take decades to happen. There will be some hard times but common sense will prevail.

    I am in the Mid-Atlantic region just outside Philadelphia and I am not worried. Again, being prepared for a couple of weeks or a month or two is a good idea but we will all laugh about this panic in six months.

    Seriously, what is going to happen?

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    1. Anonymous, before one can understand the importance of long-term survival planning, he/she needs to accept the reality that the US economy (manufacturing, standard of living etc.), government (debt, war, welfare, regulation etc.), and society (morals) HAS BEEN going down a rat hole FOR DECADES. That’s reality. Like Ayn Rand said, "You can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality."

      No one describes the reality of life in the US today better than James Wesley Rawles, founder of SurvivalBlog.com. I urge folks (especially parents) to read his’ ’Survivalist Philosophy’ at https://survivalblog.com/precepts/.

      Montana Guy

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    2. I read the link you provided and don't disagree with the 'prepping suggestions'. And I do not disagree that my/our values are not the majority today in government or society. But that does not change my beliefs.

      I still ask the question, what does everyone think is going to really happen?

      I think life runs in cycles, and we are in a down cycle compared to my/our belief system. I don't believe that means the world is going to end or society is going to collapse.

      So why the feelings of panic?

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