I promised to post more on practical/rational preparedness after the holidays, and between the winter storms (blizzard here) and politicians giving aid and comfort to the enemy, now seems like a good time to get back into this. This was originally posted on my site 25 June 2004.
Being prepared means many different things to people, but the final step is to be prepared to take care of yourself in the ultimate terms. This means, being prepared to take care of yourself medically and against those who do not have your best interest at heart (presuming, of course, that they have hearts).
The medical really is easy to do. First aid kits can be bought almost anywhere today, in all sizes and shapes. They pay for themselves because you don’t have to have a true disaster or emergency to need them. Around some of my family and friends, all it takes is everyday life. Add to that what some of my friends and I like to do for hobbies, and first aid kits and training are a great investment. Here is my big kit as I call it, which is in addition to the bought smaller kits scattered around the home and vehicles.
It offers a wide range of basic to medium-level first aid gear and is easy to use. One thing I also keep in it are spare keys. This is because people do some interesting things, and it gives a central place to keep keys for domestic or real emergencies. One key that is about every kit is a handcuff key, an idea I picked up from a friend who used to be a medic, and it is interesting how often such a key can and does come in handy. I don’t have the high-speed drill they had to use in regards a coke bottle one time… I also make sure that it is stocked with things I know I may need, such as antihistamines and stimulants in case I am stung or have other problems. The other “big” kit is what I call my crash kit. It holds surgical dressings, gauze, tampons, and other things that come in handy if there is major trauma to deal with.
I hope that I never have to use it for its intended office, but various bits have come in handy just dealing with the scrapes, burns, and other delights of everyday life. And, yes, I did say tampons above. A corpsman pointed out to me one time a highly unofficial but very effective use for them with penetrating wounds, as well as giving one the chance to be a white knight if one is unexpectedly needed for its official office. If you have friends with teenage girls, the latter can happen more often than might be expected.
The comment posted to this post points out the fact that you do need to be able to look after yourself in other ways as well. While the author has told me that he was engaging in at least some hyperbole, the fact is that there are far too many moral and intellectual cripples our there who are serious. These are the people that will take the opportunity of a disaster or emergency to run wild. You need to be prepared for them, and to deal with them as you would any other rabid animal.
My own take is similar to Kim du Toit’s, only I am not going to say what all my preparations are right now. If someone sees me coming, some may be obvious, and some will not. To be honest, I am not going to say in part because I want anyone seeing me to wonder a bit about what I have or don’t have, who might or might not be with me and what they may or may not have, and to wonder if I have reverted to type with some friends and be moving with a screen out. Think, wonder, and run away.
Now, not everyone is going to do this, or at least not at first. If you fall in that category, you have two options: partner with someone who can and will, or look at other options for protection. I highly recommend partnering with people, as numbers and diversity of skills give you advantages. If firearms are not your thing, look at other things.
This is my hatchet or hand axe. I actually have several of them, from Dixie Gun Works, because my favored sport at Highland Games is axe throwing. Having several means that in an emergency I almost always have one to hand, and am not averse to throwing one away for good effect. These are a good investment, and I like them a lot more than the 100-things-in-one yuppie hatchets for sale.
In a true rotary impeller situation, blades come in very handy. You may need to cut, chop, and more, and a good hand axe and a good knife are crucial. For personal protection, people tend to be more afraid of getting cut than shot, so use that. If you won’t carry a gun, carry a knife, sword, or axe. For swords, while I love the katana, for ease of use and dealing with on foot, consider a Roman gladius. Also consider a bow and arrow, since the ammo is reusable or can be made with readily available resources. It has range and accuracy, relatively silent, and can do many things including getting rope or cord where it is needed.
As before, if you are going to go with only one weapon, consider a shotgun. It is versatile, effective, and efficient. One shotgun with some accessories gives you personal protection, the ability to hunt, and the ability to signal.
Whatever decisions you make, do prepare and do remember that in any emergency of any type, the only person who is responsible for you and your safety is you.