American Survival Guide - - FIRST WORD - —Mike Mccourt

Hal­loween is on the cal­en­dar, so ev­ery­one knows it lands on the last day of ev­ery Oc­to­ber. Many Amer­i­cans be­gin plan­ning for it months, if not a year, in ad­vance. Mil­lions of com­pa­nies al­low, and some even en­cour­age, their em­ploy­ees to dec­o­rate their work spa­ces; and many spon­sor cos­tume and other com­pe­ti­tions to help liven the day whose ori­gin comes from an­cient at­tempts to ward off bad spir­its. Re­tail­ers and other con­sumer-fac­ing busi­nesses spend lots of time and money to fes­toon their pub­lic spa­ces with dec­o­ra­tive witches, ghosts, skele­tons and other sea­sonal trim­mings, as do count­less apart­ment-dwellers and home­own­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to a Na­tional Re­tail Foun­da­tion sur­vey from Septem­ber 2016, Amer­i­cans were ex­pected to spend a record $8.48 bil­lion on Hal­loween. Al­most 80 per­cent of the prepa­ra­tions for this hol­i­day were to be com­pleted by the mid­dle of Oc­to­ber, mean­ing that most of the es­ti­mated 171 mil­lion par­tic­i­pants would be ready well in ad­vance of the big day.

Hav­ing a big event oc­cur on the same day ev­ery year is a con­ve­nient and ef­fi­cient way to en­sure as much par­tic­i­pa­tion and prepa­ra­tion as pos­si­ble. It gives its in­ter­ested par­ties a spe­cific tar­get; and, be­cause the Hal­loween theme never changes, they all know what to ex­pect, so they’re ready when the big day ar­rives. It also doesn’t hurt that par­tic­i­pants con­sider this a fun and ex­cit­ing event, and most folks look for­ward to the prospect of get­ting sweet treats to help cel­e­brate the day.

Unfortunately, prep­pers don’t have the same lux­ury of hav­ing a spe­cific date on their cal­en­dars and know­ing the theme for the threat for which they’re pre­par­ing. It’s not as easy for us to make a tar­geted plan, ded­i­cate spe­cific re­sources and take ad­van­tage of huge sales on the gear and goods we’ll need. The fact that most sur­vival ra­tions aren’t es­pe­cially yummy and life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dents aren’t fun doesn’t make this sort of plan­ning ex­cit­ing for a lot of peo­ple.

That’s why we need to do a lit­tle ev­ery day to en­sure that when the specter of doom knocks on our door, we’re ready with more than a few can­dies and a flash­light with dead bat­ter­ies.

This is the trick to be­ing pre­pared. Just as Hal­loween par­tic­i­pants don’t gather all their ac­cou­trements and treats at one time, we need to take in­cre­men­tal, but pur­pose­ful, steps to at­tain the goals we’ve set to pro­tect our­selves and our loved ones from the dan­gers we feel are the most likely to come our way. Be­cause many of the skills and stores we need to ac­crue will serve us in mul­ti­ple sur­vival sce­nar­ios, we will have the flex­i­bil­ity of be­ing able to ad­dress mul­ti­ple threats with a core set of sup­plies and knowl­edge. Con­cen­trat­ing on those el­e­ments first will help us ac­cel­er­ate our level of preparedness.

The treat comes when you have been able to en­dure hard times—maybe even truly hor­rific events—and be able to thrive on your own or with your fam­ily or sur­vival group. While there might be a huge sense of loss and po­ten­tially un­par­al­leled changes to your way of life, you will have a pro­found sense of pride, val­i­da­tion and ap­pre­ci­a­tion that your ef­forts re­sulted in the preser­va­tion of your life and the lives of those clos­est to you.

It might not be a bucket full of choco­late bars, an award for your Elvis cos­tume, eye­ball hors d’oeu­vres or the shame­less glee of scar­ing the stuff­ing out of your boss. But be­ing able to en­dure a nat­u­ral or man­made melt­down, as well as over­come the bad spir­its of a life-threat­en­ing event, is pretty cool, too.

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