Edi­tor’s Let­ter

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By John Schwartze, Net­work Man­ager & Act­ing Edi­tor // RE­COIL OFFGRID

Benev­o­lence Ver­sus Stu­pid­ity

The rea­son I chose a photo of lions stalk­ing obliv­i­ous her­bi­vores for my edi­tor’s note is be­cause it’s a metaphor for the herds of un­in­formed sub­ur­ban­ites I con­verse with on a reg­u­lar ba­sis who are po­ten­tially set­ting them­selves up for un­due hard­ship in a time of cri­sis. Case in point: I re­cently had a dis­cus­sion with some­one about what I do and why I be­lieve in the no­tion of prep­ping and sur­vival. This in­di­vid­ual was con­vinced that I ped­dle para­noia for a liv­ing and that RE­COIL OFFGRID’s read­er­ship is noth­ing more than some fringe move­ment of iso­la­tion­ists who store canned food in their un­der­ground bunkers and live in fear of en­emy para­troop­ers or hordes of the un­dead. Of course, she’s formed all these con­clu­sions without ever hav­ing read RE­COIL OFFGRID, so her eval­u­a­tion car­ries about as much va­lid­ity as a food critic who pans a restau­rant they’ve never eaten at. Speak­ing of an­i­mal metaphors, I think there’s some­thing here about lead­ing a horse to wa­ter ...

When broached on the topic of firearms, she was also con­vinced that no one needs them, pro­ceed­ing to tell me that if some­one broke into her home and was in­tent on mur­der­ing her that she was such a paci­fist that she’d will­ingly accept her fate rather than de­fend her­self. Upon hear­ing that, a feel­ing of dis­be­lief washed over me that I hadn’t felt since the first time I watched Trainspot­ting. I won­dered if some­one broke into one of her kids’ rooms with the same in­ten­tion, would she just poke her head in and say, “Sorry, but this is the card that life dealt you.” I cer­tainly hope not — if this men­tal­ity becomes wholly nor­mal­ized in our so­ci­ety, we’re in a lot of trou­ble.

It got me think­ing, though. With all the nat­u­ral and man­made dis­as­ters we see each year, why do so many folks think noth­ing bad will ever hap­pen to them and choose to wrap them­selves in this May­berry type of fan­tasy world? I ap­proached one of our res­i­dent con­trib­u­tors, Hakim Isler, who has a back­ground in psy­cho­log­i­cal op­er­a­tions, to dis­cuss the con­cept of de­nial. What causes it, how to rec­og­nize it, and how you can help oth­ers change the be­lief that they’re im­per­vi­ous to tragedy? I think you’ll en­joy read­ing it. As Ayn Rand said, “We can evade re­al­ity, but we can­not evade the con­se­quences of evad­ing re­al­ity.”

This same sen­ti­ment about peo­ple who op­er­ate un­der the “it won’t hap­pen to me” as­sump­tion was also echoed by the gentle­man in this month’s Sur­vival Spot­light, Cody Lundin. It’s time-hon­ored train­ing like his that al­lows peo­ple to see how much you can do with so lit­tle when the sit­u­a­tion de­mands it.

We also take a closer look at a form of ter­ror­ism that’s still be­ing used with dev­as­tat­ing and grotesque con­se­quences — chem­i­cal war­fare. It’s lethal, can be both trans­ported and dis­persed dis­creetly, and only takes a small amount to wreak havoc. You may re­mem­ber the 1995 in­ci­dent in a Ja­panese sub­way where cultists used sarin gas to kill un­sus­pect­ing com­muters dur­ing rush hour. With ev­ery­thing go­ing on in Syria right now, ask your­self what you’d do if some­thing sim­i­lar hap­pened in your city. And since gas masks have sort of be­come the un­of­fi­cial sym­bol of sur­vival, we had SWAT team in­struc­tor Bill Blow­ers eval­u­ate some of the lat­est makes and mod­els on the mar­ket, so you can see what’ll make sense for your dis­as­ter load­out.

Does it make me para­noid to pay at­ten­tion to what goes on in the world and pre­pare for it? Some may think so, but those same peo­ple are prob­a­bly also lock­ing their doors at night or telling their kids to look both ways be­fore they cross the street. Since those are also as­pects of sur­vival and preparation, I guess they’re as “para­noid” as I am. Un­for­tu­nately, we’re sur­rounded by those who can’t or won’t see the writ­ing on the wall, don’t value their life, and ra­tio­nal­ize such be­hav­ior un­der the guise of be­ing benev­o­lent. You can be a paci­fist without set­ting your­self up for vic­tim­iza­tion. As sur­vival­ists, I think we can all agree that we won’t be vol­un­teer­ing to spend the last few days, hours, or min­utes of our lives in pain, fear, and degra­da­tion.

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