American Survival Guide
HAVE WE BECOME TOO CIVILIZED?
As you may imagine, I spend quite a bit of time researching, reading about and fact-checking the articles our subject matter experts submit to ASG. If you’ve been reading our magazine for any length of time, you know we don’t confine ourselves to a narrow range of prepping and survival topics. We cover everything from the basics of food, water and shelter procurement, personal safety and security and first aid to less-common topics such as mental health, childbirth, global communications and many others that we think you should, and want to, know more about.
Of course, every area we cover (we try to organize them into the Six Pillars of Survival: Water, Food, Shelter, Security, Health and Communications) involves the use of tools or gear of some sort, so we perform reviews and curate product sections to give you an idea of what’s available in the marketplace. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in either the new gizmos themselves or the allure of acquiring something new that one of the basic tenets of prepping and survivalism gets buried under the fluff. The toys aren’t really what will keep us alive.
Sure, having serviceable gear is very helpful to our cause, but not knowing how to use these aids effectively, or create your own from local materials, is a mortal sin that many of the owners of impressive collections of gear will commit. While this is reasonably easy to overcome by spending time practicing with your gear and learning from qualified instructors, there’s another concern I have that may be harder to resolve.
I ponder how many people, when faced with a dire situation, will simply refuse to do what’s necessary to improve their lot because it is “beneath” them or they find the effort excessive to the point that they won’t or can’t handle it?
In my life, there are some things I have not done that I believe may become necessary if the situation around me gets severe enough. Not unlike a number of our social media followers who registered decidedly negative comments about a recent post about eating insects, I am not looking forward to chowing down on my first handful of beetles or grubs. Nope, I’m not a fan of creepy-crawly cuisine, but I do believe I’ll find a way to make it work if things get to that point. Let’s say I’m open to it but in no rush to test myself.
While I suspect I have a lot of company in this regard,
I’m sure many of you have also been in a situation where someone refused to eat the food in camp because they didn’t like the taste or had other reasons for taking a pass. Granted, they were probably not in a life-or-death scenario, but I’ve wondered if those minds would be changed in survival situations. I believe that many folks would rather go without and hope they will come across something they like to eat rather than consume something they find uncivilized or otherwise unappealing.
Eating is just one of the areas where people are likely to have to compromise between their comfort zone and what it will take to survive in an austere environment. How many people do you know who would simply not attempt to dress a bloody wound, fight off an angry predator or gear up and bug out to a redoubt 20 miles away?
Unfortunately, nobody really knows how they will react to a given stimulus until they encounter it. Sure, tools, gear and supplies can help, but the know-how and determination to do what needs to be done can overcome the lack of these things, including desire and confidence.
The advancements brought by “civilization” have been great for providing us with solutions that give us more leisure time, fewer backaches and less dirt under our fingernails, but it also removes us from the connection we have with what it takes to live on our own. If we never get into a SHTF scenario, there’s no real harm. The problem is that the loss of the wonders of civilization would create just such a scenario for most of those around us.
All the Best!
—Mike Mccourt Brand Manager