American Survival Guide

HAVE WE BE­COME TOO CIV­I­LIZED?

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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

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