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  • The Pickled Prepper

How to Face the Three Threats


In my last post, I talked about three threats this country is facing. Externally, we are facing the threat of war on multiple fronts. Internally, we are facing political upheaval and the possibility of civil unrest, up to and including civil war. Finally, we face economic problems which are largely internal but have significant external consequences and possibly external causes as well.


How can we, as preppers, prepare for these threats? What, if anything, should we change about our preparations?


The Big Three

Like most preppers, I have preached the importance of what I call The Big Three: food, water and shelter.

In a global disaster scenario, a real SHTF moment when civilization is destroyed and we have to survive on only the resources we have close at hand, the big three will be the preps of primary importance. In an economic collapse, however, or in a political upheaval, the water might stay on and there might be food on the shelves, if you can afford it. Even in a war, as long as your area isn’t targeted, you should still have access to food, water and shelter. We’re talking about surviving tough times rather than surviving the end times.


In this new prepper paradigm, the most important prep may be economic self-sufficiency. Unlike the global disaster, where there are no goods and services, good and services will still exist. Proper preparedness means having a way to pay for those goods and services, even if you lose your job, your bank collapses, the dollar becomes devalued, or the trucks stop rolling.


Look at Ukraine as an example. For people who live in Western Ukraine, times are tough, friends and relatives may have died, and young men are being drafted right off the street, but as long as Russian missiles have not knocked out their local power plant, the electricity works, water flows from the taps, and there is food available.


If the U.S. goes to war, having food stored at home will help, but having money, valuable trade goods, useful skills, or other valuable goods that provide you with economic self-sufficiency may be more important than stored water.


The Golden Rule

You may be familiar with the ironic version of The Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.


Unfortunately, there is a great deal of truth to it. Whether or not money can buy you happiness, it can often buy you access. It might buy you privilege or grant you an opportunity others don’t have. In an economic collapse, when the folding money in your pocket and the balances in your bank lose their value, the silver and gold buried in your backyard could give you access and opportunity. Likewise, when everyone is hungry and the shelves are bare, those food preps on your shelf and the extra eggs my chickens produce will become desirable trade goods. I also have guns and ammo I can trade.


Chances are, you are already making as much money as you can. Maybe you could change jobs and get a 10 percent bump, but with the current economic pressures, most of us are making as much money as we can. If that is the case, then focus on decreasing your spending and eliminating your debt.


For example, imagine life with no mortgage or rent and no car payment. Getting to where you have no car payment is relatively easy; the only thing that has to change is your attitude. Get rid of your car with a payment and get used to driving an older and likely unimpressive car. Getting to no mortgage is a bigger step, but it can be done. Maybe not in a year, but you can start the process. You can downsize, live more frugally, and cut expenses.


Flexibility and Adaptability

Beyond economic resources, another thing you will need is flexibility and adaptability. Too many people are afraid of change and waste time and energy resisting it. The way to succeed in a rapidly changing world is to accept the change rather than fighting it. As I tell my kids, it’s easier to paddle with the current than against it.


Maybe you remember how 9/11 changed the country and put us on an immediate war footing. It also resulted in the TSA, Homeland Security and a bunch of laws reducing our privacy in the name of security.

I know you remember COVID, which subjected us to sudden restrictions, shortages, purchasing limits, supply chain disruption, lockdowns, and laws and regulations that were based on fear and panic.


Don’t expect anything less disruptive in the case of political unrest or civil war, global war or an economic collapse. Any of these will cause governments, companies, and individuals to react in new and unexpected ways. You must be mentally prepared to deal with that.


For example, global commerce could grind to a halt, making things made overseas difficult or impossible to buy. Cars might be subject to search when entering the Interstate and you might be required to “show your papers” at checkpoints. Cops might want bribes. Landlords might not be able to collect rent, (again). Banks might close for weeks. Government programs that give money to people might see their budgets transferred to the defense budget. You might be limited to buying 10 gallons of gas per week.


Companies that produce consumer goods could be retooled to produce drones or artillery shells. Rosie the Riveter might even make a comeback.


We don’t know what will happen, so we must be flexible and prepared for pretty much anything.


Next Steps

What should you do next? Beyond prepping, look for ways to stay above the fray. Avoid protests, debates, and anywhere strong feelings might lead to a clash between opposing parties. Take the gray man approach and avoid drawing attention to yourself with political yard signs and bumper stickers. Don’t flaunt your wealth, brag about your preps, or post photos of your guns on social media. Take steps to prepare yourself without being obvious.


If my repeated recommendation to leave the cities and suburbs behind and move to a small town or a rural area has plucked your interest, consider what you can do to move ahead with that plan. During war, cities could be targets. We know civil unrest happens in urban areas, and protesters block interstates, not country roads. While economic upset will affect the entire country, it is less likely to lead to violence in areas with low population density. And rural people are often better prepared to weather a storm than city dwellers.


If you can’t do that, strike an agreement with a close friend or family member who lives in a more desirable location so you can bug out and stay with them when the missiles fly or the streets are overrun.

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