I can’t ignore the ominous tone of headlines on Drudge Report as well as articles across the internet that a “surprise” nuclear war, a World War 3, is a possibility. Admittedly, with the current leader of North Korea heading up a standing army of 1.1 million strong, with another 8.3 million in reserves, anything is likely.
Oh, yeah. Those pesky “failed” missile tests. No doubt some of them were actual failures, but what if the goal was only to see how far into the atmosphere the missile could reach? Armed with a nuclear warhead, that launched missile may have a chance of creating an electromagnetic pulse near, or over, the American homeland. Read One Second After by William Forstchen to get an idea of what life in a post-EMP world would be like.
It’s all too easy to mock Kim Jong-un — his haircut, portly build, somewhat vacant stare, but as I’ve taught my kids, someone with an IQ of 48 can kill you just as easily as someone with an IQ 3 times that. Kim Jong-un has managed to have his brother assassinated, has brutally cleansed his government of the tiniest sign of dissent, and seems fully in charge of an isolated country of some 25 million citizens.
As of this writing, residents of Hawaii are being told to take this threat seriously and some top leaders in the military are suggesting installing a missile defense there.
Why is it so difficult to imagine him taking on the United States via a missile attack? And if Kim Jong-un backs down, there are significant threats brewing in the Middle East, and Putin’s Russia continues to play its role as America’s arch-rival.
The main problem as I see it is a world that is more unstable than at any time in my lifetime, with war being a very real possibility. Sometimes it even seems there are some in our federal government pushing for war.
World War 3 ushers in more than war damage
When my family first began prepping some 9 years ago, a third World War wasn’t on my list of prepping priorities. Back in late 2008, an economic collapse seemed far more likely, and it is still near the top of my own threat analysis. (If you haven’t made your own threat analysis, follow these instructions.)
What’s important to remember, though, if war hits our homeland, it would result in war related deaths and damage, sure, but virtually everything would be affected: shipping of virtually all products, including medicine, access to healthcare, jobs, the power grid and delivery of power, municipal water and sanitation systems, even relationships. Take a look at the devastation in Venezuela over the past several months to get an idea of a country in crisis.
War here in the homeland would be equally chaotic with the addition of unimaginable damage done by conventional and (likely) unconventional weapons. What would be destroyed? Well, consider what holds our country together: bridges, water/sanitation plants, government buildings, highways, airports, military bases, internet, banking, phone service, you name it.
Additionally, your daily routine will change. You may not have a job to go to, school may not be in session, dentist and doctor appointments may be difficult to come by. Everyone who depends on you now will continue to do so, including pets and livestock animals.
So how do you prepare?
Over the years, I’ve heard survival-minded folk talk about SHTF, WROL, and TEOTWAWKI as though they are something to look forward to. They can test out their cool gear, get to their bug out locations, and live out in real life the survival fantasies they’ve only read about in books.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh, but no matter how well prepped any of us think we are, the reality of a worst case scenario will absolutely be more than we can imagine and there are a multitude of variables that no one can anticipate. One significant step I’ve taken with my prepping is a course at Preppers University. I couldn’t always attend the live classes, but when I did, the chance to ask questions of survival experts was priceless. When I had time, I went back and watched the recordings, too.
Obviously, I’ve been considering this particular worst case scenario for a while and have determined the best course of action for me and my family: prep to maintain the best level of normalcy possible. Think of it this way:
If my income is interrupted, I can prep by:
- Save money
- Pay off debt
- Possibly pay ahead with property taxes
- Learn additional skills that could generate income
- Set a goal of paying off our house
- Teach my kids skills that could be used to earn money
My thought process here is to become as financially independent as possible on my average, middle class earnings. By being very careful with our money we can meet most/all of these goals. If war does come, I’m not going to count on the mortgage company telling me I can continue living in our house if I can’t make payments. Even if the dollar becomes devalued, I’d rather have $10,000 in savings than nothing at all.
If supply lines cause scarcity, we can:
- Continue stocking up on food, medicine, and other hard goods
- Get in the habit of cooking meals from scratch in order to utilize the least expensive “survival foods”, individual freeze-dried or dehydrated ingredients
- Make sure my kids know how to cook from scratch
- Keep track of these preps so there’s no shortage of anything critical
No one can stock up on multiples of every single item they might ever need, so I’ve been working on covering the basics and covering them very well. Every month we buy a little more food specifically for our food storage pantry. My wife looks for coupons and sales on non-food items, like OTC medications, household cleaners, paper plates, pretty much anything that would come in handy and has a good long shelf life.
If we aren’t able to leave our house, I can have these plans in place:
- Have supplies on hand and plans in place to homeschool our kids.
- Learn about nuclear survival. This online class features a 90 minute lecture by an expert with additional information about surviving a nuclear event.
- Keep in mind that entertainment isn’t a luxury but a way to wile away time and take the focus off hardships.
- Become as self-sustained as possible within the walls of our house and on our 1/3 acre suburban lot.
- Keep track of the services we use throughout the month and plan to either not use them at all or have the supplies and good-enough skills to take care of them ourselves.
Here, I’m thinking about a nuclear event or pandemic that might turn a quick errand into a deadly trip with no return. Another possibility is active warfare in and around our town and everyday violence and civil unrest (see Venezuela). Are you ready for a quarantine if biological warfare is used? Stuck at home, we would have to rely on ourselves, our preps, and ingenuity. With or without kids, a schedule and routines will be important to maintain sanity, a bit of normalcy, and chores to keep the home in order.
If medical and dental services aren’t available, we can prep by:
- Stocking up on the over-the-counter meds we use most often
- Keeping up to date with dental and vision check-ups
- Annual physicals are on our calendar and we follow up with anything the doctor recommends
- Working toward eating clean, healthy foods and reaching/maintaining healthy weights.
- Working out on a regular basis to build muscle strength and stamina
- Taking as many classes as we can related to medical care and health, and encourage our kids to do the same. (This is possible through Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol, to name just two resources.)
This is an area that is so important but I fear it’s overlooked my many preppers, unless you’e talking about how to gouge out a bullet from a body! If you’re a couch potato, who wants to get up and work out? My wife pointed out to me just last week that I’ve gained a few pounds, and I have. With my job getting busier, I haven’t been exercising like I used to. All the preps in the world, though, won’t do you any good if you’re sickly, weak, unable to lift/carry/walk, etc. While preppers with various health issues definitely CAN survive, if you’re able-bodied but just lazy, there’s no excuse!
I’m not going to minimize the impact of a World War 3 on our homeland. When Selco talked about having to scavenge for edible weeds and not having a working toilet, it was very sobering. With the kind permission of Preppers University, you can listen to that talk at this link. Take a listen and in the comments, let me know how you would prep for World War 3.