Man in camo

This week’s recommended prepper website is Simply Canning. Simply Canning is not a generalist prepper site per se, but it’s one of the best webpages out there for practical food preservation ideas and instruction. The site is run by Sharon Peterson, and it’s chock-full of great information on all the different ways to grow, preserve and use food. Mrs. Peterson provides you with much of the information you need, not just on canning, but on freezing, dehydrating, freeze-drying and other forms of food storage and preservation. It’s a great site and a lot of fun to browse. Mrs. Peterson also has a number of books and instructional videos available for view or purchase. If you want to know how to put up the food that you’ll need to survive long-term, this is a great starting point.

Simply Canning

Last week, I started talking about the need for strategic thinking as a prepper. But rather than just local strategic thinking, the kind that all preppers should be doing to determine the best courses for security, food storage and infrastructure, it is important – no, imperative – that any prepper worthy of the name keep his eyes on the bigger picture as well.

At least a couple of times in my previous columns, I’ve talked about the need to create a threat potential grid.  This grid plots the likelihood of a potential threat versus the severity of that threat.  And as I’ve said any number of times, it always makes sense to prepare first for the most likely events, as opposed to the most potentially devastating. Usually this means first preparing for events that can occur locally. But it’s extremely important to remember that events occurring at great distances – even on the other side of the world – can have a negative impact in your neighborhood as well.

Threat assessment grid

As an example, take a look at this headline:

In my area – along with most of us who live in the American Redoubt – Native American reservations are a big deal. The United States reservation system has created, in effect, a number of “sovereign nations” within the boundaries of the U.S. Citizens of those tribal nations are also citizens of the United States, which means while they retain all of the rights and privileges guaranteed to American citizens, they also retain the rights and privileges of their own Indian nation. And the competing rights of separate nations can lead to a lot of trouble.

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The federal government of the United States spends a fair amount of money on the reservation system. But most non-tribal reservation neighbors, because they do not see the strategic value of keeping up on the news concerning tribal funding, are unaware that the new federal budget cuts deeply into Bureau of Indian Affairs spending on the tribes.

Now add that information to the fact that Indian reservations have “chronic rates of crime higher than all but a handful of the nation’s most violent cities.” As a prepper, if you live near a reservation, the combination of propensity for higher crime rates and a decrease in federal funds means you should really consider making changes to both your strategy and tactics for home and personal security.

Now consider these headlines on the watering down of U.S. military fitness requirements:

In an ill-conceived attempt by the military at inclusiveness, several unintended consequences are likely to result. If you’re capable of throwing a hand grenade but the people who surround you are not, it’s unlikely you will join or remain in an organization where that skill may be vital to your personal or unit survival. The continuing “woosification” of the military is going to make the recruitment of truly qualified people harder, not easier. And for the prepper community that’s also looking to recruit new members, the once-automatic benefit of being a veteran is diminished.

As a final example, consider these two recent articles on the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) which should concern the well-informed prepper:

In a nutshell, the BDI measures the demand for shipping capacity versus the supply of dry bulk carriers. A low BDI means there are more ships available to transport product than there is product available for shipping. What kind of product? Raw goods: ore for steel production, grain for food production, coal for energy production and raw building supplies like concrete.

Since the beginning of the year, the BDI has taken a pretty serious tumble. When it drops below a certain point, it means ship owners have whole fleets of idle vessels sitting in ports. These ships cost a lot of money in personnel and upkeep, whether they’re working or not. If they’re not generating income by transporting raw materials, it sometimes becomes more cost-effective to tear them down and sell them for scrap rather than letting them rust away in port.

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The BDI is an excellent indicator of worldwide economic conditions. If you’re really interested in what’s coming down the road, forget the stock market. The stock market tells you what the herd is doing today. The Dow Jones bounces up and down daily on rumor, innuendo and planned profit-manipulation. The BDI is a far more accurate predictor of long-term trends, because it deals with the fundamental availability and expense of the real materials needed for economic growth. For the prepper, knowing that the prices of wheat, rice, steel, concrete and energy will soon be changing is a valuable tool for planning.

These are just three examples of the kind of myriad bits of information the well-informed prepper should track. An increase in the cost of building materials means out-of-work builders. A poorly trained military means good soldiers and sailors are quitting or retiring. Less government handouts to the reservations means an increase in crime and drugs.

Being a prepper doesn’t just mean beans, bandages and bullets. It also means preparing for the future by being as fully informed as possible. Being unable to make logical and reasonable strategic decisions based on national or even worldwide events can mean sitting in the dark on a sack of rice while threats you never considered are approaching your community.

So read the news (even the fake news), and incorporate that information into your strategic planning. Doing so is an important aspect of getting prepared.

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