Last night, while in bed, I listened to some of the radio show Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. His guest was survival expert Jim Rawles (SurvivalBlog.com). Rawles believes that America is vulnerable to everything from solar flares and terrorism to global economic collapse. His talk was all about disaster preparedness.
I had the seeds of such a mindset implanted in my brain back in 1974, during the first oil embargo. I remember looking out the window of my commuter train window while heading into Manhattan and seeing long lines of cars waiting to get gas. Not long after that I moved to the Midwest for a job offer.
In 1979 we had a second oil embargo. It became apparent to me that the government was not about to solve our energy problems. So I decided to take things into my own hands. In the Midwest, rural property could be found just 15-20 minutes outside of the downtown area that I worked in. In 1979 such acreage was rather inexpensive and kept me within an easy commute to the city.
I eventually purchased 10 acres, built a passive solar home, planted 300 trees, including nut and fruit trees, and raised geese and ducks. My downtown job allowed me to take advantage of this situation. This plan to reach a level of self-sufficiency was my way of preparing for a future disaster that seemed inevitable.
Because my property was given agricultural status I received an official government form to fill out. They wanted to know what my food-raising capabilities were—presumably, so that in an emergency situation, they could rush in and share the fruits of my labor as they saw fit. (Recently I have even heard a rumor that the government wants to pass a law that would allow them to own my farm pond.)
Apparently, the fruits of my wisdom are not really mine. Even worse, my wisdom could place me in real physical danger if things got bad.
Sometime during the 1980s and feeling snug, I read an article about a person who was giving lectures on the need for more people to prepare themselves for bad times through strategies of self-sufficiency. Someone in the audience raised his hand and said, “Why should I go through all that trouble when I can simply walk in and steal your food?”
With an emotional outburst the lecturer said to the questioner “because I’ll shoot you!”
Well, last night on the radio I heard a similar scenario. Rawles pointed out that if a disaster happened, people would poor out of the cities and into the country’s farmland. Some of these people would kill for food.
During the Y2K scare I had already pondered such a reality. Would I shoot someone? If things broke down so badly that I had to defend my property from hordes of desperate people, law enforcement and emergency personal could not be counted on (they would be defending their own families).
So what would I do with a rotting body (or two or three) in my front yard? And what pangs of conscience would I have to endure for the rest of my life?
When the threat of Y2K passed, I gave a bunch of stored canned goods to my neighbor (who had ten children) and decided to write my first book Sermon From The Compost Pile. It touched on the pragmatic and spiritual side of living closer to nature while healing the ecosystem. The more people I could convince to see the wisdom of such a mindset the less people would feel the need to storm my property.
The book was my way of opening my heart to others in the most helpful way I could imagine. But after the Y2K scare was over, everyone embraced the housing bubble and there was little need to listen to people like me. Now, ten years later, things are looking bad again.
My heart still goes out to people, but I will defend my property and family. I am reminded by Jesus’ words “Be shrewd like the serpent but innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). In other words, have a good heart but know the ways of the world!