I have been looking over many posts over my time on APN, and other Prepping sites. I have been struck by a recurring issue with the folks who are participating on them. It seems as though the concern for OPSEC has caused the most Preppers to isolate themselves from everybody. They participate on this site, and others, without any direct contact with the folks in their immediate area, all in the name of OPSEC. I understand the viewpoint. I even agree to a point.
While I must admit to my own share of paranoia concerning OPSEC issues, I also recognize that I cannot sustain myself or my family for an extended time in total isolation. One cannot remain an island indefinitely. Regardless of whether you are in a semi-rural, rural, or wilderness area after the SHTF, there will come a time when resources are gone. Wild game has been eaten, bullets are gone and so are the stored supplies. Can you remember everything that will be needed then? I can’t.
I continually train myself and my family in the skills necessary for survival but, survival alone is not enough. Survival is the use of a minimal set of information, knowledge, and skills. Retaining a reasonable and fulfilling life is everyone’s goal, not just bare survival. All work and NO leisure time makes for a poor and wearing existence. Sharing knowledge and skills among a larger group can keep all from all having a life of bare subsistence and unending toil. Is it worthwhile to survive the SHTF event(s) if unending work is all there is to life?
I know, I know. You are thinking that I might be crazy but, think about this. Are you able to gather and retain knowledge for EVERYTHING? Can you be expert in: farming, gunsmithing, mechanics, animal husbandry, carpentry, building, medicine, herbs, cloth making, sewing, machining, blacksmithing, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, fabrication, lumbering, stone working, metallurgy, chemistry, pottery, communications … and the list goes on? My brain can’t hold all the necessary details, I can’t train for all the skill sets (successfully) and I can’t buy, print, and/or transport enough paper for the needed library to have all that knowledge available. Are you planning to raid libraries and steal what you need? How often can you do that? How much can you carry with you? Non-fiction is 2/3rds of a library. I don’t know about you but, I will need to rely on others to fill the voids in my abilities, knowledge, and skills.
No matter how well I prepare, there inevitably will come a time when I will need to collaborate with or join with others. It will be best if I don’t need to find them by “experiment” while roaming around or “bump” into them in my search. The danger level of attempting to join with others without having prior contact is very high in that environment. You could say it may be worth your life in many cases. My point is that it is worthwhile to have at least a nodding acquaintance with fellow Preppers nearby you. They may need the knowledge that you have, or have access to, just as you may also need them to round out your own knowledge and skills.
Part of being successful Preppers, in my opinion, is being able to reach out through APN and other sites, to likeminded Preppers in your vicinity and actually meet them. You need not invite them over to inspect your place but, knowing the general area that they are in, and they yours, will come in handy when you have reached your maximum saturation point after the SHTF Event (whatever that turns out to be). It will prevent you from running into them cold and it will turn out to be mutually beneficial. You may even be able to coordinate knowledge gathering and skill sharing in advance of the SHTF event to prevent too much overlap and duplication of specialized knowledge and skills. This makes for a stronger probability of all of us coming away from the SHTF events stronger and with the ability to successfully rebuild, and hopefully avoid another Dark Ages.
In preindustrial America, most of the folks that had little use for a contact with others were Mountain Men and hermits. Even they required human contact and supplies from small communities or other groups of people from time to time. Remote farmers would gather from time to time to enjoy the company of their neighbors and work together for their mutual benefit as needed. Hermits and families that were completely isolated didn’t last long. Their life was all toil for survival, leading to a much shorter lifespan with little joy.
What do you owe yourself and loved ones? Will that life be worth passing down to the children? Will they want it? Will they be able to sustain themselves? Who will they marry? Do you have a 10-year Plan? What is the 20-year Plan? How about 30-years? Are you planning beyond 6-months or a year?
“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best”
If one doesn’t learn from the Past, then they are sure to repeat it. Is that the way we want to go?