Meet three of your neighbors who think apocalypse is right around the corner — and they plan to be prepared.
by Larry Lightner
If you read last month's article on the growing interest in apocalyptic thinking and preparing for various doomsday possibilities ("Apocalypse Now?," July), you may be curious about the local folks mentioned who are part of this trend. I was, too, so I set out to interview three Grant County "doomsday preppers."
Web sites such as Emergency Essentials cater to “preppers” with products such as the “Gourmet 2000”: a year’s supply of food with freeze-dried meals, side dishes, drink mixes and desserts, providing one person approximately 2,000 calories per day for one year, $4,399.99.
As I did so, I found several commonalities between them: First, they are all long-time readers of Desert Exposure. Second, they are all well educated and well traveled. Third, they all are articulate in presenting their views about what they believe could possibly be coming. And, lastly, they are all "preppers" in one way or the other, though they may not use that term from the current National Geographic Channel TV show.
I chose to stay away from their political views and political parties and even whether they considered themselves to be liberal or conservative. What I did want to know was their opinions on why they are prepping for an apocalypse. Having said that, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of Desert Exposure, nor have their claims about what might be leading us down the path to doomsday been fact-checked for accuracy.
These men have quietly gone around getting ready; they are not alarmists, and up until these interviews, no one knew of their plans. I have come to believe that they do represent a cross-section of southwest New Mexico as well as the population of America.
For obvious reasons, their names here are fictional. They don't want you to know who they are — or where they are stashing their preparations for the disasters they believe loom. But they are indeed real people. They are your neighbors, and they all think the end is near.
"Richard" is a college graduate with degrees in engineering, and is a retired "captain of industry" with a Fortune 500 company. He resides somewhere in Grant County.
Larry: What is your personal apocalyptic view?
Richard: I don't know exactly, but I believe that there is quite a high probability of a total financial collapse of our nation, along with Europe and possibly the entire world.
Larry: What will cause this financial collapse here in America?
Richard: I believe that it will be an unknown factor that completely blindsides us and be a catalyst, or major trigger to bring about three or four known factors, all of which will come together at once. We will be in such a weakened economic state that when this collapse occurs, it will be irreversible; we have crossed over that "line-of-no-return."
An example of one of the known factors would be a mass default of loans by all of the major banks.
Larry: What will happen if this major collapse occurs?
Richard: : Immediate anarchy or lawless disorder.
Larry: What is another major factor?
Richard: Our debt. It is one of the major contributors as to where America is now, all the way from the poorest individual to the government itself; our debt is extreme.
Larry: Is it truly irreversible?
Richard: I believe at this time, it is, but I also think that there is virtually no one who has the will to change it. The very least that we should do is adopt the "Ryan Plan," but all it would do is keep our debt in check, not cure it.
Larry: When do you expect the economic collapse to happen?
Richard: My best educated guess is that it could happen tomorrow or in 10 years from now, but I expect it in the next year or three, but it definitely will happen, so why not be prepared?
Larry: Do you think anarchy will rapidly follow or be delayed for a period of time?
Richard: I believe that it will happen very quickly. When banks shut down, no more utilities and no more commerce, and hence, no more gas, food, water, electricity, etc. People will either get angry, panic, or both.
Larry: How are you preparing for an economic collapse?
Richard: There is a "pyramid-of-need" effect to life. At of the top and foremost is a need for drinking water, followed underneath by food, shelter, clothing, medicines, etc. I'm preparing for my family to be self-sufficient in these areas by storing up a long-term supply of each.
Larry: I've heard some "experts" say, it is a time lapse of four to seven days without drinking water, for a person to get desperate and become criminal to get water. Do you agree?
Richard: No! I think it will only take two days at the most.
Larry: So explain to me some of your preparations.
Richard: I have immediately on hand 75-90 gallons of drinking water at any one time. I have a generator if my electricity goes out, so that I can pump water from my well. I have enough gasoline for up to two years to run the generator. If that fails, I know of a nearby, year-round spring that I can get water from.
Larry: How long are you prepared to be in an emergency situation?
Richard: Up until recently, I was prepared for three months, but I rethought it and now prepare for 12 months of everything essential.
Larry: What about other water needs?
Richard: I have storage tanks of several thousand gallons for flushing waste and hygiene.
Larry: You say a year — is that the worse-case scenario?
Richard: To pull out of a national crisis will take many years, but personal survival may be weeks, months or years, too. During this time, government on all levels will be diverted into keeping the peace, not curing the economy.
Larry: Besides water, how else are you specifically preparing?
Richard: I have food for a year. Canned goods can be stored indefinitely. I have vacuum-sealed many pounds of dried goods in the form of corn, beans, rice and grains. I have seeds for planting and for bartering. I have precious metals like silver and gold, as well as guns and ammo to protect myself.
Larry: Will you need to buy anything, post-crisis?
Richard: Paper money will be worthless; we will regress 150 years to a society of bartering. I can use everything that I've stored to barter with to get something I need. Bullets and seeds will become very important!
Larry: When will this come about?
Richard: Soon after law and order are restored — days, months, a year.
Larry: This is probably an obvious question, but why all of the guns and ammo?
Richard: One of the biggest challenges will be protection of our families and what we have stored up. We will have to defend against criminal strangers, but also sadly, against neighbors and friends — anyone who is without essentials themselves.
Larry: After this collapse, will democracy or capitalism, as we know it, continue on?
Richard: No, not in its present form; these are too slow in re-activation.
Larry: What will replace them?
Richard: First a system of give-and-take, a bartering economy without government intervention. Of course, the population will be greatly reduced by then.
Larry: You say, no government intervention — what will the government be doing?
Richard: First and foremost, it will be providing protection to the remaining populace and restoring basic laws. It could also possibly be trying to provide essential needs to individuals.
Larry: Isn't there an inherent danger with the bartering system?
Richard: Yes, as long as there is anarchy, there is a danger that if it becomes common knowledge that you have essential goods, people will try to steal them, especially if they have nothing to barter with.
Larry: Final statement?
Richard: As I said before, I'm prepared!
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