HYST - Elephants are Coming!

This page has a worksheet in the Workbook.  Click this link for the worksheet: WB010.PDF

A certain large town received reports that a vast rampaging heard of elephants was headed toward the town. The people in this town and the surrounding area had never heard of elephants before, since no elephants lived in that part of the world, and television hadn't been invented yet. The people went to the rulers, who, because they had been educated, knew what elephants were.

The rulers held a meeting and said, "It is not good to panic the people.", and they showed the people a picture of the tail of an elephant. Upon seeing this, the people felt relived and said, "What harm can such a small worm-like creature cause? They can easily be crushed underfoot!", and went about their everyday lives with little thought of the coming elephants.

When an outlying village heard about this, they went to warn their brothers because they had seen elephants and knew what they were capable of. They called a large meeting in the street and declared that preparations needed to be made and precautions taken against the coming of the great elephants. On hearing this, the people all laughed derisively and said, 'FOOLS! Why do you speak to us of elephants!?'

I should probably put this page in a 'psychology' section, because we're going to get into some psychology. The first bit of psychology is that you are going to find that if you tell your friends and family that you are preparing for SHTF, they are likely to react in a negative, unsupportive way.

Most 'survivalists' find this out early.  If you tell people that you are preparing for disaster, you will be given all the respect of a circus freak.  While in the middle of making fun of your sanity, most people will also make the statement, "Yeah, well if SHTF, I'll just come to your house!"

This very common statement really means, "I'm too damn lazy to prep myself, so I'll just come eat your food and you can protect me and keep me safe and warm."

Since it is a common statement, I have two common replies.  If I don't like the person so much, I say, "If you do, I'll shoot you in the face like any other looter."  If I do like the person, I'll say, "I'll be happy to feed your kids, but if you're too lazy to make sure that they have something to eat I'm not going to feed you."

These kinds of conversations quickly teach 'survivalists' to keep their preps in the closet and never tell a soul.  Your best friend could be prepared for disaster, but you'd never know because he or she slinks around in the dark trying to keep people from finding out that he or she is one of 'those kooks' that are preparing for 'the end of the world'...oh my...

No matter what your friends or family thinks about being prepared for a disaster or emergency, you must have your spouse 'on board' with your preparations or you will be seriously thwarted.  For some reason spouses actively work against you when they think you're insane.  We already know that you are the smart one in the relationship.  You show them over and over again all the data that points to the end of the world, but all they want to do is sit on the sofa and watch Oprah. 


Yeah.  That works real well...  This page is designed to help you open a dialog with your spouse.  If both you and your spouse are already survival freaks, then you're all set.  Most of us, though, need to do a little work to bring other people into the Ark.  This is something that is very critical, and I want to stress it.  You must have your spouse on board with your preps and plans.  If you do not, then what happens is that one day a semi full of some toxic chemical spills in your neighborhood and you immediately decide to pull the trigger on the 60 second plan - but your spouse says, "You're just a nut job.  I ain't leavin', and you ain't takin' the kids." - and then you all die in a cloud of gas.  That actually *happened* in Katrina.  I have heard quite a number of people say, "I wanted to leave, but my wife/husband wouldn't."  This had tragic results in several cases.

To take small steps, what we want to do is create - in our own homes for now - a Culture of Preparedness.  We want everyone living with us to be on board the preparation bandwagon.  It's very educational to observe Mormons in this regard.  That is, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS.)  (Hi, Ralph!)  LDS members already have a Culture of Preparedness that is 'built in' to their faith.  The LDS Church provided huge amounts of humanitarian aid to Katrina victims, and it is safe to say that as a people they really Have Their Stuff Together.  We are going to examine some of the man-made miracles of organization and relief that they have performed in disasters and use some of their ideas as a model for some of our own. 

For the most part, if you don't live in Mormon Country, your neighbors are not likely to live in a Culture of Preparedness, and so they will just ridicule you for your 'silly' preparations.  Sort of like everybody made fun of Noah before it started raining...

The first thing we need to do is identify why people respond badly to the idea of disaster preparations.  There are a number of reasons for this. 

1.  They prefer to practice the fine Chinese art of Lay-Zee.  In English, that's LAZY to you and me.  We already know that LAZY PEOPLE DO NOT PROSPER!  If they make fun of you for your preparation, then that makes them feel better about their own laziness. 

2.  They are afraid.  They do not want to think about the possibility that their house may burn down, so they don't install smoke alarms because they just don't want to think about it.

3.  They are ignorant.  They simply do not appreciate the possibilities, despite all your charts, graphs, and doomsday prophecies. 

Denial4.  They do not believe that it can (or will) happen to them.  I have always found it telling that 95% of the people who show up to my martial arts classes have recently been the victim of a violent crime - which is closing the barn door after the critters have escaped...  De-nial is not just a river in Egypt...

The second thing to do is identify those qualities in people who do prepare for hard times.  Why are you interested in this stuff?  As you might expect, people who prepare for the future are usually industrious, level-headed, educated, and realistic.  On the far end of that spectrum, there are also people who are simply paranoid.  Paranoid is good, as long as it drives you to a good purpose...

Everyone who lives in a hurricane area knows that the common advice is to have three days of food and water available at all times.  Even the laziest, terrified ignoramus knows this - and for the most part they do it.  It's reasonable, and that's going to be one of the first tools in our box.  We need to be reasonable when we talk to people so that you do not breach their comfort level. 

When talking about spouses, it's necessary to approach them in a non-alarmist way.  You must work slowly somtimes.  People aren't going to come to face reality overnight.  There are several strategies for doing this, and there are others, but let's cover some successful ones here.  What do we do if we want our spouse to get a CLUE?  Here are some possibilities:

Oh No!1.  Do nothing and experience a widespread disaster one day.  That will certainly get everyone on the same page, but the problem is that you're going to lose a lot of time and a lot of wealth with this method - not to mention that you might get pulled off your roof by an alligator when the water gets high.

2.  Point them to this blog.  Email them the link and say, "I was reading this today and it's really fascinating.  It's so well written that I just couldn't stop.  We should start thinking about these things."  I've had a couple of people tell me that they've done this already and the wives and girlfriends are at least open to the discussion.

Angry3.  Sneak around.  Start working on your workbook, assembling documents, and scanning your photographs.  Try to hide it.  Make it a secret.  If your spouse is anything like mine, she'll figure out that you're trying to hide something in about 15 minutes and then demand to know WTF you are doing.  You can then say, "I'm working on this Preparedness Workbook, and I didn't think you'd be interested." 

"And WHY wouldn't you think *I* would be interested!?"

That's a sure way to have them give you all the input you need...   

4.  Just come out and ask.  "Dear, I am trying to work on this Preparedness Workbook, and I'd really appreciate your input."  If you get them involved slowly, before you know it they'll be trying to buy machine guns at the next gun show...

No matter what you do, start slowly and reasonably with your spouse.  That means working on your work book, and maybe pointing them to this blog.  As soon as you breech their comfort level, they're going to ask you, "Why are you doing all this stuff?  Do you expect aliens to invade the earth or something?"  That's a sure clue that they're getting lazy, afraid, or slipping into denial.  If you don't have the right answer at the right time, then you are going to become the family kook and probably end up living in your mother's basement after the divorce.

What is the right answer?  That depends on the level of your preparations to date.

"Why are you doing that?"

Shadow Ridge"I was reading this website and it was talking about how there are over 400,000 residential fires that claim the lives of over 3,100 people.  I want us to have a good fire escape plan and be able to save our important papers and photographs if it happens to us."


After you give them the 'fire safety' answer, do not let them respond.  Immediately follow your explanation with an invitation to conversation.  Like this:

"If we had a fire tonight and you could only save one thing, what would you save?"

You can then carry on the conversation from there.  Actually get up off the sofa and start walking around, engaging your spouse in the things most precious to you.  Make it about your relationship and you'll be good to go.  Either that, or you'll need a divorce lawyer tomorrow...

Spend money where you need to, but be reasonable.  Get some smoke alarms or upgrade the ones you have.  Buy at least two fire extinguishers.  One for the kitchen and one for the bedroom.  This will demonstrate to your spouse that you are serious about fire safety, and that you are being a good and responsible partner.  If you have kids, then you're being a good parent - and yes, you should make the, "It's for the children!" argument if you have to.

Nobody can really argue with you if you say, "I don't want my babies to burn."

Don't expect your spouse to have your enthusiasm at first.  What you are really looking for is an acknowledgement that what you are doing is reasonable.  You aren't going to get that moat full of laser guided robot sharks in the next few weeks...

What you say is just as important as how you say it.  The words that come out of your mouth should be monitored carefully. 

"We need to stockpile some food so that when the global economy collapses we won't starve.", is not nearly advantageous as, "With the price of food going up all the time, do you think it would be a good idea to start picking up a little extra every time we go to the grocery store so that if the prices skyrocket we've already got some kind of food bank?" 

Avoid things like, "We need to do XYZ.", and try having conversations.  "Do you think we should XYZ?", and then talk about it. 

For now, if you stick with the workbook, it's all very non-threatening and it all makes reasonable sense.  Use specific high-risk threats that are applicable to your area.  "Honey, if the volcano erupts, what do you think we should do?" 

Try to avoid words like 'disaster planning', or 'alien invasion' and use words like 'emergency preparedness'.  Make it seem non-threatening.

If you cannot get your spouse on-board for whatever reason, then work towards tolerance.  If he or she will at least tolerate what you're doing and not give away all your emergency supplies to charity, then that's a half-step towards full cooperation.

If your spouse just will not consider anything you are doing, then you may have to just do it on your own.  That's not, however, a good situation.  Work on it.  Your spouse already knows that you are a freak.  Go for broke.




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