“The closer you are to Caesar the greater the fear” is a famous line from the timeless movie “The Thin Red Line.” The movie depicted the horrific battle for Guadalcanal in WWII against the Japanese Army. The fighting conditions shown were beyond inhumane requiring the American soldiers to fight for hours or even days without basic supplies including water. If you ever want to see on film what real war looks like then rent this movie. Listen closely especially to the narrations as these comments are philosophically overwhelming.
Translating to today’s world we all face the potential of our own thin red line though hopefully nothing like the one our soldiers encountered in Guadalcanal. Our red lines can occur during SHTF events, personal threats to our safety, active shooter incidents, natural disasters of many kinds, industrial accidents, economic peril, investment declines, oppressive laws or regulations, job insecurities, and a myriad of other circumstances.
As the narrator in the movie asked, “What is this thin red line? Who is doing this? Who is killing us, robbing us of life and might?” In many cases there are situations or circumstances that we can control or manipulate to some level of survival. In other cases there are external factors that impact our lives over which we have little domain or sway. How we react or prepare to react is paramount. This is the essence of prepping and thus, survival.
Age Old Adages
How do you get better at golf or shooting that concealed weapon you bought last year, but still languishes in the nightstand drawer with the owner’s manual pages unturned? You meant to rework that section of the garage installing shelving to provide much needed space to store prepping equipment. But that was last summer. That new reloading bench is still in the shipping carton. No, you never did put up the new tent in the backyard did you?
That adult education course flyer from the local community college came again. You saw the programs offered for first aid classes, active shooter response, making homemade jerky, simple car mechanics, welding, beginner carpentry skills, homeowner electricity, and several more. Where did I put that brochure? Is it too late to sign up I wonder?
Remember these? “Practice makes perfect, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, time is of the essence, an inch is as good as a mile, there is no time like the present, don’t get caught with your pants down?” If you really are a prepper, then get with the program.
Organize, Prioritize, Initiate
You have to get started somewhere. You sit and you ponder what to do, what to do, wringing your hands and constantly debating the same questions over and over. But still you sit. What will it take to get you off center? How much reality do you need to shock you into action? What if the bank closes, what happens during a riot and the grocery store on the corner is burned down, what do I do if a truck load of despicable characters pulls up in my driveway, what if I lose my job tomorrow, hey, the power is out and there is no water?
None of these incident examples are that farfetched given the turmoil in today’s world. You may have already experienced some of them. What did you do? How did you react? Did you react? Getting started is not all that complicated. Just push yourself off center and do something. It is easy to sit in your comfy lounger chair with a notepad in your lap. Heck, you can still watch the game and write notes during the beer commercials.
Begin to craft a plan. Write it down. Fill in the blanks as you think of action items to accomplish your goals. Such as? Buy more water to store in the laundry room, get several cases of canned foods the whole family will eat, buy that first aid kit, pick up a couple bug out bags at that war surplus store, shop the pharmacy for OTC meds and other supplies. Put some cash in a zip bag and hide it in a book on the shelf that you hollowed out. Shop for that new pistol and maybe you should add a shotgun and/or an AR rifle. How much ammo should I put back? I need to call Bob and get out to the shooting range.
As the lists develop, number the items in terms of priority. You can’t do everything at once, or this week, but you can certainly begin to whittle the list down. Put the most important things first. Water and food are tops. Security is a high priority. Go from there. Then don’t catch yourself lounging in that chair staring at the list and never doing anything about it. Get off your duff and do it. Baby steps first, then congratulate yourself for milestones achieved. Build your confidence as you build your skills.
With every step you take, you learn to better deal with those thin red lines. As you approach Caesar, your fear retreats, because you have prepared for it and learned how to deal with it. With cause and determination you have become a survivalist. All it takes is that first step. Take it now.
Dr. John J. Woods
The Thin Red Line
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