Is TEOTWAWKI a Fantasy?

Today I’d like to open up a discussion about what could bring about TEOTWAWKI.  Indeed, how do we define it?  It stands for The End of The World As We Know It, but is this just a euphemism for a rough time or is it a real disaster that causes the breakdown of society in the United States for an extended period of time?

Recently there was a guy writing in the comments section going by the name of Jason (among other names) who was challenging various people about why they prepped.  To paraphrase all his posts and email into one bold statement he claims that the United States is too big to fail.  He’s not saying that there might not be some problems down the road, which is why he preps, but he doesn’t think there will ever be a complete breakdown of the political and economic systems that make up our country.

First of all, I’m glad to have the feedback from that point of view.  Not that it doesn’t sting a little; however, I do value the points he makes in the argument.  Second, it gives us a chance to sit back and look objectively at how we as preppers spend a lot of time and energy.

As far as I’m concerned, Jason has every right to question why we think the way we do.  Honestly, I sometimes ask myself the same question.  Is TEOTWAWKI a fantasy?  After all, how bad could it really get?  Could a large, modern, technologically advanced country really go down the tubes so fast that there’s anarchy in the streets and it’s not safe to move from one place to another?

Also Read: Murphy’s Laws of TEOTWAWKI

What are some of the things that could cause problems for the country?  I’ve talked with my wife at length and we both think that the economy is a big problem and that it’s currently looking for equilibrium with the big question being, “Where will it land?”  (I think it’s worse than she does though, she probably leans more towards Jason’s argument.)  High unemployment, lurking inflation, huge government debt, high personal debt, and no relief on the horizon does not make me feel warm and tingly.  Granted, nothing major has happened yet and if there were a hyper-inflationary event that doesn’t necessarily mean it would be the end of the world as we know it.  Sure, things could get tough and people might have to live out of the pantry for awhile, but does that qualify as a TEOTWAWKI event?

There are several things I can think of that would qualify for a TEOTWAWKI event.  Nuclear war on a global scale comes to mind, although that seems to be extremely unlikely at this time.  A large EMP event could potentially knock out the power grid, although again this is highly unlikely.  A disease (think Avian Flu) could sweep through the land, although with modern medicine we have a pretty good shot at knocking it down before it wipes out the whole population.  What about Peak Oil?  I personally believe Peak Oil is here, although I don’t think it will cause a sudden collapse of society.  It’s more likely to be a long drawn out gasp then a sudden collapse.  Should we be putting more money into R&D for alternative energy then pouring it down the never-ending gullet of a multiple war front?  I think so, but that’s just me.

Also Read: Patriot Dawn – The Resistance Rises

Statistically speaking, it doesn’t look good for an end of the world event; however, does that mean we should stop prepping?  While Jason seems to think the country is robust I see some area of weakness.  One example is that our distribution system is based on the “Just In Time” model for the most part, which means very little inventory is kept in stock.  If there were a disruption to transportation due a huge storm or an earthquake it wouldn’t take that long for people to start running out of food and water with very few supplies on-hand at your local grocery stores.  Here in the northeast every time there’s a blizzard coming the shelves get wiped out of certain items because people come out last minute to stock up.

Another argument that doesn’t hold water with me is, “It’s never happened before, so it won’t happen now.”  You could probably go back in history and find a thousand events that happened where someone said that, yet the event happened.

Now I’d like to open it up.  What do you think?  Just for clarity’s sake here are my questions:

1.  What events could cause TEOTWAWKI?

2.  How do you define it?

3.  Which scenario do you feel is likely to be “the one?”

4.  Are we – preppers – wasting our time getting ready for something that may never happen?

Jarhead Survivor


One of the best arguments I’ve heard about our economy comes from Chris Martenson.  If  you haven’t watched his Crash Course yet I’d encourage you to do so when you have some time.  It’s on the left side of the site when you get there and it’s free to watch, although it is fairly lengthy.

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61 comments… add one
  • Lady Glover February 16, 2011, 9:15 am

    Great blog! I am looking forward to reading the following posts from other preppers..

  • Spook45 February 16, 2011, 9:32 am

    Well, The way I define that statement, TEOTWAWKI it is definately NOT a fantasy. While some people let thier imaginations run wild to the ends of delusion, but in reality our world is very fragile in many respects. For the world to end AS WE KNOW IT, all we need is a huge solar event. EMP effect will kill the grid and we are back to say, oh about the 1860s. A large Nuclear event could result in similar issues. The internet is the root hub of our entire business system in todays world, a major crash or lengthy disruptioncould cause serious repricusions on our economy. There are a number of natural occurances that could cause lots of problems for us. While the world is a big spinning in space and it will likely keep on spinning, what happens down here in the small world, where we the people live, it takes very little to upset a balance that people have become accustomed too. The survivalist is a unique bread, we are the last of the people who do for themselves and dont depnd wholy upon others to take care of us. I mostly feel for the younger generation because they cant do anything for themselves. They dont hunt, fish or camp like we did, sure there are a few adventurous souls, but no one does the things we did when we were that age. They all play video games, the social networking sites have destroyed propriety in the youger generation to the point that they have no class. when you add in the fact that they have been dumbed down beyond the scope of knowing thier rights, it is not hard to take them away because they have no expectations. In short, the answer is No, it is not mere fatasy, in fact, One could argue that from our teenage years to now, the world as we knoow it has ended and been replaced with a 1984, facisitic glimmer of what was once a great and free republic. Whats worse, is that we are on the brink, the shoe has not dropped yet. Err go, the never ending never changing survival shopping list. FOOD, AMMO, and TOILET PAPER!

  • Jason & the cast of thousands February 16, 2011, 9:35 am


    I appreciate the fairness with which you presented your/my case, thank you.

    I want to introduce a couple of other points for others to ponder while formulating their foolish opinions (just kidding my friends) and will jump back in with more. These are only high points not a complete breakdown of events.

    It’s all about perspective …..

    1 .The Great Depression 1930-1938. We’ve seen the movies & read the books and survived, a couple of scars & bruises but survived.

    2. 1970’s saw a severe recession, the tail end of the Vietnam war, terrorism (remember Munich in 1972?), Airliners hijacked, the Symbionese Liberation Army & Black Panthers terrorizing us within our borders, the oil crisis that caused us to wait in line for an hour for your share of gas – then they began the odd/even days of rationing and a few other tasty events. We survived, a couple of scars & bruises but survived without rioting in the streets.

    3. 1980’s – imagine looking at the TV and hearing the news anchor announce that prime interest rates are 21%. Yes, I was fairly new to the business world and was crestfallen with this awesome news.

    I lived in L.A. at the time & one of my first client’s was someone very famous – if I mentioned his name all of you would say, yea – I know that guy, he was great (still is)! He was also an economist and explained how the market worked and the power of influence by a few & how cycles worked – he simply waited it out. Was he afraid? No, he had perspective.

    Let us not forget how silver went up over 10 times in value – the end of the world, rush to buy it before it’s gone? Thank you Hunt brothers. Yes, even though the interest rates came down to 10% & disco and bell bottom pants was thankfully becoming passe, we survived with minimal damage.

    4. 1990’s – I was deeply involved in the banking industry and began a career in loss mitigation. I was convinced that the banking was teetering upon failure – we had the infamous Savings & Loan failures where the government ate 90 billion dollars (disclosed but the number was far higher) – 1990 dollars .

    Real estate prices fell through the floor – in my area of Southern California (which usually fares better than most) fell 40% …. ouch. The general thought among many is times were hard, and let us retreat into our shells for a bit. Once again, we survived with one geographically specific riot that was related to a racial event caught on tape.

    5. 2000’s – enter the beginning of decadence. Real estate values double every 15 minutes (ha,ha) wealth and prosperity abound and we are finally an economy where everybody can get rich & quick!! Oops, we over leverage as a nation as a whole – or so it would appear to the less informed and things start to spiral out of control or …. was it time to get back to normal?

    We had become badly spoiled & entitled and do not like this great leveling taking place. Banks portfolios are about 18-20% non performing which is huge but – 80-82% are performing and rising. They have figured out, finally, how to cut their losses quickly and begin to generate revenue again.

    Next thing to throw into the mix is the “survivalist” community which represents, in total, less than 1% of the population. The general belief is we are going to hell in a handcart, the sky is falling because EVERYTHING is pointing that way …. or is it?

    How can such a small group who has the exact same information as everybody else be right? Granted, 25% of the population is confused and uncertain but even they do not prep for TEOTWAWKI and why, are they blind?

    Last little intro is the motivation for doing, in this case, prepping. If you take a real antiseptic look and carefully examine the words from those audience members who comment in competitive sites (wink, wink), you will notice that fear and anxiety rule the message by in large.

    And if that’s not enough, you have a single writer and less than 50 of the same people out of thousands upon thousand of readers who post their fear laden messages. It doesn’t take a math genius to see what makes sense and what is “inane & or theoretical”.

    So why truly prep? Examine your why very carefully. For me it is, in this order – fun, wise, a great model for saving money, become self sufficient and not be a burden IF things get nutty.

    Finally, an old joke for you Jarhead –

    What is the noise shit makes when it hits the fan?


  • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 9:57 am

    Think about your statement for a moment –

    “TEOTWAWKI it is definately NOT a fantasy. While some people let thier imaginations run wild to the ends of delusion ….. all we need is a huge solar event the EMP effect will kill the grid and we are back to say, oh about the 1860s.”

    Why is it that a solar flare is more probable today, because you & a few others want to believe it? Couldn’t that be classified as fantasy?

    • Spook45 February 16, 2011, 2:56 pm

      Feel free to go to the web nad look at NOAA ,NASA and a few other proffesionals in this regard and see if you think it is fantasy. Huge solar output would not destroy our planet but it would change the world as we know it. In fact, some of us are old enough to remember solar peak in hte 70s when we had phone interferance, satalite disruption, tv signal distortion and lots of other small things that were noticeable, a MAJOR solar event like what has been predicted for next couple of years could be even worse. A coronal mass ejection or something along those lines and a lot of electronics are gonna have major issues.

      • Jason February 16, 2011, 4:53 pm

        So, what do you do – sit and worry? Panic and build a lead bomb shelter to store …. ?

        I lived in California for more than 50 years & they have talked about the “big one” (earthquake) that would make Las Vegas become a beach community. Scientists have far more abilities to predict that event than a solar flare and still I sit here unshaken.

        I finally decided to sell my condo in Las Vegas ….

        • Spook45 February 16, 2011, 7:28 pm

          Heh, not me. I prep for a myriad of reasons, but I could care less about that partiuclar issue. Ive survived a host of things that most people do not. I can tell you this from experience, the better prepared you are for multiple contingancies, the more comfortable you will be when shit goes down. Naysay, all you want, it is an uncertain world, to prepare is just common sense that only evades idiots who cant see the forrest for the trees. Do what you want, thats what I do and why you would spend your time here trying to tell other people thay are wrong if you dont believe in it is beyond me, just as I will no longer waste my time trying to show people like you the way, natural selection will take care of you. Good luck, the things in our near future dictate that you will need it.

  • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 10:03 am

    Jarhead, Excellent post, your objectivity is rare & commendable.

  • Chi February 16, 2011, 10:19 am

    Remember. Its “the end of the world as WE know it”.
    What you classify as a TEOTWAWKI event depends if you are looking at a species killer or something which will end the world as you know it for your culture or nationality.
    Species killers are simple. Asteroid, comet, supervolcano, gamma pulse, so on and so on. I classify TEOTWAWKI as something which means that very likely we all die.
    Any thing else is just WTSHTF. The Black Death, the fall of each of the many empires over history probably felt for those people to be a TEOTWAWKI event. But they were not. They were regional.
    There are too many interpretations of TEOTWAWKI. I prefer to call it E.L.E Extinction Level Event.

  • Judith February 16, 2011, 10:55 am

    Did you see the interview with Security at the Port of San Diego.
    He as good as said they found a WMD until his boss on the sidelines told him to shut up about it.

    Did you see the 13,000 plus techers and such demonstrating in Wisconsin this morning? It didn’t look much different than Egypt.

    I agree with you. It wouldn’t take a whole hell of a lot to put our whole society back to the dark ages.

    • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 11:21 am

      Did you know hundreds of thousands of people camped near the Washington monument – multiple times, giving hate speeches and protesting the Vietnam war? There are so many other examples with equal numbers that it isn’t funny.

      Is it because we are so in tune with life & our false entitlment created economy imploded (see point 5 above) that we now want to believe all is failed so we can justify being
      unhappy or reason to prep?

      • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 11:23 am

        Damn it – that was me, Jason again!

    • Jason February 16, 2011, 11:28 am

      PS Judith,

      That WMD in San Diego was actually my future ex mother-in-law I loaded on a container ship being sent to China.

  • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 11:06 am

    Anything that creates societal breakdown or anarchy would be my definition of TEOTWAWKI.

    I have a friend in Egypt that is reporting that even though their leader stepped down and the world thinks everything is just great there. The police are no where to be found. Cars are being stripped to the frame, government officials homes and police stations are being burned to the ground. Gangs have taken over part of Cairo. It is total anarchy there. It made me think about what would happen here if the police went away…and what could cause that.

    I know in my area the local/state governments are in a battle with the police and firefighters over the pensions plans that are set up and the governments cannot afford. What would happen if the police and firefighter unions got together and went on strike? What if they did it nationwide? Do they have too much honor to do that? I’m not so sure.

    • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 11:35 am

      The riots in 1965 in Watts nearly leveled that city. Buildings destroyed, stores looted, cars vandalized etc.

      The real problem is this vehicle – the Internet. It brings the world UNCENSORED in to the
      privacy of our homes and because we all like dark news we gravitate towards it. Spook did make a good point when he said ” people let thier imaginations run wild to the ends of delusion”. It applies here in this case.

    • ChefBear58 February 17, 2011, 5:25 am

      Most states have laws in place that make it illegal for emergency personnel (i.e. Police, Fire-Fighters, EMS) to strike. This was a result of a police strike in the early 1900’s in NJ, if memory serves me right… It’s late and I may be confusing my facts cause I am BEAT!

      Again, if memory serves me right, the strike was directly linked to a massive increase in crimes such as robbery/murder/rape/theft/ect. From what I remember, it got to the point where the National Gaurd was called in to “restore order”, when things finally quieted down all the officers were fired and replaced (with the exception of literally a hand-full). There are also many Police departments who have rules against the organization of a strike in their “code of conduct”, or uniformed rules, which could be grounds for a negligent tort (civil case) and dismissal.

  • LindaG February 16, 2011, 11:33 am


    I agree with Jason that humans are tenacious critters, and whatever happens, we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and continue.

    I also agree with Chi that the only event where we may not be able to do so is an E.L.E., in which case, it was fun while it lasted.

    But I think Spook hits the nail on the head when he emphasizes the end of the world AS WE KNOW IT. Personally, I think we are currently living in those times. It is happening to us economically and politically. The US of A that I grew up in is pretty much a memory (although I still think this is the GREATEST nation out there). We had our president on the air yesterday talking about his new, astronomically HUGE, budget. My new governor is going on at noon today to introduce his new budget, which will tax everything. EVERYTHING! MORE taxes in this economy!!! We are experiencing ‘change’ by a thousand cuts. How much can we, The People, bear?

    I prep because it is wise to do so. Buying food now (cheap) for future use (inflated) is a prudent investment. Learning skills to do for myself is a prudent investment. Gardening is fun, soul refreshing, and a prudent investment. Can ya catch the theme here? Prepping is prudent…period!

  • irishdutchuncle February 16, 2011, 11:38 am

    prepping is insurance.
    tangibles are priceless, when “cash” is worthless.

    there are many who would happily bring about a “regional” extinction level event for the United States if they could. all too many of them live here. they are the useful idiots of our competitors. i think they are expecting a reward after they’ve “brought it all down”. if they succede, they will likely be liquidated right along with the “resistance”. that will be their “reward”.

    remember too, you can fool all of the people, some of the time. I doubt that even one percent of “us” are truly hard core survivalists. we’re being “conditioned” to do nothing to help ourselves. those who choose to try anyhow, have faced ridicule for generations now.

  • Jennie February 16, 2011, 11:46 am

    I think, statistically speaking, we’re more likely to see a long downturn as our large overdrawn empire collapses in on itself. I think we’ll see localized disruptions, and a lowering of the general standard of living. So, that’s what I prep for.

    I try and convince my Dad that we’re headed for a downturn, but he refuses to believe that the great US could fall from it’s place at the top. Here’s his latest reply in our continuous discussion. He is a smart guy and well read. So, I’m copying verbatim, it seems on point with today’s discussion.
    Sorry, sweetie, but it’s just more from the same “the history of the world began shortly after I watched my first news broadcast” crowd. The “apocalypse now” crowd has been around forever, just like the counter-culture. I’ve been listening to them all my life, and they haven’t been right yet. The reason they haven’t been right yet is because they don’t understand some very basic concepts of free-market capitalism. We will not fall of a cliff of steeply declining oil/coal/natural gas production. Eventually we will reach peak oil/coal/gas (which has been perennially predicted since the 1920’s) and will begin a very long decline of production, not an abrupt halt.

    When I look at successful societies and failed societies throughout history, and in the modern world, the most common theme is government. In particular, how much of the national income the government consumes and how much the government tries to do under the guise of taking care of its people. The countries that had big activist governments usually failed or went stagnant – the USSR, Western Europe, Japan, the Roman Empire, the ancient Greek city-states, Greece today, Venezuela, Cuba, China before it abandoned the centrally-planned economic model. All of those societies failed or have gone stagnant and it is because their governments tried to do too much and consumed too much of the national income. The American experiment has proven that long-term prosperity can only be generated by a free-market system that is allowed to adapt to market demands instead of being forced to serve politicians’ purposes (which is to stay in power). If the government will just stay out of our way, we will fix most of our problems. If there is a demand for energy, somebody out there will figure out a way to provide it and make money doing it, which will produce profits which can be taxed to provide things we need, like roads and bridges and Medicare. If there is a demand for transportation, somebody out there will figure out a way to meet that demand and make money doing it. Modes of transportation have changed over time, and it didn’t require government intervention, it just happened because that’s what the market demanded. Sources of energy have changed as technology has changed and made new sources available. It didn’t require government guidance, it happened because the market wanted it to happen. This will continue to happen if the government stays the hell out of our way. If there is a demand for fresh locally grown produce, somebody out there will figure out how to meet that demand and make money doing it, if the government stays the hell out of our way. We have produced new and innovative ways to produce more food on less land than ever before. It didn’t take brilliant political leaders to accomplish this, it happened on its own because there was a demand for it in the market. Politicians are stupid, ALL of them, Dem’s and Rep’s alike. If they will stay out of our way and let us keep most of our money we will solve most of our problems on our own, and the government will have enough money to take care of the things the market can’t ( we really don’t want the roads and bridges to be privately owned like railroads ). If they take most of our money away from us, we too will stagnate just like Western Europe and Japan. The Chinese government looked around and figured it out, and they have now surpassed Japan to become the second largest economy on the planet. They did it by letting their people (and their businesses) keep most of their money and staying the hell out of their way. Why do western liberals refuse to accept reality and learn that lesson too?

    He does drift off into politics at the end, but his basic argument is (and always has been) that he’s heard it before, it didn’t happen then, and it won’t happen now. He also seems to have a blindness to the chance of regional disruptions from natural events, relying on his faith that no matter what happens the gov’t or his fellow citizens will be there to help.

    • Jason February 16, 2011, 2:16 pm

      Your dad makes some excellent points & of course, I will agree with him – surprise, eh? He must be an awesome, brilliant man :-)

      His point about government intervention is excellent because that was the cause of failure for the nations & empires he referenced. One thing to add is we are now an inter-connected, global economy that depends upon each other (the powerhouse countries) to survive.

      What some of the “America will collapse” people seem to miss is the sturdy, nearly impenetrable foundation with which our country was built – The Constitution, Bill of Rights & Declaration of Independence. These were specifically designed to keep the control in the hands of the you & me’s. Take the time and read them – it’s a work of art that is truly inspiring and incredibly forward thinking.

      I don’t want to be too hard on the collapse thinkers because most have lulled to sleep or worse – distracted.

      Sure, Obama and his Marxist bend is creating upheaval but how do we respond? The Tea Party and that’s the just beginning. We have that full right and opportunity to step up and be heard where in other countries if you did the same thing, you would disappear into a Gulag or worse.

      Another great point he raised is the stupidity of politicians. I think it is more greed and laziness but can be one in the same. The beauty is the availability of information has caused them to be accountable – whether they like it or not. This have never existed before, the level of exposure which, is creating a new more transparent evolution in government.

      And because we are a free, democratic nation, individuals can actually do something about it.

      To sit back and huddle in a little prepped corner of the world waiting for life to be brought to you is a shame in my opinion.

      • Chinasyndrome February 16, 2011, 9:54 pm

        The Constitution,The Bill of rights HaH Ha Thats a hoot! Obama is paying you right?


        • Jason February 16, 2011, 11:18 pm

          The man who doesn’t honor our flag paying me? Are you ok?

      • Jennie February 16, 2011, 10:11 pm

        “Take the time and read them”

        Wow, I can’t decide if you’re being condescending because you’re so full of yourself or whether it’s just misogyny. I’ve read them.
        They’re just documents. I can’t eat them and they won’t keep me warm. You seem to get a lot of comfort from a couple of old help pieces of paper, that’s cool. I get a lot of comfort from a fully stocked pantry and a big veggie garden.

        “Obama and his marxist bend is creating upheaval” Nice, like Bushie didn’t embroil us in two overseas unpaid for wars, squandering the surpluses this country had in the process.

        Of course politicians are stupid. The damage they can do IS minimal. I don’t prep for fear of decisions made in Washington, I prep so that blizzards, tornadoes, flooding, blackouts, etc are less of a disruption to my life.

        And, for the record, I’m not huddled in any corner. I have a wide and varied social life. The 3 months worth of food and water in my basement doesn’t chain me to the house.

        • Jason February 16, 2011, 11:36 pm

          Misogyny? Now there’s a first – how on earth did you assemble that thought from what I wrote?

          Those “documents” are the reason we have freedom of press, the right to bear arms, freedom of expression, the right to vote or run for any leadership position, own a business and grow it to whatever size you wish, write a blog without censorship, walk into a store an buy whatever you want, buy and own land, travel on paved roads, the right to remain silent, innocent until proven guilty, no double jeopardy, equal rights, stand up and debate from any position you wish, freedom of religion & the right to have a big veggie garden & a fully stocked pantry.

          I happen to believe this country is a pretty good place and worth giving a damn about instead of complaining about it which, coincidentally is your right to do too ~

          • Chinasyndrome February 17, 2011, 8:30 am

            Jason,it is a good place. But the documents you refer to have been laughed at and bypassed by Our Govt for so long as to be null and void.Except when it helps their cause.

          • Jason February 17, 2011, 11:45 am

            That’s the beauty China – they are designed to work for all people. The problem is most have lost that understanding but the Tea Party – in one election, proved voices of intolerance can & will be heard without retribution.

            Point out one other country on this planet where this is possible. Secondly, this is the best weapon to fight the bad politicians.

  • GoneWithTheWind February 16, 2011, 1:28 pm

    There is a valid reason to look at history to help you understand where you are and where you are going. But you need to inject some common sense as well. You cannot use it exclusively like trying to steer a boat by watching your wake and you cannot pick and choose events that suit your arguement. WW II was a TEOTWAWKI event for a lot of people, over 50 million were killed as a result of the war. The Russian revolution and the extended rule of Lenin and Stalin was a TEOTWAWKI event for another 50 million people. Then there are the black swan events that no one can predict. The Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD was a black swan event for the people of Pompeii.
    The best advice is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I personally have complete faith in our politicians to take a bad situation and make it worse. It’s later then you think.

    • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 2:32 pm

      History has to have some parallel in order to be considered applicable.

      The Ford Pinto had an exploding gas tank that killed many – does that mean that the new Ford Escort will explode as well? Of course not, they do not compare except they were both manufactured by Ford & are compact cars.

      Russia was a dictatorship, Mt Vesuvius was a specific event in a corner of the world like Katrina, Black Plague, SARS – you name it, it’s all the same and none ceased our existence. We adapted and figured out how to make things better.

      The new “Survivalists” seem want to hang on so tightly to a belief that the world is ending – in some fashion, in what seems to be an attempt to avoid being part of creating a solution. In other words some have given in, given up and lost any hope which, is the decline of any individual.

  • sanityjones February 16, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I do not believe TEOTWAWKI to be a singular event, (necessarily) but a constant state of societal degeneration at multiple levels; moral, economic, social, etc. What I’ve noticed is a quickening of the pace if you will , also at multiple levels……… shortages, national debt, personal debt, global economic/social disruptions, oil dependency, terrorism, overpopulation, etc. Food/water, energy, and defense are three things we simply cannot live without and three things which have been been used to control societies throughout the history of mankind. (They are also darned good investments). I try to have an open mind concerning the potential for life altering catastrophic events while at the same time living for and enjoying the pleasures of today. I prep mostly from an economic perspective (buying tomorrows lifestyle with today’s money) which serves to keep my preps rational and objective. This way I don’t end up with a half dozen 20mm cannons, 50 bio-suits, a truckload of MRE’s, or a fleet of bullet proof Hummers. I believe preparing for hard times is extremely prudent if for nothing other than insurance against an extended job loss, illness, natural disaster or some other calamity which has been known to befall mankind. Am I delusional, paranoid, living in fear, hiding out in my underground bunker waiting for the end to come??? No. Be safe, stay sane, set some logical boundaries and prepare for whatever you think is the most probable/immediate danger which could disrupt your version of the American Dream.

  • dsd February 16, 2011, 2:40 pm

    “The countries that had big activist governments usually failed or went stagnant – the USSR, Western Europe, Japan, the Roman Empire, the ancient Greek city-states, Greece today, Venezuela, Cuba, China before it abandoned the centrally-planned economic model. All of those societies failed or have gone stagnant and it is because their governments tried to do too much and consumed too much of the national income.”


    i can’t see how your father can’t see that this his call for failure is exactly what is happening with the US today!?!

    this administration calling for forced government expenditures of high speed rail and solar as false attempts at production and GDP boosters – if there was a real need the free markets would take care of it as your father says – but that is exactly right – the government will not allow free markets to function with excessive taxes on some and excessive tax breaks or government help for the others as it tries to “force” what it thinks should be on the markets (GM bailouts anyone?)

    this is exactly the “failure” or downturn that i am most worried about. the biggest issue is with the extremely high numbers of totally government-dependent citizens who i do not think will take the sudden stop of their free hand outs – too happily… that is where the beginning of TEOTWAWKI is highly probable to me – nationwide civil disruption of such a large numbers is the concern – look how mexico is so out of control with the cartels seemingly more powerful then the mexican government – how impossible does that sound happening here in the US with the extremely high numbers of gang members in our country or perhaps mexican cartels flowing over our borders during a crisis?

    have your father read about the argentina economic collapse – there was and still is quite the civil disruption to many – that also seems a very possible event in our country.

    just too many situations happening that all could have an impact on our country.

  • Jason February 16, 2011, 2:41 pm

    What you have noticed Sanityjones is the ability to see these events like no other time in history – they have always ebbed and flowed, politicians always cheated on their wives, investment bankers always ripped off many, police have always beaten some poor fool to death, etc – now, for the first time – we see them and accountability is unavoidable.

    Keep perspective ~

  • Prepared N.D. February 16, 2011, 2:54 pm

    1. What events could cause TEOTWAWKI?

    A lion farts somewhere in Africa at the right place and the right time. This triggers an unfortunate sequence of events that ultimately lead to global TEOTWAWKI. There are a lot of variables in play, we simply do not have the ability to play “what if” with a high level of accuracy. If you’re standing in the middle of an interstate highway, you can foresee eventually getting hit by a car. If you’re trying to forecast global cataclysms that happen in your lifespan, the accuracy begins to decline. Preps are interchangeable – for me the cause of TEOTWAWKI is a non-issue.

    2. How do you define it?

    A severe reduction of convenience in my life at the least. TEOTWAWKI for me doesn’t have to be an event where survival is questionable. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. A portion of me wouldn’t mind being blasted back to the 19th century.

    3. Which scenario do you feel is likely to be “the one?”

    Economic hardship.

    4. Are we – preppers – wasting our time getting ready for something that may never happen?

    If your preparation efforts are inefficient to the point that you lose money and it’s not profitable unless TSHTF, you need to reevaluate your preps.

    Great post and comments!

  • Ray February 16, 2011, 3:01 pm

    1. What events could cause TEOTWAWKI?

    I don’t think on a TEOTWAWKI scale. While I love the post-apocalyptic genre of literature, movies, and video games (Fallout series), I really don’t see us going there (global or national scale) in my lifetime or even my great grand kids lifetimes. What I prep for is more local in nature. A scenario where I could potentially get out of the “hot-zone” and into the “cold-zone”, OR wait it out until the hot-zone cooled off. Some of those things include natural disasters (fires, floods, etc…) local famine, terrorist attack (I live/work near DC), etc..

    I guess another great depression would be a national scale scenario, but that also doesn’t fall into the TEOTWAWKI category either.

    2. How do you define it?

    In essence, any scenario where normal outside resources to include water, energy, communication, transportation, medical care, and the like are temporarily (short term or long term) unavailable. It can, although not necessarily, include circumstances which puts you and/or your property’s safety at risk.

    3. Which scenario do you feel is likely to be “the one?”

    I think the most likely scenario is going to be huge inflation and economic downturn. For this, I prep for protection the most. Probably because that’s kind of my thing, but also because I want to be able to protect my family and property from potential looters and robbers.

    4. Are we – preppers – wasting our time getting ready for something that may never happen?

    No. I do it first as a hobby. That’s never a waste of time. I think if it becomes an obsession then yea, you’re “wasting [your] time getting ready for something that may never happen?” But who am I to judge ;)

  • Suburban Survivalist February 16, 2011, 7:23 pm

    Advances in technology over the past two decades, and our utter dependence on that technology, have made made us much more vulnerable. Combined with the energy problem, debt, blah blah blah. I think believing we can escape TEOTWAWKI is a fantasy.

    • Spook45 February 16, 2011, 7:32 pm

      Your right, you cant escape it, but you can surivive it and move on and he better prepared you are he easier it will be and the better your chances are.

    • Jason February 16, 2011, 7:50 pm

      Suburban Survivalist,

      Dependence on technology …. I suppose you were fully prepped for Y2K, correct?

      I know, I know, things are different this time around …..

      • Suburban Survivalist February 16, 2011, 8:00 pm

        Not sure what Y2K has to do with what I wrote, but… prior to Y2K I was in the IT industry and had a good understanding of the issue – wasn’t too worried. I did finish up some international travel a few days before in-case a flights were delayed a bit, but didn’t panic.

        Yes, things are different this time. We’ve become a lot more dependent on technology in the past ten years, and that much more vulnerable. The house of cards has added a few stories.

        • Jason February 16, 2011, 10:16 pm

          Subversive Survivalist,

          Not sure what Y2K had to do with what your wrote …. really? I gave you a little more intellectual credit and will side step your seemingly English pomposity for the time being … but, you are an enigma.

          You’re a former IT guy who is trying to sell me on the idea that all major service sectors, government & other infrastructure was not that dependent upon technology 10 years ago?

          The evolution of technological with which you are referring to today has to do with a more personal level – more so than ever before. It always starts at the top and works it way down to the masses i.e. you and me – but of course you know that.

          Next, you lead me to believe that you didn’t have a care in the world regarding the potential effects of Y2K yet, you hedge your bet with an earlier flight. Seems rather contradictory, but let’s move on.

          What is even more amazing is there were experts with far more knowledge than you will ever hope to gain that had serious concerns about the welfare of our information systems with the Y2K integration. I can’t help but wonder if your shallow retort is more like 20/20 hindsight you elected to employ.

          Be that as it may, my points which you seem to miss, is about probability, perspective & the misuse of current information to fortify a position – in my observation, an urgent race to the bomb shelter with an arm full of freeze dried foods & bottles of Avian water.

          Don’t you get that 99% of the people do not share the same (prep) ideology while having access to the exact same information? You are a smart guy, how do you explain that, are the rest blind? (If you choose to answer try to temper the arrogance).

          I love gat31, PND & Ray a other responses because at least they are honest and used some discernment – take note.

          • Anonymous February 16, 2011, 10:24 pm

            sorry, typo on paragraph 3 – should read – “the evolution of TECHNOLOGY”

          • Suburban Survivalist February 17, 2011, 4:42 pm

            “You’re a former IT guy who is trying to sell me on the idea that all major service sectors, government & other infrastructure was not that dependent upon technology 10 years ago? “

            Why no, I’m not trying to do that. You’ve presented what’s called a Straw Man argument. Concerning the flights, you need to read the whole sentence rather than take half of it out of context. I guess the “experts” were wrong about Y2K while I was not. Nice touch on cautioning against arrogance.

            Jason, trollish comments like yours are exactly why you’re no longer welcomed at my blog.

  • gat31 February 16, 2011, 7:25 pm

    Well l have been reading this blog for awhile, and want to thank everyone for all the advice and comments l have read here. Today, however, l decided to join so l could actually leave a comment. :) TEOTWAWKI: l’m the only prepper in a house of 13 people. l hide most of my stuff so my kids don’t think l’m funny farm ready. l survived 9 days without power, water, hospitals, etc. after hurricane Charley with 22 people. So to somewhat hide what l do, my family thinks l’m preparing for another bad hurricane season like that. :) However, l look around and l see the wii and the xbox and the phones and all the electronic devices and if the power goes out for an hour my kids go into withdraws. So living in an electronic age no power is the end as WE know it. l recently woke up to the outside world and took my sleeping mask off and realized the govt and others were really screwing things up and that’s why l became a prepper. l remember when gas hit 4 dollars and we all screamed til it went back down. This time they told us months in advance to be ready it will hit 5 dollars soon. Now no one complains they just thank goodness its not 5 yet. l watch as the TSA does scans and we just say it’s for our safety so it’s ok. l watch and listen as the government keeps saying to us “see something say something” and we all go okay it’s for our safety so it’s okay. l also hear the scientist talking about known solar flairs due to hit in 2012 so when power goes out we will just blame the sun (not possibly EMP’s the government shot off) and we will pay anything to get power working again because we are all so dependent on it. Every day l read of riots over food and wages in other countries and hear of global currency options. l see where the crazy weather has killed the produce and now prices are going sky high on so many things. Do l feel l’m wasting my time? NO Do l think l will see TEOTWAWKI? you betcha! Do l think the end of the species? no But l know without power it would be the end of my personal families world and with the govt taking more and more in taxes and food prices rising my outgo will surpass my income soon and l’m preparing to handle that scenario as much as possible. l am so thankful l came across this blog and the many fine people out there that have shared so much information and to know l’m not alone out there really makes me happy. Oh and l promised my kids if the fecal matter doesn’t hit the whirly blades by 2013, l would have a yard sale for all my items. So pray for peace and if it all works out hit me up l’ll have really good stuff cheap! lol

    • Ranger Man February 16, 2011, 10:28 pm

      Welcome to the comments section, gat31.

  • Ranger Man February 16, 2011, 7:43 pm

    I prepare for SHTF events, which I view as “TEOTWAWKI-light.” I can see a variety of slow-slide events taking place or a variety of instant SHTF scenarios. If I had to rate “top” concerns it’d be anything that could disrupt the just-in-time delivery of food supplies to a large region, a region large enough where the government would have a hard time responding in time to meet the mass need, and given the federal response to Katrina, I don’t think it would take much. Specifically, things like large solar flares that could have an EMP effect, wildly dangerous and highly contagious pandemics, etc.

    I see prepping as being helpful for anything from a temporary job loss to all out cataclysm. My favorite thing about prepping is that many of the steps taken coincide with other goals, things like self-reliance, simple living, organic home grown food, exercise for health, hunting and fishing for fun, debt burden under control, personal security, etc. These are all things I value regardless of TEOTWAWKI likelihood.

  • Jack February 16, 2011, 11:32 pm

    I’d just say that anyone who views TEOTWAWKI or SHTF from the comfort of post WWII Western Civilization and denies that anything will ever happen is a fool (Jason). The history of man is filled with massive wars, diseases, and natural disasters, and things that didn’t bother man in times past could have huge impacts on modern man, for example the Carrington event which caught fire to telegraph offices throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Solar flares like the Carrington event occur every couple hundred years, so one could happen any time and it would fry every piece of grid connected electronics in the U.S. The Toba super-volcano was a ELE that brought the worldwide human populations down from tens of millions to under ten thousand, and the Yellowstone super-volcano is overdue. And meteors buzz by the earth every month without any warning (as seen yesterday in the Eastern US in multiple states) So TEOTWAWKI is not impossible, but is inevitable, it just depends on the timing if it happens in our lifetimes.

    Like several of the other commenters said, just live your life, enjoy your time, and the basic preps and skills will cover almost anything that does occur (as long as you’re not burnt in the initial blast from ‘whatever’).

    As far as Jason goes, I find him to be a tiresome bore who usually ruins any conversation he participates in. I’ve learned to just skip over his posts, and when he gets to be too much, I’ll just go elsewhere.

  • Jason February 17, 2011, 1:10 am

    Ah, yes Jack – are we still hurting from our last discussion?

    It is usually difficult on a cyber bully who gets called on the carpet to move past his bluster & bravado to actually articulate a position with reason & facts.

    However, I completely agree with your 2nd to last paragraph before the parentheses. It is the greater point of prepping.

  • Jack February 17, 2011, 9:26 am

    14 out of 49 posts by one person who talks sh!t about prepping and denigrates other commenters. If this was a flying website and someone hogged the boards, denying that flying was possible, would he be tolerated? If this was a travel website, and someone talked sh!t about travelers and traveling, would he be tolerated? I come here to learn more about prepping and survival, not to hear 30% of the comments from one troll telling us that prepping is BS. WTF?

    • Jason February 17, 2011, 10:34 am

      Point one my gun, multiple knife & pepper spray toting friend – my comments are generally questions & or challenges as to motivation. Unlike you, I despise fear as a reason to prep because it is a weakness and very poor model.

      Point two my hypocritical, cyber bully – I guess it is ok for you to slam people in your brazen, careless, rude & inappropriate manner MULTIPLE times on other websites but others cannot challenge you or question others – who are you?

      Point three my “world according to Jack” hopeless philosopher of ill will – travel website is a poor analogy but realize it was the best you can do.

      If you could step outside of your hatred for a moment & try, as I stated above “move past your bluster & bravado to actually articulate a position with reason & facts” your contributions may have some value. Incidentally, I have never said that prepping was BS – never – in fact I’ve stated it is wise, prudent and fun.

      Prattling on about imminent doom and destruction as you consistently do brings an unnecessary element to the world of prepping. The thing is Jack, I do not tolerate chest puffed bullies like you in cyber space or life.

      I still wonder why you feel the need to carry (on your person) every single day in your Jack travels – a Glock 19 with a back-up reload clip, 3 knives (one a belly mounted Cold Steel knife) & pepper spray?

      Never mind, you could never justify it – simply, you lack confidence and any grasp of reality. I grew up in a real hood (South Central L.A.) and still don’t know anybody that carries like that – as a matter of fact 90% don’t carry at all – go figure.

      • Ranger Man February 17, 2011, 11:00 am

        Jason, I suspect people are getting frustrated not with your thoughts on what a motivation for prepping should be, but with your direct, confrontational tone. It’s one thing to question someone’s reasoning, it’s another to question it with statements like:

        “my gun, multiple knife & pepper spray toting friend”

        “poor analogy but realize it was the best you can do”

        “If you could step outside of your hatred for a moment”

        “move past your bluster & bravado”

        and on and on are not fair. Those are direct, confrontational verbal slaps to regular readers that do not add value to the discussion and they need to stop.

        • Jason February 17, 2011, 11:53 am

          Agreed & my apologies, those comments were out of line.

          Thank you ~

      • Jack February 17, 2011, 2:42 pm

        Jason, remember when I called you a troll when you were using the name WITWIC (or WITLESS) and how you got banned for exactly the same kind of stuff you are doing now under the name of Jason? Well, you may have changed your name, but you’re still a troll (and still getting banned from websites – lol).

        • Jason February 17, 2011, 3:25 pm

          This is where I will take the advice of Shotzeedog. Thank you ~

          BTW, I still write on that other site with permission – guess you haven’t found me.

  • Shotzeedog February 17, 2011, 11:41 am

    As I would tell my kids on the play grounds – The Jasons just like to stir the pot – just ignore them. When no one takes the bait they will go away.

  • Dee in OK February 17, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Why don’t you just quit reading these blogs if you find prepping so offensive?

  • Jack Fallin February 17, 2011, 12:31 pm

    The end of the world as we know it is a relative term to most people. If Paris Hilton had to get a job that would be the end of her world. For me Being able to have my home, take care of my family and provide the necessities is my world. Should that end either for economic reasons, health problems, Earth Quakes, nuclear Strikes, Alien invaders or a stupid congress is irrelevant. What I prep for is the ability to get through the small burps in our life and try to prepare for the bigger possibilities. I don’t really know why I prepare may be it is because I admire Joseph, the first real biblical prepper, or because I have always felt an inner need to take care of those around me I cannot say. I spend money on preparing for something that my not happen and if it does not I will die knowing I did what I thought was right and my kids ( who think I am a little off) can have a big party with my extra food and make a lot of noise with my firearms, but I will be comforted in the knowledge that until either they see my point or I am gone I am the responsible one in the family and I will love them, take care of them, protect them and be there for them as long as God lets me, after that they are on their own.
    What ever happens, happens I can only do what I feel is the right thing for me and mine.
    Semper Fi

    • Jason February 17, 2011, 2:35 pm

      Jack Fallin,

      Thank you, that was excellent. Great perspective & not fear driven, just honest & a deep care to protect that which has been placed in your charge.

      You truly understand Semper Fi ~

  • Jarhead Survivor February 17, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Hey Everybody –

    First of all I’m really pleased with the responses you all have given. It shows a lot of thought and it’s interesting to hear what you have to say. Personally I tend to lean more towards what some people are saying than others, but I do believe it’s important that you have your say as long as you keep it civil and respectful.

    • Ranger Man February 17, 2011, 3:44 pm

      I think we need to start moderating comments on this thread if they aren’t on topic or are overly petty. Feel free to edit comments or throw them in the moderation bin.

  • ChefBear58 February 17, 2011, 9:44 pm

    Personally, Jack Fallin kinda “took the words out of my mouth”!
    I prep, not for myself, but for those I care about. I am a big-brother, son, Uncle, and boyfriend to a wonderful woman (who I am lucky to have!)… I feel that is my DUTY to watch out for everyone I care for, even if the events I prep for never happen (and I hope they don’t).

    As far as TEOTWAWKI, I think the most likely scenario is economic downturn/collapse or war/terrorism related events on our “home-front”, I also think that the predictions in the book of Revelations WILL happen someday. When, no one can say but I know that it will happen eventually. My faith tells me that it WILL, and I don’t care if people think I am “nuts” for thinking/saying it!

    As has been stated by several folks already, Jason or whatever he/she wishes to call himself seems to be simply looking for an opening to start arguments. It is annoying as hell, but really who cares… If he wants to spout off at the mouth on a blog, let him… If that’s how he gets his “kicks”, just keep reading past his nit-picking of everyone’s comments he does not agree with and continue with what you wanted to say. I will be honest, MOST of the comments he has made are “off color”, AT BEST.. AND if he was to act like that in person, at least around me, he would probably catch my size 13 ring in his teeth! However, since it is merely some guy’s opinion on a website, you have the option of skipping over whatever he writes. Or there is always the option of telling him how arrogant and “stuck-up” he sounds, which in my opinion is REALLY arrogant and stuck-up! You could also try giving him/her some personal advice, maybe something along the lines of- Next time you go to post snide comments about another persons comment… sit back, walk away from the computer for a minute (maybe grab a Valium, or a shot to settle you down), come back to your computer, re-read what you have typed, and if after all that you still sound like a douche-bag…. delete the comment and try again!
    This is a constructive environment, folks for the *MOST PART* respect this, they read each others statements and comment like decent, respectful human beings and offer input which is relevant to the topic. Then we get folks like Jason, who seemingly have no qualms with offering the most sarcastic and negative opinion he/she can possibly muster. It’s no different from real life, and I would have to assume his/her inability to have a meaningful discussion in this forum is due to a severe socialization problem/disorder, which likely causes him/her to have similar difficulties in everyday life. Just try to avoid encouraging such negative behavior, and if that doesn’t work, refer back to my statement about avoiding him!

  • Presager Buddy February 22, 2011, 10:33 am

    Is TEOTWAWKI a fantasy? Probably yes.

    I say that because, although the likelihood of atomic warfare, EMP attack, massive solar flares are possible, the chances of them happening are very, very low. I don’t mean we shouldn’t consider these events in our preps, but I wouldn’t go into debt over them. Putting our risks into perspective and based on realistic expectations would be a better way to prepare.

    Most of the preps we would need if we were to experience TEOTWAWKI are mostly the same as what we would need for lesser emergencies, except we would just need more of them. Going into debt by preparing for the actual EOTWAWKI would fast put most people into a SHTF financial situation, lessening the chances for survival if “it” were to happen.

    “Over-shooting” our planning might actually leave gaps in our preps that would put us at risk during emergencies that fall well below TEOTWAWKI.

    • Presager Buddy February 22, 2011, 10:43 am

      On the other hand, last week the full brunt of a major CME (coronal mass ejection) missed the earth by a fraction.

      Just a post script thought.


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