What Is Your Thin Red Line?

“The closer you are to Caesar the greater the fear” is a famous line from the timeless movie “The Thin Red Line.”  The movie Doomsday Preppersdepicted 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.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

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 SHTF Blogdebating 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.

Photos By:
Dr. John J. Woods
The Thin Red Line

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11 comments… add one
  • Linda S. February 21, 2016, 11:38 am

    Excellent article! We all need a kick in the pants once in awhile.

  • laura m. February 21, 2016, 2:23 pm

    The now older people who prepped for y2k that I personally know refuse to do anything, remembering money and time wasted when nothing happened and stuff was thrown out or donated to food banks. I was one of them am now retired and hubby said to prepare for weather stuff only which is several weeks worth extra food, etc.

    • Linda S. February 21, 2016, 2:47 pm

      Well, a few weeks worth is probably better than what most folks have, but that’s why you should use & rotate your supplies; that way they won’t go bad. If you’re concerned you might point out to your husband that he still carries car insurance even tho he hasn’t had an accident or home insurance even to your house is still standing. Good luck.

  • irishdutchuncle February 21, 2016, 8:05 pm

    I have come here to bury Caesar…

    • Containerization is the answer February 21, 2016, 8:32 pm

      You all did see that on the Lupercal
      I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
      Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?

      • irishdutchuncle February 22, 2016, 5:53 am

        if not containerization, then at least “kiting”, or
        “modules”. I come from the background of “model building”. it’s much easier to buy a kit, than to build from scratch. eventually, though, you’ll want to bash the kit, and build models that are uniquely your own. I try to pack my bugout bag modularly, and make improvements one category at a time.

    • Anonymous February 21, 2016, 10:18 pm

      The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones…

      • Eric February 22, 2016, 3:49 pm

        The “quote” is from Shakespeare “Julius Caesar” Mark Antony’s funeral oration over Caesar.

        • irishdutchuncle February 26, 2016, 1:56 pm

          it was one of my Father’ s favorites:
          Friends, Romans, Countrymen;
          Lend me your ears…
          (I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)

          I read SHTFblog every day, in an attempt to work through my fears and personal shortcomings. the signs of trouble ahead are everywhere.

          • Anonymous March 7, 2016, 3:11 pm

            …beware the ides of March.

  • Alun March 21, 2016, 8:22 pm

    True words nothing is accomplished by remaining static yup everyone needs a poke with a stick once in a while. Chunk it down it becomes achievable


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