A Suggested Survival List
By Chuck Baldwin
One does not have to be a prophet to know that we are on the precipice of
some potentially catastrophic--or at the very least, challenging--days. In
fact, most of us are already in challenging days, and some are already
enduring catastrophic events. That is, if one would call being out of work,
losing one's home, facing life-threatening medical conditions without any
prospect of medical insurance, several families being forced to live in one
house due to homes being foreclosed, etc., catastrophic.
The potential for an escalation of cataclysmic events, however, is very
real. Only a "blooming idiot" would call someone who attempts to prepare for
"the day of adversity" a Chicken Little now. Anyone who does not see the
storm clouds on the horizon isn't paying attention.
For example, can one imagine what would happen if terrorists nuked a major
American city or cities? (Once again, I encourage readers to go get the
videos of the CBS TV series "Jericho" to get an idea of how quickly life,
and even civilization, could change.) Imagine if there was another 9/11-type
event. What would happen if some form of Zimbabwe-style inflation hit the
US? What would happen if anything disrupted the distribution of Welfare
checks, or food to local grocers? Imagine a Hurricane Katrina-style natural
disaster in your town. I think people everywhere are beginning to awaken to
just how vulnerable we all really are.
As a result, people from virtually every walk of life have recently been
asking my thoughts on how they should prepare. Therefore, I will attempt to
share with my readers some of the counsel I have given these folks.
First, a disclaimer. I am not an economist; I am not a survival expert; I am
not a firearms expert; I am not an attorney; I am not a physician. In fact,
I am not an expert in anything! For several years, however, I have tried to
learn from others. I am an avid reader. My work has allowed me to travel
extensively. I have had the privilege of sitting at the feet of--and
learning from--many of America's most learned, most trained, and most
qualified "experts" in a variety of fields. What I write today, I have
learned from others. I've formed my own opinions and priorities, of course,
but everything I'm sharing has been said, or written about, before. But if I
can share something in today's column that will help someone be better
prepared for the days to come, then my goal will have been achieved.
First, analyze your living conditions. Where do you live? Do you live in an
urban or rural environment? Is it a big city or small town? Do you live in
an apartment or condominium? How close are your neighbors? Do you even know
your neighbors? Would you trust them if the electricity was off and they
were hungry? Could you grow your own food, if you had to? How easily could
you secure your home? If you live in a cold weather environment, how long
could you stay warm without electricity? These are the kinds of questions
you need to ask yourself now.
Over the past several decades, masses of people have migrated into large
metropolitan areas. More people live in urban areas than at any time in
American history. While this may be well and good for times of prosperity,
it is an absolute nightmare in any kind of disaster. Does anyone remember
what New Orleans looked like after Hurricane Katrina came through? Can
anyone recall what happened in downtown Los Angeles during the 1992 riots?
Needless to say, any inner-city environment could become a powder keg almost
instantaneously, given the right (or wrong) circumstances. And the bigger
the city, the bigger the potential problems.
If you live in the inner city, I suggest you consider moving to a more rural
location. Obviously, now is a very good time to buy property (especially
rural property), but the downside is, selling property is not as favorable.
If you can afford it, now is a great time to buy a "safe house" outside the
city. If you are fortunate enough to have family or some true friends
nearby, you might want to put your heads--and some resources--together in
preparation for serious upheaval. Obviously, a team of prepared people is
much better than being alone.
If you must stay in your urban location, have some commonsense plans in hand
in the event of a major disaster. Get to know your neighbors: find out whom
you can trust and whom you can't. Keep some extra gasoline on hand, in case
you need to get in your car quickly and leave. Have several exit routes
planned ahead of time, in case roads are blocked. Have a "bug-out" bag
containing essential ingredients to live on for 3 or 4 days. If leaving is
not an option, have a plan to secure your home as best you can. You'll need
to think about things such as food, water, medicine, warmth, self-defense,
etc. But at this point, to do nothing is absolute lunacy!
During a major disaster, food will quickly disappear. Living for over 3
decades on the Gulf Coast, I can tell you with absolute certainty that
whenever disaster strikes (usually an approaching hurricane, for us), food
and provisions at the store sell completely out in a matter of a few hours.
People panic, and within hours, you cannot find food, bottled water, ice,
generators, batteries, candles, etc. In a matter of hours, every gas station
in the area will be completely out of gas. Not days. Hours!
Furthermore, almost all disasters include a complete loss of electricity.
The water supply is compromised. Bottled water becomes more valuable than
bank accounts. Dehydration becomes a very real and present danger. I
remember witnessing a man offer an ice vendor $100 for an extra bag of ice
during Hurricane Ivan. My wife and I went 2 weeks (14 days) without
electricity in the aftermath of that hurricane. Believe me, I got a taste of
just how precious bottled water, ice, batteries, generators, fuel, etc., can
I suggest you have a supply of food and water to last at least 2 weeks. A
month would be even better. Personally, I can live a long time on tuna fish
or peanut butter. You can purchase MREs from a variety of sources, as well
as "camp-style" packaged food from stores such as Academy Sports & Outdoors.
Of course, bottled water is available everywhere during normal times. Stock
up! Plus, I suggest you have some water purification tablets or a Katadyn
water filter on hand. And, if you are able, prepare to grow your own food.
Canning food is another very helpful hedge against deprivation. If your
parents were like mine, this was standard operating procedure.
Get a generator. Keep a supply of fuel on hand. Stay stocked up on
batteries, candles, portable lights, first aid supplies, and personal
hygiene items--especially toilet paper. Trust me, during times of intense
and prolonged disaster, toilet paper could become more valuable than money.
I also suggest you never run out of lighters or matches. You never know when
you'll need to build a fire, and during a prolonged survival situation, fire
could save your life. If you live in a cold weather climate, you probably
already have some sort of wood stove or fireplace.
Obviously, you need to take stock of your clothing. Do you have clothes
suitable for extended outdoor activity? What about boots? During a disaster,
you would trade your best suit from Neiman Marcus for a good pair of boots.
Do you have gloves? Insulated underwear? What about camouflage clothing?
These could become essential outerwear in the right conditions. Plus, any
"bug-out" bag will need to include spare clothing.
And one more suggestion, while we're on this subject: the best resources in
the world are of little use if one is physically incapable of making good
use of them. In other words, GET IN SHAPE. During any kind of emergency
situation, physical exertion and stamina become immensely important.
I suggest you have at least some cash on hand. Just about any and all
disasters will result in banks being closed for extended periods of time.
That also means credit card purchases being suspended. You need to have
enough cash to be able to purchase essential goods (if they are even
available) for an undetermined amount of time.
Of course, some survival gurus insist that during any cataclysmic climate,
precious metals will become the only reliable currency. But when most of us
are trying to feed our families and pay our bills, it is difficult to get
excited about buying gold and silver. Obviously, I would never recommend
that anyone jeopardize the present on the altar of the future. My parents
made it through the Great Depression with canned goods and garden
vegetables; gold and silver were certainly not a priority with them. And
maybe it should not be with you, either?
In fact, in a disaster, what is considered a valuable commodity can change
rather quickly, as the barter system takes a life of its own. What is
valuable is determined by what you need and how badly you need it. In a
prolonged disaster, simple things such as toilet paper, canned goods,
ammunition, and clothing could become extremely valuable; while cars, video
games, televisions, etc., could be reduced to junk status. In antiquity,
wars were fought over things such as salt.
Speaking of cars, remember that during a prolonged "national emergency" that
might involve some sort of nuclear attack or widespread civil unrest, an
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) might be employed; in which case, most every
late model vehicle would be completely inoperable. Accordingly, if one can
keep an older, pre-computer-age vehicle in good working order, he or she
might be driving the only non-government vehicle capable of going anywhere.
Needless to say, during any kind of disaster, your safety and protection
will be completely up to you. If you really think that the police are going
to be able to protect you during an upheaval, you are living in a
In both the New Orleans and Los Angeles disasters, police protection was
non-existent. Lawless gangs quickly took control of the streets, and people
were left to either defend themselves or swiftly become the helpless prey of
violent marauders. In fact, in New Orleans, some of the policemen actually
abandoned their oaths to uphold the law and joined with the criminals,
turning their weapons upon the public.
Face it, folks: in any kind of disaster, you must be able to defend
yourself, or you and your family will be meat for these animals of society
that will quickly descend without mercy upon the unprepared, unsuspecting
souls around them. This requires that you be armed! It also requires that
you be skilled enough to be able to efficiently use your arms.
Therefore, I strongly suggest that you purchase firearms sufficient to keep
you and your family safe, and also that you practice sufficiently to know
how to proficiently use them.
Now, when it comes to a discussion of which firearms are preferable for
self-defense, the suggestions are as varied as the people who proffer them.
These are my suggestions:
I believe every man (along with his wife and children of adequate age)
should be proficient with the following weapons: a handgun in .38 caliber or
above, a .22 rifle, a center-fire hunting rifle, a semi-automatic battle
rifle, and a shotgun.
My personal preference for a self-defense handgun is either a .45 ACP 1911
(either Colt or Kimber) or a .40 S&W. In the .40 caliber, my favorite is a
Glock 23. In the 1911, I like the Commander size configuration. I also like
the Glock 30 and 36 in .45 caliber. My wife prefers to carry a Smith &
Wesson .38 caliber revolver in the snub-nose, J-frame configuration. But
this is primarily due to the reduced weight of these weapons for carry
purposes. If needed, she could make a good accounting of herself with a
Glock 19 in 9mm. If you are someone who has never owned and seldom fired a
handgun, I recommend you buy a Glock. They are as simple as revolvers to
operate, reliable, and almost indestructible. Plus, they provide increased
magazine capacity, and are safe. They are also very easy to disassemble and
For a .22 rifle, I really like the Ruger 10/22. For a hunting rifle, my
suggestion is either a .270 or .30-06 caliber bolt-action rifle. (If I had
to pick one, I'd pick the .30-06.) I prefer the Remington Model 700 BDL, but
there are several fine weapons in this configuration and caliber by numerous
manufacturers. For a battle rifle, I suggest an AR-15-style weapon in .223
caliber. Here I prefer a Bushmaster. (Please, I don't need to hear from all
you .308 lovers out there. I love the Springfield M1A, too.) For a shotgun,
I suggest a 12-gauge pump. Here I prefer a Winchester Model 1300, which is
not made anymore. So, you'll probably have to choose between Mossberg and
Whatever you choose, practice with it to the point that you are able to use
it proficiently. And be sure you stock up on ammunition. A gun without ammo
is reduced to being either an expensive club or a cumbersome paperweight.
I firmly believe that man is created to have fellowship with his
Creator-God. I really don't know how people can face the uncertain future
that we currently face without the spiritual knowledge, wisdom, comfort, and
power that is made available through Jesus Christ. I believe the maxim is
true: "Wise men still seek Him." I strongly suggest that you seek to possess
a personal relationship with God's only begotten Son.
That we are facing challenging days is a certainty. Exactly what that means
is yet to be determined. I trust that some of my suggestions will help you
be better prepared for what lies before us.
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(c) Chuck Baldwin