Paranoid, Paralyzed, or Prepared?

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by the Urban Survival Course and  This week, we’re going to talk about whether or not you’re paranoid for being a prepper. 🙂  Also, I’ll tell you about a special promotion that we’re doing with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in honor of Veterans’ Day.

On that note, if you’re currently deployed or ever served, thank you for your service.  I feel that way every day…so saying it on holidays seems kind of redundant, but I don’t think that those who have served are told how much they’re appreciated often enough.

Are you a Paranoid Prepper?

It’s amazing how many emails I get that start with either, “I might be paranoid” or “My family thinks I’m paranoid.”  The simple fact is, if you think that it’s smart to prepare for likely disasters, some people will call you prudent and others will call you paranoid.

In reality, the passage of time is all that will shed light on whether someone is being paranoid or not.  As an example, Joel Rosenberg wrote about terrorists flying planes into a skyscraper before 9-11.  (It was after Al-Qaeda had started preparing, so he didn’t give them the idea.)

Many thought that the idea was the creation of a fiction writer with an overactive imagination.  And those who thought it was possible were merely paranoid—until it actually happened.

That’s the way it is with many threats.  Some in New Orleans thought that preparing for a levee break was being paranoid—until it actually happened.  For awhile after Hurricane Katrina, there was only one operational hospital in the entire city.  It was Ochsner Hospital, and they had been taking practical steps to prepare for a levee break since the 50s.

Other threats never pan out…like Y2K.  People who were myopic and focused on Y2K ended up looking paranoid after the dust settled.  BUT, those who kept their supplies and training up to speed look pretty smart right about now.  They may have been paranoid about Y2K, but their understanding of the need to be prepared was practical and timeless.

“Paranoia,” if you want to call it that, isn’t necessarily a bad thing…unless it starts affecting your sleep, your relationships with others, and your mood.  Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to look at the threats that we’re facing in a way that will allow you to keep balance in your life.

So, here are some truisms about being paranoid/prepared:

1.       There will always be a “new threat” to worry about.  They’re kind of like waves in the surf zone.  If you focus all of your energy on one, there’s always another one coming.  Your best bet is to power through, keep moving, and keep your eyes on the big picture.

2.       General preparedness will help keep you from the emotional rollercoaster of going from one probable disaster to the next.  EMPs, bio attacks, economic collapse, & infrastructure attacks all share common elements.  Focusing on these common elements will give you a broad preparedness base.

3.       TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) may or may not happen during your lifetime, so don’t waste all your time on Earth focusing on it.  Some day you’re going to look back on how you spent your life.  Spend your time today in a way that you’ll be happy about tomorrow.

4.       If things do collapse, life will get REAL stressful, so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses while things are relatively stable.

5.       If you’re losing sleep now because of what MIGHT happen, you should learn how to get your mind under control for when things actually do happen.

6.       Spending time making forward progress on your preparations will ALWAYS beat spending time reading about every possible disaster that could happen.

7.       Unless your plan is to live in a cave, completely isolated and alone, make sure to spend time on relationships with family and friends.  They’ll make your life richer if disaster never happens, and they’ll make life livable if disaster does happen.

8.       Many of the things you worry about will never happen.  Some might.  But, as Matthew 6:27 says, “Who by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”  Try to convert worry into action and/or prayer.

Efficiency = Vulnerability

We live in a time of incredible efficiencies.  Our power, water, electronic banking, just-in-time food supply, travel options, communications and other infrastructure are simply amazing.  All of these systems are streamlined and relatively predictable.  And we’ve become dependent on them to the extent that they have become some of our biggest vulnerabilities.

These systems are all vulnerable to natural disasters, solar events, terrorists, foreign interests, and simple accidents.

Ironically, if we wouldn’t have any of these efficiencies in place, preparedness wouldn’t be so unusual because everyone would have to practice it in order to survive.  You can see this by looking to undeveloped countries or by looking back 70-80 years.

But our society is advancing so quickly that we’re increasingly vulnerable to more and more threats.  In fact, it seems like a new threat/vulnerability combination is announced every week.  One week it’s a possible solar storm.  The next it’s overprinting money.  The week after that, it’s foreign countries’ ability to launch EMPs off of our coasts.

The threats are not going to stop.  Even if they do, journalists will just recycle old threats & vulnerabilities to get viewers.

Eventually one of these big disasters is going to happen, but how do you absorb all of these threats in the meantime without going a little nuts?

I wrestled with this question a few years ago when I was getting my family prepared…and it’s one of the reasons I took what we learned and created the Urban Survival Course.  At one point early on, I was so focused on all of the new threats I was learning about that my mind was pinging around like a bunch of sugared up kids in a bounce house.

I know from the letters I get that many of you and even more of your relatives are in that very situation.

It causes some people to stick their head in the sand and ignore the problems.  It causes others to end up in a repeating loop of fixating on the latest & worst threat facing us but not taking any action.  Fortunately, there’s a better option that I’ll cover in a minute.

There are just SO many big threats to prepare for…it’s hard to know where to start and whether or not to simply throw in the towel, and abandon life as you know it in preparation for an immediate breakdown in society.

A few years ago, I didn’t think the country would last more than a few months, let alone until 2011.  And every week I have people telling me that they think things will collapse within the next few weeks.  Fortunately, I was wrong a few years ago and many people have been wrong since then, but at some point people worried about immediate collapse WILL be right.  It could be a day from now, a decade from now, or a generation from now.  We just don’t know.

So what do you do when you’re being barraged by threats, know you need to act, but have limited time & money and don’t know what to do first?

Calm Down

The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath.  In a survival situation, panic can kill you quicker than a lack of oxygen.  One of the best ways to prepare for the stress of a survival situation is to learn how to handle stressful situations in everyday life as efficiently as possible.  This isn’t a switch that you can flip…it’s a skill that’s developed over time—and a skill you can start developing today.

Practice calming down while driving, while talking with customer support that doesn’t speak English, and with friends and relatives.  There are some situations where escalating conflict helps, but in most cases it doesn’t.

If you’re frantically preparing, you might also want to calm down a little.  I believe preparedness is both urgent, and a way of life.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s easy to prepare at such a frantic pace that you quickly burn out or make expensive mistakes.  But when you make it a part of your life, it becomes quite fun and enriches every day in addition to preparing you for disasters.

Make a Plan

The next thing you need to do is make a plan.  What threats are you MOST concerned about?  What preparations can you do that will help you no matter what kind of disaster you face?  What skills & supplies do you currently have?  Which skills do you need to develop & what supplies do you need to start getting?  What if you have to bug-out?  What if you can’t bug-out and you have to Survive In Place?

You will continually be modifying your plan based on opportunities and your unique situation, so don’t feel like the plan you make today will be set in stone.

Control Your Time, Control Your Mind

It’s easy to spend hours and hours reading, watching, or listening about the next worst thing that’s going to happen.  It’s also intoxicating to read about other people’s survival plans and about other people’s survival skills instead of actually doing stuff yourself.

I encourage you to control what you watch, listen, and read.  There’s no shortage of information out there about all of the threats that we face.  And it’s not a bad thing to be aware of them, but think about every potential disaster you hear about as encouraging your decision to be prepared rather than as something new to worry about.

One of the best illustrations of this is helicopter pilots.  Helicopter pilots are a unique breed.  Airplane pilots know that if their engines go out, their plane will naturally glide some distance and they have a good shot at being able to land safely.

Helicopter pilots, on the other hand, are basically flying a rock through the air.  If the engine goes out, autorotation will buy some grace, but landing a dead helicopter becomes more like landing a rock than landing an airplane.

As a result, helicopter pilots are very aware of all of the threats they face and everything that could go wrong at any given moment and cause a series of cascading disasters.  The ability to accept and deal with all of these potential threats, embrace them, and enjoy finding solutions to them is what makes for great helicopter pilots.  They learn that at some point you have to stop over thinking what might happen and just start flying.

Similarly, the more aware you are about the political, natural, and terrorist threats that we face, the more you’ll want to develop the mind of a helicopter pilot…always aware of what could happen, but never dwelling on any one thing and letting it paralyze you.

Along this same line of thought, we used to watch Glenn Beck every night.  It was solid information, but it was overwhelming.  I still listen to Glenn’s radio show and really appreciate him waking people up, but at the same time I have to limit myself to how much I listen to his show.  Same with many blogs, forums, and books.  Every day I’d read about the end results of somebody’s lifetime of prepping…but I wouldn’t have time to do anything about it and I found myself just as unprepared the next time I watched or read.

Fortunately, there’s a balance.

What I encourage you to do is watch & read enough to spur you to action and spend the rest of the time that you would have spent reading/watching actually DOING things to get prepared.  Once you’ve read and or watched enough to make you want to take action, then you don’t need to watch anymore.

That’s a big reason why I am so focused on not only writing about vulnerabilities that we face and big picture preparedness, but also simple, fundamental things that people can do on a daily basis to get themselves prepared.  I want every article that I write to have actionable steps that you can take immediately so that you become more prepared every day.

Take Action!

Once you’re aware of the threats that we’re facing…both in the US and globally…the biggest thing you can do to get prepared and stay sane is to take action.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”  “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  “Slow and steady wins the race.”  These are all good sayings to remind you to pace yourself.  If you have to sprint, then look at your preparedness as interval training and plan for time to catch your breath and regroup.

Do something on a daily basis to get more prepared.  Don’t just read about skills, practice them.  Do things that will earn you the right to sleep soundly because you’ve made forward progress.

Don’t kick yourself for waiting to get prepared.  It’ll only waste mental energy.  Learn the lesson and get moving.

Don’t think you’re going to go from newbie to expert in every facet of survival overnight.  It’s a process—and any progress that you make will give you that much more of an advantage over the general public.


For my wife and me, prayer is the biggest thing that gives us peace and strength.  We’re facing some pretty huge threats to our way of life and talking with God is the biggest thing that helps keep our heads from spinning around in frustration with what’s going on in the world.  We’re living in crazy times and we’re thankful to have a rock that we can hold onto.

What to Do Next?

Still don’t know what to do next?  That’s a big reason why I wrote the Urban Survival Course.  It’s a step-by-step guide to get you and your family ready for breakdowns in civil order after disasters.  To read more about it and see if it’s right for you, please go to

Do you have any stories about how you went from being paralyzed or panicked by what is going on in the world to feeling more at peace?  How about how you won over relatives who once thought you were paranoid?  And, if you’ve gone through the Urban Survival Course, please share how it helped you feel more confident in your preparations by commenting below.

This weekend, in honor of Veterans’ Day, we’re going to donate 10% of all sales on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.  The Warrior Foundation has a two part mission…The first is to pay for college for the children of members of the special operations community who die on a mission or training accident.  The second is to provide financial assistance to make sure that family members can travel to and stay with operators who are wounded in action or training.

Why the Warrior Foundation?  Simple.  One of my best friends and another good friend are currently deployed with a SF unit.  My brother is SF, and the Warrior Foundation helps the kids of one of his teamates who was killed a couple of years ago in Afghanistan.  In other words, it’s got personal meaning for me.

**15-Nov-10 update:  Thanks to your support, we were able to send $326 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation this morning.  I wish I could add another “0” or 2 onto the end of that, but I am thankful for being able to give that much.  If you’d also like to contribute to this incredibly worthy cause, please go to

Donation to Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Thanks to you, we were able to give $326 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation

16-Nov-10 update:  MANY more people responded yesterday and we just gave another $183 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation for a total of $509.  Thanks again for participating in this wonderful program.

Until next week, God bless & stay safe!

David Morris

About David Morris

David Morris is the creator of the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course, the Fastest Way To Prepare Course, Urban Survival Playing Cards, Tactical Firearms Training Secrets, and other books, courses, and articles on preparedness, survival, firearms, and other tactical topics. He lives with his wife, 2 boys, and 2 dogs.


  1. הובלות says:

    you are awesome i have loved your songs since? i heard about you

  2. with the irish govt geting its emergency loan thing will stablize for the time being but with only delay the eneviable and when the crash happens it will be a disaster of finacial proportions that will make the great depression of the 1930’s look weak when the crash happens and those who are on the road to prepardness will be the haves and the havenots will be commming after us and the us will look like europe when the rioting starts

  3. John Latter says:

    Glen Beck as advise!! Wake up people. This @@@ wad is a charlatan and an entertainer. This guy has absolutely no integrity or honesty. Listen to him at your own peril. Take off the blinders of conservatism.

  4. Paul Wortman says:

    At long last someone who acknowledges dependence upon God. How many of these articles I have gone through with not even a nod to the efficacy of prayer. So far I have lost friends in the military (Vietnam era combat Corpsman), a 10y/o daughter, a wife to cancer and a wife to kidney disease. I think I can say with some authority, prayer strengthens and calms as well as renewing a sense of purpose.

    Thanks again.

  5. David
    I have been getting you newletters for about two months now. I have been a prepper for over 30 years now and the information you are putting out is great . I like how you point out that the colony is not the way to do things but its a great place to start talking about getting prepared. the information on the zombie banks really got my attention also. I have been looking at your old articales and look forward to the next news letter. Since I am currently unemployed and going to school. I dont have the money for your survival course, so I am trying to put a little bit aside each month. thanks for all theat you are doing

  6. David
    I’ve got first hand experience about not being prepared. Me, my wife, and 2 of my sons were up North getting 1 of the boys settled in an apartment at college, when Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida where we lived. We heard about it from an elderly relative the day it hit. We drove all day and most of the night to get home. We arrived to no extra supplies, no electricity, and food spoiling in the refrigerator very quickly. Thank God the house didn’t have any broken windows and the roof was o.k. The trees falling down had taken the electrical wire off the house and the pole, that kept us from having any power for 3 weeks. If it wasn’t for our caring and PREPARED neighbors, we would have been in very bad shape. I will NEVER be put in that position again! Thank you David for your detailed workbook to give me guidance and direction to prepare for disasters of all kinds. God Bless you and your family and all those you are helping.

  7. The information you put out is great and I take heart that so many people are paying attention to what’s going on and taking steps toward preppin’. I have been aware of survival practically all my life and while I am not a “big bad dude” I can still take care of myself and my family and at 62 I am still quite a stud. I owe much of my preparedness to my USMC training and hold to “Semper Fi till I die”.

    I am not as well prepared for WTSHTF due to economic reasons but I have knowledge and skill and, praise God, live in a rural area with lots of game and water resources and I have plenty o’ guns and ammo. The “good” thing about WTSHTF is that a lot of stupid people WILL DIE and whatever stuff they leave will be available for our use. Yes, I know it sounds hard and cold but, I have seen the world be cold and hard.

    Keep up the good work.


  8. to everyone john here im not paranoid or paralyzed but PREPARED and continue to do so as the quantatative easing (printing more worthless paper currency will bring the country to its knees and as for becky grey and irene and plainaz and jennifer and jr we are all preparing for the possible hyper inflashion that is just possibley around th e courner and there will be a rise in crime and other crap and living here on the border with juarez its going to get really bad and i bet you a dollar that those who are not willing to get ready or just plain lazy and in or denial you wait till the crap hits the fan you will defenly be sorry. like in proverbs 22:3 during the good years get stuff to gether for the bad years or you willl be suffering and most americans have gone from leaders to sheep ready to be slaughtered and there are no real Christian leaders but a bunch of false profits example pat roberson what a joke he wants to line his pockets and say see you fools i am for one have taken proverbs to heart and im just about ready well i will see you later maybe?

  9. to everyone who is preparing for the other shoe to fall. the gathering of supplies and the ability to defend those supplies is crucial to you own survival and if you dont PLAN NOW AND GET THE STUFF YOU NEED THEY YOU ARE DEFENLTY PARDEN MY LANGUAGED F@&% up the A$*^ and you have no one to blame but yourselves and also i have seen mexican prodestants who have been told by their congregations that it not Christian to have firearms and be prepaired and then i have seen them and go to the gun shows and stock up till the trunk is full of guns and ammo and run home to unload the stuff and go back for more ammo the hypocrisy of them is in credible and i have mexican prodestants friends who are not being influenced by me to get on my band wagon and get prepaired and talk about deprograming them from the white prodestant hypocrisy and actual get prepaired( i have mormen friends that also helping me to get prepaired and i helop them) till later bye

  10. I am in Alaska . So being prepared should be part of everybodys life here. But it simply is not the case. I have been concerned about life in these united states for a long time and began prepping before prepping was cool.I don’t get too concerned these days because I have been at this for a long time and have come to the place where I will be caring for alot more people than just my family .it is no surprise to me that this is the case, as with many other things in life it is the ten percent that will end up caring for the ninety . With me I have been blessed with the ability to have the funds for this. It will not always be the case for everyone but I encourage those who are in the same place financially to do the same. We will be able to bring more help on board if the SHTF. In Alaska I will also be able to hunt garden And fish. Gb

  11. The range of what can go wrong is so immense that I feel anybody who concentrates on a limited view is not very smart.
    I personally keep a bug out kit which I can wear like a battle kit. Where I live water is plentiful along with fish and rodents etc. Survival is not holding territory or having to defend a hoard of supplies. It is being mobile, flexible, and staying out of sight.If civil order should break down. I believe that in this country survival is going to be pretty much staying out of sight till it reaserts. Getting into a fight is not doing that or really survival. Anybody who is hoarding is putting down an anchor which will have to be defended when readymade supplies get short.

  12. I like reading the info that your readers put out. It’s obvious…..great minds think alike. My late friend Russell(he died 2 years ago in his sleep) use to say,” I know a word that starts with a p and ends with a d, and it’s not paranoid.” Keep up the work folks….yo are on the right track!

  13. David of Hawaii says:

    I am a 20 vet, USN. While I do not deny the heroism of our military, it is my belief that the real heroes of war are the doctors and nurses ON BOTH SIDES that repair the bodies of the wounded and the thousands of farmers, builders, masons, carpenters, merchants, teachers, and others who put civilization back together after the marauding armies have completed their destruction.

    Any two year old can take a gun and kill something. History and the press marks time from one war to another: WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf War 1 & 2.

    According to Frederic Bastiat, a French economist; Merchants gain power when there is peace and borders are open, while Governments gain power when borders are closed and there is war. Therefore, governments often use pretense and false flag operations such as 9/11 to create war and impose taxes.
    When there is war, there is no freedom or liberty.

    • Hey David,

      Thanks for your service. While war is distasteful, war, or the threat of war, is the only negotiating tool that has been proven effective throughout history to help people gain liberty and freedom. Appeasement doesn’t work, giving up land doesn’t work, and sanctions don’t work. Good people having a big stick and being willing to use it does work. It’s one of those things where it would be the worst option…if there was a better one that worked.

      In any case, this is another post that illustrates just how big of a tent “preparedness” covers. Thank you for your involvement and, if you’re still in Hawaii, best of success in your prepping efforts.

  14. Thanks David, I too really enjoyed this article. I agree that prepping takes time and we view it as a hobby and well as a necessity. I just buy extra every week when I do the normal shopping. Extra shampoo, few cans of food etc. Do what you can afford and it will build up. Also, several months ago I started to buy extra new clothing for me and my husband. Again, every week just something, even if it was one pair of socks or a t-shirt. We now have 2 weeks of new socks, underwear, etc. We are not done yet as clothing is expensive. (underwear is outrage, who would ever think it would be so high for underwear?) Anyway, it does start to build up. We put it aside and are not wearing it now. It won’t go bad or expire like you have to worry about rotating food. Even if there is not a disaster, but just even money is tight, we will have new clothes to wear. Prices will rise so stock up now. Thanks to all who write and especially to David who makes this site possible. Most important, invite Jesus into your heart and life.
    No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace. Amen.

    • On food see my comment last week. On clothing consider used. In a low cost thrift store used clothing is about 2 – 5% of the cost of new with 70 – 80% of the wear still left. For underclothes consider that there is very little cloth in them. Do you know how to sew? If not then consider learning. Get a good used machine (do your research) from a pawn shop or auction and get to work!
      Shirts: used; pants: used (sometimes new if used supplies are too limited); shoes: used; underwear: new or make your own; socks: new; jackets: used (buy in July or August); swim wear: used; hats: new; etc. Annual clothing budget: about $100 per person.
      Garage sales and rag dealers are also sometimes useful.

  15. Rev.J.M.Chance says:

    First…Thank You David. Your work is truly appreciated. As a prepper for eight years, people have called me paranoid. As events unfold and discussions occur, many of those same folks are realizing the need to prepare. I don’t seem so paranoid anymore. My world revolves around God’s will, not freaking out about the next possible threat. My wife and I chose to prepare for events that will happen so that we will remain self reliant. I watched, during Hurricane Katrina, many people wait on a Federal Government to do for them that which they were not prepared to do themselves. The animal kingdom instinctually prepares. I believe Mankind should do the same. God bless You and your family.

    • This is a comment of mine from another blog.

      Noah took 120 years to “prep” for the flood.
      God warned Joseph of 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine.
      During the 7 years of plenty, Joseph prepped for the 7 years of famine.
      Now God warned Joseph (through the king’s dream) so he could “prep!”
      Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
      Or another way to put it; A prudent man sees danger and “preps” for it, but the simple (sheeple) keep going on as usual and suffer for it.

  16. I’m probably another paranoid prepper, I’ve been one since I was in high school and had a paranoid fascination with the idea of surviving a possible nuclear apocalypse. Granted I didn’t have the resources to do what one may have done to achieve the goal of being prepared, I did get books to read to learn about nuclear weapons and their use (in testing) to get a good idea of how to survive if something like that did happen. I looked at the idea of how I might set up my basement as a makeshift fallout shelter and what I would put in there, including the idea of other locations that may serve that duty. I looked at places like underground parking garages and subway tunnels, even the defunct fallout shelters that still existed within the suburb I used to live in in IL. I had my small stockpile of food and other goodies that I hoped would last me the couple of weeks one would probably have to stay underground to survive the half life of the fallout.

    As time progressed I went from post nuclear survival to Y2K/post society survival, looking at what one in my position would possibly have to face, especially as a lone party trying to survive. I had my BOB as well as small field manuals along with supplies in the house to go through a prolonged stay through a hard time. Again, since I didn’t have a lot of money I had to settle for the po’man’s way of preparing, whether it was buying cheap knives from Bud-K and Wal-Mart backpacks to keep my stuff in along with buying books from those catalogs that have all those survival books for sale, and learning about po’man’s camping, using things that are readily available. Instead of spending a lot of money on gear dedicated to camping/survival, I would just set aside stuff that already existed in the house, whether it was cheap dishes and eating utensils, pie plates for cooking on over one of those alcohol stoves made from soda cans, along with regular tools such as hand saws that I would use for cutting firewood from the deadfall in the woods up to the cheap pocket knives and multi tools that you would find at the hardware store or Wal-Mart. Even as far as weapons were concerned, since I was under 21 and in IL, I couldn’t get regular firearms so I settled for airguns and to a limited extent – blackpowder pistols and cheap pistol crossbows, since at the time we were still able to get those thru the mail in IL. I practiced with the airguns and the crossbows all the time and felt confident enough that I could bag a squirrel or small bird for food if necessary. I fished all the time and made it a habit to go fishing with as little as possible in order to make each fishing “trip” appear to be like a survival exercise, using very little in commercial gear, only the bare basics, supplementing the rest with other stuff that was otherwise not intended for outdoorsman use.

    As time further progressed, I became a “legal” adult, was able to buy and use guns and had the job to get the money to get more goods. Even after the Y2K thing turned into a bust, I continued to prepare, looking at the idea that if TSHTF, I might have to survive in one way or another, whether its just living off of my supplies while in place and frequenting the “forest preserves” right across the street from me, which included a river to fish and get water. I felt that as long as I could keep people away from my house I would’ve probably done pretty good. No one else really took my ideaology seriously, especially during the Y2K phase. While no one really called me a paranoid nut, I’m sure it crossed their minds. Of course a few did take last minute preps during Y2K but it was one of those fleeting preparations, didn’t really mean much. Under some circumstances, I preferred those that I associated with to not take me seriously and started to learn to not bother mentioning it for the simple fact that if somthing did happen, I would not have been able to support everyone as I only had enough resources for myself and maybe a few other people.

    Fast forward to today, I started to look at the idea that I could prepare for survival by trying to live it everyday, by moving out to the country and being self sufficient. Using a wood stove to heat, growing food, fishing/hunting, practice shooting to my heart’s content, etc. Now we live close enough to a reservoir/river that we can get water if needed and have enough woods around us that deer and other woodland creatures are pretty close by. Also we have the land to grow whatever we want to or raise whatever we want to as well. We can also practice many wilderness survival skills as well since we are in that setting, but unlike when we were in the suburbs of Chicago, we can’t practice urban survival skills, which at the time for me when I was a late teen was trying to do many things without drawing the attention of nosy neighbors or the cops (having a small contained fire outside or using airguns outside was a skill I had to master in order to be able to do it all secretly, I think I did pretty good).

    Anyway, I continue to do my preparations to this day, and like one of the other preppers, I tend to look at it like a hobby, but a useful hobby, unlike other hobbies that are only there for mental stimulation (like model building, which I’ve done for a while.) I feel accomplished when I do something that further prepares me to do the things to help me/others survive in bad situations.

    The idea of mentally preparing by just doing things instead of dwelling on what can happen applies to me the most in the area of automobile use, since I work on and drive old vehicles all the time. When I do get one of my vehicles running and ready for road use I do some short distance road tests to weed out bugs then step up to slightly longer runs to town (10 miles away) then ending with a run to Jackson where I work (35 miles). Upon success I continue to just drive everyday. I keep tools and some spare parts that I expect to be most likely to fail while driving so in case something does happen, the chances are highly likely that I will be able to get the vehicle back up again in short order. This has happened to me on some occasions when I had to replace a fan belt or pull a carb apart to make adjustmens in the field. I also have other preparations made in case I get stuck, but will sometimes go over possible scenarios in my head of what I would do if something bad happens. This is something that I do even in my survival preps, which is how I decide what to do. The point is I dont dwell on it too long because if I did, I would never have the confidence to even want to drive the old vehicles I have let alone live so far away from my job and “civilization”. Nonetheless my preps will continue and if I lost my job or otherwise ran out of money I will prepare like a homeless guy does and improvise.

  17. PPS. Hope you dont mind but I shared this with hundreds at Facebook and Tweeter, keep up the great work.

  18. Glenna Reeves says:

    Thank you for all you do in preparing us for hard times. I am doing all I can but my mind seems to be going in circles much of the time and your article is certainly timely for me! I love Glenn Beck but as you said, he is overwhelming us with so much information. I have to turn off the TV sometimes but after a few days I go back to it. I love your lessons and have learned there are dams in my area built in the 30’s, not sure of their condition but I am researching them. We also have lots of water canals in AZ and I am learning where the biggest ones are. We also have a nuclear plant about 100 miles from me. Lots of hazards right in my backyard that I was not aware of! This week I shot my first gun and was surprisingly accurate. Problem is the gun club membership is $400 so that will have to wait a bit. I am stocking groceries and medicines and have been working on my “go” bags. I am not mechanical, have no idea how to use a generator, need lessons on how to use a gas BBQ, but I am starting to learn. My kids are starting to listen to me about this even though they think I am a bit unbalanced.

    My mental state was a big concern for me as I see it overtaking my life. Your words of wisdom to enjoy life is certainly timely for me. I have planted a garden and use my gardening time to “reset” and get balance. Thanks for all you do.

    And… thanks for your course. I am up to lesson 5 and learning a lot. I have learned how to turn of/on the water and electric and lots of useful things that I can use even for day-to-day living!


  19. I read blog on other survival web sights every week. I see people getting laughed at for telling the bog about how they are preparing. I don’t find any of this funny.
    I’m glad that you have this web sight.You show us how to do thing the right way.
    On all of the other sights when I see that something is wrong in the way that the instructor is teaching a survival lesson? I add:

    I never want to read about how a family of 5 died in Buffalo because they put the gas grill into their living room to keep warm when the power was out. They are the people that are laughing at us, and calling us paranoid.
    The point of this web sight is to teach us how to do the right thing when a survival situation is at hand.

  20. David, I feel that your information in time will save many lives. As with Glenn Beck, there are those that want to quiet him because he, too, is preparing those who have wisdom enough to listen. We have learned as to what may be coming, now it is up to us as to how to be ready for it when it does. This is not paranoia, this is survival.

  21. David, sharing this with people I have recently woken up to the fact that it’s not “if” it is going to happen, but “when.” I can totally relate to those who woke up like me and felt so behind the ball and in a “panic” trying to put my survival together….that was a year ago. Now, I am on the do what you can…..thank you for putting this together in such a manner that I can share with people to get them thinking. And, thank you all for making me feel that I am not parnoid, I just get it and understand that you need to prepare….I am a Hurricane Ike survivor, so I know what it is like to lose everything including the basic necessities and comforts we all take for granted.

  22. People, if you’re not paranoid; you’re not paying attention.
    If you’re not paranoid, it doesn’t mean their not out to get you.
    Have a nice day, for they are soon coming to an end.

    • Again…you’re only paranoid if the events that you’re concerned about don’t happen.

      The root of paranoia is that the thoughts and feelings are irrational. If the events DO happen, then the thoughts and feelings ARE rational and you’re not paranoid.

      If people ARE out to get you, you aren’t paranoid in thinking that they are.

      And there is a good chance that “nice days” may be coming to an end…but does that mean that you should piss and moan until they’re gone? NO!! It means that you should embrace the “nice days” that you do have. Live life to the fullest while you’re incorporating preparedness into your daily life. But if you spend all of the good days worrying about the bad days, then you may as well of not had the good days to begin with.

  23. David, I praise God for your ministry in helping people to prepare for the coming crisis. My faith in God is such that even if I never use the items I am storing and die for my faith, I will consider it God’s will. I am old and have many medical problems, so God in His wisdom may think it better to lay me to rest before the really bad times hit our nation.

    On Glenn Beck (Fox News) last week he had a guest who used to be in a government think tank. He said that when China stops buying our debt, it will take only 2 weeks for all hell to break loose in America. He said that the government has a number of ways to deal with dissenters, and also those who cannot contribute to society anymore (because of age or disabilities). One thing he mentioned was how certain communities (like mobile home parks) will be burned…every house…to the ground. I live in a mobile home community for retired people; so maybe my house will burn down before I ever have a chance to use what I have prepared for. Again, God’s will be done.

    Thanks again for your newsletter. God has given you wisdom in the matter of perparing for the coming crisis; so don’t ever let anyone discourage you for sharing your knowledge with others who also see the necessity of preparing.

    God bless…

    • Hey Dwight,

      One thing that I want to encourage you to avoid is worrying about things that you don’t have any control over…all it serves to do is steal your life and, in essence, the freedoms that you have today.

      There are several playbooks from around the world that our government could follow with “dissenters” and non-productive people. My personal thoughts are that it would not be our government, as we know it, who would be able to take actions like you’re mentioning. I think it would be a UN government, a Chinese government, or some other multi-national group who had taken the reins from our government. This is an area that is ripe for speculation and fanciful fiction and my guess on this particular topic should be treated with a very low level of credibility.

      In any case, as an individual, I don’t have any direct control over whether or not this happens or the decisions that they make. I can vote. I can pray. I can prepare myself and do what I can to be more self-reliant. I can donate to lobying groups that line up with my views. If they decide to “go loud” and commit atrocities, then I think it’s safe to think that Americans would do all that they could to stop these atrocities from happening.

      In the meantime, while it’s not necessarily a bad thing to hear theories like “burning down mobile home parks,” it’s not a healthy thing to dwell on…especially if that time could be spent taking action.

    • patty t., alabama says:

      i did not hear Beck say that about mobile homes.

  24. Stuart Smith says:


    I have the perfect “safe place” in my house. I would like to hear more about prepping your safe place?



  25. Hello. I would like to let you know that I really enjoyed this article. Aside from the Glen Beck part (I think he’s a dangerous propagandist ), I thought this article was exceptionally well written and informative. Great advise and tips for everyone. Its too bad that we have to worry about the problems in the world.and no matter where you stand politically (i am a gun loving democrat) you cannot ignore the fact that we are headed for trouble. Articles like this a great for keeping people grounded while also making them aware. I enjoy your emails and columns.



  26. Truly excellent reading! I too, have wondered, just today putting the finishing touches on my goal of one years food, and Lord knows how many other things, from generators to medications. I would guess about ten grand over five years, not including the guns. So if I am paranoid or possessed, so be it……should TSHTF I am as one friend put it, more prepared than ninety-five per cent of the population. And in that thought I find a little peace of mind.

    • Hey Kent,

      Whether you’re paranoid, possessed, or simply prepared will only show itself over time. If something does happen, everyone who calls you possessed or paranoid now will want you for their best friend.

      The important thing is not to get so myopic on coming disasters that you forget to enjoy life. Prepping can be a fun way of life, or it can be a frantic undertaking…and it’s ok to go back and forth between the two.

  27. Hi Dave!

    I love this article! and yes i like it when you said “Spend your time today in a way that you’ll be happy about tomorrow”… i put it on my facebook! thanks

  28. What’s not to be paranoid about?

    We have a non- elected bunch of czar thugs running our country
    with the express interest in crashing our economy.
    The unemployment is so high, people are getting desperate and crime will rise.
    Our dollar is collapsing.
    Obama is an economic terrorist,
    Not to mention the terrorists abroad and among us.

    Solar storms, earthquakes and hurricanes aren’t my biggest concern!

  29. I am a just turned 50 housewife and mom with the kids out of the nest! Not necessairily celebrating, but nonetheless…….The reason I would share is that I have only been doing this for less than a year, but I am finding the benefits of having a few things on hand, basically groceries, when the income is less than the outgo. And in this economy it is happening more and more often for my husband and self, but with these few items, it really really really does make it less stressful. I am more interested in all of the aspects of this prep thing, and my husband is willing but feels stress when some of the items cost more than a utility bill. I am ok with this because I really dont have a choice, but also, I am finding that I constantly, not obsessively, am looking for alternative ways to achieve the buildup of supplies that we will need. As an example, I have really plugged into websites online that help with coupons and have achieved the understanding of buying “green beans” on sale right now in some kind of bulk level. I also know that this type of sale will come around again and maybe at that time I can buy more!

    I have learned how to make much of my own fire starting materials and such as well as multiple items that make fire or start fire. I believe that I have determined, but much inspiration from you and your course, that fire is the best place to start because water and the rest of life can be accomplished one step at a time. Without fire or drinking water, life could stop a lot quicker than one might desire!

    I am far from being any type of trained expert on anything, but I have gotten my husband to take me shooting on several occassions, not so much to become an expert, but as this would be a final resource. I have a strong faith and believe that if and when I ever have to pick up something as serious as a gun, I am believing that I will know what to do and how. At the same time, familarity and muscle memory just make “good sense!”

    I have found your course to be as informative as anything I could even begin to imagine and feel very very very blessed to have “just come across it! ”

    Because I dont really believe in coincidences, I do believe that there is something of importance to it. So I am heeding this warning of sorts as best as I can.

    Finally, I just heard about the cruise ship that people have been eating “spam” because of a fire in the ship’s engine knocking out services. I dont really have the words to put to it, but if this is not an example of technology going bad, then what would be. What if the radio communications had gone out as well? What would have happenend to the people on board and how long would it have taken to go really bad?????

    Basically, if it can happen there, in a much smaller more controlled atmosphere, where you would think the back ups are redundant????????……………………………. Why could not something more take place here even in the USA?

    I dont know, just supposing!!! What do you think?.

  30. Yes, I have been called paranoid. Except for my oldest son, even my kids think I’m a little strange, if not paranoid. I have been listening to Glenn Beck for many years, and several years ago he started talking about storing food, a little at a time. When I lost my job, that extra food came in quite handy. Now I have been storing food again, a little at a time. I agree, slow and steady is the way to go. When my grocery store has sales on things I use, I buy extra. I make sure to mix it up and get things that can be used together so I’m not eating beans every night. My first goal was to be able to have one month’s supply. Now, I am trying for three month’s. Living in the snow belt, I never know when I’ll be snowed/iced in. Just don’t panic and don’t feel over whelmed. Dont’ forget water, flavored mixes for the water (Kool-aid, Tang, etc.), pasta, powdered mashed potatoes, canned meat. You get the idea. Mix it up and rotate.

    One more thing to remember that is often not mentioned, if you are a smoker, and I know some of you are, stock up on cigarettes. Hide them from other smokers if you have to and don’t forget to rotate them too. Nothing like a nicotine fit in the middle of a crisis.

    And for those of you who pray, please continute to do so. God provides for our needs when we ask Him.

    Now as to the Y2K scare. It didn’t happen, I believe, because we knew about it and we were prepared. I always wonder what might have happened if it had been swept under the rug and ignored. Computers might have crashed, things might have gone a little crazy. But we knew there could be problems and we fixed them.

    Thank you for your wonderful tips for survival. And thank you all of you who provide comments. I feel we all need to learn from each other. God bless.

  31. Ditto to “Heck, even I think I am paranoid!” Since dragging home supplies and placing them unobtrusively around the house I notice sometimes feeling overwhelmed by Beck, dehydrated raspberries, and water storage. Finally my husband is stepping onboard, but I haven’t found a way to convince my 84+ year old parents /inlaws who lived through it all before. Keeping an inventory with expiration dates seems logical so now I am doing that manually. Thanks for the reminder to branch out and live life while preparing to keep living life. I pledge to have a worry free Sunday – thanks to your words!

  32. David,

    You have a great site with lots of valuable information. I have a poem that I learned years ago and some words of wisdom.

    What, Me Worry?
    There are only two things in life you need to worry about,
    Either you are sick or you are well.
    If you are well, there is nothing to worry about.
    If you are sick, there are only two things to worry about,
    Either you get well, or you die.
    If you get well, there is nothing to worry about.
    If you die, there are only two things to worry about,
    Either you go to Heaven, or you go to Hell.
    If you go to Heaven, there is nothing to worry about.
    If you go to Hell, you will be so busy shaking hands with all your friends,
    You won’t have time to worry about anything.

    Hope for the best.
    Prepare for the worst.
    Accept whatever happens.

    • Thanks David,

      I’ve got to disagree with you on how hell plays out…but none of us will know for sure until the decision’s final. That being said, I tend to agree with Pascal’s Wager.

    • Hi David,

      In hell there will be no friendly handshakes, but darknes, burning and a lonely hopelessness that forever and ever you will be there, with out love, comfort or anything but torment.
      Please, please, please prepare for eternity, This life is a drop in the bucket.

  33. james malone says:

    well if you are working with sop ci/ how about telling little Richie hello. we were in A school together way back in 1980 GLNUSN GMA

    • james malone says:


  34. David, this little article really makes a lot of sense. When I first started learning about food storage from my wife ( who is a Mormon) I thought it was a good idea but wasn’t sure of its practicality in the long run. Now, with things going on in this country and the world I see why her church wants everybody to be prepared. Your course has helped me get my mind set in the right place. Even with all the bad news that we are constantly bombarded with I am able to keep a clear head knowing that no matter what happens – at least I will be able to feed and protect my family. There is an old addage that constantly comes to mind – “Prepare for the worst, but Pray for the best.”

  35. David,
    Like most Americans, I really didn’t think much about “survival” information or preparation. I just went through my everyday life thinking that everything would still be there tomorrow, just as it was today. And I certainly didn’t concern myself with a possible interruption of food deliveries to grocery stores, permanent loss of electric service, absence of law & order, worthless dollars, and Anarchy…. that is, until about a year ago when my 30 year-old Policeman-son gave me a book to read, titled “One Second After”. Yeah, you can guess the rest. My eyes were opened. Next, I got ahold of the book “Patriots”.

    The first few months I was “fast & furious” to gather enough food, water, ammunition, medical supplies, etc. to put me into a “comfort-zone” of survivability. Now, I have slowed down to the “slow & steady” approach that you reccommend. In addition, I found that I was asking myself, “Am I being paranoid about this stuff ?” That is why I am so glad that you wrote this latest article on “Paranoid or Prepper”. I feel much better, now.

    Also, the response letter from VicM (above) was one of the most comprehensive and intelligent letters that I have ever read.

    Thanks, David……. Bill C in Jax Fla

  36. J. Kraemer says:

    Heck, even I think I’m paranoid. But the key for me to think I’m normal in a societal sense, is to never verbally voice my thoughts and philosophies to even my closest of friends. And it doesn’t run my life. When I shop for and buy supplies, I treat it as a hobby rather than letting it control my days like you would see in a cult.

    If you don’t talk about eventual civil disorder, then you won’t have all of your friends and neighbors knocking on your door when it does happen.

    Thank you though, David, for giving us a sense of belonging to a community of people who share the same ideas, and allowing us to feel some comfort in knowing we’re not alone.

  37. Becky Gray says:

    I’m a 61 year old grandmother who lives with my son and daughter-in-law. They are convinced I am paranoid and they secretly donate my supplies to the local food bank. Drives me insane and, to be fair, having it around drives them insane as well. I finally just stocked the pantry and got a small storage unit not far from the house. The freezer is full, the pantry is stocked, but the real survival supplies are at the storage unit in sealed food buckets.
    They, like many thirty somethings, just don’t believe it can happen here. My parents lived through the depression. My dad was required to take German as his foreign language in college for a degree in science because Germany was the undisputed leader in science and technology in the 50’s. Things change. They aren’t even on the radar now. Just being an American is no guarantee you will be able to coast along forever with no major economic wrecks.
    I am fortunate to be able to teach my 7 and 9 year old grandsons basic values and some survival skills, including hunting, gardening and cooking. I think they will be OK, and may end up taking care of their parents.
    Thank you for your info. I agree. You da Man!

  38. Whiskey Tango says:

    Funny thing is that my brother was the one that we all thought was paranoid. A couple years ago, when a bunch of stuff that he said was going to happen actually happened, well, it opened my eyes. Most of our family still thinks he’ “off”, but not me. Pretty much, if we want to talk to someone in depth about survival scenarios, without someone looking at us like we’ve flipped, we call each other. I live in So Cal, so when I talk about it out her, I refer to it as earthquake survival kits.

  39. David W Elmore says:

    I took to heart my cub and boy scout training ending some 58 years ago. The Be Prepared motto is still central in my actions. It is great to find kindred spirits in your group! Thanks

  40. Terry Smith says:

    A little off topic. I found this article to be especially useful. Thank you for preparing and sharing it with us. I like to share your articles with some of my “Preppers in Training” and this is one of them. But the problem is we do not use any of the electronic media that are listed in “Share and Enjoy”. What would help me, and I expect others, is a PDF link. The article can be easily archived and the files emailed. This is just a suggestion that I hope you will consider. Best regards and keep up the good work.Terry Smith

    AC1 (Navy Vet – Ahoy VicM)

  41. David,

    You have assembled an uncanny compilation of revelant wisdom regarding preparedness. I just finished your book. I have taken significant action…far from complete, but I have two well stocked GO bags in the cars.

    You have addressed so many dimensions regarding this topic that it really does take a certain amount of digestion. But you have been inspirational in terms of driving me to action. I am generally impressed to find agreement with 85% of any expert. I am probably 95% aligned with your advice.

    I was made aware of your expertise via a very complementary comment by the Target Focused Training folks. I was expanding my bag of tools after having mastered much of the FrontSight organization (First Family Diamond Elite Distnguished Grad in Handgun and Grad in Rifle and Shotgun).

    Your Operational Security advice is spot on, consistent with and paralleling experiences during my 24 year military career (both enlisted and commissioned ). I can’t believe you could compile so much relevant information into a single package.

    I am not to the point where I want to be but so far ahead of where I started. You also put a very balanced perspective on how to manage concerns and focus energy on productive activities. I look forward to the opportunity to thank you in person…perhaps at a TFT class. BTW, I am also working thru some training videos from my favorite knife maker, Ernest Emerson.

    I would also like to commend you for your very polished moderation skills, deftly handling the sometimes volatile discussions on your blog. You are very diplomatic, while simiultaneously conveying generally apolitical insights into important current event issues.

    You da Man!

    Thank you for what you do. And thanks for your support for our current Patriots serving in harms way on our behalf.


    Cdr USN (Retired)

    • VicM,

      Thanks so much. Your note was one of the first things that I talked with my wife about this morning. It’s very humbling to get that kind of feedback from someone with your level of military experience. God bless.


  42. Thoroughly LOVE this quote! May I please put it on my Face Book page, of course you being credited for it..

    “Some day you’re going to look back on how you spent your life. Spend your time today in a way that you’ll be happy about tomorrow”.

    By the way, thanks so mch for your words of wisdom. They keep my head above water.,

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