Hi my dear Pixie,
I hope you are recovering from the flu. I am fighting off a cold and cough. So far it is not bad and I am doing all I can to keep it that way. Here is a post for you. I have included some HTML formatting. I hope you and everyone else enjoys it. - Harry
Prepping, and Bug out, and Zombies, Oh My!
The trip to the shopping center had been fruitless. Now just two weeks since the zombie virus (Z1N1) had broken out in the city, the store shelves were empty. I did manage to find a few toiletry and medical items that others had overlooked. There were a few zombies roaming around, but I only had to shoot two that got too close. Jumping back into my truck, I looked longingly at the filling station on the corner. My guess is that there was still gasoline in the underground tanks, but without electricity it was impossible to get.
It has been a long and somewhat convoluted journey for me since I last wrote in December. I enjoyed a long and pleasant vacation from school over the holidays.
It all started with a gun show. For our international (and probably more civilized) friends, a gun show is a gathering of gun dealers and traders where the general public can come to buy and trade rifles, pistols, shotguns, and other lethal weapons including knives, axes, bayonets and goblin-cleaving swords.
Anyhow my son and I went to this gun show one Saturday before Christmas, because after all nothing says peace on earth more than an assault rifle. I was just looking, but my son, who is 30, planned to buy a small, concealable handgun.
We drifted from table to table covered with hundreds of weapons from small .22 caliber derringers all the way to a .50 caliber sniper rifle capable of stopping a small armored vehicle in its tracks. My son found what he wanted and at the same table I picked up a pistol that just fit my hand perfectly. The price was right and I made my purchase too.
I am neither conservative nor liberal in my opinions of guns. America has been a gun culture throughout its history. I grew up a country boy and my father taught me to shoot a rifle and a shotgun to go hunting. He taught my brother and me the basics of gun safety. I have owned guns since I was fourteen. I served in the Air Force, but once I qualified with the M-16 rifle in basic training I never got a chance to shoot one again. I don’t want anyone to take away my right to own a firearm, but on the other hand I don’t want access to guns by felons and the mentally unstable to be allowed.
I don’t want to belabor the point here (although we can discuss it further in comments) so back to the gun show. My son and I had to pass background checks before we could complete our purchases. My son, who was actively involved and arrested during the Occupy Movement protests last year flew through the mandatory state police background check in a matter of minutes, while my check stalled somewhere in cyberspace. Me! A model citizen! It was a minor delay and I just went back to the gun show the following morning to pickup my pistol once the check was complete. My son enjoyed teasing me for the next week.
Back home, I put my new purchase in my dresser drawer and helped prepare for Christmas dinner and here is where our story takes a turn.
I drove slow, conserving my gasoline. The road was pretty empty except for abandoned vehicles. In my head I started checking off what we would need to make our move to the enclave that was starting up in the mountains to the west of the city. We had been doing disaster planning for a while before the zombie virus outbreak. We were used to being prepared in the winter for icy storms that took down power lines leaving people with the need to heat their home with wood in fireplaces that usually contained decorative baskets of dried flowers, or to use smelly kerosene stoves. In the spring there was the small possibility of a tornado or strong thunderstorms. Late summer is hurricane season, so we knew to stock up on bottled water and prepare to use a grill or camp stove to cook meals. This was different though. We needed to plan to bug out. I wasn’t paying attention to the road. I saw the roadblock almost too late…
After Christmas I sat at my computer and looked for accessories for my new pistol. I had one ammunition clip, but I wanted extras, and I needed a holster. One website I viewed had a tab labeled “zombie preparedness” that drew my attention. There were shooting range targets depicting zombies, special zombie killing ammo for your guns, and a “zombie bug out kit.”
When I was a younger man in the Air Force, my job was to build and inspect survival kits for the aircrews of our large cargo aircraft. In our training school I learned about how to survive in a variety of environments, although I did not get to have any practical experience. Later when our son was a boy scout getting ready for his first camping trip, my wife and I packed his bag with every bit of suggested gear in the handbook. The bag ended up being nearly as heavy as he was. After that trip he started packing his own bag and pulling out most of the stuff my wife insisted that he have. He learned to pack light and pack smart. Now he teaches me how to pack for the outdoors.
Anyhow the concept of a bug out bag fascinated me. Zombies are low on my scale of disasters, but storms, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns (we are a mere 40 miles from a power plant that happens to be built on a seismic fault line), terrorist attacks, and the increasingly possible economic collapse of the world economy have got me thinking more about being prepared.
The basic 72-hour bag, or bug out bag contains enough food and water for three days along with shelter, first aid, communication, and other survival tools to deal with most circumstances you might encounter. A family kit would be bigger and contain more food and water plus some comfort needs for children such as favorite toys or books. Along with the kit each family needs a plan. If the children are at school, or mom and dad are at work when a disaster strikes, how will everyone get together? If you have to evacuate your home, where will you go?
I slammed on the brakes just as two men stepped out from behind a van and raised their weapons. I grabbed my bug out bag and my shotgun and ran away using the truck for cover. One of the marauders yelled and started to follow. A single blast of “double-aught” buckshot changed his mind and I ran into the woods. Once safely under cover I made sure they were not attempting to follow. They weren’t. They were more interested in siphoning the gas into their own vehicle and digging under the seats of my truck for useful items. I slung my pack over my shoulder and took a compass bearing so I could cut through the woods back towards our house.
There is a lot more I can talk about. The whole sub-culture of doomsday preppers and survivalists is fascinating in itself. Some of these people have no trust for the government. Some of them are or were part of the militia movement that was popular in the 1980s and 90s. I have learned quite a bit about planning for the worst. I have started collecting stuff I already have and making a few purchases to develop our home 72-hour kit as well as a smaller Go Bag for my vehicle. Maybe I’ll write about that soon.