As readers no doubt all know, Hurricane Sandy devastated many Americans in the American Northeast and especially those in Long Island, Staten Island and the New Jersey coastal region. I’m sure that you have all seen heart-rending scenes of people going hungry, going without power for weeks, flooded subways in New York City, lining up for hours for gasoline, etc. The New York City region is a rare target zone for hurricanes, but Hurricane Sandy hit it head-on recently. This hurricane graphically confirmed the need for people to be prepared for natural disasters by stocking up on basic supplies.
The USA Today recently published a feature article on “prepping,” a term describing those who are making preparations for not only “Sandy-like events,” but also such threats as other natural disasters like earthquakes, terrorists, EMP blasts [natural solar flares or man-made], etc. Obviously, those who were preppers in the Northeast USA were the best off after Hurricane Sandy. As the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy made evident, a large-scale natural disaster will result in situations where the federal and local governments are so overwhelmed that they will not be able to help some people for many days or even weeks. I can also recall an ice-storm a few years ago where the national media showed people in West Virginia and Appalachian regions burning their furniture to stay warm weeks after an ice-storm hit the region because they still did not have power. I can recall ice-storms on the Midwest prairie where I grew up causing our town to be without power for days at a time every winter! In the unforgiving climate of the Midwest prairie and America’s remote mountainous regions, reasonable prepping is a necessity, not an option.
Obviously, it is a common sense approach to prepare in advance for such natural disasters. The US Federal government strongly supports that approach. The FEMA website has a link to a list of basic essentials which every American ought to have on hand for emergency situations. FEMA advises that everyone should have at least a three-day supply of everything you might possibly need, but Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina have shown that three weeks is a more reasonable minimum preparation timeline.
Curiously, some readers have sent me links stating that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intends to target “preppers” as some kind of security risk. If so, the DHS has gone schizophrenic because FEMA, a department of the DHS, advises and recommends “prepping.” Indeed, the USA Today article states that during the Cold War, “the federal government was the ultimate prepper…” The article details that the US government then went to extreme lengths to store up emergency supplies for “Congress and their aides” at a location in West Virginia. If Congress was an extreme prepper, you can be sure that the Executive branch of government was also well-stocked to take care of its own during the Cold War time period at other hidden locations. A post I did months ago cited a cable-TV documentary hosted by ex-Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura that the US government is building a system of underground cities and/or tunnels to protect the “insider” elites during any global catastrophe and that one entrance to this underground system is at the Denver International Airport. That documentary indicates that average US citizens are apparently going to be left to fend for themselves if such an emergency strikes. If it is true that DHS is going to target “preppers,” The USA Today article seems to indicate that its first target will apparently have to be the US federal government itself.
How much “prepping” is too much? Obviously, one can go overboard in making such preparations. the USA Today article cites a popular cable-TV series called “Doomsday Preppers” produced by the respected National Geographic Channel. It features families who have gone to great lengths to prepare for any possible emergency scenario. I admit to watching one of these episodes and, personally, I thought that the family being featured on that program had gone way overboard in its preparations. No one can prepare for anything and everything.
I urge readers to also read my article, Should Christians Prepare for Hard Times? This article examines the subject of “prepping” from a detailed biblical standpoint. However, the points it makes are just as applicable to Hindus, Moslems, Jews, atheists, etc. When times get hard, everyone gets hungry, thirsty and in need of gasoline and other essential supplies. When a disaster hits, everyone is in the same boat regardless of their religious beliefs. My article takes, I think, a balanced, biblical perspective to this vital subject.