educating the unprepared

Survival Notes: Educating the Unprepared and Uninformed…It’s Exhausting

This week on our survival homestead was a lot like many others. We worked out paying jobs, we worked the land, spent some quality time with our tribe – and went to bed exhausted. The multitude of manual labor hours we put into our survival retreat this week were tiring, but yet far less exhausting that the other preparedness actions we engaged in…educating the unprepared, uninformed, and unprepared.

I am related, both by blood and by marriage, to non-preppers, some of which are Democrats. There I said it. It wasn’t easy, but they say confession is good for the soul. For the sake of full disclosure, I am almost positive at least one blood relative is not just a Democrat, he is a liberal.

This fact can make for some very stressful and outright infuriating family dinners, to say the least. Why do I bother, because even though, and I feel bad admitting it, I really don’t like some of these relatives at this point, I do love them. You never should give up on family, even if trying to enlighten and educate them makes you feel like you are hitting your head on that proverbial brick wall.

Perhaps some of my motivation is selfish, from a purely personal self-preservation standpoint. If, and right now that is hugely massive if, I can turn a willfully unaware non-prepper into a prepper and away from the dark side of the political spectrum, I will gain a valuable tribe member.

My liberal blood relative is a gun owner, shocking I know, but he is and a decent shot at that. If I can get through his tainted and brainwashed thick head, he will bring value to our survival homestead during a SHTF situation. He grew up country, so he isn’t afraid of hard work or getting his hands dirty, and is in great physical shape.

But, those are all secondary reasons I would want him as part of my survival tribe. Being family, his is now and will always be loyal – that attribute WILL be worth its weight in gold ten times over during a long-term disaster.

Our survival tribe is comprised only of family and friends who are like family. “Like family” describes an exceptional and long-standing bond, but it is not exactly family, and no matter how much shared history we have, their first loyalty, as it should be, will be the preservation of their own blood.

Now, that being said, the preservation of the survival homestead is the preservation of their family. I have no fears about any work detail, no matter how dangers, shirking going on with the like-family contingent inside our survival tribe.

Yet, human nature cannot be denied, especially during a life or death situation. If the food is almost gone, there is only a fraction of the water needed left during a drought, or just a single vial of medicine left, temptation to steal or horde might overwhelm some otherwise trustworthy human beings.

I feel guilty even writing that, and am sitting at my laptop with images of our like-family members dancing through my head. Right now, I cannot envision a scenario when one of them would take from the group or flee in a desperate attempt to find better safety elsewhere, I truly can’t.

Things are good now, so no one has been put to the test. The character and integrity of all members of our survival group is reassures me that a situation would have to be far beyond dire before I had a legitimate reasons to worry and lock up the stockpiles – but dire could happen even on a survival homestead as prepared as ours, during a SHTF scenario.

The difference between family, like family, and non-family is something everyone must think about when putting together a survival tribe – mutual assistance group.

Turning non-preppers into preppers is never an easy task. When you are dealing with a liberal individual, the chore is substantially more difficult. Depending upon the size of your prepper retreat, it could take up to 12 people at a time to patrol the perimeter. When you factor in keeping up the patrols around the clock, you start to understand exactly how many trained bodies you will need to fully secure your survival location during a SHTF disaster.

I tried to use facts to dispel some gun control nonsense with my liberal blood relative.

I didn’t really make any progress, though. Well, maybe I did, but none that the family members would admit to. Best I can hope for is he is thinking about what I said and then the demonstration I forced him to watch to prove my obviously valid point.

He reacted as all liberals do when forced to face the facts, he threw out some ridiculous insults regarding the topic and then abruptly tried to change the conversation.

We were discussing the gun ban initiated by Kroger. No, the grocery store does not sell guns, but they do sell magazines. In a knee-jerk response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Kroger decided to ban magazines that have scary looking guns on the cover.

Any magazine that has an “assault rifle” on the cover will be yanked from the grocery store shelves. A store that sells beer, wine, GMO foods, and condoms to teenagers has taken what they feel is moral stance to in an effort to shield shoppers from having to catch a glimpse of a scary looking gun.

I hope every gun owner and Second Amendment supporter in America immediately and forever stopped shopping at Kroger.

My liberal relative doesn’t think we should be allowed to own so-called assault rifles and applauded the scary gun photo ban by Kroger. See the uphill battle I am fighting to reverse engineer his mind?! The news coverage over the Kroger gun ban didn’t say whether or not a magazine can remain on their store shelves if it merely has the name of a scary looking gun printed on the front of it.

I asked my liberal blood relative what an assault rifle was, telling him that I could not find that classification in any gun catalog.

Of course, he said it was an AR-15 and similarly styled rifle.

I patiently explained that our semi-automatic handguns, the one in his holster is the same caliber as my own, shoot nearly as fast and with rounds just as deadly as the scary looking guns.

We could get into the minutia about the level of damage some caliber and types of rounds do to the body as compared to other types. But, the bottom line is, a bullet to the head will kill, even a .22 if aimed by skilled hands.

They we argued over gun magazine capacity. While I struggled to keep my composure and stick to the facts and not resort to basaless ranting – like a liberal, I pointed out the ridiculousness of a high-capacity mag ban.

I explained, as patiently as possible, how quickly it is to drop an empty mag and put in another already filled mag – causing only a few second delay in firing. My primary point being, if an evil person is going to use a gun, any gun, to launch into a mass shooting, limiting the capacity of the gun mag would not decrease the carnage.

One would have to be standing right next to the shooter to be able to tackle or grab away the gun quickly enough, or possess the powers or Superman or Wonder Woman, to do the same thing from a distance of three feet away or more.

If a good person with a gun is remaining out of sight until he or she could get a good shot at the shooter during a mag change, there might could technically be enough time to aim while not being fired upon, but in all reality, that would not play out as expected either.

The mind of the person in hiding would have to grasp the firing had stopped, expose themselves to some degree to the shooter, aim, and then fire in under about five seconds. Could that happen, yes. But a good person with a gun could have just as good of a chance of taking out the shooter if he or she could fire while the evil person is aiming in a direction away from their hiding spot.

I would insert a great video here to demonstrate my point, but YouTube has followed Kroger’s lead banned gun videos from their website. I did force my liberal blood relative to watch a timed firing of an AR-15, a Ruger 40 C, and a hunting rifle as well as the dropping and reloading of filled mags, aslo timed. Check back on Survival Sullivan to watch a video of an identical demonstration I am going to make with my son-in-law (not a liberal, just a great shot and a willing model) this weekend.
I ended my strained patience chat with the liberal blood relative by stating the following: “Either you believe in the Second Amendment or you don’t. It really is just that simple.”

Don’t ask me why I “need” my AR-15. I want it, it is my right to have it, and you – gun control lunes, have no right to question my legal ownership of it – and will never pry any of my guns from my hands.

I also continued my work with several non-prepping loved ones to help them see the light. I want them to be able to save themselves, and to become a part of our survival tribe and use their skills to help save us as well. Thankfully, none of them are liberals. A girl only has so much patience, and mine was tapped by mid-week.

Finding a way to connect with a non-prepping relative, like family loved one, or skilled person you need in your group is an essential first step in the conversion process. Take a single aspect of self-reliance that the person already has an interest in, and start there.

Does your non-prepper pal like to garden? Maybe she loves to bake or he is reloads his own ammo.

Sharing the bounty yielded by growing or raising your own groceries, a natural remedy comprised of items your grew and/or stockpiled, or ammo rounds you loaded yourself with someone who has an interest in those topics, creates the opportunity to expand upon their skills in a non-confrontational manner.

One of my prepping mentors and cherished long-distance friends, Survivor Jane, has mastered this method of preparedness introduction. Taking non-preppers out of their comfort zone slowly while teaching them about the importance of the hobby or skill you are helping them with and introducing them to more sustainable ways to get the project done, can inspire and not deter, an undeveloped interest in a self-reliance lifestyle.

survivor jane teaching

Survivor Jane (brunette in maroon shirt back center) is teaching a group about food preservation at a self-reliance event in North Carolina. Jane and her husband, Survivalist Gardener, Rick Austin, are the masterminds behind the annual Prepper Camp gathering in Saluda.

If you ever wondered what it would feel like to fully immerse yourself among other preppers and get a taste of what survival retreat living would be all about, make a trip to Prepper Camp when it is held each September, I highly doubt you will be disappointed. In fact, I am willing to bet you come back home invigorated and any non-prepper who attends with you, will have their eyes pleasantly opened about the importance of joys of living a self-reliant lifestyle.

We also spent eight hours completing a hands-on prepping project this week. The harsh winter did quite a job on the fencing in the upper field. The snow and ice weighted down some of the strands of barbed wire, causing them to become extremely tangled in briars – why do those dang pokey things never seem to die? The deer which come off the hills and into the pasture also tore some fencing down. The upper pasture is a great place to hunt, but I wish the deer were far more respectful of our fencing when sneaking in to feed on the good grass.

Detangling 5-strand barbed wire fencing sections while straddling briar bushes – in 36 degrees weather is not fun. Normally I consider chores with family and non-family fun, and date nites with my hubby. But the eight hours spent in the woods that day is not something I care to repeat any time soon. Even though we were in chore clothes, both of my legs are cut to pieces from the briars and barbed wire – I had to did some briars out of my Bobby’s back after we got home.

We also added new fencing just past the pond in progress. I wanted the horses and our other free range livestock to be able to reach that pond to water, and enjoy watching them. But, I did not want them to have open access to the expansion of my medicinal herb and flower raised bed plots. For the sake of expediency and cost, we used electric fencing at the pond boundary. We had some left over from fencing in the fruit grove in the upper pasture to protect it from deer and horses that like to scratch their behinds on the trees and tree cages.

We did not hook the electric fence by the pond to a charger, the visual boundary will be enough to keep our critters in. I talked Bobby into and his buddy into cheating when taking the fencing up the steep hillside to connect to the upper pasture fencing.

fencing on the homestead

If I was going to be the one climbing up the steep hill, I was determined to get my way and finish up that portion of the project quickly and simply. Bobby will not tolerate fencing that is not in a perfectly straight line and I assured him my chosen placement for the pond fence would allow us to make use of trees going up the hill, conserving both fence posts and time. I was absolutely right, but had I not been, I never would have heard the end of it I am sure.

Now, that is a straight line right up the hill section of fence line, right?

How did you prep this week?

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About Tara Dodrill

Tara Dodrill
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, 'Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out', Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.

4 comments

  1. Good, entertaining article.

    You are absolutely correct in finding a topic related to prepping that they are interested in and expanding upon it. Something as common as hunting or fishing can lead into how to smoke, preserve meat, etc. With a little imagination and no confrontation, they can be educated.

  2. Oops! I was reading your article and drinking a Pepsi while my high school students were finishing a written assignment. Unfortunately, I had just taken a huge gulp of the Pepsi when I read the second paragraph. Have you ever laughed hysterically with a mouth full of Pepsi AND while trying to be quiet? Pepsi was squirting out my NOSE for heaven’s sake! Seriously, I can SO relate to this article! Great writing…great thoughts! Thank you!

  3. Dolores Reynolds

    I found your article interesting and fun to read. I, too, am a liberal gun owner – worse yet, a progressive liberal – and prepper – and I find it funny that you equate preparedness with politics. Being prepared is common sense. Also, I agree with you that gun bans on AR-15’s, M-16’s and the like are useless and pointless. However, I don’t see “shooting the shooter” as being the answer folks are looking for in a mass shooting situation, otherwise it would have been done already. I must say that I don’t hear any useful suggestions coming from the rught-wingers (‘wing-nuts’) about it either. If you – collectively – would advocate for a better mental health care system, teach young people how to handle and manage anger and teach that bullying won’t be tolerated, teach some empathy and acceptance-of-differences skills, you would show others that you really ARE trying to help deal with gun violence issues. Last but not least, I make extra income through editing manuscripts. Your word processing software provides easy access to definitions of synonyms and homonyms, such as vile – vial and horde – hoard. I enjoy teaching others also.

  4. Not all democratic/liberals are non-preppers, and not all are anti-2A. A lot of us, fall somewhere in the middle, or moderate for lack of label. I am well armed, and well stocked. I also take every opportunity to try and educate and promote being self sustaining. I also have educated as many as I can get to listen about the difference between automatic weapons, and semi-automatic. All that I have educated are usually left mouth agape. The ignorance in regards to weapons is mind blowing. The truth is, if we all stopped putting each other in a box based on our politics, I bet we’d find out most would be more open minded to truth and facts.

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