Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #13 Keep it Quiet aka OPSEC

OPSEC is a military term for operational secrecy. I am not talking spy stuff. Just thinking about what you say to whom. 

There are all types of warnings out there that pertain to not letting people know what you are doing. We have all seen and possibly been guilty of posting online that we will be on vacation or away from home during a certain period. If we think about this we must realize that this opens us up to theft.

As I start I realize that it may seem like I am telling you to do something that I don't. I am writing these articles trying to encourage people to be better prepared so that puts me on the radar. Yes and no. Sadly, very few people in my area read my blog. I try to tell as many people as I can and I encourage people to read what I write but there are still so many that just don't see the need. Even after a major event it doesn't take them long to get back into their normal routine. Remember normalcy bias.

You may also notice that I have not listed specific things that I have. There is a reason for that. I have listed things that every person should have but with only a few exceptions I have not said "I have this". Even with that I want to teach. That is what I believe I was born to do. I am willing to take the risks.

Why It is Risky

Getting prepared is exciting. I have heard it compared to becoming a Christian. As soon as you get started being more prepared you want to tell everyone. You want everybody to see how important it is to be self reliant. I believe one of the biggest mistakes new self reliance people make is trying to evangelize. You can be too pushy and not even realize it. 

Everyone who has talked about being more prepared has had someone say "Well if something happens I will just come to your house" a lot of them mean it. They do not want to do the work. Some people only want to take advantage of other peoples labor. Just look at the welfare state. I know there are some on welfare that do not want to be there and for them it is temporary, but others have made welfare a career choice.

I believe you should talk to people about being more prepared, but I do not like when people start asking specific question. Questions and statements I think you should be leery of include:

                  What kind of weapons do you have?
                   I bet you have some really cool gear.
                  What if someone tried to take your stuff away from you?
                  Where do you live?
                  Do you have a generator?

Questions like these should throw up a major red flag. These questions tend to be more of opportunistic interest than preparedness interest. Keep this person in mind. There will be people that you trust completely with whom you will want to share what you are doing. That is fine, but do not be discouraged if they reject what you say. Some will even call you crazy. Even for just preparing for short term emergencies. People ridicule anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

In normal times I do not think people will break into your home to steal food. Someone who breaks into your home during normal times is going to be after higher dollar stuff. Firearms and generators being primary, but anything that a person can easily sell is high on this list. The more people know what you have the more you are at risk.

What to Talk About

Unless you are already on the fringe, when you start talking about being more prepared there is a percentage of the people you interact with that will listen. They may not take your advise (at first), but they will listen. Don't be pushy. Others will talk to them as well. Each person gives a different piece of the puzzle.

Do talk about weather and current events. If someone can look around and see what you are talking about they will be more open. I know that there are several things that I see coming that others do not. Some of these threats I do not see how anyone could deny the possibility. People just do not see the world the way I do. If I am talking to someone who is asking general questions about preparedness I talk about weather events, job loss, and things like that. If they bring up other and more devastating events I will talk about those, but I am not going to bring them up.

Answer questions do not preach. If you do not know the answer admit it. Tell the person "I don't know, but I will find out". Follow through. There are a lot of people out there who know a lot about preparedness, some are very level headed. If you have a question you can email me. I will be honest. theruraleconomist@gmail.com

There are some things that people prepare for that I do not think are credible threats. I admit that upfront. I do not discount their beliefs, but if ask about it I am going to tell you what I think. EMP and global polar shift are two that I just am not concerned about. If you are that is fine. I just think that statistically they are so unlikely that it is not very high on my concerns list. Besides the better prepared I am for the things I am concerned about the better prepared I will be for those.

Being Prepared Feels Good

If you had just gotten started being more prepared when we started this series than you are probably farther along than you ever thought you would be. We have tried to cover cost effective ways for anyone to take responsibility for you and your families well being. You probably feel pretty good right now and you should. You have taken a vital step toward self reliance.

You can still be an ambassador for preparedness. Do so through your actions. Allow me to explain. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were on our way to town. We saw an older couple who's vehicle had overheated. We stopped, and just took water out of the vehicle. We were able to help those folks. The man in the car asked if I always kept water in the car. "Yup, always do. Just a good idea to be prepared." 

This little event started a conversation. I don't know if he started working on being more prepared or not. I do know that at least for a little while he thought about preparedness. I am sure he has started taking water with him.


It is a really good feeling to know you are prepared for the things that are most likely to occur. Achieving a basic level of preparedness should be the responsibility of every adult. Sadly that is no longer the case.

Talk to your friends and family, but don't be pushy. Be selective about what you tell someone until they have proven trustworthiness. Lead by example. Be the person someone can come to for help. This is worth the effort.

I wish you
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

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