I have been reading the excellent book, Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood, by Barbara Demick, and thinking about other places like Ukraine, Egypt, Venezuela, Syria, Argentina, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Japan, Chile, Haiti, France, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Russia, Libya, Israel, Liberia, Yemen, Mexico, and my home state of Texas. This has caused the paranoid part of me, a part that is apparently immune to normalcy bias, to consider how one might spend some spare money and time, apart from buying sovereign bonds and attending DSK's quarterly sex parties, to prepare for TEOTWAWKI as experienced by the people in the aforementioned nations. What follows is not a shopping list, but rather a list of questions to assist in creating a working inventory of mind, body, and equipment for living in dangerous or uncertain times. These are mostly things one would want to get squared away while one has time for consideration, before one's life, or another's life, depends on it.
Whom do I love?
What do I love?
What do I have to live for?
What am I willing to die for?
What are my mental assets?
What are my mental liabilities?
What is my single biggest knowledge gap?
What are my natural rights?
What are the top three habits that make up my character?
Whom can I really trust?
Who are my mortal enemies? Why? What can I do about it?
What skills do I have to earn a living?
What special tools do these skills require?
Do I know how to beg...effectively?
Do I know how to barter...effectively?
How good of a liar am I...really?
Do I know how to use a compass and map?
What is the highest point in my county?
Do I know how to make a fire...without making much smoke?
Do I know how to hunt, fish, butcher, and prepare meat?
Do I know how to gather, grow, store, and prepare food?
Do I know how to change a tire, swap a battery, and jump-start a vehicle?
Do I know how to sail a boat?
Do I know how to use a two-way radio that is not a cell phone?
When and where am I safe to be in condition white?
What is my reactionary gap at day and at night?
How do I respond to a reset of my OODA Loop?
How can I reset someone else's OODA Loop, and how much time does that give me?
What does it feel like to get punched in the face, and how does it affect me?
Do I really know how to defend myself with a knife? For example, where are the three primary arterial targets?
Do I really know how to defend myself with a pistol? For example, how confident am I that I can draw my pistol and in less than 1.5 seconds hit the brain of a man wearing body armor and standing two meters away?
Do I really know how to use my rifle? For example, can I hit a man twice in the chest at two meters, in less than 1.5 seconds, while moving? What about once in the chest, at 250 meters, with my first shot, and while I am sitting on the ground?
Do I know CPR?
Do I know how to make and apply a pressure bandage?
Do I know how to treat a sucking chest wound?
Do I know how to apply a tourniquet?
Do family, friends, and I know our neighborhood, out-of-town, and out-of-state rally points?
What is the first and last name of my twenty closest neighbors (geographically)?
What is the name and cell phone number of my county sheriff?
What is the name of the commander of my local militia?
What exactly do I do if I see the flash of light from a nuclear device?
Do I know the location of several local bomb and fallout shelters?
How well, relative to others, am I able to see and hear, with or without aid?
Am I able to run for my life for more than a minute?
Do I have the strength to manage my own body weight? For example, can I pull myself up over a six-foot wall?
Am I able to control my appetites, or do my appetites control me?
Am I chemically dependent?
Am I fit enough to perform sexually?
Am I able to swim 500+ meters?
Am I able to fight off everyday infection and illness, and to heal my own minor wounds?
Am I physically able to defend myself without a weapon?
Am I physically able to repeatedly manipulate and engage my pistol and rifle?
Am I able to carry myself, my pack, and my weapon up, down, across, over, around, and through obstacles for many miles?
Do I have multiple pairs of Rx glasses and hearing aids if needed?
Do I have a good light and spare batteries or fuel?
Do I have a good pair of shoes that I can put on and walk to the next town without blisters?
Do I have warm and durable outdoor clothing in muted colors?
Is my vehicle in good condition with a spare tire, tools, water, siphon, fuel container, and flares?
Do I have a bicycle, boat, aircraft, or animal (with appropriate kit) that will carry me, and my gear, hundreds of miles?
Is my dog obedient and does he or she warn me of danger?
Do I have at the ready a Get Back Home Pack (aka Evacuation Pack, aka Bug Out Bag, aka Assault Pack, aka 3 Day Pack, aka Survival Pack)?
Do I have portable, widely recognized, and durable assets such as gold coins?
Do I have a reliable and portable method to obtain clean drinking water?
Do I have a good compass and appropriate maps?
Do I have some sort of telescopic magnification?
Do I have a first aid kit?
Do I have a two-way radio that is not a cell phone?
Do I have a knife that is high quality and a small sharpening stone?
Do I have a sidearm, ammunition, gun belt, holster, spare magazines, and magazine carriers?
Do I have a rifle, ammunition, sling, spare magazines, magazine carriers, spare firing pin, and range card?
Do I have body armor and a kevlar helmet? Or will I be relying on bread?
Do I have a "spare" set of identification?
Do I have a mask, balaclava, or disguise?
Do I have at least a month's cache of food?
Do I have ammunition cached?
Do I have books cached?
Do I have TamiFlu cached?
There are many more, I am sure, but I hope this at least spurs a lively discussion.