Hope for humanity

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Is this where careful crosses over into crazy? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2327932/The-boom-luxury-underground-bomb-shelters--room-swimming-pools-basketball-courts--private-jet.html

I’m gonna go ahead and say yes.

Don’t get me wrong. If someone offered me a bomb shelter free of charge, sure, I’d have one. If I was a zillionaire and money had taken on a surreal quality, like a million bucks was just one more super car in my garage that already holds 50, why not build an underground complex containing a Legoland and Indiana Jones mining cart ride?

But even $50,000 is a lot of cake. I’m just not sure it’s a good gamble.

I’ve seen one of those shows about preppers. I thought I was interested in that kind of stuff until I actually saw a show, then I realized the people in them are borderline crazy: living their entire lives devoted to a scenario that, granted, may happen but odds are won’t.

Of course, it’s a matter of degree. The apocalypse is unlikely but very bad if it happens. Lesser catastrophes are more likely and warrant consideration. So it makes sense to give thought to what you would do in an emergency. But think about how far down the path you need to go into survivalism before investing your family’s savings in a bomb shelter becomes a good idea. Let’s walk that path, shall we?

You can buy a few guns and have a healthy supply of ammunition just because you like shooting as a hobby. A sturdy, off-road capable vehicle just makes sense for our winters. Studying martial arts is good exercise, and it’s not crazy to think it might come in handy if confronted by a belligerent misanthrope some day. Gardening and canning is good for your budget and a rewarding way to indulge your inner foodie, and a first aid kit and extra food and water are sensible in our climate, where the power can go out for a day or two.

Okay, so none of those preparations are off in crazyville. You don’t need to be the slightest bit extreme to take the abovementioned steps, all of which are a good start to protecting your family if things go a little crazy some day.

But maybe you want to take things a little further. Let’s explore that. Perhaps you move out to the country, where you’ll have some acreage and privacy. Nothing wrong with that: clean air, peace and quiet. You decide to heat with wood, and why wouldn’t you? You have the trees, you like the heat and it’s a good feeling knowing you’ll be fine if the power goes down (although you also get a generator, because it would be nice to have the option). You keep some spare gas, in case you forget to fuel up in town, and you get a very big dog – he’s great with the kids and it’s just a side benefit he can kill a bear or dismember intruders. You get a short-wave radio, and enjoy keeping on top of what truckers care about. Orienteering is a fun skill and you can take the family geocaching. Also, it doesn’t hurt to know your neighbours – you make good friends and maybe they can help you out in a pinch. And just for fun, you take up cowboy shooting and paintball, and timber sports to learn how to handle an axe.

Still not crazy. Not even close. You can take all of these positive steps towards protecting your family and still be a long way from buying your first bomb shelter.

So when do you decide spending (at least) $50,000 that could be invested for your children’s future is a good idea?

Well, as the TV shows indicate, when you’ve become convinced the end is nigh – not just possible, but likely.

I’m just not there yet. Yes, I think there are all kinds of threats, and I think it’s smart to take some precautions and give thought to what you would do in different scenarios, but I’m far from ready to decide the life we live now should be severely hampered for a life we may live some day in the future.

You build a bomb shelter after you’ve formed or joined a militia. If you’ve already built a hidden gun emplacement on your property, with sandbags and a clear field of fire, maybe a bomb shelter is the next step. If you took paramedic training with no intention of working as a paramedic, if you took it just so you could do field surgery, a bomb shelter should be on your shopping list. If you think having 10,000 rounds of ammunition buried in your back-40 is an investment, you’re ready for a bomb shelter. And if your spouse calls you “Colonel” and you sleep with a loaded handgun under your pillow, it’s time for a bomb shelter.

In short, don’t buy a bomb shelter, and don’t wander too far down the path that leads to buying a bomb shelter. That way be the nuthouse. No, if you want to indulge your make believe side a bit and play soldier, build or buy a castle: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/castle-for-sale-amsterdam-new-york_n_2908802.html

Armouries are cool. My personal dream, though, is a blockhouse. And it’s not like burglary doesn’t exist: at least you’re preparing to defend yourself against a tangible threat.

What? You think wanting to own a castle is just as crazy as owning a bomb shelter? Well, you’re wrong, and here’s why. A castle owner is still part of the world. Above-ground stone fortifications would only slow down modern weapons and won’t do a thing against nuclear Armageddon. So a castle is a statement about who you are now: not a retreat but a bastion.

A hole in the ground means you’re preparing for life in a graveyard. You will retreat into the earth, only to emerge when most of the planet is dead. Then you’ll rebuild, in theory, fighting off the cannibals and wild dogs.

Dude, it’s just depressing. Sure, I’d like to survive nuclear Armageddon, too, but jeesh, the sky’s still blue and our species still has a shot at greatness. A castle means you’re a nerdy guy who likes Monty Python, which is fine, but a bunker says you’ve lost all hope for humanity.

I’m pretty cynical, but I never want to be that cynical.

Still reading? Wow, I’m surprised. That’s five minutes you’re never getting back.

Hey, if you’re reading this from a bunker, post a comment – if you’re the first, I’ll give you a Family & Friends CPR Anytime kit as a prize.

Knowing CPR will be a vital skill in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

APOLOGY: In Friday's post, I was flippant about Internet celebrity Kai the Hitchiker which, in turn, means I was flippant about the fact a person was murdered. No one complained, but it was in poor taste. This Internet thing...it's easy to forget these are real people.


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