Let’s talk about shiny, the shiny baubles that attract us and hold our attention. Preparedness and its pundits have a lot of shiny. Guns, knives, bullets, pack of the month, etc. It’s all good stuff and its things you may need, but are they the most important things you need to concentrate on first?

Let’s take an example from Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist from the last century. He developed what is known today as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where basic needs are ranked with the premise that the lowest need must be satisfied before an individual will have the desire to move up to the next level. Maslow’s original hierarchy had five levels with the lowest being physiological, followed by safety, love/ belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The first level which is physiological includes necessities such as air (breathing), water, food, sleep, clothing, and shelter. Without these basic needs, there is no need for the others.

So, when we get into preparedness mode what do we talk about, what do we reach for? Guns, knives, and bullets usually. We’re buying rifles and pistols and we have so many knives that we have to put them into a rotation. We spend hundreds of dollars on shiny, but there’s only enough food in the pantry to last until next payday and only enough water in the house to last a couple of days. There is nothing shiny about a 25-pound bucket of wheat – until you are hungry.

I know that many of us are preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse; TEOTWAWKI, SHTF, etc. But let’s take a breath and get a quick review of the rule of three’s. You can live about 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and about 3 weeks without food. If you can’t meet these basic needs, then all the guns, bullets, and knives will have little use to you.

So, let me circle back. Are guns, knives, and bullets important? The answer is yes when given the proper priority. You will need shelter, you will need food, you will need water, and you will need to poop before you may need to use a gun. You need to eat, stay hydrated, and remain clean (sanitary) to survive. Disease is often a bigger killer than bullets when infrastructure breaks down.

Get some food put away, and get some water stored. Start off with a 3-day supply of each. Then bump it up to 2 weeks and then to 3 months. Having a year’s supply would not be a bad idea. Figure out how you are going to handle waste, it’s got to go somewhere. After you get some food and water stores, then reward yourself with something shiny – you deserve it.

I went through the whole shiny thing myself one time. It started out when I read Mel Tappan’s Survival Guns. I bought into that hook, line and sinker. I have since reformed. I have food stores, water stores and shelter. I have guns, not as many as I used to, but enough. Keep it simple. –sjr