I don’t know how I came across this article with the unlikely title of ‘The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper Or, “Who Needs an AR-15 Anyway?”’ Maybe via Instapundit. But is a bit of a wake-up call.
I shouldn’t admit this, but I don’t own any guns. Not one. But this fellow BJ Campbell’s analysis of the likelihood of untoward events (read disasters!) is pretty chilling. If not floods (we are actually in a floodplain), hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., then violent mobs, insurrection, civil war, invasion. . . Heck, given the increasing craziness of the wild-eyed, hysterical Left, not to mention black-masked Antifa hoodlums, it’s beginning to look like we’re getting close.
BJ Campbell is writing about ‘Preppers’. I never heard the word, but I guess it’s shorthand for ‘Preparers’, like the Survivalists we used to read about. The rich ones have underground bunkers with every conceivable convenience. That won’t be us, but we needn’t be helpless. Though it’s tempting to say, “If one of these things happens, you’re screwed anyway!” Mr Campbell responds:
Well, sure. The point of disaster planning for a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or wildfire, is not to be “not-screwed.” It’s to be notably less screwed. Ready.gov is the central point for information about family disaster preparedness planning here in the US. They list a wide range of things they think you might want to prepare for. Chief among these is flooding, which is my field [he’s an hydrologist], but they also list many other things an alarmist might include in their family disaster preparedness plan, from volcanoes and tsunamis to space debris, nukes, and terrorist dirty bombs. Violent nation-state transition doesn’t make the list, though, because the list was compiled by the government. But the best one to prepare for, in my opinion, is zombies.
The zombie apocalypse is obviously pure fiction, but it has an allure to a few tongue-in-cheek preppers because of its functional completeness. If you are prepared for zombies, you are literally prepared for anything. The key fixture of zombie preparedness is a fundamental understanding of what happens when our systems of economics, governance, and civil infrastructure fail. There’s a great one going on right now in Venezuela, with people eating rats and dogs, incapable of trading in the local currency, and a general humanitarian disaster associated with descent into anarchy. No class of person is more capable of riding out a situation like that than a well-provisioned zombie prepper. Various fixtures of zombie prepping include:
- Food stockpiles
- Access to clean (or cleanable) water
- Shelter that exists away from the zombies (a.k.a. other citizens)
- Subsistence agriculture
- Medicinal supplies
- A way to defend items 1–5. In modern terms, that means firearms. Rifles in particular.
- Optional: Escape method. Sailboats rank highly on any objective list here.
For the ethical zombie prepper, firearms are a relatively small piece of this overall disaster plan, but a necessary one. For an unethical zombie prepper, firearms may be all they need, if they can find someone else from whom to steal.
I may not have guns, but I am a member of the NRA (I support the Second Amendment). So that’s a start, if not much of one. But should we worry? Well, he points out that in a ‘100-year floodplain’, as ours is defined, your chances of getting flooded in any one year are 1%. Same for the next year, or any one year: 1%. But to calculate the chances over a span of 30 years, you multiply the 1% times itself n times. For 30 years, that would be .01^30, or a 26% chance of at least one flood. That isn’t negligible, which is why when we had a mortgage, the company made us buy expensive flood insurance. Since then I’ve quit, as we are protected by a dam (though it’s a hundred-year-old earthen dam) and we’re right at the top of the flood plain (our neighbor across the driveway never had to buy insurance). Basically, though, we’re ‘self-insuring’.
But what about the other risks? No sign of volcanos. Earthquakes? We’re not on a fault line, but I did see an article recently saying that eastern New England was ‘overdue’ for an earthquake; apparently we’re in a ‘250-year’ zone, or something like that. Hurricanes? There certainly have been hurricanes that have come up the coast and hit us, and the 12-year ‘drought’ of US-landfall hurricanes ended last year, so that is something to consider. This isn’t Houston, though, so chances are that even a major hurricane isn’t going to disable all our infrastructure for more than a few days—maybe a week?
Civil disorder, though. . . BJ Campbell sounds the alarm. Given two revolutionary wars in 340 years here in the good ol’ USA,
. . . we see a 37% chance that any American of average life expectancy will experience at least one nationwide violent revolution.
This is a bigger chance than your floodplain-bound home flooding during your mortgage.
And, he points out, looking at world history,
Since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, there have been 465 sovereign nations which no longer exist, and that doesn’t even count colonies, secessionist states, or annexed countries. Even if we presume that half of these nation-state transitions were peaceful, which is probably a vast over-estimation, that’s still an average of one violent state transition every 2.43 years.
Fortunately, we live in the wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth, with a Constitution that encourages (if not ensures) peaceful change of government. The rational among us can hope that the booming economy engendered by the Trump administration’s ‘America First’ policies (repatriating American industry with tax and trade incentives) will take the wind out of the radical globalist/socialist sails. But what happens if the vicious anti-Trump forces should manage to undermine or force President Trump from office? The reaction of citizens who normally are too busy with their jobs and families to march in the streets could lead to real conflict—a second Civil War?
Further, there are more esoteric, but not impossible dangers, like pandemics, or terrorist attacks on infrastructure, or even international conflict on an unpredictable scale. What happens if China, losing its huge trade advantage over the United States, and facing economic collapse, decides to invade Taiwan? If Defense Secretary ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has a plan, I haven’t heard it.
No, there won’t be ‘zombies’, but it really wouldn’t hurt to prepare for them. It wouldn’t hurt to have a gun or two, either.