Second Prepper Gathering ~ Observations
Earlier this week the local group of preppers I mentioned recently met again in a nice public venue; sort of a meet & greet to get to know each other better. The first time, there were 6 of us. This time there were 18. I think that tells us something about the growing awareness of a preparedness lifestyle in the southwest Florida community.
The group has an unofficially official leader we’ll call Nathan, who made a point of welcoming the new attendees. He also cleverly brought a miniature general preparedness survey on paper to see what types of topics the group might be interested in talking about or learning more about. Some attendees are just getting started – maybe they are concerned about feeding their families in the event of a job loss, or just think it’s smart to know how safely spend a night outdoors. Some are like me – we know what we need and want to do, and we’re on the ever-evolving path towards being prepared to weather any time of emergency, from local hurricanes to insane inflation and economic collapse. And some have spent a lifetime building the skills and / or the physical preparations to weather coming storms.
Snake Eyes was able to join me for this gathering, and I think he found a kindred spirit or two. There were a few attendees with experience in reloading, building firearms from kits (ARs, anyone?) and leading firearms training and matches. They had quite a lively discussion about the merits of ARs from kits vs fully assembled. I cheerfully left that conversation to him, and went about visiting and welcoming the other attendees.
To my pleasant surprise, there really were quite the diversity of skills. One Prepper spent much of his youth surviving and thriving in the desert states after the war, and he has skills in desert survival and quiet survival, like trapping. A few of the attendees have experience putting food by, like canning, pickling and dehydrating. I think it was a really great gathering, both in having folks from all ends of a preparedness spectrum and folks with skills in both defense, maintenance and long-term thriving (like gardening). It’s always fun when people debate firearms VS herloom seeds (which no one really did, but I could see that happening in a lively future meeting). You need both sets of skills to survive and thrive any major “grid-down” event, or WROL event (without the rule of law); like what would happen if we had an economic collapse from increased inflation or a natural disaster of epic proportions. Or even something smaller and more local, like Hurricane Katrina.
Firearms protect people, and stuff. If you have people and stuff and no firearms, you can’t necessarily protect them from people that do. But if you have nothing but firearms, you have nothing to protect. If you have food, water and power, you should have a firearm to go with, because there’s always some dumb-ass wanna-be biker dude who thinks he’ll come take your food, water and power with his firearm. Won’t they be in for a surprise at my house! 🙂
Sorry, that was my tangent for the day!
Back to the meeting…
We left the noisy building we were in halfway through the get together and went out into an open greenspace so we could hear each other better and have a good chat. Nathan led a brief discussion on the major preparedness basics, like water, food and fuel, as well as introductions from each member. We shared what skills or resources we might have that could be of benefit to the others (for example, one attendee is a member at a local gun range and is able to host us as a group for some target practice), and we talked about what kinds of things we’d like to learn. We have a gathering scheduled for early May – folks will bring some of their equipment to show the others, like various water filters or fire making supplies. Personally, I’d love to see a Big Berkey in person. I’m thiiiiiis close to buying my own (soon oh soon), and seeing one in person will be really awesome, and probably the last kick in the butt I need to prioritize it as an immediate upcoming purchase.
We are also definitely going to the LDS Cannery in Davie, Florida (Miami). I’ll be there later this week to “scout it out” and make a reservation for the much larger group that would like to come. It’s going to be fun – who knows, maybe I’ll bust out the video camera!
Let’s talk for just a second about the purpose of such a gathering. There’s the obvious and more immediate benefit of sharing skills and resources with one another (I’ve always wanted to learn canning!). And then there’s the less obvious benefit that is probably in the back of all of our minds (except maybe Nathan, who seems to feel that by educating others, he builds a better, safer, more prepared community for all – so true). It’s building relationships and enough trust with others that you want them to watch your back if the SHTF. That’s my hope, and I don’t think it’s just me. We talked about it briefly at the gathering, and I think it’s something we’ll discuss again and again. This isn’t an instant pop-up post-apoc group of best buds. But we might each take away a few trusted relationships that can grow into a support network for emergencies of all sizes.
And that, my friends, is exactly what Wild River Rogues is all about. I’m looking forward to helping this fledgling group grow, and helping others foster relationships among themselves to build that better, safer, more prepared community for all.