Do You Have Enough?


by Jeff Quinn

December 27th, 2008


Ever since our Presidential election on November 4, 2008, shooters, hunters, and most all gun owners have been stocking up on ammo, and buying those guns which they have been wanting to buy for some time, but never had made it a priority, until now. Also, many who have never owned a gun have been buying one or more, as they now realize that Barack Obama just might be able to do that which he has for many years promised; to either ban certain firearms or greatly curtail their use. Even folks that voted for Obama are now buying guns and ammunition, in fear that he just might achieve his stated goals of banning certain popular firearms, such as all semi-automatic weapons. I donít know why anyone would cast their vote for a man who has pledged to stomp all over our Constitution, but many gun owners did so. However, this piece is not about Obama. That deed has been done, and we have a new President coming into office shortly that the majority of Americans apparently want. Regardless of your or my opinions about the man, he will be President, unless something intervenes. The point is, Barack Obama is the best gun salesman since Oliver Winchester. November background checks for firearms purchases have greatly exceeded anything previously on record. Firearms wholesalers tell me that sales figures are through the roof, and that they cannot keep popular semi-automatics in stock. One of our largest makers of AR-15 rifles now has a two-year backlog of orders. Obama has been great for firearms and ammunition sales, and he has not yet been sworn in, neither with his hand on the Bible nor the Koran. How about you; do you have enough guns? Most of us probably do. I have just enough to get by.

Besides the run on AR-15s, folks are stockpiling ammunition like never before. That is a good thing. I have known gun owners who, for many years, have owned many weapons but had very little ammunition on hand. It never made sense to me for someone to buy an AR-15, several thirty-round magazines, and a box of twenty cartridges. If you have a gun, you should have a supply of ammunition to feed it. Ammo sales are up, way up. Even before the election, ammo sales in the US were steadily climbing for several months. After the election, sales sky-rocketed. At the huge gun show in Tulsa right after the election, ammo was selling like beer in Sturgis. On the internet, many companies who deal in high volume ammo sales are sold out, and not even taking backorders. Shooters are scared, and rightly so, as several states already have bills before their legislatures to ban certain types of ammunition, and to greatly tax ammo sales to the point that folks cannot afford to shoot. Do you have enough ammunition? Most of us probably do not.

What about other things? While is about firearms and ammunition, there are a few things that are more essential to human life. I dealt with the firearms needs that most of us might have in a disaster in my piece on Homeland Security a couple of years ago. What about water? Last week, as I was watching the news one morning, the nation was focused upon a water main break in a large suburb of DC, concerned over the welfare of a few people trapped in their cars. As I watched the rescues, I was thinking that all of that water was headed somewhere when the pipe broke, and that many families were going to be without water for awhile. That started me thinking about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina a few years ago, and the pictures on TV of people fighting to get bottled water. There was water all around them, but none fit to drink. People knew that the hurricane was coming, were told to leave, yet they stayed, without food or water. What would you do if suddenly your water supply was cut off? Do you have enough? For how long? Water is essential to human life. Some of us living in the country have wells for our water, yet no means of getting the water from the ground without the help of an electric pump. If that is your situation, do you have a generator, and enough fuel to run it? For how long? If the electricity is off, the local gas station canít pump fuel. If you have a well, a good reliable mechanical pump that needs no power or a good well bucket is useful to have on hand. Two weeks ago, I was in New Hampshire when that ice storm hit. I was staying at a nice motel, but we had no electricity, and no water. I had flown up there on an airplane, and was pretty much helpless to get water, just like everyone else around there, and just like most every city-dweller in the nation, I was dependent upon government and public utility services to keep me alive. I was draining water from the ice bucket to brush my teeth. It wasnít a good feeling to be without water. However, that incident got me to thinking. People who live in cities are even more dependent upon others to keep them alive than are the rest of us. When services are shut down, we expect them to be back up and running soon. What if they are not? Would you bet your life on it? If you live in a city, and do not have supplies, you certainly are betting your life, as well as the lives of those whom depend upon you for their daily needs.

Getting back to the disaster in New Orleans, the hurricane was not the entire problem. People who live there depend upon the government to build and maintain the levees, and the levees failed. They depend upon the government to maintain the pumps to pump out the floodwaters, and the pumps failed. They depend upon the police for protection from looters and other criminals, and the police failed. Many police officers abandoned their jobs, and some police officers were even caught looting private property. The police disarmed and stole the guns from private citizens! The police not only abandoned the citizens of New Orleans and some outlying parishes, but went so far as to take away their only means of self-protection! You might say that you would never give up your guns, but you would. When police are pointing rifles at your face and demanding that you comply, you will do so, or be shot. They even have a little badge on their chest that gives them a license to do so. Here we are years later, and the courts have now ruled that the police were wrong, but that does you no good when you have to protect yourself, and the ones whom are paid and sworn to protect you turn against you. I have a really good friend who is an officer in one of the police agencies that participated in disarming the citizens of the gulf coast. I asked him recently about this. I was glad when he assured me that he refused to participate in stealing weapons from the citizens. However, there were many cops who did participate, and I am disgusted by their actions. They should not be police officers. It was a similar situation with the LA riots several years ago. The police abandoned the citizens, leaving them to fend for themselves. The only people not burned and looted were the store owners who had weapons, and stayed to protect their property. At least in LA, the police left the playing field, and didnít side with the rioters. The meaning of all of this is that in a disaster, not only are the police not going to protect you, they just might be your biggest enemy. If the power is off and the water is off and rioters are outside, do you have enough? Nothing at all wrong with stocking up on ammo, but if you are thirsty enough, you will trade a case of 5.56mm for a gallon of water.

How about food? Having enough is not only a problem for city folks, but for those in the suburbs and the countryside as well. Even many rural people depend upon a community water supply, and most of us do not have much food stocked up either. How much do you need? Nobody knows. I often hear country folks state that they can always shoot a deer or catch some fish, and that is certainly a plus, but even if you can venture outside to hunt or fish, there is no guarantee of a successful hunt, or that the fish will be biting. I think that it is not excessive at all for a family to have at least two weeks food stocked up for each member of the family. It doesnít have to be some specialty freeze-dried survival pouch of food which must be re-hydrated with your limited water supply. Also, having a hundred pounds of rice ainít enough. Rice must be cooked, and also needs water. I like to stock up on canned Spam and other canned meats. The stuff keeps forever in a suitable place, and needs no preparation. Vacuum sealed candy bars are good to have also. They pack a lot of calories into a small space, and keep very well. Canned peaches packed in heavy syrup have the food and drink in one convenient can, taste great, and need no preparation. There are lots of things that keep well, require no refrigeration, and are good to eat. You get the idea. Having enough to ride out a natural or man-made disaster is always a good idea, but how much is enough? I donít have the answer. I do not know what is coming.

There are other things that should also be on hand., like a good first-aid kit, and enough of your prescription medicines to get you through whatever time you will be on your own. Where you live has a lot to do with what you need. If you live in a large city, your main concern might be how to safely get out of there, and how to carry what you need with you. If you live in the country with a good supply of water and meat on the hoof, you will need to be concerned with protecting that stuff, as those who have not prepared will be coming your way. Cash might be very handy. ATM machines might not be working. On the other hand, cash might be as worthless as any other paper. Who knows? Some things are only a concern on a nation-wide disaster level. Most disasters are local or regional, and eventually, the food and water trucks will show up, and you need only be worried about what to do until they get there, in a few days. However, when help does arrive, if it does, those who show up might not necessarily be your friends. The point is, we donít know what lies ahead. It could be a natural disaster, or even economic collapse. We have been pretty close to that lately, on a world-wide scale. It could be a terrorist attack on your city water supply. It could be war. In the US, most public services run like a fine machine, and groceries flow into the back doors of the stores at the same rate that they flow out the front. However, it is naÔve to be unprepared, and in some cases, foolish. How much is enough? You can stockpile enough water, food, and other supplies for yourself and your family, but what about your neighbors? If they do not prepare, are you prepared to stop them from trying to share yours? That is a hard thing for most of us to even consider. What about those little kids living down the hall in the apartment building or down the road from you? You have enough water for yourself, but would you let a baby die of thirst? I certainly hope that I would never turn anyone way, but then again, how much stuff can a person store? Even thinking about such things is difficult and unpleasant for most of us, and thus we do nothing. We donít prepare. We have no stores of food, water, or other necessities. We are not prepared for even a two-day outage when a water main breaks. We donít have enough food on hand to last a week, and worst of all, we have no plan. We walk through our daily lives knowing that when we turn the handle, water will flow, and that the grocery store will always have food on the shelves. If we get sick or injured, we think that that the doctors will always be at the hospital, and that the police are only minutes away. As we have seen before, the water can stop, the grocery stores can go up in flames, the hospitals are overwhelmed, and the police run away. This is not a condemnation of our system or our public servants. Even now, in good times, most hospitals are short on room. They are not prepared for a disaster. The police will have other things to worry about, like their own families. Even when all is well and things are running smoothly, most of our police forces are under-staffed and under-funded. In a large-scale emergency, you are on your own. No one is coming to help. You are your own police force, your own doctor, your own grocer, and your own firefighter. You have to supply for the needs of yourself and your family. Do you have enough?

Jeff Quinn

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