Friday Firesmith – An Open Letter To Survivalists

Friday firesmithDear Survivalists,

Stockpiling weapons and ammo is stupid. The first real big reason it’s stupid is because it feeds this fearful feeling that somehow people can and will survive if only there are enough guns. To quote Mark Bowden, who wrote “Black Hawk Down” he said, “In Mogadishu, guns have accomplished everything they are capable of accomplishing”.

Guns will not save you or me or us.

You have zero chance against any organized military in a shooting war. You have no air force. You have no tanks. You don’t have the logistics to fight a prolonged war and the government does. Not that I think it will happen, mind you, but really, why do you need that many guns?

What you should be doing, if you really think the end is coming, is learn how to grow food. Wow, now that’s every bit as exciting as firing a few hundred rounds down at the range, isn’t it? But you’ll also need to learn how to extract water from the ground and how to install a hand pump. You’ll also need to learn about having to dispose of your own waste. You can recycle it into your garden and that’s a great idea but that is also something that can’t be sold as a good idea on talk radio. I guess you won’t hear it there.

You’re going to need to know how to plant food but unless you’ve got plans to grow old in that bunker you’re going to have to have a real live social network with the survivors living near you. If everyone who is left is armed to the teeth how to you think they’ll resolve disputes? You will need everyone you can find to help get the crops in, to help with livestock and to build new infrastructure like barns and bridges. You’re going to have to trade with other groups who have also survived that end-of-civilization thingy that’s on its way. Having a society that is an armed camp where everyone carries an assault rifle is going to look a lot like Afghanistan. I hear it’s great there.

In twenty-five words or less what you’re really going to need is other people. You are going to have to trust them and they’re going to have to trust you, and this has got to work on a large scale, or we’re all screwed. All these guns and all this ammo isn’t about trust; it’s about fear. It’s about being scared and hiding.

I’m not real sure what sort of world might evolve out of that but I am fairly certain it’s going to look a lot like what we see in Somalia and Afghanistan. I’m pretty certain it won’t resemble anything our Founding Fathers were looking for. It’s going to take farmers and parents and hardworking craftspeople to rebuild after that end-of-civilization thingy that’s on its way. Those kinds of people are nearly never the fearful type. You might want to consider why.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

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