After Hurricane Katrina, I realized that I was holding onto an inaccurate belief. I believed that in a horrible disaster I would be able to rely on family to help me through it.
The problem was that I was in Northern California, while my sister was trapped in Texas. During her most critical period of need, I was unable to fly or drive to bring aid. Emergency personnel could not even navigate their own local service area.
So, I had this belief that family was the key to surviving disasters; yet, I apparently could not be a helpful family member. This led me to evaluate what I held to be true about friends and family for surviving disasters because beliefs drive choices.
Myth of the Lone Wolf
In my opinion, too many survivalists and preppers focus on individual effort when it comes to survival. I am not sure if I should blame Rambo, the Marlboro Man, or the game show “Survivor” for placing the false idea into people’s heads that all it takes is individual will to survive. The Lone Wolf myth sells movies, cigarettes, and television shows, but it is hard to translate into food, shelter, and clothing during a real threat.
Wolves have captured the human imagination since human first encountered canine. Humans see something of themselves in wolves. But when humans constructed the myth of the “lone wolf,” they ignored some facts:
- First and foremost, wolves are pack animals and only as pack animals are they the apex predator in their neighborhood. Only bears and mountain lions hunt alone.
- Ignored fact two - lone wolves are alone because the group kicks them out for some reason. Most lone wolves are non-producers for the general good or their needs are not the group needs.
- Ignored fact three - lone wolves are reduced to scavengers. It takes a pack to kill a deer, elk or moose (unless you are are a lion or bear); otherwise, it’s too dangerous. OR-7, a.k.a. “Journey,” was a lone wolf for three years along the Oregon/California border. During that time he could only hunt small game and scavenge.
Let’s pretend that twelve Navy SEALs lived in the same neighborhood, with their properties connected. In an apocalyptic event, would those twelve leave their families unattended so they could run operations against marauders? Worse yet, would the twelve decide to operate individually for their own survival?
Cultivate Community to Survive
The greatest asset of the SEALs is teamwork. If SEALs lived together, they would spread out the workload, share knowledge and train others.
For mere mortals, friends are the answer to a disaster. Cultivate friends in your neighborhood. If you cannot surround yourself with friends, move now. And consider one more harsh truth: To be a part of a community you have to be worthy. Be the person who others want to pull from the rubble. Be a teammate who makes the group better. Grow community first-aid, logistical, and security skills to be prepared together.