I am truly at a loss ....

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by dragonfly, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    A local lady friend, that had recently gone through a divorce, and she has 4 children at home, 13, 7, 4 and toddler +/-2?.....
    Has asked me a lot of questions, as she was a member, of a now 'defunct' local meetup group of survivalists.

    This is a tough one, and I just cannot find an answer, and I am truly concerned about her mental state/stability "IF" I give her the only answer, I have at this time....( pray ?)

    The Question, as she put it to me:

    Which direction should I go, "IF", I have to bug-out from my home, and which way do I go.....
    (coupled with);
    She'd be walking, as she no longer has a vehicle....
    (She intends to go, walking, into the northeastern part of the state's desert region!)

    1) She'd be on foot!
    2) At least 2, if not 3, of the children would be a problem to move on foot, so she plans on taking a baby stroller!
    3) She has little income, and with things the way they are, it looks bleak at best. (she is getting food from local churches now)
    4) She is at least 15+miles from getting out of the center of town, living in a college area of Tempe, Az, and Mesa, Az.
    5) She wants a map of where to walk, to leave the area/s.
    6) Following my numerous phone conversations with the lady I've been told, she has absolutely NO preps at all.
    7) (saved the best for last!)
    Her brother lives with her, is a bartender, and at 23, he can't see the forest, for all the trees!

    So, what would you do?
    a) take the 5th?
    b) move?
    c) change your name?
    d) change your phone number?
    e) all of the above?

    I make light of the situation, as I could quite literally cry!
    I have NO idea of what to do, or to say.
    I have tried to reach out to others in her specific area, some 35-40 miles from me....all to no avail!

    I know of 2 families in almost, but NOT quite the same scenario...

    1 of which is my oldest son, has a soon to be 3 year old, and another one arriving anyday now. He has 3 vehicles, and he is at least a Deputy.
    So I am at ease with his decisions,..... but I worry!
    It's a father's perogative?
    He plans on leaving this wonderful place and going north soon.
    All the way up, to Washington state!
    I argued the point, but he has inlaws there, and the same job there, pays almost 50% more than here.
    I explained, that he also had to look at the cost of fuel and heating!
    What do I know?
    He also has no preps, as his were stolen from a storage locker some time ago......

    Another one, now has a toddler and a newborn at home, and he is the stay at home dad. He has little time to do much of anything as his wife is a teacher and going to college at the same time, for her masters degree!
    He's lucky as he gets everyother weekend to do things....In fact, he is a member here, and that's how we met!
    He's planning to ride it out in his home, and sandbag the walls as best as he can.

    Now, I have spent some funds over the past several years, and have a lot of equipment, (more than food unfortunately), and consider myself quite well equipped....
    Vehicles, and trailers alike......
    More BOB's han anyone could possibly carry, for a lot of different scenario's.
    I took it upon myself to outfit 6 people, with medical supply kits, gear, radios, foodstuffs, and so on, even to the point of buying them all cold weather clothing and boots.
    I did what I could, as I could, financially.
    Being on a fixed disability income, is somewhat limiting at best.
    I get my funds electronically deposited on the3rd of each month at midnight, and before noon the follwing day, the 4th, I'm broke again.
    I already have lists and know where I am going to spend the money, and why.
    In that I am probably one of the luckiest ones......
    So, what do I do for those that I simply can't help?
    Where does he answer lie?
    (Last night my son calls me on his way home......he had to arrest a lady for shoplifting.....for food and clothes for her children, as she is a single mother, and has a job that now pays her just $100.00 a week.)
    My son will give people he doesn't know, whatever money he has in his wallet and even charge groceries on his credit card, just to make sure no one ever goes hungry...He has learned well! He has been there and he knows what it's like to be hungry and a child.
    But, there we are......
    The questions remain....
    What would you do?
    I wish I knew what I am going to say, the next time she calls.....

    Thanks for letting me chew on your ears for awhile....It helps!
  2. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    These folks are in a very tough situation. With NO preps, no transport, no supplies or gear, no BOL to aim for, no survival knowledge, no help and all those young kids - basically, to even attempt such a 'move' will be suicide. No white-washing here - it's just honest truth.
    The sad fact is, the vast majority of people today cannot live without direct intervention of State agencies and other help.

    I pity her, but this is exactly why WE prep. We can only help our families - we can't save the world.
  3. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    What part of Washington state? If it's near the Seattle/Tacoma area and he's somewhat conservative he'll be rebuilding his preps quicker than you think. Seattle is what Portland is to Oregon, both places are infested with lunatic environmentalist/treehugger libtards that are ruining what used to be 2 great states.

    Other than the leftist politics and that one large metro area controls the rest of the state, it's a great place to live. If he is into outdoor activities, he'll be surrounded by more than he has money to spend. Within a days drive you could see the ocean, drive through a rainforest, see rivers/lakes/streams/ponds and of course waterfalls, see most of the snow/glacial covered mountains in the area depending on whether you're in Washington or Oregon (Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams to name a few), see plenty of volcanic formations, or drive through the high desert. A person could spend a lifetime trying to see all that is to offer here.

    I can only think of a few other places I'd rather live. Give your son a few winters here and he'll at least have more warm weather gear than he had previously.
  4. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    So far as I understand it, he had planned to work for the King County sheriff's office , but he hasn't decided, and may go for the Seattle Police Dept.
    He loves the outdooors and fishing, so I'd be jealous of him in that respect, we have little in the way of what most people call FISH!
    With 2 little ones, he may have to slow down on the fun with the buddies activities!
    His wife is a pharmacist, so she'd do well !
  5. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    It's sad to say and even harder to accept that people in that situation will end up as the proverbial 'statistic'. It's impossible to save everybody and everything. Mean as it may sound you have to decide what you are able and willing to invest in that relationship.

    Since you asked... If it were me, I'd pretty much sever contact and focus any extended branches to the family that you are worried about. If that's all squared away and prepared then you might revisit the idea of helping others.

    I'm horrible I know but I know the limits to which my emotions and charity can be stretched. And face it, she's a charity case at this point. I really hate to see her children suffer for her decisions but in the end that's the human condition.

  6. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    They have to start somewhere, we all do. Start with a couple of cans of beans, a sleeping bag, a cheap tent and a bike. Then go from there.
  7. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

    The writing has been on the wall for well over two years now, and very few of us "ants" took heed. Now the "grasshoppers" want our help. They are going to have to go at this alone.

    When you look at our current economic situation, I have to wonder how many of the "grasshoppers", (almost all of them), helped to create to current situation by becoming credit card/mortgage debt consumerist. Now, just like the finance world, they come to us to bail them out also. The leasons will be very hard to learn, but that is a fact of life. They had their chances to become truly productive "ants", but instead they chose to become wasteful and lazy "grasshoppers"
  8. QuietOne

    QuietOne Monkey++

    To "bug out" in her situation is death. To go on the road, unprepared, in a SHTF situation, with children, is probably to kill them. The best she can do if she has to leave her home is find a neighbor nearby who will take them in.

    You see stories in the news, again and again, of refugees. The usual word before "refugees" is "starving". She can not plan to "bug out" given her situation. Her only hope in a disaster is to stay in place. She must do all she can, no matter how little, to prep NOW. An extra can of tuna put away every week, an extra jar of peanut butter, a box of crackers... these may mean the difference between life and death for her children. Or they will be, as Byte said, just another statistic.
  9. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    If Lady was a member of a survivalist group, defunct or not, then she knows what it takes to survive. She should be receiving child support of some kind, being recently divorced. Direct her to the local fire department and they will have a pamphlet of what to have for emergency situations for the local area. Perhaps she needs help "finding" money in her tight budget. If she's getting food from a local source, they often give dried beans, rice and storable goods. Remind her how important it is to store the foods you're not going to use right now. If the kids are public-schooled, there are quite a few programs that only the schools know about. Oftentimes, they also have before or after school care for little to no cost for working mothers in need.

    Sometimes it's best to let your answer be a question.
    Where do I go
    ? Your answer may be as simple as:
    Where's your closest family?
    Do you have any friends close by?

    About food, emergency prep items needed, shelter, etc.
    Have you checked with such-and-such agency?
    You know, you can pick up items like that for a great price at XX store.

    "Teach her to fish" and gather the skills she needs to survive her day-to-day struggles now, and you will have helped her survival without jeopardizing your own, by "giving her a fish".
  10. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    [beer] Tract, that is some excellent advice.
  11. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    Why the emphasis on bugging out? Seems she'd be better off hunkering down( or with neighbors even better) ...wandering off "up to the hills" with young kids in tow,no direction, no preps no training and no help is suicide..
  12. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I lost this post but here's the jist of it.

    More info would be needed to provide meaningful advise. This is a short list but the devil is in the details and so is the solutions.

    *More info on the area she lives.

    Inner city isnt safe now, SHTF and its no safer (particularly for a lone woman with small kids) than getting out early. Think N.O after Katrina. The burbs wouldnt be nearly as bad for mid term or short term.

    *What skills and knowledge dose she have?

    If she knows how to live off the land once she gets there or has skills that may get her a spot with a group (med skills, cooking from scratch being a lost art, makeing clothes, canning, etc) then this makes a BO much more viable option than if she is running out of the only thing she knows to starve in the dessert if they dont freeze or cook first.

    *What supplies dose she already have?

    I know you said she has 'nothing' but most homes have a butcher knife, matches/lighter, candles, blankets, clothes, pots/pans, trashbags or plastic, etc in them. If she has the knowledge/skills to use them these could be enouph to go a LONG ways toward surviving at the most basic level. To find the direction you need to go to get where you want to be you first need to look honestly to figure out where you ARE.

    *What kind of income dose she have?

    Im guessing she may be getting some child support, have some kind of job, be getting TANIF or some other gov aid, food stamps or something. A couple dollars here and there can improve a situation considerably, where and how it dose the most depends on what you have to work with.

    Basicly a lot of us forget that being able to survive dosent mean you absolutely have to spend mega bucks on all kinds of 'stuff'. Stuff gets lost, stolen, destroyed and used up. The most important things needed for survival cost little to no money. The single most important thing being knowledge/skills. I wouldnt live very comfortable but could be dropped in a wilderness location (of a type Im familiar with) with nothing and could most likely survive it, adding some appropriate clothes, a lighter, some cordage, a container for water, a bag or basket for materials and a knife would help a LOT to make sure. I also have more knowledge than the average city girl dose on how to knap stone to make tools, build animal traps, forrage for food, build simple shelters, build a fire be it with a bit of accelerant and a lighter, with a match and no accelerant, a flint and steel or a friction fire with 2 sticks. The more knowledge and skills she has the less stuff she needs to survive and what would barely allow her to sustain life with minimal knowledge could have her in reasonable comfort if she gains enouph skill and knowledge. A lot of that can be gained from the web and library, 'Naked into the Wilderness' by John and Geri McPhearson teaches the basic skills for the 'dropped in the wilderness with nothing' survival and the rest really kind of builds on that.

    Now to have some BASIC 'stuff' will improve chances and quality of life a lot but still dosent have to cost a lot to get the basics. Here are the absolute BASICS and some thoughts for doing them on the cheap.

    WATER; you will have to have water to survive. Drinking from the storm drain isnt the best idea so learn to purify water and have a pot to boil it, a bottle of PLAIN unscented bleach to purify it and store some. Water storage dosent have to be expensive. Water thats been stored in a used soda bottle in the bottom of the closet for a year or so dont taste to good but Ive drank it and it never made me sick. You can also get bottled water by the gallon that will keep longer for about $1 per gallon or less at most stores. Water costs pretty close to nothing to do in a basic manner. A pot to biol it, a $2 bottle of bleach to purify 100 gallons or so at least and empty soda bottles refilled all comes in under $5.

    SHELTER; This dont have to be a bunker or a mansion. A tent would be nice but may be cost prohibitive if things are to tight at $50 or so for a minimal tent that would hold a mom and 3-4 small kids. So learn to tie knots ('if you cant tie a knot tie a lot' is crap and dont work, learn it its an important skill), get a $3 roll of heavy nylon twine and a $15 tarp from Walmart and if you learn to think about it and figure out the best option then you now have a very versitile shelter that can shelter the family for under $20. While not as durable a few trash bags or a roll of heavey mil plastic drop cloth/landscapeing plastic can replace the tarp for less money and more coverage for more options. Toss in a $3 roll of duct tape and you can also create more options and do repairs. A couple sections of PVC pipe or broom sticks scrounged from the trash can help if headed to areas with minimal trees, as little as free.

    FOOD; For long term and on limited funds even for much of a mid term situation the only real option here is to learn to procure food as its needed by foraging, trapping, growing it or whatever. For short to mid term though a basic and modest amount of food can be built up on the cheap. A case of Ramen noodles (or the store brands of them) can be had for about $5 or so. It may not be great as a steady diet but 10 cases would stave off starvation for a mom and 3 kids far about an extra month for about $50 that could even be on food stamps.
    Go to Dollar general or some such and add some potted meats at around $.50 per can to add diversity and fats. Get a bag of rice or beans from the store for $1 or less, and toss in the spam and some seasonings and you have enouph to fill their bellies for 2-3 days for $2. I have kept 4 bellies (all adults) away from the spines for a couple weeks before from a $1.50 bag of flour, a $1.50 bag of sugar, a $2 can of bakeing powder, a $1 tub of margerine while it lasted then left out, some water and for the first day or 2 an egg and bakeing up a sort of cake/sweet bread/short bread that was basicly just flour, sugar, a bit of bakeing powder and when I had it an egg and butter, the later 2 left out when I didnt. You could make biscuits from scratch for a month 3 times a day for $20. You wont store to eat WELL on the cheap but if you HAVE to do it on the cheap then you probably dont eat real well to begin with and it beats starving. You can also still bake on a campfire even without a fancy camp oven.

    PROTECTION; For survival in the wilds there isnt to much you are likely to have much trouble running off with a pointy stick at the most but a lone woman in particular is likely to have to also deal with 2 legged threats. As a minimal starting point most collages comunities have free self defense classes for women and a butcher knife from the kitchen can add to that. As soon as possible a firearm should be added since ANY firearm (with knowledge/skill and willingness to use it) greatly improves ones ability to defend against threats and also makes it easier to kill meat in a situation of oprotunity. The super-duper-mega-tactical-extra-neato-tactical gun may be great if you have the money to drop for it but the cheap bolt gun/single shot shotgun/cheap handgun or whatever is an exponential improvement over a pointy stick or bare handed trying to fight off a person 2-3 times your size or to kill the meat 50 feet from you. You can pick up a single shot shotgun brand new at Walmart for about $80-90, a used .22 can also be had easily for under $100from most gun shops or pawn shops, $200 can get a Bersa Thunder .380 new if you shop a bit and will take down a man or meat. To get even cheaper watch for a gun buy back in the area where they are giveing $50 for peoples guns. Take $75 and walk along the line and look for the old widow selling her late husbands hunting guns or the clean cut guy guy thats selling dads guns or the ones his wife said he couldnt keep and check out the gun to be sure it is in reasonable condition (most will be junk but these folks listed may well have very functional guns they just dont want) and offer to buy it from them for more than they would get from the folks that want to melt them. I know several folks that have nice pump shotguns, lever action and bolt action rifles and a few handguns that they have gotten this way for a fraction of what they normaly sell for and sometimes included some ammo. Add a little ammo as you can.

    FIRST AID;a reasonable basic first aid kit can be buil for under $20 to handle most anything most laymen could deal with. A few feminen pads to use on major wounds as a bandage, a roll o gauz or pack of 4x4s and a roll of duct tape to make your own waterproof bandaids, the duct tape can also take the place of an ACE bandage, a bottle of store brand ibeuprophen to break fevers, reduce swelling and relieve minor pains, a store brand of imodium AD to stop diareah thats likely with the change of diet and water that may not be as pure and will at least likely be different, a can of bag balm to treat burns/abrasions/chapped or super dry skin/gaulded skin from the uncommon walking and work, a bottle of peroxide to disinfect wounds, bottle of alcahol to sterilize wounds and tools and can also be used if it must as accelerant to start a fire, sewing needles for splinters and with fishing line while not ideal could be used for suters, tums or some such for upset bellies. That will give you the ability to treat most injuries and wounds or illnesses you could likely do much about without advanced skills all pretty cheap.

    TOOLS; Next would be to have some of the BASIC tools and 'stuff'. A bike with a cart to go behind it would help a lot if she plans to BO and cant aford a car and can often be pulled from the trash if you are willing to do some simle oiling or repairs (some times not even that) or can be had pretty cheap at yard sales and such. The more afordable and even more important stuff would be the simple tools;lighters ($1.50 for 3) a simple decent fixed blade, this dosent have to be super high dollar but say a $10 winchester fixed blade from Walmart would be a good idea as a minimum, a sharpener/whet stone AND knowing how to use it, a backpack or gym bag/duffle bag to carry the gear in, etc.

    So basicly she neds to figure out exactly where she is now, gain knowledge and be realistic about her situation so she can be more prepaired to do things on the cheap to cover the escentials of life and recognize she wont be able to go for a lot of comfort from the start from where she sems to be now then just do it a piece at a time EVERY time she can and her preps will build pretty quick even with very little to spare in the way of money.
  13. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Also look back in some of the older posts. I know I and some others, particularly after Katrina posted various thoughts on ways for a person with little or no money to have at least basic preps.
  14. tofu2u2

    tofu2u2 Monkey++

    I knoq this may sound "corny" but scout training for the Mom and the 2 older kids can go a long way, especially Boy Scout camping & outdoor skills training. (I am a Girl Scout outdoor trainer and at least here on the east coast, the GS training gets hung up on less usefull info compared to the BS training; the BS training had us doing more hands on stuff and emphasized actual skill sets). Most scout programs teach how to make basic equipment from scratch (buddy burners, tarp shelters, fire starters from lint & parrafin, first aid kits, etc) as well as the all important skill sets like basic first aid, land navigation & compass skills, how to set up a sanitary campsite, fire building, etc.

    An added benefit is the Mom can meet like minded adults while she spending time with her kids. A benefit that really isn't empahasized in the scout literature is how learning to do the outdoor skills will enhance the Moms self confidence (for some reason, women really get charged up when they "get it" about these skills sets) which will make her a better leader for her "team" (her kids) as well as add to her personal sense of self worth (psychobable but true: some of the best students I've had in the camping skill courses have been inner city parents who just never had any exposure to the camping or the outdoors & they are learning something compeletely new). If the Mom needs help with transportation to get to the classes or child care during classes (really two of the biggest problems for a lot of people who want to take the training classes for parents who want to get certified to take scouts on outdoor trips), maybe you could help her with these problems so she can get the training.

    It sounds like you are a very thoughtful person who is a good friend to those you care about. If this Mom can learn these basic outdoor skills, she will have the skills long after the camping gear is made, used or lost and her children are very lucky that there is someone like you in their parents life to help Mom learn new ways to take care of them in a crisis.
  15. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Thanks everyone, youve given me a lot of great ideas and advice...!
    I never could come up with this on my own for sure.
    I'm going to copy and send it to myself in an email, so I can re-read and absorb it all and then using it I can give her better advice than I had!
    That's why I joined this group of people!
    You get right to the meat of the problem!
    Thanks again, so very much!
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