Four Thoughts on Prepping for a Nuclear War with North Korea
A lot of folks had a mini-panic last night when President Trump tweeted an overt nuclear threat directly at another nuclear-armed world leader. That’s OK, because that stuff is scary. A lot of otherwise calm national security types were pretty rattled by this, too.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
Well, I have bad news for you: things will get worse before this all ends in either some sort of uneasy de-escalation or a nuclear conflagration. Either way, you’ve got to keep your sanity and not do anything stupid while you ride this out. Here’s my advice as a prepper on how to get through it.
Don’t buy anything that wasn’t already on a necessities list
First, don’t use your anxiety as an excuse to run out and buy a bunch of stuff you’ve had your eye on, and especially don’t run up credit card debt to do this.
At times like this, it’s important to have lists that can guide your decision making. Check your lists, and see what you’re missing. No iodine tablets? OK, maybe now’s a good time to grab some. There’s a radiation detector on your list but you’ve not yet pulled the trigger? If the price is reasonable and you don’t have to spend money you don’t have, then maybe get one now.
But don’t get yet another big knife. Or a new gun. Or some other thing that you really really want, and that you’ve sat at your desk for hours and imagined yourself striding across the post-apocalyptic wasteland with. Stick to what’s unglamorous and absolutely necessary.
Unplug for a bit
Second, try to unplug. You don’t need to know the current movements of every aircraft in the Russian military, and you don’t need to sit around your favorite doomer board hitting “refresh” while people freak out and offer up that mix of hysteria, smugness, and “I’m too cool to panic, so I’m going to tell everyone they’re stupid” bravado that we’re all so familiar with.
If you’re worried that the S will hit the F while you’re offline, have someone in your circle agree to notify you via email or text if the balloon really does look like it’s about to go up. Or set up a filter–maybe a single Twitter account you can check, or page, or feed–that will definitely let you know it’s on, but otherwise will stay pretty quiet.
The point is give yourself some mental space to stay collected, and to let other people in the public sphere with more experience and subject-specific knowledge filter information for you, so that you only get the signal and not the noise and chatter.
Do your chores
Do prepping chores that don’t cost money. That means sharpening knives, topping off mags, checking batteries, taking inventory, and other mundane tasks that can keep your hands and your mind occupied and give you a sense of control and achievement. That way, you’re still doing something about the situation — you’re just not doing anything stupid or counterproductive.
Keep playing the long game
Everyone who has been prepping for a few years knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Sprinting is the way new preppers get burnt out and/or go broke, while the more seasoned folks stay calm and carry on with the steady, regular work of making and maintaining lists, rotating food supplies, staying fit, practicing skills, and all the other things we do.
If you’re a new prepper who’s freaked by this North Korea stuff, know that everything I’ve said above applies to you, too. The worst thing you can do is go on a panic-fueled prepping binge and flame out too early, so that by the time the moment really does come you were tapped out and quit long ago. It happens all the time.
Focus on the basics–water, fire, fuel, food, shelter, self defense, medical/hygiene–and make a realistic budget and a plan for building up slowly and steadily in each category over the next five years. Then go out and put the plan in action.