Many people here and elsewhere invest a lot of time, money, and training in the pursuit of home defense in case the manure lagoon hits the 1 MW wind turbine. But what does this really mean? One needs to prepare for situations based on expected probability AND the negative consequence. What situations do you expect to encounter, how bad are they, and what are their odds? My professional life (computer security) requires me to think about scenarios and their probability. And I applied such an analysis to my own life. So this is what my worries are . . .
I am a Californian and I am prepared for an earthquake. There is about a 1 in 20 chance of their being a bad earthquake (Magnitude 6.5+) where I live in any given year, and a 1 in a 200 chance of something near-apocalyptic (Magnitude 8+).
I have 5 days worth of dedicated emergency “food” plus my normal pantry. My tool collection includes lots of flashlights, an always charged, battery operated Sawzall, a crowbar, and a six foot digging bar. A wrench is zip-tied to the gas meter.
I also maintain friendly relations with my neighbors, since I may need to dig them out or they may need to dig me out. Two have pools giving a foul tasting but usable water supply. Finally there is my gasoline siphon and my vehicle assortment, including a giant-dirt bike motorcycle with knobby tires, room for two, and lots of luggage space.
So I can dig out and stay put for a week or more. Or I can take me, my girlfriend, and our two cats a hundred miles regardless of the number of fallen overpasses, clogged roads, collapsed freeways, burning gas-stations, or landslides in the way.
And when I begin to focus on training (which I need to do), it will be first aid, broken bones, and crushing wounds, since the expected bad incidents are earthquakes and car crashes.
I also worry about daytime burglary because its unfortunately common. I keep the doors locked and windows latched, any possibly unattended windows have blocks to limit their travel, and I purchased a safe. My goal is simply to be a harder and less attractive target than other houses and to have additional protection for any irreplaceable or particularly valuable items.
Yet I have no worries about someone breaking in when I’m home, as I know the odds.
The small-town paper even reports shoplifting arrests at WalMart! Digging through the archives it seems that a “break-in when people are home” robbery occurs about once every two years or so. So with ~30,000 households, the odds are 1 in 60,000 in any given year that I will face a night-time intruder. I’m three hundred times more likely to have the San Andreas fault try to chuck me and the rest of California into the Pacific.
So I don’t need to sleep with a gun next to my bed: I’m far more likely to need a Stanley Fubar.
So this is what SHTF means to me, and how I’ve prepared. What does it mean to you?