Tag Archive: attitude


responsibilityOkay, hold on to your hat cause what I am about to talk about might just hit home and make you squirm and most likely make you mad.
Can we talk? I mean really and truly have an eye opening discussion about what is really going on in this country? I am not speaking about the Ebola doctor and nurse that ran around possibly harming other people knowing full well they would most likely get sick, nor illegal immigration, 2nd Amendment gun rights, militarization of the police, discrimination of any sort, and not even what is going on down in Ferguson, Missouri…these and so many other ‘happenings’, shall I call them distractions?
These are merely outcomes of personal IRRESPONSIBILTY and abdication of personal responsibility. And they are just that…distractions as to the truth of what is going on in the United States and heck, across the global if you really want to get down to it. Its like a slimy mold that grows and grows…
So lets talk about personal responsibility.
Yeah, you read that right, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Some of you might have an understanding about what that phrase means, but for those that don’t I will give a real simple explanation as to what that means. It means that YOU are responsible for YOU. What you do, what you say, how you behave. The choices and decisions you make or for that matter, what you don’t do, what you don’t say, what choice you choose NOT to make or what decision you choose not to make. And they all IMPACT OTHERS…NOT JUST YOU.

The dictionary says responsibility is:
the state of being the person who caused something to happen
a duty or task that you are required or expected to do
something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.

So this begs the question what does RESPONSIBLE mean?
having the job or duty of dealing with or taking care of something or someone
able to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected or required
involving important duties, decisions, etc., that you are trusted to do

Got it now? Hmm, could personal responsibility be seen as, horrors, being a mature adult? As I see it, too many people in this country have turned over their personal responsibility to others and mainly that is at this point in time, the government or some other state sponsored ‘authority’ .instead of personally taking charge of their own life and making their own informed decisions that guide their actions. With the knowledge inside that its not just about THEM (read that yourself).

Oh, we love to pretend that we are ‘responsible’ but I would beg to differ. How many times have you just gone with the flow? Or instead of spending the time to research something for the real facts you just accept what ‘they’ say as the gospel. Or better yet, when YOU figure out you don’t like what has happened you get angry or feel betrayed because it doesn’t fit the narrative that has been fed to you? OR forbid, say screw it, knowing better and put yourself and others at risk and then have the nerve to say ‘but’…the very word ‘but’ throws out personal responsibility…so… Say it all together now…lets play victim.
See, being personally responsible for yourself means that when you screw up, you own up and try to make it right. When you hurt someone else, you don’t point the finger at someone else. When something bad happens you don’t go looking to place blame, but stand back to see the bigger picture and the role YOU play in that picture. There is a sayin’ ‘if you aren’t a part of the solution then you are part of the problem’. You don’t go looking to Big Brother or your mommy for a handout to bail you out of YOUR MISTAKES. You don’t go around blaming others for what happened or where you are in life. There are too many people who have OVERCOME really bad things and came out on top for me to buy into that one. You get real, not emotional and then accept facts and get going. People who are personally responsible for themselves don’t get stuck in the emotions of the moment. They go through the emotions and then get REAL.
Yeah, things happen and we all find ourselves in circumstances where we need help because we figuratively shot ourselves in the foot, or someone else decided to do something that had an impact on/in our life, but personal responsibility dictates that you ask for help and then get moving on your own again ASAP. Or you just pick yourself up and get moving again. And if something ‘bad’ happens to someone you know, you step back and take a look at their own actions, instead of immediately assigning responsibility to someone else no matter how unattractive or distasteful it maybe. That is called RESPONSIBLE thought. Personal responsibility means that you see things for what they are and not through some lens of victimhood.
And while you’re at it, quit your whining too. Life ain’t FAIR, crap happens and we aren’t all the same, won’t get the same. That is NOT how it works no matter what they want you to believe. The infamous ‘they’ have taught us that its someone else’s JOB to do this, that or the other for us instead of allowing people to fail or succeed. Each according to their own comes to mind. Instead of allowing people to rise above their mistakes, own their mistakes and deal with their own choices, decisions and actions. Its called being accountable, dealing with the consequences of your choices, decisions and actions. When you won’t control yourself, others WILL.
Shall I give a list? War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Terrorism, heck, lets thrown in the War on Women…and how has things worked out for Chicago and New York with gun violence? You get my point.
It means being responsible for YOURSELF, YOUR CHOICES, YOUR DECISIONS, YOUR ACTIONS AND THEN DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS. You aren’t an island…get over yourself. And no one is GOD, until someone hands over their own personal responsibility. Everything you do sends out ripples and affects other people. And when YOU decide to stop having personal responsibility there is the very real danger that not only you will pay the price, but many others will too. And THAT my friends, is when you open the door to being subject to OTHER PEOPLE’S decisions and dominion. You eventually even loose your ability to make your decisions and choices. Keep on not taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and someone will fill in for you.
I am just as guilty as the next guy for playing the blame game, the whine game and finger pointing, but ultimately YOU and I are the only ones who have dominion over ourselves and once you get THAT figured out, then you truly begin to understand what it means to be personally responsible for YOURSELF. When you stop abdicating YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHERS that is when you are set FREE. When you teach your children about personal responsibility, accountability and consequences then you and your children are no longer a slave to the ‘they’.
Understand, we are all individuals but when we do not take personal responsibility then others suffer, we suffer and we have no one to blame but ourselves. After all, someone has to do the job right?

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Lately I have been taking stock of my ‘stock’ (read that preps). Admittedly, I have included my children in getting prepared, but I didn’t realize just how much THEY did not understand the importance of organization, labeling and rotating. Yes, two are under 12 but one is a teenager who is into prepping. We talk about how to store things, what and why we keep extra on hand, safety, the value of being able to be less reliant on the ‘just in time system’ and a whole lot of other things. And many times we work together getting things done or they see me doing it with some help from them. Prepping with children as a single mom has brought up some interesting things, but when I started making extra room in my house to include another person, whoa! I just wanted to bug out and not deal with it…but, here I am, learning and hope that in my learning you can learn something too, especially if you are a single parent with children.

First, I realized just how much ‘crap’ is in my house that has really no value to me, but that’s another subject. Next, I realized that things had just been put behind closed doors so to speak to, just get it out of the way, and instructions were just NOT followed. And before someone has something to say about ‘kids being kids’ I am going to tell you that I am old school and believe that when an adult gives specific instructions on what/how to do something YOU DO IT. Not that I am trying to turn my kids into sheeple and not that I am not open to their ideas of how to get things done, but when you are told to pour the salt into a particular container and then label it, I expect it to be done. Put it in and label it and then put it in the spot I have set aside for it.

HAHAHA…I started cleaning/reorganizing and I found things stashed away like a squirrel stashes his nuts for the winter. Some of what I found was big bags of RICE just tucked away in a storage closet (seriously, that is NOT a joke). That was my teenager. Instead repacking the rice safely, he disappeared the containers and then stashed the rice.

Haha factor aside, I did not find this amusing at all and then I began to wonder about other things and sure enough, Mr. I Play Video Games, had not labeled salt containers or sugar containers, had just thrown can goods haphazardly into the pantry…sigh…really? And yes, I stood over him and things got done but really? At almost 16 years old I have to do that to make sure it gets done properly? Lets just say a few things ‘disappeared’ on him and I told him point blank that if he couldn’t follow simple instructions and put things away properly then how was I supposed to trust him with a crossbow or driving a car. Anyway…My 9 year old at least knows how to put green beans with green beans and to put the oldest up front. Sigh…so the past two weeks has been spent back tracking. Oh, I also found empty boxes that were never thrown away (so I assumed we had that in stock). Really? My 3 year old know how to throw things away.

There were quite a few things I found ‘out’ about, mostly just annoying things but if the little things like putting labels on buckets (so you know what it is), or putting the rice into mouse/bug proof containers or just throwing away an empty box of something can’t even be done, ohhhh…man, my mind just goes nuts over that one.

So what’s my point?

Everyone has to be on the same page at all times and understand the reasons behind why certain things get done. And just talking about it isn’t going to work with some people. Written instructions, establishing routines and expectations and then, being ‘the leader’, following up every time until you are dead sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. And unfortunately, having worked in the real world, I have seen this same behavior from ‘adults’. Time consuming? Yes. Pain in the rear? Yes. Should you as ‘leader’ have to micro-manage. No. It would be nice to be able to delegate, but most people are used to ‘getting by’ with little to no consequences to themselves. This go around it was just proper food storage. And we can all go to the what ifs, but it got caught in time. So micro-manage I will until I am sure that we are all on the same page on how things will get done.

Ideas for the micro-management/leader that does work well for both children and adults:

Get a whiteboard…the type you can list ‘to do’ items on daily. Save your breath.

Get another whiteboard…this one won’t be daily but will list chores/responsibilities for the week. Unfortunately, even adults need this (ever worked in a restaurant?).

Have a sit down/write down meeting. In this case, with my 3 children I was able to explain WHY it was important about storing food correctly. THEN a notebook came out and the steps were written down. They took turns writing out the steps and reasons why. In my case it was about food storage, but this will work in any type of situation that you see come up or MIGHT come up, including security tasks. And YES, children can help on that end too. At this sit down ask questions instead of lecturing. You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Don’t overlook abilities. Some people are better at something than others. SWAT analysis is a good thing. Unfortunately, you may find yourself (as in my case with my children) that you have to work with what you got. My case, kids  which means I have to work with what I got, including the attitude.

Have a CLEAR system and keep it simple. Chaos is NOT good! For instance, one place I keep proteins, another certain types of canned goods, another place salt, sugar and another for rice. Its in the same place all the time (that is until someone decides to just do it their way). But I do have a system in place. This allows you to know instantly where certain things are (for instance I have ONE place for all batteries and ONE place for all types of lighting except for candles). By having a few things here and a few things there you wind up wasting time and energy ‘looking’ for things.

Speak up…don’t be afraid, as the ‘leader’ to say what you have to say when it needs to be said. I will admit it, when I found things not done correctly they, my kids, were in the middle of doing homework…guess what? They wound up redoing what they were supposed to do instead of the homework and opps! The homework got done when typically they do what they want to do. Seems to make the impression to just get it done right the first time.

Lastly, DO follow up to make sure things are being done correctly. Don’t make it obvious that you are doing so but just check. If done correctly…give praise (yep, that includes adults too), if not done or not done correctly stop right then and there and do what needs to be done. Food storage case I pulled the bags of rice out, put them on the counter top, called my son into the kitchen and stood there until I SAW him doing it. Then said thank you, walked away and then rechecked a bit later. Done right.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today (well, everyday it seems). Discipline and order and a system and being on the same page with everyone when things are ‘normal’ makes it easier when something comes up later on.

Now, back to clearing out the crap!

Anybody can catch a bluegill. Right????.

Normalcy Bias

Yet again I return to blog after a long absence…the past year and a half has taught me A LOT about me personally and those around me when SHFT happens. Some people disappear, others are very supportive and helpful, and others take advantage. I have also learned that there are those who might stick around, be helpful for a while but in the end, the pressure is just too much and they ‘disappear’ into their own world. All in all, I have figured out who I can and cannot count on and the list is a very short one. Sad really to realize that most people cannot or will not be around when and if anything truly life altering happens. But I am trying to look at it this way, better to know NOW than to continue to believe that certain people will have my back if and when things go south. But I have learned this past year a few hard lessons about normalcy bias and people, including myself and you are prone to it…

What is normalcy bias?

Normalcy bias

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia….

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.[1]

Possible causes

The normalcy bias may be caused in part by the way the brain processes new data. Research suggests that even when the brain is calm, it takes 8–10 seconds to process new information. Stress slows the process, and when the brain cannot find an acceptable response to a situation, it fixates on a single and sometimes default solution that may or may not be correct. An evolutionary reason for this response could be that paralysis gives an animal a better chance of surviving an attack; predators are less likely to eat prey that isn’t struggling.[2]

Effects

The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. People will freeze, emotionally, psychologically and physically. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. People make the assumption that ‘its nothing’ or that someone else will take care of the problem or them. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes. Studies have shown that more than 70% of people check with others before deciding to evacuate.[2]

The normalcy bias also causes people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, they think that everything will be all right, while information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reason to believe there is a risk. This creates a cognitive dissonance that they then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the danger. The possibility that some may refuse to evacuate causes significant problems in disaster planning.[3]   

Examples

Not limited to, but most notably: The Nazi genocide of millions of Jews. Even after knowing friends and family were being taken against their will, the Jewish community still stayed put, and refused to believe something was “going on.” Because of the extreme nature of the situation it is understandable why most would deny it.

Little Sioux Scout camp in June 2008. Despite being in the middle of “Tornado Alley,” the campground had no tornado shelter to offer protection from a strong tornado.[4]

New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Inadequate government and citizen preparation and the denial that the levees could fail were an example of the normalcy bias, as were the thousands of people who refused to evacuate.[citation needed]

During the September 11 attacks, many in the World Trade Center returned to their offices during the evacuation to turn off their computers and ultimately died when the towers collapsed.[citation needed]

Normalcy Bias has also been used to help explain why the United States continues to raise its national debt ceiling, which now exceeds 107% of its Gross Domestic Product. Historically, the US has held a very high credit rating of AAA, however, the growing concern over US monetary policy lead to the United States federal government credit-rating downgrade to AA+ by Standard & Poor in 2011. Later that same year, GAO Comptroller Gene Dodaro warned memebers of Congress that the current national debt is “unsustainable” at a time where the Debt-to-GDP ratio was considerably less at 73%.[5]

Included into ‘normalcy bias’ is the idea that ‘its somebody else’s problem’:

Somebody Else’s Problem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Somebody Else’s Problem (also known as Someone Else’s Problem or SEP) is a psychological effect where individuals/populations of individuals choose to dissociate themselves from an issue that may be in critical need of recognition. Such issues may be of large concern to the population as a whole but can easily be a choice of ignorance by an individual. Author Douglas Adams‘ description of the condition, which he ascribes to a physical “SEP field,” has helped make it a generally recognized phenomenon. Somebody Else’s Problem used to capture public attention on matters that may have been overlooked and has less commonly been used to identify concerns that an individual suffering symptoms of depression should ignore. This condition has also been employed as trivial shorthand to describe factors that are “out of scope” in the current context.[1]

Psychology

Various areas of psychology and philosophy of perception are concerned with the reasons why individuals often ignore issues that are of relative or critical importance. Optimism bias tends to reduce issues of subjectivity due to the tendency to have thought processes that are overly positive- “Overly positive assumptions can lead to disastrous miscalculations — make us less likely to get health checkups, apply sunscreen or open a savings account, and more likely to bet the farm on a bad investment.”[2]

Where multiple individuals simultaneously experience the same stimulus, diffusion of responsibility and/or the bystander effect may release individuals from the need to act, and if no-one from the group is seen to act, each individual may be further inhibited by conformity. An example of such instances would be the murder of Kitty Genovese, who on March 13, 1964 was stabbed and killed outside of her apartment building. “Most of the evidence suggests that at least half a dozen-and perhaps many more-of her 30 or so neighbours heard the events but failed to come to her aid. Most didn’t even bother to call the police.”[3]

When individuals are exposed to a multitude of messages about pressing matters of concern- information overload (now also known as Information Fatigue Syndrome) may be a result. In Joseph Ruff’s article “Information Overload: Causes, Symptoms and Solutions” Ruff states, “Once capacity is surpassed additional information becomes noise and results in a decrease in information processing and decision quality”. [4] A student who has spent the entire semester socializing instead of studying would find themselves in a state of information overload the day before a final exam for example.

There may also be a tendency to argue that since a proposed solution does not fit a problem entirely then the entire solution should be discarded. This is an example of a perfect solution fallacy. “This fallacy is often employed by those who believe no action should be taken on a particular issue and use the fallacy to argue against any proposed action”.[5]

However, taking responsibility for negative events that are outside an individual’s control is related to depression and learned helplessness.[6] Part of the solution is to help the individual to realistically assign a proportion of responsibility to herself/himself, parents and others (step I in the RIBEYE cognitive behavioral therapy problem-solving method).[6][7][8]

 

And on top of this, many have the idea that ‘others’ will be there to make things better for them (ie police officers, doctors, FEMA, Red Cross, Social Services). Really??? I can tell you differently as can many others who have lost jobs, lost loved ones, a home, the only vehicle they had and many other SHFT senarios.

Esther Inglis-Arkell explains normalcy bias:

The frozen calm of normalcy bias

When disaster strikes, some people lose their heads, some people become cool and effective, but by far most people act as if they’ve suddenly forgotten the disaster. They behave in surprisingly mundane ways, right up until it’s too late. Around the world, researchers are wondering how to combat normalcy bias.

If you spend the beginning of your flights staring in disbelief at the cabin crew gesturing towards the emergency exits and asking you to look at them and think about walking to them in an emergency, you may be surprised that doing exactly that has saved one person. When two planes collided just above a runway in Tenerife in 1977, a man was stuck, with his wife, in a plane that was slowly being engulfed in flames. He remembered making a special note of the exits, grabbed his wife’s hand, and ran towards one of them. As it happened, he didn’t need to use it, since a portion of the plane had been sheared away. He jumped out, along with his wife and the few people who survived. Many more people should have made it out. Fleeing survivors ran past living, uninjured people who sat in seats literally watching for the minute it took for the flames to reach them.

This isn’t unique behavior, although plane crashes provide the most dramatic examples. People seeking shelter during tornadoes and cyclones are often called back, or delayed, by people doing normal activities, who refuse to believe the emergency is happening. These people are displaying what’s known as normalcy bias. About 70% of people in a disaster do it. Although movies show crowds screaming and panicking, most people move dazedly through normal activities in a crisis. This can be a good thing; researchers find that people who are in this state are docile and can be directed without chaos. They even tend to quiet and calm the 10-15% of people who freak out.

The downside of the bias is the fact that they tend to retard the progress of the 10-15% of people who act appropriately. The main source of delay masquerades as the need to get more data. Scientists call this “milling.” People will usually get about four opinions on what’s going on and what they should do before taking any action — even in an obvious crisis. People in emergency situations report calling out to others, asking, “What’s going on?” When someone tells them to evacuate, or to take shelter, they fail to comply and move on, asking other people the same question.

This isn’t entirely loopy behavior. If something minor seems wrong, in your neighborhood, office, or home, it’s hardly inappropriate to ask the people around what’s happening. And how many of us have heard a suspicious noise nearby, paused for a moment, and then thought, “I’m sure it’s nothing,” and gone back to what we were doing? The problem comes when, even when it is obviously something, people stay in denial.

There are a lot of theories for why this occurs. There’s the shock itself, and the time it takes to process it. Even people who are well-trained and well-informed lose some of their knowledge and physical acumen under extreme pressure. Some researchers blame instincts. Animals that don’t struggle during an attack by an overwhelmingly large predator are sometimes left alone. The passivity indicates sickness or poison, and puts off the predator. Faced with a threat that’s overwhelmingly enormous, people may instinctively become passive as well.

Other researchers believe those with normalcy bias are playing the odds. People step onto dangerous-looking roller coasters every day and scare themselves half to death, trusting that, no, the situation their instincts are screaming about couldn’t possibly really be happening. Rounding out the theories about normalcy bias is the idea that people need information in order to act. If people don’t know how to deal with a situation, they can’t begin to deal with it, so they don’t begin to deal with it.

Nothing can be done about sudden shocks and natural instincts, so most researchers try to deal in increased information. This is why we’re given countless safety lectures. Look at the exits and plan your exit route. In the event of an earthquake, a fire, a flood, do this. Drills and practices, even if only done in a person’t imagination, at least give them the basic tools that they need when dealing with an emergency.

More complicated, from a policy standpoint, is the need to personalize the risk. This information — that the present disaster will harm you, yes you, so take action — is the hardest to accurately disseminate. People mill, asking for opinions, because they want to be told that everything is fine. They will keep asking, and delaying, until they get the answer they want. In a completely alien emergency situation — such as a downed, flaming plane — people think of the likelihood that they’re mistaken about the nature of the emergency, and the consequences for screwing up if they take personal action. Although early warning systems, alarms, and alerts proliferate, very few things manage to get through to specific people that they are in personal danger, that they are on their own, and that they need to take steps to save themselves.

http://io9.com/the-frozen-calm-of-normalcy-bias-486764924

 Plan Ahead

  Of course, these are extreme examples…if you really sat down and looked at your life you will find that you too have done things based upon ‘normal’ that could have or did create situations that made life more difficult for yourself/others or put you in a position that might have been life threatening or financially ruinous… If things or events do not ‘fit’ into their idea of normal or the way that they believe life works then they tend to either stick their head in the sand and pretend that it isn’t happening or it is very temporary situation (both of which by the way can get you killed in the end). Or they back away from you because its beyond their ability to understand, empathize or scares them so badly because they can and do understand and empathize because they can see it happening potentially to them…so they back away like you have the plague.  This is a very personal example. And I will admit, that in the past 1 ½ I have done things out of my own normalcy bias…I was used to having 2 incomes and spent beyond my means which has put me in a, shall we say, interesting position. But the good news there is that because of this financial normalcy bias that I carried for a while, I have had to branch out into other avenues to make money, save money and otherwise redefine my life. Looking back I can see where I have been given grace in my life to make mistakes without real harm occurring (at least nothing that will get me in bankruptcy or foreclosure or otherwise making a further mess of life!) and it has given me a glimpse into what I believe will become the financial normal in the coming years for many people as our economy continues downward. For me, its already normal which puts me ahead of the game. I have had crop failure do to weather (too much rain) and am working on a solution for that. Business drop off drastically (thank goodness for food storage!) only to pick back up and push me to expand what I do and how I do it. Experienced my own mental health issues and assorted accidents and learned how to handle these without ‘professional’ medical care and in the process learned a lot about myself and how to help others now and in the future (more great skills learned!). I have no health insurance and with ObamaCare coming to your world soon, I do believe that there will be a new ‘normal’ and many won’t be able to deal with it…I have seen death up close and continue to prepare for more death within my own family due to health issues, but I feel I am more prepared thanks to a certain event last summer. I have watched people close to me deal with addiction and fall face first deeply into it. Denial is powerful (normalcy bias) but eventually you have to deal with it and make choices and decisions. I am now a proud single mom in charge of a house and land and have learned what I can and cannot do…I could go on and on, but lets just say that through my own experiences in the past year, my own ‘normalcy bias’ has smacked me in the face and awoken me to where I do and don’t do things in emergency or changing circumstances that cause myself and others harm. Its tough to fight. We all have our ideas that ‘it won’t happen to us’ or ‘those things only happen to others’ or we believe that we can handle whatever will happen thank you very much and we are ‘prepared’ to deal with life’s setbacks, weather emergencies, death, job loss, etc. I would ask you this…really? I used to believe that too, until it happened to me, one thing after another. The hardest part is changing your mind set and being courageous and brave enough to do what needs doing in the midst of chaos. Being able to have a survivors mindset. Of course, we all have our moments when it just becomes too much to handle and then break down someway. But for a survivor, it means you cry or do whatever and then get moving to make it better. Acceptance and the ability to quickly move from denial into acceptance is the key for surviving whatever may come your way. Staying in denial or stuck in grief will get you hurt or killed…period. Normalcy bias is denial in its strongest form and grief/shock is the sister to denial.

After a year and a half I am finally adjusting to my ‘new normal’ and have found that as things in my life change I am getting much, much better at quickly moving from what ‘was normal’ to what is ‘now normal’ much more easily, I am able to move more quickly from denial and trying to keep things ‘normal’ into solution oriented ‘new normal’ to make things ‘normal’ again…adjust and move is what I like to call it. And the biggest part is within my own mind and not falling into despair or depression about things I cannot control and learning to find the ways and means to control that which I can. Letting go things that really don’t matter and figuring out what really does matter. That part is continual and ongoing right at this moment as my life changes continually, I have accepted this and am getting used to it.

So, anyway…I guess the next question becomes what can be done to ‘prevent’ normalcy bias?

For major events its called PLANNING to reduce normalcy bias:

The negative effects of normalcy bias can be combated through the four stages of disaster response:

  • preparation, including publicly acknowledging the possibility of disaster and forming contingency plans[citation needed]
  • warning, including issuing clear, unambiguous, and frequent warnings and helping the public to understand and believe them[citation needed]
  • impact, the stage at which the contingency plans take effect and emergency services, rescue teams, and disaster relief teams work in tandem[citation needed]
  • aftermath, or reestablishing equilibrium after the fact by providing supplies and aid to those in need[citation needed

You can break the above suggestions down to apply to your own personal life…preparation…simply acknowledging that something is possible and making plans to handle it in some manner will make your life easier as you go through your own personal SHFT…extra food, medicine, back up ways to accomplish things that need to be done, etc. the list is endless…the whole point is acknowledging that it CAN HAPPEN TO YOU and then putting precaution in place to help yourself out when it does happen.

Warnings… personally we have to be on the look out for signs that something maybe about to happen and not fall into the trap of overlooking or not believing that it is or potentially could happen. If the mother of the Sandyhook shooter had believed the warning signs her son was displaying and then took action as much as she could (ie removing the firearms from her house) I truly believe that this tragedy would have not happened as easily as it did.

Impact…this goes along with preparation, your preps will help to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

Aftermath…again, this goes with preps and is the end result of preparation.

But first things first, we must look at ourselves closely and root out, see and understand where our own normalcy bias is and then take the steps to help ourselves, because if you believe there is someone else out there that will make it better for you, or a pill will make it all better, then you are deeply in denial and I wish you the best when the SHTF occurs. I have been there, done that and know first hand just how normalcy bias can hurt you…so get yourself in gear! Play the what if game and go from there.

Some places to start are:

Loss of job

Loss of transportation

Loss of public services including power, water, doctors, police

Grocery stores or banks closed

Internet/cell phone down

Loss of loved one (especially ones that you depend upon for help and partnership in getting things done)

Do you really know your neighbors? Do you know how they would act in a given situation?

The above are just suggestions to start thinking about what you believe about the world…don’t be afraid to go down the rabbit hole with these, think it out, plan, prepare and then go out and live your life.

Good luck and Bless You

chaosgodWell, it has been one heck of a past year. A year in which my life went upside down, twisted inside out and taught me a lot about self-reliance, trust, faith, courage and just how far down the emotional and mental rabbit hole one can go when SHTF happens. Never mind the details, but lets just say that after a nasty run in with several governmental agencies of the law enforcement type due to the behavior of someone who at the time was close to me, followed by all the fun police action entails (mind you I did NOTHING wrong myself but that is another topic for later), sudden loss of income on several levels, the acts of nature that came afterwards and then top off by the sudden death of someone close to me (by suicide, and I found him)…and well, I am just happy that I still have my home, my kids and one car left. I can laugh about it now in some ways…but one thing is for sure…I have LEARNED the hard way about being prepared for whatever may happen. Made a lot of mistakes along the way in the past 12 months, but hey, I am human and I am still standing.

I am still dealing with the fall out of the last year, but am now able to look back and say, that was right, this could have been done better and what were the lessons I learned?

First things first, if you think it can’t happen to you, it will…just ask them up in New York and New Jersey about Sandy. Just ask anyone who has lost a job or source of income/job that looked and seemed rock solid and just ask anyone who has lost someone due to suicide or some other untimely death or has had their life shattered by any type of trauma. It can happen to you.

That is lesson number #1…IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU…this idea that so many people have (or should I say ‘illusions’?) that if they do everything right, walk the line, go along with the flow will give them safety and security in this world is a and can be a fatal one. See and understand this…preparedness is the ability to get past this idea that ‘it can’t happen’ or ‘it won’t happen’ or ‘I have done nothing wrong and abide the rules and laws’ or ‘it has never happened before’ or ‘oh, the chances are almost slim to nothing’ or any of a million other things we say to ourselves to make the world a safe place for us to live. The super storms of this past summer…never happened before…Superstorm Sandy…oh they will help us and/or its not that bad and/or it never happens here…it is safe to speak your mind and rant and rave on the internet…its just harmless talk and the 1st Amendment protects me (are you nuts?) or any number of things (um, can we say QE3 and 4? Or Sandyhook? Or the movie theater shootings)…say bleeettt if you have managed to avoid taking a hard look at the world we live and not come to the conclusion that you need to get as prepared as you possibly can (shall I begin to cite statistics on unemployment or how many people get foodstamps now?) while you can.

I got rolled on this lesson this past year, as wave after wave of change, chaos and quiet frankly traumatic events kept coming at me…never in a million years did I ever believe that my door would be kicked in by SWAT and FBI agents, especially since nobody around me did anything ‘wrong’ (I have since redefined what that means and adjusted somewhat accordingly). But they did. I never thought it possible that I would find myself in a situation where I was asked to save my own skin over someone else’s. (And I took the middle road there, I am not a rat, bring it on). Never thought I would take a hit on 3 different fronts financially either (the old never keep all your eggs in one basket rule) all within 3 months of each other. Never in a million years could I possibly conceive of talking to someone one minute and then 10 minutes later finding their body, let alone have to deal with powerful storms one after another at the sametime that knocked out power for 10 days (ask them sheeple up in Fairfax how it worked for them). And I certainly never thought that I would have to deal with PTSD, I am a tough bird after all. But IT HAPPENED TO ME! Ever wonder what YOU would do IF you found yourself facing the inconceivable? ARE YOU PREPARED IN ANYWAY? got extra food in the house? have a community to lean on? another source of income? extra toliet paper or the knowledge how to stay off mind altering substances to cope?

And through all of this life went on and did go on including all the everyday ordinary BS that comes with living in this modern world and such…kids, dogs (did I forget to mention that I had to put down 2 good dogs and another almost died in the midst of all this? oh yeah, and kept my customers happy and the laundry done and food cooked?)…see just because crap is hitting the fan in your life and quite possible those around you to one extent or another doesn’t mean that the ordinary details of life get to go unattended. You get to deal with that too, on top of the storm, on top of the death, on top of the major illness, on top of the job loss, on top…well, the list goes on and on.

You may THINK you can handle anything that comes your way, but have you really stopped and played that evil game called what if? It may drive you nuts at first, but part of being prepared is PLANNING…LOSS PREVENTION, Mitigation, controlling what you can…and being aware that it IS THE SMALL STUFF that will make or break you in the end.

I have spent alot of time, effort and money getting prepared in many ways…the storms that came through were a big inconvience and uncomfortable but I was at least physically ready for them…income loss was a tough one since I have never had my income cut in half overnight with no warning but I am thankful for my forethought in keeping a well packed pantry (which is now being replenished) and that I didn’t listen to others that told me sock away the money instead. I am thankful that I had a background in medicine and mental health…it HELPED tremendously and at the very least I KNEW there were healthy ways of dealing with things once the shock and denial wore off. And I learned real quick who my community was and wasn’t, who I could count on and couldn’t (now that was an eye opener), how long I could go without going grocery shopping (several months) and that grief will make you and others do really strange, unusual and nasty things.

So if anything this past year has taught me is this…IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU and IT WILL EVENTUALLY…I have come to look at ‘preparedness’ and ‘survival’ and TEOTWAWKI in a much broader scope…its not just about hurricanes, tornados or a large scale collapse…but its also about your own life and that of your family…what happens to you to end YOUR WORLD doesn’t has to happen to others…and you know what? MOST PEOPLE WILL NOT CARE ABOUT YOU, YOUR FAMILY OR YOUR SURVIVAL…it is entirely up TO YOU…not that a lone wolf will survive, but in ‘normal’ times, when SHTF in your personal life, others will be too busy or unsure to help and frankly, may in fact start behaving like buzzards smelling blood…ugly thought, but true..so my question is this…are you prepared?

Be prepared, be aware and be ready…and remember, it can happen to you!

The internet is a wonderful thing….I will be the first one to admit it…I like, no let me say, LOVE the internet. Oh the things you can find on it for free! Information, friends, family, like minded individuals…it has revolutionized how people communicate, do business and make connections with others. No more need to go down to the local library to do research, no more hanging out at bars or going out on the town to find ‘that special love’ or make new friends. No more need to drive around town trying to find something that you need. Got someone who doesn’t answer the phone (like me lol!) or ‘never writes’…not a problem…shoot them an email. Networking has become a breeze…MySpace and Facebook, Linked In and don’t forget the dating sites, of which there are now even specialized ones aimed at like minded individuals such a preppers! In the 20 some old years that the internet has become widely available to the general public, it has changed our lives in ways that are so good and used to be unimaginable.

However, there is a darkside to the internet that is rarely discussed or I dare say even thought about…The  Craigslist murders, identity theft, pornography, and the very seeming anonymity of the internet which allows individuals to say and do things that in ‘the real world’ they might never say or do.

Everytime you log into the internet and do a search on a subject, your unique computer address is logged and attached and stored. Google has admitted to ‘red flagging’ and passing along the computer addresses to a certain government agency for certain search terms such as collapse, economic, human to animal, infection, and we can only guess at other terms.  For more information you can check these links out:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/12/27/42572.htm

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/04/fbi-twitter-data-mining

Basically, they are doing what is called data mining. They are looking for certain terms to identify potential threats, reasonable enough I suppose on the surface, but then they go ‘surfing’ on social media sites too looking for people and groups that may or may not fit a particular profile of a ‘threat’ such as domestic ‘extremism’ …if you would like to see more on their ‘terms’ you can find them here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/lexicon.pdf

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/dhs-risk-lexicon-2010.pdf

The above just gives you an overview of what they are looking at in order to identify potential risks…not a big deal on the surface, but if you really read it and do a bit of homework you might, with just a few strokes of the keyboard and posting something on facebook or another online forum get yourself looked at no matter how innocent your comment is.

And if you are a ‘prepper’ well, read the following article…

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/preppers-are-now-considered-to-be-potential-terrorists

If I really have your attention now, I dare you to google this phrase:

‘potential indicators of terrorist activities’ and see what you pull up…all kinds of potential indicators from tattoo shops to Costco to motel/hotels…

Okay, now I have covered that end of the darkside of the internet as related to government activities and what they are watching for just a tad bit which is just good knowledge to know…knowledge is power people.

In recent months, there have been cases in the news where people have been charged with crimes from stalking to harassment to extortion (making threats) using the internet and more specifically, facebook or other online forums. Which gets me to the REAL point of this article…the internet is not anonymous, it not ‘secure’, and its not PRIVATE!!! A few angry rants on Facebook or an online forum could be taken the wrong way by someone and then reported to the proper authorities and the next thing you know you got someone knocking at your door and you are looking at some sort of crazy charge simply for venting online or saying something that someone didn’t like. Maybe you have heard of that 15 year old who made a comment about Obama on facebook and wound up answering questions posed to him by the secret service? Or that woman who  was charged with manslaughter of a 15 year for comments made on facebook about the girl (who killed herself by the way), or the ex-boyfriend who ranted on facebook about his ex-girlfriend and almost got himself 5 years in jail…I could go on and on about cases where people have found themselves on the wrong side of the law because of rants and raves left on social media sites and in forums.

Another aspect is that employers are now looking online for YOU and what you say or do, hmm…your private life is no longer private once you post it people and if you post YOUR business online it is not private and they don’t need a search warrant because the internet, social media sites and forums are PUBLIC. That is what you to understand and know and wrap your brain around today. Just because you are sitting in the privacy of your home doesn’t make you anonymous, doesn’t make what you put ‘out there’ private and it is being looked at by who knows who. Criminals, law enforcement, employers, friends, family….if you post it, you own it, you did it, you said it, period…it is not private. And even if you DELETE it, or close the account or erase your computer or whatever, it is still out there somewhere in cyber space…forever….

I don’t say any of this to scare you, but to make you aware to make you think before you type or post a picture. The internet is just like the real world except even more so because anyone can find out what you have said or done with a few strokes of the keyboard, for good or bad purposes. Think before you speak used to be the saying, now it should be think before you type or upload that image…its called using your head and observing OPSEC. It’s not a Polly Anna world anymore and criminals can track you online, the officials can find you easy, or anyone else for that matter, again, for good or bad purposes. Heck, google earth shows your house right online! (which btw you can blur it out so they can’t see your home anymore).

I am not advocating pulling away from the internet, social media or from saying your opinion, but what I am trying to make a point about is to think first and then act. You wouldn’t go down to the local grocery store and post a sign that you are going to be out of town this weekend would you? Then why the heck would you post that for the world to see on Facebook or some online forum? You wouldn’t send pictures of your ‘fun’ weekend to your employer would you? Then why would you post it somewhere online? You wouldn’t make a list of every prep you have with your name, address and phone numbers and make copies and then go stand in the middle of the closest largest city and hand it out would you? They why would you tell everything online? And you certainly wouldn’t handwrite and hand deliver an angry rant about someone or something that happened expressing all your anger and thoughts about what you are thinking about doing (even though you never would) in person…then why the heck would you post something like that online for all to see?

We are all entitled to our opinions and to live our life the way we see fit, by the Constitution we are allowed the pursuit of happiness…but when we put it ‘out there’ (literally) we can open ourselves up to misunderstandings, criminals, predators and set balls in motion unintentionally. We, as Americans do still the right to free speech, but, as has been clarified by the courts, we can’t threaten or harm others with our speech…its one thing to think something and its another to ‘say’ it. Think before you type and upload.

I do believe in the saying, “see something, say something” especially when it comes to the erosion of civil or Constitutional rights or someone breaking the law, tyranny happens when good people ‘see’ but don’t speak up. However, “see something, say something” does not mean that I am allowed to use hate speech, make threats nor harm anyone in reporting what I am saying…think wisely and choose wisely in your words.

I am a big advocate for social networking and sharing ideas and knowledge and opinions, but in the right way, with security and safety kept in mind at all times. The internet is PUBLIC and the internet is FOREVER. Think before you type or upload and keep in mind that not everyone is like you…the internet is a tool, a tool that cuts both ways…lets keep it cutting safely eh? Lets share ideas and knowledge and come together for the common good. Let us share with each other in such a manner that is helpful, not harmful. Let us communicate our thoughts, opinions, knowledge and beliefs with calm, clarity, good intention and forethought. Let us USE the internet to help and support and uplift those that we may come into contact with even unintentionally. Let us not lead ourselves down a slippery slope when using the internet that may find us looking at the wrong end of a gun barrel or open ourselves up to a criminal or predator via the internet. Let us use the internet with safety, security and our future in our minds first and foremost…express yourself and share but be wise.