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After reading this article in The OUTDOOR WIRE -  The Outdoor Industry’s Daily Transaction Letter -  published on 3-21-12 and written by Paul Markel, I felt it was something worth while to share with all of you. I certainly am not a doomsdayer but self sufficiency is something I was taught as a boy. His advice of "Being Prepared" certainly is food for thought.

Chris Dalti 

Artificial Life: The Zombies are Already Here

Editor's Note: Normally, Paul Markel is one of our contributing editors when it comes to firearms and their tactical applications. Today, we thought you'd find his observations on the expectations of a segment of today's society thought-provoking. Having come through several natural disasters, I know not everyone practices the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

According to every Hollywood movie I've seen, zombies are flesh-eaters with the prime delicacy being the brains. I don't know what's so special about the brains, as an entree' they seem rather distasteful to me, but then I haven't succumb to a secret government experiment gone awry or some strain of the super-flu that altered my DNA. Nonetheless, I would offer that the zombies are already among us and the prime sustenance is the Big Mac or perhaps the Whopper. Take your pick.

Food on Demand

It is simply a part of the human condition that when something is readily available and easy to obtain that you fail to appreciate its value. Let's talk about food for a moment. Up until the last few generations the daily quest for food was always on the forefront of people's minds. It still is in many parts of the world, but in our world, the good old US of A, it is simply taken for granted. That is until the day Burger King is closed and you can't get a Whopper on demand.

I know it's been done to death, but consider the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One day into the mass power outage in New Orleans and residents were staring into television cameras, telling the nation that their families were "starving". While I don't mean to be harsh, 24 hours without a Big Mac is not "starving". What was the solution? Loot the neighborhood Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Foot Locker. Not that it took a full twenty-four hours for the looting to begin. Heaven forbid you wait that long. I'm not picking on New Orleans. Similar scenes have played out in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Miami.

There are occupants of the United States who have become so removed from the actual source and production of their daily food that they simply take for granted that it will always be there and available on demand 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They have no understanding of how food is grown, harvested, or prepared and they certainly don't consider or worry themselves with how food is supplied.

Prepping or as my Grandparents called it "everyday life"

I find it somewhat amusing or odd that that modern "prepper" movement has, at its core, the encouragement of storing ample food supplies at home. That's not a negative or bad thing it's just strange to me that humans have to be taught to keep food at home.

I'm old enough to remember my mother and grandmothers stocking the pantry or fruit cellars. When I was a kid every house was built with a little room off the kitchen called a pantry. If you didn't have a pantry you had a fruit cellar. This area is where you stored an ample supply of dry goods and canned food.

Every spring my mother planted a garden and every summer and fall she would be in the kitchen with jars and lids canning food. No, we weren't self sufficient; we didn't live out in the middle of nowhere on an Amish farm. I grew up in Detroit. And yes, we went to the grocery store each week.

Having a garden, canning food, and storing bulk food in the pantry, was just something you did. It wasn't crazy or subversive or some weird doomsday scenario, it was just part of life. Our parents, grandparents, et al. simply understood that it was the responsibility of the father and mother to keep the larder stocked.

Sure there were lean times. There were days when we kids hoped my mom would run out of canned lima beans or the meal consisted of a strange combination of what was in the pantry that needed to be eaten before it went bad. However, I can't recall a single instance of my parents rioting because the McDonald's was closed.

I remember one Michigan winter in the 1970's when the blizzard was so severe we didn't go to school for a week. We didn't leave the house for a week except to go out and build snow forts. Yet somehow my parents fed us. No, the government didn't airlift food into Roseville, Michigan either.

Giving a Man a Fish

Whether by design or just an outgrowth of twisted policies and plans, far too many of the current occupants of the United States do not see their daily food supply as their responsibility. Slowly but surely, over generations, too many families have abdicated the daily quest for this most basic of human needs to a faceless government bureaucracy.

As a nation we saw unprecedented growth and prosperity after World War II. We grew more food than our nation could consume and soon were providing it to many other nations. Unlike our grandparents and great grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, modern generations came to expect that food in abundance was not only always available, but somehow a given. Food was not a consideration that needed to be worried about.

Citizens of the United States are compassionate and not wanting anyone to go without, we simply nodded our heads and moved on with our lives as the Federal Government took a greater and greater role in providing food for the masses through subsidies provided by our tax dollars.

Year after year, generation after generation, more people have come to expect that the food they require for daily living is simply manna from the sky. All they have to do is wake up each day and collect it. It has become a right, an absolute, something that is owed to you by your government and by default your neighbor.

The Problem with Compassion

The government food program is all well and good and life is fine until some event threatens the daily manna. A power outage, a storm, civil unrest or any occurrence that threatens the supply of free food sends the modern zombies into a panic.

Never having learned to maintain their own supplies or prepare for their own survival the zombies strike out wildly. The problem that you, the citizen, must contend with is that once cut off from their daily government manna the zombies will look to other sources to feed. Like locust that cannot be contained they will swarm over the landscape leaving utter destruction in their path.

I bore witness to the chaos and mass destruction inflicted upon the Greater New Orleans area during the disaster following Hurricane Katrina. I saw the burned out buildings and cars and destruction left in the wake of those cut off from 24 hour McDonalds and Taco Bell. Many of the good citizens who held out their hands to feed the needy instead had that hand bitten off.

The Solution?

What is the answer? That is for each and every citizen to decide for themselves. Step one is self-examination. If you woke up in the morning and all the stores were closed could you feed your family with what is in your home? Is your pantry bare? How many days could you live without a trip to the grocery store; three days, a week, two weeks? Do your kids understand how to grow, harvest and store food or do they too view it as manna to be collected from the ground?

A modern philosopher, GI Joe, once offered that knowing is half the battle. Knowing or, more appropriately, understanding that not every occupant of this nation had the forethought and conscience to provide for themselves and their minions; you must consider your own options for the safety and security of your family. The zombies are already here and walking amongst us and your brains are high on their menu. 

Paul Markel 2012