I hear it all the time and when I do I just want to pull my hair out. “If there ever was a nuclear war I wouldn’t want to survive” or “If we were ever attacked I hope I die in the first wave” among others are the kind of statements I hear even from other preppers.
These kinds of statements frustrate me to my core. I am always torn between disgust, disbelief and anger. I typically respond with some smart-aleck answer like “So if we were on a cruise ship and it started to take on water and they declared an emergency you wouldn’t want a life vest? You would prefer if someone just killed you quick?” They would then respond with a hesitant answer like “Well no… I guess if it looked like we weren’t going to get rescued I just don’t want to suffer.”
Well la-de-frickin-da! Imagine that, you don’t want to suffer. Welcome to the human condition. So what they are saying is that they are not willing to fight for survival. They would just rather die than try because it might be hard. I haven’t met someone yet who thinks this way that has been able to articulate their position to me in a way that I think makes sense. I understand there are different kinds of people in this world but some people have the will to live while others do not. Are their lives less important? No of course not. I just think they are either mentally weak or they have so much fear that they aren’t willing to deal with reality.
Of course the truth is that none of us knows what we are capable of or how we would respond until something actually happens. Perhaps some of these same people when placed in an impossible situation will rise to the occasion. I certainly have seen the opposite in some who have acted tough and talked a good game completely fold when the pressure when a bad situation came crashing down.
I aim to be one of those people that will fight tooth and nail to the bitter end to do everything I can to live and survive regardless of the situation but I understand that not everyone feels the same way. It was with one of these individuals that didn’t want to live in a post-apocalyptic world or hoped they didn’t survive to see one, that I got a chance to talk to recently. It was at a company picnic and the subject of politics came up and the claim was made that with the way things were going, the US would be in a nuclear war before the end of the year. It was at this point that a man named Steve made a comment about not wanting to live through a nuclear war. Of course, I’m the kind of person when I see a button I can’t help but want to press it. I just couldn’t help myself, so I asked him “What if you did? What if there was a big nasty nuclear war and you and your family found yourselves in a small but well stocked shelter. After a couple weeks when it was safe, you come out to find out that you have lost everything and there is no one coming to help you… ever. You were one of the lucky ones, you survived but you are now on your own. What then?”
Steve’s face went blank as he looked at the ground with a wide-eyed stare. “I don’t know” he responded after a few short moments. He then added “I don’t know what the point to surviving is if there is nothing left. It sounds like we would just be waiting to die.” Waiting to die. I suppose one could argue that we are all waiting to die. It is just some of us have longer to wait than others. How soft have we become as a society that if we were left to fend for ourselves that we no longer saw any point to living.
At this point, the conversation changed subjects but I couldn’t help but hear his response ‘waiting to die’ ring in my ears. I sincerely felt bad for Steve that he couldn’t see the value of living even if times would get tough, and I do believe that times will get tough. I then asked myself what I would do or how I would handle the situation if my family and I managed to survive some horrible event and someone with Steve’s attitude was there? I can’t help but think that this kind of person may be the most dangerous person in the group. On the surface, they would seem like they wanted help but in reality, they would just be a constant drain on everyone else, both mentally and on resources. They wouldn’t necessarily be suicidal but they wouldn’t be thinking of the good of the group and long term survival. Their decisions would likely seem benevolent on the surface but would actually be selfish and lazy. If they were in a group of survivors, they would likely split the group if a decision needed to be made that would cause them to be uncomfortable or require them to endure for a period of time. They would likely choose the easier of the two options assuming someone or something would come to their rescue which would cause a serious waste of life and resources.
Since the only way to know for sure what would happen in a situation like this is to actually go through one, the only way to prepare for it is to have a plan and decide now what I would do. Just like you need to have a plan of action and know your emergency exits and evacuation routes before there is an emergency, the only way to handle a situation like this is to plan ahead of time.
I do consider myself a religious man and believe that morals and standards are even more important in times of chaos and when there wouldn’t necessarily be a societal consequence. Rather than have someone argue with me what the right choice would be while in the situation I choose to know ahead of time, to have already decided and to stand by my convictions rather than be swayed in the confusion of the moment.
Are you like Steve or have someone like that in your family? What would you do if you were in a situation where you survived a collapse of the government or of a war? Perhaps an EMP hits and you are thrust back to the same technology era of the 1800’s. Could you survive? Would you want to? The will to live does not run as equally strong in everyone. How would you motivate yourself or others you care about to continue on?