Sunday, December 13, 2009

Be Careful Who You Listen To

A couple days ago, I was listening to a nationally syndicated radio talk show that was hosted by a fellow who gives investment advice to callers. One listener called in with a question about investing in gold, and that set off the host. His opinion was that gold, as he put it, "sucks" as an investment, and he went on to explain his way of thinking. He wrapped it all up by saying that people who invest in gold are the same ones who went nuts about Y2K and filled their basements with food storage, water, and a generator. And then, as if to strut in the pride of his wisdom, he proclaimed that he didn't own a generator and never would. It was a public slap in the face to all those who take steps toward personal emergency preparedness. And it was such a foolish statement to make, because I can almost guarantee that the radio station he works for has a backup generator so they can stay on the air when there is a power outage.

Now, I am not an investment advisor, so I can't, with any authority, tell people whether or not gold is the right investment vehicle for them. But I am a survival advisor with a lifetime of experience and training, and I am fully capable of helping people understand how to survive in urban or wilderness crisis. And I'm here to tell you that you need to be careful who you listen to about these matter. That guy on the radio was, to put it mildly, ignorant of the facts when it comes to matters of survival.

Maybe he has never experienced an ice storm that rips down the power lines and leaves entire regions without electricity for a week or more. Maybe he has never suffered a flood that contaminates the water supply; or an earthquake that destroys roads and buildings, eliminating any chance of going to a store for food. Maybe he's never passed through a personal economic crisis that left him eating from his supply of stored food until he could get back on his feet.

Bully for him, if he's never needed to use a personal emergency preparedness plan to help him through struggles in his own life. But it's both foolish and dangerous to promote the idea that those of us who take steps to mitigate a crisis in the future are "nut jobs." That is, in essence, what he was saying.

By taking personal responsibility for your own emergency preparedness, you take the pressure off of federal, state and local relief organizations that will come along later (who knows how much later) to help victims. If you can take care of yourself, and perhaps a few others in the neighborhood, you are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

The most patriotic and compassionate thing we can all do is become more self-reliant, but not just to benefit ourselves. We need to do this with an attitude that we will reach out and use what we have to help others in need.

Someday, that radio host might find himself in a position to need someone to help him. When that time comes, I hope someone does, and maybe that will open his eyes and help shift his attitude.

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