Ideals are Peaceful, History is Violent

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At some point in your prepping journey you will need to think about Security and for many of us, these are the first thoughts that trigger an initial investigation into the world of prepping. Security in the context of prepping, from my stand-point encompasses your safety in a possibly unsafe world. Security is a broad topic that covers a lot of territory and seems to work itself into most aspects of life in one form or other in the grid-down hypothetical context and there is no shortage of debate when you start digging into the details, opinions and recommendations.

Security from the standpoint of your home deals with keeping you safe from people trying to get into your home. Security in a bug out scenario usually gets into threats from those who might try to harm you when you are out of the relative safety of any structure. Security is almost always focused on the threat of humans to your safety, but there are those who downplay any threat at all or who recommend a different tactic of running away as a solution.

My articles in the Prepper Journal have a definite slant towards using firearms as defensive options and I know that is anathema to some of you. There are people who simply do not believe that firearms should be allowed anywhere. There are others who believe that only the military or the police should have weapons. There are still others that believe you will surely die if weapons are involved because you are an idiot with no training so you should swim out to sea to avoid confrontation at all costs. All of these positions seem to me to ignore history completely and put preppers at a disadvantage that could end up killing your family more quickly than if you had taken the opposite tract and understood that the world is full of evil and evil rarely goes down without a fight. Some advocate our only hope is to pack up everything we have and move thousands of miles away. To me that is an incredibly naive position that assumes everyone has the resources and capabilities as they do.


Illusion Busting: The world is not a peaceful place

Can’t we all just get along? The immortal words of Rodney King still come to my mind when we talk about defending ourselves from violence. Sure, it would be great if everyone in the world settled their differences with calm reasoned debate and plenty of compromise, warm hugs and thank you cards, but that is pure fantasy. Today, when we have agreements and compromise, they really only have a chance of forming or lasting because there is some societal order. When consequences of a legal system for your actions are a clear possibility, people try harder to get along. When people are safe to complain about how you are acting without fear they will be injured, you play nice. Take that societal structure of safety away and we return to a more primitive style of handling things.

Ideals are Peaceful, History is Violent - The Prepper Journal

Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.

I recently watched the movie Fury. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is set during the end of WWII. Without getting into too many details, the main character; a battle hardened tank commander, is trying to get his fresh-faced new private to see the reality of war. When everything the new guy sees around him is so completely different from the world he grew up in, he shuts down and actually wishes to die rather than face the ugly reality of war. The commander says “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent” as a way of communicating the reality of their present situation. War is hell and people die. Bad guys will try to kill you and there isn’t any getting along right now. You can’t simply refuse to kill the enemy, because if you don’t kill them, they will surely kill you.

For what it’s worth, if you like war movies, Fury is a good one, but the line that apparently was Ad-libbed by Brad Pitt struck me as a poignant reminder of two things. First, that I prepare for bad times because history has a way of repeating itself. I think it is foolish to expect the best forever and always and I have millions of events on my side to back that precaution up. We have had it far too good for far too long. The second thing is that during history, we have seen as humans one heck of a lot of violence. That is our nature and violence is to be expected in certain situations. If there ever was a time to expect violence it is if the grid goes down or TEOTWAWKI happens.

Why is planning to avoid confrontation a losing strategy in the long run

I understand that due to location or background, some people are unable to own firearms. I understand that the average civilian with little training is no match for an organized group of mercenaries. I completely agree that a single person with a gun is not going to last for long in an Alamo stand against a mob of people intent on getting in. That is not the point of this article.


The point of this article is to try to convey to you that if you don’t plan for violence you may not be able to do anything about it. Could you die during the course of defending your life? Of course you could, but we all die eventually. I am not saying you should go out in a hail of bullets, but I am saying if you want to have a chance in a violent world, you should consider leveling the playing field. Sure, you might not win that gun-fight, but you definitely won’t win if you are hiding in the closet holding a bat when the bad guys with guns kick in the door.

Running away from a fight is a short-term strategy. If you can run away from a gun fight I think that is the wisest move you can make, but what if you can’t? What if you can no longer run? What if there is nowhere left to run? What if you sail out to sea thinking you are the smartest person in the world and pirates come and take over your boat because they out gun you? When your wife is getting raped on the floor in front of you, will you wish you had been able to at least try to defend her then?

I know this post may offend some of you and I won’t win over those who will say “I would rather die than live in a world like that”. There are some who simply disagree and that too is human nature. Some of you would rather die than try to defend your life and sadly, I think that is what will happen. But if that is your attitude, why are you prepping at all?

At a recent gun show I attended I was struck with how much the attendance had grown over the years. 10 years ago we might have had 2 gun shows a year in my town, now it is more like 7. Each show is more packed and I marveled at how full the parking lot was as I pulled in this time. People everywhere seem to sense that the echoes of history are sounding again and as it has been innumerable times in the past, it will likely be violent to some degree. I have said before that prepping is pro-life because I believe anyone who is prepping wants to live. They want to see their children grow up, get married and have grandchildren. We all want peace and to be able to get along, but there has always been and will always be those who are intent on killing and destroying.Unless you want to die, wouldn’t you prepare to fight violence? Wouldn’t you plan for the necessity of violence as a potential way of defending your life?

We prepare for those types of people if we want to survive.

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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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Pat, Its really sad to think how many could perish for principles if a major event ever occurs. When the S really hits the fan, I have no delusions of ‘moral high ground.’ My first mission is to stay alive to ensure I can work on accomplishing my second mission, keeping my people alive. I’m a firm believer that true survival in a wild west environment will require people capable of mentally putting away ‘right and wrong,’ and focusing on what it takes to live. We don’t have to be proud of how we survived the event, but if we… Read more »

Pat Henry

I fully expect things to get ugly but I don’t know how they will turn out. I don’t know how I will fare with my own family, but I know I want to have a choice.

S. Cullen

I use to do various lectures or talks to various groups on crime prevention and safety programs. I usually would be asked by someone in the audience my “thoughts” on the average citizen owning a gun. This is what I would do when asked this question…. I would deflect the question away from a yes or no answer usually by spending a few seconds at “well owning a gun can be a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s not really something that should be considered simply by a yes or no answer for most citizens”…. Then I’d fire… Read more »

Pat Henry

That is a good point Steve. I guess my article was trying to get people to ask themselves that question now not when their life is on the line.

S. Cullen

It would always come up at some point in time when I was giving talks…
So I’d got use to it being asked and wanted to see if I could use their hesitation as being able to demonstrate what it would be like if they had to make that decision.
Obviously I couldn’t put them in a shoot or no shoot situation, so that was the closest or best way I could get my point across…
Seemed to work at least for them (my audience) to ponder the question….


I think your a bit broad when it comes to killing another person. I would not kill a person to just kill a person, however if you pulled a knife on me in the Walmart parking lot I would just execute the failure drill to drop you. You have to make the scenario a bit more specific. Defending hearth and home is something most people will do, shooting somebody for the last can of chicken noodle soup should cause you to think a bit. On the contrary I encoruage the hesitant members of my group to shoot and acquire firearms.… Read more »


So. I thought about whether I wanted to tell a story in a public forum (don’t kid yourself, it’s public) but I think it’s relevant. This is not a discussion about firearms, this is the story about what it is to be a primate. Here it is: A while ago, I found out what I was capable of. I was in a heated debate about the most cerebral of things – a work of literature – of all things! My very dear friend (who, I thank the moon and the stars is still my good friend) grabbed my wrist -HARD-… Read more »

Pat Henry

I want to be at the next book club Elizabeth is in!! What was the book? War and Peace? Tiger Mother? All joking aside, I completely agree that we can all go primal when we need to, it is hard-wired into our brains and even though we have done our level best to civilize ourselves over the centuries, with the right stimulus that innate behavior can burst to the surface. The most logical reason for that is self-defense or self-preservation. It is one of the reasons why I always try to consider and reflect on how dangerous people will be… Read more »


uh, truth? ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott. …LOL, what an irony!

S. Cullen

I function a bit differently, partly because of my training and my experiences. I’ve been in several situations where I’ve engaged in gunfire as well as holding my firing including being about 2 feet from an individual who had a 2″ snub nose revolver pointed at me and I had my weapon pointed at him. He was sitting in his car and I was at the driver side door. In that case, looking back even if I shot him first more than likely he would have shot his gun either in return or as a result of being hit by… Read more »


Mind if I ask what part of the country your from?

S. Cullen

LOL…do you really want to know?????


I would like to know, I think the region your from determines what kind of prepper you are and the tendencies one has. Experience and age also tend to mold people and turn them into what they are as you have stated.

S. Cullen

LWJ… I agree with you to a point…local/region etc…or geographically that is… However, as far as what makes me tick is more based on my personal experiences…much more based on my personal experiences… I could highlight some of them, but that’s not the purpose of this discussion. But I’ll simply say, most of the people out there probably haven’t experienced things that I have experienced in my life. I’ve seem to have this wonderful ability to be in the wrong place at the right time. I’ve got or had very good friends who know or knew me very very well… Read more »


I felt the same way last weekend about the wrong place and the wrong time Coyote hunting…..

S. Cullen

Like I said, for me it was more based on experiences, near misses, and just more or less living the life on somewhat of the wild side/fast lane of life, ingrained me t think in the terms of survival and survival is what prepping is all about….”preparing for any event, circumstance or activity that may pose a threat, and in doing so one is able to survive that threat….” So it’s the act or action more than location….. I’ve lived in a number of places and one had it’s difficulties which required the ability not to become “a victim” to… Read more »

Lawrence Black

Great story. I’m happy to hear you two are still friends. (I’ll bet he no longer harbors any notions about the “weaker sex”) Your “override”, as you call it, is precisely the reason why those of us who make the decision to acquire arms train as much as we do. There is a slogan: “You do what you train.” If you have dedicated enough time and effort so that your training becomes nearly “2nd nature”, it gives you an additional layer of CONTROLLED REACTION between your civilized self and your “primate” self. Everyone should have some training, whether with firearms… Read more »


Hey Lawrence, good points that I certainly will take to heart.


I dont think this post has helped me. My issue is that I cant posess or own a firearm.What is one to do when it comes to protecting your family?


In situations like these, I believe you have a right and natural duty to protect yourself and your family regardless of what man made laws are in place. If you have committed crimes in the past that prevent legal ownership then I suggest you ensure you fly right from now on – also the advice I offer to any gun owner. We’re not Charles Bronson out for vengeance. Know though that you run the risk of being punished by man’s laws. And as for procuring a firearm, thousands change hands everyday. All it takes is some ingenuity.

Pat Henry

What about a crossbow?


I have that on my to do list. They just just cost so darn much. And theyre bulky but the more u pay the better they are and the more compact they are. How will they fare in close combat? The reload is much slower but maybe i could get better with practice.Hardening my home has given me more peace but having a long range weapon has been on my heart big time. I wiZll figure this out thanks guys.


Yes you are correct an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A gallon if sweat is worth a pint of blood and you fight like you train. Part of the nice thing about where I live is that it is a very polite place. Then again having more guns per capita tends to do that.

S. Cullen

Well my background was 26 years in la enforcement and I spent the majority of my time working in the Miami area in a variety of capacities…
Also spent some time up in the Boston area back in the days when the Bulger gang was running strong…
So that’s the short version of why I am the way I am…
Now I’m in a very very rural location of more or less “peace and quiet”….
But haven’t gotten away from my training…..


very interesting and informative,S.Cullen. Why don’t you start writing your own blog? Share your knowledge with others.

mike day

To who this may concern Life or death yours or your loved ones ,few people can do the unthinkable . Sheep or sheepdog again few people can be the sheep dog .The only true way for the sheep type people to choose to live is the sheep needs to have something to live for.So with that said it really should be why would you need to kill and I have used this simple way to explain to the sheep why they must be able to kill and it is so they will live and evil does not . Evil is… Read more »


Not germane to your article (which is spot-on, from this former police officer/40 year prepper who advised _all_ of the people on his beat to be armed and get training, especially the women – this was San Diego in the eighties), did you notice the colleen on the left is holding an AR-18 or AR180 (can’t see the selector lever to tell which)? As the owner of a Sterling-made 180, it tickled me to see what was a fairly common weapon in Ireland a few years back.

Pat Henry

Thanks for the comment and compliments RegT! I honestly didn’t notice until you mentioned it. I choose photographs for many different reasons for the articles and glossed over that point. There is a good article on the 180 here

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