As a Military Intelligence officer I generally cringe when anyone uses the term ‘Oxymoron’ because it’s usually followed by a moronic statement that disparages the noble and honorable profession of Military Intelligence. Before we look at the Top 10 Preparedness Oxymorons let’s review the definition of an oxymoron and some non-preparedness examples:
Oxymoron: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements
Some additional examples of oxymorons from the folks over at www.oxymoronlist.com include: anarchy rules, abundant poverty, border control, centrally planned economy, congressional accountability, free rent, great depression, government efficiency, honest politician, politically correct, United Nations, withheld contribution, zero deficit and my favorite… communist party (Stalin, Tito and Mao were probably more effective as boogie-men than at boogieing down).
We generate and perpetuate our own oxymorons in the preparedness movement and media…here are the Top 10 Preparedness Oxymorons:
- Completely Safe: Because nothing is. Just because ‘completely safe’ isn’t possible doesn’t mean that our society and each successive layer of our government isn’t trying to protect us from everything… up to and including our own decisions. Roll yourselves in bubble wrap; never go outside; don’t try anything new, novel, or heaven forbid…dangerous and you are guaranteed not to grow as a person or a prepper…and you won’t enjoy life much for that matter.
- Totally Prepared: No such thing. That’s why we discuss preparedness as a journey to a destination that can’t be reached…doesn’t mean that the journey isn’t useful, important, necessary, interesting or potentially life saving.
- Disaster Preparedness: Hey, it isn’t such a disaster if you’re prepared…right!
- Crisis Ready: See Totally Prepared above.
- Total Security: Also unbreakable security, complete security, impenetrable security. You must do the best with what you have right now…then keep improving. Improve your tools, knowledge, skills, network of like minded folks and most importantly mindset. Knowing that something can happen leads you to develop ways to keep it from happening.
- Self Reliant: I strive every day to become more self reliant but like preparedness…it’s a journey to an unreachable destination…but what a journey!
- Good OPSEC: Military technical shorthand for “Effective Operational Security.” OPSEC briefings and awareness campaigns are used to remind servicemembers to keep the military secrets they know to themselves. The problem is that as soon as you share a secret with someone else it’s only a matter of time before your ‘good OPSEC…isn’t. The more people who you share your preparedness secrets with the quicker your secret…isn’t. So, keep your preps to yourself and a very, very small group of confidants who are along for the ride on your journey towards preparedness and self reliance.
- Doomsday Ready: See Totally Prepared.
- Long Term Wilderness Survival: I love it when a guy tells me he’ll strap on his backpack and head for the hills to live off the land when society begins to break down…anyone who thinks that they can survive by themselves in a wilderness setting is traveling with a fool. I love those survival shows where guys with names like Bear, Cody, Les & Dave try to keep themselves healthy and fed for a week or so out in the wilderness. Usually by the end of the week the experts are weak, half starved and often sick. Now imagine what happens in the second week, the third and the twenty-third. Sooner or later you’ll have an accident, get sick run or run into crazed, banjo playing hillbillies. For a great book on wilderness living (with a periodic lifeline to civilization) read Dick Proenneke’s book One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey and check out the footage Proenneke filmed on PBS or here.
- Ultimate Bug-out Vehicle: Unless you have a crystal ball and know the future how can you know that your ‘ultimate bug-out vehicle’ (UBOV) is the right one for that particular peril or disaster? The UBOV for an EMP event will vary from the UBOV for a period of civil unrest or an earthquake or a nuclear attack or a food riot. Maybe the UBOV isn’t a vehicle at all…maybe you’ll need to walk out.
…and just so we’re clear…even though the terms in the list above are oxymorons doesn’t mean I’ll stop using them. Sometimes something a little moronic is all you’re likely to get out of me! Anyway, that’s my list…feel free to use the comments tool to add your own self reliance and preparedness oxymorons.