Thursday, July 16, 2009

Survivalism in the Valley of Hell

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There was an article recently in the Valley's stodgy old rag, The Arizona Republic, that focused on some local residents who are preparing for Armageddon, locusts, the gummint coming to take their guns, a collapsing economy, and/or a multitude of other paranoid wet dreams. You know these guys (and gals) - the ones who are bitterly disappointed that Y2K never happened, Obama hasn't tried to repeal the Second Amendment, or what in the hell happened to the Rapture anyway! They don't know what the crisis will be, but, by God, when it comes they will be ready - and their neighbors can go suck on a gas pipe because these guys ain't helping nobody!

The Republic interviewed several of these people, citing examples of survivalist ingenuity. Some of their ideas were practical and made sense, but many were less realistic.

Most were planting gardens - itself a major challenge in the desert environment. A big secret out here is that water is embarrassingly cheap. (My bill was $28.00 last month, and that was with automatic sprinklers!) So gardens actually make sense - fresh veggies with no preservatives.

One young man who has planted a twelve-row, 384-foot-garden, said that he is now thinking about branching out into pygmy goats or chickens. Chickens are good for keeping the ticks down, but Arizona has no ticks. Chickens won't lay eggs in the heat, and it would take a major effort just to keep them alive. There are good reasons that you seldom see any poultry in this awful desert.

And pygmy goats? I've raised pygmy goats, so I know that of which I speak. A grown pygmy goat has less meat on its bones than an adolescent squirrel. Little goats like to do things their way. If you have five acres of tall weeds with one fifty dollar rosebush hidden out in the middle, they will head straight for the rosebush. They will eat holes in feed sacks and grain bins, and just one little goat would wreak havoc on that 384-square-foot garden!

The same guy also talked about setting up solar panels for electricity - a good idea, but almost all of the housing associations out here won't allow them because they don't like the way they look. He also discussed installing a rainwater collection system. I have been here two years, and the amount of rain I have seen wouldn't fill a mop bucket!

And, of course, preparing for the worst is an excellent excuse to stockpile guns and ammo. My guess is that the survivalists aren't really that worried about the need to combat violence, rather they are salivating in anticipation of having a good excuse to shoot their liberal neighbors!

Not every survivalist is a whack job, though many are. There is something positive to be said for the back-to-nature movement, primarily healthier food and living, and conservation measures. But there are a lot of people out there making money off of the paranoids. Army surplus stores are doing a bang-up business, as are the gun shops and gun shows.

Not everyone will be content to stockpile forever, however, and that is worrisome. If the much anticipated disaster fails to materialize, will a dangerous few harken back to the bravado of George Bush and and decide to "bring it on"?

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