Quote(s) of the Day and a Book Review

Quote(s) of the Day and a Book Review

I’ve finished Neil Strauss’s Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life. Some more memorable quotes from it:

As I was standing around the fire one evening, cooking fish that an instructor had taught me how to gut, I found myself immersed in a conversation with the marines.

A younger marine, Luke, was speaking. He had close-cropped black hair, thin lips, and small, sparkling brown eyes. “This is going out on a limb, but I think there will be a revolution in America in the next hundred years.”

“Where’s it going to come from?” I asked.

“Me,” he said without smiling. He paused, then explained. “If you ask anyone in the military, they hate the government. They have all these rules that hold us back and put our lives in danger.”

“If we followed the rules of engagement,” an enormous older marine named Dave added, “We’d be dead.”

Cogito ergo armatum sum — I think, therefore I am armed.

Of course, now that I’m stockpiling, the first thing all my friends will probably do when there’s a disaster is run to my house.

I suppose they’ll make an excellent source of protein.

Why do I keep making these jokes? Is there a half-truth somewhere in there?

I used to fear being the eaten. Now I fear being the eater.

On the way to (EMT) class one night, I say a motorcycle lying on the shoulder of the highway with a man slumped next to it. Every car blew past, paying him no attention. I pulled onto the shoulder, called 911, unzipped my bugout bag, grabbed the emergency first-aid kit, and raced to his side. He wasn’t badly hurt, so I pressed a two-by-four-inch piece of gauze against his arm to stop the bleeding, then secured the gauze with a roller bandage while waiting for the paramedics

Something in me was beginning to change. I’d never stopped to help a stranger before. I’d always assumed someone else would do it – and better than I could.

Unlike what the survivalists, the PTs, Lord of the Flies and Sigmund Freud had led me to beleive, it seemed that tragedy also had the power to bring out the best in people. Not just the fire-fighters and police officers who worked around the clock. Not just the local businesses that brought truckloads of supplies for neither monetary nor marketing gain. But even the victims themselves tried their best to help one another.

They might have behaved differently if their lives were still in danger, resources were scarce, and they had to compete to survive. But once they were safe, it seemed that people’s first instinct was to look after one another and support their community. Maybe I needed to revise my Fliesian philosophy. If people were animals, then like most animals, they were essentially harmless most of the time – unless they felt threatened. That’s when they became vicious.

Strauss spends the first half of the book learning to be self-sufficient, independent, and above all, safe. But along the way, he learns an important lesson – surviving by yourself is a hell of a lot harder than surviving in a group. In attempting to “network,” he becomes a certified EMT, and joins the California Emergency Mobile Patrol. And he learns something else – something most “survivalists” I think, never do. I won’t quote the last few paragraphs of the book, because – well, just because.

Don’t buy the book expecting it to be a “how-to” manual for budding survivalists. It is not. It is the story of one man’s journey from milquetoast to self-sufficient individual, one not disconnected from the modern world, but enthusiastically a member of it, while still capable of surviving without it.

It was worth the price, and the time.

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