Leaving your Mark

People have been scratching in the dirt and painting on rock walls since the dawn of humanity. There are any number of reasons for doing so, and the rationale behind those rock paintings is still very much a mystery.

These days it seems that mark making is about often about branding. We identify our stuff, ideas, and selves with graphic avatars meant to communicate the whole enchilada within a passive glance. It's a truly universal practice, carried out by the world's most powerful nations and corporations to the most destitute street artists.

I've never "tagged" anything in my life - I swear. Growing up in Farmville, USA doesn't lend itself to that flavor of property destruction. With RECESS on my mind, I tag just about everything I make/own/and use with the symbol you see on this blog.

Why? Symbols can be incredibly important in a time of disaster or crisis. Here are a half dozen reasons I recommend you get one and stand behind it:

  1. Stability - Your mark can be a psychological focal point, centering force, and calm in the storm.
  2. Solidarity - Movements need symbols. They embody the group's message, and can be a powerful talisman for achieving your goals. Sports teams, conquering forces, and unions know this. If you want to build a community in your neighborhood, codify your shared ideals in a symbol unique to that community.
  3. Way finding/Organizing - A symbol can be a sign post, a cairn on the trail to salvation, or a code to suggest passage, safety, or danger.
  4. Hope - I think this point is clear.
  5. Visibility - Whether you are an a unified force of many, or an army of one, a symbol designed to represent and rally that force is a critical tool on and off the field of battle.
  6. Intimidation - Building on the comment above, the wide dissemination of a symbol as propaganda has tremendous potential for intimidation and intentional misinformation. This is particularly true if you are organizing a small community stockpile in a time of crisis - or operating alone.
Before you appropriate any random mark, think carefully about it. Select or draft a symbol that has significance to you. Mine should be fairly obvious. If you break it down you'll see the pool (lack of water), the bunker, a house (home), and a chevron (call to arms).

Make you mark and stand behind it. Own your brand, and own your ideas. Mark everything and get talking. Yes, that's what I said. People ask me about my mark and I tell them what it is and what it means to me. Those folks seem genuinely interested in my principals of preparedness, and I imagine most of them go on to live more vigilant, prepared lives following our brief conversations.

The people you'll need most on the day after tomorrow are all around you. Tell them what you believe in, and do it with conviction and honesty. If fear of persecution or ridicule is stopping us from communicating openly and sharing our ideas with friends, coworkers, and neighbors than maybe the world really will end. At the very least, this mentality (all too common on the prepper/survivalist literature I've read) is eroding the fabric of the communities we live in.

Would you honestly shoot someone for trying to farm your plot of bug-out land (as one blogger suggested)? If I caught someone farming, actually farming land that I owned in a time of critical need, I think I'd set down my shotgun and pick up a tool next to him. Yes, there will be hard decisions to make in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Senseless theft is an altogether different matter, but please don't shoot the farmer.

Would you really turn away a neighbor in a time of need - just because he/she didn't plan ahead? If that's true, than I imagine you believe they would do the same to you. Be accountable for that failure. Take control and possibly prevent that situation today. Be a better neighbor. Talk to your neighbors about preparedness. Help them to prepare; help the whole block. Not everyone will get on board, but you'll have far less to worry about once you know that most the people around you have got your back.

People evangelize much more obscure and controversial topics. Why not this? The mark you leave is of your own making. Do you want to be branded a "wacko" or part of "the lunatic fringe," or would you rather be known as the person who started the neighborhood watch, or talked everyone on the block into investing in a rain barrel? I'll be discussing my community action plans in a series of upcoming posts - stay tuned.