During long-term large scale disasters, where sustainability is critical, good morale is absolutely critical for survival success. Being able to comfort people and children in crises has always been a natural ability (gift) for most women, and if I am being honest, is lacking in many men. In non-military ops, compassion can sometimes be more important than courage. In most families, the women are the ‘heart’ of the family and they have the intrinsic ability to wield compassion and love just as well as any sword. These important intrinsic abilities transcend ‘skills’, which can be learned by anyone, and they are what keep families as well as teams together.
Unfortunately, women in general are greatly underestimated by many men when it comes to their ability to learn how to handle survival and prepping matters. Too many men think that they need to align with the likes of ‘John J. Rambo’ in order to survive post-disaster chaos. From my chair that kind of thinking typifies a lack of experience leading to a failure in understanding what’s really needed in long-term survival. Far too many people think of disaster survival as some form of military operation; it’s not. Because of my own background as a sea captain and training in martial arts, some of my peers viewed me as a ‘hard-ass’, and while some men may think that’s cool, I found it to be a disadvantage as a team leader because people around me were hesitant to come to me with their problems and issues, and instead sought out others who seemed more approachable. I am not suggesting that men should stop being men; I am saying that most women have an advantage over men in this regard, and catching issues or problems early-on is very important.
Let’s examine why this is true:
First off, any Prepper or Survivalist that embraces combat as a ‘survival strategy’ is well off the mark, and people like this will make-up the bulk of post-disaster casualties. Combat of any type or for any reason significantly decreases your chances for survival. The superior strategy starts by ensuring that the chances for any combat are eliminated if possible. If this is not the case, then the strategy is flawed and must be re-worked. This doesn’t mean that conflict can’t happen; it does mean that the strategy minimizes the potential for combat, and thus provides enhanced odds for survival. More on this topic here.
Secondly, the most worrisome scenario for knowledgeable emergency managers, Preppers and Survivalists in long-term large-scale disasters. In such scenarios, sustainability is of paramount importance. Even in small family groups, maintaining good morale is just as important as the preps that are in place; if morale breaks down, preps can be meaningless. Morale is a function of how people are feeling, group psychology and compatibility.
In the 20th Century Fox movie ‘Flight of the Phoenix’, the morale of a small group of survivors was critical in constructing a new airplane from the parts of their crashed airplane, which would allow them to escape certain death in the Gobi dessert. And the group almost perished when two men who were critical to the success of the project were at odds, and neither person would back-down. The group was saved by someone who was not essential to the success of the project, but had enough common sense and humility to get everyone cooperating again.
When it comes to common sense, most women have most men beat, right out of the gate (sorry guys, it’s just a fact)… they mature emotionally at a much earlier age, which is why insurance actuaries will give much lower car insurance rates to female drivers ages 16-25 years of age as opposed to males of the same age group. It just a fact… most women have a lot of good old fashioned common horse sense.
Generally speaking, men are much quicker to anger and to engage in combat as opposed to women, who generally would rather work things out. In military ops this lack of hesitancy to engage the enemy is of great value to commanders, however, disaster preparedness is not such an endeavor. This trait in men is of course a function of the increased blood levels of the hormone testosterone in men as compared to women. Combat is always the last option, period, and most women seem to understand this without any coaching, books on Zen or Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’.
Shooting from the hip in most situations, almost always ends up with a less than optimal result. The reluctance to ‘shoot first’ and talk later should never be misconstrued as any form of weakness; in fact it demonstrates reasoning, logic and patience. Most martial arts instructors (myself included) teach students respect and to avoid conflict if at all possible, right up until its ‘go-time’. So having a woman in the decision-making process helps to buffer potential hostilities between people, both inside survival groups and with regard to any potential outside conflicts.
Women nonetheless can be effective if actually needed in combat given the proper training. There were two sisters who trained at my martial arts school, who were brown belts. They could hold their own against most men in their weight class, and would occasionally defeat ‘black-belts’ from other schools in competition.
In addition to having a working knowledge of our ship and navigation, my wife can shoot legitimate 6-inch groups with my .300 Winchester Magnum rifle at 500 yards; good enough to put meat on the table and to defend our vessel or homestead if that remote need should ever arise!
With a little training and experience, most women can be very effective hunters, fisherman, Preppers and Survivalists. Never underestimate a woman as a survival partner!
Cheers! Capt. Bill
Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.