One lesson we’ve all learned over the past few weeks is to be prepared.

Living in the country, where extended power failures have reinforced the necessity of self-reliance at times, has taught us that it’s too late to prepare when everyone else is panic-buying basic essentials.

Just try to buy a power generator when the power is out for more than one day. But, toilet paper? Really?

The good news is that gasoline prices have plummeted to levels we haven’t seen in years — just when millions of Americans have been ordered to “shelter in place.”

And, in this fluid environment, nobody can predict what the future holds or when things will return to normal — whatever that may become.

We’ve learned that there are enough individuals among us to foster panic buying through selfish, opportunistic behavior leaving no doubt as to their lack of respect for their fellow man.

As I walked the isles of the local supermarket, the blank, straight-ahead looks of fellow shoppers were the norm, as if eye contact could spread germs.

Having enough ammo for self-defense and hunting is a good idea for times like these. It sure doesn’t make sense to stock up now when demand is high and supply is low. And, those of us who rely on hunting skills to stock the freezer are better off than those waiting for the next shipment of mystery meat from the market.

There’s little nutritional value in a bar of gold and even William Devine may now be willing to trade what’s in his safe.

What do we really need to survive any length of time when trouble arrives? Typically, a few weeks of necessities will get us through, but with civil unrest a definite possibility in this crisis, how much of anything is enough? There is no need to appeal to anyone’s sense of brotherhood, when they are over-buying supplies, because they are in the act of preparing to capitalize on the other guy.

The only solution is to learn from this experience by taking inventory of what your family’s needs are. As things begin to normalize, the market will have met demand, much like it has done with the rimfire ammo shortages of a few years ago.

Today there are more types of the popular ammo than ever before — that is, before the current version of hoarding began.

As this normalization occurs, it will be time to build up your own personal reserves, as only you can define them.

Rest assured, there will be more troubling times ahead, be they weather-related or otherwise. Lessons learned today will only be lessons if we act on them.

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