I've lived in many countries, by the way: Taiwan, Australia and Ecuador. I've traveled extensively throughout Asia, giving seminars in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. I've traveled across England, France, Spain and even Portugal. Spent quite a bit of time in Central America and South America. I speak decent Spanish and decent Chinese, so there's almost nowhere I go in the world that I can't speak to the local people in either English, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. I've seen extreme wealth, extreme poverty and extreme corruption in all its world flavors, and I've seen what corruption does to nations and its populations, first hand.
I don't claim to be a prophet of any kind, but today I'm a bit wiser, a bit more experienced and a bit less foolish than I was a few years ago, and I'd like to pass on whatever nuggets of wisdom might help you and your family prepare for the powerful global changes which have already begun to unfold.
Here, I share with you five powerful realizations you need to keep in mind when considering where to locate (or relocate) before the collapse becomes a reality. (Time is growing short, so read up...)
For starters, there is a universal truth you must accept if you hope to make a truly wise decision about where to locate: Corruption is everywhere.
Realization #1 - Corruption is far worse outside the USAIf you think the USA is corrupt, you should try living in Peru, or Bolivia, or Panama. And if you think that's corrupt, head over to Haiti for a double heaping serving of corruption.
Yes, we may all legitimately complain about the USA, but from what I've seen everywhere around the world, the United States is still less corrupt than most places in the world. Yes, there are bad apples everywhere throughout local police, federal FBI agents and even the court system, but for every bad apple there are probably three times as many honorable people who are truly just trying to do their jobs.
In years past, I served in a non-profit support role, the local police in Tucson, Arizona, and I came to know them as some of the most upstanding, honorable peace officers I've ever met. Yes, they had a history of outrageous corruption (which you'll find in every police force from time to time), but they rooted out that corruption and restored integrity to their operation. You'll find the same dedication to honest public service all across the nation, even if there is a little corruption that normally goes along with it.
So don't make the mistake of thinking you can escape corruption by leaving the USA. You are actually likely to discover MORE corruption elsewhere. For example, in Ecuador, where I lived for two years and held a local driver's license, it wasn't unusual for me to be stopped at an armed military roadblock and asked questions. These were staffed with soldiers carrying what appeared to be variants of the standard U.S. issue M4 rifles (AR-15 in the civilian editions). They never gave me any trouble, it turns out. They asked a couple of questions and looked at my documentation, then waved me through.
In fact, I had many friends in law enforcement in Ecuador, and I spoke with them regularly. Sure, they were a little corrupt, but not in an over-the-top criminal way like we see with the FBI in the United States actually masterminding terrorist plots and then magically "discovering" those plots just in time to halt them (http://www.naturalnews.com/034325_F...).
Costa Rica has been described as a "police state" by numerous people who have visited or even lived there. Yes, the country if a beautiful paradise in terms of climate, and it is perhaps the most socially advanced nation in Central and South America, but like all such nations, it has a socialist police state mentality.
South Americans love socialism, it turns out. And this has everything to do with preparedness...
Realization #2 - Many cultures do not practice long-term preparedness thinkingIn observing all this first hand, I've come to the conclusion that the embracing of socialism throughout South America is the result of cultural short-term thinking.
For example, throughout South America, people often buy prescription medicines one pill at a time. They buy a bag of twenty screws from the hardware store, then return to the store after they run out to buy another twenty. This is often infuriating to the "gringos" who are trying to build a house, for example, because they operate with the idea that you should just buy 5,000 screws all at once and have plenty to get the job done. I can assure you from first-hand experience that such a concept is completely alien to a great many South Americans (most notably in rural areas).
I make no judgments about this, by the way. There are pros and cons on both sides of this equation. But in my experience living in Ecuador, finding people engaged in preparedness planning was virtually impossible unless they were of European descent. For example, rural Ecuadorians often buy a small baggy of spices in a quantity for cooking one meal. And in doing this kind of thing, they nickel-and-dime themselves into actually losing money because they don't take advantage of the purchasing efficiencies realized through long-term planning. The idea, for example, of buying large quantities of facial tissue at a Costco or Sam's Club is completely foreign to most South American cultures (more so in rural areas than urban). Even if they might save 40% from buying in bulk, their cultural tendency is to buy one tissue box at a time, paying a much higher overall price over time.
This concept is also reinforced by the very heavy reliance on state-run lotteries throughout South America. In any nation, high participation in lotteries is a powerful demonstration that a culture lacks the cognitive coherence necessary for intelligent financial planning. You see this heavily reflected throughout Peru and Brazil, by the way. You'll even find this in many poorer areas of rural USA where the lack of mathematics education (and, perhaps, an irrational belief in luck) motivates many people to hand over their money to the state. That's why the mathematically inclined call the lottery "a tax on people who can't do math."
There is, of course, an interesting up-side to short-term thinking, because the very same phenomenon might also be called "living in the moment." Some in the new age movement call it "the power of NOW." South Americans know all about the power of NOW, as you'll clearly see on a Sunday morning when driving your car down the road, weaving around drunken citizens sleeping in the ditches, sometimes still clutching an empty bottle of sugar cane alcohol. The night before, they all lived in "the now," you see, and they weren't necessarily thinking about the hangover implications that would inevitably arrive the next morning.
You see, to actually get anything done in society, you have to live at least a little bit in the future.
On the food production front, by the way, it is extremely difficult to buy a John Deere tractor in many Central and South American nations. Much of the food production there is still done by hand (not as much in Brazil, of course, where agricultural mechanization is in full swing...).
In Texas, by comparison, John Deere tractors are available everywhere. More importantly, there are lots of people who know how to fix 'em. Given that a tractor is one of the most fundamental work multipliers in agriculture, if you hope to survive the coming collapse, you need a reliable tractor on your land in a community that's familiar with tractors, and you need a few hundred gallons of stored diesel fuel to power it through the disruptions. It's no exaggeration to say that one gallon of diesel fuel can replace the labor of twelve men working twelve hours. It's a powerful force multiplier if you own the right hardware.
If you get a tractor, by the way, avoid all those more recent John Deere tractors which are fifty percent electronics and plastic. Buy the old ones, made out of iron and grit, because they're the only ones that will still operate after an electromagnetic pulse attack, in case you were wondering.
Climate reveals a lot about the planning tendencies of any cultureGetting back to the preparedness mentality of different cultures, climate shapes cultural tendencies, too. The climate in Central and South America is so much more amenable to easy food production (except at very high altitudes) that there really isn't a cultural impulse to engage in behaviors such as "storing food to survive the winter." With food literally falling off the trees year-round in places like Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, generations after generations of people there have settled into a rhythm of day-to-day living with relatively little planning. The very best preparedness planners, not surprisingly, are people whose ancestors survived harsh climates and brutal winters.
A lack of planning in South American culture is also evident in the surprising lack of family planning you'll find there, where it's not unusual to find women with four, six or even ten children, none of which seems to own a decent pair of shoes. It makes you seriously wonder about the "thinking ahead" portions of the brain and why they have not been activated in some people. There is a part of the brain -- the future planning part -- that can imagine a particular future emerging as a result of today's actions and then use that imagined future to reshape today's actions in order to improve the future (which eventually becomes the NOW, of course, as you've no doubt noticed). People who are cognitively skilled at this process are, by definition, good planners. They tend to have better outcomes in life. Those who are poor at this skill, for whatever reason, tend to have poorer outcomes in life.
Women's rights advocacy groups correctly point out that a lack of family planning among women usually stems from a cultural devaluing of the female, which then leads to a chronic lack of women's education, subsequently correlated to startlingly high birth rates. The best way to reduce birth rates in developing nations, it turns out, is to either build more schools or just go the Bill Gates route and vaccinate everyone into a state of total infertility. (If you're an evil globalist, it's so much easier to just inject women than educate them...)
Why does all this matter? I've learned over the last few years that the best place to be in a collapse scenario is living around a bunch of other people who are also prepared because they are long-term thinkers and planners. You might want to live in a Mormon community, in other words, as they are typically the best prepared.
You might also find some preparedness communities in places like Ecuador, Uruguay, Panama or Costa Rica where there exists a critical mass of preparedness-minded people who tip the scales in your favor. So that's definitely a solid option for those who are still intent on leaving the USA or Canada and looking for preparedness options elsewhere. I do know first-hand that there are some very viable ex-pat communities in both Panama and Costa Rica where a critical mass of aware citizens already exists. Lots of libertarians down there... but watch out for "retirement communities" in these countries, which are populated by people who have no interest in actively surviving anything because they figure they're close to dying anyway.
You do NOT want to live around a whole city of people who culturally and habitually lean toward short-term thinking rather than long-term planning. A city full of starving children with mothers living in total poverty who can barely afford their next meal is not a good backdrop against which you want to build a survival retreat, especially if you're living out in the country by yourself.
Read books by Jared Diamond (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_...) if you really want to understand the long-term implications of geography and climate on the development of human culture. You will come to understand that in cultures where food comes too easily, over time there comes to exist a systemic lack of long-term planning in the minds of the citizens. This is a red flag for anyone seeking a preparedness destination.
Realization #3 - Don't be the foreignerAnother important point to remember in all this is that if you're, let's say, a white person living in a white town in America, you blend in. You can walk around anonymously -- at the grocery store, the shopping mall, the gas station, whatever. But the minute you move to some country town in South America (or Thailand, or whatever), then you suddenly stick out like a sore thumb.
In other words, if you're a 6' 1" white guy walking around a town of 5' 8" brown-skinned people, do ya think anyone will notice?
You bet they will, and when they see a 6' 1" white guy walking around, what they really see is a walking ATM.
You're a symbol of wealth, and the poorer the country you go to, the more wealth disparity you'll find, of course. And what you need to understand is that wealth disparity breeds contempt. So while you're driving around in a brand-new Toyota 4x4 (which I never did, by the way), the locals are looking at you and thinking to themselves that they could never afford that vehicle in their LIFETIME.
Why does this matter? From a practical perspective, it means that in a social breakdown scenario, these people have an instant idea of where the goods are. Who has the money? The white people! Who has the nicest houses, cars and electronics? The white people! (Or "the foreigner," even if you're not white.)
What I learned from this is that I'd rather be an "average" white guy living in an average neighborhood, driving an average car than sticking out like some sort of person who appears to be relatively well off. That's why today I still live in a modular trailer unit in Austin, I still drive a Toyota pickup truck, I dress like a rancher in blue jeans and flannel shirt, and nobody gives it a second thought when I'm out in public. I blend in, and that's far wiser than sticking out.
Some people want to look rich and popular, so they wear a lot of bling, and they drive a high-end car they can't afford, and they live in a house they can't pay off, and they try to fool everybody into thinking they're rich and powerful. I'd rather fool people into thinking I'm NOT powerful. Because underneath all that, I actually am quite capable of defending myself, or taking decisive action, or just quietly removing myself from the situation if required.
God help the mugger who tries to mug me on the street someday, because I don't dial 911. Then again, I don't walk around looking wealthy enough to mug in the first place. In fact, half the time when I walk into a hardware store in Austin to buy some equipment, I still have dirt and grime on my face from working on the farm that morning, and I've got mud on my jeans and grease on my shirt from greasing the hydraulics of the tractor loader bucket.
The point is, if you try to stand out in a time of crisis, you're an idiot. Blending in is so much wiser, I've learned. And I learned some of this the hard way, being an idiot myself in years past.
So the bottom line on this point is simple: Live where you fit in. If you speak with a Cajun accent, live around Cajuns. If you're black, don't be the one black guy in a white neighborhood (nor do you want to be the one white guy in a black neighborhood). It's not racial segregation I'm advocating, by the way, it's simply a preparedness attitude of blending in so you don't attract unwarranted attention to yourself and your daily activities.
Don't draw attention to yourselfYou're going to have far better success at preparedness, survival and even home defense if you can engage in preparedness activities without drawing attention to yourself. So if you're out at the local Wal-Mart, let's say, buying up a case of rubbing alcohol to add to your first aid kit, you don't want to leave any kind of strong impression a cashier there who, for example, might later tell some FBI agent, "Oh yeah, there was this 6' 2" guy with red hair and an old-style Western mustache, and he bought up a cart full of shotgun ammo, rubbing alcohol and bandages. I thought that was kinda weird..."
So another tip in all this is that if you're buying first aid supplies, or stored food, or anything you need to stay prepared, buy things in small quantities, and better yet use the self checkout lanes at local retailers, so you're not even interacting with a cashier at all. And don't be a moron and buy too many items of anything at once. It's far better to make multiple trips (to different stores, preferably), buying up smaller quantities of things and then combining them at home.
And what kind of things should you have? Well, if you want the full details, get my Be Prepared, Not Scared course that I recorded with Robert Scott Bell, as we go over the entire preparedness list covering food, first aid, emergency communications, lighting, safety and much more:
I've also created what I believe to be a very powerful audio recording called "Five Mental Strategies for Surviving Anytime, Anywhere" which is included as a free bonus to our "Surthrival" course recorded with Daniel Vitalis. Read about it here:
...or download the full course at:
Realization #4 - You cannot escape the global police stateI learned this with the help of Alex Jones of InfoWars.com. I was talking to him in the studio one day, during a commercial break, and he was asking me about Ecuador. Then he said something profound: "You can't escape the police state, you know. It's global."
And he's right. Think about the controllers and how they operate: It's the global banksters, the global pharmaceutical giants, Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Exxon and all the other evil corporations that infect our world with disease and suffering. These corporations run the global governments, and if you don't believe me, just ask John Perkins, the former "Economic Hit Man."
Listen to my interview with Perkins here:
You will be astounded by what you'll learn there, probably. But the upshot of it is that tyranny is a global phenomenon, and you cannot escape it by simply crossing some national boundary.
The simple truth is that our entire world is under assault by criminals right now, and those criminals are deeply embedded in the financial system of Goldman Sachs crooks and Federal Reserve elitists. They are dominating economies across Europe, North America, Asia and even Central and South America. They are planning an economic implosion so they can steal the world's wealth. All assets backed by paper may become worthless in 2012 in the years soon thereafter. This is all by design, and it's global.
With economic implosion comes social unrest, and with social unrest comes martial law. So you can expect martial law to be declared in many nations around the world, and in my experience, if you're living under martial law, it's preferable to blend in so that you don't attract unnecessary attention to your own activities. (And by this, I don't mean anything unlawful or subversive. I just mean fundamental commonsense things like buying extra food and supplies, for example, to defend your family and your local community. And have yourself a reliable mechanical lead-slinger as well.)
Realization #5 - You are far safer to hunker down than try to go mobileA lot of people talk about having a backup retreat somewhere that they will "drive to" or "fly to" when the collapse strikes. In my view, this is foolish. Highways will become kill zones targeted by marauders, and using vehicles on roads will only get you either robbed or dead (or maybe both).
To a gang of armed looters who forgot to plan ahead before the collapse, there's no more juicy target than an RV loaded down with stored food, ammo and gold, and if you're stupid enough to drive one of those as you're trying to get to your destination, you'd better have your own cavalry along for the ride, or you probably won't get very far.
Anyone who has studied military tactics, gang mentality or historical accounts of what happens when governments fall knows that roads are to be avoided at all costs. The only safe way to go from point A to point B is to hump it on foot, cross-country style, and even then you'd better only walk at night or you risk being shot by someone defending their own land.
Once you start actually thinking about all this, it doesn't take long to realize that the far safer strategy is to live in your castle starting right now. Stay put, stock up, and find a way to defend it.
Want a great book on how to accomplish that? Buy and read "Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart" (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/06...)
It's written by "Joe Nobody," which itself is a lesson in laying low. This book isn't about turning your house into a concrete bunker armed to the teeth, because that's just an invitation to be hammered by an armed gang of looters. Rather, it's just as much about using cosmetic deception to fool would-be marauders into thinking your place has already been hit, for example, and is therefore worthless. This informative book is really an example "The Art of War-" style thinking for defending your home and your family, using very clever techniques that go far beyond "shooting back."
Don't expect the book to be well edited, by the way. A lot of the best survival and prepper books have lousy editing because they're written by people who are experts in practical skills but relatively inexperienced writers. But who cares? I'm not looking for Shakespeare here. I'm looking for tactics that really work, and this book delivers. (Wish I could find who really wrote this because I'd like to interview them here on NaturalNews...)
Getting back to the point at hand, even with a vehicle you can't possibly carry everything you need to stay safe and prepared, and on top of that gasoline supplies may be impossible to find for a while, so the very best place to hunker down is the place where you live. That's where you can store your food, emergency first aid supplies, communications equipment (wind-up emergency radios, for example), defensive items such as defensive items, solar battery chargers, cooking gear, instructional books, garden seeds and whatever else you might need to survive an economic collapse.
That's why I've decided to ride out the collapse in Austin, Texas, by the way. Well, not exactly in the inner city itself, but near enough to the city to be considered an Austinite.
Why Texas? It's not perfect, but it's well-armedWhy Austin? Because Texas has its own power grid unlike the rest of the nation. Texas can grow its own food. Texas is the energy capital of the nation and can produce natural gas, diesel, oil and even jet fuel. Texas has masses of armed patriots who own more guns than they do pairs of shoes, and that makes Texas practically impenetrable to any invading force.
For example, suppose North Korea launches an ICBM into the high atmosphere over North America and unleashes an EMP weapon that destroys nearly all electronics (http://www.naturalnews.com/034344_E...)
This could theoretically be followed by a naval invasion of forces from Red China and North Korea, both of which suffer from too many young males that can hardly be fed and might as well be thrown at some enemy nation as cannon fodder. These forces would plow right through Southern California, with all its anti-gun laws and totally unprepared populations. Oregon would fare a lot better, thanks to the country folks who know how to live off the land, and although Seattle would be quickly overrun by enemy forces, the eastern (country) parts of Washington state would put up a fierce resistance. And any enemy forces foolish enough to try to make it into Idaho would, of course, be viciously intercepted by highly capable resistance forces that would snipe, explode and shred the enemy's supply lines, halting any advance no matter how strongly intentioned. (You do not want to mess with American rebels and patriots in Idaho, for the record.)
If some enemy force was foolish enough to try to enter Texas, they would be obliterated by a mass of Texas farmers, ranchers, National Guardsmen, law enforcement officers and ex-military men who are all locked and loaded to the hilt. That's where I feel safest, in the midst of the best-armed and most well-skilled riflemen in the country, most of which are upstanding, community-minded citizens who defend life and liberty. Texas is a fortress of determined men and women who will not, under any circumstances, willfully surrender their freedoms or their Bill of Rights.
Interestingly, Austin is also a progressive town with lots of raw foods, vegans, yoga studios and amazing artists. It's a progressive, almost liberal town, surrounded by conservative country folks who ultimately serve as a safety buffer that protects the city of Austin itself. When SHTF time comes, you can bet all the unarmed Austin residents will be begging the rural cowboys to protect them from looters and armed gangs.
That's why people who don't own guns dial 911 -- because they want men who DO own guns to arrive as quickly as possible and solve their problem.
Are your current skills based in reality? Or fiction...As you consider where to go in a time of crisis, think about where you are right now. Is your local community able to defend itself? Do you live among people who know how to repair cars, weld equipment, repair a rifle, clean fresh fish, grow vegetables, raise chickens and chop firewood? If not, you might want to think about relocating to a place where you live among some more capable people rather than the city-minded people who -- let's face it -- live in an artificial reality that's extremely fragile and won't last but a few days in a true collapse scenario.
If your top skills today are things like: texting while driving, finding the best sales at Macy's, and beating the level 12 boss on your Xbox video game, then you're not likely to survive very long in a real crisis. Xbox skills, it turns out, do not translate into the real world. All those people who are currently experts at artificial skills need to think long and hard about picking up a few reality skills that might help them in the real world.
You don't know jack, Jack!Above all, as much as you think you know about preparedness, survival and the like, you probably don't know jack.
And that goes for myself, too, even as I study this subject and work to learn as much as I possibly can in the short time remaining. Do you know how to suture an open wound? I have literally spent an afternoon reading a suture book and practicing stitches on chicken meat bought from the grocery store. Seems silly, right? Who spends their Saturday suturing a chunk of chicken? Then again, if you're cut and bleeding more than a little, I'm the guy who knows how to apply a tourniquet in 60 seconds, sanitize the wound and sew it up. It will be ugly as all hell, as I'm no cosmetic surgeon, but as long as you didn't sever some major artery, you'll probably live.
I've also been known to pack open wounds with freshly-cut aloe vera gel. I just stuff it right into the wound then use a skin stapler to staple the surface shut. Never had an infection problem, as aloe vera gel is a powerful antibacterial substance that also pulls the wound shut as it dries. It's crude, free and highly effective. Just the kind of country remedy I like to have handy in a time of crisis. That's why I always grow aloe vera everywhere I go.
Get some skillz, Jack!These days, my goal in preparedness is to know as many useful skills as possible, which is why I study emergency first aid and other practical skills. In a crisis, I can prep emergency food for an entire community, sanitize water for a small group, perform basic emergency medical procedures on the wounded or even be part of a rifle fire team that defends a church, for example, against a band of armed looters. I'm not the best at any one of those things, but I'm useful in them all.
I know how to grow medicine, grow food and (somewhat) handle farm animals. I know how to clean a rifle, repair a torn belt on a broken piece of farm equipment, operate a John Deere tractor, start a fire without matches, and stitch back together a torn piece of canvas or clothing.
I still don't know how to field dress a wild pig or deer, but I figure I can always barter with someone who does, as I've got a complement of other useful skills that they probably don't possess. (I'm not into hunting or skinning anything. Can't stand to shoot live animals. That's just not my thing, y'know?)
Most of all, I'm determined to survive, and I'm determined to help as many of my fellow human beings survive with me, to the best of my ability and resources. And that's ultimately what's going to get me through the coming collapse, so help me God.
Wherever you go, assess the basicsThe other day I was thinking about Jim Rogers, the wealthy investor who lives in Singapore and often appears on alternative news shows like RT America or InfoWars. As much as I totally agree with Jim's advice on learning Chinese (which is one reason why I speak a fair amount of Mandarin myself), if you know anything about Singapore, you also know it is perhaps the last place in the world you want to live in a collapse scenario.
Singapore is a concrete jungle with virtually no usable space for growing food in proportion to its population. Even worse, Singapore has virtually no water supply and must import a huge portion of its water from Malaysia, a nation with which Singapore has dicey relations.
The food for Singapore must all be imported from surrounding nations (such as Malaysia), and Singapore's claim to fame -- a financial hub of Asia -- is in many ways based on the very false derivatives and fragile debt instruments that are on the verge of total collapse in the years ahead. If Asia suffers much in the way of economic collapse, Singapore may become a desperate place. Certainly, a resourceful guy like Jim Rogers can probably weather the storm and still come out on top (he's got assets in multiple currencies, in many financial institutions around the world), but for your average run-of-the-mill citizens, Singapore could become a very dangerous place to try to survive.
When people look at relocating for preparedness reasons, they often overlook the basics such as water resources. That's why I recommend people buy the book "Strategic Relocation -- North American Guide to Safe Places, 3rd Edition" (http://www.amazon.com/Strategic-Rel...) by Joel Skousen. I've been a fan of Skousen for over a decade, and this book will walk you through the key decision-making process of finding a place that can keep you and your family alive. That place is NOT New York City, nor Los Angeles, obviously. Those are places to go if you want to DIE in a collapse.
But there are many places across North America that are quite suitable for creating your preparedness retreat as a primary residence. Many of these places even have internet bandwidth available, so you can potentially earn a living on the 'net while you prepare your location.
If you read the book, you'll discover that Austin has its own pitfalls, including being relatively close to both nuclear power facilities and the border with Mexico. Both of those are legitimate concerns, of course, and there's no perfect spot that has everything you want. You have to find the best combination of factors that matter to you, then do the best you can with the time, skills and resources available to you.
Timing: Are you prepared yet?If you're not already well along with your own preparedness plans, you run the risk of missing this train entirely. 2012 is nearly upon us, and while I don't believe all the Mayan calendar nonsense being rumored around the internet, I certainly see a financial collapse headed our way in 2012 or very soon thereafter.
It takes 2-3 years to really get squared away with your retreat if you consider the process of making good quality soil for gardening, planting some fruit trees, squaring away your irrigation system, getting some backyard chickens and so on. You can't just "buy a place" and move in and suddenly expect to be fully covered. Building a retreat requires experience that only time will deliver -- experience dealing with weather, garden pests, wild predators, knowing the lay of the land and so on. Just squaring away your own home water supply can be a daunting task if you don't know where to begin, and even getting a well drilled can be a six-month process in terms of acquiring permits and waiting on drilling companies (which are often backlogged).
Time is running short. If you're not already in the process of storing the supplies you need -- and learning the skills that go with them -- you're late. Get on top of this NOW.
And don't worry if you're not in the "perfect" geographic location or the perfect house or whatever. Work with what you have. A family with skills and just a few basic supplies is far better off than a wealthy family with a house full of gear they don't know how to use. I can't even tell you how many people out there just buy stuff, toss it on a shelf and never learn how to use it. That's about as silly as owning a guitar and thinking you're suddenly a "musician" because you have the gear.
Whatever you buy to be prepared, practice with it and practice with your entire family. Even if you don't own firearms (or don't want to), a family of four armed with a few cans of heavy duty pepper spray can make a small group of attackers think twice. Plan ahead for what's coming, and you won't be left behind.