Are you part of the 13%?

Copyright ©2012 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD 

Last night I shared dinner with another doctor on my “Front Porch Book Tour.”  One of the topics we discussed was “the 13%” – are you a member?

In any life-threatening crisis – potentially lethal, but potentially survivable – only 13% will make it on their own.  That’s little over 1 in 10.  Will you survive?  Some, perhaps an equal fraction, will succumb immediately.  The majority will wait for rescue, or possibly for a leader to emerge.  Only 13% will “get it,” that is, will recognize the situation and be prepared to act.

In speaking with family and friends, I’d say 13% is about the right number, or perhaps an overestimate.  Consider the question of food:  if the grocery stores are empty, what will you do?  Likely, as a reader of this blog, you’re prepared, at least for a matter of days or weeks.  But what about others, those who may view you as a crackpot?  The most common argument against procuring a month of supplies is that it’s unnecessary.  Beyond that, cost is a concern, but for only a dollar you can purchase enough Ramen noodles to supply enough calories for a day.  To that add a bottle of generic vitamins and some raisin bran, rice, and beans and for $50, you can survive for a month.  Who can’t afford a one-time investment of $50?  Your cell phone or cable bill is likely more.

That middle majority is a scary crowd, but who are they?  It’s not just children and the elderly.  America has developed the mindset that someone else – the government, the employer, perhaps the church – should meet their needs.  Could this be a factor in the unemployment rate?  Those on unemployment for extended periods are not likely part of the 13%.

Can the 13% care for the remaining 87%?  I think not.  Again, consider food storage.  Do you have the space and means to acquire 10 times as much? 

The big question is, can that middle majority be moved to action?  If not, how can the 13% be enabled to do more?  (Whether the 13% have the responsibility to do so is another question.)

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a leader – whether you know it or not.  At a minimum you’re thinking ahead.  You’re at least considering whether to take action.  Medically speaking, you’re likely more prepared than most, or working toward that goal.

I’ve been impressed with the people who’ve attended my classes to date. They are part of the 13%.  These people are leaders; I’ve seen it in them.  They’ve taken the initiative to prepare, and not only for their own good.  They’ve spoken openly about helping their families, their communities, and others in need. 

Are leaders born or made?  I think you have a choice.  Join the 13% – we need you desperately.

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About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
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3 Responses to Are you part of the 13%?

  1. joe says:

    I have severe chronic pain that requires around the clock pain medication and am concerned about the potential for collapse of government and the effect this would inevitably have on my ability to survive. I am preparing and researching plans for preparation for the potential future breakdown and I would like any advice you may have for preparing for living with chronic pain in such an event. I am a leader, a hunter, cook and overall concerned citizen and want to avoid being a burden to any group I may work with in the case of such and event. Thanks.

    [Doc Cindy replies: Please search this site for “pain” and also see the chapter in Armageddon Medicine on “An approach to pain.” This may sound harsh, but there are answers other than narcotics (which I assume you are referring to). Ideally, anyone taking chronic narcotics now would see his or her doctor and find an effective alternate treatment. I’ll try to write another article on pain in the near future.]

  2. wayno says:

    Am north of Chicago up near the WI border. Not a great place to be when the hordes start swarming north.
    Of course the farther west of the main roads the better.

    Anyway, the point is well taken to convince others to prepare.

    The ramen works as long as you have some water – so convince people to have that on hand for those harsh winters. Add to that storage some cooked canned ground turkey, cans of black, pinto and navy beans, and some spices and you have a way to make turkey chili, again need water. Rice – get the basamanti while it’s available, much more palatable. Lay in some cumin and other spices. Plain rice ain’t that great.

    You can still do it all cheap.

  3. Grandma Prepper says:

    Yup, I’m one of the 13%, having to prep for not only my husband and me, BUT also for our SIX children (4 are grown), 3 spouses, 3 grandchildren, and my mom! Fortunately, most of the grown children understand what’s going on, and so far 3 of them have their concealed weapons permit. Those who are out of town know to come to “the farm” when they see signs that TEOTWAWKI is happening.

    Beans and bullets, baby! That’s our theme song these days…..

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