No matter how well-prepared you are in stocking the right things in the right quantity, if your over-all mindset isn't prepared, then YOU are NOT prepared.
Most preppers I've met are very level-headed folks. They have a tendency not to panic, because they've already thought through most situations we face on a day to day basis and they have what they need to meet the challenge. They've decided how to respond and have gathered the tools, supplies, and skills to execute the plan.
But what happens when we face something we didn't imagine? Unforseen circumstances that can cause any of us to have that deer in the headlights look, but how long we stare into the trial before we decide what to DO will make all the difference in the world. Sometimes just a few steps one way or the other could keep that entranced deer off the truck bumper, but like the Philosopher Voltaire said, "There is a certain, inevitable futility in indecision".
When faced with something we failed to imagine we might be unsure what actions to take if we continue on our present course, or we might be afraid to take actions which would seem to reverse progress we have worked hard to achieve - either situation can be dangerous, but maybe either situation can save our lives from the trouble we'd face if we do nothing. Sometimes no decision is worse than a bad decision.
If you tend to be emotionally crippled when asked to make decisions under stress, then you need to learn how to manage stress better, or you need to have a broader set of solutions to draw your decisions from. Ideally we'd try to grow in both areas, but managing stress is something best discussed one on one with a friend or counselor, so at PrepDBQ we'll focus our efforts on building a large knowledge base of solutions to potentially stressful situations, and to adapting those solutions to fit varying needs.
Let's start by categorizing some of the situations which can bring stress, then we can build articles and ideas to branch off from these. We've already separated some of these in other Prep categories like, food, fuel, and financial stresses (see the PREP TOPICS menu), so lets focus on that involve the personal decision-making process.
SELF-DEFENSE is a good place to start this discussion, because no matter how many guns and bullets you have in the basement, if you do not have the ability, skill, and desire to survive a gunfight then you'd better not stray far from a policeman.
Defending oneself from a motivated attacker most often means that YOU will need to hurt THEM. No attacker was ever defended to death, you must turn the attack on them! They must hurt bad enough to want to stop their attack, and they must hurt quickly enough to not revise their attack to meet your force.
If you are not sure you want to attack someone who is attacking you, then consider reading our article, "Morality when the SHTF", which discusses many of the choices we need to make about life and death situations and more. If you are not sure how to attack an attacker, then consider taking some defensive classes, you don't need a black belt for most situations, just a few hours of training can prepare you for a great many situations. Also, drop by the Self-Defense section of the PrepDBQ forum where you can read and discuss more on the subject.
HARDEN THE HOME, it's something that's easy to nibble-away at a little at a time. Of course the basic idea is, that if there are bad things happening & you choose to get yourself & the family "home", then you want to keep the bad things OUTSIDE.
First and foremost, DON'T be the place that roaming bands of zombies want to enter, don't stand out. Remember the Japanese proverb, "the nail which stands-up, gets hammered-down", so don't look like the place with supplies & lights if the neighborhood has gone dark & hungry.
The next step is adding dead-bolts & reinforcing hinges to door frames, and windows. But keeping an intruder out isn't enough if there are bullets flying. Having a place inside that is safe from penetration is nice, if you can just wait-out the bad; but if you need to be able to "cover" the entries to assure the home is not entered then you'll need more than just a hard room in the basement, lest you find yourself trapped there.
There are a lot of variables where ballistics is concerned, so it's best to research and make decisions based on what you find. Don't just assume that brick facade will keep you safe, if you've ever shot bricks & stones with a high-powered round like the .30-06 you know that it wouldn't take many concentrated shots to punch through. On the other hand, shot guns, most handguns, and even a .223 round have proven to lose energy quickly when penetrating wood and drywall, so know the "hardness" of various cover in your home, and add strength where you feel it's necessary.
Part of keeping the bad-guys out is knowing where they are. Do you have a safe look-out position in the home and a way to communicate to family in other defensive locations around the home? Cell-phones or short-wave radios with ear-buds caould be a great help.
WE COULD GO ON, AND ON, but the repetitive point in all these defensive factors is to think things through. Being prepared for a short-term bad spell in your neighborhood might be different than living long-term if the world falls into chaos for an extended period of time -- so learn what YOU need to know. Meet your neigbors. Build relationships with trustworthy friends around the community at large, and establish communication techniques to stay abreast of "events" which might suddenly unfold. Think-through potential scenarios and let your mind spawn creative ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. Ponder how you might pull-together with friends & neighbors to assure that bad times are minimized, and good times return quickly.