Here’s the thing about Confederate monuments, whether they’re statues, buildings, whatever: they were erected and named in order to try to heal the country after a brutal civil war. States and counties and cities put up the statues and named the buildings—try to put yourself in the shoes of the losing side. To half the country, the Confederate monuments were honoring their heroes; many of those men were indeed heroic on the battlefield, regardless of their beliefs or yours.

I don’t think any one of them say “Here lies a great slaveowner.”

People are complicated. Each one of us does good things and bad things. It’s okay to remember the good and condemn the bad. That doesn’t mean you forget the bad.

And trying to ascribe modern thinking to the past will definitely muddle it up.

Comparing Confederates to Hitler is erroneous; Confederates fought in a war, Hitler tried to annihilate an entire people. Yes, it’s that simple.

You should, rightfully, believe that slavery was a terrible thing. Neither you nor I had one single thing to do with it, but yes, our ancestors did. Our ancestors. Not us.

Now, you can be angry, you can be enraged about the Civil War and how people used to think and believe and act, but you also can’t know what each of them were thinking or why they did what they did. Sure, there are still some letters and papers that give clues, but as for individuals, you just can’t know.

The Civil War split families and communities even then, yet here were are, doing the exact same thing. Having an air of superiority about your own beliefs and completely discounting others’ is wrong, no matter the subject.

Do you have kids? Aren’t there some things they’ve done that you’re proud of? Of course there are. What about things they’ve done or said that appalled you? Does that make you say, “Screw them, I hate them, they’re terrible children?” I seriously doubt it.

I’ve told my ancestor story before, but I’ll tell it again:

Once upon a time, a fourteen-year-old boy in Mississippi joined up to fight for the South; so did his three brothers and his father. They were sharecroppers; they owned no slaves. “States’ rights” was a rallying cry then, so maybe that’s why they fought. I don’t know, and neither do you.

Stanford Smith was captured in Arkansas. At some point, he escaped, and he was helped by another young teenage boy, a Yankee soldier. After the war, Stanford became a minister and married a young lady who reportedly had Indian blood. Some time later, that Yankee who helped him escape during the war, Jonathon Kirk, wrote to him about selling some horses; Jonathon and his son, Samuel, took a herd to Mississippi where Samuel fell in love with Stanford’s daughter. They married when she turned sixteen.

That, my friends, is the ultimate healing. No one bitched about a statue, no one burned down a building because of its name, but two families came together. And if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here, and neither would my cousins.

Even if I knew for sure that Stanford believed in slavery, I wouldn’t slash him from family history—he had his reasons, even if I don’t agree with them, whatever they were. I wouldn’t presume to speak for him, and, maybe the entire point is that he’s been dead for 111 years. Many, many things have changed since then.

Hoarding or practicality?

Let’s get something straight here: preppers have, for years, been ridiculed and mocked simply for being ready for an “event,” such as COVID-19. Or the zombies. Whichever. Now, many of them are being lambasted in the media, social included, for having those same supplies.

Yes, it’s true that some people have grabbed every item on its respective shelf, either out of panic or with plans to re-sell and make a profit. Either of those is wrong, although panic can be forgiven much easier.

I asked, on my personal Facebook page, what people considered “hoarding.” Answers included such things as “having more than you need” and “excess items with no plan.” Seems like regular everyday people aren’t exactly buying into that media hype about the bad, mean, evil douchebag preppers.

COVID-19 happened to coincide with my annual purge/inventory/re-supply schedule. I normally have supplies for a six-month period—some may call that excessive, as I know no one expects this to last that long. Expectations often fail; however, there could well be other supply issues that arise in the aftermath. Or not. No one is psychic, no one really knows.

Another thing no one really knows is “how much” a certain person or family actually needs. I read a column in the Post this morning, and the writer asked “what was your most random purchase recently?” One of the answers was “chocolate chips—but I didn’t buy anything else to make cookies, just the chips.” Well, geez, who doesn’t have butter, flour, sugar, eggs, etc. in her dang kitchen? Really?

My point is that, yes, I have a couple bags of chocolate chips, but they weren’t random. At some point during my six-month period of prepping, I will sure bake cookies or use them for something else. Maybe a cheesecake. I don’t know, but I know I’ll use them.

And what about these other panic buyers? They see “wash your hands a lot” and grab all the soap they can, just in case. But here’s the key: you should KNOW how much you use and KNOW how much you need. For instance, I have three large bottles of hand soap—that is how much we use over six months; and that means ONE of those would last a couple months for two people. Do the math, folks, BEFORE you shop.

Yes, I keep a running list of inventory and at least once a month I physically COUNT everything. Too much trouble? Fine, than risk running out of something that either you can’t go buy or isn’t available.

THAT is the crux of prepping. Not hoarding.

A friend posted a link of pics of crazy shoppers—an entire cart full of milk? Or eggs? WHAT are they going to do with that? Now, I suppose it’s possible that these people were part of a group or very large extended family, and they all took part of the list and went shopping. Maybe. I did see a lady here with an awful lot of toilet paper, but it turns out she was buying for three or four families; sometimes you just have to ask…

And I try to be considerate. Yesterday, in Walmart, there were two large bags of sugar on the shelf—and that was it—and it was on my list. I took one, left the other, and someone snagged it right away. I also ran into a young girl who apparently was there only to buy cheesecake ingredients. Well, okay…I mean, I’m all about cheesecake! She was disappointed that they were out of brown sugar, so I told her she could make her own; similar convo with another lady who had been looking for powdered sugar.

Now, you may not agree with our having a six-month supply, but I guarantee that what we have will be used. And if everyone would plan ahead and take care of themselves and their own families in any emergency situation, the government would be a lot less involved, which means that the situation will be much better managed by the people themselves.

Think of it as being on a plane and putting on your oxygen mask BEFORE helping someone else. This doesn’t mean we’re sitting here for six months, guns at the ready, it means we don’t have to think about shopping during a pandemic or finding the things we need. You might not need or want six months’ worth of anything, or have a place to store it even if you did, but you could certainly plan for one month—and considering the situation right now, that would be a smart move.