Thursday event aims to teach preparedness

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Imagine a hurricane even bigger than Katrina has just twistedacross Southwest Mississippi.

The power and water have been out for weeks, and the food in therefrigerator has all spoiled. Delivery trucks can’t get into thedisaster zone to bring in fresh food and gasoline, so there’s nopoint in going to the grocery store. The neighborhood is packedwith thousands of evacuees, and everyone is growing restless.

You’re stuck along with everyone else, depending on the FederalEmergency Management Agency and charity organizations to keep youalive. As you wait in line all day at the distribution point for abottle of water and a can of soup, you wish you had theold-fashioned skills that would allow you to prosper in the midstof catastrophe.

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The Mississippi Preparedness Project has that knowledge, and itwants to teach you. It will hold a presentation Thursday at 6 the State Room as a guest of the Southwest Mississippi TeaParty. Admission is free, and anyone who desires to learnself-sufficiency is invited to attend.

“We’re kind of like FEMA on steroids,” said Mark Williams, an MPPcouncil member. “We take it upon ourselves to learn those things wehave forgotten over the past 230 years and get back to basics, soif the lights went out and the shelves went bare like they did inKatrina, we have the ability to sustain ourselves.”

The Project’s mission is to “prepare and train for all foreseeableaspects of personal preparedness,” with teachings based on theorganization’s five pillars – communication, water, food, medicaland security. It strives to pass on knowledge in those areas toensure the survival of potential hardships and disaster situationslike hurricanes, floods, fires and civil unrest.

Information passed on by the Project includes information on waterpurification, proper food storage, primitive food dehydration andsafe firearms handling.

In short, MPP teaches survivalist methods, but Williams recoils atthe word.

“We’re not a survivalist group. That has been linked to doomsayersand things like that, and that’s not accurate,” he said. “It’s notthrowing up a red flag and saying, ‘The world is coming to an end.’It’s just common sense things, like carrying the necessary items inyour car if you break down in the middle of nowhere. Our version ofprotection could be as simple as wearing your seatbelt.”

Williams pointed out the Project’s five pillars are necessary ineveryday life. The group seeks simply to apply those lessons on alarger scale.

“It’s making people think beyond today,” he said. “Those fivepillars existed 230 years ago when we became a country. That meansself-reliance, self accountability and building trust in thosearound you.”

The Mississippi Preparedness Project is not a political group, andit works with several other non-political but mostly conservativeorganizations.

It belongs to the national Alarm and Muster, which seeks to”respond and alert its members of the limiting of personal freedomthrough political activity.” MMP is also affiliated with the 9.12Project, which strives for American unity; Oath Keepers, anassociation of serving military and law enforcement officers swornto protect the Constitution and not follow orders detrimental toAmerican freedoms; and the American Distress Call, which seeks tosee through political affiliation and focus on important nationalissues.

The Project also derives members from the Tea Party movement, andthe burgeoning Southwest Mississippi Tea Party will host theorganization in Brookhaven Thursday night.

Sharon Honea, a Pike County nurse serving as chairman of the newTea Party, said the Brookhaven gathering would be only the group’sthird meeting. Since it started with a Facebook page earlier thisyear, the SW MS Tea Party has grown to 360 members and is workingon registering with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office. Itis the 11th branch of the Mississippi Tea Party.

Honea said no official Tea Party business would be conducted atThursday’s meeting, but anyone interested in joining the group willhave the chance to sign up and gather information. About one-thirdof the group’s membership is drawn from the Lincoln and Franklincounty areas, she said.

“This is our problem, and it’s a wonderful problem to have – ourgroup is growing so fast I’m having trouble finding rooms bigenough to host our events,” Honea said.

The SW MS Tea Party will not act as a third political party andwill not run its own candidates, Honea said. Instead, the younggroup is working to register new voters and endorse conservativecandidates.

“It’s all about Nov. 2, when we go to vote,” she said, referring tothis year’s general election.