Kayleen from Details magazine sent me the following questions in orange for the article she’s writing. Having taken the time to answer them – who then wants to write a blog post? Not me. While I enjoy SHTF chatter, I don’t enjoy it so much that I’d want to write what would equate to a second “post” – soooooooo, this post is an open response to Kayleen’s questions. If you have your own thoughts on the questions, by all means add ’em in the comments. Word to your mother.
Why do you think younger guys who live in suburban and urban areas have started prepping?
First, let me say I’m happy with your use of the word “prepping”. I consider myself more of a “prepper” than I do a “survivalist”. (Yes, “prepper” is grammatically incorrect, it should be preparer, but “prepper” rolls better off the tongue.) I see a prepper as a more moderate survivalist, someone that’s aware of the need to prepare, but isn’t into government conspiracy theories and such. Hell, even the government advocates a basic level of preparedness beyond what the average citizen maintains.
The “younger guys” you’re speaking of are preparing, because they’ve become aware of the need to do so. This is a generation that witnessed the rage of Y2K. Granted nothing happened, but there was a fear present by average everyday folks, a fear not easily forgotten. While all systems fully functioned, people became aware of how dependent we are on simple things like computers. Then it was 9/11 and the horrid government response to Katrina. For me, it was the latter that really struck home. I don’t think the government is out to get me, but I do think it’ll be inept at delivering help should I and much of the nation need it during a time of disaster. Then there’s SARS, Avian Flu , peak oil , global warming, and increased food and fuel costs. Watch the evening news – why wouldn’t you prepare? Now Iran wants the nuke, we see Soviet-era actions by Russia, and we’re reading congressional reports on EMP threats.
We live in an era of just-in-time delivery where what’s on the grocery store shelves is all that’s in the store. How long before the store shelves are emptied if avian flu hit and truckers stayed home? How long before people freak out? Younger guys such as myself are beginning to think about these things – awareness. When we lift peas into our mouth at the dinner table we’re thinking about our disconnectedness to the source, the fragility of the system we depend on.
Add to this many younger men are now fathers of young children. The desire to prepare for the unexpected is greater when you need to prepare for a family. It’s one thing to imagine going hungry, quite another to imagine your children going hungry.
There are also few signs the reasons to prepare are going away any time soon. Energy prices will correct itself in the short-term, but the long-term direction is only up. There are more and more people in the world, and more want the American lifestyle. The world can only handle so many people sharing our consumptive nature. It’s simple supply and demand, and who is holding out hope that global leaders are really going to address global warming? No one. Perhaps avian flu threats will pass, but we’ve heard again and again that the world is past due for a pandemic, and the world has changed dramatically since our last pandemic. The world is a much smaller place now, and we’re far more reliant on systems than past generations.
People are being rationale about the threats. They’re aware of them, they recognize them, but they’re not anticipating the end-of-the-world tomorrow. People are prepping in urban and suburban areas – because that’s where they live. They’ve found a healthy balance between being prepared and being a survivalist.
Why do you think they’ve joined a movement that was traditionally filled with older conservative men who lived completely off of the grid?
Because these folks are more . . . normal. While they’re aware of the need to prepare, it doesn’t dictate their lifestyle like the old-school “survivalist” types. These folks want a normal life, but they also want to be ready if things suddenly turn abnormal.
And why do you think they’re more likely to stock non-essentials, like chocolate or wine or ipods in waterproof cases, that the guys before were?
Ipods in waterproof cases? I haven’t heard that one before. Chocolate and wine, though – sure! No, they may not be “essentials”, but there’s nothing wrong with storing comfort measures. Wine is good, but wine after shit hits the fan will be really good. Besides, what’s the worst case scenario with stocking chocolate and wine? “Oh dear, we have all these bottles of wine just sitting in the basement – this really sucks.” Ha! Yeah right!
And why do you think these guys are willing to stay around cities instead of moving and living completely off the grid?
Because that’s where they work for the most part. Most preparers don’t think the world will end, but they do think there’s a chance things could turn really shitty at a moment’s notice.
Let me also say that there are increasing numbers of “green preparers”, the eco-conscious. I, for example, am probably a bit more liberal than my average reader, but our end goals are the same. I’m learning how to garden not only for food security, but also because local food doesn’t travel obscene distances and it’s often organic. Gardening saves money, gives you exercise, connects you with nature, and it tastes better.
These “green preparers” may also choose a suburban or urban lifestyle, because living where you work only makes sense from a financial and eco-friendly perspective. There are many reasons to adopt a preparedness lifestyle beyond just shit hitting the fan. If you adopt a more simple, more basic lifestyle that assures your basic needs will be met, you’ll benefit in many ways. It’s a win-win.
– Ranger Man
BTW: Prepping is also FUN! Hell, I can remember as a little kid playing outside during the brisk days of fall, stacking make pretend piles of firewood near the lean-to camp I built. Nowadays bringing out the tools to build a pantry means I can play Bob Villa. Throwing lead down range is a great way to spend an afternoon, and who can’t help but smile when the power goes out from a winter storm and you’re inside feeding the wood stove, brewing hot chocolate?
Lastly, Richard sent this link on WMD training in San Francisco.