The world’s a scary place. Wars, famines, corrupt politicians, terrorism, imploding economies — the list goes on. There are plenty of issues worth fearing, which is why a subset of the nation is preparing for what they see as impending calamity.
These individuals, dubbed “preppers,” are stocking up on food, guns, water and other items that they may need should the economy erupt or a massive natural disaster strike. With so many possibilities for problematic occurrences, these individuals want to ensure that they can live beyond any tragically defining moments.
Most preppers are fearful of the prospects of no governmental structure — something that some see as a possibility amidst economic woes and political strife. Back in 2009, a Newsweek report described this phenomenon:
In the late 1990s, Y2K fears brought survivalism to the mainstream, only to usher it back out again when disaster didn’t strike. (Suddenly, unused survival gear began showing up in classifieds and on eBay.) A decade later, “preppers” are what you might call survivalism’s Third Wave: regular people with jobs and homes whose are increasingly fearful about the future…
Watch some preppers discuss their lifestyle, below:
Reuters published a report this weekend, highlighting some of the preppers out there who are stockpiling and awaiting what they see as the inevitable. To begin, there’s Patty Tegeler, a 57-year-old who lives in Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains.
“In an instant, anything can happen,” she said. “And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared.”
Tegeler’s home has essentially been prepared for whatever may come. She has a large generator, water tanks, portable heaters and enough freeze-dried food to lock herself inside and to keep nourished for two years.
Wondering how she secured these items? There’s an entire market that caters to these individuals (most vendors operate on the internet). These companies sell many of the items that Tegeler has in her own home, as they teach skills or sell the products needed to ensure individual and family survival pending disaster.
The Reuters article even mentions Glenn Beck:
Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck seems to preach preppers’ message when he tells listeners: “It’s never too late to prepare for the end of the world as we know it.”
Additionally, it goes on to further explain the movement:
“With our current dependence on things from the electric grid to the Internet, things that people have absolutely no control over, there is a feeling that a collapse scenario can easily emerge, with a belief that the end is coming, and it is all out of the individual’s control,” [Cathy Gutierrez, an expert on end-times beliefs at Sweet Briar College in Virginia] told Reuters.
While many would dub survivalist behaviors as silly or a waste of time, preppers separate themselves from the likes of Harold Camping and other leaders who have set dates for what they promise to be apocalyptic conclusions to societal existence. Preppers like Tegeler claim that their items won’t go to waste regardless of whether there’s a collapse or not. For these individuals it’s all about being ready for anything that could unfold.
And there’s plenty of media outlets for these individuals to consume, as they share tips and communicate with one another. Blogs like lawyer Michael T. Snider’s “The Economic Collapse” focus upon the themes surrounding the economy’s potential bust.
“Most people have a gut feeling that something has gone terribly wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they understand what is happening,” Snider said. “A lot of Americans sense that a massive economic storm is coming and they want to be prepared for it.”
Then there’s James Wesley Rawles, a former Army intelligence officer, who is behind the “Survival Blog,” an online outlet that preppers regularly read.
“We could see a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures.”
Man-made disasters come in many forms. The most obvious would be spills and contamination caused by deteriorating materials, poor driving, train derailments, pipeline maintenance (or lack thereof), infrastructure collapse, policies that lead to coastal erosion, policies that contribute to widespread forest fires, sub-standard building codes, etc. There are other potential disasters that can be even more far-reaching. These include, but not limited to, monetary policies, tax codes, currency issues, stock market crashes, credit down grades, recession/depression, inflation/hyper-inflation (alaWeimar republic) and devaluation of a currency. Venezuela, Japan and others have experienced these events.
The list of possibilities is long and growing, but again, the prudent man attempts to prepare. For his family and his continued well-being.
This is only a small lens into the prepper movement, but this is nothing new. Throughout history, subsets of American society have remained ready and prepared for whatever may come. While critics may dub it an over reaction, preppers feel they’re simply being prudent.
For a glimpse into some others who are “prepping” for the future, be sure to watch GBTV’s “Independence USA” — a reality show featuring a family trying to live off the grid.
Below, watch a clip that provides a glimpse into the show: