To many people, the word “Prepper” brings up notions of a camouflage wearing, gun-toting scary survivalist who is waiting for the end of the world. However, most Preppers are very ordinary people who don’t stand out in a crowd. They are doctors and plumbers and lawyers and carpenters and school teachers. Most of them don’t even own any camouflage!
So what is a “Prepper?”
Although there could be as many definitions as there are people involved in each movement, the basic definition is that a Prepper is someone who stores equipment and supplies and food in case of an emergency. That emergency could be a major natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado, a forest fire or gas leak that requires a neighborhood to be evacuated, or anything up to a major collapse of the country’s power grid. Preppers also take seriously the threat of how a terrorist attack could affect the power grid or the nationwide supply network that keeps our grocery stores’ shelves stocked.
Preppers will typically have several weeks to a year’s supply of food stocked up, along with flashlights, blankets, a water filtering system and usually a portable backup generator. These are people who are not affected very much by a multi-day power outage or a broken water main that causes a run on bottled water at the grocery store.
What is a “Survivalist?”
Typically a Survivalist is a hard core Prepper who, in addition to being prepared for a natural disaster, is very concerned about a breakdown in law and order. In addition to the Preppers’ concern about “SHTF” (shit hits the fan) scenarios, Survivalists are concerned with “TEOTWAWKI” (the end of the world as we know it) and “WROL” (without rule of law) situations. Survivalists see the social order as being very fragile: dependent upon an increasingly burdened government welfare system that must keep over 44 million Americans on Food Stamps. They understand all too well that if America’s extraordinary debt is not continually recycled by foreign countries willing to purchase our T-bills and bonds, we could face hyperinflation like in Zimbabwe and Weimar Germany that could cause massive civil unrest. Dangerous times and great risks call for precautions, and Survivalists consider their personal safety, and that of their loved ones, paramount. A Survivalist will have firearms and usually a very specific plan for “hunkering down” or “bugging out” if law and order break down.
What Can We Learn From Preppers and Survivalists
It would be hard to find a Survivalist who is not a Prepper, and likewise most Preppers have thought a lot about survivalism and protecting themselves. Anyone would greatly benefit from thinking about these two groups of people and what can be learned from them.
If there was a power outage that lasted for more than two or three days, what would you do? If the governments (city, state and federal) couldn’t take care of the Hurricane Katrina victims, what does that tell you about being prepared? Have you considered that a natural gas leak, train derailment with hazardous materials, power outage or terror attack could turn your family into refugees if you don’t have a plan?