A lifestyle trend that I have observed is “Prepping” or more popular vernacular with the preppers is S.H.T.F. scenario. (Google that if you don’t know what it means, but I will stick Preppers for this article). This trend is completely grass-roots and is often characterized as people that are weird and only focus on the end of the world. The first thought of a prepper is someone in a cave or an underground bomb shelter. That visual is actually spot on, but a little misleading.
The term “prepper” is really the same term used years ago “survivalist”, or a term that is still used today “boy-scout that is always prepared.” Another would be “environmentalist” The website im a prepper describes the term as; “A prepper is someone who is uncomfortable relying on others for the basics of survival and protection.”
There are many different levels of preppers too. Many people that are very frugal and live life very simply may call themselves a prepper since they are only using what they need. Others that buy only “green” products also think of themselves as a quasi-preppers by helping out the Earth.
DID YOU KNOW… Ready.gov has information for preparing for Natural Disasters, Pandemic, Terrorist Hazards and more?
One better definition is “In short preppers are those that hope for the best, plan for the worst, but make the most of each day as it comes.” (Blakesley.N.D)
I have always thought of “preppers” as something much easier to understand, “traditionalists”. Just this past weekend at a soccer game in Virginia with my daughter, I met a guy we will call Joe. Joe and I spoke on a couple different occasions about how life used to be. I had read the question for this assignment last week but I never put the two together until Monday morning of this week wondering what I would write about.
DID YOU KNOW…FEMA lists six basics every home should have to be prepared for a basic disaster?
Prepping has become a trend that many people do not usually talk about due to the looks they get in return. If you hear someone talking about the cache of supplies they have in their bunker, most people will end that conversation quickly.
In my case I grew up as a prepper. (Wait did he just say that). Yep, (well sort of) my family has always thought about the future generations and what they will have when they grow up. My family has always had farms and tools to make what you need, grow what you need, take what you need and share what you don’t. If you were to ask any of them they would say “no that is just tradition”. So whatever label you put on it, it has been done for years, but the current generations are not participating much anymore.
“Well, the truth is that the motivation for prepping is different for each person. Some preppers believe that a complete collapse of the economy is coming. Others saw what happened to so many during Hurricane Katrina are are determined not to let that happen to them. Some preppers just want to become more independent and self-sufficient. There are yet others that are deeply concerned about “end of the world as we know it” scenarios such as terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, killer pandemics, alien invasions, World War III or EMP attacks.” (EAD.com 2012)
Now, back to Joe. Joe and I talked about what it was like to grow up in the Va. W.V. area. How we used to think that taking the tent to a local camp ground and fishing or hiking all weekend was a great vacation. We oddly bonded on the fact that we both use to camp in a near-by campground and the fact that neither of our daughters knew what it was NOT to stay in an upper scale hotel.
The reason I chose to write about preppers is that it’s not on the radar. You will not find big studies on the prepping community. There is no big-box-store named PreppersRus. Or maybe there is The Common Sense Prepper
This is all by design. These people are always specifically “under the radar” literally and figuratively. The one thing about the lifestyle is it is very private. That is why talking to a random guy like Joe was a fascinating find.
DID YOU KNOW…FEMA has a “Best Practices and Case Studies”section on its Plan and Prepare page?
Joe is an average looking soccer dad. He wore a Virginia Tech. hat and normal soccer dad attire. He didn’t really stand out from the crowd at all by just looking at him. But talking to him I found he was a smart articulate person that believes one day that our society is going to take a drastic change for the worse. His thoughts are not really of a nuclear bomb, terrorist attack or the other more doomsday scenarios. Rather his thoughts were that the economy will tank and that eventually people will be out of work and the “haves” will become the “have-nots” because money will not be worth anything. Joe and his family however will be safe with at least a years’ worth of food, living on the outskirts of the city, with enough protection from anyone that wants to steal what he has stored away.
The evolution of this “movement” or “trend” is pretty apparent. Click on the word preppers in Google and see how many companies have jumped on board.
Though this trend is decades old there are always new gadgets and new theories of living through the doomsday and rebuilding society. The preppers themselves have evolved by using the World Wide Web to order supplies and build online societies of other preppers.
This website End of the American Dream explains more of the evolution;
“the prepper movement is clearly growing. Today, millions of Americans are converting spare rooms into storage pantries, learning how to grow survival gardens and stocking up on everything from gas masks to auxiliary generators.”
The Progression of Preppers
What we used to once call “that crazy guy that collects things down the street”, is now not so different than most of you reading this. A study that the Salina Journal did on preppers portrays the progression of preppers.
“It was a diverse bunch. [The preppers were] all different shapes, sizes, ages, gender and political persuasions. Some were ex-military. Some never served. Some were unemployed, some had jobs. A few were retired.” (Fielder G.D. 2011)
The quotes that you will often hear the preppers say are
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”
“It’s better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it”.
Each has many different versions but they all mean the same. Prepping is akin to wearing a seat-belt, you don’t want to wreck but you are preparing just in case you do.