You know, there’s one thing about our community that still pains me. The people you meet who follow this lifestyle are indeed wonderful, but there is quite a misconception about what it means to be prepared.
To me, it’s all about sustainable living. Having a reliance on no one else. That even if the grid is down or the power is out, it doesn’t affect your quality of life. And that you’re making time now to think ahead, and plan, so you can better guarantee the security, safety, well-being and ultimately, the survival of your family – no matter what obstacles come your way. But in all the years I’ve been doing this, I wanted to offer my take on all the different beliefs, that really need to be dispelled about all of us.
You’re praying for the apocalypse
Mainstream media gets so caught up in this one, as they like to portray “preppers” as the bad guys who are counting down until the end of the world. This belief couldn’t be farther from the truth. If we were to experience a cataclysmic event that sets the world back a thousand years, it’s going to be a bad time, for everyone. There’s a reason the Dark Ages are referred to as “dark,” because it was a terrible time in our history. No one wants this.
I myself am certainly not hoping for an apocalypse. It’s just not practical, and the risk it presents is far greater than some magical notion of living off the land like you see in Hollywood. What we are hoping for is the future of our families. That we’ve done enough, or have had the foresight to plan ahead for the kind of challenges we will face. Like a localized natural disaster, an accident, or even the loss of a job. So that we’re a little better off in the unlikely event that something bad does happen.
You’re a gun-crazy maniac
Next comes all the fuss about hidden weapons caches, and the thought that we’re all sitting on mountains of firepower and munitions like some kind of vigilante militia. Again, a belief that’s fed more by what we see in movies than the reality of day-to-day life. It’s likely that my fellow survivalists have more weapons than the average American, but I don’t know anyone who has racks and racks of assault rifles and all the ammo to back it up.
Most of us have an assortment of weapons, a few handguns and some ammo. As well as all the targets and gear we need to hone our shooting skills. If you were to look through my cache, you’re going to find more shotgun shells and 30-30’s for my rifles than anything else. Of course, I see the value in firearms for self-defense, but the cost of equipping yourself out to a military-depot level is in the tens of thousands, and most of us simply do not have that sort of cash (or there’s better things to spend it on than ammo).
You’re a paranoid schizophrenic
This one cuts right to the core because it’s one I’ve personally faced the kind of skepticism, amusement and negativity from people in my life whose opinion I hold dear. We’re considered to be the paranoid ones, because life in the 21st century has made us accustomed to same-day deliveries, stores that open 24-7, and being able to get “whatever” you want, “whenever” you want it. Which is fine, until it stops working.
And you don’t even have to look too far back to find examples of this in action. The current pandemic put such a panic into people they were stockpiling toilet paper. After Hurricane Katrina it took 15 days for the grid to come online again. Wildfires in Australia destroyed 9,000 homes just last year, the list goes on. But what takes time is getting things back to normal, and I for one, don’t want to be stuck in line waiting for a government handout.
You’ve got an incredible bug out location
One of the most Instagram-worthy things in our community is our bug out retreats, the last-resort location that you’re planning to escape to with your family once the SHTF. But I have to say, even with the number of friends I have living this lifestyle, I only know of one person with a professionally done bug out location. Most of us are simply trying to get by as best we can, with the resources we have at our disposal. And it’s a much humbler setup.
For the longest time, my planned bug out location was a trailer parked behind my parent’s house the next state over. We’ve also got a spare room at my sister’s family house, that has our name on it. In the years since, we’ve made progress and have built a rustic bug out on two different pieces of property, but neither of these are fancy. Think more like a no-frills cabin, that we can go to just in case. It took an incredible amount of saving to get these.
These four beliefs about preppers are negative biases that need to be eliminated. Looking at it from a completely practical standpoint, it makes total sense to be a little more survival-oriented with your family. Packing go-bags in case you need to make a quick move, having more than a few days’ worth of groceries in your cupboards and fridge, and really thinking about what it will take to keep your standard of living at an acceptable one, when you’ve no longer got lights that turn on at the switch, or water that runs out of the tap.
Ultimately, being prepared is about self-reliance. That above all, we’ve got what we need to survive whatever disaster comes our way. Just like the first patriots who came to this country, there’s nothing negative about planning for a rainy day. We’ll be the ones sitting pretty when the SHTF.