To the extent that one exists, the public image of a prepper is of someone who's getting ready for the collapse of society, at which point money and electric grids, along with all the things that depend on them, will become unavailable. Preppers are ready to purify water to drink, hunt and butcher for meals, and scare off anyone who tries to get a piece of their post-apocalyptic bliss, possibly via gunfire. There may be bunkers involved.
In both his book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation and in his survivalist novel, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse, Rawles describes in great detail retreat groups "upgrading" brick or other masonry houses with steel reinforced window shutters and doors, excavating anti-vehicular ditches, installing warded gate locks, constructing concertina wire obstacles and fougasses, and setting up listening post/observation posts (LP/OPs.) Rawles is a proponent of including a mantrap foyer at survival retreats, an architectural element that he calls a "crushroom".
In the wake of these insights, I called a family friend in Ohio, himself half-a-Prepper, and he advised me to purchase a quantity of Silver Eagle coins as an inflation hedge, which I did. Not long after came the hundred-dollar, home-delivered month’s supply of freeze-dried food — in the standard and the vegetarian options — from Costco.com. I bought my wife, which is to say, myself, John Seymour’s homesteading classic, “The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It.” I began the conversation about acquiring a gun.
Lokey teaches students agricultural skills and says she came to Wild Abundance because she wants to show her students how to build a basic cold frame: a wooden enclosure with a transparent roof that can be used to keep seedlings warm in winter. That way, no matter what happens, they’ll have the tools they need to grow fresh fruits and vegetables all year round.
I need to organize my food in a similar manner. I started prepping about a year or so ago, but it took months of talk and giving my wife articles to read, but I finally got her on board with buying a couple of extra cans/items each time she went shopping. I now have an overflowing panty that is disorganized. I’m sure I have items approaching their “best buy” date. Part of my “problem” is the size of our pantry area…too easy to cram things in and forget about them or forget where they got placed. We have an adequate 3-month supply, but nothing yet for long-term storage…that seems hard to get figured out (what to store, where to store, quantity to store, “best” storage method, etc.).
No! They’re buying less! Way, way less. The market is way different. If Hillary would’ve got elected, then it would’ve been completely different for our market — more guns, more bullets, more everything. It would’ve continued what was going on during Obama, for sure. But now people are happy and comfortable. It’s not that they aren’t buying; they’re just buying when they want to have purified water at home.
“It was never offered as a contrary movement to hippies by any means,” Mitchell explains. “I think maybe it was just one more expression of ‘You can try something new now.’” Survivalism was and still is, Mitchell believes, a product of late capitalist consumer society, premised on drumming up panic about various hypothetical catastrophes and furnishing people with products that will allegedly help survive them.
Most preppers, Huddleston found, are male, white, and between the ages of 25 and 45. The reason for the racial divide might be self-reinforcing, he notes. “If you see a bunch of white guys in tactical clothing jump out of an armored van, a young black man or woman is not going to be like, ‘Hey, that looks cool. I want to go over there.’ They’re going to run the other way,” he says.
Among those features: the waterproof tarpaulin bag is airtight and capable of acting as a floatation device, it has an integrated flashlight for hands-free illumination while wearing the pack, and the exoskeleton frame becomes snowshoes or splints. Inside are silk-screened first aid and emergency instructions, plus more than 30 tools and supplies like a radio, USB charger, food, water filter, sunscreen, hand warmers, and more.
We as humans tend to be an angry species nowadays. When I was younger arguments were settled with fists, sticks and stones, or perhaps knives as a last resort? Mortality rates from these encounters weren’t as bad as firing a firearm in anger. I’m just afraid my own anger would cause me to fire first! Combat situations are easy to talk bravodo about but unless you’ve ever killed a live person or had another person shoot at you, you have no idea what you would actually do in a grid down situation.
When I point out that her reasons for getting into survivalism sound far off from the “every man for himself” mentality of the macho prepper stereotype, Chymiy mentions a paper by a team of social psychologists from UCLA, published in Psychological Review, about the differences in how men and women react to physical and social stressors. “The traditional fight-or-flight response is apparently based on research done only on men, so when they finally researched women under extreme stress, their response instead of fight or flight was more tend and befriend, apparently,” she explains. “Instead of running away or punching you in the face if you try to mug us, we’ll try to talk you down or try to make a social connection so you know the stressful situation can be diffused. And in neighborhood settings, we try to come together and help each other.”
James England is a former United States Marine Signals Intelligence Operator and defense contractor with over two tours spread over the Al Anbar province and two more operating across Helmand and Baghdis. He is presently a writer focused on Western foreign policy and maintains an avid interest in firearms. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he presently resides in New Hampshire – the “Live Free or Die” state. He is finishing up his first novel, “American Hubris”, which is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2015.