Friday, February 24, 2012

What Type of Prepper Am I?

I think you can see at this point that I'm a wordy goof.  I type fast and so these posts tend to run long.  Sometimes my writing may seem like a stream of consciousness, but all I can say is hey, have patience with me!  Onward!

As I made clear in my last post, I am not a professional prepper or survival expert, nor do I play one on TV.  However, I do a lot of reading and watching of videos in my spare time, probably more than is healthy.   So, I've come across quite a lot of information on a wide variety of subtopics dealing with prepping and survival.  What I've discovered is that not all preppers are created equal.  There are multiple types.  A short dissertation on what seem to be the most common types:

Gun/Knife/Gear Gurus
These are the guys you may have seen whose Youtube channels and blogs are primarily gun/knife/tacticool gear reviews, interspersed with posts about their particular philosophies about WROL or SHTF situations.  They post videos of themselves at the gun-range, or perhaps out on a tract of private land running around and talking about "tactics".  If you want to know who makes the best tactical vest, or the best folding knife, or perhaps the best assault rifle, then these are the guys you want to be watching, but be careful.  This is the group that has the biggest segment of "ex-military/special forces/law enforcement" claimants out of all of 'em.  These folks seem to think that survival is based primarily on whether or not you have the coolest gear.  The $1,800 AR?  A $800 fixed blade knife strapped to your leg?  A $350 SWAT team looking vest covered in pouches full of magazines?  Cool carbon-fiber knuckle gloves?  You're ready to take on the end of the world!  Yeah, no thanks.  I have always had the impression that some of these folks are missing the message entirely.  Living through a natural disaster, or a terrible collapse of society isn't cool, and it's not going to be fun or easy no matter how much you spent on tacticool gear.  Sorry.

Zombie Apocalypse People:
These are the folks who constantly talk about what they'll do "when the zombies come".  Everyone who may read this knows some people like this.  I certainly do.  "Man, when the zombies come, I'm going to grab my bag and my shotgun, and I'm going to totally set up on a rooftop, and I'm going to be all BLAOW and BOOM! FUCK YEAH! and BLAMBLAMBLAM with my Glock!"  Yeah, ok.  The issue I have with this particular group is that many of them seem to almost want society to fail, so they can live out their video game/zombie movie fueled fantasies involving lots of gunfire, headshots, and spent shells raining down on the camera lens.  They generally are the ones who talk about having a ton of ammo stockpiled "just in case".  Listen, there is nothing healthy about wanting society to end.  Fact is, the way I see it, no matter what happens that results in a situation where your preps come into play, it sucks.  And it will continue to suck.  It won't be fun or easy.  Furthermore, it's incredibly short-sighted, in my opinion.  Most of the kids spouting this noise on various forums seem not to really have given any thought on what will come after.  Fact is, there aren't many people in this country who can survive totally independent of any sort of society at all.  Well, I suppose the Amish could, but even they trade with the outside world for various things.  I am all for comments of "Heck yeah, I'm ready for when the zombies come!" while at the range with friends, I've made those comments myself.  But there are a lot of folks out there who actually believe this sort of thing could ever happen.  Yeah, I don't see it.

Rural/Wilderness/Small Town Survivalists:
These are the guys I think I partially identify with.  A lot of these folks live in rural areas, and possibly live on farms, or out on a few (or possibly many more) acres somewhere where they're able to really have a lot of storage, shoot on their private property, that sort of thing.  One thing that I appreciate about them is that their preparations are more of a way of life, rather than a hobby or end goal.  These folks, if they have video channels, post few videos concerning firearms or "tactics", and more videos concerning safe ways to store food, can vegetables, secure potable water, cultivate gardens, that sort of thing.  A lot of these folks are highly concerned with "going off the grid", essentially getting to a point where they have alternate means of water generation (through wells on their property or other means), power generation (through solar or some other means), and growing as much of their food as they can.  These folks aren't preparing for the end of society so much as they are working to ensure that a bad situation doesn't mean the end of life as they know it.  You have to respect that.  Will I ever be at the level that many of these folks are at?  Probably not.  But I respect it all the same. 

Disaster-Specific People:
I have been watching a show recently on the National Geographic channel called Doomsday Preppers.  There are a lot of folks out there who are all prepping for a specific disaster, some which are very possible (such as the collapse of the dollar in the face of the country's crushing debt), and others which I believe are highly improbable (such as the permanent end of society).  This group is pretty self explanatory, and is the one which I feel most describes the motivating force behind my own rapidly growing interest in prepping. 

My interest in prepping is currently pretty simple.  I live in an area of the country that is more prone to a certain type of natural disaster than others.  Hurricanes can (and have) thoroughly wrecked plenty of areas, resulting in power outages, food/water/supply shortages, and a complete disruption of normal daily life.  As everyone watched in horror, New Orleans got really barbaric after Katrina rolled through and destroyed the city, leaving thousands without basic necessities, and no way to get them.  I won't reiterate how bad it got.  All I know is that I don't want to be in that situation myself so, for me, my preps focus on enough supplies to last my family and I for up to a couple months staying home, with backup plans for retreating to one of multiple backup locations that I'll remain necessarily vague about.  And for me, this is fine.  I prefer to think that this is the most plausible scenario that I will realistically face in my area.  That's not to say that I won't take my preparations further, but for now, it's a starting goal for me. 

And that, really, is the main thing that I feel it's important to keep in mind.  Have a realistic goal.  See, it's easy to watch videos, and peruse survival forums and get amped up, and want to run out and blow $10,000 on survival gear, supplies, guns, and ammo.  But the thing to remember is that a lot of those folks who have Youtube channels with a couple hundred thousand followers...have been doing this for years. Some of them are bankrolled by various gear sites, which is how they get all those wonderful toys.  So, don't feel bad if the gear you have isn't up to the same standard.  To coin an adage usually used about conceal carry firearms, the best gear out there?  Is the gear you have right now.  If you're anything like me, all of your paycheck generally goes towards paying your bills/debts and living your life, going out to eat, seeing a movie, buying video games, and so on.  It's a change to start diverting some of your resources in order to start becoming prepared to face whatever natural or social disaster you may face in your area.  So, as with starting any new pursuit, have a realistic goal.  Stay safe out there.

- Unnamed Prepper

"Good history is a question of survival. Without any past, we will deprive ourselves of the defining impression of our being."
- Ken Burns

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