Thursday, June 6, 2013

Patriots and Preppers:

After my last post, I had a question come from a friend who reads this blog.  He asked what I was talking about with my mention of some preppers thinking they're "Patriots".  I figured I would jot down my thoughts on the subject in a follow-up post.

So, I read a lot of different survival blogs, a couple of different forums, and follow multiple Youtube channels.  One subject I see discussed quite often is this idea that people who are prepared should naturally consider themselves Patriots.  These discussions usually have the same sort of theme behind them, things like "having to take a stand against the Gubmint!" or "It's time we take our country back!" or "You have to be ready to stand up and lead your community and restore order!".

I don't understand what any of those things has to do with prepping.  In fact, most of the preppers I know, or have read posts/blogs by, all talk about things like "When SHTF, I'm bugging out to my BOL and hiding out until the worst is over!" or "When the zombies come, I'm totally holing up in my fortified home!" or "My family and I are going to be covered, and screw everyone else!"  So, when you have people who prep in order to survive...well, insert your disaster scenario of choice here, what is this assumption from internet people that preppers are supposed to take up arms and fight against the Government, or defend the populace?

I've since noticed that forum posts on this subject tend to become inflammatory as the Patriot chestbeaters argue with people who are asking this same question.  It's not unusual to see responses of "Well, if you aren't ready to do what's right for AMERICA, then you're just a coward, so go run and hide like one!"  The inference here is that the self-claimed "Patriot" is going to rise up and form an army with thousands of other like-minded individuals and...I don't know, march on Washington?  Skirmish with law enforcement, National Guard, or whoever is trying to restore order after a disaster?  I don't know, but the more I hear these "Patriots" talk, I'm pretty sure that they aren't any sort of patriot as I know the term from early American history.

And really, that's what kills me about the whole idea of "fighting back".  It seems to me these days that there's this huge culture based around the ownership and use of firearms and knives (and tomahawks, mustn't forget those) in the prepper community.  There are countless videos on YT about how to fight with a knife, or how to properly conceal carry a gun, or the best mods for your AR-15 combat-rifle lookalike.  There are countless posts on the forums like "What guns do I need for SHTF???!1?" or "What Rifle is most accurate at 1,000 yards!" or "Do swords make good SHTF close combat weapons?" and on and on and on.  All these people are so concerned with weapons, and fighting, and shooting, and blowing "zombies" or "looters" away.  Some even talk about how they can't wait for someone to break into their homes.  You know, I get it, I do.  I get that the idea of being an action hero like in a movie or video game is cool, where you have to duck for cover and fight an attacking wave of bad-guys with your AR, or engage an enemy in close-up martial arts knife/sword/axe fighting.  I understand that all of those things are exciting to people who lead lives that are boring or dull otherwise.   It's neat to day-dream about being an action hero right out of a video game or summer blockbuster flick. 

But you know, I think that's what our problem is.  In today's convenience filled world of shopping malls, cell-phones, cheap computers, stores full of cheaply made imported luxury goods, video games, and a constant barrage of entertainment media, there's no real fighting, strife, or conflict anymore (at least not in most of the country, if you live in a harsh ghetto urban area, your view might be understandably different).  In 99% of this country, you don't have to fight an enemy in order to survive.  Life is more easy for Americans than it has ever been  in the entire history of this country.  Hungry at 3:00AM?  No worries, hit up a drivethrough somewhere.  Decide you want to buy a new Bluray player for that 62' TV you just bought?  Just run down to Best Buy, I'm sure they have what you need. Decide you need some beef jerky, bottled water, and some cheap Chinese-made running shoes?  There's a Wal-Mart on your way home, how nice.

And that's the problem, I think.  Yes, I'm aware that I am speaking from a "pampered middle class suburbanite" viewpoint.  But the basic premise is the same.  Even poor people don't have to knife-fight their way out of a store with a bag of potatoes so their family can eat that night.  They swipe their EBT card, and walk out, and get into their big SUV with the $12,000 whe...sorry, rant for another time.

But seriously.  Think about it.  Human Beings spent thousands of years living in caves, and not being at the top of the food chain.  There was a real fight for survival.  Hell, even a hundred years ago, survival was a struggle for many people.  But today?  There is no real fight to survive.  Most Americans grow up having enough to eat, getting a free education (such as it is) from a public school before taking out loans to go to college, after which they graduate, and work a variety of jobs, none of which involve them having to fight for their lives.  If you lose your job, there's unemployment.  At the worst, you move back in with your parents, and you look for another job.  Life goes on...but you haven't had to fight anyone, or claw your way up from the muck.  Consider this.  Our poorest person is still in the 1% of the world's wealthiest as compared to the rest of the world.  That's right.  The poorest person in this country, there are literally billions of people who are worse off than you.  It's all a matter of perspective.  A homeless person can walk up to the side of a house or building, and use the faucet there, and BAM, instant access to clean water.  All that poor guy can drink, at least until he gets chased off.  There are places in this world who would literally do anything to have access to clean water, just spilling out of the house onto the ground like that.

Anyway, it just seems like the majority of preppers and survivalists have painted this romantic, dramatic idea of being armed and "ready for the fight".  So, I think that's why so many people on survival boards talk about being a Patriot who will "fight for their country" (and yet oddly, they don't join the armed forces, huh).  It's because their real, actual, day-to-day lives are so easy, and conflict-free.  Frankly, if you even own a (lawfully obtained) firearm, then an easy assumption to make might be that your life isn't that hard.  People generally do not think about firearms costing hundreds of dollars (along with ammunition that costs nearly the same these days) when they don't even have money for rent, or food.  So, most people posting online (internet access being another luxury that people in actual dire straights wouldn't have) really crack me up with this blatant cry for attention, with their fantasies of a life full of gunfire against a backdrop of explosions and a tense summer blockbuster soundtrack.

I think a lot of people spend so much time on the Internet preparing for the wrong thing. But hey, that's just me.  In the end, make sure you are keeping both feet firmly on the ground with your prepping plans.

Stay safe out there.

Unnamed Prepper


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