If you’ve decided that you and yours are going to be responsible for your own safety and well-being and be prepared for whatever tough times might come your way, you’re probably discovering that it can be a difficult road to follow.
Never mind the learning curve involved, the lifestyle changes and the compromises and decisions. All of that can be trying enough, but one of the toughest things to deal with as a ‘crazy prepper’ is the scorn and alienation from family, friends and acquaintances.
You May Be Paranoid, But They May Be In Denial
Let’s face it, storing food, weapons and ammunition is questionable enough in most people’s eyes but if you choose to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, especially off the grid, you’re liable to be labelled a downright kook.
Just look at National Geographic’s tongue-in-cheek description of their hit show Doomsday Preppers; “Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties”.
Ordinary Americans except for their humorously paranoid obsession with being prepared for some fantasy apocalypse. There’s even a free app so you can play along too, in cyberspace anyway. Can you use virtual preps?
It’s not as bad today as it was 20 years ago, when if you were a hard core prepper or shared certain social and political opinions you could face real ostracism. Since 9/11 and all of the events that have occurred since, the public is for the most part willing to acknowledge the wisdom of having the bare minimum of a few days of extra food and water on hand, whether they practice it or not. Prepping has gone mainstream to a certain extent.
But acknowledging the need to go beyond that, to be truly prepared for almost anything, is an impossible leap for many. The irrational and illogical belief that it just can’t happen here, in spite of all the ominous signs, still prevails. Incredibly, many still believe that come what may the government will be there to save and protect them.
Such thinking is inexplicable to those who understand the frailty of the current situation. It helps to remember that this is a classic example of denial, of not wanting to consider the worst, of a blind and comforting faith with no foundation in reason, logic, or evidence.
Who To Trust, Yourself Or FEMA?
Annoying as it is to suffer the smirks and smart-alecky comments that you’re bound to encounter as a prepper, the real danger comes from allowing them to affect your own mind-set. Being surrounded by those who make light of your preparations can lead to second-guessing your plans and self-doubt. It’s necessary to pause and remember from time to time why you prepare. It’s not a bad idea to make a list of reasons and review them whenever doubts begin to nag at you. Another good approach is to make it a list of persuasive points you would present to a skeptical friend.
The first point you might make is one of the best, and that’s the poor performance of federal agencies, particularly FEMA, in the aftermath of natural disasters. The helplessness of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina was put on painful and embarrassing display to the whole world.
Who can forget news clips of survivors crying for relief and asking when the government would come and save them. The mismanagement was horrendous, and took a toll in lives lost. The shocking drama of a modern city transformed overnight into an apocalyptic nightmare should have been enough to quash anyone’s illusions that the government would always be there to help. They did manage to show up to confiscate citizen’s guns though.
Their performance after Hurricane Sandy wasn’t much better. Worse, if government had simply been performing it’s basic responsibilities much of the damage might have been avoided. There are still numerous investigations into fraud and mismanagement of funds ongoing. Local responders tend to do a better job but are often overwhelmed and lack the resources to make much of a difference.
No, only a fool would rely on the government for their safety and security.
How Will Your Neighbors React In A Crisis?
If anything good can come from these disasters it’s the insight into human behavior during a crisis. Time and again we’ve seen the population of urban areas revert into helpless, almost animal-like behavior. Panic and violence begin almost immediately as people rush the stores for supplies, and looting becomes rampant. Urban residents tend to be more reliant on and accepting of government and are truly shocked when it isn’t there to help. They’re much less likely to have taken practical precautions for dealing with emergencies.
Contrast that behavior to those living in rural areas who have suffered through floods, snowstorms and tornados in recent years. These folks tend to be better prepared and more self-sufficient by nature. Living apart from most government authority and regulation they don’t automatically look to government for assistance. Neighbors pitch in to work together and the crisis is managed in a calm and orderly manner. Government usually arrives after the fact, if at all. The differences are stark.
But The Economy Is On The Rebound, Right?
Then you might remind your skeptical friend of our fragile economic situation. It’s hard for anyone to deny that our economy balances on the edge of a precipice. With our staggering national debt many countries are beginning to lose faith in the U.S. dollar. The constant threat of war in the Middle East endangers our supply of cheap oil. Our trade deficit with China and their holding of so much of our debt gives it the ability to crush us economically overnight. The global economy rests on such a fragile foundation that even a small disruption could cause the whole thing to come crashing down, as so many experts have been warning us.
Wholesome Food Or Frankenfoods?
Then ask them to consider our food supply. The food we eat is almost entirely under the control of a handful of giant corporations. These conglomerates could easily shut off that food supply at any time if they chose to do so. This gives them unprecedented power and they work closely with government. Food could be used as a weapon to control and pacify a population. It’s happened before, less than 100 years ago in Russia and China to cite only two examples.
But of immediate concern is the kind of food we’re getting. Genetically modified food means higher profits, with little consideration given to the possible health risks of such foods which many mainstream studies have shown are a real cause for concern. It also means they’ll own the patents to modified foods and control who grows them. Wouldn’t anyone concerned for their health and welfare want to take control of their food supply as much as it’s in their power to do so?
Government Gets It, Do You?
But maybe the most ominous point to make is that our own government has gotten into prepping in a big way. Over the last few years there have been lots of reports of government agencies stocking up on arms and ammo and survival foods. What do they know that we don’t?
Prepping: It’s Not Just For Hillbillies Anymore
The mindset of denial isn’t new, before almost every historical disaster or political or economic upheaval most of the population lived under the fantasy that it couldn’t happen to them. But our ancestors had advantages that we’ve largely lost as a society. They didn’t expect government to come riding to their rescue and they were much more prepared to survive. They still had the self-sufficient, practical skills that we’ve forgotten. If things crash now the impact will be horrific.
More likely than not your friend will still be skeptical after you’ve presented these arguments. So be it, wish them well and say a prayer. But don’t let it shake your personal convictions and affect your preparations. Rest assured that you have very good reasons for being a prepper and hope by some miracle you never have to say “I told you so”.
The editor of Resounding Earth, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.