When most people hear of words such as preppers or survivalists and even off-gridders, they assume that there must be something wrong with these people. They think we are crazy and that we should wear a tin foil hat. Preppers can be labeled as eccentric people, but they are certainly not crazy and here’s why.
Last week, I was waiting in line at Walmart and in front of me there was a lady with her son. Right next to them, a senior citizen was waiting to pay his groceries, just like the rest of us. Out of the blue, I hear the boy say “Hey mom, look at this old man…I bet he’s one of those doomsday preppers” and she replied “Well boy, there’s all kinds of crazy in this world”. After hearing them, I’ve looked better at the old man and noticed he bought a lot of water bottles and canned goods (mostly beans and tomatoes). The thing that shocked me the most wasn’t the fact they labeled the man as a prepper or crazy person without knowing anything about him. I’m used with people acting like this and I’ve stopped paying attention to such behavior a while ago. What bothered me the most was the tone of her voice, she said it with such hate and disgust like somehow, he did them wrong. I will never understand why people condemn others for their choices, especially if it doesn’t affect them in any way.
Following this experience, I decided to write this article in order to shed some light about the differences, but also about the similarities between preppers and the average Americans. Most people will be surprised to find out that there aren’t so many differences and in fact, preppers are no different from you and me.
From personal experience I can outline the following about preppers:
Preppers are not hoarders
A hoarder is a person that accumulates resources during a period of scarcity and it’s more of a mental disorder rather than a method of emergency preparedness. It might be true that preppers and survivalists gather food, water and fuel in anticipation of a large-scale disaster event, but the reality is totally different. Most experienced preppers aren’t focused on gathering supplies and they are putting all their effort into becoming self-sufficient. Gathering supplies is just a small stage of emergency preparedness, becoming self-sufficient and having everything one may need is the ultimate goal of all the preppers. There isn’t such a big difference between preppers and the average person when it comes to stockpiling supplies and it’s just a matter of perspective. You probably gather a lot of car parts for your hobby; you have a good collection of baseball cards and what not. Does this make you a hoarder? Even more, almost 40% of all Americans have a water and food supply that can last them for at least a week. You can’t say that there is something wrong with all these people, just because they have a safe-net. Personally, I feel bad for those who think that supplies will always be in reach and food and water shouldn’t be a concern.
Most preppers have life experiences that are harder to find in today’s world
For some people, the majority of preppers are just ‘old-timers’ while for others they are grandfathers and grandmothers. The reality is that most of the preppers out there are not teenagers anymore and many of them have witnessed events that you hear only in stories. Even more, they lived through times when things weren’t as easy as they are now and they had to work hard for everything they have. They witnessed how our society decayed over the years and how things changed…for the worse. These preppers learned it the hard way and there wasn’t any smartphone to tell them how to start a fire or how to calculate the tip for the waitress. They learned from their mistakes and they’ve accumulated enough life experiences that they could easily write a book about it. In today’s modern world we are all spoiled kids, we have everything handed out to us and rarely do we get involved into creating or building something from scratch. There are a lot of smartphones used by dumb people. I’m not trying to offend anyone here, but you have to look at yourself and think about the last time you did something that made you feel like learned something that day. We are more and more glued to our TVs and Computers and we fail to notice the world going by. We think we know so much, but in reality, we don’t learn anything that could be useful for us. If you would spend a day with your grandparents, I bet you will have a lot to learn about the old ways, things that no smartphone can teach you.
Preppers are frugal and so are you (or you should be)
Most of the preppers I know are frugal and they have developed a lifestyle that provides them with everything they need, without spending too much for it. Maybe it is all due to their life experience, or it may be due to the fact that they value and respect money, I can’t really tell you for sure. What I can tell you is that they are not spinning in today’s whirlwind consumerism that is trapping more and more people. They do not care about the latest IPhone model or about the latest flat screen TV and they learned to make do with what they have. Most of them witnessed how the dollar lost its powers over the years and how debt is constantly increasing. They do not waste food, they prefer to cook rather than eating out and they prefer to save for darker days. Being frugal is a common thing and preppers are not the only ones thinking about the financial situation of our country. You are probably doing the same thing, but the difference is that while preppers save money to buy things useful for their homestead; you are probably saving for a new TV or a fancy beer cooler. They buy canned goods on sale, while you buy Doritos and beer. As I said, it’s just a matter of perspective and everyone is free to save money for what they think will be of use for them later on.
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Preppers are smart
Once again, I’m not trying to offend anyone here and it’s just a personal opinion. I’m not talking here about having an academic degree or something like that. I’m talking about the kind of wits that makes one person work things out with what he has at hand or with what he manages to find. The kind of knowledge you get after many trail and errors, after many life experiences. Preppers are curious people and they try to learn as much as they can. Most of them will be happy to try new ideas and learn for their mistakes because they believe that a day that thought them something was not a wasted day. Since most of the preppers are frugal, they had to come with all sorts of ingenious methods to make things work. Everything from procuring food to fixing things around the house gets a new approach when it comes to preppers. You are smart too, but you probably use all your knowledge during working hours or for various crafts to decorate your home. Just because someone is a prepper it doesn’t mean that he is a tin hat wearing moron. Given the chance, you might have something to learn from them. Looking down on people just because they are preppers shows how close-minded some people can be.
Preppers respect the Earth and the resources it provides
Preppers, survivalists and off-gridders are hardworking people and they respect the environment. They do not waste resources and they’ve learned that if they treat the Earth right, it will reward them in the future. Most of them are farmers or gardeners and they respect and treasure the land they own because they depend on it. Living off the grid requires a special connection with the environment and preppers know how to use every resource. They know how to protect the environment so that it can sustain them. They do not hunt for sport and they respect all wildlife. Many of them forage for plants and use them as food or medicine, and they are probably the only ones that keep this skill still alive. They are an odd presence in today’s world, when everything is made to get broken so that you can buy more and more. Preppers know how to recycle and they will think and rethink about ways to use what others may consider trash. A prepper, survivalist or off-gridder will look at a metal can and find multiple uses for it, while the average person will just throw it away. If the world will stop functioning tomorrow, those who know how to use what is left of it, will be the ones who survive. You are probably used to recycle as well and you might care about the environment. If you would learn how to use resources for other purposes than their obvious scope, you will probably be considered a prepper as well.
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Preppers do not prepare only for themselves
This is trend I’ve noticed among my prepper friends and I would like to think it’s a general approach for many of the preppers out there. Many will include in their prepping plans family members and close friends, even those that think it is ridiculous to prepare for a theoretical disaster. Many of the ‘old-timers’ chose to become preppers not for them but for their family. They are aware that all their supplies and self-sufficiency solutions will be left as legacy for the younger generations and it is one of the things that make them push forwards. It may be due to their age, it may be due to their nature, nobody can say for sure, but one thing is certain: they aren’t selfish people. They will give a helping hand when time comes and they are even trying to teach you a thing or two right now, despite you calling them crazy. You have better chances of receiving a helping hand from preppers rather than from the government when a disaster strikes. I can’t say the same things about the others, the unprepared. Do you think that anyone who fights for his life will stop and help you? The desperate ones will see you mostly as a prey rather than a human being.
Preppers fear something, but it’s not what you think
Every prepper fears something and it’s not a crisis event as many believe it to be. Most preppers I know fear God’s judgment and they will not harm others, unless they are forced to do so. They believe that every life is important and must be cherished and they aren’t part of the vast majority that has a different kind of faith. They do not worship money, they do not care about taking selfies or bragging about material things. Family comes first for them and faith is the main thing that helps them going when times are rough. These are the kind of people that you need to have around when SHTF because they will come to your aid if it’s in their powers to do so. They are God fearing people and they think that everyone deserves a second chance. When the end comes, would you rather be surrounded by these type of people or by those who are shallow?
Preppers, survivalists and off-gridders communities are growing each year and one should stop and think about this. Are they all wrong? Is it possible that they are able to see the constant changes in our society and that they would rather be safe than waiting for handouts when society crumbles?
This article is not meant to convince people to become preppers. It is just a personal opinion that aims to show that preppers are not crazy people. There aren’t so different from you and me, and they have a place in this changing world. You probably have food and water to last you for a couple of days, you probably have an electrical generator and other supplies needed for when you will be cut-off from the municipal utilities. You are probably a prepper without knowing it and that’s a good thing.
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