If there is one thing that the left and the right can agree on, it might be this: We are living in uncertain times. Negative news stories flood our newsfeeds and screens and radios and newspaper pages every day. It includes cyberattacks, tension between global superpowers, government corruption, catastrophic weather events, terrorism, mass murders, attacks on elected officials and law enforcement, populist uprisings, angry protests, rampant poverty, and general unrest—often more than one of them on the same day. It leaves a lot of people shaking their heads and wondering how we can turn things around, and how it can possibly all end. Many feel unnerved or frightened—even people who have never worried before.
Some of us are concerned that things could get worse before they get better. In fact, some of us have been concerned about possible tough times ahead since long before our nightly news sounded dire, and have been preparing for the worst-case scenario all along.
Whether a seasoned prepper, someone new to prepping, or someone just considering joining the preparedness community, many people will agree that there has never been a better time to be a prepper than right now. Even though the possible disasters vary widely among different schools of thought within the preparedness community, from natural disasters to electromagnetic pulse to famine to war to economic collapse to dozens of other scenarios, it is clear that hard times could be on the horizon.
Preppers have not always been taken seriously. Considered by some to be a radical fringe, preppers’ concerns for the future and dedication to self-sufficiency have not always been shared by mainstream Americans. I get some raised eyebrows when I tell people I’m a prepper.
“No, I’m not one of those crazy ones you hear about,” I assure them.
But it is by no means clear what would define me—or anyone—as a crazy prepper. It is true that we all focus on different possibilities and different preparations. There are many variations amid prepping lifestyles, in the same way that there are many ways to live as back-to-the-landers, house flippers, foster parents, pet owners, mountain climbers, volunteer missionaries, or any other cause or belief to which people might devote their lives. I have my own way of prepping, which may or may not be seen by others as crazy. But crazy or not, I have noticed more people are considering the benefits of preparing for the future. Folks who even a year ago might not have given any real thought to the tenets of prepping have expressed to me a measure of unease about today’s world and tomorrow’s possibilities.
Different Paths to Preparedness
People come from different directions to the realization that learning to provide for oneself and one’s future is crucial. For some, it is an extension of having grown up in a conservative rural family where households and communities fended for themselves in the face of potential job loss or severe weather or injury. For others, it is learning about the likelihood of the world as we witness it being knocked off-kilter by the loss of a power grid—either by way of an electromagnetic pulse due to naturally occurring sunspots or due to something more sinister and deliberate initiated by hostile entities. Still others have reason to believe that primary American institutions, such as our financial structure or our system of government, are on the verge of implosion which will leave citizens scrambling for resources.
Some feel the threat of impending changes in food availability—due to climate change, overpopulation, government regulation, overdependence on fewer varieties, or other causes. Others worry about polar shift or massive earthquakes.
There is what some perceive to be an increasing likelihood of all-out war—with North Korea, Russia, Syria, ISIS or others. This is compounded by what feels to the residents of some communities like war already in progress—a war on people of color, a war on men and women in uniform, a war on the poor, or a war on taxpayers.
There is no shortage of threats to concern us. In response, preppers everywhere are doing their best to be ready for whatever might happen. Some buy a few extra cans of prepared soup and vegetables when they are on sale and tuck them away in the back of a closet for just-in-case. Many people try to follow suggested guidelines of keeping a three-day supply of food, water, batteries and other necessities—things like baby diapers and medicines and fuel—on hand at all times. Others take things a little more seriously, filling pantries with rows and rows of food stockpiles and keeping gun cabinets full of weapons and ammunition and practicing emergency evacuation procedures. Some people create alternative residences for themselves by way of underground bunkers or wilderness retreats, which they plan to use if their current home becomes uninhabitable for any reason.
With possibilities looming that could shake up our entire supply chain, affect how we acquire what we need to live, alter our priorities, and even change our very livelihoods and lives, there is no better time than now to be a prepper.
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