Not About End-of-the-World Paranoia
By Lee Bellinger
You’ve probably noticed how the mainstream media are poking fun at preppers – even turning a few of them into pop culture icons in the process. We appreciate the humor and parody.
But the ridiculers are spreading a harmful (and untrue) subliminal message, i.e. the notion you must believe that the “world is coming to an end” before you should take one step toward becoming more self reliant.
Talk about creating a personal excuse for doing absolutely nothing in the face of a big something! The way we see it is that only a fool would look around right now and NOT see that things in this country are amiss in a big way.
Being able to side step trouble and hordes of desperate, unprepared people in an emergency is simple prudence. But short of that, being more self reliant can make you more secure – financially and otherwise.
America Needs More Right-Thinking People
to Weather What’s Ahead
Fortunately, more and more people are “getting it” that you don’t have to believe that doomsday is around the corner to become a savvy prepper. Preppers are springing up all over.
The other day, one of my colleagues even shared an article with me about a dating website geared toward survivalists! My first thought was to laugh. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a matchmaking site for survivalists underscores an important step that we should all be taking.
I’m talking about making alliances with like-minded people, not necessarily finding a “dream date” who will spend a weekend canning vegetables with you!
Prepping without Going to Extremes
Between the threat of chaos from the shaky global economy, the collapse of entitlement programs from the dire U.S. financial crisis, and the looming possibility of a bio-terror or “dirty bomb” attack, I can see plenty of reasons to be ready for short-term and long-term disruptions to our infrastructure, our monetary system, our food supply, and our healthcare industry.
My main point is that it’s always easier to weather such an event if you are not the only one prepared for it.
Think about it… if you’re the only person in your community who has set up a food reserve, taken pains to store extra fuel, made a plan for getting water if you need it, and prepared to deal with medical issues in case the typical emergency response system has its hands full, whose door do you think your friends, family, and uninvited neighbors will knock on if things fall apart?
That’s a lot of burden for one person to bear. Let’s look at a solution…
There Is Strength in Numbers
While you may not be in the market to find a survivalist partner through a niche-dating site, it is a good idea to enlist the support of family and friends in getting ready for anything.
The first step is to clearly state to other would-be preppers what you want to do and why. You don’t have to go overboard here. You can simply state that the economy has obviously been experiencing some tough times, that America’s infrastructure is fragile, and that you’d like to take a few steps to prepare in case things get worse.
Then, listen to the response. You may meet some skepticism. Sometimes your loved ones will call into question the ability to plan for such an event, they’ll be reluctant to devote much time and expense to the effort, or they’ll be embarrassed that you’ve become one of those whacky “doomsday preppers” showcased on TV.
Your best strategy is not to be disagreeable about it, but just restate the facts. You could even mention that the Department of Homeland Security asks every household to make basic preparations against the kinds of disruptions you’re worried about.
No matter with whom you’re talking, you can help get them on board in a few easy steps…
First, state the benefits of what you’re doing and back up the importance of your plan with proof. You don’t have to look far to find evidence of how fragile our current state of affairs is. Point out a few news stories, such as the storm last October that left residents across a wide swath of the New England states without power for more than a week.
Next, address their fears and objections. Your family might worry that you’ll want them to spend tens of thousands of dollars on supplies. Whatever the source of their hesitation, face it head on and offer them an honest assessment of how your plan differs from what they’re afraid of or explain why their fears are unfounded.
Then, let them know that even if nothing bad does happen for quite a while, there’s a definite sense of security and satisfaction in knowing that they’ll be better prepared.
Finally, ask them to start getting involved in some small way. A very basic step for beginning preppers is to put away a 30-day food supply with 60,000 calories per household member. This can be done at a wholesale club with about a half-day of careful label reading and a calculator.
Bring It to the Like-Minded Members
of Your Community
Getting your closest friends and family on board is crucial. But, don’t stop there.
Begin connecting with a wider circle of like-minded individuals so that you have a network you can turn to and work with should a disruption occur. A big upside to the growing interest in prepping is that it’s easier to find stable, rational people who are taking measured steps to prepare for real possibilities. The industry is no longer dominated by people taking their survivalist tendencies to the extreme.
Most large cities and major regions have conferences geared toward preparedness. I just returned from one in Colorado, and look forward to attending another in my home state of North Carolina later this year.
I suggest you start planning to attend one or two of these events a year. Make a point to talk not only to vendors, but also to other attendees while you’re there. When you do, you can find opportunities to share resources, bounce ideas off of each other, and even set up barter arrangements that can help you prep faster and cheaper.
For example, maybe you’ll meet a gardener who’d be happy to tend a vegetable garden all summer in exchange for you devoting just one weekend to canning the harvest. Share the final results 50-50.
Or you may be considering a new food-storage system. If you meet someone who has already invested in the same system, you have the opportunity to hear someone’s firsthand experience, which can help make a more informed decision. Or, you may be planning to make a purchase that would be cheaper if done in bulk. Having a network of fellow preppers can make bulk savings easier and more practical to take advantage of.
We live in extreme times, more than worthy of at least moderate prepping. It’s all part of a mental process as much as anything else, so don’t hesitate to spread the word by forwarding this memo to like-minded friends.