“Preppers,” or “survivalists,” have been in the news, related to Sandy, and the most recent series of mass shootings. It isn’t a new movement, but more people are becoming aware of it.
James Talmage Stevens, known as “Dr. Prepper,” (and yes, that’s my excuse for the video at the end) is called a “self-reliance guru,” and his 1974 book, Making the Best of Basics, is referred to as the “bible” of the movement. Recently Tim Murphy, for Mother Jones, interviewed Stevens in Preppers Are Getting Ready for the Barackalypse.
Obama’s second term is very bad news for survivalists. It’s also very good news for the industry catering to their worst fears. …
Stevens is not actually a doctor, and … he’d rather you not call him a ‘prepper,’ which he considers a slur … . But it’s become part of the lexicon, and Stevens is somewhat paranoid about where the United States is headed (he foresees a borderline tyrannical second Obama term that begins with massive gun confiscation and ends who-knows-where), so he’s rolling with it. …
Stevens came out of retirement, Murphy writes, responding to “something of a renaissance” of the survivalist / prepper movement over the last four years. Among other things, he’s selling water-filtering system, which, so far, has
… netted Stevens and his partner $1.5 million in profits in just over a year. And he’s far from the only one making a living off the coming collapse of civilization. Sites like Revolutionary Realty and Survival Realty list rugged properties with amenities such as a ‘defensible hillside location.’ There are no fewer than three prepper dating sites—Survivalist Singles (‘Don’t Face the Future Alone’) boasts 4,000 members, mostly male.
Okay, I’m trying to resist, but if a dating site is “mostly” of one gender, either it’s because the other gender just isn’t as interested in the theme, or maybe something else.
In another sign of interest,
… the National Geographic Channel and Glenn Beck TV have gotten into the game with their reality shows Doomsday Preppers and Independence USA. … Overall, the size of the market for Americans expecting major disruptions … is estimated to be $500 million. …
Welcome to the doom boom.
Stevens told Murphy that Obama
‘ … is the leading promoter of this without even knowing it.’
… Stevens pegs the (prepper) market at about 4 million people, and he has his theories on why it’s not for everyone. ‘It’s the upper-middle white class that shows up here,’ he says.
According to The Nation, the man in Alabama, holding a 5 year old is a “doomsday prepper.” The article – Nothing New Under the Wingnut Sun – by Rick Perlstein, also recalls that the mother of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook gunman, was “stockpiling” weapons.
Pointing to other reasons for the increasing attention, and toward understanding the “prepper” term, at Talking Point Memo, Benjy Sarlin writes about
… ‘Doomsday Preppers,’ a National Geographic television show that documents survivalists around the country. But it’s a loose label, not a coherent group or philosophy.
Broadly speaking, ‘prepper’ is a catch-all term used to describe people who are preparing for the worst in every way they can.
TPM spoke with Reno, NV prepper Jerry Young.
Young’s website is one of dozens of blogs, podcasts, and forums that offer advice and support to aspiring preppers looking to ride out what they call TEOTWAWKI (‘the end of the world as we know it’).
Every movement has its own language, or appropriates existing terms: “teotwawki” and “bug out” and “SHTF” are a few examples from the Preppers.
Several articles and stories I’ve read make this point:
Preppers who talked to TPM insisted that they’re typically normal folks who often live with non-prepper family members and make their living doing ordinary jobs. …
Preppers also stress that they’re not isolated loners, as is often the survivalist stereotype, saying they consider their work a net plus to the community.
By the way, you can check out National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers here, which
… 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. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality.
They also include a disclaimer:
The Doomsday Preppers articles, videos, links, images, and instructions are for entertainment purposes only. … Do not rely on this Content for disaster, medical, health or safety advice.
If you’re so inclined, here are some Prepper links to check out:
Prepper Nation. From this last one, “Prepper” notes the increased attention to the movement, and opines:
I’d also like to take a wild guess that many of the folks searching for information these days are going to be adding their names to the list of the converted.
Do you think he’s right about that? If so, then more people need to know about the Self-Reliance Expo, where you can purchase items related to everything from Alternative Energy to Cooking & Heating to Firearms & Blades to Home Schooling Resources to Precious Metals to Suturing Class.
For another perspective on emergency / disaster preparation, you can go to Ready.gov.
And here’s the video about which “prepper” reminded me. No, it’s not related at all.