When A Firefighter Starts Prepping
It’s easy to get lost in the details and strategies of prepping and lose connection with the personal stories that define the movement. We are all people with lives, families, stories, and reasons for investing in survival planning.
This is a story just like many of us – a working man who realized that he wasn’t as prepared as he needed to be to have the peace of mind for himself and his family.
Shows like “Doomsday Preppers” show off the extremes of the movement, including people building elaborate castles to survive the zombie apocolypse. However, little mention has gone to more average preppers, like New York City firefighter and family man Jason Charles, who heads up the NYC Preppers Network.
The NYC Preppers Network meets regularly to discuss how to prepare for natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and global catastrophes. They work though various problems specific to New York City residents, such as limited space for storing emergency supplies and the difficulty of evacuating from a high density area like Manhattan.
Charles started prepping nearly four years ago after reading Newt Gingrich’s introduction to the science fiction novel “One Second After.” In the introduction, Gingrich wrote about the possibility of a catastrophic electromagnetic pulse attack. Such an attack, he said, would “throw all of our lives back to an existence equal to that of the Middle Ages … Millions would die in the first week alone.” To hear a public figure like Newt Gingrich seriously lay out what he thought was a plausible scenario convinced Charles that he needed to prepare.
How Natural Disasters Could Break Down Society
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, Charles realised he needed to prep for a more immediate threat. While Manhattan emerged primarily unscathed, the devastation wrought across the coast of New Jersey, Staten Island, and Queens struck him. The city was able to recover quickly, but if something more catastrophic hit next time, like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he wasn’t so sure.
“The breakdown of society doesn’t have to come from a nuclear bomb,” Charles told Business Insider. “It could be something like Hurricane Katrina. People were left on their own for too long. They had to wait for help. The government didn’t come fast enough. I don’t want to wait for help. I can be that help for my family and possibly my neighbours.”
Charles began talking to people on prepper forums who had lived through Hurricane Katrina. Their stories from the storm only strengthened his resolve.
– via Business Insider Australia
When Fiction Becomes Reality
The author below takes a different view on prepping than many of us read day to day – he isn’t a prepper himself, but someone who’s taking a deeper look into the movement as a whole, starting with a book that offers a fictional future that some believe really is right around the corner.
Readers have always enjoyed scaring themselves with post-apocalyptic yarns, from Mary Shelley’s “The Last Man” to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”. What makes “Expatriates: a Novel of the Coming Global Collapse” different is that its author is not just telling a story. James Wesley, Rawles (he insists on the comma, for some reason) thinks modern society really is likely to collapse. He wants readers to take his novels seriously, and to be prepared.
No one knows how many survivalists (also known as “preppers”) there are in America. Mr Rawles claims that his “SurvivalBlog”, which offers practical tips for remaining alive after The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) has 320,000 readers a week. The American Preppers Network, an umbrella group for those who see storm clouds everywhere, claims 52,000 members; it is anyone’s guess what fraction of the total that represents. The movement is decentralised and full of people who value their privacy. “You don’t want to be known as the guy who has 3-4 years’ supply of food in the basement. Because one day you could see it confiscated by the government or stolen by neighbours like hungry locusts,” says Mr Rawles. “In the event of a disaster, I don’t want to wake up and see my yard full of teepees and yurts.”
If your neighbour is a prepper, therefore, you may not know it. Yet the stereotypical image of a survivalist as a loner in combat fatigues who hunkers down in a remote bunker is plainly inaccurate. Some do indeed live in rural cabins, but most have jobs, which means many live in cities or suburbs. Survivalists—a group that is at once characteristically American yet marginal and unloved—are much more diverse than you might imagine.
Survivalism has a long history in America. The early settlers were survivalists, though they did not use the term. They built their own houses, grew their own food and filled their stores with whatever supplies they could, knowing that failure to do so might be fatal. The pioneers who trekked out West in the 19th century expected to meet hardship and danger. Those who went well armed and well prepared were more likely to survive.
Survivalists today draw inspiration from the pioneers. They look at modern civilisation, in all its opulence, and see a house of cards. Many have a puritan streak: letting other people grow your food and chop down trees for you is somehow unmanly. Ours is “a pampered, prissified society that doesn’t know how to revert to third-world living standards,” laments Mr Rawles.
– via The Economist
Do you see yourself and your own prepping in these stories?