What is a Prepper?
Author: Phil(801) Burns
A Prepper is a person who takes Personal Responsibility and Self Reliance seriously. Preparedness is an important part of life for a serious Prepper. They follow the Five Principles of Preparedness while they Walk the Path of the Prepper.
What is a Prepper?
A Prepper is a person who earnestly believes that no challenge is insurmountable with the proper dedication, determination and focus. A Prepper looks at things that most people would think impossible to survive and says “All you really need is X, Y and some Z! Preppers are very family oriented people who believe that it is more important to sacrifice leisure and entertainment today so that in a future potential calamity, they will be able to sustain a certain standard of living.
While an inordinate amount of commentary and focus is put on so-called “Doomsday” or Apocalyptic preparedness, in reality this is, or should be, a very minor to non-existent concern for Preppers. Truly, Preppers focus much more on being prepared for things that will more likely be an issue – such as the family bread-winner losing their job, passing away or being incapacitated. Other primary concerns for Preppers are: death or serious illness/injury to a family member, all-consuming house fire, flooding or other natural and man-made disasters. Our current economic environment makes the potential impact of some of these things even more likely. Indeed, the economic stability of their country is of a huge concern to Preppers because of what it would mean for, not just themselves, but the rest of the country if a severe economic crisis were to occur.
The End Of The World As We Know It or TEOTWAWKI is a common acronym for Preppers to use. It is perceived from a personal level and indicates the end of a the way we know the world from our own viewpoint. This can include our viewpoint of the world from a personal, family, neighborhood, town, state, regional, national or world level. Many people suffer a catastrophic TEOTWAWKI on a family level that their friends and extended family may never be aware of.
A Prepper takes steps to mitigate the long lasting effect of a severe impact on their world. They do this through stocking items that are critical for their continued well-being – called Standard of Living Insurance. The most notable and important of these items are Food, Water, and Shelter. An established Prepper will have large amounts of food stored, will have water filters and access to water established and will have taken steps to create or maintain the livability of their shelter, or home.
Are Preppers and Survivalists the same thing?
A Prepper is not the same as a Survivalist. A Survivalist typically focuses on learning primitive and other woodsmen skills and have very little focus on actually stocking up supplies and building an extensive repository of every needful thing. Whereas Survivalists prepare and learn to live off the land, Preppers prepare to maintain their current lifestyle as much as possible. While they are not synonymous, many Preppers are also Survivalists and are very adept at living off the land. Likewise, many Survivalists are Preppers and store resources to be able to sustain their Standard of Living.
Preppers typically plan to “Shelter in Place” or “Bug-In” which indicates they expect to ride out any bad situation while living in their home. Other Preppers find themselves in situations where they recognize that they may need to “Bug-Out” or leave their home for another location, commonly referred to as their “Bug Out Location” or BOL. A BOL may be a mountain retreat, a home in the country or simply a good place in the woods where they feel they can be safe if things collapse or get really bad.
You don’t want to be at the Superdome!
During Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Government finally got organized enough to set up a refugee camp at the Superdome. It quickly became a dangerous, even deadly, place to be and the government insisted – and in some cases forced – that you be there. There are people who literally “escaped from the Superdome”.
When catastrophe strikes – you really do NOT want to end up in a FEMA refugee camp! Preppers do what they do so they do not have to rely on the government or anyone else to take care of them – no matter what happens.
Myths about Preppers
“Preppers are crazy nut-jobs on the fringe of society”
This is something we hear a lot. It is something that the media frequently attempts to portray us as. Preppers are no more crazy than those wacky people who have home owners insurance. Seriously, why do people have home owners insurance? It’s so that if something catastrophic happens to your house you can get money to buy a new one – and not be homeless. Prepping is basically the same thing – we educate ourselves and purchase items that will be essential to continue our way of life in a catastrophic event, creating a Standard of Living Insurance for ourselves. Preppers are those who agree with the Federal Government and subscribe to what FEMA has indicated that every citizen should be doing to be prepared. For the media to call us “nutjobs” or “fringe”is for them to ignore the position of the Federal Government towards citizen responsibility.
There is nothing “crazy” or “mentally deficient” in conceding that bad things are likely to happen no matter what we do and that we should be ready to deal with them. At the purest level, this is all Preppers are doing.
What really doesn’t make any sense to Preppers is people who refuse to do anything about their personal well-being and safety. Preppers do not understand Fathers who are unwilling to take extra steps to make sure they are able to take care of their children when something bad happens. In fact, we consider it down-right irresponsible to be completely unprepared to feed your children and provide them with water and shelter.
“Preppers are Conservative Christians who believe in the Constitution and in smaller government”
This is actually true of many Preppers but is also a generalization – there are liberals and atheists among us and they are welcome. The Prepper mindset is focused on Self-Reliance and Personal Responsibility, which also happens to lead right into a strong belief in the Constitution and that we need less, not more, government. Christianity also promotes Self-Reliance and Personal Responsibility. So, while the a majority of Preppers may be Christian and strong proponents of Constitutional Government – it is certainly not exclusive to that belief set.
The Prepper Movement
Prior to Y2K, Preppers were highly focused on Cold War concerns and how to survive a Nuclear War. They used the term Survivalist to describe themselves. Some of their thought leaders included Howard Ruff, Kurt Saxon, Mel Tappan, Jeff Cooper and Ragnar Benson. There was a lot of discussion of underground bunkers, food storage and water purification.
In the late 1990’s there was a resurgence of interest in Preparedness stemming from fears that computer systems would fail and society would collapse due to the “Y2K Bug”. The Y2K Bug concern revolved around the potential for computers to not be able to handle the year changing back to “00” which had not previously happened in the lifetime of computers. While it turned out the the Y2K bug was successfully neutralized, the world stood on edge at the turn of the century, concerned that society would collapse from a catastrophic computer failure.
Concerns during this time were primarily about food, power and fuel because computers controlled all the ordering, shipping and delivery of food and gas across the country as well as the power grid. The time leading up to the turn of the century saw a huge amount of “mainstream” people rushing out to purchase a years supply of food, fuel and generators.
From a modern Preppers perspective, Y2K was a marketing gaffe which led to millions of people piquing an interest in Preparedness but then throwing everything out when nothing happened. These people were concerned about a single event and not truly converted to a life of Self Reliance and Preparedness. This same concern holds for 2012 scare marketing.
Terrorist attacks including the 911 plane attacks, bombings in London, Madrid, Bali and many other places, led to a strong online interest in discussing personal readiness and self reliance. Fueled by United States disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Ike and international disasters including earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia, Chile, Japan and elsewhere, the Prepper Movement gained a lot of momentum without having a particular date in mind (unlike Y2K) which led to many people recognizing a need to change their lives to be more prepared and self reliant.
Spurred on later by fears of the 2012 Mayan prophesies of an apocalyptic nature, the Prepper movement is seeing a lot of growth in late 2011 and into 2012. The advent of many television shows and movies that are collapse oriented has helped to nearly bring preparedness to the forefront of societal consciousness. While it is still considered “fringe” by many, the Federal Government is actively promoting preparedness through Ready.gov and many states are developing specific readiness programs.
Modern Preppers have strong concerns about natural and man-made disasters as well as a major concern about the economic stability of the United States. Preppers also have a large concern about other countries attacking the United States through means such as an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) and Nuclear attacks in general are still a concern.
The APN and the Modern Prepper Movement
One of the goals of the APN is to help teach those who are acting through fear regarding 2012 issues to broaden their view and adopt a Self Reliant lifestyle versus stashing a bunch of stuff in case the Mayans were right.
Since its launch in late 2008, the APN has seen strong growth through its first couple years. In late 2011, an effort was launched to restructure much of the APN to help appeal and attract a broader audience, specifically those who were just finding out about and getting into Prepping. Since the start of that effort, the APN has recognized a significant spike in growth that is expected to increase dramatically through ongoing execution of the restructure.
The APN’s official position is that 2012 is just one potential issue we are preparing for but that it is not more important or more of a focus than a super volcano, massive earthquake, a bread winner being incapacitated or complete economic collapse. The APN philosophy on Preparedness is simply to adapt your life to be more self-reliant so that you are able to sustain your family through any calamity and come out on the other side safely.