Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ready or Not...

I grabbed the remote just now and turned on the television, and there was a show on about "preppers". Let's just say I got a little sucked in.

For those who don't know, "preppers" are folks who prepare for various emergencies. This preparation can take on many different forms, and rise to many different levels. Some folks will collect enough food and water for a few days and put it in a box with some first aid supplies. This is, in their mind, sufficient for a few days survival in case of an earthquake or some other natural disaster. Then there are the extreme preppers who have underground shelters with up to a year worth of food and water, self contained ventilation systems, and enough weapons to arm a small militia. These folks are usually preparing for a long term event such as a nuclear war, or as I heard some of them say, a revolution.

Watching this show made me think. How much stuff does the average family need to stack in their garage to be "prepared"? Where is the line between preparation and paranoia.

The family on the show I got sucked into was teaching their kids how to be safe, but they were going WAY beyond what most of us do. I tell my kids not to talk to strange adults, not to get into cars, to holler and punch and kick if they're grabbed by someone... all the same stuff most responsible parents teach their kids. These people taught their kids that stuff too, but they also taught them to never leave the house without a flashlight, handcuff key, lock pick, and rope cutter on a string around their neck.

Dad was a fucking nut. He even convinced his wife to let him arrange a kidnapping to teach his kids what it was really like and make them more "aware". The oldest kid was ten years old. What kind of thoughts is this guy putting in his kids' heads by flat out kidnapping them. You want to talk about paranoia? Kidnapping your own kids will definitely make them paranoid.

Another family paid beaucoup bucks for a self contained underground shelter. They paid a company to pre-fab this steel box, then bring it out and bury it on their property. It had self contained ventilation to isolate it from outside, a video camera periscope, food and water for a full year, even a self contained shitter. But that wasn't the best part. The coup de grace was the "defensive system". The handrail for the stairs to enter the thing doubled as a flame thrower. Yup, just push a button and gas came out through holes along the length of the hand rail and blew flame across the entrance. If that didn't work, they could pull a lever and a steel grate with eight inch spikes swung down from the ceiling and impaled whatever intruder was standing there.

I mean DAMN. Where is the line. Who decides what is preparation and what is paranoid? I guess if you have nothing better to spend thousands of dollars a year on, more power to you. But your neighbors are gonna think you're a nut. Ultimately, I guess the person doing the "prepping" is the only one who can decide where their own personal line is.

As with most things, it takes all kinds...


*Goddess* said...

You know what's gonna happen when they finally open all these underground shelters, right? The people inside will all be dead. Let's face it, most ppl can't stand to be with their family for long periods of time, now couple that with NEVER being able to get away from them OR see sunlight.
Death, I tells ya! We'll all kill each other.

Simon said...

Food for one year is nothing special, and in my opinion food for one month should be standard for everyone, after all, your paycheck may be late or you may shot the transmission on your car, in those cases it is nice not to have to worry about affording food (and for those instances a couple thousand dollars in the bank and a thousand dollars in the home is not a bad idea).
Wether you should have a shelter or not depends on your economy and what scenario you see as likely. If the Zombie apocalypse happens it would not be a bad idea to hide in a shelter for a year until things may have settled down. Same thing in case of a war or a nuclear exchange.
Me, i keep food for a year, A shotgun, a rifle and a four wheel drive with never less than a half tank of gas and a full jerry can. and a packed Bug Out Bag. Most of this has cost me less than one charterflight to greece (i live in Sweden), and it gives me peace of mind.

Raji said...

I just hope such wierd people are a minority. It takes all sorts to make the world.

Anonymous said...

A little over the top

LSBeene said...

I only recently started prepping. Due to that I have BEGUN to get to know a few folk in the prepping community.

I agree that some on the show seem extreme, but I ask you to consider the fact that most shows (wife swap, property virgins, or any other show with 'real people') pick out the "characters" versus mundane ordinary 'boring' folk.

Shows don't pick out everyday 'boring' folk because it does not make 'good' TV.

Take me for example ... I have decided to begin prepping due to a variety of reasons. Each person preps for their own pre-conceived notion as to why to prep. EMP, financial collapse, a pandemic etc. Whatever the reason we believe that society MAY break down.

My goal (I am only 4 months into this, planning for 1 year of serious money into this) is 1-2 years of food, 3-6 months water, medical supplies, and various other supplies. Also, yes, various firearms and a good supply of ammo.

Due to my particular geographics this also means a serious method of staying warm in winter and planning that many others in my area have both LEO and military training. Starving well trained people ... that's my most serious worry.

Those on the show Preppers are the flamoyant folk that make good TV. Much like "Sons of Guns" is not your average gun shop.

I hope I have added to the discussion.

With abiding respect,


On a Wing and a Whim said...

My mother lived through 12 revolutions. She used to say 8, but when I was talking to my grandmother, it turned out that mi mama had forgotten 4 coups. She loves America fiercely, and is extremely proud of her citizenship, her right to vote, and the legality of always having a weapon on hand.

My husband has lived through eighteen years of civil war before coming to America. His idea of well-stocked provisions is rather mind-boggling to those of us who haven't dealt with years-long running erratic interruptions in power, water, gasoline, medicine, and food... but makes as much sense as the well-stocked pantries of those who lived through the depression and are determined to never let anyone they love be hungry again. He unabashedly thinks our politics are crazy, and that we're blind to how incredibly wonderful our country is. He is unhappy that I work in a no-weapons-allowed facility, and has tried to make sure that I know how to know the warning signs of a riot, and the best way to drive over someone to break out of a riot that swallows me.

I think they're both a little crazy for America, and I love them very much.

On the other hand, I've lived through floods, forest fires, earthquakes, volcanic ash everywhere in everything, and being on the wrong side when an avalanche shuts off the pass, so my version of a properly-stocked car kit, much less my pantry, probably seems like massive overkill and paranoia to plenty of people, too.

Takes all kinds, and I'm glad it's a free country for us to be as crazy as we want.