by Daisy Luther, The Daily Sheeple:
Everyone has heard of those crazy folks who are all ready to hunker down in a bunker with some buckets of freeze-dried food and a bunch of guns – it’s the fodder of quirky news stories and the avatar of many a deranged serial killer in the movies. So how does a perfectly normal person end up turning into a survivalist prepper?
I get asked this a lot because I come across as fairly normal and sane. But, despite my average-mom exterior, I’ve been a prepper for more than 20 years and there’s most likely a gun tucked away in my girlie-looking purse.
So, let’s dispel a few myths and answer a few questions, shall we? At the end, let me know if the how and the why make more sense than you thought they would.
How did you get started prepping?
Just about every prepper I know has a story about something awful that happened during which they felt helpless to take care of their families. And I’m no different.
My turning point occurred when my first baby was just over a month old. There I was, at home with that precious little bundle, when my husband walked in from work one night and told me he’d been laid off.
We didn’t have much money saved up. We had a few groceries in the kitchen but were by no means stocked up. We had diapers to buy, rent to pay, and a car to keep on the road, and suddenly, not a penny of income. My husband applied for unemployment and desperately sought work, picking up some day labor here and there. It was dismal and terrifying. We ate bagels and peanut butter for weeks because I’d stocked up when they were on sale. We had some broccoli and tomatoes from our vegetable garden and that was absolutely it. I have no idea what we would have done for our baby if I hadn’t been nursing when this all occurred.
And it was during that time I went all Scarlett O’Hara with the carrot and waved my fist around in a field and yelled, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”
Okay, there wasn’t actually a carrot or a field, but I did make that vow.
That was when my mindset changed because I realized how quickly lifecan change. One day, things are ticking along, you are feeling relaxed and happy, and then WHAM, the Universe shows you that sh*t does indeed happen.
I was determined to be prepared for those moments when things went wrong instead of blissfully ignoring them, because now, for the first time in my life, someone was depending on me to make things okay no matter what. At the time, I had no idea it was called “prepping.” I just thought I was frugal.
What epic disaster are those crazy survivalist preppers actually getting ready for?
A lot of folks who have an opinion on the preparedness world base that opinion on TV shows like Doomsday Preppers. But, just like basing your opinion of homesteaders on a few television shows, it belies one’s ignorance when a program designed for entertainment value and ratings is their font of knowledge.
On that show, each prepper featured is said to be getting ready for some singular type of Armageddon. Maybe it’s a nuclear war or a Russian invasion. Maybe they think an asteroid is going to strike the earth. Maybe it’s an economic collapse and the subsequent Mad Max world that follows.
While all of those things are within the realm of possibility (I mean, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton for the presidency, which proves that anything can happen), they are far from the most likely scenario. And the people on the show don’t really think that either. Hours of interviews and footage are cleverly edited to make each participant look bat-crap crazy because that makes for good TV. Of course, in some cases, the people are legitimately bat-crap crazy, like the one guy who said he was an Apex Predator but then went right back to prison after the show aired because he, a felon, was televised shooting a firearm.
While not denying that disaster-movie-level bad things can happen, what most of us are prepping for are things that are far more mundane than a giant asteroid. Things like…
- Being ready for storms that knock the power out for a week
- Having the supplies on hand to battle a stomach virus that hits every person in the family at the same time
- Stocking enough water to get through it without rushing to the store when a contaminant gets into the local public water supply (this happens at least 6 times a year right here in the US)
- Being able to evacuate rapidly if you live in an area prone to wildfires or hurricanes
But the most common concern that people prep for, that worst-case scenario that actually does happen to so many of us isn’t at all glamorous and would never be the subject of an exciting movie of the week.
It’s being prepared for it if the primary breadwinner for the family loses his or her income.
Let’s face it, that is the epic disaster that we’re all the most at risk for.
It could happen in so many ways. That person could be fired or laid off. The business could close, like thousands of retail industries are charted to do this year. The primary breadwinner could become chronically ill or injured, and thus unable to work.
Most families do not have a large savings account set aside these days because life just costs so dang much. Many people are only one missed paycheck away from financial ruin. Few of us could go without income for more than a month or so.
However, when you put aside food, sanitation supplies, cleaning supplies, and whatnot, and you hone the skills necessary to produce some of your own, then you are far better suited to weather this particular crisis that could happen to anyone.
Would you rather head to the food bank after a week of unemployment or head to your own pantry? The answer seems clear to me.
What’s with all the guns?
Not all preppers are armed to the teeth with tens of thousands of dollars worth of firearms. Sure, some are, but for the most part, people have just one or two personal weapons, and some don’t arm themselves at all.
As for me, the middle aged mom? I’m a concealed carry permit holder and it’s a pretty safe bet that I have a Glock in that boho, flowered purse I’m carrying, and if not, then it’s probably tucked away under the flowy shirt I have on.
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