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There has been a remarkable increase in interest in “prepping” in the last few years. It started with the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina, and now there are TV shows dedicated to people getting ready for the end of the world and a candidate who has talked about “exo-atmospheric electromagnetic pulse weapons” during a Presidential debate.
“Survivalism” was once considered a fringe movement comprised of wackos who believed all manner of conspiracies theories. Now congressional staffers are encouraged to have “go bags” and there is a website run by the .gov to help people survive a major disaster in their area.
There’s a lot of confusion over what prepping is and is not. Some think that prepping means holing up in a bunker with ten thousand rounds of ammunition and five years of food, but that seems a little … excessive to me, if not downright crazy.
My mother and father grew up on farms. Whenever my family visited our aunts and uncles on their farms, there would inevitably be spontaneous canning sessions and berry-picking outings that resulted in pantries and larders stocked with months worth of food (Side note: You’ve heard the phrase “Running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off”? There’s a reason why that phrase exists. Trust me on this.).
It’s not that there wasn’t food available, it’s just that my relatives understood that the infrastructure they relied on to provide them with food, power, and whatnot might not be there when they needed it. Now, pick up that same attitude and drop it on top of modern society, and you have prepping.
Simply put, “prepping” is nothing more than the ability to spontaneously go camping at a moment’s notice, using only the gear you have near you.
While that sounds simple, the fact is for most of us, “going camping” requires more than a little forethought and planning, something unavailable when the walls are (literally) crashing around you. You won’t have time to check if there’s batteries available for the flashlight or if you’ve packed your sleeping bag. You’ll need to leave right this very second, with only enough time to grab stuff that’s in easy reach. The trick is to make sure that you have, within easy reach, what’s needed to maintain yourself for a set period of time. The more stuff you have, the longer you can go without outside help.
It’s not crazy to want to be ready for what life throws at you; if anything, it’s right in line with the core conservative ideal: The government is not your nanny, and it cannot and will not be there to care for you all the time. You buy fire insurance for your home because you realize it may burn down. I bought flood insurance for my home because I live near the Florida coast. So why not have stuff that helps to ensure you’re more likely to survive, given the (small) chance something really, really bad might happen to where you live?
I’ll have a quick run down on what sort of skills and gear might be needed in such a situations next week, but in the meantime, check out ready.gov; it’s really quite good (although they do leave out one important element of wilderness/disaster survival, bonus points if you can spot what it is).