Most people in the United States are content or even challenged to live day-to-day, week by week, or perhaps thinking a month in advance. Some jobs require planning further ahead and it’s sometimes necessary to think forward a full year for holidays. But survivalists or “preppers” are not getting ready for a road trip with kids. They have something more basic in mind: living through an apocalypse.
Why Prepare to Survive
What is the motivation behind this behavior? A growing number of people in the United States believe an apocalyptic event is going to occur. They foresee the crash of their national currency and a time when money won’t matter. They imagine an energy crisis when Americans have drained natural sources of fuel (especially fossil fuels) and even a shortage of food.
Most school students have studied about cultures which experienced civil wars, post-war poverty, or natural disasters. “Survival of the fittest” becomes the battle cry. Those who survived these events were often those willing and able to steal what they needed, to ignore pleas of the hungry and injured; people kitted-out with tools for self-sufficiency and defense.
Sometimes survivors know better how to live simply than neighbors who had never learned to live without modern conveniences required or to treat illness and feed themselves from native plants. Close knit communities sometimes banded together to help one another.
Until now, order has always been restored with the help of outlying communities or governments. Movies like the Hunger Games show what this dystopian world would look like if law and order could not be restored.
What Preppers Expect
Here is what a Prepper or Survivalist expects to go wrong. His prediction is that energy won’t be available for warmth, food preservation and cooking, or transportation: there won’t be an energy “grid” anymore. Food will become scarce as imports disappear and the energy-guzzling farming methods come to an end. Medicine and medical treatment will no longer be easily accessible. All that is left in stores following a shut down of infrastructure, global war, pandemic, or natural disaster will be looted swiftly and violently. There will be bodies to contend with and no crematoriums, adding to pressures on sanitization. Dehydration will become a critical dilemma as water purification systems fail. Households will have to protect themselves as police forces dissolve and military handle large-scale matters.
Their survival tools, then, will address all of these problems. They will include weapons for self-defense and equipment for building structures including power generators reliant on wind, water, or the sun. Gardening implements and food preservation kits (for boiling, drying, and canning) will become critical. Water purification will become the purview of regular citizens, not hikers on extreme holidays. Preppers hoard essentials like disinfectants, long-life food, and things to barter with in anticipation of catastrophe.