Out of curiosity, I joined some groups online for people who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Doomsday Preppers. I’m not really an active member, though, just a lurker. I’ve learned quite a bit about what people, actual people and not those who are maybe talking it up for a tv camera, are planning on doing when the SHTF. That’s a prepper acronym for “shit hits the fan” if you didn’t know. (I didn’t know.)
What’s going to end the world?
Firstly, I wanted to know what people thought was going to cause the end of civilisation. The theories are varied. Many seem to agree that terrorism and war will be the clincher- as a result, I’ve seen an awful lot of anti-Islamic rhetoric in such groups. In fact, that seems to be the entire purpose of some groups, which is disappointing because if you’ve read one load of anti-Islamic crap you’ve read them all, you know? I don’t know if there are any Muslim preppers but if there are, I doubt think they’d feel at all welcome or comfortable in these circles.
The other prominent fear is economic collapse due to shady governmental conspiracies. These tie in with the belief that there are special secret bunkers, fully stocked and ready to go, for “the elite” to take refuge in, when the time comes. I haven’t really been able to decipher what the conspiracy is, except that Obama is involved. And probably others. But no one is hugely clear on what the situation is. These are just a few of the more common theories. A few people have said they are prepping for the zombie apocalypse. Seriously. Zombies. Some of the less seasoned members have questioned that, but the responses I’ve seen are always a “not those kinds of zombies!” and being a lurker, I’ve never had the courage to ask what kind they mean. I didn’t even know there was a kind that wasn’t fictional. It could be just a joke. I’m really not sure.
Prepping for disaster.
Lots of people are simply preparing for natural disaster as well. Many preppers, particularly American members, have actually experienced things like hurricanes and devastating earthquakes, so it doesn’t take much to understand their interest in survival gear and freeze-dried foods. It’s easy to understand how living through something like, or living in a place where disasters are a distinct possibility, that could make you want to go all Bear Grylls.
When the talk turns to solar flares, comets and the certainty that the government knows these things are coming and prepping their elite bunkers while not telling the public, I struggle to understand. Sure, it’s possible, but the scale of such conspiracies, the number of people who would need to be involved… Yeah, nah. I can’t buy into that.
You will need…
Preppers talk a lot about the contents of one’s BOB. This is not a benevolent uncle, but rather another prepper acronym for the essential “bug out bag”. Basically, when the SHTF you grab your BOB and leave or “bug out” to your chosen bug out location (preferably somewhere off the grid and defensible because when the SHTF it seems everyone will be attacking one another). Your BOB should contain all the stuff you’ll need for immediate survival, like food, water, shelter, tools and of course, weapons. Lots of weapons. That’s another hot topic in prepper circles. International groups have a high number of American members and the gun discussions get pretty heated. I’m given to understand that the .22 calibre rifle is a good all-rounder but since I’m Australian and kind of horrified at the idea of owning a gun, I just read along in amazement. We might be avid consumers of American television and movies and foods and even politics- but the gun culture is no where near as prevalent here as it is there and I’m thankful for that. However, Australian preppers are no slouches in the weapons department. Did you know that there is a special titanium pen you can get that can also be used as a lethal weapon? Plus the rest; knives, bows and spear guns- oh my! Plenty of Aussie preppers seem to have guns, as well- legally and licensed, but still. There’s a consensus in all the groups I’ve seen though- that weapons training is a must. There are people out there training with weapons for hours and hours every week to be ready for the day the world collapses.
Food and water are also big prepper topics. Discussion of filters, storage, canning, seeds, foraging- it’s actually pretty interesting. Lots of people into prepping are also into ‘homesteading‘, which seems to be living somewhere and trying to be completely self sufficient in every way possible. I’d be hopeless at growing stuff because I’m really good at neglecting plants. I might get better at it if my life literally depended on it. I like canning, as well. But my style is more filling pretty mason jars with jams I make in my Thermomix. I haven’t seen thermies mentioned at all among preppers. Can’t think why.
Prepping for Health.
This topic gets almost as heated as gun debates. Some refuse all modern medicine, others are more moderate. Some think you should get all the vaccines but others… With an over-arching disclaimer of #notallpreppers here… Others are the most virulently (pardon the pun) anti-vaccine people I have ever encountered. And in the decade I’ve been looking into and discussing vaccines online, I have encountered quite a few. I guess it makes sense in that many preppers are also conspiracy theorists and the anti-vaccine movement is one of the loudest groups of conspiracy theorists around.
Should we all be Preppers?
Look, the idea isn’t without merit. Seriously. The television show, Doomsday Preppers, tended to focus on the most extreme and those kinds of preppers are out there, for sure. But there is a lot to be said for the resourcefulness and knowledge to be found in prepper communities online. For example, I never knew that you could use drier lint as a fire starter- apparently lots of people save it in cardboard tubes for that purpose. The growing your own food and foraging stuff is really cool as well. The conspiracies and weapons stuff isn’t for me. But I have been stockpiling long-life milk… But everyone does that, right?…Right?
#IBOT @ Essentially Jess.