There are a lot of misconceptions out there that make people think that preppers are off their respective rockers. While this may be true for some of us (including me) it has nothing to do with prepping.
To understand why preppers tend to get a bad wrap and get labeled “crazy preppers” we need to look back to the 80’s and 90’s. Because of people like Kurt Saxon, Randy Weaver (Ruby Ridge), Timothy McVeigh, the term “survivalist” became synonymous with terms like extremist, anti-government, racist, and radical.
The term prepper or prepping came into use in the early 2000’s after the Y2K scare, but the principal of prepping has been around for centuries. Unfortunately, the term prepping had become synonymous with these extreme survivalists, and therefore all preppers must be crazy.
The truth is, most preppers are nothing like these extremists. In fact, most of us have more in common with people from the cold war era and depression era. We choose to take a proactive approach to life, rather than cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Fortunately prepping is starting to outlive the negative stereotype it once had and is becoming more mainstream. While shows like Doomsday Preppers tended to reinforce the “crazy prepper” stereotype, it also shined a light on preparedness. As people learned more about prepping, they learned that most preppers weren’t all that crazy after all.
Why Preppers Probably Aren’t the Crazy Ones
Below are 10 reasons that preppers aren’t as crazy as many people think. Preppers come in different shapes and sizes, but this list probably applies to everyone that has an interest in preparedness. Some of these may even be misconceptions we had when we began our preparedness journey.
1. Preppers will be less affected when anything happens (big or small)
While nothing is guaranteed, preppers are less dependent on others, and more confident about how to react in a disaster. Even with smaller disasters like an auto accident, preppers will have a leg up on someone who is unprepared to handle that situation.
Most preppers don’t just focus on the apocalypse. Preparing for natural disasters, civil unrest, active shooters and personal doomsday’s are just as important (if not more) than preparing for a nuclear war.
2. We don’t hate the government, we hate big government
This misconception is based around the idea that all preppers are extremists, but couldn’t be further from the truth. Most preppers understand that without government there would be complete anarchy.
The problem preppers have with government is the corruption, greed, and the sacrifice of our civil liberties. Our national debt is a byproduct of elected officials that care more about getting reelected, than solving problems.
Far too often people are happy to sacrifice their civil liberties for perceived security, and big government is more than willing to lend a hand…as long as it gets them reelected.
3. Prepping is not hoarding
People think that a preppers home must be stuffed from wall to wall with food storage buckets and water storage containers, with just a path leading to the wall sized gun safe.
The truth is, a good preparedness plan includes inventory, rotation, and organization. Preppers need useful supplies and food that is not expired, a hoarded just needs a place to put something.
4. We want something bad to happen
You’ve probably heard this 100 times, but prepping is like having insurance. We don’t want to get in a car accident, but they happen all the time. If disaster does strike, we’ll be glad we have these preparedness supplies and skills.
While I’m sure there are some people out there waiting for the bombs to start dropping, this is not true for most of us. I would be perfectly happy if I died never living through a disaster, and pass the preparedness mindset on to the next generation.
5. We’re all gun nuts
Well, some of us are, but we are not the problem in society today. I’ve learned more about firearm safety and handling from the preparedness community than anywhere else in my life.
The preparedness community is filled with responsible gun owners like hunters, military members, sport shooters and historians. Most preppers believe that there are deeper issues that need to be addressed with gun violence, and banning them is NOT the solution.
6. We are not all “Doomsday Preppers”
When you ask the average person what a prepper is, their minds go straight to the show Doomsday Preppers. In reality, most of us couldn’t and probably wouldn’t want to be like these people.
Most of us are far too boring to be on shows like these, and are really no different than anyone else in the neighborhood. Most of us can’t afford some of the toys those people have… although we would love to have them.
7. We are Isolated
Because people in the preparedness community talk about being the gray man and opsec (operational security) so much, people tend to think we are isolated and hiding from other people.
While this may be true in a large scale disaster scenario, preppers don’t go out of their way to avoid people anymore than the next person. In fact, in small scale disasters your neighbors will be happy to have a prepper around.
8. Were all conspiracy theorists
While this is somewhat true, it doesn’t mean we believe every conspiracy theory out there. We get labeled conspiracy theorists because we question everything and refuse to take the MSM as gospel.
People like Alex Jones and fear based marketers have fueled this “crazy Prepper” mentality. People think we hang on every word these people say, we’re not smart enough to think for ourselves.
9. We can (and will) be more helpful than people think
Preppers don’t just stockpile food and supplies; we also focus on lifesaving skills. First aid and trauma, wilderness skills, communications, safety classes (CERT, Red Cross), means we have the ability to lend a hand when the need arises.
Contrary to the popular notion that preppers are reclusive and afraid of people, preppers would be among the first to help out in a small scale disaster.
10. Preppers are overreacting
Possibly the biggest reason that people think preppers are crazy is because they think we are overreacting and paranoid. While there is an aspect of paranoia associated with preparedness, it’s no worse then being paranoid when someone is driving in your blind spot.
Preppers choose to be proactive rather than reactive. Life has been so good for so long in the United States that people have become complacent. History has shown that bad things can and will happen, and regardless how “evolved” we are, we’re still humans, and history always repeats it’s self.
You Can’t Please Everyone
People are going to think what they think, and in the grand scheme of things what they think shouldn’t affect what we do. History will be the judge of whether or not we are crazy, overreacting preppers.
Prepping is about living responsibly, trying to be as self sufficient as possible, and being prepared when life rears it’s ugly head.