Welcome to this week’s Newsletter, brought to you by the SurviveInPlace.com Preparedness Course…designed to help you create a plan to survive wherever you spend the majority of your time, even if that happens to be a non-ideal location.
Many people who have been watching “Doomsday Preppers” on National Geographic are wondering why in the heck these people are willing to go on TV and show what their preparations are. What they’re doing flies in the face of maintaining operational security and staying under the radar. It makes them more of a target…both now for thieves, and for looters after a disaster.
In case you’re not familiar with Doomsday Preppers, it is a one-hour per episode TV series that highlights the lives and preparations of 3-4 families per episode. Families are told at the beginning of filming what disaster to say that they were preparing for, but the show is filmed in such a way as to make the audience think that everything the families say is un-coached. After being told what disaster they’re supposed to say they’re preparing for, the narrator ends each segment by saying how miniscule the chances of that particular disaster are.
It’s worth noting that the series is part of a family of series called, “American Outliers.” National Geographic sees preparing for disasters as being loony and does their best to find extreme examples to demonize preparedness, self-reliance, and resilient lifestyles.
That being said, it’s still a good show. It’s exposing current preppers to alternative ways of preparing and it’s stretching the minds of new and non-preppers to the extents that they can go to if they decide they really want to. It’s also great from a “Goldilocks” perspective–it’s easy to point to things and say, “That’s going too far.” The format also makes it easy to identify common mistakes and fine tune preparedness goals.
So, why would these people even consider sharing their preparedness “secrets” with the world and, more importantly, their neighbors?
In talking with people who’ve been on the show so far, there are a hand full of answers, but the one I want to focus on today is building resilient communities. And I need to take a slight detour to get there…
There is a traveling expo going around the country called the Preparedness Expo. Frankly, it’s a great event. It’s a medium sized convention filled with local and national preparedness vendors. There are lots of booths where you can check out items and there are presentations going on on multiple stages for most of the weekend.
The odd thing for me, having made great efforts to stay invisible to my neighbors, is how out in the open the vendors are about the fact that they’re preppers. On one hand, I see both these vendors and the participants on prepper TV shows as putting big bulls-eyes on their backs. On the other hand, I completely get a few reasons of what they’re doing and why they’re willing to be visible.
The three main reasons that I see are economic, resilience, and a burning desire.
The economic reason is the simplest and will take the least amount of time to cover. Simply put, I can tell you from experience that it’s difficult to promote a product or service while, at the same time, trying to keep a low profile.
Second is a burning desire to help others get prepared. This is some people’s natural mode of operation. If they see a movie they like, read a book they like, or eat at a restaurant they like, they have a burning desire to share these resources with everyone they care about and won’t quit until everyone in their sphere of influence has had the same positive experience. I’ve had friends like this who have become missionaries, salesmen, and public speakers.
The third reason is the one that I want to focus on…resilience. (An acquaintance of mine, who I think VERY highly of, John Robb, coined the term Resilient Community and you can read more about him at HomeFreeAmerica.us.) I’ve written often about how households, neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities, regions, states, and countries that have the highest percentage of self-reliant people respond and recover the best after a disaster.
No matter how highly skilled, motivated, funded, and organized a government entity (at any level) is, it is still a bureaucracy and can’t help individual people with basic, boring, everyday needs immediately after a disaster nearly as well as individuals, neighbors, and communities can help themselves…if they’ve prepared.
There is also the reality that 100 preppers in a neighborhood who know and have spent time with each other to one degree or another will be several multiples more effective than if the same 100 preppers are complete strangers and distrustful of one another when disaster strikes.
Couple all of these facts together and it starts to make sense why some preppers have decided that it makes sense for them to let others know what they’re doing. I still don’t do it, but I DO understand it and, in fact, appreciate the efforts of those who have decided to be more visible.
The fact is, an incredibly small number of people can survive for any length of time as an island…it takes a team or a community. Many preppers that I know balance two lives…having a network of non-preppers that they do things with on a daily basis and prep behind the scene. But even these people who appear on the surface like they’re lone wolves are quietly identifying other preppers and are thinking about how they’d form a mutual aid team in the event of a disaster.
Others are quietly building their mutual aid teams and prepping together, even if it’s mostly under the radar. This is the approach that I cover in more detail in the SurviveInPlace.com course.
And still others are out trying to teach as many people as is humanly possible in their local area how to get prepared for disasters…with the thought that they can help build a community that is resilient and bounces back quickly from disasters.
Which approach is best? Frankly, I think it depends on your particular situation. A single, 30 year old male wilderness survival instructor has a completely different set of criteria for “best” than a couple with a brood of young kids or people with physical/health limitations or who are taking care of people with physical/health limitations. Also, a couple might keep a low profile as their kids are growing up and decide to go public once the kids have left the nest. This is a decision that every person/family has to make on their own.
What are your thoughts on these different approaches to preparing? Are you very visible and see security in getting as many people as possible around you to also prepare? Are you prepping behind the scenes and trying to stay invisible? Or are you just prepping and don’t have the bandwidth to teach others OR make efforts to be invisible? Share your thoughts by commenting below.
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God bless & stay safe,