In today’s society and current state of natural disasters being prepared isn’t a bad thing. Many people associate being prepared as being a “prepper”. Would you call your grandparents “preppers”? Is that what you have in your mind as a “prepper”? I put it in quotes because so many people have a stereotype of what a “prepper” is, primarily based on TV, or the “reality TV” shows. Folks, this isn’t reality.
My grandparents stored canned goods under every bed, in closets, had a spare freezer, and kept jugs of water in a back bedroom. Granted they were retired and lived out literally in the sticks down a dirt road, at least an hour from a grocery store. There was the bait, tackle, gas station place down the road, but that was it. I used to stay with them in the summer when I was out of school. My grandfather hunted, fished, we had several gas cans always full, and gardens. I never thought this as being a “prepper”. This is how they lived. Later I learned they went through the great depression and stocked up when times were good, so that when time were bad they could still feed themselves and the family. They had “been there, done that” already and knew enough, that was a lesson learned.
I see today that they have these sensationalized people on different reality shows talking about the end of the world and what they are preparing for. This is NOT reality, and NOT how many of these people really believe or act. Out of the 600 hours of taped material, careful editing, and down to 40 min of making people look like nut jobs the producers have done a great job of blurring reality. Would my grandparent be labeled today as nutjobs or “preppers” because they lived through hard times, and were just being cautious? Would they be labeled as preparing for the next great depression or total economic collapse?
I don’t consider myself a prepper. I am a homesteader, and I prepare my family for the unknown. Being prepared is not a bad thing. There are any number of natural disasters or situations that we may encounter in our lives that a little bit of extra planning or “preparing” would pay off. Even most disaster relief agencies state you should have 7-14 days of supplies on hand. No one knows what the future holds. Could we get a major earthquake here in Indiana? Yes. Do I think it is likely? I am not sure. Most of the houses and structures are not designed to withstand an earthquake of a large magnitude here. Having lived in California, where earthquakes are common, buildings are built more resilient. Could I have a tornado, flood, or ice store that could knock out my utilities for days? Yep. Do I go around worrying about this? Nope. Why? Because, I have taken little steps here and they so that my family and I can be prepared for any number of situations, and it won’t majorly impact us. No power, not a problem. No water, not a problem. No Sewer, not a problem. No gas, not a problem. How many in today’s society can say that? Many people flip out if there is no internet or power for 3-4 hours, let alone days or weeks.
When you go on a trip, you prepare by packing clothes and things you need for your trip. Maybe you get the car tuned up, pack some snacks, toiletries, and things you may need. Does that make you a “prepper” because you prepared for things you may encounter on your trip?
Friends and family make the joke when they come over, or things come up during conversations “Oh you are one of those prepper people aren’t you? What disaster are you preparing for?” I smile, say I prepare for the unknown. Then the comment is made “Well we will just come over to your house if something happens”. I smile again, and inform them that “While it may be a joke, I take my family’s safety seriously, and no you won’t. You will be met with a smile, a reminder you too should have been preparing for life events, and here is your go away bucket, you can take it and leave, or I can demonstrate our security for our home”. That usually ends the laughter and jokes. But it is a serious statement. We have made buckets with food, fire making materials, and water purification. “We like you, and that is why you at least get a bucket”. Do I ever think it would come to that? Probably not, but then again, I bet people of the great depression, hurricane Sandy, and hurricane Katrina thought it wouldn’t be that bad either.
Why do people mock being prepared? These are the same people who will come to your house because you did the work ahead of time. I believe it is fear. They don’t want to have supplies because then it is making their fear a reality, because “someone” will always be there to take care of them. Ask Katrina, or Sandy victims who was there and how much help they received. I also believe it is laziness. People just don’t want to put forth a little extra effort, as more and more today things are just handed to people, and handouts and aid are expected. Did you know that there is no requirement for any agency to respond to 911 calls? Think about that the next time you dial. The police, fire, ambulance etc, have no requirement to respond to your pleas for help. Thinking being a little more prepare is better option now?
If you think about Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper, being prepared is no different. Except our modern story books have changed the ending so that everything works out in the end. Because there are always happy endings, right? The real story is the ant, allows the grasshopper to die in winter because he didn’t prepare for the long months ahead. The grasshopper was warned to start preparing for the winter months but didn’t heed the warning. Here is your warning. Rather than mock people for keeping a few extra canned goods, and gallons of water, maybe you should be doing the same. For most people I know who do keep extra food, water, gas, won’t want to share with the grasshopper who mocked them earlier. Granted in the true story the ant ate the grasshopper, but that is WAY beyond any sort of comparison.
People mock the prepared people stating, “Are you preparing for the zombies?” Truth of the matter is, we kind of are. A bunch of mindless people, cold, wrought with hunger and thirst, which move from house to house or town to town looking for handouts. The people who mocked those that prepared, they are the zombies. Have you ever seen photos of refugees, or disaster victims after the events? Resemble zombies from the movies. Does it sound crazy to store extra food and water knowing you live in an area that has a potential for natural disaster, or is it crazy to not heed the warning and advice for a potential natural disaster? Before you mock someone for being “one of those crazy preppers”, maybe you should ask, am I crazy for not keeping a few extra things around the house? The same people who mock, are the first to say they will be coming to your house. They call me crazy, but then they want to be the first in line to my house during the crazy time of a disaster? All I can say is here is your bucket, grasshopper, now be on your way
If you are unsure where to begin, or feel completely overwhelmed, you are not alone. That is why I created the Be Prepared Series. I want people to take control of their own lives and not rely on the handouts from others. Be the ant not the grasshopper. I want to educate not castigate.