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OK, I Get It. Preppers Aren't Selfish. I Was Wrong. I Apologize ...
December 06, 2012
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These are the blogs related to the one you are about to read:

Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish (posted 11/29)

Doomsday Preppers vs Disaster Preppers (posted 12/2)

Doomsday Preppers: Mea Culpa (posted 12/4)

The Case for the Lifestyle Prepper (posted 12/8)

Merging Preppers with Emergency Management (posted 12/11)

A Short Note From A New Prepper (posted 12/13)

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NOTE: Several constructively critical letters, without insults, without invective, and without threats, were more effective at changing my mind than all that other stuff put together.  I offered space for preppers to respond to these blogs.  Here follows one of them...

 

Valerie,

I believe that you are prepared to change your opinion based on new information. It is a rare thing to admit your mistakes in public and try to make it right. I give you credit for that. I also understand that the “reality” show Doomsday Preppers is, in many ways, unhelpful to everyone who is trying to encourage people to be more prepared. But you were openly critical of the “real” people on the show, and/or the people who are like them.

The people featured on that show have been portrayed in a certain light; edited, massaged, put in a certain context that may or may not really exist. I know for a fact that they were given certain false choices that they had to respond to on camera. It makes for better "drama" you know? E.g., would you kill and eat your pet if you had no other choice? 

What you saw, is not really how they are in real life.  You used the phrase, “socially selfish”. I think, in a nutshell, that’s the phrase that pushed so many hot buttons.

Let’s examine the idea of selfishness in the context of a typical community. Let’s rank selfishness in the following group:

  1. Totally unprepared folks. Couldn’t care less. Could do something, got the resources, but just don’t. Not helping their neighbors either. Will absolutely be a burden on the system when, not if, something happens.
  2. Sort of prepared. 3 days worth of food, water and a few flashlights. Hey, that’s what the government recommends.
  3. Disaster prepper (your term). 3-6 months worth of food, water and everything else. Two generators, and a plan, which has been tested and revised several times.
  4. Doomsday prepper (your term). A years worth of stuff, and then some.
  5. Doomsday prepper that really doesn’t care about anybody but themselves and their immediate family.

Group #2 is selfish by default. They just never really gave much thought to it, but failure to plan is still morally reprehensible. To me, #3 and #4 are all the same people from a practical point of view. Perhaps a difference in degree, but it’s really a continuum. #5 is extremely rare, and I still rate them as less selfish than #1 and #2. And let’s not forget that #2 is doing what “you” recommend. It can be made to look like “you” (the government 3-day recommendation people) are making fun of preppers for doing more. I know that’s not really what you personally think, but it could easily be interpreted like that.

Your comments in the original blog post made it sound like #5 was THE problem, worse than anybody. In real life, they are not selfish. They are better than most. They have been portrayed in a very slanted manner by the TV producers. At the very least, they won’t be a burden on the rest of the rescue effort. Why not acknowledge the fact that the TV show, Doomsday Preppers, has nothing to do with the 99.9% of the rest of us real preppers? Nothing selfish about us, or them for that matter.

I think you raised the ire of the preparedness community because the “doomsday prepper” who really doesn’t care about anybody else, is vanishingly rare. Do they even exist at all? I’m sure they do, but it’s really a straw man argument. They have to be less than 1% of the larger preparedness community based on my knowledge.

And your hoarding comment was wrong. Hoarding is what happens a day or two before the emergency, and during. Buying extra ahead of time, even a year’s worth, even just for your own family, is NOT hoarding, or selfish. It’s the antithesis of hoarding. It reduces demand on limited resources during the event.

If you want an education, go read the Zombiehunters forum for a while. Then go read the Survival Podcast forum for a while and listen to Jack’s podcast for a month or two. Did you know they are developing their own DRT, Disaster Response Team? How’s that for selfish? Then go read the Frugal Squirrel Forums for a while and James Rawles Survival Blog.

This is the real prepper community, not some “reality” show. They care. They make a difference in their community. They are evangelistic about it. That’s how most preppers are. Most “doomsday preppers” as you call them, have tried everything they can think of to get their friends, family and community to give a shit. Mostly unsuccessfully.

If you want to make peace with this community, how about publicizing the good preppers, which are 99+% of them? Post links to resources and plug them when you’re working with the public. There is a ton of good resources available. Now THAT would be an unmistakable olive branch!

Finest regards,

The Libertarian

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