May 19, 2024

Our current connected, online, high-tech society offers us conveniences, comforts, and capabilities unknown throughout the vast majority of the history of mankind. Even those of us who live way out in the woods, where the post office doesn’t deliver, can order goods from Amazon or Walmart, knowing they’ll be here in a matter of days. And only 30-some miles away is a huge grocery store where we can buy fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, along with almost every other foodstuff imaginable. 

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But this is all a gigantic house of cards, and increasingly, people across the political spectrum are becoming aware of just how fragile all this is; They’re taking steps to prepare for the possibility of it all coming apart.

Brook Morgan surveyed booths at the “Survival & Prepper Show” in Colorado that were stocked with boxes of ammunition, mounds of trauma medical kits, and every type of knife imaginable.

A self-described “30-year-old lesbian from Indiana,” Morgan is one of a new breed of Americans getting ready to survive political upheaval and natural catastrophes, a pursuit that until recently was largely associated with far-right movements such as white nationalists since the 1980s.

Researchers say the number of preppers has doubled in size to about 20 million since 2017. Much of that growth is from minorities and people considered left-of-center politically, whose sense of insecurity was heightened by Donald Trump’s 2016 election, the COVID-19 pandemic, more frequent extreme weather and the 2020 racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd.

“I’m really surprised by the number of people of color here,” Morgan said. “I always went to these shows with my family in Indiana and it was just white people who were my parents’ age. There are a lot of younger people here, too. It’s a real change.”

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Eye-rolling reactions to the inevitable leftist shibboleth about “people of color” aside, it’s interesting to see this perception becoming accepted more, shall we say, broadly. It’s not just rural white people who are concerned with their survival and the survival of their families in the event of some major societal event, and honestly, it seems that should make one more, not less, concerned about the likelihood of such an event.


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Out here in the woods, we’re better prepared than people living in, say, Los Angeles, New York, or any of the other major cities, if for no other reason than that we can increase our garden plots and harvest local wildlife if need be. Here in our Susitna Valley home, we had a big cow moose walk right through our yard only yesterday, within easy 30-30 range. I spent about half of my 62 years living in a major metro area (Denver), and am all too aware of how fragile those urban/suburban systems are.

That’s why it’s interesting to see more people, from across the political landscape, looking at things and arriving at the same conclusion – that there may well be unrest and, possibly, a partial or total societal collapse in our future.

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Bearded white men with closely cropped hair and heavily tattooed arms were there. But so were hippy moms carrying babies in rainbow colored slings and chatting about canning methods, Latino families looking over greenhouses and water filtration systems, and members of the local Mountain View Fire Rescue team, who in 2021 battled a devastating fire in the region, giving CPR demonstrations and encouraging citizens to be more prepared for extreme events.

Diversity is our strength, right?

Here’s the thing that Reuters leaves out: Armaments. Other than a side remark about “…gun enthusiasts stereotypically associated with the prepper movement,” there is no mention of the wisdom of arming one’s self in anticipation of a societal collapse, and that’s a serious oversight; if things get to the point when a greater part of the population has no one but themselves to rely on, stockpiling all the preserved food and medical supplies in the world won’t help when the first person to show up with a 12-gauge pump shotgun can take them all away. Besides defense, even something as prosaic as the aforementioned 12-gauge pump shotgun can be a great tool for harvesting fresh protein from the countryside, and ammunition is available everywhere, in a great diversity (hah) of shot sizes and power levels, for almost any purpose, for almost any game from quail to moose.

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I’ve always said and always will say, for most people, if you can own only one gun, own a 12-gauge pump shotgun.

An ounce of preparation isn’t the worst idea ever. Lots of us who live out in the woods are already at least partway there just in the course of our everyday lives.

This seems appropriate.

    

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