Marshall law. OK, you’ve watched the TV shows about the “preppers” and maybe even checked out some of the websites. If you’ve concluded that they’re all a bunch of wackos, well, you may be a little bit right. Spending all your money and free time preparing to survive a zombie apocalypse probably isn’t the most productive way to live. But once you look past the sensationalism you’ve got to admit that the movement as a whole – the movement of prepping – is mostly based in sound ideas like self-reliance and thorough disaster preparedness. Who can argue with that?
If disaster preparedness is a zany idea then the government of the United States is one crazy bed bug because FEMA has been educating people on the importance of being prepared for decades.
It doesn’t really matter what you’re preparing for; natural disaster, nuclear holocaust, biohazard, Marshall law, terrorist attack, pandemic, Mayan end-of-the-world prophecies or, damn it, zombies, the process of prepping is basically the same.
The must-have item for smart preppers this season is a bug out bag. If you were never in the military or don’t hang with the survivalist crowd you may not be familiar with the term. Bug out bags are simply backpacks filled with the essentials to survive off the grid for at least three days. You can call it a BOB, a survival bag or an emergency kit if you want, but the important thing is to get one. Bug out essentials include water, food, clothing, some basic camping gear, medications, first aid supplies, a durable knife and, if you’re inclined, a firearm or two.
When the stuff goes down, you don’t want to be the only dumb ass on the block without a bottle of water and an energy bar or two. Believe me, you don’t. You might think your neighbors are nice people, you might even think you’re a nice person, but if a true emergency were to hit you’d quickly learn how strong survival instincts can be.
But prepping is about more than just accumulating supplies that you might need to survive if the worst happens. As the American Preppers Network explains, prepping is about learning self-reliance – something too few people really have these days. Growing and preserving your own food, cooking from scratch, learning about long-term food storage, knowing how to build a shelter without power tools, understanding basic survival training and knowing how to stay healthy without a doctor or pharmacy around are some of the skills preppers are practicing. In other words, a lot of preppers are living a simpler life; the kind of life their parents or grandparents might refer to as “the good old days.”
Preppers aren’t waiting for a disaster to figure out how to survive; they’re figuring out how to do that now, before an emergency hits. And in the meantime they’re enjoying the increased health, quality of life and confidence that comes with self-reliance.
Are some preppers extreme and even scary, are they living a fear-based life that isolates them from others and feeds their crazy? Yup, no doubt. But many are intelligent, well-informed folks who look at our broken social systems, our damaged environment and growing racial, religious and political tensions and think to themselves “Hmm, I think this pot is going to boil over one day and I want to do everything I can to survive the explosion.”
If your city experienced an earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire or major electrical blackout how would you and your family survive a few days without the usual conveniences? What, you don’t have an emergency bag for every family member, including your pets, stashed in the closet just in case you have to evacuate quickly? Good luck when the zombies come. I’m bugging out.