Type ‘prepping’ into any search engine and you’ll come across no shortage of websites, blogs, YouTube channels, or forums explaining why you should be a prepper, or someone who stockpiles food, water, guns, ammo, and other supplies in anticipation of TEOTWAWKI (‘the end of the world as we know it’ in prepper speak). There is an abundance of what I like to call ‘prepper preachers’ on these sites, and they have just one message for you: prepare or die.
On many of the prepper websites, the first thing you will see are blog posts or links to articles about different things going on in the world and why those events will bring about the end of American society. Headlines such as “The Government is Watching You” are meant to scare you into converting to the prepper lifestyle. Each of these websites is sponsored by different retailers that want to sell you the gear you need to survive. There are even conventions.
Just this weekend I attended the National Prepper and Survivalist Expo in Nashville, TN. As I entered, I started to look around at the myriad of booths selling everything from vegetable seeds to armored vaults, but what really got my attention was what I was hearing on the loudspeakers set up around the building. The speaker, who had drawn quite a crowd, was saying something I had not expected to hear. “The government is not coming for your guns,” he said. It would be a logistical impossibility he said. This intrigued me, and I could hear the groans emanating from the audience as they reacted to his message. But as he continued, it became clear that he simply rejected one conspiracy theory for another, as he began speaking about popular pseudoscientific and pseudohistoric theories regarding the age of the Earth and when humans showed up in order to explain the idea of catastrophic cycles that bring about the end of civilizations. He kept saying, “If you don’t believe me, Google it.”
I may have walked away at that point, but many stayed and listened to this ‘prepper preacher’ on his pulpit. Throughout the day, many followed him, each with their own ideas about why people should prep, what they should prep, and most importantly at an expo such as this, which things they should buy. But despite their differences, all of these ‘prepper preachers’ had one thing they could agree on- if you don’t prep, you will die. Maybe not today, but when the SHTF (a prepper term for when the poop hits the fan), you won’t survive, and they will. They will still be here to rebuild society, and you won’t be a part of it because you didn’t prepare. After all that, $2000 for a year supply of freeze dried food doesn’t sound so bad, right?