They’ve been around for years, and now Reuters has stepped forward with a surprisingly even-handed article on preppers.
When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.
“In an instant, anything can happen,” she told Reuters. “And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared.”
Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as “preppers.” Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.
They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government.
Preppers, though are, worried about no government.
Sure, it wasn’t a “rah-rah” article in favor of preppers, but it did provide historical context of similar prior movements that I was unaware of, while not belittling preppers as the media did survivalists a couple of decades ago.
The one claim I might quibble with is describing preppers as a “subculture.” While technically accurate, the connotation is off. Prepping is an activity that has been quietly mainstreamed among entirely normal people living in the suburbs and cities. Granted, there are various levels of prepping, ranging from people who have put several extra days or weeks so food aside to people who have spent tens of thousands of dollars or more in multi-year food supplies in disaster shelters, but most preppers are just putting things by as a hedge against uncertain times. As someone once said, prepping is nothing more radical than a form of insurance, making sure that you will have food and be able to provide for your family’s basic shelter and day-to-day medical needs in the event of the unexpected.
In the present geo-political environment, with a cobbled together power grid and an over-reliance on just-in-time shipping, prepping is simply as logical as buying health insurance.