USA- Time was when so-called “preppers” were referred to as “doomsday fanatics.” Yet as we come upon nearly three years since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, almost a year into inflation, supply chain issues and a looming shortage of home heating oil and diesel fuel, they may yet get the last laugh.
According to Michael Snyder, author of End Times, it is now estimated that approximately 10 percent of all Americans may be defined as “preppers.” That number is over three times the pre-pandemic estimate of some two to three percent who defined themselves as such.
A number of factors have played into that increase, with the primary one being COVID-19. Yet despite the pandemic being largely put into the not-so-distant past, interest in prepping has not subsided. Indeed, the malaise that most Americans feel has not been eased by the shenanigans in Washington, DC, nor by what has been going on in Eastern Europe. As Snyder notes, “most of us can feel that something really big is coming.”
Law Enforcement Today has written in the past about coming shortages of food, shortages of gasoline and diesel, the rising threat of Communist China, and basically an overall uncertainty about the future.
While the media has in the past referred to preppers in derogatory terms and invented the term “survivalists” to mock them, some outlets are now taking notice, with a recent 60 Minutes feature showing preppers in a positive light.
If you hear the term “survivalist” and it conjures images of militants and conspiracy theorists—residing on the fringes and on compounds, armed to the teeth—well, it’s time to reset your doomsday clock. A worldwide community of preppers—those who stockpile goods and skill-up for extreme catastrophes—is girding less for the end of days, than for a disaster that calls for taking cover. A climate emergency, civil unrest, the possibility of a dirty bomb, to say nothing of a global pandemic that suddenly shuts down the world. It was COVID that turned abstract apocalyptic scenarios into a reality. Modern preppers come at it from all angles and for all kinds of reasons. We went high and low, talking to a few of the millions of Americans who have joined the movement.
One person interviewed for the 60 Minutes piece was a former Obama administration official named John Ramey, who has become a prepper, and it was he who told the program that approximately 10 percent of all Americans are now preppers:
We think about 15 million Americans are actively prepping right now. In terms of percentage of households, we are at or about to cross 10% of all households. And just a few years ago, that was 2% or 3%.
The demographics of preppers is also shifting. Historically most preppers were conservatives, however that has now shifted to include more liberals. And of those, many don’t believe the government is equipped to handle the possible devastating scenarios that seem to be on the horizon. In one exchange from the 60 Minutes piece, Snyder shared the following:
Jon Wertheim: If there’s some kind of catastrophe, to what extent do you trust the government?
Heidi Keller: I’m not gonna down the government. I mean, they do the best that they can. But pretty much the government’s not gonna take care of you, not because they may not want to, but because there’s too much going on. That’s common sense.
Our nation was built on rugged individualism and self-reliance. The federal government was never meant to be the country’s nanny. If the American people are to get through this, we need to rely on ourselves maybe with a little backup from the government. But you cannot count on that. Which is why a number of Americans, and increasing, have decided to prepare themselves.
Snyder notes that according to a publication called “Big Think,” there are eight statements which help one determine whether they are a prepper or not:
- I have stockpiled food and water to survive a potential major disaster
- I have stockpiled weapons to survive a potential major disaster
- I have stockpiled equipment and materials to survive a potential major disaster
- I regularly think through in my mind ways to survive a potential major disaster
- I have thought through who would be in my survivor group
- I know where I could get more supplies to survive a potential major disaster
- I have a plan I could put into operation to survive a potential major disaster
- I have attended survival courses to help me get through a potential major disaster
Each statement should be scored on a scale of between 1 and 5. The article notes the average score is 19. Anything above that likely indicates you are a prepper.
There are a lot of things driving the potential for “something big” to occur, not the least of which is the fact the world’s population is set to hit eight billion people in the next week, which the United Nations refers to as a “key milestone for humanity,” according to the Daily Mail.
The UN Population Division said that the population will continue to grow in the decades to come, with life expectancy set to increase to an average of 77.2 years by 2050.
By November 15, the number of humans on Earth will grow to eight billion, more than three times higher than the 2.5 billion global headcount in 1950.
Snyder notes that of that number, not all will make it through what may be facing us. He also said that some may in fact not be alive by the end of the decade.
What are we facing exactly? Some have warned about additional medical maladies, some of which could in fact be more severe than COVID-19. What of eastern Europe? Putin has allegedly been saber rattling about launching nukes. There are a number of lawmakers who unbelievably seem to support the use of nuclear weapons against Russia. The possibility of food shortages is a realistic possibility.
It is far better to be ready and not need to be than to wait until it’s too late. That’s why that 3% number has tripled.
Better safe than sorry.
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