Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Survivalist Movement

Survivalism (definition from Wikipedia)

“A movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.

Anticipated disruptions may include:

Clusters of natural disasters, patterns of apocalyptic planetary crises, or "Earth Changes" (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, solar storms, severe thunderstorms, floods, tsunamis).

Anthropogenic disasters (chemical spills, release of radioactive materials, nuclear or conventional war, oppressive governments).
The general collapse of society caused by the shortage or unavailability of resources such as electricity, fuel, food, or water.

Financial disruption or economic collapse (caused by monetary manipulation, hyperinflation, deflation, or depression).

A global pandemic.

Widespread chaos or some other unexplained apocalyptic event."

There’s a television series here in the U.S. devoted to people who belong to this group. I tried watching it once, but it’s mostly too much for me!

I mostly think these people, at least the ones featured on the tv programs, are a bit off-balance and secretly HOPE for a catastrophic event that will take us back to the Dark Ages.

Why? So they can demonstrate how clever they were to have planned ahead and how good they are at defending themselves and their stockpiled supplies (read GUN nuts).

Yet, I know a few people who believe an emergency could occur and they would need tools and supplies to survive for an unlimited amount of time. I sympathize with this point of view “somewhat” and have thought about it more after reading two books:

A very readable book. Well written. Highly recommend.

From the cover: A story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war that sends our nation back to the Dark Ages.

A war lost because of a terrifying weapon, an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP).. that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read. It has been discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a realistic look at EMPs and their awesome ability to send catastrophic shockwaves throughout the United States, literally within seconds. EMPs are a weapon that The Wall Street Journal warned could shatter our nation. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail-Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future...and our end.

And this book:

Not as well written as the above book, but interesting nevertheless. 
From the inside cover: "In the face of a crisis that sweeps an entire high-tech planet back to the age before electricity, ...."

"...Yesterday's world is gone."


So I'm caught between wishing to live a minimalist life on the one hand, and preparing for an emergency on the other.

So I have to find a balance. Keep enough food on hand to eat for a while. Know a source for water and have a way to purify it. Anything beyond that is too much to think about.

The survivalists tell us that we must have guns to defend ourselves, that the people who are hungry will kill us and take any food we have. That we must kill them before they kill us.

Well, let them have at it. I don't want to live in a world as depicted in these books above.

(If you aren't familiar with this subject, do go to the Wikipedia link above for more information. It's fascinating! And scary...)


  1. Great post. I have read both books and they are interesting. ...As well as scary. If I thought about it often enough I would probably be stashing things away!

  2. The books sound frightening. We do have a reasonable stash of supplies in case of an earthquake. Mostly first aid things, a small portable radio, flashlilghts, etc. Enough food and water for a few days, not weeks. In our area we are actually reminded by various public service announcements to have an "earthquake kit" handy.


  3. I'm not likely to survive long in a world like this, even if I have a storehouse full of supplies.

  4. Great post - I'll have to look out for those books. I think a certain amount of preparedness is just part of being a grown up. Touch wood, we've not had a problem with flooding here, which is the main natural disaster here in Britain, but we could experience a power loss in the event of flooding or other problems. I think stocking the motor home helps us have a variety of options for when we have electricity and when we only have gas. As to stocking guns, etc., I think this is mainly an American thing. Handguns aren't allowed here in Britain and few people even have hunting guns. Brits think the gun craze in the US is crackers. I must admit that Bill and I fantasized about how we would cope if computers didn't manage the Y2000 changeover - I was mainly wishing I wouldn't have to go back to work! I grew up with parents worried by the cold war and surviving after a nuclear holocaust. I think we decided we'd hope to be amongst the first to die. I don't want to live in a man-made aftermath; a natural disaster would be bad enough. Mind, again, the Mormons are told to stock a year's worth of food - a practice that has been in place for a long time. I think their history suggests they are used to having hard times. I bought a cookbook that uses strictly dried foods. Not an attractive prospect!

  5. First now I read this post of your´s.
    The books you told about might be too frightening for me to read.
    We are not prepared in any way for environmental disasters. No extra food stocked anywhere.
    Oh, forgot: A winter storm is a possible threat. Once the electricity was off 23 hours on a cold December month and the house got really cold.
    A radio with batteries and torches are a must though. And a car.
    Our greatest fear is the country east from us.


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