Recently I read an article concerning the business boom of an emergency food company called Wise Co. It’s a long piece describing how the company has expanded both through retail sales as well as government contracts to meet national and international emergency needs.
“Over the past several years,” noted author Amanda Little, “the prepper phenomenon – people geared for imminent disaster – has come out of the backwoods via shows like the National Geographic Channel’s ‘Doomsday Prepper’ and media reports of the very rich and very worried buying and fortifying luxury bunkers. [CEO Aaron Jackson] has been positioning Wise to feed the trend.”
(I’ve seen a few episodes of “Doomsday Prepper” and couldn’t believe how cringe-worthy, unrealistic and idiotic it was. And I say this as a dedicated prepper.)
The funny thing about this article is the reporter’s apparent surprise that Jackson isn’t marketing his meals toward the Ted Kaczynski-style fringe nut-jobs, but instead is targeting regular folks. Aaron Jackson notes that while his business supplies disaster-relief meals, his “golden goose” is mainstream America: “I want Mr. and Mrs. Smith in Everytown U.S.A.”
As usual whenever a mainstream (liberal) reporter writes a story like this, he or she (or zhe) can’t get over how ordinary preppers are. “For someone working in an industry defined by worst-case-scenario extremism, Jackson is notably moderate in appearance and philosophy,” noted Ms. Little. Well what did she expect? A wild-haired Ted Kaczynski-esque nut-job?
The author quotes her own extended family’s shocking and just-a-little-bit-horrifying prepper mindset. Her brother, a climate scientist with the Nature Conservancy, began building a supply of food in the basement of his West Virginia cabin, explaining: “I can’t imagine anything worse than not being able to feed my kids, and the chances of disruptions in our food supply are by all accounts becoming more likely.”
To which Ms. Little responded, “To me, this smacked of paranoia. My brother, cousin, and stepbrother represent a skewed sample: All are guys, all own guns, and two like to hunt in their free time with compound bows and arrows.”
My first thought upon reading this “smacked of paranoia” response was humor tinged with pity. What a wussified idiot. Guns and bow hunting – these are normal pursuits for millions upon millions of Americans, very few of whom are “paranoid.”
As expected, the article is skewed toward skepticism, with a little obligatory derision and jeering thrown in. Why is it that journalists – who spend their professional lives reporting on accidents, tragedies and natural disasters – simply cannot grasp the concept of empty grocery stores or stalled JIT deliveries? Have they never witnessed or experienced the things they report on?
“[W]hen I try to imagine consuming the contents of the Mylar pouch in the aftermath of a hurricane, or in a world torn by battles over dwindling, climate change-threatened food supplies, it’s too easy,” admits Ms. Little. “Am I succumbing to my brother’s paranoia or beginning to think pragmatically? I wonder.”
No, sweetie. You’re not succumbing to your brother’s “paranoia.” You’re starting to think pragmatically. Who’s gonna feed you if a bad storm knocks out the grocery store supply chain? Why is anticipating a natural disaster paranoia? (The author goes on to cautiously admit that perhaps global warming may affect food prices or availability, so that may be a reason to prep. Presumably this is the only natural disaster her liberal brain can grasp. Whatever it takes, I suppose.)
The one thing I’ve always wondered, whenever people express skepticism or cynicism or question the sanity of preparedness – is why preparedness is a bad idea. Why is it? Why do they scoff? Why do they mock? Among the mainstream media, the answer is simple: They like to make us look crazy for entertainment value and a few ratings points. But among everyone else, the only explanation I can think of is the weary logic of “It can’t happen to me.”
It’s the nature of emergencies to be unexpected and unplanned. It’s why Americans are keen on insuring everything from their health to their homes to their vehicles. Yet they won’t “insure” themselves through prudent preparedness – physical insurance – because, of course, “It can’t happen to me.”
Even progressives “discovered” the benefits of prepping after Trump was elected, though whether they followed through on this wise of course of action or were just having another snit-fit is unknown. But whenever I address the issue of preparedness among conservatives, I get my share of scoffers who loudly put their faith in the Lord and don’t feel the need to prepare for a zombie apocalypse.
Folks, listen to me. I trust the Lord just as much as you do, but my trust has little impact on temporal matters such as natural disasters. We had a massive windstorm that devastated our region two years ago. God didn’t call home His believers, nor did zombies roam the earth. It was simply a bad storm that knocked out power for anywhere from four days to two weeks during bitterly cold weather. Those who weren’t prepared were wretchedly cold, and some went hungry. Those who were prepared simply shrugged, threw another log in the woodstove and invited in neighbors who couldn’t cook a meal on their electric stoves or heat their homes with an electric furnace.
Preppers – at least, smart preppers – aren’t preparing for a zombie apocalypse. They’re preparing for life with physical insurance. Take it from me, you don’t appreciate how much you depend on full grocery stores and available utilities until they’re not there.
If the power goes out due to a bad storm, don’t think “God will provide” you with food, water and a heated shelter. It won’t be God; it will be your neighbors or the government – neither of which holds deistic status.
I dare anyone who has lived through a natural disaster to explain to me why they’re glad they had no food, water, or heat for an extended period of time. Come on, let’s hear it.
People, get off your lazy duffs. God provides eternal salvation, but He doesn’t magically fill your empty cupboards each night or keep your house warm during a power outage. That’s up to you. Now get busy.