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thorninmud's avatar

Do "preppers" actually hope that the s#*t will hit the fan?

Asked by thorninmud (17675 points ) February 7th, 2013

A prepper is someone who lays in supplies and arms in anticipation of a societal breakdown.

I don’t know any preppers. At least I don’t think I know any; they’re not typically very open about their preparations. Maybe you have more insight into their mindset than I do.

I wonder if someone who is so invested in the possibility of society going all to hell wouldn’t, in some measure, actually kind of relish that idea. I think that if I had spent so much money, trained for survival, mentally rehearsed apocalyptic scenarios in which I and mine pull through that which devastates the less prepared, etc., then I might actually be excited about getting to put all that to use. Such a turn of events would, after all, suddenly propel them to the top of the heap.

Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe they’re hoping for the best, just like us non-preppers. Any insights?

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26 Answers

burntbonez's avatar

You’re right. There’s a kind of cognitive dissonance going on here. So if you prep, then you want to be proven right that you needed to prep. You believe society is going to hell and you’ll be one of the few to survive. You don’t exactly hope to be right, but you hope your preparations are useful.

They could be right. I don’t think it’s likely. I think the chances that society will fall apart in that way are exceedingly small. I think they are responding not to a considered analysis of current events, but to fears and prejudices and unreason. I expect that most of their bunkers will eventually get turned to recreational use, or will just fall apart from lack of maintenance.

tom_g's avatar

Yes, I believe many of them do.

When I was a young kid, I used to do a ton of hiking, camping, and fishing. I’d often have little daydreams of getting lost and having to survive out in the wild off of fishing and survival skills. My friends and I would get all worked up about such “fantasies”, and it seems that these “preppers” experience that same thrill of imagining themselves surviving whatever scenario is their fantasy of choice.

During one hike I was on with my father, we had our fly rods, a few snacks, and I packed my survival kit (matches, etc). I remember having some questionable calls made during one of our compass reads and thinking, “Yes!”. Well, we did get lost. And the thrill of having to survive in the wild quickly drained from my body and I was very thankful we found the car just before it was completely dark.

I’m thinking that some boys just get taller when they age.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Not the ones I know, they simply want to take care of themselves, their families and property if it gets to that point. Nothing wrong with being prepared, it’s like having water and a blanket in the car during snowstorms.

zenvelo's avatar

I won;t give a Survivalist the dignity of being considered a “prepper”. But I agree that they are hoping for validation by getting through something awful.

I had some acquaintances that spent well over $100,000 getting ready for Y2K. One even had a large pond built on his property as a water storage! Squirreled away 500 prescriptions of anti-biotics. 6 months of survival food. They were so worried, they still couldn’t sleep well at night.

Coloma's avatar

@zenvelo Wow…talk about extremist and extreme neurosis. 0-o
Some payoff, all that cash and supplies and still paranoid. Uh, pass me the pills or just shoot me please, I have zero desire to play the survival game any more than I freaking already do. lol
In answer to the Q. yes, I think many of these types really do wish for a self fulfilling prophecy.

ragingloli's avatar

I put them in the same camp as the doomsayer christians that look forward to the apocalypse.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli The difference is we Christians look forward to the second advent without fear, in general survivalists anticipate battle/ fear.

“In Christianity and Islam, the Second Coming of Christ, the second advent, sometimes called the parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ to Earth.” Wikipedia

rojo's avatar

I thought the parousia was that little area on women that sometimes tears in childbirth? Colloquially called a taint.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo I tried not to laugh but I had to, you so crazyyyy. :)

filmfann's avatar

I have seen them on the show actually say “Bring on the apocalypse!”.
I have a close friend who is probably a prepper. He has an insane amount of guns and ammo, and just bought land in an isolated area, so he can live off the grid while society implodes this spring. Yes, he mentioned this spring!
Years ago, I asked him if he had bottled water and food for 2 years. He said he has guns, and he can get the rest with that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve heard people saying everyone should get a passport and citizenship in another country, just in case.

flutherother's avatar

I think so. They are thinking ahead but only to the day after the apocalypse when they will turn the world into a shooting range. They are not thinking of the day after that when we will have to get along with each other or die.

Coloma's avatar

@filmfann So you’re friends with a sociopathic nutcase ey? 0-o
I’d set aside some poisoned cheese or something and beat him at his own game when he comes to rob your pantry. lol

ucme's avatar

In common with some fluther users in terms of an argumentitive exchange…oh yeah!

Jeruba's avatar

I’ve certainly wondered the same thing about trained military services. And not just the generals but the rank and file. Are they itching for combat?

wundayatta's avatar

In the old days, it was preparing for nuclear war. Now it’s preparing to prevent your government from taking your freedom.

Perhaps it’s a form of mental illness. Paranoia features in many mental illness diagnoses. It’s generally an imagined paranoia. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

But it’s a free country. If you can afford it, or even if you can’t, but can get your hands on a credit card, you can build yourself a retreat where you can protect yourself from all the sources of your paranoid fantasies. As long as you don’t hurt anyone else, you’re free to indulge yourself.

And then of course, you want to prove you aren’t fantasizing. You want to prove that your version of reality is the real reality. And that, I think makes it worse than hoping for apocalypse. I think some preppers are actively working to bring around their fantasized holocaust.

rojo's avatar

Funny @wundayatta I first read your third paragraph as:
But it’s a free country if you can afford it…. and it kind of made sense that way too.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Some of them it really seems to be the case.(especially those featured on that retarded show) Others it doesn’t seem so much the case. Some people just want to be prepared for the “what ifs?” of life. I don’t see anything wrong with that and I honestly think more people should be trained in how to survive of the land. If anything were to ever happen the vast majority of people would be fucked.

I took a wilderness survival class. Do I think the world is coming to an end or better yet looking forward to it? No. But I think its really nice to know that if I ever get lost out in the woods or if something does happen I won’t have to worry about how I’m going to survive.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I think that a lot of them do.

woodcutter's avatar

How many is a lot?

woodcutter's avatar

17 out of how many? Is that a knowable number?

rojo's avatar

Yes, you can know 17 but you have to get into a zen state and quit trying to quantify that which is more of an emotional rather that rational existance.

woodcutter's avatar

ooooookay

augustlan's avatar

Probably an awful lot of them do. Like @wundayatta, I think some of them are actively trying to bring it about. Or at least passively encouraging it by buying in to the need for it, contributing to a self-perpetuating fear market. Self-fulfilling prophesy!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@augustlan I second that. How so many people buy into fear as a motivation is hard for me to understand. Taking care of yourself and your family is natural.

What is even more irritating is people like Jack Van Impe (bless his heart) that continue to preach about Armageddon, the Bible/ Israel and scare people, it’s sad.

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