“There are those who think the Doomsday Preppers is an extreme model of self-preparedness; I just see them as an extreme model of selfishness.”
-Valerie Lucus-McEwen, emergency manager/blogger, Emergency Management website, November 29, 2012
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that “preppers” are coming under increasing attack these days. Maybe this animosity stems from numerous reports of preppers making it through Hurricane Sandy in decent shape while many of their neighbors suffered. Or maybe it’s because modern survivalists and the fruits of their labor are visual reminders to others that they’re lagging behind in providing for their/their family’s safety in a dangerous world (Sandy was yet one more reminder that government can’t always be there for you). There’s probably envy too, where if I don’t have an emergency food supply, then you can’t have one either. Hoarder.
Since the end of November, I’ve been watching a series of posts by Valerie Lucus-McEwen, an experienced emergency manager and blogger on the Emergency Management website. In her Disaster Academia blog on November 29, Lucus-McEwen penned a post entitled, “Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish.” You can probably guess by that title that she’s not a big fan of those preppers featured on National Geographic Channel’s hit show. From that piece:
You might wonder why someone like me, who has been in the business of encouraging disaster preparedness for a very long time, is so critical of people who are doing just that. It’s because they are being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else. Instead of spending time and energy making changes that would benefit the larger community, in their very narrow focus of loyalty they are more concerned about themselves.
Now, to set things straight, Lucus-McEwen’s beef in this post seems to be with the “Doomsday Preppers,” not preppers in general. She said the Doomsday Preppers were “being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else.” And she does seem to have a point- in a number of cases. Lucus-McEwen falls victim to generalizing here (who hasn’t at one time or another?). Or not watching enough episodes. Because right off the bat I can think of two preppers from season 1- Preston White and Bruce Beach- who were willing to share their seeds with and provide shelter to members of their community in the event of disaster.
As for the “socially-selfish” preppers, one thing to keep in mind here that a lot of people forget (or never realized in the first place) is that Doomsday Preppers is part of National Geographic Channel’s “American Outliers” programming. So it should be of no surprise that the preppers featured in this TV series might be a little bit “different” from other preppers who I’ve heard say time and time again that they’d share their food, water, and other preps with others “until it hurts.” So much so that they’ve gone out and acquired above and beyond what they need should it come to that.
Finally, are any preppers really “socially-selfish?” After all, the preparations they’ve made to take care of themselves/loved ones/neighbors free up government resources to assist others in the community after a disaster. Looking at it this way, the argument could be made that prepping is actually a socially-responsible activity, rather than a socially-selfish one.
Anyway, Lucus-McEwen’s blog post subsequently generated a lot of “attention” from preppers. So much so she’s followed-up “Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish” with:
Part 2 will be published after the weekend.
(Editor’s note: Part 2 has been published here.)
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