Preppers Under Attack, Part 2

“All this prepping, it gives people an identity, a group to belong to. But it definitely is emerging as the ‘new kid on the block’ as far as cults go.”

– Dr. Peter Behrens, Penn State-Lehigh Valley professor

Last Friday night, I blogged that it seems to me “preppers” are coming under increasing attack these days.

Funny how things can change so dramatically in just a few days, as “seems” is now a significant understatement in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings.

But before I talk more about that horrific incident and its possibly-implied “relationship” to prepping, I want to discuss a recent piece I came across on the Nazareth, Pennsylvania Patch website. On December 13, Elizabeth Rich wrote about preppers/survivalists and said:

According to Dr. Peter Behrens, preppers are buying into a cult.

Dr. Behrens, a Penn State-Lehigh Valley professor who specializes in the history of psychology, abnormal psychology and personality psychology, says that the most recent form of Doomsday preparations have all the earmarks of an active, recruiting cult.

“From a psychological perspective [Doomsday prepping] is bizarre. Members spend so much time and energy readying for the end of the world. Prepping is just people trying to control what is beyond their control.”

Dr. Behrens believes that clusters of preppers and the movement as a whole has all the markings of a cult.

“I think this is just a modern iteration of the phenomenon of people believing that the end is coming in their lifetime. That idea is so selfish, so self-centered, so narcissistic. It’s mind control.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Unlike Valerie Lucus-McEwen and her concerns about the preppers featured on the National Geographic Channel TV show, according to Rich, Dr. Behrens attacks the prepping movement as a whole. It having all the markings of a cult.

A cult, huh? Would that make Doomsday Preppers evaluators Practical Preppers their Grand Poobahs then? And could National Geographic Channel now claim non-profit status on their taxes for spreading “the word” via the Doomsday Preppers TV show? Of course a uniform will be needed. Try this one on for size.

(Editor’s warning: video could be offensive to some)

Since I completed the first draft of this post, I’ve come across two more web articles that don’t paint the modern survivalist movement in a positive light.

In fact, some might argue they’re attempting to connect prepping with the Sandy Hook school shootings.

From The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

Connecticut school shooting: Adam Lanza’s mother was preparing for disaster

The mother of the gunman who killed 20 children and seven adults in America’s worst school massacre, was a gun-proud “survivalist” preparing for economic collapse, it has emerged.

Nancy Lanza, whose gun collection was raided by her son Adam for Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook school, was part of the “prepper” movement, which urges readiness for social chaos by hoarding supplies and training with weapons.

“She prepared for the worst,” her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters. “Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?”

And then there’s this from The Independent (UK) site this morning:

Mother of Sandy Hook school gunman Adam Lanza was a ‘prepper’ survivalist preparing for economic and social collapse, say reports

Friends and family have portrayed Mrs Lanza as a paranoid ‘survivalist’ who believed the world was on the brink of violent collapse.

Yep. Undoubtedly, preppers are under attack these days.


Rich, Elizabeth. “Are Doomsday Preppers a Cult? A Lehigh Valley Professor Says Yes.” NazarethPatch. 13 Dec. 2012. ( 17 Dec. 2012.

Foster, Peter and Swaine, John. “Connecticut school shooting: Adam Lanza’s mother was preparing for disaster.” The Telegraph. 16 Dec. 2012. ( 17 Dec. 2012.

Williams, Rob. “Mother of Sandy Hook school gunman Adam Lanza was a ‘prepper’ survivalist preparing for economic and social collapse, say reports.” The Independent. 17 Dec. 2012. ( 17 Dec. 2012.

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