It’s tempting to be smug in moments like this. While COVID is horrible and we wish it hadn’t happened, since it is here, let’s be smart ambassadors and embrace this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help more people like us “see the light.” Because every rational person that joins the modern preparedness community makes us all stronger.
We’ve been doing a lot of press interviews in the last two weeks as the “normies” started to understand how serious COVID-19 is and just how vulnerable they and our world/systems are.
Almost every journalist opened the conversation with something like: “Y’all must be feeling sooo good right now! People used to make fun of you, and now they’re paying the consequences and jealous of how right you were!”
First, a big part of the reason why the millions of rational and modern preppers faced any social stigma at all is because some in the media never bothered to go deeper than lazy coverage and sensationalist shows like Doomsday Preppers.
So the only group of people I really want to yell “haha suckers, eat my shorts!” at is the people who most loudly made a modern prepper’s life difficult in the last decade. The kinds of people referring to last-minute COVID panic buyers as “preppers” — those people aren’t preparing, they’re reacting and hoarding. Preppers are at home (which is kind of the whole point!)
We’ve literally filmed TV segments for national networks that were never aired because producers/editors saw the footage and felt underwhelmed, saying: “Well that’s a lot more boring and sensible than I expected. Can you shoot some guns and go in a bunker for the camera? Talk about something crazy like zombies surfing a solar flare wave to our planet? No? Okay, show cancelled.”
Second, no, we don’t feel smug.
We feel concerned and sad for people who have ignored this part of being an adult and are now facing very real consequences. We feel angry at our institutions and politicians for failing us. We wish we had more of this website built before all of these people needed sudden help. And we’re scared for our sick grandparents.
Because at the end of the day, there’s no point being the only person left alive down in your bunker while you pat yourself on the back for being right. Modern preppers know that the real goal is to be right and not alone. Even if you’re thinking purely selfishly, you are better prepared when there are more prepared people around you.
It’s normal to feel justified
Trust me, as the founder of The Prepared and one of the first ‘outed’ preppers in the Silicon Valley and D.C. communities (where my previous careers were), I know how it feels to have been on the receiving end of jokes, social consequences, and even violence from people who attacked our community.
I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t in some ways feel good when people who ridiculed us mere months ago are now literally begging for help. Or the ex-girlfriend who dumped me over these topics now asking me to teach her husband the very same.
That’s human, and our caveman lizard brains still have a bit of evolving to do.
Part of the sane prepper mantra is staying grounded, which requires questioning yourself along the way. I don’t feel hypocritical when I ask myself things like “Is this really worth preparing for? Am I over-investing?” and so on.
If you had the awareness and courage to prepare yourself ahead of time, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve more than earned it!
Use this as validation that you weren’t crazy. Use it as a validating test for whether or not you were thinking about and executing preparedness the right way. Use this situation for the valuable learning lesson and confidence booster that it is.
… but don’t smell your own farts
This reminded me of a great South Park episode from 2006, around the time early electrical vehicles started crossing into the mainstream (mild NSFW):
We encourage all of you to recognize and resist the urge to gloat, or even give a seemingly-innocent “I told you so!” Because while you should feel validated, recognize that this rare opportunity to help those around you is more important than any sense of ego.
Now is the time to lead, to be a great friend and neighbor, and to welcome the millions of people who may be late to the game… but at least they’re here.
Take the high road and roll out the red carpet for our new friends. Let’s make sure their first impression is of a welcoming and helpful community (wherever it exists). Let’s show them what everyone in The Prepared community already knows:
- This should be a normal part of adulting, no different than buying homeowners insurance or having a retirement account.
- It’s extremely reasonable to prepare for emergencies — what’s crazy is not doing it.
- Preppers come from every possible demographic and belief/value system.
- The community is mostly made up of warm and intelligent people.
Did they do the same for our community before? Not usually. But that’s okay, none of us are here to keep score.