How many times have people looked at you kinda funny when they find out you store food in your home? I get that frequently, and when that’s combined with my hobbies/passions of hunting, hiking, camping and fishing, I sometimes get lumped in with the nut cases. (I guess it doesn’t help that I carry a pocket survival kit and “survival” knife in my briefcase.)
Lisa Bedford is well-known in the preparedness world as the Survival Mom, and author of the best-selling book “Survival Mom. In this article she explains why some people are turned off by the whole preparedness idea.
By Lisa Bedford
The Survival Mom
I don’t believe I’ve ever started an article with an apology, but before I go any further, my apologies to preppers for this headline! I’ve met hundreds of you over the past year or so and you are all so normal!
A tornado could destroy roads and bridges and strand people on the disaster scene. Being prepared for emergencies can help a lot!
I hope my apology is accepted! Now on to my story.
As I thought about perception, I remembered a conversation with an Oregon woman who displayed a dramatic negative reaction to the term, “bug out bag.”
“Don’t use that term!” she said. “It makes you sound like a crazy survivalist.”
Well, I’m not crazy and I don’t consider myself to be a survivalist in the traditional sense, but if we hope to draw others into the ranks of preparedness, our loved ones in particular, then maybe we should consider how others perceive us.
Here are a few reasons why I think “normal” people shy away from anything related to the prepper world.
1. Our terminology has negative connotations. “Bug out bag” begs the question, “Exactly why do you think you have to bug out?”
“Bug out location” sounds a lot like a robber’s hideout or the stereotypical 500-square-foot log cabin in the wilds of Idaho, home to toothless refugees from “Deliverance.”
“Bug out vehicle” — getaway car, anyone?
“C-Day” — Collapse Day, as in the day the United States of America collapses.
See what I mean? And I don’t think it’s a strike against anyone outside the prepper world who hears these terms and thinks, “What the heck?” If you’re not a religious person, this is akin to being around people who talk church-speak all the time. It can be a big turn-off.
2. Ditto for our acronyms.
SHTF: Sh*t hits the fan.
TEOTWAWKI; The end of the world as we know it.
WROL: Without rule of law.
GOOD: Get out of Dodge
In the real world, who talks like this? If your friends need an acronym dictionary to figure out what you’re talking about, they may decide the prepper world is some sort of secret society with “special” handshakes and creepy initiation ceremonies. (Editor’s note: The proper way to use an acronym is on SECOND reference. Otherwise, there is no way to tell what the acronym means. NRA, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean the National Rifle Association. And do you really want to explain what SHTF means to someone you ran across at church? End of Leon’s rant.)
3. They think we’re too negative.
When conversations naturally veer toward topics related to preparedness, that’s one thing, but if your stream of emails consist of doomsday alerts from Alex Jones and the like, they will begin to steer clear of you, guaranteed.
4. Negative portrayals on TV.
Let’s face it. “Doomsday Preppers” didn’t exactly do any favors for the prepping world. Too many of their preppers aren’t relate-able. Many are downright weird. If this is what your circle of friends and acquaintances see as the norm for preppers, do you blame them for not wanting to join the club?
5. Preppers scare them.
Nearly every prepper website focuses on topics like pandemics, collapse of civilization, the U.S. becoming just like Somalia, FEMA body bags, guillotines…well, sometimes people just want to think about the fun they’re going to have this weekend at the bowling alley. Who wants to be around people who scare them all the time?
5. They really don’t see the need to prepare.
This one you can’t do anything about. Until a person is motivated by their own observations, they will likely not do anything. People believe their own dataand will act accordingly, thus the popularity of Home Depot hours before the arrival of a hurricane!
Now, in no way am I saying preppers are crazy and that we shouldn’t prepare. My point is to consider how others perceive us. If we come across as scary, obsessed, or weird, then it’s no wonder that they shy away from the prepper world when it’s possible that being prepared has been on their minds!
You can’t do anything about Doomsday Preppers or all the fear-filled websites out there, but you can demonstrate by words and actions what a rational, completely sane prepper looks like!