The Guardian: We Mocked Preppers and Survivalists – Until the Pandemic Hit

The Guardian has a little article about how everyone wishes they had been preppers before this pandemic. Hopefully some people will be inspired to be a little more prepared in the future.

We mocked preppers and survivalists – until the pandemic hit

You’ve heard of preppers, right? Survivalists? If you’ve watched TV shows like Doomsday Preppers, you know about their strange, apocalyptic beliefs: that a disaster could strike at any time, overwhelming first responders and the social safety net; that this crisis could disrupt supply chains, causing scarcity and panic and social breakdown; that authorities might invoke emergency powers and impose police curfews. Crazy theories like that.

In fact, many perfectly reputable organizations – including the US federal government and the Red Cross – recommend Americans maintain extra food and emergency supplies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) advises keeping a two-week supply of food, as well as water, batteries, medical masks, first-aid supplies and a battery- or hand-powered radio, among other things.

In mainstream society, however, interest in prepping usually invites ridicule about bunkers and tin-foil hats. Preppers have spent years as the objects of our collective derision.

Until now. Today, we’re all preppers – or rather, wish we had been. Non-preppers have been caught in a rain shower without an umbrella. I don’t know if preppers are laughing right now, but perhaps they’re entitled to some vindication.

Now, I’m not a prepper. I am an effete quasi-intellectual with no practical skills of any kind. My current “emergency supplies” are some Hungry-Man Dinners and a liter of bourbon. If things get really bad I will finish the bourbon, lie down and wait to be eaten by stray cats.

But I’ve come to respect the preppers’ ethos of survival and preparedness. One of my friends is one, or at least on the spectrum. When coronavirus hit, he wasn’t one of the millions of people scrambling for surgical masks; he already had them in his survival kit. He kept a few and gave the rest to elderly people.

It has become fashionable to arguenot entirely accurately – that there are “no libertarians in a pandemic”. Certainly, this crisis has been a stark reminder of the importance of collective action. We’re all on this ship together; Covid-19 has laid bare the pathetic inadequacy of the US social safety net, our lack of investment in the common good, and our government’s short attention span for preparing for crises that don’t involve terrorism or war.

But collective action also requires some level of individual responsibility and preparedness, too, at least for those with the ability and the means. You can’t aid your elderly, immunocompromised or poorer neighbors if you haven’t taken the bare minimum of preparations. There’s a reason that airplane safety demonstrations warn passengers to put on their own air-masks before assisting others.

We’re right to be angry at the people stripping supermarkets bare and hoarding desperately needed supplies. Those people aren’t preppers, however. Preppers don’t engage in panic-buying. That’s the whole point. That’s why it is called prepping.

“Prepping is a choice that occurs before a panic, not during,” a prepper recently complained on Reddit. “If you didn’t stock up over time, you are a hoarder or, perhaps worse, an opportunist. In times like these we need to come together and support one another. That doesn’t mean giving away your supplies, but it does mean living in a society.”

Another added, “We aren’t the reason that elderly or immunocompromised people can’t find hand sanitizer, masks or toilet paper. We bought things in small increments when it made zero impact on the supply.” … (continues)

 

See also, The Atlantic: We Should All Be Preppers

Guardian: Why Leftist Groups Are Taking Up Arms

From The Guardian, ‘If others have rifles, we’ll have rifles’: why US leftist groups are taking up arms:

A John Brown Gun Club member wears a patch featuring the Trans Pride flag and an AR-15 while community defending Trans Pride in Seattle.
A John Brown Gun Club member wears a patch featuring the Trans Pride flag and an AR-15 while community defending Trans Pride in Seattle. Photograph: Grant Hindsley/The Guardian

The van lumbered down one of Seattle’s many steep hills. A half dozen people packed inside but despite the heat, most wore long pants and boots, and several sported black hoodies. The atmosphere was subdued, except for the occasional joke. It wasn’t so much tension as seriousness – there was work to be done.

The people in the van are members of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club (PSJBGC). Their stated aim is to fight white supremacy and build community defense in America’s Pacific north-west, and their presence has become a fixture of protests in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, where the group is often invited to provide security against rightwing aggression.

The night before, several of them had been called to a library in nearby Renton, Washington, where a Drag Story Time Hour, an event series in which a local drag queen or drag king reads to children in a library or bookstore, was being disrupted by rightwing protesters. The protesters, who opposed the event as “immoral”, held up signs equating drag with pedophilia, and screamed “Shame! Shame!” at parents and their kids. Among them were members of the Proud Boys, a violent rightwing street gang, and Three Percenters militia, who were open-carrying firearms.

The north-west has been at the center of tense political clashes over the last two years. The area is an adopted home base for far-right groups like Patriot Prayer, Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement and the Proud Boys, who have organized numerous marches that have ended in violence. In response, a range of leftist groups have organized self defence groups and, in doing so, present gun ownership as a way to protect themselves and others.

Now, the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club was en route to Seattle’s Trans Pride March.

In the weeks prior, word spread that a number of white supremacist groups had planned to disrupt the celebration. Hearing this, the club reached out to the organizers of the event, the Gender Justice League, and offered to assist with security or to provide escorts.

Brooke Wylie, the head of security for the Gender Justice League in charge of overseeing the 101-person security detail for the event, did some research on the club. She told them the event had a policy of having no open carry (that is, no visible weapon), which they were fine with. She accepted their offer. Police were also present, but many marginalized groups do not trust them to provide protection at public events, especially when far-right groups are involved.

Each member showed up with a concealed handgun. “We do our actions proportional to the threat, so when other people are out with rifles, we’ll be out with rifles,” Nick, the group’s de facto spokesperson, explained. “In this case, we don’t want to appear threatening for the people that we’re trying to protect and support; we want this to be a happy atmosphere, especially for a population that may have faced gun violence on the street just for being who they are.”

This scenario – in which armed community groups are working together to patrol a Pride event and protect it from other malicious and potentially armed groups – is becoming more and more common. There are more guns than people in America – approximately 393 million in a country of 328 million people…

Click here to read the entire story at The Guardian.

 

Related:

Defense Maven: Man killed in attack on ICE facility identified as Antifa militia member/John Brown Gun Club member.

…Van Spronsen was declared dead at the scene. The Pierce County medical examiner said he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

He was quickly identified as an active member of the John Brown Gun Club, a left-wing militia, who had been arrested in June of 2018 while protesting at the same facility he was trying to blow up when he was fatally shot, the Seattle Times reported…

RT: America Stumbling Towards Civil War One Terrible Tweet at a Time