Saturday, September 6, 2008

Spare Me the Gung Ho Survivalists Who Have Gone Off the Deep End

I love preparedness stuff. I love gadgets. I love having an small armory of firearms and a year's worth of food in my home. The only thing that I don't like so much about this field are the wackos that seem to pop up regularly. They either brag about how great they are, claiming adulation and honor that they don't deserve (wacko type #1), or they are so far past the preparedness/survivalist mode that they think that being a survivalist means being set to take on the US government and overthrow the country (wacko type #2).

Over the course of a number of years, I have run into quite a few people who have either stretched the truth so far past reality that it was no longer discernible or just flat out lied about such things as being a soldier, being a war hero, being a cop, firefighter, etc. I'm not sure what drives people to do this but it drives me crazy. I don't care if they have raging insecurities, I don't care if they couldn't get past the psych test, what I do care about is people who talk about "the war" when they weren't even there just to get the esteem and accolades that they didn't earn and don't deserve. Years ago I was at a function and a group of people were standing around chatting. One guy started talking about 'Nam--going into detail about his Special Forces unit and throwing out so many insider terms I thought he was going to choke on them. Now, I did pass math and something didn't seem to jive, namely his youthfulness, so I asked him what year he was born which he told me without giving it much thought. After a quick calculation I announced that he would have been about 12 when Saigon fell. The room got quiet awfully quickly. Now I may need to work on my social skills but when someone defies logic or is just flat out bullshitting me, I tend to point such things out, crowd or no crowd. Moral of the story: if you want to be able to tell great war stories, you need to have have earned the right to do so by putting in the time and the work to qualify; if you want to spew fiction, go write a book.

The other category of people that I tend to run into seem to have a distorted view of survivalism. Yes, I firmly believe that everyone should be able to take care of themselves (physically, financially, psychologically, etc), and being a survivalist who can grow your own food, raise up good kids by example, go kill your dinner and bring it home, run off any roughneck fool who is dumb enough to target your home or family, help rescue people during a disaster, and do the myriad other tasks that true survivalists can do should be applauded. Being a survivalist means being prepared for any eventuality. It is not all about having guns and being prepared to play shoot 'em up. Actually that is the fastest way to get killed which would preclude 'surviving', which would be the antithesis of being a survivalist. While I enjoy a good Rambo type movie as much as the next person and scenarios of action adventure flicks give me some ideas of things I could improve upon (I definitely need to shoot better, I would like to be able to run further, one movie that showed a guy with a huge safe full of cash made me think that's a good idea, etc), being a survivalist is less about getting ready to shoot all comers and more about getting ready for the next big winter storm. Moral of the story: true survivalists include the guy who puts money away for his kid's college education so his kid can "survive" in the future job market, the woman who can raise three kids single-handedly, the karate instructor who imparts skills to his students that could save their lives, and the average Joe who knows his rights and exercises his right, for example, to bear arms while encouraging others to know and defend their rights now instead of waiting for the world to cave in then gleefully fighting their way through the mess that is left over. I'm thinking it won't be such a gleeful situation and that fixing small problems as they occur, surviving each day with an eye on how to improve your future and survive future problems, is a better option.

...I'm done ranting and have now hopped off my soap box...


  1. People can get pretty nuts. Sometimes folks who just plain like guns a lot can self identify as survivalists while their only "prep" is an ever growing gun collection.

  2. It is like this all over. The number of posers exceeds those who really know what they are doing and have real experience. Lets face it - words are cheap.

    TheOtherRyan is right - people mistake buying stuff with preparing. It is easy to write a check or pay with a credit card, quite another thing to learn a new skill by spending time and effort. But that's OK - the stocks these people put up may become a treasure trove for others in the future.

  3. Can I get an amen? Yes I'm a girl, and no I don't even remotely look like someone who would spend a day outdoors much less love learning about survival...

    But to be honest I don't share my interest with people because of the "label" it tends to come with...

  4. As member of many SURVIVALIST web sites, I agree with all of your points. I too, have been offended and outraged by many of the trouble makers these web sites seem to draw. To many of them want to play John Rambo, or are just infantilists sissies pretending to be heroic.
    Prepping is about making sure you can take of yourself and your family during crisis or hard times.
    It is about being prepared,trained,competent,mentally strong, and healthy enough, that you needn't call 911 as soon as the power goes out! You have the right stuff, and wherewithall to defend yourself,family,home against against robbers,looters,murderer's, and thugs...Survivalism isn't about waging war on neighbors, civilians or the government! Some seem to think that it is, and use it as an excuse to be a sociopathic, and psychopathic without mercy. They foster the; "kill `em all, let God sort `em out." mentality...
    These types are the real menace to the over all Survivalist movement.
    These are the ones that the government should look for and round up immediately. We true Survivalist's don't want to associate with anyone like them!