Had a someone accuse me of being a Prepper last night and I must admit that after I stopped laughing, I actually had to pause and reflect on it a second time. After all, just what does make a person a Prepper? If you ask most people what a Prepper is and they'll tell you they're conspiracy theorists who are convinced the end of civilization is just around the corner, and I'll admit that there's more than a few like that out there; but in all honesty I have to wonder just how fair that view is.
Part of what forms my thinking is close to 20 years spent working in Charleston, SC. You see, I came to Charleston just after Hurricane Hugo paid a visit and I still have memories of profiteering a#%£€s charging $45.00 for a gallon of drinking water, and it was only Charleston's innate politeness (and a healthy National Guard presence) that kept crime as low as it was that first year. Then we had 3 more hurricanes come visiting over the years I lived there, and as a Healthcare Professional I could not evacuate like my neighbors did. As a result when I left Charleston 17 years later I routinely made sure I had enough non-perishable food items on hand at all times to keep my family going for 3 months as well as at least 10 gallons of drinking water, 10 gallons of gasoline, enough plywood to cover all of the windows, kerosene for a heater, and propane for the grill, not to mention enough ammo for the guns so that if another Hugo came through I wouldn't have to count on the manners of my neighbors. As for trusting the government, sorry but I know too many people who are still waiting on the relief money FEMA promised them.
So, am I a Prepper? I don't really know if the truth be known. Even now, some 6 years or so since I moved away from the coast, I still tend to keep enough non-perishable food on hand that I could go for a month without grocery shopping if I needed to and I still keep a supply of kerosene on hand in case I need to hear the house even when the electricity and gas are out due to a severe storm, but even though I don't trust the government to take care of things I don't really expect it to fail and plunge us all into some kind of post-apolitical reality out of Mad Max or even Red Dawn. But then again, the government doesn't have to fail for us to find ourselves on our own for a brief period of time. Even as far from the coast as I live now, if another Katrina hit South Carolina I could find myself and my family without water, heat, or power for a month or so easily. Then there's the chance of an earth quake. I know most people think of California when they hear the word earth quake, but in 1886 Charleston was hit by an earth quake so powerful that it was felt as far away as Boston and Chicago. Imagine what one like that would do today. Nor am I safe from winter storms just because I live in the South. Just last year Atlanta was hit by a blizzard that shut the city down for an entire week, and the Northeast has been hit badly a couple of times this year as well. So am I a Prepper? Well I don't think of myself as one, but I do think you should follow the Boy Scouts motto and always be prepared for you never know what might happen next.