In A Survivalist Mode

In the United States, we’ve always had people who believed everything was on the brink of going to hell.  Like Burt Gummer on Tremors, they have lived armed to the teeth, stockpiling food, water, and other supplies, building fallout shelters and safe rooms, and maintaining a state of catlike readiness for the inevitable and rapidly approaching nuclear war, plague, terrorist attacks, or complete breakdown of social order.

Lately it seems like this attitude is becoming a bit more . . . mainstream.  According to the NRA (and you would think it would know) gun ownership in the United States is at an all-time high.  Gold prices, too, are surging, and at least some of the buyers seem to be motivated by a belief that gold coins will serve as a kind of ultimate currency in the event civilization collapses.  If you listen to AM radio, you will hear advertisements for companies that sell survivalist-type products and services, like emergency food supplies and kits.  One such company will sell you a lightweight backpack stuffed with two weeks supplies of food, emergency heat sources, and other essentials.  In classic American fashion, the emergency food supplies include things like lasagna and beef stroganoff, and the website pictures show the food presented on attractive plates, complete with linen napkins and a sprig of garnish — not what you would expect to find on hand when gangs are looting a lawless countryside or ashes from a nuclear exchange are raining down on the just and unjust.

What can we make of this trend?  Some people clearly are very worried and they want to be ready in the case of catastrophe.  Companies recognize there is a market for survivalist products and are exploiting it.  And the rest of us will just have to figure out who among our neighbors — like Burt Gummer — has had the foresight and fortitude to prepare for the ultimate survivalist challenge when the worms beneath us finally go on a rampage.

 

 

34 thoughts on “In A Survivalist Mode

  1. Greetings Webner,

    Nice post. I don’t know about you, but if we do have a nuclear war, I’m fairly certain I would rather die quickly than to loot through my recently acquired backpack with two weeks of food. Since I can remember, people have always thought “the end” was coming; I think it’ll come when we least expect it.

    Feel free to add to conversation about films at http://khocolatemoose.wordpress.com/

    I’d love to hear what you have to say, and often.

    Best,

    KM

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    • So true. Just think: a world without pharmacology. After a few days we’ll be jonesin’ for our pills. Food, water? That can wait. Gotta have my anti-depessant or I’m gonna die right now.

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  2. Very well done, great way of capturing the American psyche in relation to current events much kudos. Although, the people that have decided to buy any kind of pre-fabricated survival kit are in for a shock. Those things are the biggest loads of crap out there. Then again I’m a sap for the preposterous. To all those who are anticipating an; Armageddon, holocaust, or social collapse have fun I’ll be seeing you on the other side.

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  3. Gold could be one of the currencies, just as cigarettes and booze would be.

    More likely what will happen – barring some major infrastructure collapse – is a shift to another currency, international or other national. Since global faith in the dollar as an investment source and base is rapidly waning, it’s entirely possible we could be using yuans, Ameros or something else in the not too distant future.

    Any sane person’s motto should be, “prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” You have to think reasonably. Hey, if you want to build a bomb shelter, more power to you, but, first, don’t put yourself into debt doing it. Secondly, if you don’t have the food and water, the shelter’s likely to be a tomb.

    Our own government has recommended (both Democrat and Republican) 3 days supplies and that we should not expect help for 72 hours in cases of major/natural disasters. Your government cannot wipe your nose or your bottom every day and for every person.

    Taking everything with a grain of salt and moderation, every person should be doing things to be at least a little prepared for most any emergency. It’s the prepared person (even if only in mindset) that’s more likely to pull thru and survive a situation than one who’s not prepared at all, believes help will come – expects it – and freaks out when the tp runs out.

    I’m beginng to set up my belongings in such a way so that if my basement floods or if we’re given 20 minutes to evacuate, I know exactly what I have, what we need, and to get it out.

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  4. ” In classic American fashion, the emergency food supplies include things like lasagna and beef stroganoff, and the website pictures show the food presented on attractive plates, complete with linen napkins and a sprig of garnish — not what you would expect to find on hand when gangs are looting a lawless countryside or ashes from a nuclear exchange are raining down on the just and unjust.”

    That’s because Americans don’t really know the meaning of living on the edge. The closest thing was the LA riots a while back.
    Go to Sderot in Israel in 2008 or some African countries, and the last thing they’re concerned with is the presentation of their food.

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  5. When my great great grandparents who were farmers grew their own food, kept a shotgun close by, and would only deal in gold & silver money, they were just known as “Americans” back then.

    What most people who live in America are known as today: Consumers.

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  6. Interesting post and responses.

    What about women?

    Anyone wanna weigh in on what happens to women in an
    “uncivilized” society?

    Gold, Cigs, Horses?

    Women? Think about it, in a world that hasnt come to an end yet, studies revealed today that women weighing 25 lbs less make about 15k more than those weighing more. Even in this “I’m independent” say women – modern world, we still see how theyre rewarded like little puppies for keeping themselves in line with what men want of them.

    What do you think will happen when men arent asking for dates anymore- but offering not to simply use them as they see fit.

    There are some ultimate questions that come up. In an apocalyptic society, bringing your mortality closer, and destroying any kind of comfortable expectation in life, how many people will really hang around long enough to even learn how to survive. For what? Unless you have kids and take the responsibility of raising them, you dont really have a reason to live unless youre just afraid to die… but youre gonna die anyway, either from starvation, disease, murder, or live miserably- if youre lucky.

    Check out the movie The Road and check out what I had to say about it.

    http://theoccasionalopinion.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/the-road-movie-based-on-book-by-cormac-mccarthy-lessons-learned/

    Interesting stuff, the whole- what if it all falls apart right now business.

    I suppose anything is possible, and some of us can do something about it, and others can’t.

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  7. Very interesting post. Made me think about what we’ll all do when the world comes to an end (if it does at all). Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

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  8. Burt Gummer is one of my all time hero’s and I can really relate to his survivalist mentality. I recommend that any one who is interested in learning about disaster and survival preparedness, read Holly Drennan Deyo’s book entitled “Dare To Prepare” it’s what Im using as a guide to get myself ready for the unforseeable future to come.

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  9. I’m thinking that if we go into survivalist mode the currency won’t be gold, but Prozac, after the pharmacies have all been thoroughly looted.

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  10. When my great great grandparents who were farmers grew their own food, kept a shotgun close by, and would only deal in gold & silver money, they were just known as “Americans” back then.

    What most people who live in America are known as today: Consumers.

    Like

  11. Mormons have always encouraged their members to keep a year’s supply of food. My friend’s husband stockpiled the spare bedroom with water because of bird flu fears. My grandparents lived in a rural area, and would often face week long power outages due to ice storms. There is being prepared, and then there is a complete lack of faith in humanity.

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  12. It’s been said a million times before, but it bears repeating. America is a nation full of fearful citizens. And as (most) know, fear is a great way to get people to do what you want them to (in this case buy more shit they don’t need)

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  13. Survivalism – the new cash crop.

    Perhaps its fueled by the fact that many Americans (and of course, this isn’t limited to Americans) have lost the ability and knowledge to live off the land and are solely dependent on others for basics. In our media saturated culture, all the apocalyptic movies, shows, literature take advantage of that Chicken Little voice in the back of one’s head that says, “No water from the tap! Grocery store’s been looted! What to do? What to do?!”

    Besides, it’s easier to buy a “survival backpack” than it is to take the time and energy to get knowledgeable about how to live on your own (that takes practice!), and you can even buy it online, not having to leave the comfort of your home.

    Instant gratification AND peace of mind.

    Nice.

    *Great post, by the way 😉

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  14. Though interested in survivalism/preparedness since reading Robinson Crusoe as a child, it was a couple of hurricanes that convinced me to actually be more prepared. I do sense that our civilization is on the precipice in so many ways as well. Instead of Gold as a currency in a total collapse, I would suggest ammunition. Read One Second After by Fortschen a year ago… voof! Highly recommend it.

    Here is my attempt at writing about preparedness:
    http://mark12ministries.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/teotwawki-the-long-walk-home-ch-1-election-day/

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  15. I have guns i use them at the shooting range, but if i ever needed to defend myself or my family in case an intruder were to break in you can bet I’d use it. People ask me why i have one of my shotguns placed on the wall above the fireplace instead of in the gun safe with the rest of them. Well I’d rather have it there and not need it, then have it in the gun safe and need it quickly.

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  16. History is repeating itself. Remember in the 50’s the underground bunkers people were digging in fear of a nuclear attack? Fallout shelters I think they were called. That’s all coming back.

    If it ever comes to the fact that we must use the lasagne or beef stroganoff, can we sue if it doesn’t look like what’s on the package? That’s false advertising.

    Gun ownership has risen because ol’ numbnuts in the White House has been threatening to ban guns.

    Couldn’t tell ya why gold has gone up. Doesn’t help me, I’ve never been that wealthy to afford anything gold, so cashing anything of the sort in is null and void for me.

    For a nation that brags about how great and prepared we are, we’re definitely a bunch of woosies. Arrogance will get us nowhere.

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  17. Sometimes I get the feeling of wanting to switch into some kind of survival mode. But this mode more had to be like for real. Sometimes I want to walk through forrest, mountains and bushes – without any food. Just some equipment 😀

    Best regards

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  18. hi,
    great post , i appreciate it.
    Nuclear war is like a game of tic tac toe. no body can win in it. it is a all lose war and there would be complete destruction after it and all traces of life would be wiped out.

    if one country launches a attack then the opposite country would also start the attack , so every body would die.

    the world do not need nuclear arms.
    -vicky

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  19. Good Post. I completely forgot about the movie Tremors and the fact that the dad from Family Ties was Burt Gummer. Good stuff.

    It seems to me that people generally have nothing better to do than sit around worrying about the end of the world. Y2K ring a bell? Everyone was frothing at the mouth, completely sure that all of the computers in the world were going to explode @ midnight and what happened? Nothing.

    I’m not saying that you’re wrong to have an exit plan in the event that nuclear catastrophe does happen. It’s always good to have a backup plan in the event of any ‘occurrence’. What I’m saying is that it’s wrong to let in turn you into a witless boob.

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  20. Have you noticed the things that would bother people 10 years ago don’t seem to matter anymore? It seems like more and more people are simply becoming acclimatized to the rudeness and downright criminal actions of others.

    I would have to vote on the “breakdown of social order” being our main concern for the future. Unless a certain distasteful action directly impacts someone, they will put their heads in the sand and ignore it.

    I’m not exactly prepared for a social collapse, but I’m probably better off than most. You better have some training before you come through my front door looking for trouble.

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  21. It seems to me that people generally have nothing better to do than sit around worrying about the end of the world. Y2K ring a bell? Everyone was frothing at the mouth, completely sure that all of the computers in the world were going to explode @ midnight and what happened? Nothing.

    Like

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