For a brief period, peaking around Christmas, I was a full-blown "prepper."
"Prepper" is what people preparing for a collapse civilized society following a massive natural or man-made disaster call themselves. In short, you store food, learn to protect it and learn how to get along without electricity. It was the last part that appeals to the Boy Scout in me. It's scary to think about how much we depend on societal systems, electricity, plumbing, water, WiFi, telephone.
I started by watching episode after episode of Doomsday Preppers on National Geographic Channel. That show taught me several things: everyone should have a "bugout bag," a short-notice survival bag; real preppers have enough money to buy and hide a steel "bugout shelter on their property;" wives placate their crazy husbands; and the television experts never think anyone is prepared enough.
To compliment my television tutorials I started reading Emergency by Neil
Strauss. Strauss, a hot shot music writer, describes his growing concern about being ill-equip to deal with what may lay around the corner and his efforts rectify that. It's a digestible view into the preppers, survivalists and perpetual traveler movements.
My increasing awareness led my to a Army Surplus store to do a little Christmas shopping. I was also spending spare brainwaves thinking about: Where I'd go if Folsom Dam collapsed? How long would it take for the cavalry to come? Is my home in the flood area?
Katrina was a real scare for many people. Many within the movement point to it as evidence of the government's inability to tackle disasters and evidence of how quickly the looters will come for your food stockpile.
I since finished the book and eased up my on preps. Not because I'm ready, but in part because I have a little more faith in man than most of those people. Super Storm Sandy showed the depth of American's compassion and empathy. If one area of the country is threatened, there are plenty of people in a position to rush in to help... unless its a total economic collapse, then I'll meet you at Black Rock City.