Prepping will be very controversial when the SHTF

Right now, prepping is seen by society at large as strange and a little silly. Shows like “Doomsday Preppers” has given prepping a bad name, making us seem like paranoid but harmless eccentrics. The average citizen sees no need to “prep”, since he assumes that everything he needs will always be immediately available via local stores and fast shipping from internet companies. So average Joe has a low opinion of us preppers.

When the SHTF, I mean when some severe disaster with long-lasting effects strikes the nation, all that will change. First of all, many more people will suddenly see the benefits to prepping. It will be seen as prudent reasonable emergency preparedness, and long-time preppers will be seen as a source of much needed knowledge and experience on the topic. Nice.

But one downside is that a rush of persons newly-entering the field of prepping will buy up much of the available products. Prepping companies will frequently run out of many items, and have difficulty restocking. And this problem will give rise to one type of controversy. The people who still decline to prep will be upset that the grocery store shelves are bare of certain items (foods that store well). They will complain that batteries and other useful prepping supplies are now often out of stock. Preppers will be seen as disrupting the steady supply of goods that non-preppers foolishly assumed would always be available.

In that situation, you might find that some of your friends and acquaintances insist you share your food with them. But they are unlikely to be content with survival rations (e.g. rice and vegetable oil). You can only store so much food, so you can only share that food charitably with relatively few persons. You can afford to feed everyone they know from stored food. So I think preppers are going to be very unpopular with many persons. You will find out who is and is not truly a friend.

Another downside will be the dichotomy in society between those who prep and those who don’t. If you have plenty of food stored up, and your neighbors do not, they might characterize you as unfairly “hoarding” food. If you have food and they run out of food, they might demand food from you, on the basis of a claim that hoarding food is unfair. (Fortunately, non-preppers usually fail to store up both food and firearms.) I can imagine that those pestilent anonymous internet commentators will have some cruel and ignorant things to say about preppers. The mass media might take a dim view of storing up plenty of food.

Of course, prepping is not hoarding; it is prudent preparation for inevitable disasters. But while many people will join us in prepping, once the SHTF, certainly some others will villainize prepping instead. This could eventually result in laws against storing more than a certain amount of food and supplies, or in local officials attempting to impose some type of regulations on prepping. They might try to outlaw (or tax) bartering, or require a license. It’s conceivable that some government entity might pass a law confiscating “excess” food stores. Does this seem unlikely? Consider that the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 outlawed possession of gold by U.S. citizens, forcing its sale to (or confiscation by) the government. Wikipedia says that “By 1975 Americans could again freely own and trade gold.”

A severe food shortage will make prepping controversial. The response of the internet and mass media will be to complain bitterly. But the response of the government (federal, state, local) will undoubtedly include new laws unfavorable to prepping. So prepping will eventually become a widely-discussed and controversial topic in society.

– Thoreau

6 Responses to Prepping will be very controversial when the SHTF

  1. Keep your mouth shut about what you have and tell everyone living with to do the same. If they still want to give away food make it clear to them they are giving away from the portion of supplies that have been set aside for them. Also inform them that when word gets out that supplies are in your home and hungry people come to take those supplies, the body count will be because them and remind them bullets travel in both directions so it will not only be strangers becoming casualties. Make it clear to all under your roof who the supplies being laid in are for.
    I do not want one of my grandchildren to look up at me and say “I’m hungry Grandpa’”

  2. OPSEC becomes more IMPORTANT than ever in a post SHTF situation ….

    very little discussion or blogging on the subject …. covert cooking – secretive heated living space – light discipline – looking neighborhood “Grey Man”

  3. What I find amazing is the same people who think, even in a crisis, food will be there, are the same people that take part in the yearly royal rumble called black friday, for cheaply made products that are in abundance. Imagine when food is limited, what will happen?

  4. Sadly, there are already federal laws in place that make the “hoarding” of just about anything illegal. This law has been in effect since the 1950 War and National Defense Production Act. In it, no clear definition of “hoarding” is given… which means anything could be seen as “hoarding”… even having more than a week’s supply of an item. More disturbing than that is the fact that no clear definition of what items are illegal to “hoard”. In fact, it simply states the the president has the say in what will be included in this list.

    But don’t take my word for it, here’s the law itself:

    In order to prevent hoarding, no person shall accumulate (1) in excess of the reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption, or (2) for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of prevailing market prices, materials which have been designated by the President as scarce materials or materials the supply of which would be threatened by such accumulation. The President shall order published in the Federal Register, and in such other manner as he may deem appropriate, every designation of materials the accumulation of which is unlawful and any withdrawal of such designation.

    In making such designations the President may prescribe such conditions with respect to the accumulation of materials in excess of the reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption as he deems necessary to carry out the objectives of this Act [sections 2061 to 2170, 2171, and 2172 of this Appendix]. This section shall not be construed to limit the authority contained in sections 101 and 704 of this Act [sections 2071 and 2154 of this Appendix].

  5. Great post Jack! You can have a lot of what you need without making it look like you are hoarding. If you can be more self sustaining, growing your own food, raising some livestock … does that make you a hoarder? Not sure.