It’s no secret to any prepper that the bulk of society does not share our commitment to self-sufficiency in times of crisis – making us to some degree ‘nutty’. Some of that seems unavoidable if we are to open up enough to encourage any change in our neighbors. In this podcast and post, we consider at what point being considered ‘odd’ becomes a negative.
First, it’s not all bad. It’s better for all of us if the people around us are more prepared to take care of themselves; and if they don’t see better they won’t do better. My teammates have made a joke of my always having the tool or the ice pack … but more of them carry tools now. I’ll take that trade.
There’s definitely a ‘too much’ as well though. I recall a scene from a book where a commander is asking a junior officer why he’s so painfully spit-and-polish, regulation-issue-everything, in every situation. The junior officer says he’s trying to be a good example. “But,” the commander counters, “You’re so uptight nobody wants to be like you!”
It’s a hard-wired part of being human that we want to fit in with our social groups. Some feel it stronger than others, sure, but it’s always a thing. If we as preppers are seen as being so ‘out there’ that we are beyond the pale; figuratively outside the palisade that marks the community borders, people will avoid doing things that make them be seen as preppers.
There’s also a darker side to it. Everyone’s heard of the Inquisitions. What some don’t realize is it was mainly a grab of power and wealth. Since heretics were ‘outside the pale’; if you could half-way plausibly claim someone was a heretic, you could take their stuff without much protest.
Let me think now: Who is it that would be most likely to have stuff worth taking during a crisis? I recall during some recent, fairly minor emergency in California, some public officials were overtly trying to divert criticism from their own poor preparation by blaming the local preppers for the “selfishness” because they’d spent their efforts taking care of them and theirs! Flatly ridiculous, obviously; but I’d bet dollars to peanuts it’ll happen again.
So where’s the balance? Well, there’s no doubt Salty and I are considered ‘odd’ in our community; we don’t fit in in a variety of ways: More education (both college and continuing/unofficial), no kids, odd hobbies (we’re “those people that are always riding around on bicycles”) etc. However, we’re odd members of the community.
When there’s a disaster, we’re there helping clean up; and we were there for the planning sessions so the community would be more ready to deal. We work with our neighbors on the charity/volunteer efforts we find most meaningful. People have a lot more tolerance for areas of difference when they feel connected to you for other reasons. It’s not a tactic on our part; we just believe in paying our social rent; but it still serves to put us in a good place: Inside the pale, even with our differences.
*By Brian Stansberry (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons