Preparing for Disaster

Are “preppers” overstating the risk of catastrophe?


People getting ready for cataclysmic disasters by stockpiling food, water and, in many cases, guns are easy to dismiss as alarmists. But a stream of natural and human-created disasters has made so-called “preppers” seem less eccentric and more sensible. Even the Red Cross and government agencies recommend assembling emergency supplies and planning for disaster. Some preppers go several steps beyond — building rural retreats, for example, where they would hole up if society fell apart. To the more alarmed segment of the movement, a collapse of modern civilization is not so much a possibility as a probability. Overall, though, even the “prepper” label signifies a more mainstream, less politicized approach than the “survivalism” of the late 20th century. Meanwhile, politicians and scientists share some preppers' ...

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