Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization’s collapse
January 22, 2012
CALIFORNIA – When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon. “In an instant, anything can happen,” she told Reuters. “And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared.” Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as “preppers.” Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm. They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government. Preppers, though are, worried about no government.
Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a “survival center,” complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present. She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home. And she thinks that emergency could come soon. “I think this economy is about to fall apart,” she said. A wide range of vendors market products to preppers, mainly online. They sell everything from water tanks to guns to survival skills. Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck seems to preach preppers’ message when he tells listeners: “It’s never too late to prepare for the end of the world as we know it. Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity and fragility of our modern technological society, the chances of a societal collapse are increasing year after year,” said author James Wesley Rawles, whose Survival Blog is considered the guiding light of the prepper movement. A former Army intelligence officer, Rawles has written fiction and non-fiction books on end-of-civilization topics, including “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It,” which is also known as the preppers’ Bible. “We could see a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots,” he told Reuters.
As Bad as it gets: “The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures.”