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1 Amory Blaine  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 8:26:24am

These preppers are laughable. If society collapses and I'm starving to death, guess whose liberty garden I'm coming for? Extra credit: I ain't bringing bean bags either.

2 calochortus  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 8:42:46am

re: #1 Amory Blaine

But they're the only ones with guns, doncha know?

My kids were chuckling about the 'preppers' show at Thanksgiving. Apparently one of the preppers (in the south central part of the country IIRC) was preparing for a massive earthquake by, among other things, putting up lots of food in glass jars. What could possibly go wrong?

3 funky chicken  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 9:45:39am

Wait. What's wrong with solar panels, gardening, and water collection, especially for folks who live in sunny, dry locations like Denver? We had to work the soil quite a bit in CO Springs, but once you've done that it's a fun place to garden--good weather and very few bugs. And collecting rainwater to irrigate the garden is easy and better than paying for it.

Maybe he's also paranoid, but I don't find his three pillars to be offensive.

4 calochortus  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 11:09:27am

re: #3 funky chicken

Nope, there's nothing wrong with a sustainable lifestyle, emergency preparedness or being conservative financially.

There are some real whack-jobs out there, though. One was a college professor I had nearly 40 years ago who expected most of the world to be wiped out by nuclear war and was prepared to save a remnant of humanity on their property up in the mountains. Fine physics prof. Complete nut in his personal beliefs.

5 Dark_Falcon  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 12:44:21pm

re: #4 calochortus

Nope, there's nothing wrong with a sustainable lifestyle, emergency preparedness or being conservative financially.

There are some real whack-jobs out there, though. One was a college professor I had nearly 40 years ago who expected most of the world to be wiped out by nuclear war and was prepared to save a remnant of humanity on their property up in the mountains. Fine physics prof. Complete nut in his personal beliefs.

The good thing about Ron Douglas is that he knows that there are loons out there and makes sure their Bad Craziness isn't allowed into his events. He's like Charles in that way: Tolerant of the views of others, but ready to fling someone out if they start spouting racism or insanity.

6 SpaceJesus  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 3:51:51pm

re: #3 funky chicken

And collecting rainwater to irrigate the garden is easy and better than paying for it.

and also super illegal without the proper permit and proper property type

7 funky chicken  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 4:39:56pm

re: #6 SpaceJesus

and also super illegal without the proper permit and proper property type

Yeah I remember hearing about that when we lived in CO. We just kept the big rain barrels under our down-spouts at the house. Nobody ever came to get us but I suppose it could have happened.

8 Prideful, Arrogant Marriage Equality Advocate  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 6:29:53pm

re: #6 SpaceJesus

Wait, what? Is it illegal to have rain barrels under my down-spouts here in Texas?

9 Tsuga  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 8:46:34pm

re: #8 Prideful, Arrogant Marriage Equality Advocate

This would seem to not apply in Texas (Link)

10 Shiplord Kirel  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 10:08:39pm

I got interested in what was then called survivalism while I was involved in municipal government in a small California town in the 1980s. I took a look at our emergency preparations, as I was required to do. I soon found that our planning, like that of most municipalities, did not extend beyond about 3 days at most. This was based on how long it would take to fix things, or for FEMA to arrive in force, whichever came first. I thought about what would happen if we were on our own longer than that, or if outside help would not be available at all.

To make a long story short, I found that a number people outside the survival sub-culture, serious academics and emergency professionals, have quietly researched these longer-term scenarios, and their conclusions are very different from those of the preppers. The latter operate under a set of assumptions that reflect their personal and (mostly libertarian) political biases.

The chief fallacy is that groups larger than a family or a small pre-disaster "club" could not, and would not, be formed after a major breakdown. The only exceptions in their view would be gangs of looters and scavengers who would have to be held off with rifle fire. This view is based on limited and generally biased observation of actual disasters like Hurricane Katrina. It is fallacious partly because it is based on biased observation and partly because it ignores the fundamental differences between those disasters and long term societal breakdown. In fact, if outside help and intervention were not anticipated, most people would look to any shreds of authority and technical knowledge that happened to survive, and they would cooperate to maintain these remnants. Criminal elements would be eliminated early on.

One common set of prepper fallacies involves the fragility of our technical infrastructure, particularly the electrical grid. The collapse of the national electric distribution system does not mean the end of electricity forever. Preppers assume it does because they have seen local grids go down in a regional outage. In fact, it would be possible under many circumstances to isolate any part of the grid and bring it back online independently if there is a power plant within that portion of the grid. This isn't done in regional outages because it takes some time, longer than is needed to bring the larger grid back up, and the work would have to be reversed at the end of the regional outage, which would take more time.

A good fictional illustration of this is the nuclear power plant in Niven and Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer, written in 1977. This facility becomes an island of civilization in a world that has been essentially destroyed by an ultimate catastrophe, a comet impact. For some reason, the authors did not extend this logic to gas fired plants that happen to be located near gas wells, or coal fired ones near coal mines.

This kind of improvisation can occur with other elements of technology as well. Here in Lubbock, for example, we have a lot of oil wells in and near town. There are no refineries but there are expert petroleum engineers in the academic community who would know how to improvise one.

What might be left of technological civilization would vary with the nature of the disaster, but there would always be something, especially in isolated areas, and people who knew how to make use of it. An individual family or a small prep club would probably not have the necessary skills, however, nor could they move freely outside their fortified compounds to do the work.

11 Shiplord Kirel  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 10:18:33pm

Conclusion:

I eventually concluded that the optimum group size for long term survival would be a hundred to several hundred individuals, since this would include the largest cross-section of skills while still being manageable without a well established higher political structure. Some such groups would no doubt degenerate into marauders and bandits but this is unlikely with people who are not predisposed to criminal behavior. This runs counter to another; indeed, critical; prepper fallacy: that their normally civilized neighbors will turn into howling barbarians as soon as higher authority disappears.

By all means, be ready for emergencies. They occur frequently as it is and they are going to become more frequent as climate change continues.
Do not assume that civilization based on mutual interdependence and cooperation will disappear, however. As long as a few civilized people survive, civilization will survive. This is because it is, in fact, the optimum strategy for survival, which is how it came to exist in the first place.

12 Spocomptonite  Sat, Nov 24, 2012 10:48:19pm

re: #8 Prideful, Arrogant Marriage Equality Advocate

Wait, what? Is it illegal to have rain barrels under my down-spouts here in Texas?

Depends on what water rights laws your area has.

There's several areas in PUGET SOUND (where the stereotype is that it's always raining) where it's illegal to collect rainwater unless you also own the water rights for the property as well.

13 Alexzander  Sun, Nov 25, 2012 8:49:31am

re: #12 Spocomptonite

Depends on what water rights laws your area has.

There's several areas in PUGET SOUND (where the stereotype is that it's always raining) where it's illegal to collect rainwater unless you also own the water rights for the property as well.

Didn't know that.

14 SpaceJesus  Sun, Nov 25, 2012 9:01:18am

re: #8 Prideful, Arrogant Marriage Equality Advocate

Don't know about Texas, but Colorado follows the prior appropriation water doctrine (like most mountain states). I imagine Texas is a follower of riprarian doctrine which means it likely itsn't illegal.


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