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I don’t watch reality shows mainly because I find them boring but with all this hulabaloo about guns and the second amendment, I decided to sit through a few episodes of Doomsday Preppers. I wanted to know if there were any similarities between a prepper and those individuals who frequent gun shows. They both seem to be afraid of not only a government takeover but anyone and everyone, especially if there was a national crisis.
One of the youngest preppers the show focused on lives in Plato, Missouri … population 109. His name is Jason Beachman and he is 16 years old. He began prepping 4 years ago after the financial crisis. He is certain we are headed for another one and this time there will be anarchy. Beachman fears that society will collapse and the police will be overwhelmed and not gain control. He lives with his mother who doesn’t share his point of view but allows him to stockpile canned food, water and practise shooting guns for target practise. Beachman also thinks that the price of ammo will skyrocket if there is an emergency, so he modified baseball bats with nails that looks like it came out of the Middle Ages. He claims he is ready to protect his propety from anyone who wants to steal what belongs to him and his mother. At one point he looked for alternative shelter in case he had to “bug out” from his home. He found an abandoned building and built a fire in a garbage can to stay warm…he didn’t take into account that fire causes smoke and smoke can be detrimental to ones health. He admitted that he has to rethink that plan.
All the episodes had different scenerios of the Apocalypse ranging from biological terrorist warfare to natural disasters but they all shared the same theme and that is F E A R. They all believe that humankind will turn into bloodthirsty killers and they were all coming for their stuff.
Anyone who ever took a Marketing class knows that fear and sex are sure fire ways to sell just about anything. The shootings at Sandy Hook actually gave the gun industry an early Christmas gift. According to FBI statistics, 3 million people applied for background checks in December. Gun owners seem to be responding to a fear that our government will ban assault weapons in the near future, but something tells me gun sales went up anyway because the “black guy” won four more years in the White House.
I don’t have anything against individuals being prepared for emergencies, infact it makes sense to me, but preppers and those who have an arsenol of weapons…to protect themselves from intruders… seem to have a different mindset. They are all about themselves and to Hell with everyone else, which seems to go along with the mindset of many Americans these days. We seem to be a nation of Me Me Me. If you listen to the media we don’t feel a sense of community anymore, especially when we talk about the big picture. Last Friday, 67 Republican Senators voted “no” to send disaster relief to those hit by Storm Sandy (which happened over 2 months ago), even though several of those same senators asked for and received help when their state needed it.
All this debate about gun control and Doomsday scenerios is dollar signs for those inclined to take advantage of people who think everyone is out to get them. The Huffington post reported a few days ago about one of the individuals featured on a future episode of Doomsday preppers on National Geograhic Channel; that he spent $100,000 on homemade weapons and ammo. Prepping seems to have created a whole new industry or at least given a boost to those survivalist businesses already around. I found an online, one-stop shopping guide called SHTFplan.com where individuals can find companies that sell anything from freeze dried meals to gold coins. They also have bloggers keeping us up-to-date on the next disaster waiting to ambush us.
Firearms sales seems to have helped unemployment numbers as well. McClathchy reported that firearm industry jobs are up 30% since 2008. I guess thats a good thing — if you like making bullets all day. Gun dealers say that they have seen a 40% increase in sales. In 2011 gun sales were $11 billion dollars. Tactical Necessity, a prepper school, offers survival preparedness and firearms training for the beginner. They have an overnight weekend class for $995 per person. I could not find out their annual sales but I bet its alot.
Guns & Ammo wrote an article last year on their website, “8 Must-Have Guns for the Doomsday Prepper”. The author mentions Zombie Apocalypse as one of the End of Days scenerios, which leads me to believe that gun owners do walk a thin line between reality and video games.
Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center, Inc an online prepper business in Heber City, Utah claims to be the world leader in freeze dried meals. Their annual sales in 2011 were 1 million with 10 employees. My guess is their sales were even higher in 2012 due to all the end of world dates we had to prepare for.
The way I see it staunch gun owners and preppers do have alot in common…while not all gun owners may be preppers, I am willing to bet all preppers are gun owners and I don’t mean they have a pistol in a drawer by their bed… I mean they are armed to the teeth. They have the samething in common — they live in fear. They see the world as hostile and their neighbor as someone who will kill them over a can of Chef Boyardee. Both see the world as a scarey place, and thats great news for all those businesses who profit from them. So if I were an economist, I guess I would see that as a good thing…at least for our nation’s bottom line.