Thursday, December 20, 2012

Do Preppers Have A Duty to Supply Others?

The Survival Mom recently posted an article discussing op-sec when it comes to your food storage, with a lesson from Rod Sterling's The Twilight Zone. The inspiration for her post was a blog post by Valerie Lucus-McEwen at the Emergency Management website suggesting that preppers, who store food and supplies for their family's use, are selfish (as compared to emergency preparation managers like her that follow a higher calling). The key part of Ms. Lucus-McEwen's post:

You might wonder why someone like me, who has been in the business of encouraging disaster preparedness for a very long time, is so critical of people who are doing just that. It’s because they are being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else.  Instead of spending time and energy making changes that would benefit the larger community, in their very narrow focus of loyalty they are more concerned about themselves.
Emergency Managers can’t afford that kind of attitude.  It is diametrically opposed to everything we do. Our job is to prepare individuals and communities and jurisdictions and regions and – ultimately – the globe for disasters, knowing we won’t always succeed.  I could find statistics about how unprepared some citizens are, and then show you hundreds of active and volunteer CERT teams preparing whole communities. In major disasters (think 9-11 or the Christ Church earthquake or Superstorm Sandy), survivors for the most part WANT to help each other.
... There are those who think the Doomsday Preppers is an extreme model of self-preparedness; I just see them as an extreme model of selfishness.

As you may have guessed from the last line, her critique was based on watching a part of one episode of Doomsday Preppers. Besides the fact that she is make a sweeping conclusion on little or no evidence, it is implicit in her argument that our preparations (stores of food and supplies) become, or should become, de facto community property in the event of an actual disaster.

Obviously, her post came under a lot of attack. World Net Daily published a response that addresses the question of whether those that are prepared are responsible for those that are not. It states, in part:

But Ms. Lucus-McEwen must remember: No matter how active “dedicated” preppers are in their community, they are still prepping first and foremost for their own family’s safety. These are individuals with limited budgets, not emergency managers with government funding.
To me, the selfish ones are those people who refuse to lift a finger to make sure they have emergency supplies on hand – and then demand their more prepared neighbors feed, clothe and house them after a disaster. And that includes people like Ms. Lucus-McEwen.
This debate--about whether there is a responsibility to assist irresponsible people--is the subject of The Ant and the Grasshopper, which concludes that there is no responsibility to help the irresponsible. (I've also taken this lesson from the story of the Little Red Hen who didn't share her bread with the free-loaders that didn't want to work for it, but certainly wanted a piece of it).

It is our privilege and blessing to help others in need when we have sufficient to share. It is what God expects us to do. However, as Jesus makes clear in the parable of the ten virgins, the prepared are not liable for the unprepared.

Related thoughts from Survival UK, who sums up:
One area where you could say we go overboard is with OPSEC. We keep our heads down about what we do and don’t really talk about it with the ordinary man. The reasons are obvious, we are making sure we can benefit from the sacrifices we make. We don’t want to lose our preps because of loose lips.
The media, the authorities and our work peers have made it very clear. Preppers are selfish and immoral. In this day and age of persecution by media that makes us criminals. We need to learn from criminals. Keep your head down, don’t attract attention and keep your mouth shut.
Those actions alone will increase your chances of surviving significantly more that several trays of beans.

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