April 6, 2008

THE NEW YORK TIMES looks at the mainstreaming of survivalism:

Survivalism, it seems, is not just for survivalists anymore.

Faced with a confluence of diverse threats — a tanking economy, a housing crisis, looming environmental disasters, and a sharp spike in oil prices — people who do not consider themselves extremists are starting to discuss doomsday measures once associated with the social fringes.

They stockpile or grow food in case of a supply breakdown, or buy precious metals in case of economic collapse. Some try to take their houses off the electricity grid, or plan safe houses far away. The point is not to drop out of society, but to be prepared in case the future turns out like something out of “An Inconvenient Truth,” if not “Mad Max.”

I actually wrote a column on this very phenomenon a couple of years ago. It’s real.

UPDATE: More on disaster preparedness here and here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Lou Wainwright emails:

Also, don’t neglect the impact of World War Z! Evaluating my family’s future prospects in light of a Zombie War has been humbling – especially living in Boston, as far as possible from the natural barrier of the Rockies. Having read the book I’m giving significantly more consideration to the depths of our reserves, perimeter defense, surrounding geography, and survival without gas or electricity…not to mention researching the purchase of a katana and other suitable decapitation tools.

Maybe that explains the interest in knifeblogging! But don’t worry Lou, I’ve gotcha covered.

MORE: Reader William Casey emails: “Almost every book on survival preparedness talks about having a year’s supply of food stockpiled. What if you have to evacuate the area hurriedly and permanently?”

You should have a “bugout bag” with necessities, and you might also want some MREs you can throw in the trunk. But obviously you can’t take more than a week or two worth of food when evacuating. The rest, alas, will be left for the zombies, who won’t properly appreciate it. . . .

Here’s a helpful instructional video on the subject from (who else?) the Zombie Squad. And some further suggestions here. You may also wish to include firearms. Note that shotguns, according to Hollywood, are the only firearms generally effective against evil. Here’s a big bugout bag roundup, including firearms, from Say Uncle, though he unaccountably neglects the zombie angle, somewhat diminishing his credibility.

STILL MORE: Background on the Zombie Squad.