- - Monday, September 25, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“I feel like we’re facing a major catastrophe,” said my anxious neighbor, “like we’re all pretending that everything’s OK, since we can’t do anything to prevent it, anyway.”

It’s easy to see where he’s coming from.  In a matter of weeks we watched hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria make landfall to damage, destroy and devastate communities. We saw a cluster of three earthquakes bring down buildings in Mexico.  

Experts tell us that while natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity, the death rate due to them is decreasing. Globally, technology has made us better at monitoring and forecasting and disseminating warnings to the general population.

Nevertheless, we are humbled by nature’s destructive power.  

And we’re worried by the threat of humanity’s destructive power in the escalating words exchanged by the U.S. and North Korea, with Iran, Russia and China hovering in the background. Human animosity and error can be harder to predict and even more vicious than the dark forces of nature.  

No wonder my neighbor is anxious! And no wonder the “preppers” among us – people who prepare to survive disasters, some by merely storing water and food, others by building self-sufficient bunkers – no wonder they feel increasingly vindicated.

The survivalist business is booming. “It’s been a very busy six or seven weeks here - sales tripled practically overnight,” said Keith Bansemer, vice president for marketing for Idaho-based My Patriot Supply, an online store catering to prepper needs.  Freeze-dried food, gas masks and water filtration systems are much in demand.

Like my neighbor, preppers and survivalists are anxious about the future. Preparing is the way they cope.

It’s true that whole communities can be devastated by natural disasters, and entire nations wrecked by poor leadership. It’s also true that eventually they renew and rebuild.  

Preppers are hoping they can ride out the time in-between.

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