Smart people saying smart things

Irin Carmon: “Notre Dame’s real dead woman”

We all have heard by now how denial and institutional culture contributed to Jerry Sandusky’s ability to continue assaulting young boys for years, under cover of the Penn State football program. But once that was exposed, it was rightly considered an unambiguous evil. But the sexual assault of women can and is often explained away — including the Notre Dame donor who justified his continued support … by saying that Seeberg had been sexually aggressive, that “she was all over the boy.” In other words, it’s not just the players who are banding together around their brothers whether they’re rapists or not; it’s the adults around them who are turning a blind eye because they consider other things are more important. And they’re willing to believe anything except that these nice boys can be rapists.

Tim Murphy: “Preppers Are Getting Ready for the Barackalypse”

Humans have been preparing for the worst for millennia, but modern Americans have turned it into an art form. At the dawn of the Atomic Age, suburbanites scrambled to build backyard shelters and the government stockpiled food in anticipation of the day after. The spiraling inflation of the 1970s brought with it a spike in gold sales and backwoods land purchases. During the Clinton years, camo-clad survivalists prepared for the black-helicopter invasion, and Y2K briefly made prepperism mainstream. But perhaps the best salesman for the notion that we’re on the verge of financial, technological, and political collapse has been the current occupant of the Oval Office. Stevens says of the president, “He is the leading promoter of this without even knowing it.”

Larry Alan Burns: “The conservative case for an assault weapons ban”

Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don’t let people who already have them keep them. Don’t let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don’t care whether it’s called gun control or a gun ban. I’m for it.

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That’s why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.

James W. McCarty III: “Theology for the Miserable Ones: Reflections on Les Miserables”

He was wronged by his community. And, while the community didn’t repay him for that wrong, the bishop, in a mediating position, did. Valjean doesn’t just receive mercy from the bishop. He finally receives justice. He receives compensation for the countless injustices he has endured.

After this act of restorative justice Valjean is able to go revitalize a city by running a socially responsible business and governing that city with a vision of the social good that includes mercy and care for neighbors. And then, when faced with the injustice he inadvertently committed against Fantine, he spends the rest of his life making right what he helped to make wrong. This is not just a supererogatory act. It is not some act from a saint. It is Valjean’s application of his understanding of what justice demands. Justice demands restoration in whatever way it is possible.

In short, when watching Les Mis don’t stop, as Christians are wont to do, at mercy and grace. The bishop didn’t stop there and neither did Valjean.

 

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  • http://jamesmccarty.wordpress.com/ James McCarty

    I’m not sure how you first came across my blog, but I’m glad you did. Thanks for sharing this post and others over the last several days! I’m glad to have connected with you over the blogosphere.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Coincidentally, I told my son the story of Les Miz as a bedtime story tonight.

    Technically, I suppose “Don’t worry, it gets better” is the first lie I’ve ever told him.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Wow. I thought I got really advanced bedtime stories with the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and original Dune trilogy. 

  • Ken

    perhaps the best salesman for the notion that we’re on the verge of
    financial, technological, and political collapse has been the current
    occupant of the Oval Office.

    I was wondering why you were quoting articles from 2007, but then I clicked through…

  • AnonymousSam

    Doctor Prepper told me he’d seen copies of the draconian executive
    orders the president was about to unveil and it wasn’t pretty.

    This is the second guy now who’s hinting that he has close knowledge that Obama’s going to send the troops after American citizens.

    Somehow, I’m just not convinced. Tell you what, preppers and ‘publicans, if Obama has the troops shoot me dead, I’ll be sure and write you all an apology.

  • Kiba

    What gets me is that if they really do have proof of these impending evils why aren’t they sharing them? I mean where’s the copy of this “draconian executive order”? 

    They don’t want people to think they’re are kooks? Then put up or shut up. Leak that info like a sieve. 

  • AnonymousSam

    The other guy gave a little more detail and said that he had secondhand knowledge from “one of the top generals” that Obama was now requiring military officials affirm that they would fire on American citizens or be dismissed. One would think we’d be hearing more about this than him making a Facebook post about it, but…

    https://www.facebook.com/jim.garrow.1/posts/10151209214442015?_fb_noscript=1

    I notice how no websites other than right-wing nutjob forums seem to be taking this seriously.

  • Foreigner

    I have read on the intertubes that the military source for this is none other than Ollie North. This does not add to the credibility, if you ask me.

  • Tricksterson

    Even his past aside, considering how long he’s been out of the loop I’m surprised anyone takes him seriously.  They might as well be quoting G. Gordon Liddy.

  • Mrs Grimble

     

    What gets me is that if they really do have proof of these impending
    evils why aren’t they sharing them? I mean where’s the copy of this
    “draconian executive order”?

    I’m reminded of our brave heroes of the Tribulation Force –  they have Bruce Barnes’ notes detailing the rise of the Antichrist and the exact timeline of events, but don’t share them with anybody; and they dig a survival bunker under the church, but don’t tell the rest of the congregation about it. 
    Now I get it – the Tribbles are all preppers!

  • Tricksterson

    Nah, dark hints are a much better tactic.  Fear sells and the bottom line is what its all about

  • Carstonio

    “It’s the upper-middle white class that shows up here,” he says. “I’ve seen two or three black people and that’s about it. They never show up to these places. They don’t get it. Culturally. It’s not brainpower, it’s not color, it’s cultural. They’ve never lived this lifestyle. More important is the car with thin tires and the beautiful finish and nice clothes and rings. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is!”

    Gee, hard to imagine why blacks would stay away from a movement that views them as vain and materialistic.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You also have to marvel at the way this guy could probably fit in so well in the antebellum south. You could re-imagine his words thus:

    “It’s the upper ctust that shows up here,” he says. “I’ve seen maybe two or three free niggers and that’s about it. They’re not gonna show up to these places. They’re slaves; they’ve never lived the way we fine folk do, y’know. Why, if they got free all they’d do is sit around and eat watermelon all day.”

  • Carstonio

    Exactly. Great analogy.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The movement doesn’t just view them as vain and materialistic. It views them as the enemy. Any study of this cult that doesn’t start with racism isn’t going to get much of anywhere.

  • Carstonio

    That was the point of my joke. I was interpreting the cars comment as a clue into the true psyche of the movement. A good case can be made that the movement is mostly a reaction to the continuing erosion of skin status, expressed and framed in apocalyptic terms.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The thing about racism is that it isn’t always a thing-in-itself. A lot of the time — probably most of the time these days — it’s more of a modifier on other things, tied up inextricably with class and affluence and culture and everything else like an infection.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Even before climate change, events like hurricanes and drought and pestilence and the plague were constants throughout history. Yet most of the cataclysms preoccupying the preppers are unlikely at best.

    This is the part that strikes me the most.  I mean, there is good and reasonable sense in keeping  a few emergency supplies on hand and knowing how to administer CPR and suture a wound.  But not for the reasons most of the preppers seem to think.  

    I live near Seattle, something like a major earthquake is a real (though unlikely) possibility.  In the event of major structural damage, I will want to make sure that I have enough fresh water if the pipes and pumps are severed, enough blankets to keep warm if our natural gas is offline, I want enough non-perishable food to keep from having to scrounge or taking imported aid food away from those who need it more desperately than we do.  Hell, if I have enough to spare, I will be more than happy to help my less fortunate neighbors.  I want them to know they can count on me, so that I can count on them.  

    Those are sensible things to do to make a plausible scenario less unpleasant for all concerned.  But thinking that black helicopters will come, or wanting to relocate to a fortified town in the middle of nowhere is just absurd.  Hell, not only is the scenario implausible, it would be counter-productive in any rate.  Should the government wish to eliminate them, such enclaves would be the first things hit by a bomb that the preppers there will never see coming.  

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    From the article:

    Getting ready for the day when TSHTF (prepper shorthand for “the shit hits the fan”) isn’t cheap.

    People who shorthand that often also talk of their BOB (Bug-Out Bags) and how they’ll maybe-sortof-possibly resist the FEMA saying in an emergency to get moving. They even talk of forging the FEMA code(s) on their doors to make the searchers think they’ve gone when they haven’t.

    I really have no idea why they fancy themselves they’re being “independent” and “individualists” when they’re really just being contrary for the sake of being contrary.

  • stardreamer42

     They even talk of forging the FEMA code(s) on their doors to make the searchers think they’ve gone when they haven’t.

    I heartily support that behavior, for anyone stupid enough to actually do it. Perhaps their heirs will have more sense.

    The “prepper” movement could learn a lot from the Mormons too, although if you suggested it they’d have a heart attack.

  • Jenny Islander

    If TSHTF, or we get TEOTWAWKI, or whatever, the people who hide from and/or aim deadly weapons at everybody who comes to the door won’t survive the first winter.  Eventually people will stop knocking and let them rot.

    Nobody can possibly have all of the skills to survive anything that could happen, and the smaller the group, the worse the impact will be if somebody is taken out of commission.  If one of your strongest guys in your group of 200 is laid up with a backache, that’s a nuisance.  If the strongest guy in your group of 20 is laid up, that’s a hardship.  If your big strong spouse is laid up and you are the only two adults in the bunker, that’s a disaster on top of the existing disaster.  And if it’s just you in there and you suddenly can’t get up . . . The one prepper whose advice I respect, back when Y2K was the big boogeyman, said that in order to survive, you have to get to know your closest neighbors before anything happens, so they’ll come check on you if they don’t see you–and you have to have a skill to trade with them after a disaster happens.  Physical therapy, perhaps.

    Most preppers don’t even talk about skills; they talk about stuff.  But what do they expect to do when they run out of stuff?

  • Kiba

    I live near Seattle, something like a major earthquake is a real (though unlikely) possibility.  In the event of major structural damage, I will want to make sure that I have enough fresh water if the pipes and pumps are severed, enough blankets to keep warm if our natural gas is offline, I want enough non-perishable food to keep from having to scrounge or taking imported aid food away from those who need it more desperately than we do.  Hell, if I have enough to spare, I will be more than happy to help my less fortunate neighbors.  I want them to know they can count on me, so that I can count on them.  

    Yup. I live in Texas and some form of tornado shelter really does make sense if you have the space for one. None of the houses I’ve seen around where I live have basements. My brother lives out past Lake Ray Hubbard and last summer had a tornado go right through their neighborhood. They were lucky and didn’t have much damage to their house but a lot of their neighbors’ houses were totaled. They were also lucky in that they weren’t home when the tornado went through. They have don’t have a basement, or a shelter, or a room that would be really suitable in which to ride out a tornado.  

    So I can see taking precautions for natural disasters but all this doomsday stuff just seems a bit…I dunno pointless. Or extreme. Or extremely pointless. Not real sure. I also want to know what those preppers who have medical problems plan on doing about their medications. What happens when their supplies run out and they no longer have access to their meds?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Perhaps it should be best to think about disaster preparation in terms of regional disaster, rather than something more widespread.  Regional disasters are plausible, many of them will happen within any given lifetime (though rarely in the same place.)  It makes rational sense to prepare for things like that*, but if the country or world as a whole suddenly collapses, there is not really anything that we could do practically to survive for long anyway, and the even is so remote as to be damn impossible.  

    * In fact around places on fault lines like Seattle we have building codes that require buildings above a certain size to be reinforced against earthquakes which includes refitting older buildings with steel cross braces.  They will not necessarily protect against all seismic damage, but they will hopefully kept a building up long enough to allow the area to be cleared.

  • reynard61

    “What happens when their supplies run out and they no longer have access to their meds?”

    I get the impression that they don’t take their meds even when they *do* have access to them…

  • EllieMurasaki

    That reads as though you’re implying that people with mental illness are a problem–not that they have a (medical, morally neutral) problem, that they ARE a problem–and that people with mental illness that they decline to treat are a worse problem.

    Don’t.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    People with certain kinds of mental illness that they decline to treat are a severe problem. I have one in my family. He has mellowed now that he is in his 60s, but he used to be extremely dangerous, particularly to his family, particularly to his own mother. 

    Everyone has a right to do what they want with their own health — until that impinges on the health and safety of others. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, fair, but the usual way the implication plays out is that people with untreated mental illness are a problem regardless of whether they pose any danger to themselves or others.

  • reynard61

    “That reads as though you’re implying that people with mental illness are a problem–not that they have a (medical, morally neutral) problem, that they ARE a problem–and that people with mental illness that they decline to treat are a worse problem.”

    I think that *this specific bunch of people with guns* are a problem. I think that they’ve lost most or all touch with reality and view the world through the mentality of a child who tries to decipher the secret messages on the backs of cereal boxes using a broken decoder ring. The problem is that they seem to be *just functional enough* within our society that they have large amounts of money that they are willing to spend (on guns, gold and “survival” gear and books) that people are willing to let them indulge in their fantasies without thinking through what the consequences might be of having these armed, reality-averse people in their midst. (Hell, they even have at least one lobbying organization in Congress that advocates for their right to have guns!) Is there even a DSM IV classification for this particular situation?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I suspect the classification for that type is ‘mentally healthy’. Willfully misinformed and misunderstanding re how the world is and how it works, but mentally healthy.

  • reynard61

    “I suspect the classification for that type is ‘mentally healthy’. Willfully misinformed and misunderstanding re how the world is and how it works, but mentally healthy.”

    Then maybe (and I’m sure that you won’t like what I’m about to suggest, and for that I apologize) we need to re-think that particular definition of “mentally healthy”. (Maybe define it as a borderline pathology akin to paranoia?) I’m all for people with mental illnesses not being persecuted for their condition. (I’m a diagnosed ADD/ADHD myself.) But putting firearms into the hands of people who have a persecution *and* “I’ll-live-forever-if-I-can-just-shoot-my-way-through-the-Apocalypse” complex is a sure recipe for more Newtown-style massacres.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

     Dallas-Fort Worth is built on a clay foundation. Basements would crack, so you won’t find them in any modern houses unless you paid a prohibitive amount for extra structural integrity.

  • Kiba

    Ah! I figured it had something to do with all that damn clay. Thanks ^_^

  • Veylon

    I never fail to be impressed at the people who, under their real names, are openly claiming that they’ll fight against the government on the internet. If this was a police state, half the people on there have already signed their arrest – if not death – warrants. Unbelievable. 

    How can anybody worried about government control be so foolish? Have they never heard the term agent provocateur? Do they know nothing of Communism save to link it with Obama? They are but lambs to the slaughter.

  • Nequam

    I think a most telling comment about preppers (or one of them, at least) came from this July Outside Magazine  article:

    “It would only take nine days of hunger for the women to begin prostituting themselves,” Hunt tells me…

    The writer doesn’t mention whether the man adjusted a visible lump in the crotch of his pants while saying this, but I wonder.

  • http://twitter.com/KeroseneBitumen Christina Nordlander

     Wow. What a disgusting bloody thing to say.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    It shows that he thinks the only thing a woman has to offer is her body, and the only way she can survive is through using her sexuality, as her sexuality is all a woman is. Particularly ludicrous in this case, as women invented agriculture. 

  • hidden_urchin

    Yeah, well, a lot of this fantasy isn’t about survival but about being a Real Manly Man in the style of Kit Carson.  In that myth, women have only one purpose.

    Anyway, I do think it’s interesting that all of these preppers aren’t considering the importance of working animals, though.  (I guess it’s part of the “cozy catastrophe” problem.) If civilization truly returned to a pre-industrial state then good horses and their handlers would be needed for everything from tilling fields, to hauling supplies and people, to running messages.  Guess which gender currently dominates in the equestrian skills category?

    Mr. Manly-Man can keep his wood-fueled truck.  When it eventually dies he’ll offer his entire hoard for a good stock horse and I’m sure there will be a woman right there driving a hard bargain.

  • Jenny Islander

    A lot of “homesteading” or “country” prepper/survivalist types think that if you can raise and train a dog, you can handle any animal.  Some of these supremely un-self-aware animal owners put photos of their nightmarish “barns” and “pastures” online to show how independent and self-sufficient they are.  And of course their poor dull-eyed horses have projecting hipbones, slipper hooves, and wormy coats–and the dogs don’t look like much either.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that your neighborhood prepper confidently expected to stroll over to your place, find you lying splayed dead of heartbreak at not being able to hear All Things Considered anymore, and just start up your horse and drive it over to his own yard.

  • Jenny Islander

    Forgot to add that there is often no evidence that the “homesteading” “independent” types can ride the horses they keep in those junk infested mudpits they call pastures.  Or sometimes even catch them.

    If your only photo of your horse is of an animal in full gallop far away . . . ur doin it rong.

  • glendanowakowsk

    Brad Hicks posted this in 2009:  Recommendation:  Don’t hoard food or guns

  • reynard61

    “I even say it as someone whose feelings about the NRA mirror the left’s feelings about Planned Parenthood: It has a useful advocacy function in our deliberative democracy, and much of what it does should not be controversial at all.”

    Sorry, but no; the NRA may once have had a useful function (firearms training and safety education), but now it’s just a cult with a lobbying arm that uses it’s member’s dues and “donations” to subsidize the gun manufacturing and sales industries so that those industries don’t have to use their own money to lobby Congress. (I’d *LOVE* to see an audit of the NRA’s books comparing how much money they give to Congress to how much they spend for all of those “gun safety” classes that they advertise — *after* deducting the fees that they charge for those classes, of course!)

    The *ONLY* way to save the NRA from itself is for the *membership* to tell the leadership to *GET RID OF THE CULTISTS* and become an *educational* organization once more. Give the gun manufacturers and sellers the lobbying arm, *BUT LET THEM FUND IT WITH THEIR OWN MONEY!!!* (And give the cultists an ultimatum: Lobbying *or* education — but *not both!* And that should include Wayne LaPierre! If he objects, then kick him out of the organization.) Otherwise, the NRA will continue it’s current long slide into becoming a bad joke — and eventual obscurity — in the same manner that the Republican Party has been doing.

  • P J Evans

    uses it’s member’s dues and “donations” to subsidize the gun manufacturing and sales industries

    Actually, the firearms industry provides almost all of the NRA’s money. Dues are just the icing on their cake.

  • reynard61

    “Actually, the firearms industry provides almost all of the NRA’s money. Dues are just the icing on the cake.”

    Cite please? And if that’s true, then the gun makers and sellers should have no logistical complaints about separating the lobbying arm from the “educational” arm. (Though I can see them kicking, screaming, weeping and gnashing their teeth about how they’ll lose the cover of being able to tell the American People that the gun lobby is a “grassroots” organization…)

  • SergeantHeretic

    Fellahs, fellahs, fellahs, remember freddo’s oft posts about live action rolep laying fantasists? That’s what these preppers are. That’s why nothing they are doing makes a lick of sense once you subject it to even a little critical anaysis.

    They’re LIve Action Role Playing, only they’re not LARPing Left Behind, or Tea Party bingo, they’re doing Twilight:2000 and Mad Max.

  • Tricksterson

    I was thinking Aftermath myself, a now obscure but very cool RPG.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Carstonio, EXACTLY, in fact, I submit to you and to everyone else that no one in the conservative religious right gave a tinker’s damn about wheater or not the world was or was not coming to a supposed end until the Non-white-non male-non-rich-non het-non-Christiand Americans stared to get equal justice and a fair shake.

    To them they actually DO view the legitimate presidency of an african American man as a “Sign of the end times/the imminant collapse f civilisation.”

    They are literally incapable of imagining a world that is not a WASP hegemony and so they do this to rationalise it. They retreat into birtherism, or ther LARP a really stupid, crappy version of the War of Independence, or they LARP the Left Behind books.

    Fred, My man I cannot thank you enough for reading and reviewing those books and sparing me that horror. you are my hero.

    The Doomsday LARPers do this, they play, they pretend. and nothing they are doing would do the slightest bit of good if TSHTF. Trust, me I have watched the odd epi of “Doomsday Preppers” and I have yet to see one or hear of one who’se own Preps were not either a death trap for himself and his family or a giant target printed on his head.

    If the shyte REALLY came down I don’t know anyone who would not think, “Hey remembember that dippy MoFo stockpiling food and guns and water and medicine? LET’S GO SHOPPING!”

  • SergeantHeretic

    Carstonio, EXACTLY, in fact, I submit to you and to everyone else that no one in the conservative religious right gave a tinker’s damn about wheater or not the world was or was not coming to a supposed end until the Non-white-non male-non-rich-non het-non-Christiand Americans stared to get equal justice and a fair shake.

    To them they actually DO view the legitimate presidency of an african American man as a “Sign of the end times/the imminant collapse f civilisation.”

    They are literally incapable of imagining a world that is not a WASP hegemony and so they do this to rationalise it. They retreat into birtherism, or ther LARP a really stupid, crappy version of the War of Independence, or they LARP the Left Behind books.

    Fred, My man I cannot thank you enough for reading and reviewing those books and sparing me that horror. you are my hero.

    The Doomsday LARPers do this, they play, they pretend. and nothing they are doing would do the slightest bit of good if TSHTF. Trust, me I have watched the odd epi of “Doomsday Preppers” and I have yet to see one or hear of one who’se own Preps were not either a death trap for himself and his family or a giant target printed on his head.

    If the shyte REALLY came down I don’t know anyone who would not think, “Hey remembember that dippy MoFo stockpiling food and guns and water and medicine? LET’S GO SHOPPING!”

  • Lori

     

    The Doomsday LARPers do this, they play, they pretend. and nothing they
    are doing would do the slightest bit of good if TSHTF. Trust, me I have
    watched the odd epi of “Doomsday Preppers” and I have yet to see one or
    hear of one who’se own Preps were not either a death trap for himself
    and his family or a giant target printed on his head.   

    I’ve seen a couple episodes of that show. I was left with the overwhelming impression that few things could be worse the prepper success. I mean, think about it. Assume that we’re wrong, they are not totally illogical and inept and their preparations will in fact allow them to be among the few survivors of The Big One (whatever it may be). Can you imagine anything worse than living in the world those people would create after the crisis? I mean this literally—I’d rather just die and get it over with.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The sheer smug self-satisfaction on their faces would at least provoke a few well-deserved rounds of infighting among the Preppers because “getting along well with others who aren’t like them” isn’t in their makeups.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Think of all the poverty, the hatred and the lies,
    And imagine the destruction of all that you despise,
    It’s only from the ashes that phoenix will arise,
    In a brave new world,
    With just a handful of men,
    We’ll start all over again!

    (Though I always like to point out that in the book, it’s not that the artilleryman’s plan is crazy that disgusts the narrator — it’s that the artilleryman is clearly too weak and lazy to actually make good on his plans).

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Years ago I had a friend who had, in the past, been sort of casually involved with the militia movement.  He never became a full-fledged member of one, and he had drifted completely away from the lifestyle, but he still remained sympathetic to the…I guess you can call it a “cause.”  But whatever.

    In any case, one night while he was drunkenly trying to convince me of the true patriotism of militia members, he asked, “Wouldn’t you take up arms against the government if it turned tyrannical?”

    I responded, “Maybe.  But one thing I can tell you for sure is that I’d be much more likely to take up arms against the people in militias to prevent them from taking over the government.”

    He never brought up the subject again.

  • Lori

     

    I responded, “Maybe.  But one thing I can tell you for sure is that I’d
    be much more likely to take up arms against the people in militias to
    prevent them from taking over the government.”  

    Exactly. And good for you for telling him that straight out.

    I’m honest enough to admit that time may not leave me on the right side of every issue. There are decisions that I’ve made that I believe are right, but which I acknowledge future generations may see differently. In spite of what some people try to sell, there’s no way to know that you’re on the right side of  every issue. I don’t like that much, but I accept that I can’t guarantee that I’ll be on the right side of history in every case. However, I can damn well make sure that I’m not on the wrong side of issues we’ve already settled. One way to do that is to stear clear of movements that have their roots in neonaziism and/or  Lost Cause neoconfederate bullshit.

  • SergeantHeretic

    The big tell with every Prepper is their focus on THINGS. “I must stockpile food and weapons, and medicine and gas and I must have the ability to protect my THINGS from THE OTHER!

    I must not let THEM THEY THOSE PEOPLE get MY THINGS!”

    That’s how you know where their head is at.

     The secret of surviving in any crisis situation is not THINGS, it’s people. When I was finishing BASIC they has this thing at the end called Operation Victory Forge. it was the big graduation excersise and the key to OVF was that an individual Soldier could not make it no matter how good that you were. Only the whole team could make it by pulling together and working as a unit.

    To survive an apocalypse you don’t need things, things can come later, you need PEOPLE, co operation reciprocity, subsidiarity, and above all love. A community of diverse loving smart people who care about each other will be fine. the lunatic object obsessed doomsday prepper is going to die and whe nthat happens I doubt the loving caring co operating comunity will have much trouble finding the wachaloo’s stockpile.

  • Ken

    The ultimate focus on THINGS is probably the goldbugs.  “I’ll be on top of the world when everything falls apart, because I’ve stockpiled GOLD COINS!”  No, sorry; if society really fell apart, no one is going to want to trade a delicious edible potato for your shiny metal.

    Maybe after a century or so, if some sort of economy gets restarted from the wreckage and is producing enough surplus that people want shiny things again.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Howard Ruff had far more useful advice in his book: Buy a set of spare tires for your car. You can trade your old tires once you’ve swapped everything out (a day’s job with a jack and a tire iron).

  • hidden_urchin

    Dead on. The majority of people can’t be rugged individualists. I, for example, would be a single pair of corrective lenses away from being buzzard food if the world went to hell. I think a lot of these people seriously overestimate their abilities and seriously underestimate how highly dependent on society and modern technology they are.

    Now that I think of it, the story they’re telling is a ” cozy catastrophe” through and through. Civilization collapses but they are safe and comfortable with all of the amenities of a world that no longer exists.

  • banancat

     The only way to deal with a collapse of civilization is to rebuild civilization.

    You’re right that these people overestimate their own ability.  Even healthy people will need bullets for hunting animals, sharp knives to make arrows, or the knowledge of how to make a sharp knife and arrows from it.

  • Lori

    To survive an apocalypse you don’t need things, things can come later,
    you need PEOPLE, co operation reciprocity, subsidiarity, and above all
    love.   

    A community and a set of useful skills. The only skills the preppers ever seem interested in are hoarding and shooting. There are far more useful things they could learn, but don’t bother with.

    One of the cable channels that does oddball reality things (TLC? Discovery?) had a show a couple years back that was all about skills that could actually be helpful if TSHTF. Stuff like building a working generator from the kind of spare parts you’d be able to find easily, how to do first aid when your official first aid supplies run low, how to maintain access to a working vehicle and how to decide which abandoned places to break into and which would be a waste of time and effort (they didn’t phrase it that way, but that was the gist). It was way more interesting than the stupid shit preppers do.

  • Ken

     One of the cable channels that does oddball reality things

    You’re not giving us much to go on there.

  • Lori

     

    You’re not giving us much to go on there.   

    That was poorly phrased. Sorry :)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

     The secret of surviving in any crisis situation is not THINGS, it’s people. When I was finishing BASIC they has this thing at the end called Operation Victory Forge. it was the big graduation excersise and the key to OVF was that an individual Soldier could not make it no matter how good that you were. Only the whole team could make it by pulling together and working as a unit.

    You know, this meshes nicely with the role-playing analogy we have going here.  It is like running a raid in something like World of Warcraft.  I do not care how good your gear is, unless you know the encounters, can do the safety dance, stick to a plan, update your teammates, and trust the other people to fulfill their role as they trust you fulfill your own, you are going to die and get the rest of us wiped too.  

    Gear might help, widen your margin of error, but at the endgame it will not substitute for knowledge and proper teamwork.  

  • SergeantHeretic

    Ken you have said it. And that’s the problem with the Apocalypse LARPers whatever the flavor of their little fantasy. They are so focused on their “precious” things, and their gold and their fetishistic stockpiles of crap that they’re not thinking through what it is really going to take to survive in the post collapse framework. long term sustainability is the LAST THING these people care about, all they care about is protecting their PRECIOUS things.

  • Tricksterson

    Thing is real LARPers would have a leg up on these people.  Not so much because many of them actually do have skills applicable in a real emergency (high number of people with EMT training and many with various martial arts skills and midevalist hobbies) but because every LARPer I ever knew had a network of people they could rely on, an immediate one of anywhere from a half to a full dozen and a wider one numbering in the hundreds.  Your LARPing buddies, even if they didn’t start out as your friends always wound up as same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Also, LARPers don’t generally assume that people who they don’t know personally deserve to die. That alone makes it much more likely that they’ll give aid to others and receive aid in turn in the event of a widespread calamity.

  • Hilary

    “all they care about is protecting their PRECIOUS things.”

    Pavlovian cue to  “Myyyy . . . . . .Preshhhuussss. Gollum, Gollum!”

    Sorry, couldn’t help it.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    The Simpsons did a Preppers episode a few weeks ago. Homer takes the family away with the preppers when they all mistake a power outage for the big event they’ve been prepping for. When they get back to Springfield they find that everything is fine, even better than before, because, as Flanders puts it, “the spirit of neighborly cooperation broke out as if all the weird angry people had left.”

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I love apocalypse fiction. Zombies. Disease. Natural disasters. Love it. And I still don’t stockpile food and water and whatever else the preppers think you should be stockpiling. I don’t live in an area where we’re likely to get the kind of natural disaster that could cause serious problems for more than a few days, and I think our citizens are mostly safe from our government. I think Obama will serve his last four years, then another guy will come in and serve his/her 4-8 years, then another and another.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     (Sheepishly raises hand)  I’ve got 10 gallons of bottled water, duffel bag with a spare week of my pills, high-calorie food bars, chemical lights, three ways to make fire, two knives, a first aid kit and a jar of quick-clot, a pocket saw-chain, crank-radio, a bundle of cash and a pack of nasa thermal blankets.

    In case of weather emergency, terror attack, brief zombie apocalypsi, or armed insurrection by republicans.

    Didn’t it used to be the far left hippie counter-culture types who dreamed of bugging out, forswearing The Man and human society and going off to hug nature?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ah, but what mental image comes with the hippies? Definitely not angry guys with guns who have itchy trigger fingers.

  • Lori

    Why would be be sheepish about that? I used to have some of that stuff and honestly chided myself for not getting around to getting more to getting more. I lived in California. Being prepared to manage with minimal official assistance for a few days in the event of an earthquake is just good sense. We also had some of that stuff in the house in the winter when I was a kid. You never knew when a blizzard or ice storm was going to knock out the power and make getting out of the house impossible.

    You only need to feel sheepish about having those things if you think they make you a Manly Man of Manly Action, prepared to triumph in the post-apocalyptic future.

    Preparing for a week = just good sense

    “Preparing” for Armageddon = just stupid

  • Kiba

    My grandmother and I have a camp stove, little two burner thing that runs on a tiny canister of propane, that we use when the power goes out since everything in our apartment is powered by electricity. It also comes in handy for making s’mores when you don’t have a fire place. ^_^

  • EllieMurasaki

    Hurricane preparedness kits. It was always entertaining when we went to do the annual trade-out-the-food-and-books to see what treasured books would appear out of the bins that the previous year we’d considered just entertaining enough to get us through if we were to be in a shelter away from our usual books for days on end.

  • Lori

    I never kept my books and music directly in the emergency bin, but I had some that I kept in a backpack just in case. I would sometimes switch things out and it was amusing to see what I had thrown in there the previous time. I used to think of it as “So that’s where that went” day.

  • Jenny Islander

    Indeed, our local government suggests that everybody have the supplies on hand to live without infrastructure for at least a week.  We live on the Ring of Fire, after all, and the last tsunami basically folded the harbor and the downtown area into one big debris sandwich.  Plus even a moderate earthquake will block the mountainside road connecting us with our airport and cut our connection to the hydroelectric dam that keeps the lights on while simultaneously wrecking the backup generator.  Plus we are directed to be ready if the fish processing plants that line the waterfront start leaking gaseous ammonia.  

    Preparedness is one thing.  Sitting on a pile of supplies cackling about how the “zombies” won’t stand a chance against your assault weapons is something else entirely.  

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that anyone who is prepared for disaster is a prepper. Many people live in areas where that’s truly a smart thing to do.

    I’ve always thought that in the event of the kind of apocalypse the movies portray, finding the biggest group of people is always your best option. Good to know that’s what the experts recommend, too.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Didn’t it used to be the far left hippie counter-culture types who
    dreamed of bugging out, forswearing The Man and human society and going
    off to hug nature?

    Yep.  The right-wing’s “Go Galt” silliness amuses me mightily, since it can be parsed as ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop out’, albeit with more guns. 

    Incidentally, when did survivalists get termed “Preppers”?  That term keeps tripping me up, since I think of ‘Preppies’ and then wonder why Tad and Muffy are holed up in a bunker instead of Kennebunkport.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Incidentally, when did survivalists get termed “Preppers”? That term keeps tripping me up, since I think of ‘Preppies’

    When capitalised, I keep seeing it as Pepper’s and going “yeah, what?”

  • BaseDeltaZero

    ‘Survivalist’ apparently got a bad reputation somehow…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What’s interesting (in the not so great way) is for all that the Preppers and Survivalists like to talk of defending against unspecified nameless hordes who will take their things, they seem to want to put themselves in a position to do smash and grabs for other people’s* stuff.

    It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.

    (And it occurs to me that that is an apt description of the state of affairs in the USA in particular, Canada less so, in which the wealthy figure they don’t have to contribute to the communal structures and byways which all people benefit from)

    —-

    * I finally found simple rules for correctly writing plural possessives! Go me :D o/

  • Lori

    It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on
    their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.  

    Some folks clearly didn’t watch “Life After People”. Our shit does not maintain itself.

  • reynard61

    “What’s interesting (in the not so great way) is for all that the Preppers and Survivalists like to talk of defending against unspecified nameless hordes who will take their things, they seem to want to put themselves in a position to do smash and grabs for other people’s* stuff.
    “It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.”

    In other words, a Vulture Culture. (Though that’s probably an insult to vultures, which actually serve a useful service in the environmental niche that they occupy. These types? Not so much…)

  • AnonymousSam

    It is in contradiction to Wikipedia, for whatever that’s worth.

    According to published statements, the organization’s total income for 2011 was $218,983,530 with total expenses of $231,071,589. Approximately one half of the NRA’s recent income has come from fundraising, sales, advertising, and royalties. The majority of the remainder originates from membership dues, and approximately $2,100,000 originates from gun manufacturers.

  • reynard61

    “It is in contradiction to Wikipedia, for whatever that’s worth.

    “According to published statements, the organization’s total income for 2011 was $218,983,530 with total expenses of $231,071,589. Approximately one half of the NRA’s recent income has come from fundraising, sales, advertising, and royalties. The majority of the remainder originates from membership dues, and approximately $2,100,000 originates from gun manufacturers.”

    So the NRA is/was operating at a *loss???* How can this be?!?!?! And the gun manufacturers only put up a paltry $2.1 million? Ha! I knew it! Those cheap bastards *are* mostly coasting on the NRA’s dime! Talk about Corporate Welfare!

    Well, I think that the above cite (assuming that it’s correct and the numbers for 2012 are similar, of course) pretty much makes my case. The NRA either needs to cut off the parasites that are the gun manufacturers ((best case) or demand more money from those parasites to keep the bills paid so that they don’t have to suck it from the membership’s veins. (Yeah, like *that* will ever happen…)

  • Ethics Gradient

     Sadly, the Vice President has been doing his bit to encourage preppers to think that what you need for natural disasters is a reliable way of shooting your fellow survivors:

    the vice president doled out a bit of advice for how to protect
    oneself after a deadly earthquake, telling one questioner a shotgun is
    more effective than an assault weapon. “If you want to keep people away during an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells,” Biden said.

    I think this is a uniquely American point of view. Other nations worry about clean drinking water, shelter, access to doctors in a natural disaster; the USA thinks how to arm itself. Though, in practice, it doesn’t get round to the carnage after a hurricane or quake; everyone helps their neighbours, just like the rest of the world. But the insistence on being armed is there in the planning.

  • Lori

     

    Though, in practice, it doesn’t get round to the carnage after a
    hurricane or quake; everyone helps their neighbours, just like the rest
    of the world. But the insistence on being armed is there in the
    planning.   

    Not for the majority of us. Gun ownership for any and all reasons is declining.

    As for Biden’s comment, context is important and that wasn’t provided in the link. It’s one thing if someone asked what they should do to protect themselves in case of natural disaster. It’s another if someone claimed to need an assault rifle to protect himself in case of natural disaster. In the first case Biden would be doing what you say—placing being armed ahead of other concerns. In the 2nd case he’s making a point about the lack of any practical need for assault weapons*.

    *General point—no need to have the discussion about how ridiculous it is to talk about assault weapons and blah, blah, blah. The term “assault weapon” was coined by gun manufacturers in an attempt to sell their product. Now that it’s become part of common usage in a way that doesn’t benefit them they want to act like it’s the most stupid and/or offensive term known to man. No.

  • Lalouve

    My neighbour and I are fond of discussing disaster survival (generally under the name ‘the zombie apocalypse’), and one thing that struck us about a lot of preppers is the small groups: a family, or even single indiviuals. In case of a zombie apocalypse, those single individuals will die from trusting the wrong people because, after a few months on their stockpiled food, they will be too lonely to judge carefully who to trust.

    We, on the other hand, will settle in on our farm with our friends and offer food, shelter, and medical assistance to anyone in need.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Not a fan of this sweeping generalisation:

    In short, when watching Les Mis don’t stop, as Christians are wont to do, at mercy and grace.

    Justice is a particularly non-Christian concern, eh? Huh.

  • SergeantHeretic

    My Assesment of every major crisis that has ever happened is this. The one thing that allows anyone to survive and bounce back is the help and assistance provided by OTHER people. The reailty is that everything these “Doomsday LARPers” are doing is tailor made to insur their own deaths. The following are the things you DO NOT DO if you want to survive a major collapse or disaster.

    1) Do not isolate yourself from others. isolation is your enemy. You cannot predict with any accuracy what will or will not happen and it is all but certain you do not have EVERY skill set to deal with EVERY problem.

    2) Do NOT hoard or stockpile major amounts of needed suplies. they are by definition limited and WILL run out far faster than you think they will. Once they are all gone, you are in the middle of nowhere with nothing and no one has any reason to help you. No stockpile no matter how large is sustainable.

    3) Do not alientate/demonize other people. DO not behave as if other people outside your immediate family are by definition “The enemy” the time WILL come when you very well might be living on the sufferance of these others because you ran out of food/water/medicine and come crawling out of your little midden beging for their help. If you treated them like crap and threatened them with death at every turn, that could be a problem.

    The answer to survive a major disaster regardless of how big is is is co operation, community, and sustainability. the larger your given group the greater your chances of survival. Pool knowledge, pool resources, give a damn about other people. in a post collapse situation/environment misanthropic hoarders are not “Rugged survivalists” they are dead men walking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Loved the Les Miserables article. Two things that it brought to mind:

    1) There was an article in The New Yorker a few weeks ago bemoaning that people love the musical, because it is sad and doesn’t have dancing and they should really watch Singin’ In The Rain. And also claiming that LM has no social relevance to today.

    2) Terry Pratchet’s mastwerwork, IMHO, is Night Watch, which is heavily influenced by LM. The main character Sam Vimes has a lot of similarities to Javert, but with a key difference that someone described as “To Javert, justice is the punishment of the guilty. To Sam Vimes, justice is the protection of the innocenyt.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do you hear the people sing?
    Singing a song of angry men?
    It is the music of a people
    Who will not be slaves again!
    When the beating of your heart
    Echoes the beating of the drums
    There is a life about to start
    When tomorrow comes!

    TELL ME that has no relevance to today. Go on. Tell me Occupy wasn’t and isn’t singing that every day. (Not necessarily literally.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    TELL ME that has no relevance to today. Go on. Tell me Occupy wasn’t and
    isn’t singing that every day. (Not necessarily literally.)

    Heck, let’s JUST look at Fantine’s story, and at what various talking heads and elected officials have been saying in just the past year.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also, the 1% / 99% paradigm has been leaking into social media and even TV shows and movies. “Arrow” recently had an episode where two characters were arguing over why a person’s name made it onto a list of highly corrupt people, and one of them said, “Well, it’s not all one-percenters, apparently.” (or something to that effect :) )

  • Jenny Islander

    I’ve been struggling with a response to the first linked article, BTW.  I guess this is the least ragey thing I can say:

    I was angry for years that the boy who (egged on by his grinning buddies, one of whom years later seemed completely unaware of any reason why I shouldn’t make nice conversation with him, but that’s a whole other rant) rubbed up against me and stuck his hand into my shirt in the school library simply disappeared, without my being able to tell him exactly what I thought of him.

    But here’s the thing: He said nasty things into my ear and rubbed up against me and put his hands inside my clothes, and I turned around and slammed him very hard in the face with a book.  And he was immediately expelled, and I never had to see him again.   And nobody ever, ever, EVER said one word to me about how wrong it was to protect myself .  So thank you, high school administration of my youth, for choosing the right course of action.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    What’s interesting (in the not so great way) is for all that the Preppers and Survivalists like to talk of defending against unspecified nameless hordes who will take their things, they seem to want to put themselves in a position to do smash and grabs for other people’s* stuff.

    It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.

    If TSHTF, or we get TEOTWAWKI, or whatever, the people who hide from and/or aim deadly weapons at everybody who comes to the door won’t survive the first winter.  Eventually people will stop knocking and let them rot.

    Most preppers don’t even talk about skills; they talk about stuff.  But what do they expect to do when they run out of stuff?

    Pretty much this, exactly.  In their mind, the only thing they need is guns.  One of the links here talked about how it’s easier to start a gunfight than to survive one – that’s exactly their plan.  If they want something, they’ll just take it, and kill anyone in their way.  Their plan really is to become raiders…

    Of course, the obvious flaw in this plan is it only works briefly, and a handful of guys with a few dozen assault rifles are not the equal of a potentially fortified group of a hundred with a smaller number of guns.  Especially once someone decides they’ve had enough and hunt you down.  They don’t even need to take your fortress-house, but in all seriousness, it won’t last long if they do attempt it.  Funny how they never consider the possibility, of say, someone burning them out.

    Particularly ludicrous in this case, as women invented agriculture. 

    Any sort of evidence of this?  Especially since agriculture was invented in a lot of different places independently.

    Gear might help, widen your margin of error, but at the endgame it will not substitute for knowledge and proper teamwork.  

    It is necessary however – go in without adequate gear, and you won’t be able to keep up, and eventually you’ll be crushed, no matter how good you are.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Pretty much this, exactly.  In their mind, the only thing they need is
    guns.  One of the links here talked about how it’s easier to start a
    gunfight than to survive one – that’s exactly their plan. 

    If I may be forgiven for a slight re-application of a famous quote

    “Some post-apocalyptic plans don’t react well to bullets.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

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