My first exposure to survival came in the early 1980's. I was browsing the Magazine stand at our local store and ran across the Jan issue of Shooters Journal and Survival Guide, what would later become American Survival Guide. What I read in there made me re-evaluate my core beliefs. I was 25 years old and single at the time, struggling to save enough money to buy my first house. At the time, I needed to prepare for the then immediate threat, the escalation of the Cold War. Nowadays, the Cold War is history but many other threats have reared their ugly heads, either thru my education by reading new material or by careful review of the world around me.
So what is Survivalism? Is it merely stockpiling material for a perceived shortage or is it something else?
For me it has become a way of life. I incorporate it in my food purchases, my recreational choices, and my environment. Threat assessment has become second nature and I no longer have to consciously make the effort to look for inherent dangers. No, I am not perfect, but I learn everyday and apply those lessons to my life. I am a firm believer in learning from the mistakes of others.
For others it is a daily struggle to provide enough food to live another few days in a very harsh life. Most everyone on this planet is part survivalist without even knowing it. Going to work each day to earn money is a facet of survival. That money buys food, shelter, clothing and other necessities of life, as well as items not essential to life's continuance.
Those who raise a garden are a type of survivalist. They can provide basic foods for their family through their gardening skills. By canning, pickling and dehydrating, they can preserve their harvest for using later in the year. The same with the hunter who harvests wild game thruout the year. His skill in bringing meat to the table is one which will serve his family well in lean times.
Those who rely on the government's handouts exclusively are in no part a survivalist. They will die if the Government ceases it's handouts. Just look at the helpless sheeple displaced by the hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Without the Gov's handouts the best they could do is congregate together and wait to die.
The term Survivalist has been trashed by the media in the later years of the movement. The media tried to portray them (us) as loonies and right/left wing nut cases, running around in the woods wearing cammies and waving guns. This portrayal nearly drove everyone underground or out of the movement altogether. It is only lately that the stigma has faded and people have started to become interested again, as they wake up to the dangerous world about them today.
For those who are new to Survivalism, I welcome you to the lifestyle of the self reliant, self sufficient and personally motivated non-sheeple! May all your preparations sustain you thru turbulent times.