Guest Post: Preppers Who Make Surviving The Apocalypse Even Less Fun

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt-Market

Preppers Who Make Surviving The Apocalypse Even Less Fun

Being forced to endure and survive a catastrophic macro event like a monetary or social collapse is perhaps one of the worst experiences I could imagine.  Such a crisis leads to just about every crime and inhuman action in existence, and, the time required for a culture to right itself and rebuild is severely protracted.  A hurricane or earthquake or tidal wave; these calamities are short lived and easy in comparison.  The point is, as survivalists who are preparing to make an economic end-game scenario as “comfortable” to live through as we can, it is incumbent upon us to consider the kind of company we keep during the gambit.  Some allies will make that mad world bearable; others will bring the madness to your doorstep.

Many preppers are aware of the dangers inherent in our progressively deteriorating nation.  Unfortunately, some of them are completely unaware of the dangers inherent within themselves.  Building a solid community of people to rely on during a collapse is absolutely essential, and the larger the group of liberty minded neighbors the better.  But, if certain ground rules are not established from the very beginning, a rainbow of personal issues and character flaws could very well destroy years of effort.  Care must be taken by all parties involved to ensure that internal conflicts remain at a minimum, and when they do arise, that each person is wise enough to resolve issues in an adult manner.

I hate to say it, but you will inevitably run into some folks that are beyond compromise and beyond hope.  Working with them is like pulling teeth…shark’s teeth…from your jugular.  Here are just a handful of powder keg personalities that will make the apocalypse more than a living hell for you and your friends if they manage to latch onto or take leadership in your survival watch…

1) The Self Assumed “Leader”

The “Assumed Leader” is not actually a reliable or practical leader; he just thinks he is, and reminds everyone loudly whenever he can find occasion.  He does not generally do this by screaming “I AM YOUR LEADER!”  Instead, he attempts to micro-manage every aspect of the survival group and shows early signs of control issues.  The Assumed Leader will first make forceful suggestions to test the waters, scoffing angrily whenever people do not strictly follow his advice.  If he gains traction, his suggestions turn into orders, and he begins to act as though he is somehow in a superior position to the rest of the community. 

He seems to have an answer to every question or concern, which would be nice if he actually knew what he as talking about half of the time.  Usually, this is not the case.  He may have expertise in a certain field, like farming, or building, or engineering, or even defense, and this is indeed valuable.  However, his mastery of one area of knowledge has inflated his ego to massive proportions and he now pretends as if he is some kind of hyper-educated elitist potentate.  When approached with alternative options and methods, he will respond with ridicule as if you have no clue what you are talking about.  When his ideas are criticized, he will react with fury, and try to remove dissenters from the community entirely. 

The best way to avoid these people is to discover them early in your prepping project, and to make certain that NO ONE becomes a De facto dictator.  Every person with particular expertise within the community should be given respect in that specific field, but not given authority over all decisions.  The experienced farmer should offer leadership when it comes to farming, but step aside when it comes to defense and defenders, and vice versa.  It is best to keep in mind that the most effective leaders always ask those around them for aid and advice before coming to any conclusion.  The worst leaders already assume they know everything.

2) The Feudal Lord

The Feudal Lord is an Assumed Leader who has managed to lure other preppers into a Commune, rather than a Community, and there is a considerable difference.  He is often a well-off survivalist who has suddenly realized that for all his money and land and supplies, he is basically defenseless, and needs an organized group to protect his bounty.  He entices other preppers into the fold with ideas that he is building a legitimate and fair community, and with land already available, many take interest.  The problem is, the Feudal Lord believes possession of the land that the group is defending automatically makes him Grand Poobah, and that those people are not equals, but servants and serfs.

I have found that Feudal Lords also have a tendency to charge people "fees" for the right to join their communes.  They will argue that this is designed to "vet" candidates and see if they are truly "serious" about survival prepping.  In the dark corner of their minds, however, they actually believe that they are OWED a tithe from anyone who wishes to earn the "privilege" of becoming a permanent installment on their property.  From the very beginning they go into the project with almost no sincere regard for the people they are working with.     

The reality is, the Feudal Lord’s land and supplies are utterly meaningless without security and without aid.  His survival riches can be taken in an instant by a mere handful of looters, or even one experienced raider.  Without other people, treated as equals in survival and ready to lay down their lives to protect each other and him, he has nothing, and is foolhardy to think otherwise.

This is not to say that all landowners who try to centralize a group on their property are seeking to become mini-kings of a mini-kingdom.  If rules and agreements are made early on, and everyone understands their role, then such an arrangement could work.  But, if the landowner purposely avoids set agreements, appoints roles to people without asking them, changes the plan regularly to suit himself, and tries to leech money out of participants, then it’s time to walk away now before it is too late.  Eventually he WILL use his position as landowner as a means to dominate, and will threaten to cast people out who disagree with his methods.

The best way to avoid these characters and the commune situation altogether is to not centralize on a single piece of land, but to organize in a neighborhood fashion, where everyone maintains sovereign control of what they do and all aid is voluntary.

3) The Moral Relativist

There is, sadly, a small subsection of survivalists out there who do not plan to live off their own preps; they plan to confiscate the preps of others by force and solve every problem at the barrel of a gun.  In their mind, a crisis situation calls for the abandonment of conscience and the application of a “survival of the fittest” mentality.  They believe that morals are all well and good when civilized society remains, but a source of weakness during catastrophe.  Their philosophy is: Only the strongest of men will be able to set aside principle and “do what needs to be done”.  That is to say, they believe you must become the monster to defeat the monster.

In fact, only men who are able to hold onto their principles during the worst moments are strong.  Weak men run away from conscience, using the excuse that times are “different and difficult”.  They are not survivalists, they are terrorists in every sense, and they will only hurt our ultimate goal of rebuilding a free, prosperous, and individualistic society.

These people should be avoided like the plague.  They will make enemies wherever they go, ask you to do highly questionable things, and push your community into annihilation.  Eventually, somebody is going to put them out of their misery, and it’s best to not be around when that happens.

4) The Obsessive

The Obsessive is a person whose drive is initially impressive but also ultimately destructive.  His entire life revolves around survival prepping and impending doom.  Certainly, it is better to be extra concerned about the economic crisis on the horizon than to be utterly oblivious.  A smart man over-prepares.  But, there is such a thing as overkill, even in the world of survivalism. 

No one can ever do enough fast enough in this person’s eyes.  He will whine constantly about how he is the only one taking preparations seriously, and how everyone else is a lazy bum.  He will become frantic on a daily basis, admonishing the group or community on their lack of urgency.  In a leadership position, this person is a nightmare, creating constant waves of tension and panic, instead of calmly offering solutions or constructive criticism.

Obsessives are generally unimaginative people with little talent or intelligence who use their prepping lifestyle as their only means to feel superior to others.  They tend to become legends in their own minds, dreaming of the day when everyone will desperately cling to them and their remedial survival know-how.  They fantasize about all the people who "wouldn't take their advice" (usually smug advice), crawling in squalor begging them for help one day.

The Obsessive’s motto is:  “Let me tell you why you are wrong and how you are lazy!”  Instead of: “How can I help you fix this?” 

We all need a break once in a while from the horrors we know are waiting for us.  To step back and enjoy what we can of a beautiful day or good friends is not the same as being a freeloader or a backslider within your prepper group.  Survival is about more than sustaining the body.  It is about more than chopping wood, stockpiling ammo, and slaving over a piece of land from sun up until sundown like a mindless drone just to get by; it is also about sustaining the heart and the mind.  Otherwise, what is the point of living?   

5) The Ulterior Motive Drama Queen

The Drama Queen is a man or woman who is loosely interested in survivalism, but wants to join your community for other reasons, and these reasons may cause many members dismay.  The opposite of The Obsessive, you’ll notice a strange non-involvement on their part or lack of interest as far as participating in survival discussions and decision making.  They will often hand over all their survival preparation plans to another person or persons, while hovering like a gnat around the community searching for that special something.

They may be looking for friends and social recognition.  They may be afraid of collapse and simply trying to lock into ANY group regardless of whether they fit, becoming disenchanted later.  They may enjoy the excitement of feeling like they are involved, and are living vicariously through the accomplishments of others.  They may just be looking for a date.  Ultimately, their primary objective is not to build a working community, but to get something out of the community beyond safety. 

If they do not get what they want, they raise hell, using whatever excuse happens to be handy without ever admitting their real motivations.  They will deliberately start unnecessary drama, attempt to create divisions, focus on one person as the cause of all their troubles, or blame the whole group for the heartache in their life.  They will attempt to draw everyone into their personal soap opera in the hopes of becoming the focal point, sharing strange and extremely private issues with anyone who accidentally offers to listen.

Eventually, they will be seen for what they are and will lose the ear of the other preppers, who obviously have better things to worry about, but not after wreaking some havoc in the process.

6) The Zealot

The Zealot has a perfect picture in his mind of how his survival community is going to look.  Absolutely perfect.  The problem is, all people are imperfect and all have different conceptions of life, and this disturbs and disrupts the Zealot’s fantasy.  It is one thing to be careful in whom you associate with when assembling a prepper organization, but it is entirely another to hold everyone to insane standards that even you cannot meet.   

The Zealot usually wants to be in charge so that he can vet and control each member of the group, but this is not always the case.  Zealots are also sometimes highly anti-social, showing interest in a group for a short time and then suddenly walking away as if no one is up to par.  He may base his zealotry on a misplaced religious fervor or philosophical inflexibility, but he will not be happy until everyone sees the world the way he does, or until they meet his grandiose brand of moral flawlessness.  For him, it is not enough that the community around him shares a love for liberty and a disdain for tyranny, they must also be “spiritually pure” in his eyes. 

One mistake or disagreement by a member of the group earns them a black mark on the Zealot’s list which he never forgets.  From then on, that member is the enemy, and the Zealot will engineer conflict after conflict until the person gives up and goes away, or until he can convince the group that person is more trouble than they are worth.

The great dilemma for any survivalist is to balance personal freedom and a peaceful home life with the reality that they will not last long without relying on a group.  Other people bring talent, friendship, and safety to our lives, but they also bring baggage.  The key is to work with those who know how to manage as much of their own baggage as possible, who are aware of themselves and are willing to police their own quirks, and who have not swan dived off a cliff into extreme disturbia.  No survival community can withstand the savage assault of national collapse otherwise.

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Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Problems in Safe Haven, Kalispell?

AldousHuxley's picture

talk to some boat people, illegal aliens, amazon tribes, concentration camp survivors, etc. about survival tactics.


bunch of suburbian folks stocking up cans of beans is as prepping for camping.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

That "preppers" are the object of such popular scorn at this top of extreme collective insanity is telltale from a contrarian standpoint.  In other words, preppers are the sane ones:

The scoffers and mockers are the lunatic fringe.

AldousHuxley's picture

there is even a TV show about preppers which I see as counter indicator.


US printed 3 Trillion and no country can do shit demonstrates power of USA. only preppers should be poor iranians who are going to get labeled as terrorists and invaded for oil to pay for bankster bonuses.


In that TV show, there was an episode where a Doctor was buying bunch of medical supplies to prep for worst case scenario. His wife is Vietname war survivor who ate rats and shit in caves for months while men were killing each other. She said "when chaos breaks out, you will need to do whatever to survive" meanign basically forget about any comfort.


better yet, don't buy luxuries in the first place and you won't miss any. fat fucks who can't walk a mile think gallons of fuel will help them. that's like upper class in titanic trying to save family jewels when they don't know how to swim.

55 men's picture

When I was playing college ball a few years ago, I played with a guy who wanted the attention, wanted to be good but didnt want to work for it. On the first game of the season when the refs called the captains to the middle. The team looked at me and the 3 guard. We looked at each other as if we both were going to go together, as we started to take our first step, the point guard ran to the middle of the court to accept the position. This guy averaged 5 turnovers a game while I was 2nd and my buddy was first in scoring. Our team became divided at this very scene. No this story is important but when I read this it reminded of what kind of people are power hungry, even with something so small like this. If its sports, business, family or even school group programs; these people are everywhere and they are cancers among teams. I could care less for any type of position, I am somebody who leads by example and could give a rats ass about being noticed for it.

Michaelwiseguy's picture

The one thing people should have learned from Hurricane Sandy is; The Federal Government won't and can't take care of you.

You're a dinosaur if you're watching mainstream media TV news these days.

We selectively get coherent factual news from the Internet now.


This is too easy for everyone to do to keep their families warm in cold conditions;

Rocket Stove Mass Heater

AlaricBalth's picture

Global intelligence firm Stratfor has published an interesting primer on situational awareness, which is a skill which must be honed in order to live, not just survive, when the SHTF. Many years ago at West Point we were expected to be SA at all times. It is still etched in my mind.

BraveSirRobin's picture

"situational awareness"

It's why the sights on the M-16 and M-4 are so high above the receiver body, to keep the head up so you have better situational awareness. It's one simple reason why it's a fabulous combat rifle.

It's also why the F-86 torched all those Mig-15's over Korea. Look at the cockpit canopies on each aircraft. The F-86 pilot is head and shoulders above the airframe, while the Mig-15 pilot is only head above the airframe. The difference in visibility and situational awareness is striking, and gave the F-86 stick a great combat advantage.

It's often the little things that make a big difference. Keep your head up and on a swivel. That will help you get through the day.

Supernova Born's picture

1) The .gov agent

You know an article is bullshit when it doesn't even mention the "cough", FBI agent who simply believes you must do something criminal and ultra-fucking stupid NOW (or at least begin conspiratorial planning by taking at least one concrete step...).

Yes, join up with a bunch of people today. Strangers are your best protection.

Lost My Shorts's picture

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

How many of you preppers are Christian?  What would Jesus do?  Was Jesus a fool?  Or is there wisdom in the words of Jesus?

Just asking.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

lost, I know you believe..hope you never doubt. evil is so very real and as Ann Barnhardt sp says those who bend a knee and support this fascist gov are evil as well. she says she will not pay any taxes to this beast in DC..brave lady maybe nuts but insanity should not disqualify her just look at our potus. crazy as bat shit that one.

Lost My Shorts's picture

I must confess, I am  not really religious.  I do believe Jesus was essentially correct on this issue, but it's a long, complicated argument.  I also believe most preppers have seen too many Kevin Costner movies.  OK, they can dance on my grave.  Fine.

This post was fascinating in revealing the variety of whack jobs within the prepper movement.  My advice to preppers would be:  relative isolation alone is plenty to keep you safe.  Beyond that don't think too much.  The tone of this discussion strongly suggests that more thinking among this group does not produce more safety.

I also can't help but notice that discussing whether to eat the flesh of the corpses of your neighbors pretty well defines what Jesus would not do

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

the wisdom of idiots: random events rule us all. prepare for your idea of hell, fine. I will only do what I think is needed, a gun or two yes, some food yes, fear of all out collapse no. my advise is be very lucky..practice good luck.

gmrpeabody's picture

Sounds as if the author has a lot of ZH posters covered here, to me.

Monedas's picture

Call me crazy .... I think I have all 6 Survival Syndromes .... in my twisted psyche ?

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

Lost, you have a valid question, but you failed to see that you gave yourself the answer at the same time. The verses you are quoting from are those addressing the concerns of believers in how they are going to provide for themselves, (and their families), and still be witnesses for God.

Jesus tells them, "Hey, God knows that you need all of the necessities of life just like the Gentiles."

So he teaches them the right order of things.

"Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness." That simply means that you need to get right in your relationship with God FIRST. That would include following the Ten Commandments, (His Righteousness). Once you are there, (where you and God are tight), all the other stuff will work itself out. ("AND all these things will be added unto you.") God's got your six o'clock.


If you will, these verses are the original prepper instructions. Where "prepperism" teaches one to get your stuff in order BEFORE a cataclysmic event, these verses teach you to get your spirit/soul right with God before same said. Sadly, many people believe that doing this is somehow detrimental to them. Considering that this is the same source of our "inalienable" rights, I'd think we could all be a bit grateful. Maybe not. All that said, Lost My Shorts, good question.

Sylvia Plath's picture

Wow he can list personalities from a text book.... WEAK!!!!!!

Monedas's picture

I love Korea stuff, thanks !     The North Koreans could teach us a lot about survival under Socialism !   LOL

BraveSirRobin's picture

Might come true? It's already here!

prains's picture

This article describes 50% of americans, effectively making the 1%, 2%


YOU ARE THE 48%......wait a minute

TwoShortPlanks's picture

Who needs to prep?! History tells us food will be lying around everywhere.

"I shudder to tell that many of our people, harassed by the madness of excessive hunger, cut pieces from the buttocks of the Saracens already dead there, which they cooked, but when it was not yet roasted enough by the fire, they devoured it with savage mouth."
- Fulcher of Chartres, Seige of Ma'arra, 1098AD -

Prepping is mostly mental, emotional and physical...stocking cans, water and ammo will merely get you to first base. To make a home run, you've got to be extra super special, you've got to have an extraordinary ability and capacity to subdue and completely lock-out your humanity.

You reckon you've got what it takes?....LOL, 99.99% of preppers are dreaming.

TIP: Monsters don't need to prep, they'll thrive.

Important info:

AlaricBalth's picture

“If you believe you can accomplish everything by "cramming" at the eleventh hour, by all means, don't lift a finger now. But you may think twice about beginning to build your ark once it has already started raining”
Max Brooks

TwoShortPlanks's picture

Anyone on the internet discussing Prepping on ZH or making YouTube Vids about Prepping isn't Prepping...they're just blowhorns painting their own target. Just clicking on this thread makes you a target.

Be easy to make a DB of all the online Preppers out there, in advance....put together a group of ex Army mates and make house calls when the time comes, or just sell/trade the list over and over again.

You reckon YouTube, FaceBook, Google, AOL, ZeroHedge wouldn't trade a list of Mac Addresses? LOL, wake up!

ZH alone would have several hundred thousand, and what about all the hits on Prepping videos on YouTube, there's another million. Imagine the lists Gov Depts have compiled already, if they're doing such a thing.

Hit Prediction: Preppers Lists will be worth more than Gold.

Pffft, I said, 99.99% are clueless as to what survival really means.

Chuck Walla's picture

Good for you 2 Short, we are practicing ambushes.


Parrotile's picture

Hit Prediction: Preppers Lists will be worth more than Gold.

Well those stuck on land will be relatively fixed, relatively immobile targets, and relatively accessible without the need for any specialist skills or equipment.

This is why we live on a boat: one that's large and stable enough to comfortably face transoceanic passages, but still compact enough to provide a fairly small radar cross-section.

If you cannot see your target, you cannot engage your target.


ManOfBliss's picture

Boats are floating suicide devices.

Have fun coming back to land when you run out of resources.

ronaldawg's picture

I hear them Saracens are tasty.....

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

A true survivalist will cut more than just a rump steak from his neighbor.  It's all food except maybe the large intestine...  See "film: The Road"

slaughterer's picture

You can however use the large intestines of your neighbors for sausages as well.  

homme's picture

That's true. Properly cured and filled with a few pebbles, a bladder can become a perfectly functional childs toy.  

CPL's picture

We're not called long pig for nothing.


Confessions of a cannibal from vice studios

AlaricBalth's picture

Also good with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Monedas's picture

I'll bet liberals taste like the shit in their brains .... let alone the large intestine .... better to mutilate them and make field hands out of them .... picking cotton comes to mind !

hedgeless_horseman's picture



7) The Epicurean

Knows that sausage casings are made with the small intestine, not the large intestine, of animals.

Understands that the rennet for making cheese comes from the stomach of most mammals.

Has experienced Jesus' parable of the wine skins first hand.

Ghordius's picture

Warning: "long pork" is "starvation food", highly toxic and dangerous without expert knowledge (which is anyway not worth aquiring - who likes a "certified cannibal chef"?)

The taboo around it is very, very powerful, and if you seriously "prep" for an environment without law enforcement (your biz, your hobby), then you should prep for a realistic human environment i.e. that is based on taboos and customs where they might become fluid but also more important

Look around, there is already a de-humanizing, "it's ok to kill them" meme growing around "zombies" in the US

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture


Warning: "long pork" is "starvation food", highly toxic and dangerous without expert knowledge (which is anyway not worth aquiring - who likes a "certified cannibal chef"?)

It's really not that difficult. You just put your neighbor on a liquid diet a few days before he is to be butchered.  That sorta "rinses" the toxins out.  a.k.a. "fasting".  How To

BraveSirRobin's picture

I'd say your post self-classifies you as a (3) Moral Relativist personality type.

TwoShortPlanks's picture

I haven't posted what I really think.

jwoop66's picture

The meat cutting vid was probably helpful to some, but to speak authoritatively and then post a clip from "apocolypse now" ?   Please...

People who view life from a hollywood perspective will be the first ones having their buttocks roasted.

verum quod lies's picture

I think I saw that show; I believe she was Cambodian. Regardless, she is no longer in Southeast Asia and is married to a "prepper" in the US. You like her can hope for the best and stand ready to migrate to another country when the SHTF (assuming there is one untouched by the crisis that will accept you) then marry a prepper in that country. In place of preps you might want to practice the following: “Hey GI me love you longtime.” Sounds like a plan girlfriend.


RobD's picture

I was down at the hard wood store getting some stock for a new project and I see a sign for the grand opening of a Prepper  store next door. I'm like holly shit if this guy can make a go of it then there are a lot of preppers in the area. I bet he is gone in less then a year but who knows. Nice to have a place to pick up a packet of O2 absorbers or some Mylar bags instead of getting a bunch off the net. This was in Reno by the way.

FEDbuster's picture

The store around here has been in business for over two years and seems to be doing well.  They are overpriced compared to the internet, but some people need to touch and feel and talk about their prepping needs.

I like to think keeping a low profile is the best bet.  Enough people onsite to cover a 24/7 watch, with the help of some solar, motion sensor flood lights.  Plus, a plan to bail out, if things go FUBAR at the homestead.

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." Mike Tyson

rlouis's picture

Slightly less dire than the subject here, but here's some observations and comparisons on what happened in Russia by a Russian who lived through it, following their collapse and America. Their population dropped from around 149 million to 141 million in the years in between - not the apocalypse but reflect tough times. In some ways, Russians were better prepared than Americans.

Milton Freewater's picture

Smart talk, Aldous.   I realy enjoy talking about cool rifles but wounder if books on retoric, negotiation and conflict reolution shouldn't as important in our survival kits as ammo.  We may have to defend our families the hard way in the not so near future but recreating our new local worlds will be done through calm, smart, brave, men and women.  Getting along is the real skill of the future.  Exercise the muscle.