Challenge #02848-G291: The Punk Choice

They are preppers, but not the type people think of. They did have places of safety, yes. They did have a way to defend themselves, hunt, fish, and all the usual equipment, though instead of firearms they had crossbows and regular bows. And instead of tons of expensive fishing equipment, it was basic rods and reels, fishing lines, hooks, bobbers and sinkers, no expensive lures, nothing like that.

They did have some dried and canned foodstuffs, things that could be eaten and swapped out over time, but they also kept things such as heirloom seeds. They gathered books on pre-industrial cooking and preserving techniques, took classes on first aid and medical care, practiced woodland survival, water purification techniques, survival in arctic-like conditions, how to find supplies even in the food deserts that were so often seen in larger cities. Weaving, stitching, making cloth, how to make blankets and clothing out of that cloth, how to spin flax, cotton, and various types of wool into thread and yarn, and so forth. All in the name of survival.

They knew things were starting to go bad. They saw it in how their country was falling apart. In how people were turning on each other. They tried to warn people, they offered to teach people how to prepare as well. They tried to advise on supplies, what would be useful, what would not, and were rebuffed time and again. Then things got worse, just as they predicted, just as they'd warned. People began to go crazy, stealing from each other, raiding stores, stockpiling stupid things, and again, they offered to teach, to help with food crops, they were again, rebuffed despite begging people to reconsider their habits.

Then came the day those same crowds were banging at the door of their shelter demanding, not asking, to be helped. A part of their heart said "I offered before when it could've mattered, why should I care?" But the rest of their heart, as they reached for the radio to answer the crowds outside, spoke as well. "Because they're people too." -- DaniAndShali

So many Preppers claim that they would do anything to ensure the survival of their core group. Live in forts, live in bunkers, carry arms at all times, fight to the death for every square inch, eat rats, eat cockroaches... you know all the claims. As I watched the world fall apart, as I watched my country fall apart, so many of them were not prepared to do the things that would have ensured the most survival and maybe even a rebuilding of a better society. They refused, in essence, to care about anyone else but themselves.

When asked to carry guns, when asked to fight, when asked to murder the Other, so many raise their hand. When asked to wear a piece of fabric over their nose and mouth, when asked to keep a distance from another person, when asked to buy only what was necessary, they freak out and act like it's the worst thing in the world. The difference I have found, is that in the fantasy, they are asked to kill. In the reality, they have been asked to be kind[1]. Therein lies the rot.

I'm not a Prepper in the traditional sense. Yes, I coupon. Yes, I hoard a bunch of non-perishable supplies. Yes, I grow my own food and make my own preserves and spend time learning all the survival skills you wouldn't think you'd need. Yes, I have a bunker, and yes, there are rooms dedicated to hydroponic crops. That said, I'm more Punk than the average Prepper. And for that, I have to explain what Punk is.

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