Negative impressions of preppers and their activities are hard to combat when misinformation leads to a false perception of what it means to be prepared. In order to avoid misconceptions and to better understand the true nature of prepping, an understanding of the semantics involved will be necessary.
There’s an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. This can also happen in an opposite manner as well. A single word can create a thousand images in the minds of misinformed people. Many times this is due to the media showcasing extreme examples in an attempt to secure higher ratings without regards to the damage that can be done or the false perceptions that can occur as a result of their actions.
A thorough understanding of the semantics involved may help you understand preppers and prepping. This requires the terminology used to be defined along accepted guidelines. The terminology can then be used to accurately portray the activity being referenced.
Stockpiling is a method used to accumulate and maintain a reasonable supply of needed items with a known value for future use should supply be disrupted. Stockpiling helps maintain order. It insures that needed items will still be available for use when required. These items are usually carefully acquired with a specific purpose in mind and thoroughly maintained and upgraded on a regular basis. This is an accurate description of the majority of preppers. It also describes the activities of the government and many businesses that also have stockpiles of various items.
Hoarding is a very misunderstood word that has negative connotations for the majority of people. Unfortunately, the majority of people don't know the actual meaning of hoarder. The actual meaning of hoarding comes from old English and quite literally means “to hide treasure”. In exploring this definition, the key word is treasure (aka, something with great value). This is where extreme examples can create a very real misconception of preppers and their activities. Should your stockpiles of food, water, first aid items or other gear be considered valuable items? Of course they should.
The misconception occurs when things are taken to the extreme. Hoarders are most often viewed in terms of the “media perspective” that showcases the extreme nature of hoarding by a very limited element of our society. Extreme hoarding creates disorder. This is normally associated with several specific elements that apply only to extreme cases. In extreme cases, items may be collected without regards to their value. The perceived values of these items are not apparent to a reasonable person who associates value to items in a meaningful way. Quite often these so called “valuable” items are "not hidden" but are often left on display in plain sight and in a manner that shows no regard for order or reason. When taken to extremes, hoarding is also very detrimental to your health and safety.
Can a prepper be considered a hoarder? If taken in the context of “hiding treasure”, you could very well be considered a hoarder. Many times the way people perceive you is a justification for their own actions. It is well known that there are many people out there who openly admit they will just take what they want. This is simply a way for them to justify this action when they seek to “redistribute” (aka, steal) your preps. They can rationalize this action in their own minds because they perceive preppers as hoarders, which automatically make preppers the “bad guys”.
When it comes to prepping, let your conscience guide your actions. Normally the only people who will view prepping in a negative sense are the ones who expect something for nothing or who expect someone else to provide it for them when something does go wrong.
Prepping is a lifestyle that should create order and serve a useful purpose.
Got preps (aka, “hidden treasure”)? You betcha!
Staying above the water line!