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In: Social Issues

Submitted By piersespillane
Words 907
Pages 4
Pierse Spillane
Sociology 101
Professor Lape
March 5, 2013
Survival of the Fittest Certain subcultures throughout the world are more extreme than the next. One of the more extreme subcultures is a group called survivalists. Survivalists do what they sound like- they survive. Survivalists are people who prepare for disasters. They spend their time learning how to survive and are consumed by the fact that something can go wrong at any time. Survivalists have distinct characteristics, the members have collective goals and beliefs, and mainstream culture develops a rather critical view of them. Today, survivalists can be everyday people, so it is hard to distinguish who is a survivalist and how large the group is. In the past, survivalists stuck out more. They could live in the woods or build an underground bunker. More recent survivalists do not like to be pinned as a survivalist. They want to be more discrete about their efforts. Founder of American Preppers Network says, “in fact, many preppers go out of their way to avoid the stereotypes that come along with the survivalist label” (Rise). Because survivalists are so low-key, there is no way to tell exactly how many survivalists are out there. But we do know that, depending on the frequency of natural disasters and event like Y2k, terrorist attacks and armmagedon, the number of survivalists fluctuate. As for who could be a survivalist, it could be anyone. Normal, everyday people who have steady jobs or live in the suburbs could be preparing themselves for anything. They are not easily identifiable because anyone could be a survivalist. Survivalists all believe in the notion that catastrophes can occur when you’re least expecting it, so the idea is to be prepared for one as best as you possibly can. Survivalists prepare for economic or social meltdowns, and natural disasters. They collect supplies such as canned goods, weapons, flash lights, and build alternative shelters. Basically survivalists are people who prepare in times of desperate measures, however they take it to an extreme. For example the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary resulted from the efforts of a survivalist. Adam Lanza’s mother was stockpiling weapons in preparation for disasters. When Adam Lanza got hold of the weapons he shot multiple children and faculty, including his own mother, in the school. Adam Lanza’s story does not define all survivalists, it only depicts how seriously people take it. Although it’s not easy to directly identify a survivalist, they typically are people who worry easily and are always on defense. They analyze the chances of certain event occurring and immediately react when one does. One of the earlier examples of a survivalist are those who prepared for communist invasions during the Cold War. People knew who survivalists were because they built underground bunkers in case of missile attacks. In the 1960s survivalism was more identifiable because it was a time of war (way). Survivalism can come in three stages- passive, preparative, and aggressive (cberelet). Passive survivalist are not as intense, but aware of the fact that disaster could strike at any moment. They simply wait to see if anything worth stressing over will occur. If they do, they’ll begin to prepare. Preparative survivalists are those who collect. They store supplies in case of evacuation or they need to remain in their homes for long periods of time and form groups for support. They preform the basis of survivalism. The third group is the most extreme. The aggressive survivalists act no matter what risk or even there is no warning. They are constantly on edge and almost wait for something bad to happen. Mainstream culture views survivalists depending on how extreme the individuals are. To some, survivalism is all over. Everyone prepares for something to happen. Our governments take measures and set up plans in case of an emergency. Same with schools and many other institutions. Today, we’ve witnessed a large number of natural disasters and terrorist attacks, so in a way, everyone is on their feet. However, cases like Sandy Hook Elementary give survivalism a bad name. After witnessing the horrible attack and learning that Lanzo’s mother was a survivalist, people think survivalists are dangerous and paranoid, and only cause more disastrous events. But as we’ve mentioned before, in the 1960’s it was common to be a survivalist, so survivalists were not viewed in bad light. Mainstream society will form opinions on survivalism given certain circumstances. There is no one collective opinion on the subculture because there is really no fine line to calling oneself a survivalist or just being prepared. Survivalism can be a more extreme subculture, however it is more common than people believe it to be. Survivalism is not a hobbie or something one enjoys doing. It is a way of life, where people constantly work towards preparing themselves for whatever may come. Bibliography cberlet. (n.d.). Daily Kos: Survivalism, Apocalyptic Aggression, and Violence. Daily Kos :: News Community Action. Retrieved March 7, 2013, from

Rise of the Preppers: America's New Survivalists - Newsweek and The Daily Beast. (n.d.). The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 7, 2013, from

way, t. (n.d.). Nothing New Under the Wingnut Sun: 'Survivalism' | The Nation. The Nation. Retrieved March 7, 2013, from

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