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Are preppers role models?

When teenage Boy Scouts light campfires and bivouac in the great outdoors, it's to experience an extraordinary time of fellowship. Preppers see this as part of a survival strategy for a bleaker future, and they continue this beyond childhood and adolescence. Is this why preppers are the ones who survive the worst-case scenario and why they are role models?

What are preppers, anyway?

"Be prepared" is the expression from which the term prepper is derived. A person who is prepared for whatever the near future might bring. However, it is a person who prepares only for a possible future, for the end times of humankind. For this purpose, supplies are hoarded, bunkers are created, and often, people train on weapons. In the imagination of many preppers, the last days of humanity will be marked by the violent struggle for resources.

The film industry fuels this agenda. Particularly in the Anglican-speaking world, end-time films are booming, and almost all follow the same pattern. One or even a group of people defend themselves against total destruction. These "heroes" are not infrequent role models for young people because it is easy to identify with them. This is by no means just a temporary fashion. One of the first "heroes" of this kind hit cinemas as early as 1979. Mad Max, portrayed by Mel Gibson, very successfully embodied this type of prepper. After all, three more films of this genre followed, and the last one hit the big screen in 2015.

Preppers take the law into their own hands.

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Paintball | © Pavel Losevsky - Fotolia

In a very complex world, preppers show children and teenagers a seemingly simple way to cope with all the complicated things that come with growing up. The message is simple: shoot the bad guys and protect the weak. At the same time, the legal authorities are predominantly portrayed as ineffective in the end-time films. After leaving the cinema or turning off the video, it is left up to the respective viewer to decide who is identified as evil or weak in real life. A false image of reality manifests itself here for teenagers and young adults, who represent most consumers of end-time films, without or only equipped with little experience. Here lies the danger! This message justifies preppers doing what many of this group do, procuring weapons and using them in an emergency. It comes to no surprise that among preppers, there is an above-average number of adherents to the Nazi ideology, which regards the heroic image as a strategic component of its political manifesto. Today, this is often dressed up in a crudely defined concept of "personal responsibility," which denies the state the right to intervene in one's own life.

Fortunately, thanks to strict weapons legislation, preppers in Germany can hardly "arm up" for the "final battle," in contrast to many other countries. But how likely is such an end-time scenario? It is hardly probable because even when the number of people on this earth was much smaller than today, there was never a global crisis. Indeed today, employing atomic bombs, humankind could be brought into a catastrophic situation with billions of dead. The kind Homo Sapiens would survive nevertheless, as a community and by no means as isolated weapon fools who hide in the forest.

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