Minnesota 'Preppers' plan for survival

9:12 AM, Dec 14, 2012   |    comments
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  • GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - A group of Minnesotans that feels very misunderstood is also one of the most secretive movements in the state. They are the people known as "preppers."

    Two Minnesota preppers agreed to speak with Kare 11 News with the understanding that their last names and location would not be revealed. Nick, 44, and Bridgett, are the parents of five children, ages 3-17.

    "People used to can. People used to hunt," said Bridgett, from the comfortable living room of their home outside the Twin Cities metro area. "People used to do these things just because it was not so convenient. You had to, to survive."

    To the casual observer, there was no indication that the couple was anything but a normal, mainstream Minnesota family.

    "The number one rule about being a prepper," explained Nick, "is not to tell anyone you are a prepper."

    Nick and Bridgett agreed to participate in this report because they are hosting a "Survival Preppers Expo" on Saturday, December 15th, 9am-5pm at the Thunderbird Hotel (Ramada) near the Mall of America in Bloomington. There is an admission charge for those older than 12. It is $10 in advance (by internet) and $15 at the door.

    Nick and Bridgett insist their Expo is not a gun show, nor a political or militia event.

    "We hope that penny-loafers come to the show and Birkenstocks come to the show," joked Nick. "It is the kind of show, it is for everyone. There is no political affiliation with anything."

    It is common to regard preppers, of which Nick insists that there are thousands in Minnesota, as being particularly paranoid and quick-to-violence gun toters. Nick agrees that most preppers store guns and ammunition. "I would say about 99.9% of them," he said.

    However, he and Bridgett insisted the weapons are only for self-defense in the event of what they perceive as the possible economic collapse of current society. Those without food would go after those with food.

    "If there was something like a total collapse of the economy, the people who have not prepared are going to be looking for food and that is the thing," said Bridgett. "People become desperate and that is why I think there is some fear (among preppers). We prepared ahead of time. We want to protect what we have. We want to feed our kids and I think there is some fear that there will be some, we know that there would be looting. There would be rioting in a situation like that."

    Nick and Bridgett have what appears to be an overstocked pantry with non-perishable food items and 12 cases of bottled water. They admit that they have another "spot" with more material stored. They also have two generators and fuel, preparing for the loss of electric power, as in the NBC program "Revolution."

    They believe television depictions of preppers, especially on the National Geographic Channel program "Doomsday Preppers" are not reflective of most of their ilk. "They show the most extreme cases," said Bridgett. "You know, because that makes good TV. You know, it is people who are devoting 80% of their income to preparing. I do not think most people can do that and, I think, it sort of scares people. They think, 'Oh, I am not going to be that way...that is just crazy!"

    They say they hope that ordinary folk, especially non-preppers, come to their Expo on Saturday to learn the whys and hows of prepping. For instance, Nick thinks that everyone ought to have about 3 months of food and water supplies in their homes. He said FEMA believes most homes only have about three days of supplies.

    In the event of an economic collapse, Nick and Bridgett believe survivors will revert to a barter economy. To that end, they grow their own food as much as possible and raise bees. They harvest the honey and beeswax, to use and trade with other preppers.

    "You know, like I have a friend right now that he brings me four jars of pickles for one of my jars of honey," explained Nick.

    Also, they rotate the food on their shelves, using what they have and then replacing it, so the product is relatively fresh. Only some foodstuffs from the Wise Company, are designed to last longer, about 25 years.

    "And it is not just about supplies," insisted Bridgett. "It is about sharing skills. There are people who have medical backgrounds. That would be a great person to have, people who have survival skills."

    For that purpose, preppers try to form networks of like-thinking groups. The idea is to be able to trade supplies and skills and form a new society after the assumed collapse of the old. One of the reasons for the Survival Preppers Expo is to increase networking.

    Contrary to the concept of some, most preppers are not interested in the December 21st Mayan Calendar "end of the world." After all, if the world was to end soon, why bother prepping?

    "Because you cannot really prepare for that," said Bridgett. "I mean, you have got to go to church to prepare for that!"

    Nick and Bridgett said that prepping is something they want to encourage everyone to do. "Say we are sheltered and decide it is time to come out and see the world and find you are the only person? You do not know where the next surviving person is?" said Bridgett. "I mean that is just as scary as not surviving."

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