The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 2, 2013

Krohn: Home is where the stockpile is

By Tim Krohn
Free Press Staff Writer

— Marjory Wildcraft is a self-proclaimed survivalist expert and author of a new book on how to pick out the perfect survival homestead or retreat.

She writes for people who call themselves “preppers” — those who have prepared for America’s collapse by learning survival skills and stockpiling food, tools and weaponry.

Her criteria for finding a good place to live to make a last stand include plentiful water, good exposure to the sun, a hilltop location with panoramic views, a diverse local economy and low housing costs.

Which sounds like the same criteria most people use to look for a place to live. 

Except the best regions of the country for preppers are mostly out West in sparsely populated areas. But there’s a reason no one lives in those areas — they’re harsh, inhospitable, lonely and just not much fun, which is one reason there really aren’t that many preppers.

She notes in her book that “most of us have reluctant spouses or children that just don’t get it.” No kidding. Do you want to be the one to tell your 15-year-old daughter you’re going to move to Yaak, Montana, and learn to make dry-jerk jackrabbit?

I’m all for learning to be more self reliant — gardening, knowing how to fish and kill an animal, build a fire and sharpen an ax. It’s good for the soul, keeps us closer to our ancestral roots, can come in handy at times, and is a nice antidote to the noise and speed of the world.

Heck, most farms in the area could be considered survivalist homesteads. Pretty much everyone around my northern Minnesota cabin could make it if Minnesota suddenly fell off the grid for some reason.

I’m guessing most people who consider themselves survivalists didn’t arrive where they are because they held a rational, sincere belief in societal collapse. They’re where they’re at because they failed at other things and ended up broke and resenting the government and decided they need to grow gardens if they want to eat.

It has to be frustrating being a prepper because you never actually get to prove you are right or get to use all the nifty skills you’ve learned, or eat the vats of Great Northern beans you have stored in the root cellar next to the Jerrycans full of kerosene.

The country has gone through great depressions, great recessions, epidemics, Nazi and Soviet attempts to take over the world and Richard Simmons — and yet we just keep functioning as a basically law and order society, fully capable of stocking grocery shelves and producing electricity.

The survivalists have to feel like all those people who sold all their belongings, told their in-laws what they really thought of them and then went on the hilltop to wait for the end of the world to hit on a specific date, only to wake up the next morning in the same old world with no money and relatives who are now so not going to help them.

Of course, unlike the end-of-the-earth types, the survivalists still have a nice bunker and canned chicken left whether the country collapses or not.

Tim Krohn is a Free Press staff writer. He can be contacted at 344-6383 or tkrohn@mankatofreepress.com.