Today, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a piece entitled "Some Mormons stocking up amid fears that doomsday could come this month." In a sub headline, the paper states "‘Preppers’ » Citing prophecies, politics and economy, many expect a catastrophe by the end of September."
I could pick this article apart quote by quote, but in the interest of efficiency, I'll trust you'll go read it for yourself (it will take less than a minute to do so).
Just yesterday, I posted a situation report - which is different from a forecast - outlining things I feel a prepared citizenry should monitor in the coming months. I chose not to mention this story (a Mormon friend tipped me off to it last week during my trip to Salt Lake City) in large part because accurately forecasting any sort of cataclysmic event is tough enough. And when part of your forecasting algorithm calls for factoring in such things as religious holidays, astronomical events and numerology, your methodology goes from simply trying to connect dots to injecting subjective factors which have no correlation to the geopolitical and economic events at hand.
Don't get me wrong; I'm a man of Christian faith who believes there will be a day of reckoning at some point. Yet I'm also aware those same scriptures which predict such dire events also tell us that we are incapable of predicting such events ourselves.
More importantly for our purposes - the goal of creating a culture of preparedness - how do you think the following text from the article impacts the non-prepping reader?
Here's how the doomsday scenario plays out: History, some preppers believe, is divided into seven-year periods — like the Hebrew notion of "shemitah" or Sabbath. In 2008, seven years after 9/11, the stock market crashed, a harbinger of a devastating recession. It's been seven years since then, and Wall Street has fluctuated wildly in recent weeks in the wake of China devaluing its currency.
Thus, they believe, starting Sept. 13, the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, there will be another, even larger financial crisis, based on the United States' "wickedness." That would launch the "days of tribulation" — as described in the Bible.
They say Sept. 28 will see a full, red or "blood moon" and a major earthquake in or near Utah. Some anticipate an invasion by U.N. troops, technological disruptions and decline, chaos and hysteria.
The Salt Lake Tribune confirms what I wrote in Pivot Points:
[W]hy are those who call themselves “preppers” still viewed as part of a lunatic fringe, portrayed as a group of people who hope and pray they get to use their AR-15 rifles in shoot outs with their neighbors, snacking on freeze dried ice cream sandwiches in between fire fights? Even National Geographic’s television show entitled “Doomsday Preppers” is part of a series the network calls “American Outliers,” implying that those who are preparing for harder times are not in the main stream culture of America. Our government and various nongovernment organizations (NGOs) encourage people to prepare….yet those who do are chastised by many in the main stream media as uneducated and unwashed.
Yeah. I pretty much nailed that call.
And that's the problem with such stories: preppers are always portrayed as people readying themselves for the apocalypse. Again, from Pivot Points:
And even when the mainstream media portrays preppers as being somewhat enlightened, it’s done so in a backhanded compliment, proclaiming that preppers are focused primarily on some sort of doomsday event. The notion that preppers are only concerned about being self-sufficient for the apocalypse serves as a signal to the rest of us: even when we are portrayed as being insightful, it’s only because we are allegedly obsessed about a full bore collapse of society. You will note that those who take steps to prepare for crises are never portrayed as doing so to handle the more common emergencies, such as power outages, wildfires, injuries around the home and severe weather events.
This perception is one of the things we will have to work to overcome if we are to successfully build a culture of preparedness.
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