Are you a ‘prepper’?

If you’re a fan of the show “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic Channel, then you are also familiar with the terms “prepper,” “bug out,” and “i.n.c.h. bag.” If you haven’t heard of it, you might think it’s just a show about more crazy people who think the world is about to end. Especially since an “i.n.c.h. bag” is a large bag of supplies where the acronym stands for I’m Never Coming Home. In other words, this is a bag you take with you when you have to leave or “bug out” and have no plans on returning home.

In reality, the families and individuals featured on the show are concerned about all sorts of possible disasters. It’s not about people who fear the end of the world on December 21, 2012, but, rather, those who are concerned with an economic crisis, natural disasters, biological and nuclear attacks and a global energy crisis.

Regardless of the likelihood of any of the above scenarios, each episode features those who go to the extreme to prepare for such disasters. Their efforts are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 by a panel of experts. The higher the score, the better prepared the person or family is.

I like watching the show because it is a reminder that it is prudent to be prepared for emergencies. Recent natural disasters and the fall of governments have proven that nothing and no situation should be taken for granted.

I like to see people honestly prepare to take care of themselves and others in the event of a crisis, but I get concerned that the participants have taken prepping to the extreme.

In TV land, reality shows that feature extremes are becoming more popular. But to what end? Can anyone ever really be sufficiently prepared? Or when is too much too much? How do we find the line before we cross it?

I ask because these questions really ask us to consider how much preparation is prudent and then we put our trust in God, and when have we forgotten that God has promised to supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory?

I’m all for trusting in the gifts of the Lord. I’m also a strong believer in using the resources God has given us to prepare for the times of famine; not because I’m a pessimist, but because there will be rainy days and there will be times of feast and famine.

I’m not a “prepper” like the people on TV, but I’ll probably be stocking up on a few more supplies, just in case. It’s like in the zombie apocalypse documentary I watched last month; while we may never need worry about a zombie apocalypse, the show left viewers with this piece of advice: “If you prepare for the impossible, you’ll be prepared for the inevitable.”

What do you think? When does preparing for disasters and such go too far?

Peter Larson and his family relax in their underground bunker, which they use as a weekend getaway. (from by James Callanan)

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.