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What Do You Mean, "Not A 'Survivalist' Site?"

I am occasionally asked what we mean when we say that Equipped To Survive is "not a 'survivalist' site." A few decades ago, a survivalist was someone who was interested in the tools and methods used to survive in an emergency. More recently the term has been usurped by the popular media to describe individuals and groups that foresee a general collapse of our society via internal or external political forces, catastrophic environmental destruction, nuclear war, the apocalypse, and other such unlikely (though not impossible) holocausts.

The focus of Equipped To Survive is survival preparedness, preparing to get through a short-term emergency to return to civilization, either via rescue or by normalization of the situation as the emergency conditions cease. Survivalists and survivalism anticipate that the emergency or emergency conditions are permanent, that there will be no civilization as we know it to return to and no help or rescue--you're on your own forevermore, or at least for an extended period. The recent fiasco regarding Y2K is a classic example of this sort of thinking on a large scale.

Added notoriety has become associated with the term because among modern day survivalists there is often an element of extreme paranoia and anti-government hostility. There may also be elements of nationalism, racism, religious prejudice, or similar bigotry. Some act as individuals, others form or join groups with agendas of various extremity. Some pursue an active anti-social agenda and we then call them hate groups, or worse, terrorists. Any wonder the term "survivalist" has taken on a negative connotation?

Survival and survival preparedness deals with issues of individuals or small groups unexpectedly placed into time-limited situations without the normal supports of society, when calling 911 and the ensuing arrival of assistance within minutes is not an option; forced landings of aircraft in the wilderness, ship sinkings, getting trapped in sudden weather shifts, natural disasters of limited duration such as floods, hurricanes or earthquakes, etc. These most usually involve coping with all the travails Mother Nature can throw at us. No death clouds, black helicopters, men in black or invasions from the Duchy of Fenwick.

While there are those who are interested in survival preparedness that are also concerned about the ills of society and how it might affect their own and civilization's long-term survival, we don't deal with those issues here. We deal with the tools used to survive conventional emergency and survival situations, which just so happen to often be the same tools and techniques these modern survivalists are interested in for their own purposes. Thus, there's a lot of cross-pollination, as it were, between the groups.

Bottom line, on Equipped To Survive we focus on survival preparedness, not survivalism. There are plenty of places on the Web dealing with the latter, if that's where your interests lie. By keeping that tight focus, Equipped To Survive is an appropriate resource for the entire family, kids and adults alike.

Thanks to Chris Kavanaugh and Cliff Grout whose well worded postings in a discussion on this topic in The Survival Forum on ETS I have made liberal use of.

Doug Ritter

© 2001 Douglas S. Ritter and Equipped To Survive Foundation, Inc. - All rights reserved.