There have been a number of different opinions out there when it comes to the disclosure of one’s prepping activities. From shows like Doomsday Preppers where people are in the open about their plans with national television, to online communities such as this one where we can discuss plans and tactics without disclosing the exact nature of our plans, to in person meetings where nothing is kept in writing, the opinions of others really run the gamut.
There are benefits to disclosing one’s prepping activities. The biggest one is the selfless hope of getting those around you to help themselves prepare. If we never talk about our preparations with our friends, we have to forget about their chances when the SHTF. It’s tough to accept this. Some people do it for the wrong reasons, it’s certain that some of the people featured on Doomsday Preppers and celebrity figures online do it for the recognition. Finally, some people share their prepper activities because they believe in strength in numbers.
Of course there are drawbacks as well. I recently read an article on someone featured on the show, Alfred Dutton, that ended up being prosecuted by the local government and sentenced to 21 months in jail. The person who reported him to the authorities was his ex-wife’s boyfriend (can’t imagine why he had an axe to grind), who was approached by Dutton to show him some of the preps he was making. As the man who was taking care of his daughter part of the time with his ex-wife, Dutton had reason to be invested in his preparation.
There is also the idea of supplies being known by the general public and eventually unsavory characters. It’s also possible that people reached out to under the best intentions will turn to desperate measures after a collapse. All bets are off on common decency when peoples kids are hungry.
So should we be preparing under wraps? Situations like this make it possible to think so. There is no hard and fast answer when it comes to how you will share (or not share) your preparation plans. Things have to be approached from a perspective of risk versus reward. The key is keeping these framed in the perspective of a collapse.
Take for example, educating friends about the importance of making a bug out plan. Without disclosing one’s own plans it could be very beneficial to have someone you can trust in an emergency situation. Following up and making sure they are prepared is a win-win.
On the other hand, talking about the explosives you are making in
your house (like Alfred Dutton was) does not have much of a reward. Talking about how to prepare food or self defense with firearms would have had been much more beneficial to Alfred’s daughter if that was his concern. However, based on the immediate reward of having something cool to show your ex-wife’s girlfriend is tiny compared to the very real threat of being reported with illegal explosives. Unfortunately for many of us, the person planning on going on a killing spree and the person preparing to defend their family do not look very different from an inventory perspective to the law.