The Importance Of The Right Label

5 August, 2014



As a Kid of 12, I had already labeled myself a “Survivalist”. I watched “The Day After” and knew I had to learn how to survive such a catostrophic event.  I had a desire to learn all I could about every facet of self sufficiency, whether It was fighting the Ruskies (Ala, “Red Dawn”) with small unit tactics, and running a highly efficient combat rifle, or gardening, and hydroponics. My first issue of a survival magazine, did nothing but wet my appetite to fulfill these desires. Here’s a pic of that first issue (yes, I still have it, ask Mosby)


The term “Survivalist” became a term that was used, abused and distorted by liberals and their minions in the 80’s, and was used anytime a group with nefarious intentions (neo nazi’s, etc.) was in the news. I remember watching a 20/20 segment on “Survivalists”, and even though some of it was OK, the majority was misleading at best, and an outright lie at worst.

Enter the 90’s, where we had situations involving Ruby Ridge/the Weavers, Waco, and Oklahoma City, and the term “Militia” started to overtake the “Survivalist” label to a degree, as being the new boogieman title. At the end of the 90’s, we started hearing a term describing those that were getting ready for the Y2K event, and that term was “Prepper”. The term “Prepper” was apparently politically correct, at least as much as a term describing a self reliant individual could be. My take on the “preppers” of that time frame was that they wanted to be ready, just in case, but they generally didn’t want people around them to know they were “nutty” preparedness types.

Since the 90’s, we’ve had a few scares that smacked people out of their “situational awareness slumber”, but for the most part,  people have stayed asleep. One of those events was 9/11, and still another was Katrina. All the while, the average person that readies him or herself for a cataclysmic event, is still calling themselves “Prepper”. I believe there are three types of people that call themselves “Prepper”. 1) Is the “New to preparedness” types, who just don’t know any other term to use. 2) Are those who are hobbyist preppers.  They have nothing better to do with their time right now, and “prepping” is somewhat in vogue. These are the types that would cease and desist tomorrow, if the feds said it was no longer legal, without so much as a peep, except the complaint of time and money invested. 3) Are those who are actually “Survivalist”, but don’t have the guts to admit this, for fear of being thought of as a “Nut”

This is one of my favorite quotes describing what I think a “Survivalist” is.

.”A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.”             Robert A. Heinlein

A “Survivalist” is one who isn’t afraid of the task ahead. Even though those tasks appear foreboding. The “Survivalist” is optimistic about the outcome of any future calamity, and realizes that being prepared for anything is a lifestyle, not a hobby. A “Survivalist” doesn’t give two shits about being politically correct. since reality dictates that “The politically correct” will be the first to die. This is true, when you consider their lack of foresight and the unending need for their “perception of things” to be real, and that perception will always override the true “reality of things” in their mind. Max did two interesting posts here and here, concerning the perception of labels and titles for those that desire to be, or are self reliant.

I have been asked plenty of times if I am in a militia. My response generally is a variation of “Although we are all part of “The Militia”, I am not part of “A Militia”, I am a Survivalist and a trainer, plain and simple. I train people in “Survivalist” skills. whether it be a married couple, learning wilderness survival skills and empty hand combatives, or a militia unit, learning squad and detachment level small unit tactics.

I’m sick to death of the least qualified and worthy among us (liberals, socialists, entitlement apologists, “reality” theorists, etc.) dictating what we can say, do, or call ourselves, all the while using an imbecilic, juvenile, and petulant media to forward their twisted utopian agenda. Guess what? I could give a rat’s ass what someone thinks of me, my decisions, or the fact that I call myself a ‘SURVIVALIST”.

I AM A SURVIVALIST, not a Prepper! I don’t need to use a politically correct term (or make a new one LOL) to describe my less than politically correct mindset and actions. My concern for the mental fragility of those who piss their pants if they think someone in the room is armed, let alone think someone in close proximity is prepared for TEOTWAWKISTAN ( a mystical place full of many challenging situations, especially for the unprepared), is non existent, and bordering on an open hostility towards them for expecting others to take up the slack, when a survival situation occurs.

August '86 Wolverine

Me “The Survivalist” at fifteen, with my “Survival” gun a .223 over 20 ga Savage M24

As a kid I read books and articles by Tappan, Cooper, Gear, Angier, Duncan,and Benson. Some, I’ve realized should be taken with a grain of salt. Others were spot on in every aspect, but I can honestly say I learned something from every one of them. One of the themes that runs rampant through a lot of their writings, is being responsible for yourself, and making self sufficiency a way of life in every aspect. Except for Brad Angier, none of them really had a “Lone survivor” type mindset or approach to survival living (he lived in a very remote area, with only his wife). The majority advocated “Survival Groups”, as the smartest way to efficiently go about the task of living through a calamity.

Whether it is an extended family group, or a small social group, working as a team is the way “Survivalists” will survive (“Why Survivalists Will Survive The Apocalypse” was what my Senior year term paper topic was in HS). If you don’t have a group (family, or social) learn what you can through training and education, because after SHTF, you will be a resource that will save lives. Learning to survive alone, and planning to survive alone are two different things. The difference is similar to the difference between “Living” and “Existing”. Don’t make the mistake of going it alone, if given a choice.

What’s my definition difference between a “Survivalist” and a “Prepper”? A “Survivalist” has a mindset that makes preparing for bad times a lifestyle and looks forward to the training, education, and acquiring of the means to accomplish that goal. A lot of the “Preppers” I’ve met, on the other hand, seem to have a mindset similar to “If I acquire enough stuff, I’ll be fine.” A number of them don’t want to be “labelled” as that “Nutty Survivalist”, or a “Bert Gummer” (personally, I liked the Bert Gummer “survivalist” character in “Tremors”).


Bert Gummer, “Survivalist” extraordinaire.


Here’s the problem. If you’re not willing to use a term that aptly describes you and the choices you’ve made about your lifestyle due to a societal faux pas, and because it might cause you mental anguish. Why would anyone think you could be counted on when things get physically tough? Whether you are a “Survivalist”, or a “Militia” member, NUT THE HELL UP ALREADY! If we’re right and somethin’ is a’comin’, you’re gonna need ’em.


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

20 thoughts on “The Importance Of The Right Label

  1. Im a militia member.. and I dont hide it.. hell, I broadcast it. I try to lead by example.. the label issue is one that has caused many people to shy away from the militia, due to (as mentioned above) the stigma placed on us by the lame stream media. A rel thorn in my side to say the least…. to those who are afraid of Labels, I say, shit or get off the pot… its long past the time to pick sides… what you do now will alter, extend or even shorten your life expectency.. Think about it.

  2. I read a lot of the survivalist books when I was a teenager,also read a lot on the native American tribes,and the war waged against them in the American west.
    There was a book I read at some point in the early 70’s titled “My Side of the Mountain”,about a kid from the big city who just hitch hiked to somewhere deep in the Adirondacks,and survived by himself for years,just by living off the land.
    My grandfather gave me the Foxfire books,after he had read them. I learned a lot from my grandparents,and their brothers and sisters,great grandfather was a blacksmith,and operated a sawmill in the mountains of West Virginia,in Tucker county,the farm and sawmill still existed when I was a little kid-learned a lot from that too.

    I’ve been a member of a militia,but the people “in charge” were opposed to learning modern combat techniques and SUT-so I said goodbye to them.

    Been a hunter all my life-since 8 or 9 years old,still hunt,and bowhunt a lot,I know how to process every game animal in north America,and multiple methods of preserving the meat.
    We have 2 gardens,can a ton of what we grow,have a half dozen laying hens and one rooster,so that’s another food source/survival source.

    I’m long past giving a fuck what people call me-survivalist,prepper,gun nut-none of it bothers me-I just keep learning all I can about survival,keep in as good of physical shape as I can,train with a small group,and try to wake others up to the insanity going on in our country.

    • You bring back memories. I read “My side of the Mountain” way back when also, I think they made a movie about it. I think he spent a summer in the Catskills as a 14-yr-old, IIRC. Spent a little over a year in WV also, my senior year of high school (Hurricane, betw. Charleston & Huntington, class of ’76). Fond memories there.
      I don’t have quite your background in outdoors stuff, but not far behind ya. Staying in shape too. Wish I had the income to set myself up as you have, but I’ll just have to deal with what comes as best I can. Keep learning, stay flexible in all ways, and never say die.

  3. Pingback: JC Dodge: The Importance Of The Right Label | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. Sounds like we are about the same age and had the same ideas, the same experiences, the same influences. Good to know I wasn’t the only one my age who could look at the long view.

  5. Or you could simply tell anyone that cares enough to ask…

    “I am a man.”

    Go ahead and say it loud and proud. It is the ultimate in dissident chic.

    • Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell anyone whether you’re a responsible self reliant individual, or an entitlement bitch who expects the world to support them. To many guys want to be called “men” but haven’t got a clue what it means.

  6. MDT,

    I think you’re my long lost brother. Was a survivalist at 13/14 as well, after reading “Alas Babylon,” and began to acquire skills of all types. Joined the Marines to learn more. Had a garden at every base I was stationed, even a balcony one on Okinawa! I hunted, fished, taught myself trapping until I found a buddy in HS who was doing it as well an teamed up. My motto: “Never Quit. Never Surrender.”

    I recommend the book, “Backyard Homestead,” for all.

    Semper Fi to all

    • Yup, Alas Babylon, Wolf and Iron, Lucifer’s Hammer, I have the whole “The Survivalist” paperback series (kinda cheesy). I still have all my back issues of Survival Guide, American Survival Guide, and Survive magazines.

  7. way to draw a line. political correctness has polluted every other aspect of our society and vocabulary. it can stay away from the self-sufficient among us.

    I’m always looking for a book recommendation. You mentioned some authors. Please consider a post listing your recommendations and why. (My apologies if you’ve already done this.)

  8. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

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