Bringing Someone Back From The Dark Side

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Jan 18, 2013
Southern Illinois (STL area)
OK, not really a "prepper" thread, but related, so please bear with me.

An acquaintance of mine has recently gone over the fence on the prepper thing. He's even going so far as trying to sell off any of his personal possessions that he thinks will be of no use or value after...well, you know. Most of that money is now being spent acquiring guns and ammo. He was just recently married, and his new wife is starting to question her own sanity in marrying him. They are (or at least were) a really great couple, and I'd hate to see him destroy that over something so silly.

So, here's my dilemma: While he's not a close friend, per se, he is a regular acquaintance and a fellow musician. Most of his closer friends have already given him up for lost, and his wife is about to throw in the proverbial towel, too. I don't want to see that happen. He's a smart guy, owns his own successful business, has a lovely wife, and was well on his way to a very good life. I don't know what happened to turn him to the dark side so quickly, but he seems unswayed by facts and logic.

Now, the THR tie-in. He's a fellow shooter and long time 2A advocate. Apart from the person connection, I don't want someone like this influencing the public perception of gun owners as nothing more than a bunch of prepper nutjobs.

Does anyone here have any first-hand experience with this who might offer some guidance on how I can bring him back into the real world? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
About the only thing you can do is hit him with the fact that he is obsessing over something that just isn't very likely and it is going to cost him a great deal in the present. His life is about to get worse, not because of zombies/monetary collapse/socialists/republicans/disease/famine/angel of death but because he is so scared of these things happening. He is going to do it to himself.
Otherwise, just wait for him to lose it all and offer to buy the guns on the cheap because he needs money to keep the lights on and tin foil hats stocked.
Perhaps he's the one living in the real world and you're the one in denial. There are a lot of warning signs that things are not as they should be. Perhaps you should see things from his point of view and get more involved with him.
Not a whole lot you can do. It's like religion or belief in alien visitation. You probably won't talk him out of it.

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and wish him the best. Even if he was family, getting yourself wound up in his decisions, convictions, and problems can't help anything and can only hurt you and yours.
It's a bit like fast draw. there's an upper limit with prepping, and a lower limit with how fast you can draw( safely) If you go past those limits, (live ammo) God Help you.
I would say to be a freind, offer advise when asked, but don't become personally involved. If he really has gone off the deep end, you're not going to talk him out of anything and you may only make an enemy. He will have to find his own way, but be there to help if he is willing to look to you.

Having said the above, we really are in bad times. I look at society today and what's good is bad and what's bad is good. We've lost our compass. We really are like the late Roman period. I don't know from where Alaric will come, but as a society we are clearly flirting with disaster. If all your freind is doing is stocking a few gallons of water, we could probably all learn from him.
OP said that the guy is buying so much g and a that he's near divorce. It's not just a few gallons of water.
Personally if that is all he is up to, I reject the classification that he has slid over into "the dark side". Anybody who is paying attention to what is going on in the US and the rest of the world could not possibly conclude that social conditions and liberty and freedom in general are improving,

What's the worst that can happen to him ? His wife and "friends" will abandon him and he will become a social outcast from the group you are including him in. Bad as that can be, compare what happens if he is wrong to what happens if the rest of your group is wrong.

And yes, there are degrees of whatever this might be, be it paranoia or whatever.

But I would be lying if I told you that what is going on in the world is what I was looking forward to, and I would probably be labeled by you as a "prepper'. I think that means becoming prepared.
Moderation. Everything in moderation.

The world has gone on for quite a long time, and will continue to do so. One can prep for possible disasters without turning one's life upside down. I would point out that even the LDS are "preppers", but they don't to turn their lives upside down to do so. The apocalypse is probably not tomorrow, and probably not in our lifetime. But all it would take is a couple years of poor harvest or a catastrophic event (a deadly flu or SARS pandemic), and the entire world would be in trouble. Prepping should not be paranoia, and slow and steady (like ammo collection!) is the way to approach it. Everyone should have a month/three months/six months of supplies. Trusting the truck to show up at the grocery store has been a good bet for the last 60 years, and will probably be so for as long as I am alive. But if it doesn't , its good to know you have supplies (that will last for 30 years) laid up to get you through (at least) the early days of a catastrophe.
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Perhaps he's the one living in the real world and you're the one in denial. There are a lot of warning signs that things are not as they should be. Perhaps you should see things from his point of view and get more involved with him.

The issue is not that the OP's friend is a prepper, it's that his prepping is becoming detrimental to not only his friends but also to his own family. When your wife is seriously considering divorce because you're selling off family assets because "when the s--- hits the fan you're not gonna need that", something is seriously wrong. Now don't get me wrong, I think it's reasonable to try to be prepared for natural disasters and such, but there is a point where reasonable and prudent become obsession.

If you're just an acquaintance it's gonna be hard to do anything to try to help him. I would think the best way to get him to listen would be a heart to heart with his wife. Maybe start there and talk to his wife and say that you're concerned and wanted to ask if there was anything you could do? If she blows it off you've done all you can, but if she wants help you might be able to give her a hand in whatever she thinks is prudent.
Does your Friend spend lots of time of the internet? If so, offer to take him out to the bars/game/park/etc. Sites like THR and the like really do make me more paranoid about... you know.

As for spending all your money on guns and ammo, it could be worse. What's she gonna do, ask for half the ammo in the divorce?

Finally and seriously, if your friend is really acting strange and "going off the deep end", you may want to take him to see his doctor. Seriously, mental illness can be quite insidious.
I would tend to agree with those who have said to leave him to his own devices. He is a grown man and can make his own life decisions.

However, if you happen to have a heart to heart with him, maybe just ask him who he is wanting to protect? If he says his family, then express to him that if he keeps on with his current direction, he may not have a family to protect anyway. Choose your words carefully of course. If he says himself, well there you go. Leave him to it.
There is more to being a "prepper" than guns and ammo. Guns and ammo are just a small part of being prepared. One also has a food supply, a water supply, a power supply, a medical supply,transportation to deal with whatever situations may come their way.

You know under conditions those up north have been going through with the weather and power outages you can be sure that any known prepper has neighbors knocking on their door hoping to warm themselves. So this so called person you say that has gone to the dark side is just a person who sees being prepared for events like a power loss or worse as a responsibility to provide for and protect their family. Anyone who does not see this is doomed.

Hopefully his wife, friends and acquaintances see the light and ensure that they and their family will be protected when such incidents disrupt their daily lives.

It's better to have and not need than to need and not have.
Does anyone here have any first-hand experience with this who might offer some guidance on how I can bring him back into the real world? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Point out to him that amatures fall on the wrong side of the guns or butter issue all the time in prepping and that he should save himself the pathetic learning curve failures and focus on those successful preppers that incorporate the concepts into their normal family life. Financial stability and flexibility trump arms rooms. Training and knowledge trump thousand of rounds. Relocating to a viable location NOW and then trump spider holes. Amatures fall prey to all the disruptive practices and knowledgable people live apparently normal lives with depth and good foundations.
sure, some short term, personal preps, and maybe the marriage is doomed anyway. But unless he knows to hide all those preps, he's just giving them to his killer. Ditto if he lacks the fighting skills to defend them.
Well, if you're selling all your "unnecessary" worldly goods - non-4WD cars, motorcycles, musical instruments, home electronics, etc. - in order to buy as much ammo as your house can hold in order to fend off a pending zombie apocalypse, then yeah, I'd label you a "prepper," and that is definitely what I would consider "the dark side." It's much more than just keeping some extra water on-hand (who doesn't do that). I thought that was pretty clear from the original post. Sorry if it wasn't.

I agree that we don't have to look too hard to see that things are not necessarily as they should be. However, fortifying your home against the undead and black helicopters just, to me, doesn't seem healthy.

I don't want to tell him what to do with his life. That's not for me to say. But when you see someone making what most consider a terrible mistake, do you just stand back and let it happen, shake your head and say, "Tsk, tsk ... too bad for him." Or, as a member of the same society of humanity do you feel some obligation to at least try to steer them to a better path? Isn't that what we do here on THR? Steer people toward a higher road with regards to firearms?

I'm reading a lot of criticisms for my attempts to help someone, and many reasons why I shouldn't get involved. But, I have yet to read any other personal experiences with such a situation. That's really what I was looking for here.

Is it my place to correct the situation? Maybe not. But I have yet to see where bad things just go away on their own without at least a little help from good people.
Telling him he's making "noob" mistakes is an attempt to stear him towards rational behavior.
Just curious, why is he buying so many guns? Even the most hardcore preppers have only two hands. I can understand having a few spares, a few different types of guns, as in for defense and hunting, but beyond that wouldn't the extra cash be better spent on food, water and shelter?
Telling him he's making "noob" mistakes is an attempt to stear him towards rational behavior.
True enough.

As I've already noted, most of his close friends have pretty much given up on him. One of them was talking to me about it last night, and was practically begging me to intervene. I'm the only other member of this group of people who has any interest in firearms, and I guess they thought I might have a solution. I didn't. I've never encountered this on a personal level. I was wondering if someone here had such an experience with someone they knew, and would have some sage advice.

I do appreciate all the responses. It's a tough subject to breach, especially here.
But Mel Tappan said that you "need" 32 different types of guns, to include over/unders for taking quail! :) And at least 1000 rds of ammo for each centerfire, and at least 5000 rds of .22's. and as a long term diabetic paraplegic 300 lber in a Wheelchair, Mel definitely knew all about combat and hunting, with current gear. The reason this is true is Pachmayr's and King's lent him the guns to photograph for his book and told him enough about them to make him sound somewhat knowledgable (to the amateur, at least).
Sounds more like a previous generation Survivalist than the current crop of Preppers.
I get the impression that such people are not planning on self sufficiency, but mean to live by banditry and brigandage from those who do.
There was a pretty high level engineer where I work who quit his job and moved to a ranch for Y2K.

In general "something will happen" and "Nothing will happen" both represent psychological denial. The realistic position is "something might happen".

Nothing wrong with planning for contingencies but they are contingencies. Selling off your possessions seems pretty stupid.

Devil's advocate here: Something "bad" is going to happen eventually. It always does. It'll probably be very temporary but could last for weeks or months or even years. Earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, drought, disruption of fuels supplies, economic issues... whatever.

Me? I just store three months supply of food and water plus lots of ammo. I don't own many firearms... a beefy .22 caliber pellet gun, .223 Rem, .30-06 and a 12ga shotgun. I'd like to have 300 AAC and .458 SOCOM uppers but funds are too restrictive.

EDIT: Why three months supply just for me plus one dog and one cat? Because I know my neighbors (who WON'T be prepared) will ask for help when disaster does strike... and it WILL... eventually. If we need two weeks supply then "maybe" I'll have enough to hold some of us together. Do I WANT to loan my supplies (in "today's world" that means GIVE AWAY). No, I don't and I sure as heck can't afford to... but lack of ethics, nonexistent delayed gratification, and "total dependency" on our local grocer is the reality of things today.
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Bringing Someone Back From The Dark Side

Tough to do.

Now I collect guns cause I LIKE guns. I shoot combat cause I LIKE to shoot combat. I have been in the martial for over 35 years cause I like the martial arts.

But not cause of any TEOTWAWKI dreams.

Can this country go to pot?


Can the world slide into barbarism?


Will it?

Sure.. slowly over time. It always does if you look at history.

But that does not mean going nutso and living in a cave will help.


If you want to stop it... VOTE. Get involved. Help your community. Lean to build things and be useful.

Running and hiding won't save you, that is for sure. All you will do is DIE IN A CAVE.

Let him know that.

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