Depending on the circles you run in, the word “prepper” has different connotations. Its use in the media on shows with exaggerated premises about crackpots building camouflaged tree houses has made the idea of “being prepared” for disaster somewhat laughable, but among people that have spent some time in failed states, impoverished nations, or places with nefarious and brutal governments, “prepping” isn’t a hobby or a recent trend. It’s just a part of your day.

I don’t consider myself a “prepper,” but I’ve certainly been referred to as one in friendly conversations with my less security minded friends. If you’re the type of guy with extra water storage and some firepower, you’ve probably heard the same jokes:

“Well, when the zombie apocalypse comes, I’m heading to your house!”

Here in the United States, where we only pretend this week’s raging hashtag is the end of the world, the idea of being prepared for a bad situation seems laughable — after all, the police are a phone call away, the fire department doesn’t charge for their services, Netflix is streaming and your local Wal-Mart is fully stocked with everything you could ever need. By the standards of much of the world, the United States is a bountiful Utopia… what on earth could change that?