I don't like the term "survivalist." It evokes in the eyes of the public a tin hat wearing, gun toting, insane wierdo waiting for TEOTWAEKI.
I think of myself as someone who has learned from life experience, is prepared, having assessed risks in my community, remaining alert to hazards, situationally aware and willing to share my knowledge and resources with my neighbors, friends and family, without being paranoid.
As Brigham Young said, "It's cheaper to feed the Indians than to fight them."
And Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
I am not looking forward to or "hoping" for a TEOTWAWKI event. I do try to have options available to me in the event of another hurricane arrives, any kind of transportation HazMat event occurs near me, people in my vicinity suddenlyb change from being zombies to being stupid zombies, and all the rest of the realistic possibilities of things that can go wrong.
My idea of a "Survivalist" consists of people who fear AND hope for a TEOTWAWKI event and that do the planning & logistics to be on top of the pile of crap that remains afterwards. On Top refers to be in command of what and who has survived!! That's my OPINION!
I never really cared for the term when it was used by people who didn't know what they were talking about as a description of some kind of dirty, half crazed woods dweller living off berries and roots and shooting at anything that moved. When it was used to describe someone that was self-sufficent in their daily life and prepared for emergencys that happen.......willing to defend their family from being done harm.........responsible for their own actions and willing to standup for the freedoms this country was founded on.........well I didn't mind it at all..........
I've been involved in this lifestyle since the late 70's and I can tell you I've met all kind of people. Some in suits and ties, some blue collar and..... yes some that were a little on the "Strange" side.
But...............They all had one thing in common......
When bad times came thay did not want to be hearded in among the "Sheep" to be dependent on others for themselves or their families survival.
"The survival of the fittest", natural selection's "Fortunate sons" sacrifice some delusional luxuries as a head-start into the near futures' frontier of forced changes, environmentally and socially interwined. I like to call myself an "opportunivore" and defining a survivalist could be interesting, or purely a glorifying excercise in affirmation.
being raised around the primitive way of life for 2 decades, my idea of a survivalist would be something like a mountain man. self suffecient, able to care for his family and have a basic understanding of how to provide for them. i have met alot of people that dont even know how to start a fire ( flint, steel, charcloth and jute, with some twigs and small branches ) let alone build their own house from timber, hunt and forage for food, or even grow their own food! my idea of a survivalist is someone who doesnt mind being shunned a bit by his fellow man for being "prepared" and "ready". we folk have few friends, but the ones we have we can trust with our lives and the lives of our family.
I guess my theory differs from that of the general consensus. I'm thinking of someone who can easily adapt in any environment, for better or worse. Someone that is outside their "comfort zone" yet is able to maintain the same quality of life anywhere.
The media has abused the term over the years, no doubt about that.
I don't think that should stop us from using it IN friendly circles though. I.e, don't tell your neighbor you consider yourself a "survivalist"
IMO, a survivalist is someone that looks at life and tries to lessen the outside control and influences on his life. Someone who takes responsibility for his well being and that of his family. Obviously there is going to be varying levels of this. Some will think a "72 hour kit" will be enough, others realize the need for a year supply of food.
Some will take to homesteading as a ways to prolong there supplies also.
When you think about it preparedness is like having a warehouse. No matter how much you put in the warehouse, eventually it's going to run out. Homesteading and self sufficiency efforts are like having a factory that produces more goods for the warehouse. That way the warehouse might get low on certain items, but it never truly runs out of everything.
Eventually you want to own the warehouse AND the factory.
I agree with Denny, the term "survivalist" should conform to any environment, urban, suburban, rural, remote. It is a person who is aware of their environment, their needs, how their environment can change for the worse and prepares to meet their needs at all times.