Across the U.S., “preppers” have been planning for an event like the coronavirus pandemic for years. Now, as a run on toilet paper and necessary supplies have created vast lines and panic in our nation’s supermarkets and stores, some are able to sit back and relax — while being humble enough to avoid saying “I told you so.” “We’re not laughing. We’re not saying ‘I told you so,’ when people are out there fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizers,” said Ohio resident Paul Buescher. Buescher shares a farm with 32 other members of a group in Ohio. It’s packed with enough canned and dehydrated food and water to last for years. As the coronavirus continues to spread, he says people call him all day long asking for advice. Penny Richards, a postal carrier, has continued to “prep” after a tornado impacted her area nine years ago and killed dozens of people. “The apocalypse is not a thing that’s going to happen,” she said, according to AL.com. “But if you think about being prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you’re probably going to be prepared for the coronavirus.” Preppers don’t always describe themselves as the doomsday type. Some hunker down because of their distrust of the government, others by fear of disasters or disease. Darron Taylor — a prepper on a Keto diet from Alabama who grows his own food — has stayed vigilant because of what he calls “the three D’s of life: death, disease and disaster.” He even has a channel on YouTube titled “Mayhem Country Living,” which teaches prepping, survival skills, growing and preparing foods, or simply live-chatting with his audience. “I have not shot a zombie ever in my life,” he told the website. “Birds are real, they aren’t drones… and then there are no lizard people that I’ve met, but I have eaten three times a day, every day, for 51 years.” The coronavirus has also triggered a massive spike in firearms and ammunition sales, which could be attributed to the public being reactive to the virus — a stark contrast when compared to the approach by preppers. “Families are social distancing and stocking up on food and supplies at home.” Robyn Sandoval, 45, executive director of the Austin-based “A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League,” told Fox News. “The outbreak is creating a lot of anxiety in our communities. Families who have prepared at home want to be equipped to protect themselves from any looters or violence.” Christoper Price, who owns a preppers store in Alabama says some people have blamed preppers for panic buying when in reality, he said, their methodical approach has afforded them the luxury of not needing to. “There are people out there blaming preppers for panic buying, that’s totally wrong,” he told AL.com. “You can’t start prepping right now, it’s too late.” Others, like James Charles, the leader of the New York City Preppers Network, have been sharing their survival knowledge to people online when it comes to being prepared for a situation like COVID-19. “I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t be nervous; this is not the time to panic,’” he said in an interview, according to the New York Times. “This is why we get ready. This is our wheelhouse.”
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