With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the SAPIENS podcast is going viral. In this first episode of season 3, SAPIENS hosts Chip Colwell and Jen Shannon revisit a story about preppers from our first season. Jen calls Chad Huddleston, one of the anthropologists featured on that show, to find out how he and the preppers he studies are handling the COVID-19 crisis. In closing, Chip reaches out to SAPIENS columnist and anthropologist Steve Nash to discuss panic buying, toilet paper, and more. Chad Huddleston is an adjunct assistant professor at St. Louis University and an instructor at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Read his SAPIENS article: “For Preppers, the Apocalypse Is Just Another Disaster.” Steve Nash is a historian of science, an archaeologist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and a columnist for SAPIENS. Check out his column Curiosities and follow him on Twitter @nash_dr.
work, and you mentioned how preppers air really community oriented. So how did they respond to this particular crisis? It's not that they're going out and going door to door or anything like that. It's more about that information sharing even locally. Like okay, this grocery store has the supplies or this. WalMart has all the toilet paper and kind of sharing where those supplies are, so that that if you do need the things you could be efficient going out and getting them and the thought behind that isn't just about, Oh, I gotta go out and get what I need for my house pulled. But it's more about spending as little time out in the public when you have to stay at home order. You know, spending is all time out in public is possible so that you aren't endangering the rest of the community, especially because a lot of them have been. Are are currently first responders. They're well aware that, you know, they have to go out and work, and so people staying at home allows them to do that work and to not be spreading any any illness if they have it. So you know It's kind of really just localized in about information sharing at this point. Sounds like they didn't have to do the rush out to the store like a lot of people did. But was this a scenario that they had talked about? Do they feel like they prepared adequately for this specific kind of disaster? I would say mostly, yes on that's the great thing. That's one of the first lessons I kind of learned is that you can't prepare for everything. But if you prepare somewhat, then you're prepared for an awful lot of things. E mean really the same stuff that you need for, you know, around here, tornadoes or power outages, whether that's in the winter or in the summer or something like this. It's really about having a little bit of extra on hand and then again, knowing the skills on if you actually had thio, teach your home are make food without electric or gas, you know, having those skills really is what's at play here. So it's not so much about while we were ready for a pandemic and we knew this is what a pandemic would look like, but this is what it takes if we have toe buggin, you know? So stay in your house or bug out and leave your house. Do I have the adequate supplies for that? And do I have the amount of skills that I might need if I had to do one of those two things? So I know that earlier you said that they started staying home and keeping their kids home even before those things were required by the state. I'm wondering how this community of preppers that you know have been viewing the role of government in this crisis. There's critical is anyone s. That's one thing that that has been leaning toward the political speak on on the boards between individuals, which they usually avoid. But it is critical in understanding that in terms of, well, what should we pay attention to? So I care. Missouri, this governor is ready to open the state, but the city and county is absolutely not ready to open. So there's kind of this. Do we pay attention to the state of Missouri, or do we pay attention to our local government, which we have a lot more? You know, they have a lot more faith in. So it's kind of, you know, sharing that information and staring statistics, and sometimes it gets really, really technical. But it kind of goes back and forth between what current policy is and what our health officials there saying vs what? The kind of criticizing about it is. I'm curious. How has being involved with Preppers in the zombie squad influenced your experience of the pandemic? Well, I had a full pantry already, so that was nice. E did go out and get a few things here and there. And really, my going out was kind of it was really based on the curiosity of, like, what was going on. I did that based on, you know, the fact that there weren't any. There was one case here when we started kind of stay at home, and so I thought it was fairly safe. I did wear a mask, which I also had on hand, thanks to them. And, you know, I monitored my first aid supplies in case things got really, really difficult. I made sure my daughter had a mask that fit her appropriately. So, you know, I kind of felt like, Okay, I have a lot of the gear. I haven't particularly personally you studied up on Pandemic, so I don't have like, a Tyvek suit. And, you know, I feel like epidemic mask or or outfit or something. So, you know, it is fully possible for me to stay at home and working home again. I'm a professor, so I can teach at home. So there is a lot of confusion about how that would work, but I was already ready to do that on DSO. While that doesn't sound like prepping, it is part of prepping for my life toe move everything online. And so, yeah, I think I kind of am thankful to them pretty much all the time when anything comes up that like, Oh, I actually do know how toe, whether this and I do have that stuff. And I could get out here if I had Thio again goes kind of back to that that kind of basic premise of having a little bit of extra and being ready to use it if you need Thio, you know, that's the big lesson that they taught me just that adaptable attitude