The man alleged to have shot two Pennsylvania police officers on Sept. 12 stalked them on a cool night under a gibbous moon. He hid in woods at the edge of game lands in rural Blooming Grove, Pa. And, at around 10:50 p.m., he fired, killing one man and seriously wounding another.
Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Pa., has been charged with this inexplicable crime. But state police said he has a philosophy: survivalism.
What is it?
In short: a stark worldview that fuses, in varying degrees, millennialism, Second Amendment and hard-money advocacy, environmentalism and racism. It’s an ideology with many godparents, including Henry David Thoreau, Ludwig von Mises and Charlton Heston. And its proponents think the world as we know it will end soon — and we must be prepared.
Hence their nickname: “preppers.”
“We’re living in a time of instability,” one told Emily Matchar, who wrote for Outside magazine. “It doesn’t take long for people to turn into animals.” (For the record: Matchar wrote preppers “don’t like being called survivalists — that word has dark, kooky connotations.”)
Another definition of survivalist from survivalist.info: “One who has personal or group survival as a primary goal in the face of difficulty, opposition, and especially the threat of natural catastrophe, nuclear war, or societal collapse.”
Something is coming, whatever it is.
“The biggest problem we suffer here in North America is complacency,” a prepper told CBN in 2012. He added: “People figure since nothing has happened in ‘x’ amount of years, nothing bad will ever happen. So they get comfortable, and they get lazy and then unpreparedness comes in. Then you have other people who look at history.”