The Doomsday Prepper Who Prepped Too Hard

Doomsday prepper donates all of his stored food to Puerto Rico was the headline of a news article I read a few days ago. Interesting, I thought. I’ve been at this prepping thing in one form or another for decades now. I’ve always known that the prepper crowd is an overwhelmingly genuine, honest, and good-natured crowd, so this article didn’t surprise me. Okay, it surprised me a bit, because preps aren’t cheap (more on that in a minute). Yeah, you can find plenty of exceptions to the preppers-are-great-people notion. There’s the stereotypical hermit survivalist who preps because he hates everyone. There’s the suburban survivalist who plots how to take all of his neighbors’ stuff when the collapse hits. But those people are just that—exceptions. Most of the preppers I’ve met and spoken to over the years are good people to be around. I’m sure readers of Backdoor Survival feel the same way.

So here is this prepper, Joseph Badame, with a mountain of food doing a very good deed to help the people of Puerto Rico. (Read my last post on preparedness less from Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria).

“I can’t put into words just how much food there was,” she said. “It was enough to feed a town.”

In the basement were 80 barrels, each weighing 360 pounds. They were filled with bags of rice, flour, sugar, dried beans, pancake and chocolate mixes, seeds and lots of other things that do not spoil and are easy to prepare. The food that the Badames had intended to eat in case of crisis will now feed starving people in two Puerto Rican towns devastated by Hurricane Maria.

“Those people are starving and they have nothing,” he said. “I just can’t sit by.”

Half of those barrels, along with pallets of bottled water and dried milk, will be flown to San Juan on Friday, Barber said. Private trucks will then deliver the goods to her home town, Arecibo, a coastal city 45 miles west of San Juan. The food will feed dozens of families.

I don’t want to discount this man’s good deed, but the reason (in part) that he’s giving away all of this food is because he has to. There’s a lesson to learn about prepping from this man’s story, a lesson that begs the question: Is it possible to over prep? The answer, in my opinion, is yes. This man’s story is evidence of that.

Mr. Badame, you see, is buried in debt from eight years of medical bills and lost income. He is being evicted from his house. The food was to be part of the estate sale. Badame is an architectural engineer. His wife had a massive stroke in 2005 that left her paralyzed. He had to quit his job to take care of her. Then, in 2013, she died from another stroke. He was broke. Everything came tumbling down.

While this unfortunate turn of financial events could happen to anyone, one could argue that it should not have happened to Mr. Badame—if he had prepared properly. Badame, we can infer, was flush with money. He had a custom-built 8,500-square-foot fortress built for his home in New Jersey. It had separate living quarters for multiple families. The basement was equipped with bunk beds, gas-powered refrigerators, laundry facilities, and showers. It was a large-scale fallout shelter full of dry food, generators, fuel, thousands of rolls of toilet paper—you get the idea.

The perhaps obvious lesson here is that while Mr. Badame was preparing for the end of the world he failed to prepare for far more common, more realistic tragedies. He estimates that he spent $1 million dollars on his preps. Read that again: One MILLION dollars on prepping!

Surely he was absolutely flush with money at one point but stayed in an over-sized house and over-spent on everything. If he had taken a FRACTION of that million dollars and paid cash for a more modest second house, he would now be able to live mortgage-free at his other home. Further, why, if they’re making that much money, didn’t they buy long-term disability insurance for both of them? No life insurance either?

There is a tendency, I’ve seen it many times, for preppers to focus on end-of-the-world scenarios at the expense of: paying down debt, building an emergency fund, buying life insurance, etc. Yes, pandemics are a threat. Yes, EMPs are a threat. Yes, civil unrest is a threat. So are the more mundane, more common problems of job loss, personal injury, and death. I’ll be the first to admit that buying additional food storage and a .22 rifle is more fun that putting extra money into your monthly mortgage payment to pay it down faster, but we, as preppers, need to keep things in perspective.

What about you? Are you guilty of this? If not, what do you do to balance preparedness efforts between large-scale societal events and smaller-scale personal events?

Derrick Grant is a freelance writer and fan of all things post-apocalyptic. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

  1. life is what happens as we are planning for life. I was born at the end of the war. I lived in the poor section of Detroit. a mixed neighborhood that had black Mexican polish Jew Irish Scott and a dozen other nations that now dont exist. My godmother was Mexican. and many of my friends ate at our table when food was scarce at theirs. funny how I didnt notice color even as a teen. all the adults knew all the kids by our first name and they were the eyes of our parents and that is how they knew when we misbehaved and it only took a word from a neighbor and we knew we were going to get our ass warmed. I still carry the blackthorn stick as a cane that my mother expertly wielded. our home was average in that we didnt have a furnace or a hot water tank. our phone was a party line with six other people. if the phone rang it was always bad news. we knew nothing of racism for the word didnt exist it was created in the sixties because prejudiced didnt sound bad enough.Government needed a description that would stur up connotations of hatred. why? they needed to divide us as a nation. they have done an excellent job. we were the original peppers. I remember my mother going to our neighbors house and working all day to put up some vegetables they had grown or acquired at the market. this was done at each home of our friends in the fall to put away the food stuffed that we would eat the coming year. each would have their specialty that they would give to the people that helped. for some it was preserves to use on toasts or pancakes or pumpkin that would get put into pies. this was always the time of plenty and celebration. for it was at these times that many got married. I met many young ladies at the Halloween parties that we sat next to as the ghost stories were told that made us hold onto each other shivering in fear. no we had no TV sets to create our imaginations for us. it was this that we knew that we had to depend upon one another. when crisis came we came together as a family related or not family had a different meaning. today we are fragmented and the thought that we must depend upon government to provide scares the hell out of me. thinking that we must use some inexperienced kid behind a desk in Washington to make it all better is the sign we are a failure as a nation. we are no longer a people united. we do not know our neighbor and what we do not know we fear. Our government divided us to expand its power and it has worked. they enjoy their power when times are good but in times of crisis they fail most of the time. their actions cannot accommodate the problems of us all. in trying to do so much is wasted. then when pushed for an answer it will come down to force. they will round up the people like cattle to be shipped out and housed where? behind the barbed wire that curves in to keep people in not out as they claim. then what? we have already heard of people that cant locate relatives.It should be easy for government to set up a data base to put your name into so your family could find you. we see some attempts but it comes from private databases. we must realize one thing. government is about power not helping out the citizen. they will make a show at it by calling up the people in the armed services and they do a good job because they are organized. they cannot rebuild homes and lives. what does government do for you? they provide low interest loans to help rebuild. they are not free and many will spend dollars to rebuild a home only to loose it to the bank when they have no jobs because they are destroyed as well. who benefits? the banks the people never get back their investment as the bank forecloses. the taxes go on and we must pay them for the cities dont care if there was a crisis. they will sell your home for taxes but who gets the money? not the homeowner. the city gets the taxes owed and the bank gets the house. the banks always win and profit. this crisis could make people see that we need to be a pepper. not just with food but with our homes. the cities demand more and more taxes but never account for the dollars spent I think it time that we have an accounting. too many times we have our seniors and veterans who have lived and paid their taxes for many years only to have the citys and states take the property because they cant pay the taxes because of lost investments that was to carry them thru retirement. yes it is time to prepare but not for just natural crisis’s but government crisis’s as well. we are shifting from our republic to socialism. and itonly benifits the selected few who are politically correct. well I have wandered about again in my morning bout fighting the efficts of my pain medication I ask your paients for it seems to get worse for me thanks

    1. Thank you thank you thank you for your comment. You have the right idea and the truth about every single thing you said. I hope a lot of people read it.

  2. I am disabled since I broke my back in ’97. I always worked 3-4 jobs to provide for my family. We raised our 3 and partially raised 9 more- boys i.e. eating machines. When the youngest finished school and went into the Marines, we hauled butt to the country. We used the money from the city house to pay for original 10 acres and got a (very) used single wide mobile home so we could put in barns and other outbuildings and pastures. 5 years later, we added 5 acres and a barn & pasture on it. We raised our own food. Put by what we could. Gave a lot to hungry folks. Helped out the kids as needed. We did without unless we could do it, fix, grow it ourselves pretty much.

    People want the granite counter tops and the perfect driveway, and the membership at the (wherever). They want to go out to eat 2-4 times per week. They don’t do without and keep working towards a major goal. I can’t tell you the number of folks that have said “I wish I had what you have”. You COULD have it IF you prioritized it. During that whole time, I have prepped. I set a budget and stuck to it. Over time, we built up enough to slow down on prepping and enjoy a dinner out once a month. I can get something extra every once in a while. I am content to wait, because I know it works. We have 15 acres, surrounded by thick trees, have a pond, pastures, buildings, a really nice house, and it is all paid off. Until last year, when we got our first new vehicle, we haven’t owed anybody anything for many years. Sure, life is to be enjoyed and tomorrow is not guaranteed, but if you blow all you have in the moment, you will never have anything that you really want, and you won’t have security either. Find other ways to enjoy life that don’t constantly drain your money. I’d bet that if folks just added up all of the lattes and morning biscuits and “let’s go out tonight’s” that it would be a real chunk at the end of a month. Something that you can build on. Pay as you go as much as you can. Work hard and pay yourself by holding onto enough to make a difference. We have much and are grateful, but nobody gave it to us.

    As to the guy that donated all of the food to PR- kudos for his decision to do that. BUT. He would never have had to make that choice if he had disciplined himself enough to pay as he went. He wouldn’t have lost it all.

    We are getting older now. We have a great grandson. We have decided to leave our prepper paradise in sunny South Carolina, and move back North to Michigan. I can’t find anything close to what we have now, so we will be starting all over again. Tell you what though, I will be paying cash for new land and home when I get there.

    Sit down and fugure out what you can do in your life to make the difference. It is worth it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *