By Michael Messina
Warning: I am not a lawyer. This is not meant to be construed as legal advice and only a fool would do so.
Many of you who read this blog know I’m of somewhat eclectic tastes. A martial artist, zombie apocalypse prepper, fireworks lover, gun nut, physics geek, video game enthusiast, coffee nerd, and a sometimes writer. That said, I’ve discovered that one of the major downsides in the prepping community is a problem with some verbiage. Like the title states, it’s a minor point of order.
Minor though it may be, it is still important. What I seek to address here are two words with similar though perceptually different meanings. People use them interchangeably in a way which can possibly
Allow us to look at each word separately and then examine them in context. Dictionary.com lists hoarding as:
hoard [hawrd, hohrd] Show IPA
1. a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.: a vast hoard of silver.
verb (used with object)
2. to accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden or carefully guarded place: to hoard food during a shortage.
verb (used without object)
3. to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc.
Stockpiling is listed as a synonym.
Likewise stockpile gives a similar definition.
stock·pile [stok-pahyl] Show IPA noun, verb, stock·piled, stock·pil·ing.
1. a supply of material, as a pile of gravel in road maintenance.
2. a large supply of some metal, chemical, food, etc., gathered and held in reserve for use during a shortage or during a period of higher prices.
3. a quantity, as of munitions or weapons, accumulated for possible future use
Now even here, despite listing each other as synonyms it should be noted they are not identical. It’s extremely similar. So why the ‘point of order’, you might ask?
From a legal standpoint, most laws (not all, but most) are written in the context of hoarding from the standpoint of you hoarding goods to drive prices higher. Or going out and buying items the moment a crisis hits so as to increase gain for yourself but decrease gain for others.
However, if you have an existing stockpile that did not unnecessarily strain the market (which is actually advocated by FEMA), then what you’ve done is been a good prepper.
This is a distinction I’d like to have others make clear as well. That just because you’re prepping and stockpiling doesn’t mean you’re hoarding. Hoarding implies a negative connotation; that someone who is hoarding is a selfish bastard only out for their own interests at the expense of others.
Stockpiling implies a prudent individual who had the foresight to have more than 3 days of food on hand, or foresaw a coming emergency and had adequate time to prepare themselves (and hopefully was smart enough to get their neighbors to prep too so they didn’t come to take the prepper’s food).
Maybe I’m splitting hairs here. Maybe hoarding and stockpiling are the same damn thing. But at this point, it makes sense to use words which will reflect what you’re doing in a positive light. As a writer, these subtle nuances are what can make or break a simple opening paragraph. As a prepper, it means the difference between someone already having a negative view of me and thus being more easily predisposed to taking my goods through the association that “That guy is just a hoarding jerk anyways”. Conversely that they may instead have a more positive opinion and thus say “look at this guy, he was smart enough to look ahead. Perhaps I should ask him for advice.”
Of course, it will likely all be a mute point when the zombies start knocking.
What are your thoughts?