Gone are the days of conspiracy theorists hiding in bunkers and religious zealots storing canned goods. Newsweek's Jessica Bennett characterizes America's new survivalists—who call themselves "preppers"—as "homemaking skills [in] overdrive." Among urban and suburban families, stark memories of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and post-9/11 New York City are argument enough to stock up on the goods they need to survive—and the modern luxuries they say they can't do without, like organic foods. Y2K was the first disaster to draw survivalism to the mainstream. "Between the media and the Internet, many people have built up a sense that there's this calamity out there that needs to be avoided," said one cognitive psychologist. "I consider it more of a reaction than a movement," said the 32-year-old founder of the American Preppers Network. His Web site sees some 5,000 viewers per day.
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