S1E113 – Tyler on Dark Winter Concepts

Episode Summary

This week on Live Like the World is Dying, Margaret and Tyler from Dark Winter Concepts talk about homesteading, preparedness, prepper culture, and focus on inclusion of marginalized communities within these spaces.

Guest Info

Tyler (he/him) can be found on Instagram @Darkwinterconcepts

Host Info

Margaret (she/they) can be found on twitter @magpiekilljoy or instagram at @margaretkilljoy.

Publisher Info

This show is published by Strangers in A Tangled Wilderness. We can be found at www.tangledwilderness.org, or on Twitter @TangledWild and Instagram @Tangled_Wilderness. You can support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness.


Live Like the World is Dying: Tyler on Dark Winter Concepts

**Margaret ** 00:14
Hello, and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. I’m your host today, Margaret Killjoy, and today I have a guest on that I’m excited about. You might have been noticing that I haven’t been hosting as much and that’s because I burned out really hard. And not on this subject, but just in general. But I’m trying to get back into it. And part of the reason I’m getting back into it, I’ve been really excited to have Tyler on, who we’re going to be talking to in a minute, because I’m really excited about what’s going on in the preparedness space. And it’s rare that I get to bring someone on who’s just also in the preparedness space and has similar ideas. I think you all will be really excited. And so–well I was gonna say, "Without further ado," but there is more ado. This following ado is that we’re a proud member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchists podcasts. And here’s a jingle from another show on that network.

**Margaret ** 01:42
Okay, and we’re back. So if you could introduce yourself with your your name, your pronouns. And then I guess just a little quick introduction to what you do.

**Tyler ** 01:51
Yeah, so my name is Tyler. I am started a company called Dark Winter Concepts. Pronouns are he/him. Basically, what I have started doing is I noticed there was a huge void in the prepping homesteading space when it came to making it accessible to newcomers or anyone who’s just in a marginalized community. And it’s really just so, so important for me to take all the stuff that is natural to me, just from my upbringing, and just make it accessible to people who actually need it, the people who are under pressure in society already.

**Margaret ** 02:27
Hell yeah. Do you want to talk about. . . I have this question here of like, "What got you into it?" But you’ve already said it’s how you grew up. But do you want to talk about that a little bit more? Like what got you into preparedness and homesteading.

**Tyler ** 02:41
It’s kind of a funny story/full circle with the name. So I grew up in very rural Pennsylvania and grew up on a farm, but moved around a lot afterwards, working and all that sort of stuff. But then I was kind of coming into wanting to be able to use all the skills that I learned growing up. And then I had a weird gateway experience playing the video game The Division, where the idea of a personified trained individual could use their skills beyond just like, you know, tactical combat–all this sort of stuff–that could use all these technical engineering and other skills to maintain stability in communities after a disaster. And that checked a lot of boxes for me that a lot of other games of that type just really don’t. And so that kind of triggered an interest as kind of exploring, "Well, where, where could I be applying these skills? Like how could I be doing this?" And as time went on, I started to explore it more. And once we got out to West Virginia, where–I mean, losing access to resources is pretty common here anyways–it kind of just became a part of life. And then obviously, COVID happened, which, I mean, thankfully, we had kind of already started because that made it a good wake up call, but we were much less affected than a lot of folks were. But after that, we got serious about it and, you know, started developing those skills, had space to practice them and decided that, you know, someone with the privilege to have that space to practice skills, to try out things, that I should be using that privilege to share and to share that learning experience and failures–because there’s been plenty of those. But I just felt like with with the privilege that I had, it was really my responsibility to share as much knowledge of my own journey as I could.

**Margaret ** 04:36
Okay, so I find this really interesting. I really like…you know, framing it around as "having the privilege to have the space to try out these things," and it’s interesting to me because–I mean, obviously in preparedness space living rurally is generally looked positively upon. I actually don’t think there’s an intrinsic. . . It’s not necessarily better in rural or suburban or urban. I think they all have advantages and disadvantages. I clearly like rural. But the idea. . . I hadn’t heard of this phrasing before, thinking about it like "the privilege of the space to try things out," like, you mean in terms of how you can actually be like, "Oh, I want to try and build a thing. Well, no one’s gonna yell at me if I build this. I don’t have to go do it in the parking lot behind my apartment building." Is that kind of what you mean?

**Tyler ** 05:24
Oh, yeah, that, and then I mean, when you get down to things like learning fire starting, I can literally step outside my house and start a fire if I want. And that’s not. . . I don’t have to worry about a cop driving by. I don’t have to worry about upsetting neighbors. Like, I can just go do that. I can go walk out of my house and go into the woods and learn to forage and learn about the plants that are in my space. Just. . . Yeah, the ability to have space where I don’t have to plan a camping trip to go be outside in nature–which, I mean, is obviously part of my prepping, being in nature because this is where I’m located–but to have space to try out survivalist skills, to try construction skills, to, you know, do more defensively minded capabilities and practices on my own time and not have to arrange a range day or anything like that, it’s a privilege to have this much space. And it’s something that I’ve been trying to make the most of.

**Margaret ** 06:21
Now that makes sense. I think about. . . I sometimes get. . . I think everyone knows this. I’m also in West Virginia. It was actually part of why I was really excited to talk to you. But I tend to think about like what I currently don’t have access to, right? Like, I have access to space. And it’s really nice. And I actually need to remember to focus on that. I think about how I don’t have to plan to go learn camping things, I have to plan to buy anything I can’t get at Walmart, you know? [Tyler affirms] That’s the main downside I’ve run across. I mean, that said, I mean, I know where to buy gravel near me and if I lived in the city, I might not know where to buy gravel, but I wouldn’t need to buy gravel if I lived in a city, so. . .

**Tyler ** 07:09
Yeah. And I think that comes down to…like, when you live rurrally, yes, you do have space and space to cultivate your own resources, but you do have to really plan where you’re getting other resources from. And I mean, one of the biggest things for me is you have space but it’s harder to find people to connect with as a community. And that’s something that you have to be really diligent about because it is really easy to just stay out here in the woods and not go anywhere ever. But it is something obviously, as long term prepping plans, needs to involve other people at some point. So it is something you have to be really intentional about it. It’s not just going to happen very naturally.

**Margaret ** 07:54
You ever seen…you ever seen that show, is it called Doomsday Preppers or Preppers or Doomsday? That fucking reality TV show? Do you know I’m talking about?

**Tyler ** 08:03
Yeah, yeah.

**Margaret ** 08:05
There’s this thing that they always have in it–I mean, it’s basically a how to guide about how not to prep. At least the–I’ve watched like three episodes–but they all live in the suburbs of the city. And they’re all like, "This is my bugout plan. This is the property I’ve gone and bought in the backwoods," or whatever, you know? And it’s interesting to me, because I think about it–you mentioned the community thing–and I just think about how my current crisis plan involves leaving my rural space to go to a specific place to connect with specific people. And then, depending on the situation, come back here. Right? But it’s like, I have a get out of the rural area plan, you know? Because it’s like…well, I care about people, right?

**Tyler ** 08:56
Right. Yeah. And that’s, something we’ve talked about as well. Like, our main plan is for other people to come to us. Because I mean, even if we run out of space in the house, we have space for tents. We have space for people to sleep in their cars. Like that’s. . . We can can accommodate a lot of people. But there is absolutely contingencies for someone who may not be able to get out. Maybe we need to go and collect someone and their stuff and their pets or whatever. And that’s a huge consideration that you can’t leave for last minute. You don’t have to have a plan for it that everyone’s aware of.

**Margaret ** 09:34
Yeah. Okay, one of the things I wanted to ask you about: one of the one of the pieces of feedback I get or things that people are nervous about is people of different marginalizations talking about a fear of rural areas and rural living. And I actually think West Virginia has a particular reputation around this. Which is funny because from my point of view West Virginia is specifically the better Virginia in that it did not fight for the Confederacy, and that’s why West Virginia exists. But it’s not a utopian place in a lot of ways. And I can speak about gender, you know, and I can speak about my situation. But I have. . . You know, when my friends who are people of color, and especially a Black folks, are nervous around rural areas, I don’t know what to tell them. Because anything I say, is like, well, there’s, you know, Black people in the town nearby, but actually, where I live for example, a lot of Black people live in town and not as many Black people live out in the hills around the town, you know? And I wanted to ask you about your experience, both your experience living where you do and like what you would say to someone who–not be like, everything’s fine–I’m just like, genuinely curious how things are and like what you would say to other folks who are racially marginalized about rural areas and rural living?

**Tyler ** 11:02
Oh, yeah. My experience. . . I mean, there’s a few things that I would recommend. If, by some situation, you are moving out and you do… like, you find a place rurally and you go out and you’re someone who is just not white, one thing that I found that–and one thing that I prioritize really early on–was just like meeting my neighbors, and introducing them, like, "Hey, I am supposed to be here. I’m supposed to…like, I live right over there." [Margaret chuckles] Like, because I mean, at any point I might be out on the backside of our property in the back of the woods and, you know, be seen by a neighbor who wouldn’t see me coming out to the mail–like completely different areas. And so making sure that the people that are around you kind of like know that you live there, as much as it might feel kind of dehumanizing to have to do so. Prioritizing your own safety is really important and not focusing on the, you know, how it should be. So making sure that the people around you know that you moved in, that you’re supposed to be here, that you live there. And then past that, my biggest experiences have been primarily positive. My biggest thing, I think, for people moving, if you’re moving to a rural area for the first time, and you’re a person of color, the biggest thing I think that will potentially trigger a negative response is more so about how you behave than how you look. And that is to say, not that people should kill a part of themselves and hide and like that sort of thing, it’s more so–especially if you in West Virginia–do you act like you’re from the city? Are you pushy with customer service people? Are you really fast paced and, from a rural perspective, do you feel impatient and pushy? You know, because how you would act in the deli line in Manhattan is going to be way different than how you should act in Tudors Biscuits in West Virginia. You’re gonna have very, very different experiences, depending on how your…how your rhythm meshes with the people around you, basically. Because I mean, even being out here, for where I am I’m very–far as I can tell very much the only person of color on my road for sure. But like, there’s a Black guy that works at my Tractor Supply. And like, everyone loves him because he’s super charismatic. You can tell he probably grew up reasonably well around here. But that’s kind of the big thing is that, you are not–probably not–going to get too negative of an experience because of how you look, if you’re a person of color, as opposed to how people perceive your behavior, which, again, is in many ways unfair because if you’re just from a more vibrant culture than rural West Virginia and that vibrance is part of who you are–I certainly don’t want to encourage people to like, you know, hide themselves–but just to be kind of self aware as to how their behavior may affect other people and how it may draw a reaction from them and just understand that that could be a possibility. But I think overall, my experience has not been bad. Like I have not had really any bad experiences related to race out here. Growing up, I definitely did. But since being out here, really nothing overly negative to speak of. You know, overall, I think West Virginia, especially. . . Like there are obviously a lot of remnants of the people who are, as you said, West Virginia didn’t fight for the South but there are a lot of people who are kind of resentful of that fact, like people who wish that they had.

**Margaret ** 11:04
Yeah. Like

**Tyler ** 11:27
Those people definitely exist. But I think like a lot of seemingly emboldened racists, transphobes, a lot of folks are very different in person than they want to be perceived online, which is where we perceive them, especially if you don’t live in a rural area. Like you see like the Facebook post, the TikToks of how people are projecting their hatred, right? It’s been my experience that, most of all around here, like people just want you to kind of go about your business and let them go about theirs. Like, they’re polite, they’ll, you know, chat with you if you’re sitting at the local coffee shop. Yeah, like, I really don’t have any overly negative things to say other than just, I mean, you just need to be careful, you know? Because there is the possibility that the person that you meet at the bar, and maybe divulge a little bit too much about where you live to, there’s the possibility that that person is a bad actor or knows someone who is and is willing to share that information. So being a little bit more guarded about–I mean, similar to how you act online. Like, you don’t give out the street that you live on or that sort of information.

**Margaret ** 16:23
Right. Cause both of us actually live in Southeast Ohio, but we’re pretending like we live in West Virginia to throw people off.

**Tyler ** 16:29
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it’s just being aware and guarded, it’s being just aware of how your behavior here will be received differently than how it is in a major city where there’s obviously just so many people from so many different backgrounds and everything that there’s no like one that stands out or that people react poorly to in that sense, where cities are more of a melting pot. It’s just being aware, it’s being a little bit more alert than maybe normal or event is maybe fair to be.

**Margaret ** 17:05
Yeah, no, that’s actually…that’s interesting to me how much it maps to my experience as a queer, white person living here where it’s a very similar thing, where I’m more guarded in a lot of ways living here. I’m more careful about. . . Yeah, I don’t necessarily tell people exactly where I live or I often don’t tell people exactly who I am, right? About half of the people around here I’m specifically out to as trans and, but I’m, you know, to the people I’m not out as trans, I’m walking around with bangs and braids, but I’m also walking around with bangs and braids, and a Carhartt coat, but I’m also wearing a fucking mask. And that’s not normal around here. You know? And it’s like. . . And my experience has been that–I’ve probably talked about this on the show before–but my experience has been that once people got the sense that I wasn’t trying to change the neighborhood culturally, like I. . . You know, they’re like, "Okay, well, that weird, queer person has guns and a pickup truck and isn’t trying to tell us that we can’t have those things." you know? [Tyler affrims] Like, it’s been more okay since then, you know? And. . . No, it’s interesting. It makes sense to me. Okay, then my other, I remember I was reading…I was reading Reddit about this issue, and someone was like, "Hey, we’re a mixed race couple. And we’re thinking about moving to West Virginia from California," you know, because of some family thing and a house or whatever. "Are we going to get shit for that?" And everyone in the Reddit comments in R/West Virginia or whatever was like, "No, you’re fine. Oh my god! Wait, you need to change your license plates. Change your license plates as soon as possible."

**Tyler ** 18:59
That is the absolute first thing I thought of was like they’re gonna get a way worse reaction to the license plate than anything else.

**Margaret ** 19:07
Yeah. Okay, well I want to transition. . . Okay, I want to also talk about another space that you are in is that you’re in the prepper space and you’re in the prepper space in kind of a–at least in my observation of it–in the kind of homesteading, tactical corner of prepper space. But from this point of view of specifically, being someone who’s inviting people of marginalization and or people who are just new to that space, like being the opposite of a gatekeeper, being an usher into that space. And I’m wondering, kind of what brought you into that space in particular, because that space is the…it’s the like forbidden zone of prepper land, right? It’s the one that we think as the most right-wing.

**Tyler ** 20:02
Yeah. Honestly, it kind of happened naturally. So basically, I kind of started–I mean, everything kind of started–on Instagram with an account there, which I really just created to try and just like meet more people, just connect and network with people because I was living in relative isolation, sort of. . . was moving my way politically left at the time and was just moving kind of further into isolation in that way as well, and just trying to find people to connect with over guns that weren’t, you know, going to bring their like laser engraved Trump revolver or anything like that. [Margaret laughs] I really just started looking to connect with people and then the more that I shared about what I. . . like what life is actually like here, stuff that I was doing, projects I was working on. Like I just. . . it was. . . I guess, again, kind of from a point of privilege where like, all that stuff is just like completely unremarkable, and part of natural life to me, but people were really interested in it. Like they wanted to learn, like, "Oh, Where’d you learn how to do that? I’d love to do something like that someday." And just kind of the thing I just started realizing that a lot of these people who are asking are people who are in marginalized communities, especially marginalized and impoverished communities, so people who are looking for ways to build things because they can’t just go out and buy the ready made version, right? They can’t just go out and buy the $800 chicken coop from Tractor Supply. Like they want to learn how to build something on their own. And kind of the more I started connecting with people and just realizing that there’s all these people with so many good intentions, like so much they want to do in their neighborhood and in their community and they just don’t know how yet. And it just seems, to me, is something that’s so natural and easy. But I can see that there’s this huge knowledge gap for people between what they want to accomplish and what they know how to accomplish. And the only real difference was just access to the resources to learn how. Because it’s something that I’ve. . . that’s something that I’ve been really driven about is making sure that I’m not trying to create a centralized like, "Oh, you need to come to me to learn this." Like I’d much rather be like, "Oh, here’s this YouTube channel that you can learn everything you need to learn about woodworking from here. You can learn everything you need to know about like blacksmithing from here," and sharing the resources that I’ve been learning from because I mean I’m very much a. . . Like, if I’m finding a project difficult and I seem to like learn how to do a thing, I’m still the type of person to pull up a YouTube video and watch it one to one and do the thing. But it could be as easy as just sharing that instead of making everyone go on that same journey of finding the resource to learn from. And yeah, so it kind of grew from there until it kind of. . . people started to start asking about the more prepper things in which case I kind of tied it into like, you know, prepping for me is a way of life where it’s just a continual, small, marginal process. Like it’s not a big going out and spending thousands of dollars to get stuff. It’s something you can develop into just your weekly budget, your monthly budget, whenever, and just building out a plan that’s as approachable as you need it to be, even if it’s only picking up….spending four extra dollars when you go to the grocery store and getting four cans of beans to stick away in your pantry. Like that’s something. That’s something that week over week compounds. And getting people connected to that mindset, I think, makes prepping seem much less crazy, much less like crazy hoarders. And this shows like, you know, there’s something that everyone can do. You don’t need to be someone in the woods with a bunch of space and property. There’s little things that anyone can undertake to just be a little bit more secure. And for me, the people who need that the most are marginalized communities who are really regularly either directly pushed away from people who are sharing this content or are indirectly pushed away just by the rhetoric that that person uses in their YouTube videos or whatever. Like everyone deserves a safe space to learn. That should be like the most basic thing in society.

**Margaret ** 24:36
No, I really like. . . It’s been a while since I’ve seen someone making content in this space–there’s a lot of good people making content in this space–but I just specifically like right away was really impressed by your attitude around this stuff. And I’m saying this partly to anyone who’s listening if you haven’t already checked out. Dark Winter Concepts on whatever platform you, you really should. I think the first stuff that I ran across from you–I’m not 100% certain how I first started writing across you–I think it was through Yellow Peril Tactical, who’s been on the show before too. But you had a bunch of posts that were slideshows of, "Hey, instead of buying another redundant gun…" And do you want to talk about that series? And I am really curious about, one, the kind of ideas behind that, and maybe say that to the audience, so the audience can learn it too, but also how people have like, reacted to that content?

**Tyler ** 25:36
So that content was. . . I mean, that was the kind of the transformative content for my channel. Like that was what really kind of took off and what I saw huge interest in. And so what we did, and this is, honestly, because of Yellow Peril Tactical, because they post so much about like, "don’t buy redundant guns. Buy training. Buy–or don’t spend your money. Just train and get good with one that you have." And so I kind of took the next step and decided, you know, what are some other things within–I mean, some of the items are a little higher–but within the range of what you would spend for, you know, the latest optic or whatever tactical thing you want, like, "Here are nine things you could buy to better enhance your food preps," or "Here are nine things you could buy to better enhance your ability to conserve and filter water," or first aid supplies or tech upgrades that you can make that just will upgrade your life more or make your life a little bit better and provide more value to you and your community than to just buy another gun or to buy another level up better optic or, you know, the stuff that, if you’re getting into guns, then you know that it can be an absolute money pit of continual upgrades and the coolest thing that you need to get. It’s just like, once you get a setup, stop dumping money into it, learn how to use it, and spend that money on things that provide more value in the long term. Then we kind of just…I kind of just push that idea out till I kind of ran out of topics to suggest people spend their money in. But I mean, there’s definitely been a few more. There will probably be some more series like that coming out. Or extensions on them. Because I mean, when you get into medical gear, there’s so many things that are better…or good to just keep collecting and building up. There’s so many more items that people could discuss. So there may just be part twos to every original series.

**Margaret ** 27:41
Okay. Yeah, the money pit of the gun… Recently, I wanted to change the stock on one of my rifles. And I didn’t…it wasn’t a fancy thing. I just wanted to–it was actually in many ways a cheaper stock, right? And I was like, okay, I got this thing. And then I was like, oh, in order to get this thing, I now need to get a new sling mount. And in order to get this new sling mount, I need another different sling mount for this sling mount to attach to. And people always refer to like the AR as like the "Lego rifle." But it’s like if the Lego blocks were made out of solid gold, because the sling mount is $15. It’s a nut. That’s what it is. It is a nut and a bolt. And it is $15. And that’s not high end, right? I don’t have high-end equipment. I’m not, you know. . . I. . . Firearms aren’t my primary interest. They’re something I got into because Nazis told me where I lived and that they wanted to kill me. You know? And, yeah, it’s a money pit. That’s just all I want to say about that.

**Tyler ** 28:48
Yeah, I mean, it absolutely is. I mean, then you get into like. . . Like, I got my first suppressor for one last year, which was already a big enough.

**Margaret ** 28:59
Congrats. Like a

**Tyler ** 29:01
Thank you. So excited. Like, obviously that’s already a big enough expenditure. And then from there, I was like, oh, yeah, now I need to get a muzzle device that takes suppressor. And I was like, oh, man, I got the suppressor because I have two ARs of the same caliber of like different setups. And now I need a muzzle device for both of them. And then it just, it just spirals. Everything just has so many supporting assets. And it’s something you really have to plan out, which that’s actually another series that I’m hoping to do, which is like if you’re buying a gun for the first time, like don’t just look at the sticker price of the thing that you’re looking at at the store. Here all these other things that you should be budgeting for as well because as soon as you get this thing, everyone’s going to tell you you also need a red dot on it and all this other stuff. Just provide a little bit of a price, like like if you’re planning to invest in this, here’s kind of what you should be budgeting for long term at least.

**Margaret ** 30:00
I think that some of that stuff is like. . . I think overall most of the people who are sort of first into this kind of space, like, you know, Lefty community. . . or defense. Community and individual defense type people, right? The people who are excited to do it right now when it’s not specifically a crisis will tend to be people who enjoy figuring all the different pieces out. But then there’s also people who are doing it because they’re like, "Well, you know, Nazis with rifles keep coming to the drag show, and I need to be a non-Nazi with a rifle outside the drag show before someone dies," you know? And then it’s annoying, because like, let’s say you want to be that girl but you don’t want to spend the next six months of your life learning the names of clips that go on your plate carrier to attach the–I don’t even remember what it’s called–the thing on the front of your plate carrier to the plate carrier itself. You know, I had that specific problem, right? I was like, "Oh, I need this thing. And I don’t even know what it is. Does this exist?" you know? And I had to go track down this like clip. And I actually think there’s a really good role, and I think it’s something that you do really well–this whole episode is just basically me talking about how great your stuff is and how everyone should check it out–but I think about how we need quartermasters. We need sometimes people to say, "Here is a basic loadout–" I actually think Yellow Peril Tactical does a really good job of this too–where you’re like, if you are choosing to build an IFAK, an individual first-aid kit, instead of like, everyone having to watch 16 YouTube videos and figure out exactly what to do, it’s nice to just be like, "Here are the eight things that you need in your IFAK," or even, "Here’s an IFAK," you know? And the same obviously with like. . . I mean, I think it’s true for rifles and armor and these, you know, these sorts of things. but it’s also true for water filters and other really basic things.

**Tyler ** 32:13
Yeah, absolutely.

**Margaret ** 32:17
I don’t know what the name of those clips were. And if I needed them again, I’d be a shit out of luck.

**Tyler ** 32:21
Yeah, it’s um. . . I mean, that’s. . . I think that is one of the. . . like, beyond firearms and all the accessories and all that stuff, I think getting into nylon gear is an even bigger–I mean, it’s not as high of a spend–but it is more excess of a spend because you get something and there’s nowhere you can go to try it on. Unless you have friends who already have them. Like there’s nowhere you can go to like pick it up like at Cabela’s or whatever where you can feel a handgun and see how it feels, you just order a plate carrier from somewhere, try it out, and it does not feel good, or you give it a good go and it like doesn’t feel good. Then you try out some new pouches and the balance doesn’t feel right. You set it up just like that YouTuber that you watch and it doesn’t work for you. And now suddenly, you just have all these pouches. And they don’t work. And you see another pouch that and it’s like, "Oh, that one’s a little bit smaller, and that one would work, but it’s like 35 bucks.

**Tyler ** 32:21
What a steal. [Sarcastically]

**Tyler ** 32:23
Yeah [laughing]. And it’s really complex. . . It’s such a complex and not very talked about thing unless you know the people to go to who are already talking about it, like people at Yellow Peril Tactical and a few other accounts.

**Margaret ** 33:39

**Tyler ** 33:40
I think the more more people with that can talk about that stuff in detail in different communities–like I have a different audience then Yellow Peril Tactical does because I have more of the homesteader side and people who are looking to do community gardening and that sort of stuff. And so to be able to talk a little bit more about like my own setup. I posted that the other day. Judge it. Tell me what’s wrong with it because I’ve had it in isolation for too long. But also an opportunity for people to ask like, "What is like that pouch under your arm? Like what is like this and that?" And it’s an opportunity to kind of talk people through and show in detail how it is actually set up, is something I think isn’t done enough.

**Margaret ** 34:22
Well, okay, talking about having a slightly different audience than say, for example, Yellow Peril, I want to ask about that. I remember at one point you posted something about carry Narcan and how Narcan is an important part of everyday carry. And I think that this is true, I can get kind of slack on it myself. But now I keep it in my vehicle–though if you keep it in your vehicle, you have to refresh it way more often because it doesn’t like temperature extremes. Like think about it like if you travel with condoms. Think about it like condoms. You have to change them out if they’re in places that are not climate controlled. And you said that you got a lot of pushback or like at least some people were like piping up. . . Like you clearly. . . Yellow Peril Tactical antagonizes the right wing and speaks very clearly to the anti-authoritarian left, right, because they also antagonize the–this is part of why I love them–they also antagonize the authoritarian left. And your content is more broadly faced. And I actually really like that about it. But I’m curious how…like how much pushback you get when you even say things like–because it’s like, it’s like secretly a leftist thing to say "Carry Narcan. It shouldn’t be, right? It shouldn’t be a political statement to say like, "Hey, you call yourself a fucking sheep dog. That sheep is overdosing. What are you doing?" You know? Anyway, I’m just curious how navigating that space is going for you, being in a more wider-facing audience?

**Tyler ** 36:04
It’s been, I mean, overall really positive. There’s definitely a little bit of pushback on. . . I mean, Narcan was the like most pushback I’ve ever gotten on anything I’ve ever said on social media. Like people just jumped into the comments like, one, people saying that they should ban production Narcan because it just enables the "druggies," and just all of the most just heinous unempathetic shit that people say because they have been so dehumanized. I mean, people who struggle with addiction have been so dehumanized for this entire political area, that people view them as disposable. And I mean, thankfully, I mean, there are a couple of people that I jumped in on, but then there are other people who came into the comments who are like. . . yeah, kind of did the work for me, which is great. Like, I love to be able to like, "Yes. Fight, Get them." Yeah, it’s kind of just good relief of like, okay, I’m not completely alone out here. But overall, it has been really intentional to keep it open ended, where I don’t…I don’t put labels on my beliefs. I’ve pretty rarely verbally defined myself as a leftist, just for the sense that I think most of the people that we have the opportunity to pull more left are people who up to this point have been, you know, they have lived comfortably, liberal or kind of actual–I say centrist as being like someone who’s in between just being a Democrat or a Republican. I know, that’s still well right of center. But kind of people in that area, like they’re not. . . they haven’t fallen off the far-right cliff, but people who are starting to wake up to the fact that the world is not in a great spot, that society isn’t invulnerable, that their position of comfort is not invulnerable, and they’re starting to just reach out for answers. And I see it as a huge opportunity, which I mean, one, being in a leftist space and not verbalizing that I don’t come off as a radical or anything. I try not to be putting off in that way. And just like bringing people into the ideas, because, I mean, it’s one of those things where if you, if you describe anarchists, like their actual beliefs to someone, like in a lot of cases they’re like, "Oh, yeah, that makes a lot of sense." But then as soon as you tell them that you’re an anarchist, they’re like, "Oh well, I could never," like you know, it’s the label that scares them. And so, keeping it a little bit more open, getting people just into the ideas, into the topics when they reach out is huge for me, because, I mean, you’ve probably seen it on the other side of the prepping community. It’s like a whole meme about like, laughing when someone says that they’re going to come to your house when shit hits the fan. Like, that’s why I’m. . . that’s why I’m prepping, so that people know they can come to my house when shit hits the fan. Like, that is my biggest motivation is to be able to help people who weren’t as prepared, who didn’t have the privilege to be as prepared as I am. And so it’s an opportunity where the right is pushing people away, and we can welcome them with open arms and, you know, actual education and be as welcoming as possible and through that kind of sprinkle in some ideas of community involvement and some general kind of anarchist overtones, autonomous collectives of community and being responsible for our own resources. And people can usually get on board with a lot of those things and it just sprinkles in. . . It plants the seed. And then if they stick around, if they find other people that I follow and other stuff that I share, it just starts the process of radicalization.

**Margaret ** 39:58
No, no, yeah. I think about my place within that funnel all of the time. And I, I think about it in some ways positively. And I also think about it cynically, right, because I’m not. . . I don’t. . . I’m not like. . . I don’t wake up in the morning being, like, "Time to do my propaganda," right? You know, like. . . I think about how my goal is to, like, help people survive things and take care of each other, you know? And, and I think it’s useful to bring people towards. . . You know, it means less like about bringing people towards, for me, anarchism, right? And it’s more about breaking the conceptions that people have about what must be involved in being a leftist. You know? Like, in some ways, my like, "No, I don’t fuck with authoritarianism" is the more important part of my politics when I’m talking to people. You know, I think about how around here, the way I would describe myself to most people is that I’m just like, "Look, one of the reasons I like living where I live is that overall, the vibe around here is you leave each other alone and you take care of each other. And I know it sounds contradictory, but everyone I know who lives out here, this is not a contradictory thing. Like, we by and large stay out of each other’s business, but my neighbor noticed when I was out of town and there was a big windstorm. "Hey, do you want me to go check to make sure no tree fell on your house?" you know? And like, that person doesn’t have a political label and if they do, it probably wouldn’t agree with mine. But like, yeah, I don’t know. But the the basic ideas of "take care of each other and leave each other alone" I mean, like, to me that’s what I like about anarchism is that you’re like, "Oh, well, the individual and the community" and what you’re saying about [long pause]. When I found that thing, the joke’s in the right-wing prepper space about like, "Oh, anyone who comes over to my house is getting shot," you know, imagine how. . . I feel sad for them because their entire social community is people saying "We’re only friends until the buzzer starts," you know? It’s like, they’re all trying to play Hunger Games and they’re being buddy buddy with everyone else who signed up to play Hunger Games. And like, what a terrible and sad thing. I don’ t know.

**Tyler ** 42:29
Yeah. It lets you know, kind of, how lonely a lot of people really are, like how little they actually care about other people. Which I mean, is its own form of loneliness beyond like, you know, spending time with people, blah, blah, blah. But if your first instinct for a disaster is to lock the doors board up the windows and, you know, sit there with your can of beans in the corner and, you know, shoot anyone who knocks on the door, then what does that mean for like the rest of your life? You’ve literally built no connections with other people that you value beyond your own immediate needs. Yeah, yeah. It’s very sad.

**Margaret ** 43:20
Have you noticed. . . [trails off] And maybe it’s just because some of the bigger online spaces like the Reddit R/prepper or R/preppers, or whatever it is, the main one, have been more community focused lately? I’ve been noticing this thing where I actually think that the prepping community is now no longer right wing. Or rather, no longer far right and values. both individual and community preparedness. Like it feels like that’s a fight we’re winning culturally. Like I have no interest in making prepper share my politics. I have interest in people realizing that community preparedness is a big part of preparedness. And it seems like we’re kind of winning there, maybe?

**Tyler ** 44:09
Yeah, I think that that has come with prepping becoming so much more mainstream. I mean, the response, even with the movie "Leave the World Behind"

**Margaret ** 44:16
Is that the Obama one?Yeah,

**Tyler ** 44:16

**Margaret ** 44:16
I like that one. Which if

**Tyler ** 44:25
Which if you watch it, I thought it was really well done in the way of just like the absolute hopelessness of people who in no way prepared or even conceive that something could go wrong. And there were a lot of people who were like, "So I just watched this movie. What do I need to buy? I need to go bag. I need like. . . " like they just kind of woke up to like, even in like the early part [of the movie] before all the crazy stuff happened, like the invasion or whatever, like just the disaster of like two days without cell phones and people are realizing that like, "Yeah, that’s like kind of happened to some people yesterday, literally." You know, that’s something that is waking a lot of people up and waking them up to the idea that prepping doesn’t have to be Doomsday Preppers reality show, right? It can just be having a radio, it can just be having extra food. And so people were looking out and expanding. One of my–and I honestly just found it– a Reddit thread, R/2xpreppers, which is a prepping community that prioritizes the voices of women. And it’s so wild how drastic the concerns are, like drastically different. Where the biggest conversations are around like, how do you prep when you have kids? Like how do you prep. . . Like, what’s your go bag look like when you have to like, also bring their stuff? Like actual like family-oriented things rather than like rugged individualism. Like I found that the conversations over there have been so much more based in reality than a lot of other ones. It has been really cool. And again, cool to see that like, again, from a community standpoint, people are connecting, people are looking for other people who know things. People are looking for people to help. And they’re realizing that they can’t do it alone.

**Margaret ** 46:29
I admit. . . Okay, so the name to 2xprepping makes me sad, but not not sad as in they inherently hate trans women. I would guess–I’ve never really looked at this subreddit, I’ve only heard about it very recently–I would guess that it is not a group of people who’s like taking a stance against trans women as much as like, cis women organizing and the overwhelming majority of women identify as having 2x chromosomes. No one’s actually looked at their chromosomes, but like, you know, karyotyping does not does not happen to kids. But–and then I get sad when I think about it, partly because I’m like, "Oh, that conversation will be very hard. It’ll be very hard to have that conversation in a way that won’t make those women defensive." Or not necessary all of them. I’m sure some of them will be. . . You know, I don’t know, whatever. I just get. . . But that’s a separate topic about how currently sad about the slow creep over from England of anti-trans rhetoric within feminist spaces. [Tyler affrimitively groans]. But like–and I’m not making any–like, again, it sounds like an amazing resource. And just they picked a name that absolutely made sense to them. And then I’m like, "Oh, this is gonna be awkward. It’s gonna be one of those conversations that’s hard and annoying to have."

**Tyler ** 47:55
Yeah, I will say, it very much seems that they made the community like, whenever you open it up, there’s the note that you read before you like go down the thing and it’s like, "Men, read this first." And is just basically guidelines like "Don’t come in and like talk over the people who are talking here." Basically, don’t act the way that the stereotypical right-wing prepper man acts in the prepper space. And it’s really good guidelines for like, basically allow people to talk and discover and discuss and don’t try to be the dominant voice in this channel.

**Margaret ** 48:28
Yeah, no, that’s cool. Okay, wait, what were the other things I wanted to ask you about? Okay. So, we’ve talked separately and unrelatedly to anything else about how we both play video games and that’s not. . . and then when you were mentioning about how you plan to help people, like you plan to prep in order to take people in, you hope that people come over. I’m curious. I just want to run something past you basically. One of the things that has made me realize that–I mean, I’ve never had a particularly strong bunker mentality, it’s never been my approach to anything-but one of the things that’s like really reinforced my belief in community preparedness is the lesson of I play strategy games all the time. And in strategy games, you like, you want more. . It’s okay to have more resources, but what you want is more things that generate resources. right? And that’s people. So I can’t imagine. . . Like, small countries don’t have as high gross domestic product as big countries because people are what make things. Like the idea that I alone or with my immediate family, that that’s a useful unit to approach the apocalypse, it doesn’t make any sense to me. And I don’t know. Where am I going with this? It’s like, people think of, "Oh, you want to let people in and eat your stockpiles. That’s you showing weakness. And they’re gonna see your weakness and take advantage of it." But everything I’ve ever learned about strategy says that it’s actually a strategic plan. I mean, it’s also basic empathy. But like, I don’t know. I just want to run that idea past you if you have any thoughts on it.

**Tyler ** 50:32
Yeah, yeah. This is something I actually talked about really recently, which was that, one, in most scenarios, the right wing has painted the idea of a leftist prepper as like walking down the street throwing food to the masses, like just giving away all your stuff. And that’s not the plan at all. I mean, with being able to bring people here, it’s because. . . I mean, currently, I have way more space than I could ever reasonably cultivate food on. And I can certainly cultivate a lot. But if people were to show up and, you know, need food, and need a place to stay, that is, again, like you said, a strategic–like a strategy game–is like recruiting people to your town to put to tasks and to be able to exchange, you know, your resources that you’ve been collecting in exchange for some of their time, and if they’re going to be staying there and just like to contribute to the community as a whole. Because when it comes down to it, I mean, if you’re going even down the rabbit hole of defense, I think a lot of people have talked about how you need more than your immediate family to just keep watch. Like, you need someone who can like keep watch at night while the other people sleep. But, you know, it’s like the more people you have, the more. . . it’s a force multiplier I think. It’s a force multiplier because you can just generate so much more, so many more resources, build your infrastructure up so much faster with those additional people.

**Margaret ** 50:32
Yeah, no, totally, and it like. . . And then I think the other thing that I run across a lot is that a lot of people don’t think that they have anything to offer. And I actually think that one of the things that behooves us in our process of like anti-gatekeeping is helping people realize what they have to offer, which might not be physical labor, right? Like some people for various reasons can’t do physical labor, right? But there’s like. . . It seems like the overwhelming majority of people have something that they can offer. And then if there’s every now and then people who don’t have anything to offer, well, you know what, that’s fine. Like, okay. Like, if one person out of 50 can’t contribute anything, well, great. You can still stick around, because overall, bringing people in. . . Because it’s like less about like, oh, you come in and now you’re going to be like you slot into this role and now you’re the person who goes and gardens all day. Or I play enough video games where I’m like you’re not the person who carries the thing from the garden to the kitchen or whatever, right? But instead, you know, people always. . . like the right wing always talks about how like, "Oh, well, hungry people will do anything to fix that problem." You’re like, yeah, one of the things that they’ll do is productive labor. One of the things that you can do is you can all wake up in the morning and be like, "These are the problems we’re facing. How can we confront them?" And get people to volunteer to do the things because that works, because if people know that it’s that or go hungry, they will do it. And not because you’re going to make them starve but because. . . I don’t know. Whatever.

**Tyler ** 53:46
Yeah, that is something that I actually feel really, really strongly about with making people feel included in communities–not making people feel included–finding ways to include people. It’s not about making them just feel good, but giving them actual, an actual place within your community, even if it’s not, like, quote/unquote, "productive" or labor. Like, there’s always something that someone can do to help, whatever that may be. Or if they are someone who, you know, their primary role, you know, if there’s someone who just has an extreme disability, you know, like physically they cannot like, quote/unquote "contribute" having people around or having people who are around who are different from you is incredibly valuable. I always look at it from a perspective of even if my neighbor has no construction skills, no like…no hands-on skills, like no labor potential. You know, they are disabled, but they work as a remote project manager. Like, being a project manager when it comes to organizing a bunch of people on to tasks, like that’s wildly useful. Or if you are just like, oh, I work in communications, learning how to like communicate ideas that like. . . I’m really good at coming up with ideas. It’s much harder for me to distill them down into verbiage that someone who doesn’t have extreme ADHD can understand–

**Margaret ** 55:24
Shout out to everyone listening to this at 2x speed. Sorry, go ahead.

**Tyler ** 55:30
No yeah. Like that’s really it. Also if you’re not. . . like you don’t know what role you’re in, you don’t know what role you can do, you don’t have to look at it from the perspective of "you need to have a function." Like maybe your function is just to help other people do their function. You know, maybe it is just bringing water to people who are laboring outside. Maybe it’s just kind of reading the recipe to someone who’s cooking for everyone else. Like there’s always something that can make other people role easier. And again, like you said, for the people that they just can’t. They can’t contribute in that way. That’s also fine. Those are the people that the rest of us need to be contributing to take care of. There are people who just need support. They need help. And that’s what community should be all about. It’s not about meritocracy.

**Margaret ** 56:25
Absolutely. Well, I want to have you on to talk about so much more. But for now, is there anything that, you know, questions you wished I had asked or final thoughts around these particular topics or even if you just want to talk a little bit about something you have coming up with [interupts self]. Oh, also, where’s the name Dark Winter Concepts come from? I have no idea. You mentioned some game maybe. So that and then any other final thoughts.

**Tyler ** 56:54
So the name Dark Winter Concepts is related to The Division. But it is something that happened in the real world. Operation Dark Winter was a simulation that the United States government ran in partnership with John Hopkins to simulate a bio weapon attack in, I think, Oklahoma City in 2001. Basically, to run a simulation like this happened. This is how it’s spreading. I think they used smallpox as the example. And then use John Hopkins as hospital response, medical response, like emergency to show how do we respond to this in real time, basically. And we failed, like really bad. Like, it fell apart really, really fast. And as we saw 20 years later, we learned nothing from that failure as we once again we’re faced with a viral incident. And as a nation–or as a national response, not as the people within–the National Response fell flat, you know a day late and a buck short. And so I wanted to pull on that with the concepts, which is really just about providing the ideas and information that people can then take to help bridge that gap. You know, to help bridge the gap between, you know, when things go wrong, when there’s a disaster, you have to kind of expect to be your first responder, you know, expect to self-rescue or whatever. But basically, you can’t rely on an immediate government response to help. You need to be able to cover that two or three days or a week until, you know, the National Guard can come in or FEMA is there or whatever. Just to stay alive and keep other people around you alive long enough to get the help that will hopefully come. Hopefully. And so that’s kind of where the, the motivation for for the name came, which was just recognition of like, we’re still not going to learn anything, even after 2020 and everything else I would fully expect the same thing to happen next time. It’s all. . . all of our systems are going to be run bare minimum. They’re not able to. . . The specific note from Operation Dark Winter was the Healthcare System’s inability to scale to meet the need, was like the big failing point. Hospitals were not able to scale because they are all chronically understaffed. They are all chronically underfunded. They do not have. . . Excess medicine isn’t just being made because it’s the right thing to do. Like, that’s not something that has been fixed and doesn’t seem to be a priority to be fixed.

**Margaret ** 59:30
And that’s. . . You know, when I talk about how individual community preparedness are not in opposition but directly related and synergize. I never use the word synergize. But I’m gonna use it right now. That to me, is such a clear example of it, right? Like the expect to self-rescue, the expect. . . Like, I’m not a hospital, right? I am a squeamish person who drags myself into medical workshops kicking and screaming, but I still do it every now and then, right, because I’m like the more diffused this knowledge is, the more that the super specialized people can focus on that. I talk a lot with one of my friends who’s a medical professional, a a physician’s assistant, and he talks about how he– oh, now I’m combining a couple different in my head, a couple of my different medical profession friends–and they talk about how like, now that they like work in hospitals, they’re less likely to do street medic stuff, partly because they’re like the part of their brain that is used to helping people gets used up when they’re like sawing people’s legs off and like doing this higher level of care work where walking around and giving people sunscreen and reminding people to drink water and maybe being around to like flush someone’s eyes out is–don’t get me wrong, like shout out to all the nurses and doctors who still do street medic stuff–but the more people can pick up that slack so that the people who specialize in the thing can do the higher level of care thing. And then my squeamish self can still handle most level of wounds that I can do to myself, you know? Like, I’m sure. . . If I chain saw deep enough into my leg, I need a higher level of care. But overall, the average wound that I do to myself in the course of my life as doing woodworking, or whatever, I can handle because I learned this stuff. And so I’m just rambling about the. . . No, I really liked this. I like the. . . I like what you’re talking about. Okay, well, how can people find you if they want to learn more? Is there any like specific kinds of support you’re looking for? Anything like that. So

**Tyler ** 1:01:49
I am just Dark Winter Concepts on Instagram and Tiktok primarily Tiktok a little bit more heavily just due to engagement over there right now. But any platform. Over on YouTube as well but not as much. There will also be a website that by the time this airs should be live as well, darkwinterconcepts.com My day job is a brand designer. So the ability to actually like design show that I care about was just an opportunity, but it’s also something that like. . . I don’t want people to buy a shirt that they don’t like just because they want to support me. But there will be some cool original shirts and mugs and flags and stuff that’s just all my own designs, or just all my own stuff. If people want to promote what I’m doing, if people want to support through the shop or just come and engage on any social media platform that is by far the most rewarding thing if people just drop into an Instagram post and leave a comment, ask a question. Answering the individual questions is the most rewarding part of any of this. So Dark Winter Concepts on Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Facebook even. Yeah, all around.

**Margaret ** 1:03:03
Hell yeah. Well, thanks so much. And we’ll talk to you soon. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast, go check out Dark Winter Concepts. And also if you want to support this podcast, you can do so by supporting us on Patreon. Or you know, telling people about it is really good too. But you can support us on Patreon through our publisher, which is Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness. We put out a lot of different stuff, including two other podcasts you might want to check out. One is called The Spectacle. We renamed Anarcho Geek Power Hour to The Spectacle, which is probably a better name, I’m willing to admit, even though. . .whatever. And also the podcast Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, which is we put out a new zine every month, and if you want that zine–and ends up on the podcast–but if you want that zine in the mail, you can support us on Patreon at patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness. Oh, and then anyone who supports that the $20 a month level, not only will I read out your name, but I’ll also read out kind of whatever you tell me to within some limits. And so often we are going to be shouting out a couple projects that support us. And so yeah, that’s a thing that you can do. We want to thank Amber, Ephemoral, Appalachian [pronounces it App-a-lay-shun". Appalachian [App-a-latch-un]. They specifically made a note about how you can’t say App-a-lay-shun. And I was like, I would never do that. I didn’t grow up saying that. But I was looking at that note when I started reading it. I’m so terribly sorry. Appalachian Liberation Library. Portland’s Hedron Hackerspace, Boldfield, E, Patoli, Eric, Buck, Julia, Catgut, Marm, Carson, Lord Harken, Trixter, Princess Miranda, BenBen, anonymous, Funder, Janice & O’dell, Aly, paparouna, Milica. Boise Mutual Aid, theo, Hunter, S.J., Paige, Nicole, David, Dana, Chelsea, Staro, Jenipher, Kirk, Chris, Mic Aiah, and of course, the immortal Hoss the dog. Alright, I will talk to you all soon and I hope you all are doing as well as you can with everything that’s happening.

Find out more at https://live-like-the-world-is-dying.pinecast.co