This story about “mountain man” Troy Knapp has got me asking the question: Is living off the land impossible? Maybe doing so alone is impossible, as apparently Troy resorted to robbing people’s cabins (and shitting in them, for some weird reason, or maybe just as a “fuck you” to polite society). He also wrote ominous notes and drew swastikas in the margins, which would usually make one wonder about the state of his mental capacity, but we must remember that sanity is not something civilization has any rightful claim to. In fact, it’s the worst purveyor of insanity, in that people are participating in their own destruction and don’t even get short-term happiness in return.
After all, what’s crazier: living in the mountains and stealing from cabins to survive, or creating a situation in which this is likely to be every person’s future?
According to reports, Knapp lived in the wild for more than five years without being caught. I wonder if he was tired of running, or if those five years were the best of his life, despite the hardships of being a “survivalist.” (As if anyone alive could be anything else; wouldn’t someone who does not believe in survival commit suicide?)
Of course the narrative must be that he was both a criminal and insane, to nail home the idea that to walk away from a society that, from what I can tell, is mostly made up of different kinds of prisons, is somehow deviant and/or pathetically silly. This guy did what? Tellingly, Slate titled their story about Knapp with the question: “Is It Possible to Be a Modern-Day Survivalist Without Resorting to a Life of Crime?”
And yet, even the people called to haul him in paused to ponder the decision. “I envy the sights he’s seen, the sunsets, and animals,” Sevier County sheriff Nathan Curtis said. “I bet he’s seen things most people never will.”