Prepper(s) (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of or prior to any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant) or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle.
-Definition of prepper at the Stealth Survival blog
While scrolling through my satellite TV’s on-screen guide Sunday night I noticed a show called Doomsday Preppers was playing on the National Geographic Channel. From the Nat Geo Channel website:
Unique in their beliefs, motivations and strategies, explore the lives of four families preparing for the end of the world as we know it. From bunkers to fortified off-the-grid locations, these doomsday preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears became a reality.
The four families assessed included:
• The McClung family- Dennis and Danielle McClung and their two kids live in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. They are billed as “a typical middle class family” by National Geographic. The McClungs fear a coronal mass ejection (CME) is coming in 2012. According to the show, coronal mass ejections are “powerful eruptions on the sun that break free of the solar atmosphere. If these masses of plasma reach the earth, it could destroy our electrical grid, which touches every facet of modern life.”
• The Bedford family- Lisa Bedford, her spouse, and two children also live in a Phoenix suburb. They fear a collapse of the U.S. economy will bring on hyperinflation.
• The Kobler and Hunt families- David Kobler and Scott Hunt live with their families in rural South Carolina. Along with other families, they’ve formed a prepper community in anticipation of a global economic collapse.
• The Larson family- Peter Larson lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. Fearing a nuclear strike (it looks as if Peter is describing an electromagnetic pulse attack in the show), the Larsons have constructed a Rocky Mountain retreat for twelve. For those of you who don’t know what an EMP attack is, it’s when a nuclear device is detonated in the atmosphere, where it’s theorized the resulting electromagnetic pulse generated by the blast will “fry” microchips at the heart of electronic devices, rendering them useless.
“Wood Powered Car”
National Geographic Channel Video
Watching Doomsday Preppers, one soon realizes that the use of the term “doomsday preppers” is somewhat misleading. None of these families indicated they believe the end of the word is at hand. Instead, they plan and prepare for anticipated large-scale, near-term disasters, natural (CME) and man-made (EMP strike, financial crash). This use of “doomsday” reminds me of the situation with Apocalypse PA, in which I suspected having “apocalypse” in the title was merely a marketing ploy.
And which worked, in my case.
I’ve come across a few comments on the Internet calling these preppers “nuts.” The American writer Charles Simmons once said, “ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool.” Well, that applies here. After all, we protect ourselves in the event of an accident or other nasty situation by purchasing insurance. Auto, health, dental, renter’s, home, the list goes on. Prepping is yet another form of insurance, where time and money is spent acquiring knowledge and “preps” in hopes of maintaining one’s current lifestyle should some major destabilizing event ever materialize. Now, not only is this activity completely rational (what kind of insurance do you have?), but totally admirable in that their foresight and efforts might free up scarce resources for others who are in need of assistance- and who, for one reason or another, did not undertake the same preparations- in the event of an emergency. As such, which competent government and public safety agencies wouldn’t want more of these so-called “nuts” in their communities? After all, that may mean less households to worry about in a major crisis.
Now, one might get discouraged of how far along the families in Doomsday Preppers are with their preparations. However, keep in mind these aren’t exactly your typical preppers. While National Geographic identified Dennis McClung as a web designer, they didn’t mention he also runs 2012Supplies.com. From that site:
2012Supplies.com, online since March 2007, offers survival and sustainable living information and supplies for, what many believe to be, the possible end of the world as we know it in the year 2012. 2012Supplies.com is owned and operated by the married couple Dennis and Danielle McClung.
And Lisa Bedford? Well, she’s The Survival Mom. From the National Geographic Channel web page for the show:
She has not only been preparing for the end of the world but also guides other mothers on prepping with her popular blog The Survival Mom, which she established in 2009. She now has over 60,000 readers a month at thesurivalmom.com.
And David Kobler and Scott Hunt not only have their own YouTube channels, southernprepper1 and engineer775 respectively, but are also prepping consultants, heading up Practical Preppers LLC, “Providing tactical and technical solutions for all your prepping needs.”
Like Judge Reinhold said in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”
Now, most preppers may never acquire the same degree of knowledge or levels of preparedness the families featured on Doomsday Preppers have, but that doesn’t mean the same accomplishments aren’t worth aspiring to and working towards. The advice I encounter most often on a number of prepping sites is to work at it a little each day. And since there’s much more material on prepping out on the Internet as compared to a few years ago, there’s a good chance one won’t need to “reinvent the wheel” for many projects.
My only beef with the National Geographic Channel in Doomsday Preppers was their not identifying who their prepper “expert” was. I run across a lot of “experts” in my research, and it’s highly-debatable whether a good number of these individuals are deserving of such a title.
If you’re a prepper, I highly-recommend this show. I think you’ll find it interesting to learn about the motivations, the strategies, and the preps of other like-minded individuals. If you’re thinking about getting started in prepping, this is a good primer as to what it’s all about. Just remember to take that “doomsday” and “end of the world” stuff with a grain of salt. Unless you really believe in it, of course.
Keep an eye out for Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel.
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