Back on August 3, 2011, I wrote about a show called Doomsday Preppers that appeared on the National Geographic Channel that prior Sunday. Little did I know at that time that the one-hour special was really a pilot for a new series that goes by the same name and which debuted on Nat Geo last night. From their website:
About the Show
Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, 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 become a reality.
The first two episodes of the new series were broadcast Tuesday night, and a total of seven “prepper” individuals/groups were assessed, including (in order of appearance):
Paul and Gloria Range, the “Retiree Preppers,” outside of Floresville, Texas
“We’re preparing for a polar shift that will cause a sudden climate change and change life as we know it forever.”
Christopher Nyerges, the “Street Survivor,” Los Angeles, California
“I’m prepping for a killer earthquake that could completely flatten the city of L.A.”
Megan Hurwitt, the “Young Urban Prepper,” Houston, Texas
“I’m prepping to survive a catastrophic oil crisis.”
David Sarti, the “Hillbilly Prepper,” outside of Nashville, Tennessee
“I’m prepping to survive an EMP detonation that will wipe out our nation’s transportation system.”
Kellene (and Scott) Bishop, the “Gourmet Prepper,” Orem, Utah
“I’m prepping for a collapse of our financial system that will mean the end of the world as we know it.”
Kathy (and Bruce) Harrison, the “Doris Day of Doom,” somewhere in New England
“I’m preparing for a black swan event like a catastrophic New Madrid earthquake.”
Dennis Evers, the “Godfather Prepper,” rural Colorado
“I’m prepping to protect my family against global chaos caused by hyperinflation.”
Watching these first two episodes of the new television series, I thought back to something I wrote last year regarding the 2011 pilot:
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.
That same situation applies here. None of these seven prepper individuals/groups believes the actual end of the world is at hand- or at least it wasn’t said on camera. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of prepping? Their reasons for preparing are best illustrated in quotes attributed to them on the Nat Geo Channel website and which I listed above.
I also picked-on something else from the pilot. I wrote back on August 3 last year:
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.
This time around, Nat Geo did identify those conducting the assessments of the preppers. Who are they? In the original pilot, one of the groups assessed were the Kobler and Hunt families out of South Carolina, who formed a prepper community in anticipation of a global economic collapse. I wrote last year:
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.”
The experts assessing the preppers in the new series? Practical Preppers. From their website:
National Geographic Project
Practical Prepper’s Scott Hunt and David Kobler were featured on the pilot episode of “Doomsday Preppers”, on the National Geographic Channel.
Then, they were asked to be the experts for 10 episodes of that series on prepping.
Four to six families are profiled on each show. After each family’s segment, the experts — Practical Preppers — evaluate the family’s level of preparedness, on several different scales. They also suggest approaches for improving their plan.
Congratulations Practical Preppers LLC on the sweet gig.
Some other thoughts about the new Doomsday Preppers TV series include:
Operational Security, or OPSEC- Obviously, I wasn’t the only individual contacted about casting for the new series. Others blogged about it last year, and one of the concerns brought up was the violation of operational security, or OPSEC, by appearing in such a production. The thought being, once the show airs, the “world” now knows you are sitting on valuable equipment and supplies, and should the poop hit the fan, you will find plenty of people, both good and bad, at your doorstep. Even without a major crisis, you may have unwillingly set yourself up as an attractive target for thieves. I was surprised that one prepper went so far as to reveal that the cost of her and her husband’s preps amounted to six-figures. Shhhh!
Firearms- Which brings me to my next thought, which is about guns. One prepper said in episode 2:
It’s easy to feel a little left out of the prepper community if you live in New England and if you’re not fairly right-wing and conservative politically. But I just don’t spend my time worrying about storing guns and ammunition. Because our security comes not from stockpiling weapons but from having a community that respects each other, supports each other, and we have each other’s backs.
While the right of the law-abiding individual to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the Second Amendment, I understand that owning a gun may not be right for everyone. However, keep in mind that in a SHTF situation, there are individuals/groups this prepper and her community could very well come into contact with who have come out and said (future post) they don’t bother stockpiling food, water, and other supplies because they intend to take these items away from others under threat of force (guns). Firearms are without a doubt one of the most effective tools for self-defense, and with the proper training and tactics, our prepper and her beloved community might actually have a chance of keeping their preps safe against these roving bands of human parasites.
“The Odds”- At the end of episode 1 and each section of episode 2 (refinement is often a good thing), there’s a part of the show called “The Odds” in which the likelihood of a particular prepper’s overriding concern (earthquake flattening Los Angeles, for example) is addressed. At the end of Kellene and Scott Bishop’s segment, viewers are told:
What are the odds of a financial collapse actually occurring? While hyperinflation and severe depressions have occurred in major economies in the past, most economists do not believe the United States is currently at risk.
At the end of Dennis Evers’ segment? We’re informed, once again:
What are the odds of hyperinflation actually occurring? While hyperinflation and severe depressions have occurred in major economies in the past, most economists do not believe the United States is currently at risk.
Then again, most economists didn’t see the 2008 global financial crisis coming. And the housing bubble. And the the dot-com bubble. The list goes on. And on.
In fact, quite a few economists and other financial-types who correctly-called the 2008 event now warn of a coming hyperinflation, severe depression, and a financial collapse. Not too surprisingly, those who didn’t spot the crisis three-and-a-half years ago are the ones claiming the U.S. economy is on a sustainable path to recovery. Who’s got the street cred here?
So does all this mean I didn’t like the first two episodes of the new Doomsday Preppers TV series? Actually, I’m rather kind of impressed. The production company could have taken the easy way out and cast some of the more eccentric members of the prepping community to attract an audience through shock value. Instead, the preppers introduced in these episodes didn’t seem much different than people I’d run into on the street in 2012. Then again, I’m from Chicago, soooo… All kidding aside, I do like the show. I especially liked how a number of themes emphasized in the prepper community- skill development, innovation, redundancy- made it into the first two installments. At times I found myself jotting down ideas gleaned from the show. Overall, I found the new Doomsday Preppers TV series interesting, informative, and even humorous at times. The production company succeeded in taking what is a scary subject for many and making it more palatable for the masses- without diluting the more serious aspects of the show.
New episodes of Doomsday Preppers will be on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. From the Practical Preppers’ website, it looks like viewers can expect at least 10 episodes in this new series. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel site here.
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