On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Time of Reckoning’ Review

I recently watched the latest installment of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series, “The Time of Reckoning,” which aired Tuesday night, November 27. Episode 4 of season 2 featured the prepping team of Dr. Tom Perez, a retired chiropractor, and Steven M. Vanasse, a radiation safety officer, both from Houston, Texas.

Dr. Tom Perez

The first part of the show focused on the Perez family. Dr. Perez is married to wife Monica and the couple have thee children, Katarina (17-years-old), Thomas (12), and Matthew (6). According to Tom:

I’m preparing for a terroristic attack.

From the show:

Tom fears the dirty bomb- an everyday explosive like dynamite or TNT packed with radioactive material. Once detonated, its blast can spread radiation anywhere from a city block to several square miles. But that radioactive debris could lodge in buildings, and chemically-bind with concrete and asphalt, making decontaminating a city difficult and possibly forcing affected neighborhoods to be abandoned… A single dirty bomb could contaminate an area 30 times the size of the initial blast site which could cover up to 20 city blocks. The radiation would not be detected by human senses, and the effect of exposure could be immediate.

In the event of a dirty bomb detonation in Houston, the family would bug out to their 700-acre compound- “The Alamo”- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas.

“Doomsday Preppers: Doomsday Alamo”
Nat Geo Channel Video

Steven M. Vanasse

Later on in the show viewers were introduced to Steven Vanasse, Tom’s prepping partner. Steven is married to Gobriella Gubimelli and they have a daughter, Victoria Vanasse. According to Steve:

I’m preparing for a dirty bomb blast in the city of Houston.

In the event of such an attack, the Vanasse family plans on bugging out of Houston and meeting up with the Perez family at “The Alamo.”

Tom is the firearms expert. Steve is the radiation expert. And both are training the members of their young families to be preppers.

My thoughts about Doomsday Preppers “The Time of Reckoning”:

• Both the Perez and Vanasse families plan on bugging out of Houston in the event of a dirty bomb explosion. A number of viewers probably wondered why they wouldn’t just bug in, seeing that this type of weapon is intended to cause fear more than casualties and fleeing Greater Houston and a good portion of its 6.08 million residents could be very difficult- if not impossible- in such a situation. From the show:

Tom’s bug-out route bypasses over 3,000 miles of Houston’s highways, and once on the open road, they travel due west to their safe house- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas… It’s normally a 6-hour drive to Tom’s compound.

I’m guessing that drive would take significantly longer with a lot of other Houstonians on the road after a dirty bomb attack, and that Tom and Steve would rather not shelter-in-place because of the perceived danger from civil strife and other sorts of chaos that could happen in Houston after such an event. Considering the extent these guys have planned and prepped, I’d be surprised if bugging in wasn’t a viable option for them.

• “The Alamo” is an impressive bug-out location. When I first heard that Tom Perez had stockpiled 46,000 rounds of ammunition, I was kind of surprised at the large number. However, upon thinking the situation through (the Perez family alone consists of 5 preppers and their firearms) and being familiar with a number of recommendations being circulated in prepper/survivalist circles as to how much ammo should be stored for a SHTF event, that amount didn’t seem so astronomical anymore.

• On the other hand, when it was revealed that the Perez family only had 9 months of food socked away at the retreat, I was somewhat shocked. Considering all the preps Dr. Perez had already taken care of, I would have thought he’d have at least a year’s worth of food stored- if not more- at “The Alamo.” I’d seriously-consider buying more food before an armored car, as Dr. Perez said they were looking into at the end of the episode.

• When I heard Tom say:

I also have taken the liberty of contaminating 10 percent of my food and water supply if it is ever compromised. I am the only one that knows which supplies are affected.

I was initially surprised (concerned?) here too. But once I thought the situation through yet again, should this prepper network ever get dislodged from “The Alamo” by raiders, it would probably just be a matter of time before the unwelcomed “guests” get sick, giving the Perez and Vanasse families the opportunity to retake their retreat.

• I have to believe there’s a certain amount of distrust among the law enforcement community when it comes to preppers/survivalists. I thought it was a good idea for the Perez family to coordinate their preparedness efforts with local law enforcement. By doing this, not only did they establish a relationship with them- perhaps decreasing the chance they might be seen as dangerous “kooks” by the police- but they even received some helpful advice during their combined drill with the off-duty officers from the local sheriff’s department. For example, Deputy Ramon Gutierrez pointed out that the Perez family are less vulnerable if they stay in the limestone structures during an attack, and Deputy Forrest Spence emphasized family members need to be real aggressive when confronting a threat.

• I was impressed that Tom taught 17-year-old Kat, 12-year-old Tommy, and 6-year-old Matthew how to shoot, among other things. From the show:

Matthew, who’s been shooting since the age of 4, can hit a target from 100 yards away with his child-size sniper rifle.

Cutest little sniper you ever did see.

• Question- What’s up with Matthew’s boots? They look gargantuan on him.

• Another question- Is it just me or does Steven Vanasse look a lot like a younger version of actor Randy Quaid?

• The way the relationship between Steve and daughter Victoria played out in the episode was funny. Steve would say something about how proud he was of Victoria and how she’s coming on board with the prepping, and the young lady would indicate otherwise. In one scene, Steve brought her shooting for the first time at an indoor gun range. Victoria gave it a try- and it looked like she was a natural at it. Steve was just beaming about Victoria’s performance. Victoria tells viewers she probably won’t go shooting again. I had to chuckle when I saw that. A lot of my friends were just like that at that age. I was an angel, of course.

• The National Geographic Channel definitely got their shock value’s worth from this installment. If the Molotov cocktails and slaying of the goat weren’t enough (or Steve’s munching on its cooked eye), Tom Perez almost suffering permanent injury to his hearing from Steve firing his rifle in the hunting blind really took the cake. Cuidado, Esteban!

“The Time of Reckoning” was really interesting to watch, especially as Tom Perez and Steve Vanasse appear to be way ahead of most of their prepping contemporaries. This was apparent in the score they received from Practical Preppers LLC right before the show wrapped-up. But the episode was also painful to watch at times. Even more painful to make by the looks of things.


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12 Comments to On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Time of Reckoning’ Review

  1. I thought this episode was interesting. If you google map bracketville, texas almost instantly you can find his compound right off of the major highway. Bracketville is also a large town. I can’t believe Perez will use his children as child soldiers.

    As much as Perez is prepared, his partner Steve is clearly not mentally sound. He is a bit off the wall and even if they were to survive there, I’m almost certain there will be trouble within the compound between the families.

    Perez, sure he was hit with “shell shock” after Steve stupidly shot in the hunting blind. I don’t think Perez will be tough enough to survive if he ever was in a real firefight without hearing protection.

    Assuming Huston is hit (why the fuck would a dirty bomb hit Houston?) I dont see both families safely making it through all the traffic on the major high-ways, even with 3 pre-determined routes.

  2. Jeff on December 2nd, 2012
  3. Thanks for the comment Jeff.

    If you google map bracketville, texas almost instantly you can find his compound right off of the major highway.

    Yeah, someone else pointed this out too via the blog’s “Contact” page. Not sure Dr. Perez/the production company/Nat Geo Channel knows about this or not. Or maybe Dr. Perez is cool with it (remember- he did poison some of his provisions). I wouldn’t be. I’m big on anonymity… says the guy with the blog.

  4. Editor on December 5th, 2012
  5. Brackettville is not a big town.

  6. Brackettvillian on December 5th, 2012
  7. Thanks for the comment Brackettvillian.

    Brackettville is not a big town.

    A Brackettvillian would know…

  8. Editor on December 5th, 2012
    Is this a joke, someone’s novel; or a cable show – what is this?

    First of all – if you are gonna blindly follow someone – make sure that you do your research beforehand. Brackettville (still ROFLMA) is a little bitty town – without many resources – seriously! Granted the people are nice and friendly, but using Brackett as the “go-to” after a dirty bomb – again – still peeing in my pants – not the place to run to for shelter, at least not in my opinion.

    Just laughing so hard – the mere thought of this idea is bringing tears to my eyes from laughing so hard!

  10. Brackettvillian2 on December 8th, 2012
  11. Thanks for the comment Brackettvillian2.

    Is this a joke, someone’s novel; or a cable show – what is this?

    Doomsday Preppers is a TV show (now in its second season) on the National Geographic Channel. From its website:

    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.

    Also, you mentioned:

    Brackettville (still ROFLMA) is a little bitty town

    The fact that Brackettville is a small town is probably a big reason why these “preppers” chose to head there in the event of a “dirty bomb” in Houston (distance from that city being another). It appears to me that not only are they concerned about the immediate threats- explosion and radiation exposure/poisoning- from such a device being detonated, but also the real potential for civil strife in its aftermath. Considering the Greater Houston area has just over 6 million residents, I’m guessing they probably feel safer getting as far away from “ground zero” as possible to a more sparsely-populated area- Brackettville. The fact that Brackettvillians are “nice and friendly” probably appealed to them and may have been one more reason these preppers chose your neck of the woods to flee to in the event of something like this happening. According to what was shared in the show, resource availability/usage in the short- to medium-term shouldn’t be a big deal for these guys.

  12. Editor on December 10th, 2012
  13. After the airing the show on HC, I am compelled to aquire a weapon for hunting and protecting my family from the big city hoarders. My family is Brackettville!

    Best regards,

  14. Bob Martinez on December 12th, 2012
  15. I was wondering if anyone could help with a couple of questions. Firstly 10% of food being contaminated and the father being the only one who knows what is safe. What if something happened to him- does he not care that his wife and children wouldn’t know what the safe food was.
    Did the children know it was a drill? It seems a bit much to put them through that terror of their mother being held hostage. Also presumably real bullets weren’t in the children’s guns in the drill- surely not? I am from Australia and finding it hard to imagine children being allowed to use these type of guns.

  16. Clare on April 15th, 2013
  17. Thanks for the questions Clare. Anyone want to try helping her out with these?

  18. Editor on May 3rd, 2013
  19. He was the only prepper for the first and last one hour episode. All the other preppers bug out in the show to nothing and do not even have half of the gear he has. Other people on the show do it to make money of their gear they sell he sells nothing and gives good advice. Every one is quick to put him down and jealous of the nice town of Brackettville, Texas.

    I heard he does free voluntary work as medical and he has private survival classes to select few. He also has a bunker in the mountain in Brackettville and have seen it. He has 8 German shepards and other dogs that are trained to attack and several dogs cannot bark to be stealth.

    Seriously people enjoy to prep and learn do not put down your fellow man who is just trying to help and does not put you down. How much food do you have? How much do you have? Exactly now shut up and get your shit together before you start casting stones.

  20. Prep Mister on January 16th, 2014
  21. Thanks for the comments Prep Mister. Tom Perez and Steve Vanasse sound like good people with honorable intentions.

    Seriously people enjoy to prep and learn do not put down your fellow man who is just trying to help and does not put you down. How much food do you have? How much do you have? Exactly now shut up and get your shit together before you start casting stones.

    When Perez and Vanasse- or any prepper- goes on Doomsday Preppers or a similar show, it’s inevitable that “stones” will be cast by certain viewers. Nature of the beast with these “reality” TV shows. While there’s a good deal of constructive criticism that’s offered, there’s definitely no shortage of petty criticism and what I like to call “prepping envy.”

  22. Editor on January 16th, 2014
  23. I have relatives who live in Brackettville, nice little Texas town. I almost fell off my chair when I heard them say that’s where they were heading to for the end of the world.

  24. PopUp Survivalist on May 2nd, 2016

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