It took a while, but I finally got around to watching season 3, episode 2, of Doomsday Preppers- “The Gates of Hell.” From the National Geographic Channel website:
An economic collapse could mean total chaos for the U.S. — looting, riots and civil unrest are top concerns. In Washington state, Steve works with a stern hand to prep his family for the potential threat. South Carolinian David Appleton is a comedian, but the idea of a devastating earthquake is no joke to him. His job doesn’t always pay the bills, so David must Dumpster dive to find supplies to make a DIY camouflage net to hide his preps.
Once again, there was more to the episode that aired last week than just the segments on Steve H. and David Appleton. The show also introduced Suzanne Strisower living out in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
My thoughts about “The Gates of Hell”:
Part 1: The heavily-defended bug-out location
Season 3, episode 2, of Doomsday Preppers opened with a segment about “Steve H.,” who told viewers:
I’m preparing my family for the imminent collapse of the United States economy.
According to the show:
Steve H. a contractor in Washington state, fears that economic collapse will encourage widespread riots and looting, and that his home, in an easily-accessible neighborhood, could become a target.
While Steve, his wife Kim, and sons Nick and Steven James work on their preps every week, most of their efforts are directed towards their bug-out location, a cabin 50 miles away in the mountains and where the family heads to on weekends.
The BOL and the preparations that have gone into constructing it are impressive, not the least of which is a concrete bunker that houses supplies.
Steve, along with friends Nolan and Dylan, have also put a lot of thought and effort into making the cabin highly-defensible. The prepper group is heavily-armed, utilizing even binary explosives to protect against intruders making their way up the only road to the cabin.
For those readers not familiar with binary explosives, according to the BATFE website:
Binary explosives are pre-packaged products consisting of two separate components, usually an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal.
The remainder of the segment showed what an attack on the mountain hideaway (not really, as it looks to be right off a paved road) might look like. Those into big guns (.50 caliber) and even bigger explosions (those binary explosives were put into action) probably enjoyed this part a lot. I know I did.
Two things stood out in this segment for me. First, I’ve heard/read concerns about youngsters participating in preparedness activities (usually, it relates to firearms). So has Steve, who has little man Steven James involved in the family’s prepping. Dad had this to say:
My mother says that our prepping is a negative influence on our 8-year-old son. But I say it’s a positive influence on my son. Reality is what reality is. And the sooner that we face reality, the sooner that we’re going to be able to do something about it. I don’t want to lose anybody in our family. I don’t people in my family to be hungry. I don’t want people in my family to be discomforted or in pain. And so I’m taking these steps beforehand, to see to it that that doesn’t happen to us.
Second, Practical Preppers awarded Steve and the group 79 points out of 100 points for their efforts. Instead of disputing the assessment- which happens quite a bit- Steve was incredibly open-minded about the whole thing. Steve confided with viewers:
I think the assessment is spot on. Especially about the security. There’s a lot of things that we can do that would be better. And I think that I’m going to seek some training.
Good for him.
Part 2: The dumpster-diving prepper
In the second segment, viewers met David Appleton, a professional comedian out of Charleston, South Carolina. Appleton explained:
I’m actually preparing for a catastrophic earthquake to hit Charleston, South Carolina.
“Apples,” as David is known on the comedy circuit, added:
I’m prepping for an earthquake because it’s happened in the past.
The show went on to confirm that it has- and in a big way.
It’s revealed David and his wife, Lauren, have 72 hours of preps set aside at their home, then they plan on bugging out in the event of a longer-term emergency.
Appleton is a also a self-admitted dumpster-diver. And using his scavenging skills, he’s been able to acquire materials that allow him to construct items like a multi-purpose rickshaw made out of PVC pipes. During the show, he demonstrated how to make camouflage netting out of what looked to be a discarded painter’s drop cloth, wire mesh, and various cans of spray paint.
The finished product looked like it might be pretty functional for its intended use.
Those who desire camouflage for their bug-out vehicles (especially trucks) but who don’t want to spend much money for it- take note.
Not all of the couple’s preps are scavenged. He’s acquired an old Army truck for a BOV and an old pontoon boat from his parents (shown with outboard engine). In the event David and Lauren ever have to get off the island where they live (only three earthquake-vulnerable bridges connect them to and from the mainland), they plan on trailering the boat and driving it down to the waterfront to escape. David was even shown fabricating and installing a rain catchment system onto the boat should they need to collect fresh water while on the “high seas.”
Part 3: Lifestyle prepping
In the final segment of “The Gates of Hell,” viewers were introduced to yet another pacifist from California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains- Suzanne Strisower- and her partner Dave. The couple reside on 30 acres there.
Strisower told viewers:
When the economy collapses, I’ll barter everything I have to survive and thrive.
The United States is not going to be the global standard for the currency anymore. I think we’re going for sure have some kind of currency collapse, where money is not going to be worth what it used to be worth. And I think it’s going to get worse. I tell everybody- listen, you need to have a plan. You need to know what you’re going to do if something comes down. So, it’s about mindfulness. It’s about preparation. It’s not about fear. That’s why I really advocate for people to be lifestyle preppers- not doomsday preppers.
The couple plans to survive TEOTWAWKI through bartering. From the show:
Suzanne’s lifestyle plan for an economic collapse is to turn her mountain retreat into a giant doomsday swap meet. All her resources will be alternate currency she’ll use to barter and trade for whatever she needs.
Strisower is a gifted barterer. She is shown putting this skill to work in order to acquire a dehydrator.
Recognizing the need for being able to protect themselves, the pacifist was shown visiting Surplus City, a local military surplus store, and talking to Robert Pratt there about what might best-suit them. Since lethal weapons are out of the question, Pratt suggested a stun gun. Strisower didn’t like the fact that it would require her to get close to an attacker to be able to use it.
Pratt came up with a different option for her- a paintball gun.
Used correctly, paintball guns can inflict a lot of pain on an aggressor some distance out. Strisower asked Pratt to come up to the couple’s place to demonstrate the gun, she tried it out, and was subsequently impressed.
Needless to say, viewers shouldn’t have been surprised when Practical Preppers only awarded her 3 out of a possible 20 points in the “Security” category of the assessment. Oh well. As Pratt said earlier in the segment:
I get it. You don’t want to have to hurt somebody. You don’t want to have to do it. But to me, you have to be willing to accept it. Willing to go with the fact that- I might have to.
Overall, a good episode.
For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the show’s web page on the National Geographic Channel site here.
By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)
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