On TV

Resource Of The Week: ATSN’s Stop The Threat TV Show

I’ve now been at the new place a little more than a year, and I still don’t have my beloved satellite TV service hooked up. Truth be told, I’m so busy these days I don’t have that much time to watch television. However, I do miss some of the shows that were only on “pay TV.” One that I used to watch on a regular basis was Stop the Threat. From the American Trigger Sports Network website:

American Trigger Sports Network presents “Stop the Threat”, hosted by James B. Towle, featuring a rotating round table of expert guest panelists as they offer an informed discussion aimed at armed citizens on legal gun ownership, the use of deadly force, and how one may avoid becoming a victim, or respond to a life or death situation. This series may save your life!


“ATSN Stop the Threat television series promo”
YouTube Video

I used to watch it on the Pursuit Channel, which adds:

They analyze life-threatening crime scenes reenacted from real crime scenarios happening across the country. With more citizens, legal gun owners, and viewers becoming interested in protecting themselves and their families, Stop the Threat has opened the conversation of a previously neglected subject that could help save lives.

Very intense yet very informative. That’s what I used to think of the show.

How about you? Seeing that past episodes can be viewed for FREE via the Stop the Threat page on the ATSN website.

As of tonight, I count 36 episodes archived, each running somewhat longer than 20 minutes.

If you are going to watch the show, keep in mind the warning that’s prominently displayed at the beginning of each episode:

VIEWER WARNING: Contains extreme violence and is intended for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised.

Adds a lot more realism to the crime reenactment, if you ask me.

While the last episode released looks to be from April 14, 2014, according to the ATSN Facebook page on August 6:

New season is coming soon!!!

Until then, you can watch hours and hours of Stop the Threat archived on the American Trigger Sports Network website here (scroll down to bottom of page).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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America Unplugged: Season 1 Finale Thursday

I just got done watching a recent episode of America Unplugged, the new survival-themed television series that’s been appearing on Thursday nights on the Sportsman Channel (blogged about here). As usual, it was real good. In case you weren’t aware of the show- from the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based national television network’s website:

Hosted by former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, America Unplugged is a new series that takes viewers on a cross-country journey to meet the folks that are unplugging from society. Each of the eight episodes provides a riveting look at the excitement and danger of living off the grid. The terrain, wildlife, and food sources are as varied as the people who choose this lifestyle. But they are all motivated by the same thing; they want to live free, as they pursue their own version of the American Dream.

Regrettably, I received an e-mail from the folks over at the Sportsman Channel earlier today which said tomorrow, Thursday, July 10, “is the last show for this season.”


“One-Hour Season Finale”
Sportsman Channel Video

Darn. I’ve been looking forward to watching America Unplugged whenever I can.

Cade Courtley (who just recently penned a survival guide) has done a solid job hosting the series- as expected from his previous work on Surviving Disaster. The parties who’ve been unplugging from the grid have been pretty interesting and likeable. I’m learning a thing or two about the self-reliant lifestyle from each episode. And the drama exhibited in survival-themed TV reality shows has been kept to a minimum in this production- at least in the installments I’ve seen.

I’m really hoping the Sportsman Channel brings America Unplugged back for a second season.

In the meantime, catch two all-new episodes tomorrow, Thursday, July 10, beginning at 8 PM ET/PT on the Sportsman Channel. Click on the banner ad below for more information about the TV series.

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By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: America Unplugged

Cade Courtley. Now that’s a name I haven’t heard for a few years.

Back on December 23, 2010, I informed Survival And Prosperity readers about a survival-themed television series- Surviving Disaster- that had aired on Spike TV the previous year and whose episodes had been uploaded on that channel’s website. I blogged:

From the network’s website:

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable…

I added later:

I’ve watched several of the episodes, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Courtley is a fantastic host…

And now Cade’s back as host of a new survival show- America Unplugged- which debuts tonight, June 5, at 8 PM Eastern Time /Pacific Time on the Sportsman Channel. From the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based national television network’s website:

Hosted by former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, America Unplugged is a new series that takes viewers on a cross-country journey to meet the folks that are unplugging from society. Each of the eight episodes provides a riveting look at the excitement and danger of living off the grid. The terrain, wildlife, and food sources are as varied as the people who choose this lifestyle. But they are all motivated by the same thing; they want to live free, as they pursue their own version of the American Dream.


“America Unplugged”
YouTube Video

Sounds and looks very interesting. Here’s what’s on tap for the next two Thursdays:

Week of Jun 02: THU 8:00PM/THU 11:00PM/FRI 12:00PM
Scott Hunt – All New
Robotics Engineer, Scott Hunt, prepares for his family’s survival in the event of a Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) in South Carolina.

Week of Jun 09: THU 8:00PM/FRI 12:00PM/THU 11:00PM
Robert Allen – All New
A close up look at Robert Allen’s tactical military training techniques as he moves his family toward independence in Arkansas.

Scott Hunt of Doomsday Preppers and Practical Preppers-fame. Met him at that Food Insurance conference I attended in Dallas last spring. This guy knows his stuff.

Interested in watching America Unplugged tonight? 8 PM ET/PT on the Sportsman Channel. Click on the banner ad below for more information about this new TV series.

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By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: 10 Ways To End The World

Last week, I mentioned that in lieu of “In Print” posts on Survival And Prosperity, I’d be substituting other material for the time being.

Tonight, I’ll be blogging about a documentary entitled 10 Ways to End the World. It originally aired on the National Geographic Channel back in 2012, but I saw it for the first time just the other week.

I found it riveting.

From the National Geographic Channel (United Kingdom) website:

More than 99.9% of all species that have inhabited the Earth are extinct – could mankind be next?

Black holes hurdling through space, deadly asteroids able to wipe out northern Europe in a single blow, hostile extra-terrestrials… science has introduced you to a host of galactic doomsday scenarios that could jeopardize your planet.

But, these cosmic catastrophes are second tier to the dangers that Mother Nature – and mankind itself – can inflict.

Will a supervolcanic eruption alter our planet’s atmosphere so completely that we stand little chance of survival? Could a pandemic on a scale larger than the 1918 Spanish influenza sweep the globe? Or, will mankind’s quest to push the bounds of scientific understanding ultimately lead to its demise?

10 Ways To End The World is a countdown of the top ten most chilling threats that could usher in the end of humanity as you know it.

You may recall that a number of these apocalyptic documentaries came out around this time. But this production by the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company stands out. So much so it was nominated for a Scandinavian TV award in 2011…


YouTube Video

For more information about the documentary, you can visit the Nat Geo Channel UK site here.

(Editor’s note: Link added to SPTV and “Resources” page)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Resource Of The Week: Pursuit Channel Free On FilmOn.com

Back when I lived in Chicago I used to have satellite television. And a few channels at that time carried firearm-related programming. One of these was the Pursuit Channel. From their website:

In 2008, Pursuit Channel was established by producers for producers and for the good of the outdoor community. With this founding commitment to the outdoor industry it has propelled Pursuit Channel into the most widely distributed, pure hunting and fishing television network. Our goal with Pursuit Channel is and always will be to create a place that everyone in the industry can call home. We’re here for the good of the industry, for the good of outdoor traditions, and we’re here to stay. Our distribution, our content and our overall viewer appeal are all on the rise, and we’re looking forward to an exciting future. Pursuit Channel is the only outdoor network delivered in satellite providers DISH and DIRECTV’s BASIC package, channels received by every subscriber regardless of their level of service. With a solid, growing portfolio of cable and high power TV stations as well, the network now reaches more than 38 million households.

While the Pursuit Channel does have an awful lot of hunting and fishing shows in its lineup, there’s plenty of self-defense and shooting sports programming available as well. Case in point, the Pursuit Channel’s “NRA Freedom Friday,” which features the following shows every Friday evening:

-Trigger Time TV
-American Airgunner
-American Trigger Sports Network’s Stop The Threat
-Gun Talk TV
-Doug Koenig’s Championship Season
-Guns & Gear TV
-3-Gun Nation TV

I’ve seen most of these TV shows, and they’re really good. In fact, I’ve blogged about a few of them (American Airgunner, Trigger Time TV) already.

So here’s the great thing about this resource. While the Pursuit Channel can be viewed via satellite television on Direct TV (Channel 604) and DISH Network (Channel 393), the channel can also be watched for free via the Internet through internet based television provider FilmOn.

You can start watching the Pursuit Channel now on FilmOn.com here. And for more information about the channel, its shows, and schedule, you can visit their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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On TV: Dude, You’re Screwed

From the cable/satellite TV channel that brought us Doomsday Bunkers (wonder what ever became of that show?) comes a new televised survival competition. From the Discovery Channel website Wednesday:

WHOSE TURN IS IT TO PLAY THE GAME?

In DUDE, YOU’RE SCREWED, five of the world’s most elite, thrill-seeking survivalists will find out! The seven-part series is the newest twist in the survival genre, premiering on Discovery Channel Sunday, December 8th at 10:00pm ET/PT, and on Animal Planet in early 2014.

Unprepared and left to fend for yourself, what would you do if you were captured, blindfolded and taken to an unknown, remote location? Viewers are about to find out as these five survivalists must prove they have what it takes week after week as they play this “game” that puts all of their skills to the ultimate test.

Each survivalist has a different background:

-Terry Schappert, a Green Beret, A -Team leader, medic, sniper and close combat specialist
-John Hudson, an Extreme Survival Instructor for the UK Royal Air Force
-Matt Graham, a primitive skills expert and a desert survival instructor
-Jake Zweig, a former Navy SEAL, certified in Surface Warfare & as a dive safety officer and helicast master
-Tom Moore, a veteran Army Scout, bush craft master and wilderness guide

Each survivalist is captured one at a time by the other four. The capture could take place at work, at home, at a coffee shop, ANYWHERE! They must always be on guard. Then, they are dropped in one of the world’s harshest environments and must make their way back to civilization, alive and unscathed, all within 100 hours, or it’s game over!

Meanwhile, the other four compatriots monitor and scrutinize the target’s progress (and vital signs) from a nearby remote command center. It’s man against nature (and his four “best” friends) as each action-packed, dramatic episode of DUDE, YOU’RE SCREWED crisscrosses the globe — from dense jungles to frigid glaciers — to match wits in this game of survival. With reputations and bragging rights on the line, do these guys have what it takes to survive the ultimate challenge?

To win the game you got to do more than just survive.


“Screwed In Iceland”
Discovery Channel Video

“To win the game you got to do more than just survive.”

To watch the show, I’d have to be a cable or satellite TV customer- which I’m not right now.

Of course, Discovery Channel is more than welcome to send me an advanced screening copy to preview/review.

Regardless, Dude, You’re Screwed does sound kind of interesting. Here’s hoping they keep the “reality” TV drama to a minimum though. Discovery Channel, Sunday, December 8, 10 PM ET/PT. Check it out.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Friday, November 15th, 2013 On TV, Preparedness No Comments

Some Blog-Related Matters

Sorry for not posting any new material Tuesday. The fact is, I was busy contemplating some matters related to Survival And Prosperity. Regular readers may have noticed that blogging has been somewhat sporadic, current events-oriented, and Chicago, Illinois-centric for some time now. This was not my intention. While it would be easy to blame my newly-found homeowner responsibilities, a myriad of other projects/tasks, and those unforeseen challenges/setbacks that have a tendency to pop up in life when we least expect (let alone need) them, at the end of the day the responsibility for publishing a decent weblog that provides useful information related to “protecting and growing self and wealth in these uncertain times” rests squarely on my shoulders.

And lately, I’ve “dropped the ball.”

Going forward, look for blog posts not only being published Sunday through Thursday again, but bright and early in the morning. While I’ll still discuss current events, new posts will be released from the “Project Prepper” series along with other financial and personal safety information that readers might be able to utilize. I’ll also be reintroducing the different series of posts special to this blog. As such, a “normal” week of blogging should look like this:

Sunday- “Quote For The Week,” “crash prophet” activity, other posts
Monday- “Project Prepper,” other posts
Tuesday- Media review (movies, TV shows, books), other posts
Wednesday- “Signs Of The Time,” other posts
Thursday- “Resource Of The Week,” other posts

As for those Chicagoland-centric posts? Well, those will continue, although they won’t make up the bulk of what’s published. On a side note, there’s just been so much bad news coming out of the “Windy City” and “Land of Lincoln” lately I’ve been compelled to write about it in hopes local readers understand what’s at stake. A lot, if you ask me. For this audience, I’ll be exploring the different avenues available to them for making the best of their unfortunate situation that’s been decades in the making.

One last thing. I’ve received a ton of messages via the blog contact page. For some reason, viewers of the various prepper/survival-themed shows on TV these days are messaging me thinking I’m either the person they saw on TV or have their contact info. The contact info requests I get, but the other? Anyway, I’ll be working hard whittling away at my inbox. Your patience is really appreciated.

That’s it for now. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions related to Survival And Prosperity.

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Fight Ahead’ Preview

A week ago, I blogged about the start of season 3 of the National Geographic Channel’s hit TV series Doomsday Preppers. I noted that I was able to get an advance screening DVD of the first two episodes for the new season. Before it airs tonight at 9 PM ET, I want to preview episode 2 of Doomsday Preppers, entitled, “The Fight Ahead.” From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Prepper Chad believes that a nuclear strike resulting in a genocidal siege is a real possibility. At his home in Arizona, he is working on executing the biggest prep of his life- a 140-foot-long escape tunnel from his family’s house to a bug-out vehicle. With the help of his wife and daughter, he begins construction. But as the project unfolds, they realize they’re in over their heads.

In addition to Chad Hudspeth, his wife Debbie, and daughters Heidi and Holly out in Phoenix, there’s Mike Evock and his family out in Laurinburg, North Carolina, who are prepping for a biological/chemical attack.


“Tunnel Time”
YouTube Video

I watched the “The Fight Ahead” a couple of weeks ago and thought it was pretty good, especially as it contained a bunch of potential prepping ideas. Keep an eye out for the following tonight:

-The Hudspeth’s backyard aquaponics system, which also generates algae for producing biodiesel fuel
-The addition of an underground shelter with escape tunnel to the Hudspeth home
-The family’s use of a single code word to signal TSHTF
-The Evock’s being able to run a family business from their bug-out location
-Their BioDome, a portable sealed-off safe room that protects against biological/chemical attack
-Their combat-capable ATV, the “Interceptor”
-How to produce homemade caltrops, a tire-deflating device made from spiked steel

Like I said- lots on potential ideas in this episode.

One more thing. I noticed that while Practical Preppers LLC is still assessing the preppers featured in the TV series, I didn’t see any scores displayed for them at the end of the first two episodes of the third season. I wonder if it’s because I’m viewing copies that are “not cleared for broadcast.”

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the National Geographic Channel here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: All-New Season Of Doomsday Preppers Starts Tonight

The National Geographic Channel has been pretty busy with their survival-themed programming this week. First, they aired the two-hour movie event American Blackout on Sunday. And tonight, an all-new season of Doomsday Preppers begins at 9 PM ET.

(Editor’s note: In August, four “summer episodes” of Doomsday Preppers aired. I erroneously labeled these season 3 of TV series. The third season of Nat Geo Channel’s hit TV series actually kicks off tonight. As such, I’ll be going back and making the necessary corrections on this blog.)

Season 3 debuts with the episode entitled “Take Our Country Back.” From the National Geographic Channel website:

Deep in Oregon’s backcountry sits an 80-acre off-the-grid estate that prepper Curt and his family have designed as a fortress in the event of an economic collapse. Isolation is one of their greatest strengths, but the protective measures are endless: a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse, a lake with 1 million gallons of water, infrared cameras and a high-tech software system not to mention the children are trained in marksmanship.

In addition to “Curt,” there’s Rodney Dial in Ketchikan, Alaska, who along with his wife Lisa and daughter Megan are prepping for major earthquakes in the Alaska area and the tsunamis they could potentially unleash.


“Armored for Armaggedon”
YouTube Video

I was lucky enough to get an advance screening DVD of two upcoming Doomsday Preppers season 3 episodes from the National Geographic Channel- including tonight’s show. After watching them the other week, I thought the Nat Geo Channel staff were correct in selecting this episode as the season premiere. Keep an eye out for the following on “Take Our Country Back” tonight:

-Rodney’s ingenious way of caching some of his of preps
-The Dial family’s bug-out vehicle, nicknamed the “War Machine”
-Curt’s 80-acre bug out location that he moved his family to (wife Randy (spelling?), kids Crae and Sam) last year. What a nice piece of survival property.
-An incident just beyond Curt’s BOL which looked pretty serious and threw him and the production crew off somewhat

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the National Geographic Channel here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: American Blackout

A week-and-a-half ago, I received a press release from the National Geographic Channel about a world premiere movie event that’s taking place this Sunday, October 27, at 9 PM ET/PT on the cable/satellite TV network. From the release:

(WASHINGTON, D.C. October 7, 2013) Imagine 10 days of a catastrophic blackout across the United States. No cell phone service, no ATM withdrawals, no working street lights, no available gasoline … no escape. Fact: It could happen.

On Sunday, October 27, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the lights will go out. American Blackout, National Geographic Channel’s two-hour, edge-of-your-seat movie event imagines the story of a national power failure in the United States caused by a cyberattack told in real time, over 10 days, by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. You’ll learn what it means to be absolutely powerless.

Gritty, visceral and totally immersive, see what it might take to survive from day one, and who would be left standing when the lights come back on.

American Blackout combines startling user-generated footage from recent real blackouts and disasters like Hurricane Sandy intercut with the dramatic shot footage in feature film style. Follow the struggles of ordinary Americans wrangling through the chaos, and witness one prepper family who prepared for the worst.

Who are these “ordinary Americans”? Nat Geo Channel says:

American Blackout focuses on five different storylines: A family about to have a baby in California, and using a handycam; a teenage guerrilla filmmaker in Austin; students in an elevator in Arizona using their phone cameras; a New York City couple trapped in a penthouse filming with their phone camera; as well as a prepper family in Colorado using a camcorder.


“American Blackout”
YouTube Video

Now, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance screening copy of American Blackout from the folks over at the National Geographic Channel. And let me just tell you- the made-for-TV movie was pretty gripping stuff. The wheels in my head kept turning throughout the film as I kept thinking to myself what I would do/would have done if faced with the same situations.

I really thought After Armageddon, a 2010 History Channel production, was put together quite well. In my opinion, American Blackout is right up there with it. I did have some issues with the movie (both too optimistic and pessimistic at the same time, if that makes any sense), which I’ll discuss in a future review of the special.

In the meantime, if you get the National Geographic Channel on your TV, check it out Sunday evening.

For more information about American Blackout, visit the website that’s been set aside for Sunday’s event here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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National Geographic Channel Hosts Doomsday Preppers Blog Carnival

Last weekend, I wrote a post entitled, “What Effect Have (Post-) Apocalyptic-Themed TV Shows And Films Had On The Prepping Movement?” I did this as part of a “blog carnival” the National Geographic Channel is hosting on its website this week (I also participated in an earlier one back in March 2012). Kristin Montalbano posted the following Tuesday on the Doomsday Preppers Blog on the Nat Geo Channel site:

Judging from recent apocalyptic films This is the End and World War Z to “what if” disaster shows like NBC’s Revolution or Nat Geo Channel’s upcoming American Blackout, to reality fare like Doomsday Preppers, it’s safe to say that the “end of the world as we know it” is on everyone’s mind. But what effect has TV shows and films like these had on the prepping movement? We thought we’d poll some of the best and brightest in the preparedness community to find out what they thought.

“Some of the best and brightest in the preparedness community.” I’m incredibly flattered, and pretty sure I shouldn’t be counted among this group of prepper bloggers if only because I’m not much of a prepper, but someone who just covers prepping as part of my blog’s focus on financial and personal safety issues.

Anyway, the blog carnival featured posts from a number of preparedness bloggers over two days- October 22 and 23. On Tuesday, it was Gaye Levy of Backdoor Survival, “Erich” of TacticalIntelligence.net, Bernie Carr of The Apartment Prepper’s Blog, and “The Road Warrior” and “Jarhead Survivor” of SHTFBlog.com. On Wednesday, it was “Angela” of Food Storage and Survival, yours truly with Survival And Prosperity, “Silent Prepper” of Prepper Central, and Tara Dodrill of Common Sense Prepping.

I’ve only just begun reading the responses from carnival participants, but they’re very interesting from what I’ve perused so far.

Now, I’ve actually been lucky enough to meet some of these bloggers in person, and let me just tell you- they really seem to know their stuff. But don’t just take my word for it. Drop by the Doomsday Preppers Blog over at the National Geographic Channel website and check out their latest blog carnival:

Doomsday as Entertainment – Preparedness Bloggers Weigh In: Part 1
Doomsday as Entertainment – Preparedness Bloggers Weigh In: Part 2

A special thanks goes out to Nat Geo Channel’s Kristin Montalbano for organizing yet another terrific carnival. I think I can speak for all of the participating bloggers when I say thank you for giving us the opportunity to take part in this event.

Stop back tomorrow for more on the National Geographic Channel and a televised event that’s taking place this Sunday.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Castle ‘Water From a Stone’ Review

Earlier this week, I found some time to watch the third episode of the new National Geographic Channel TV series, Doomsday Castle. “Water From a Stone” first aired on Tuesday, August 27.

In the prior episode, “A Stone From the Sling,” the family focused on accessing a sustainable food supply and on defending the road leading up to the castle via a medieval siege weapon. This time around? Brent Sr. said:

Today I’ve prepared an exercise for my kids so they can experience a real life situation. They’re going to be attacked by an unknown enemy. Their mission is to defend themselves and to defend this castle.

Basically, they worked on patrolling and defending from within the castle, learning how to use the protection it provides to their advantage.

The episode started off with the family- minus their father- patrolling the castle grounds with paintball equipment. Ghillie suit-clad Brent Sr., along with another individual, ambushed the “patrol” and cut the kids down one-by-one. Dad confided:

My kids failed miserably. I’m not going to be around forever. I need to know that they’ll be able to protect themselves.

Enter Mike Moore, a retired Army Ranger First Sergeant. Brent Sr. said:

All of our prepping will have been wasted if marauders can come and take over this castle. I have brought in Sergeant Mike to teach battle and weapons tactics so my kids can better defend the castle.

Michael and Linsdey were shown training with “Sergeant Mike,” while Brent Sr., Brent II, Ashley, and Dawn-Marie looked for a source of fresh water on the property, the other focus of this episode. Brent Sr. shared:

We definitely have plenty of water here. Only one problem. We have to figure out how to get it up 600 feet to the castle. And we’ve got to make sure it’s pure.

Lindsey’s and Michael’s training didn’t go so smooth. The middle daughter self-admittedly floundered while providing cover fire for Michael as the two attacked Sergeant Mike in the castle. Michael confided:

I can’t defend this castle all by myself. But at the same time, it’s not like I can really depend on my brother or my sisters in an end of days attack situation. Survival. This is life and death, and they need to realize that.

Brent Sr. brought in Scott Hunt, a fellow prepper and water expert, to help tackle the water problem. Hunt, who featured in the Doomsday Preppers pilot (reviewed here) and assesses preparations of other “doomsday preppers” on the popular show via his company, Practical Preppers, helped the family construct a solar power gravity collection system for the family. This system “consists of an earthen dam at the head of a mountain spring that collects water and feeds a series of filters that clean out dirt and bacteria. The water is driven through the system by a pump that is powered by solar panels situated on the castle perimeter.”

As Scott and a number of family members pieced together the new water system, tempers flared as Dawn-Marie and Ashley insisted on fabricating a zipline to haul down the gravel and clay for the project rather than carrying the material down the hill. While the concept may have been good, implementing it took too long. Brent Sr. revealed:

I was so frustrated with these kids. Not only are we losing daylight, but I’ve reached my absolute limit.

Frustration followed the family home that day, leading Brent II to draw up a “family constitution,” rules of conduct family members would agree to abide by, and which Dawn-Marie initially didn’t sign.

The next day, Sergeant Mike trained Brent II and Dawn-Marie on weapons, while Brent Sr. took Michael and Lindsey along with him to work with Scott on the new water system. After adjusting a solar panel, water started flowing way up at the castle. Brent Sr. explained:

When the End Time comes, our solar pump system will produce hundreds of gallons of clean water every day.

Nicely done Scott.


“Doomsday Water”
YouTube Video

The episode ended with a simulated night assault on the castle using paintball guns again. Being informed of the attack beforehand, the family was assigned the task of defending the castle. Twin Michael didn’t like Brent II being appointed team leader beforehand for that night’s exercise, and after the family failed to hold the castle, the two got into a shoving match, with Brent Sr. having to step in and keep them apart.

Some thoughts about “Water From a Stone”:

I thought the use of paintball guns for weapons training was a good idea, considering the castle sits on all that land and a lot of that instruction can take place outdoors. Still, I wonder how easy it is to get yellow paint off castle stone. Brent Sr. said in the episode:

Paintball might seem like a game, but it’s really an effective way to learn tactical techniques, teamwork, and strategy.

I like the fact that outside experts were brought in to help with the family’s weapons training and water system. While there’s a lot to be said for taking care of such things in-house, as a viewer, I was interested in seeing how the “pros” tackled such challenges. Take Scott Hunt’s solar power gravity collection system for the water on the castle property. Would the family have come up with the same solution without outside help?

While “Water From a Stone” provided viewers some food for thought, the “reality” TV aspect was ratcheted up quite a bit in this episode- to my disappointment.

I’m curious- do any readers who watch the show actually like the drama?

Anyway, as Brent Sr. acknowledged at the end of “Water From a Stone,” the family continues to make progress on the castle, which is good.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, visit the National Geographic Channel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Whatever It Takes’ Review

Yesterday afternoon I watched the third episode of the “summer season” of Doomsday Preppers, “Whatever It Takes.” From the National Geographic Channel website:

Could an explosion on the surface of the sun cause mayhem on Earth? Jason and Jacob are a father-son team from Alabama who are prepping for exactly that: a global solar flare with the potential to wipe out power grids around the world. Jason was almost stranded for good in the wilderness when he was 19, but that will not stop him from prepping in those very same woods by molding his own ammunition and preparing his 20-piece bug-out pack.

The show also introduced Brian and Sheila Moffatt and their seven kids out in Arizona who are prepping for an economic collapse, and Grayson Smith and Mike Umberger out in Maryland who are prepping for the next world war.

Here’s what went on in “Whatever It Takes,” along with some of my thoughts about the episode:

Part 1: Prepper “rite of passage”

Season 3, episode 3 of Doomsday Preppers opened with a segment about Jason, who grew up and still lives in a charming wooded area of Alabama. He told viewers:

We’re preparing for a solar flare, and the civil unrest that follows.

While the part of Alabama where Jason lives is quite scenic, the nearby forest is also where he almost died from exposure when he was 19.

Jason is a family man now, and lives with his wife and 18-year-old son Jacob.

He fears the nation’s electrical grid is going to get fried from a coronal mass ejection (CME) along the lines of the 1859 Carrington event, which the show called the “biggest geomagnetic storm in history.”

(Editor’s note: Back on August 1 I noted that reports had surfaced about the Earth just missing getting clobbered by a “Carrington-class” CME in July, with some experts saying it could have led to an electromagnetic pulse “catastrophe” on the planet)

As a result, Jason has been doing some serious prepping. From the show:

To get ready for the life without grocery stores, running water, and electricity he fears, Jason stocks more than twice as much food as he thinks he needs, and at least two of every survival item he owns. He believes having backups is essential to survival.

It’s revealed the Alabama prepper has 1,000 meals and 300 gallons of water socked away.

And on the topic of redundancy, Jason hammered home to viewers the oft-heard prepper saying:

Two is one and one is none.

Meaning, always try to have two of an important item, because when one breaks or goes missing, without a replacement you’re left with nothing.

Son Jacob has joined his dad in ramping up the family’s preparedness, taking time off from school to do so.

In this segment, the 18-year-old underwent a prepper “rite of passage,” participating in a scenario concocted by Jason where the family’s 6-month food supply had been exhausted, and they had no choice but to leave the house and bug-out to the woods, taking only the gear and supplies they could manage to carry on their backs (or Jacob’s back if you bought that “old man” comment of his). From the show:

Tonight, Jacob will be expected to complete all the tasks he’d need to survive in the woods on his own.

About their bug-out bags and their contents? According to the show:

Each pack holds 20 items, 2 of each basic tool Jason believes is necessary for wilderness survival. He calls them his 10 “Cs.”

Those 10 “Cs” are:

-“Candleing” device (headlamp)
-Canvas needle
-Cargo (duct) tape
-Combustion device (fire starter)
-Compass
-Container (steel water bottle)
-Cordage (paracord)
-Cotton bandana
-Covering
-Cutting tool

Jacob performed a number of survival tasks using a variety of the above “Cs.” He fabricated animal traps (choking snare, “twitch up” trap), built a tree branch hut, started a fire out of rope match, flint, and steel. He successfully completed his rite of passage, making dad real proud.

Two things stood out for me in this segment:

First, at the conclusion of the “rite,” Jason gave his son Jacob a lead bullet the two of them fabricated earlier in the episode. I don’t know about you, but I thought that casting process was pretty cool.

And black powder guns as an alternative to semi-automatic firearms WTSHTF? That’s an idea I first came across when Frank Belcastro of Independence USA-fame demonstrated their worth (acquiring ingredients for and making black powder and bullets may be quite feasible during TEOTWAWKI, as opposed to getting ammo for more “modern” guns) when the show was still Apocalypse PA.

Man, I miss that TV series. I sure hope it’s reincarnated soon.

Second, Jason and his family received the following assessment concerning water from Practical Preppers:

Water: Your stores and proximity to fresh sources are excellent. 19 out of 20 points.

It was revealed that the family of three had 300 gallons stored, or 100 gallons of water per person, in addition to those “fresh sources” somewhere nearby. 19 out of 20 is one of highest scores in this department I’ve ever seen on Doomsday Preppers. Nice job, especially as water often plays second fiddle to more “sexy” preps like firearms.

Part 2: Doomsday academy

In the second part of “Whatever It Takes,” viewers were introduced to Brian and Sheila Moffatt, both self-defense instructors, along with their seven kids. This family lives on a 15-acre Arizona homestead.

The Moffatt family revealed they were prepping because of their concerns over run-away inflation and an eventual U.S. economic collapse.

Brian explained:

My kids, my wife, are the best preparation that a guy could have.

He wasn’t kidding. In addition to homeschooling their children in reading, writing, and arithmetic (arithmetic- now there’s a word I hardly hear anymore), as episode 3 said:

Their curriculum is customized for doomsday.

A day in the Moffatt’s “doomsday academy” looked like this:

-1st period: Self-defense (children practiced Krav Maga hand-to-hand combat)
-2nd period: Camouflage and Evasion (kids played hide-and-go-seek in ghille suits)
-Field Trip: The family fired handguns at the local range

According to the show:

Brian said he educates all his children in firearm awareness. But only allows those 10 or older to fire handguns.

And boy could his two oldest girls shoot. 13-year-old Gabriela and 11-year-old Mariah practiced handgun quick draw drills for speed and accuracy. From the show:

Brian teaches his kids a technique that’s been called the modified Israeli Mossad draw in which weapons are carried without a round in the chamber until the gun leaves the holster, creating an opportunity to assess a threat before deciding to destroy it.

The segment ended with a practice home invasion drill to test a perceived lack of perimeter defense skills among the children, and in which Brian was the home invader. The Moffatt kids, putting into practice what they’ve been taught, excelled in the exercise.

From the episode:

All the different skills and tactics the Moffatt children have been taught are meant to be brought together for one purpose- the defense of the family home against desperate people following an economic collapse.

Brian Moffatt confided:

My greatest fear is having to actually put to use what we practiced. I hope that we all have plenty to eat. I hope that we all have plenty of water. That we’re all happy. And have more children.

Wild yet impressive stuff, and considering the ages of the children involved, a segment I’m sure the National Geographic Channel will be hearing about from certain viewers for quite some time. But consider what Steve H., the leader of that Washington prepper group which includes his young son Steven James, said in the prior week’s episode:

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 want 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.

Part 3: The “Odd Couple” preppers

In the last part of season 3, episode 3, of Doomsday Preppers, Grayson Smith and Mike Umberger, skateboarders from Maryland-turned-preppers were introduced. They told viewers:

We are preparing for World War 3.

These two guys predict China will replace the United States as the world’s next superpower, which will eventually culminate in a blockade of America’s coasts and another World War. Therefore:

Fearing a global war over oil and other natural resources, Mike and Grayson packed up their city apartment, and moved to 100 acres of land owned by Mike’s father, Larry. They plan to turn this traditional farm into a self-sustainable ecosystem providing 100 percent of their survival needs…

50 percent of the fresh fruit, and 20 percent of the vegetables eaten in the U.S. come from other countries. Mike and Grayson fear a global war could cut off all these imports, leaving it up to every American to grow their own food.

The funny thing about Grayson and Mike is, they are very much polar opposites when it comes to a number of things. Grayson is a pacifist who spent time in a Zen Buddhist monastery. Mike, on the other hand, served in the U.S. Navy in the Shore Patrol.

Yet, both are preppers and each brings something different yet valuable to the table. At the farm, Grayson spends a number of hours every day building self-sustaining agriculture preps. Mike works on security and provides weapons instruction to Grayson.

Still, the two young men are newbies at preparedness. From the show:

But after 6 months of prepping, all these two have to show for it is 20 jars of preserved vegetables, and only 1/16 of an acre of productive farmland.

And since Mike is still unsure about Grayson’s weapons skills, he decided to utilize “booby traps” as part of the farm’s security features. Grayson and Mike were shown constructing a “mace trap” (swinging log with spikes) in the episode.

That’s not all the two fabricated in last week’s show. In their efforts to achieve a self-sustainable ecosystem at the farm, the preppers built a cold frame ( a transparent-roofed enclosure built low to the ground used to protect plants) and a chicken tractor (portable chicken coop for fertilizing the soil). Neat stuff.

The segment ended with Grayson and Mike throwing a party at the farm for the purpose of meeting local people and possibly building a prepper network from these folk.

Bust out the botas, crank up the music, and assess partygoers for prepping potential. Check, check, and check.

A really good episode- one that focused on preppers from different areas of the country and in different life situations.

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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On TV: Doomsday Castle ‘A Stone From the Sling’ Review

I was impressed by the premiere episode of the National Geographic Channel’s new TV series Doomsday Castle.

As such, I was very curious to see if episode 2, “A Stone From the Sling,” would be just as solid, or if there would be a noticeable drop-off in quality.

Airing last week, the episode focused on the problem of the castle inhabitants having a sustainable food supply once TSHTF. From the National Geographic Channel website:

With only MREs to eat, Brent Sr. challenges the kids to start looking for other food alternatives. Heading to a local chicken farm, Lindsey and Ashley attempt to catch their own chickens, a great renewable resource providing eggs almost daily. But tempers flare as they start working on building a chicken coop to house the newest members of the family. Meanwhile, Brent Sr. and Dawn Marie build a catapult to be able to defend the castle from intruders.

My thoughts about “A Stone From the Sling”:

The show began with Brent Sr. busting out a bunch of MREs (meals, ready-to-eat) for the kids. It’s revealed dad has only enough of them to last one year.

Brent Sr. said:

I guess my children don’t realize- I’m not going to feed them anything but MREs until they can come up with a food supply that they can provide.

They realized it soon enough. Michael and Brent II went hunting- but not before Michael instructed Brent II on how to use a crossbow. Ashley and Lindsey went to acquire egg-laying chickens and fabricate a coop. Dawn-Marie joined Brent Sr. is constructing a trebuchet to defend against attackers using the road leading to the castle.

Trebuchet?

A kind of catapult that uses a counterweight to harness its energy, according to the show.

While Michael instructed Brent II on using a crossbow, I found what the twin said about the device most interesting. Michael explained:

Most hunters use guns. But when you’re prepping, it’s dangerous to depend on anything that’s mass-produced, like bullets. A crossbow would be a great weapon to hunt with, because one bolt can be reused for years. It’s highly accurate, and extremely quiet. Which means we can hunt around these woods without giving the position away of the castle.

I can see preppers/survivalists finding significant utility (food procurement/self-defense) in the crossbow.

After some practice, the two sons decided they’d hunt for wild boar. Brent II convinced Michael that, based on the Vietnam War-related movies he’s seen, they should try building a camouflaged pit with sharpened stakes in it and food on top of it to bait and hopefully catch their intended prey.

Ashley and Lindsey got some chickens, but while constructing the chicken coop, tensions flared over Ashley’s idea for collecting the future eggs. Lindsey eventually stormed off.

Welcome to “reality” TV.

Brent Sr. and Dawn-Marie figured out that it took only 17 seconds for a speeding vehicle to get from the lower gate to the castle drawbridge. Before beginning work on the catapult-like trebuchet, the two identified an intruder “kill zone” and proceeded to test a blockade to pen-in potential aggressors using toppled trees detonated by explosives. Dad said:

That was the perfect test. When I detonated the device, the tree came crashing down, and stopped Dawn-Marie dead in her tracks.

“Dead in her tracks.” That’s for sure, from what viewers were shown.

Alas, at the end of the day, there was no boar meat or eggs to be had by the family- just more MREs.

(Editor’s note: I don’t know about you, but I like MREs. Although, I have heard horror stories from one ex-Marine/now a civilian police officer of how they can make you constipated if you eat enough of them and only them.)

Later on in the episode, it was revealed that Ashley’s egg collection system, while not perfect, actually worked.

The two feuding sisters were shown coating eggs with mineral oil. According to the show, this preserved the eggs for up to a year.

Not only was Ashley “vindicated” in the second episode, but so was Brent II. A wild boar actually fell into the pit (although it looks as if it climbed out, eventually succumbing to a deadly combination of a crossbow bolt/handgun bullets).

The oldest son remarked:

That size of that boar really showed everybody. You know what? Maybe I’m not the biggest pansy, pussy they think I am.

Remember what I blogged back on August 15? I wrote:

The jury’s still out on Brent II and Ashley though. Brent The Younger’s got this sinister Jeff Goldblum thing going on (should be cast as his younger brother in an upcoming film), and then there’s Ashley, who came away looking somewhat like a prima donna in the first episode. Still, both of them could be revelations down the stretch.

Based on what I saw in episode 2, there’s hope for those two.

The last part of the show really focused on the construction of the trebuchet. While it looked to be completed and fully-functional, a number of test fires proved otherwise. It was only until Dawn-Marie suggested a tweak- twig, actually- that the simulated destructive payloads started flying with altitude and distance. Brent Sr. remarked:

The catapult is like any other weapon. It has to be calibrated. We’ll have settings marked on the arm so we know exactly how far to pull it back. We’ll know exactly how to hit the kill zone over and over and over.

At the end of “A Stone From the Sling,” the present “laird” of the castle shared some more observations with viewers. Brent Sr. pointed out:

We’ve got our first start on food. The next thing is making sure we have an unlimited supply and no dependency on anyone but ourselves.

And each day, castle is going to get stronger and stronger.

And it’s going to be impenetrable by the time we’re all done.

As a family, we’re two vital steps closer to being ready for the end times. We have food coming in, and we have a way to keep the invaders out. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t have a reliable water supply. We don’t have any combat training. We don’t even have a roof over our head. I hope these kids are enjoying tonight. Because tomorrow, it’s right back to work.

A good episode with plenty of interesting information that was shared. The drama (headbutting between Ashley and Lindsey, Dawn-Marie’s close call with a falling tree, Brent II’s fixation with proving himself to Sr. and the rest of the clan) was escalated up a notch, but it wasn’t a turn-off (literally and figuratively) for me. I’ll keep watching and reviewing new episodes as they’re aired- at least for now.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, visit the National Geographic Channel website here.


“Doomsday Trebuchet”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Gates of Hell’ Review

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.

She added:

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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