Dennis McClung

Resources Of The Week: Websites Related To Doomsday Bunkers, Doomsday Preppers TV Series

I usually don’t post any new material on the weekends, but I wanted to make sure a “Resource Of The Week” got published before I close up shop for the week.

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of messages via the Survival And Prosperity “Contact” page about the Discovery Channel’s Doomsday Bunkers television series and the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series.

However, since I have no affiliation with either production, I haven’t been much help when it comes to answering questions about the preppers and companies featured on the shows.

In this week’s ROTW, I’ve listed these parties, and inserted links to either a particular company’s website or to a site that a particular prepper is affiliated with (easy enough, as many are “prepper entrepreneurs”), in hopes this might help those with questions find the answers they’re looking for:

Doomsday Bunkers

Scott Bales and Deep Earth Bunker
Shea Degan and 88 Tactical
Johnny Price and Big Iron Concealed Handgun Training

Doomsday Preppers

National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers site
Practical Preppers

(And listed in order of appearance in pilot, series)

Dennis and Danielle McClung
Lisa Bedford
Scott Hunt and David Kobler
Paul and Gloria Range
Christopher Nyerges
David Sarti
Scott and Kellene Bishop
Dennis Evers
Tim Ralston
Dervaes Family
Donna Nash
Michael Douglas
Larry Hall
Becky Brown
Riley Cook
Doug Huffman
Ed and Dianna Peden

A copy of this list will be added to the blog’s “Resources” page, where it will be updated as more episodes air.

And, if you know of any sites that I missed, please let me know!

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FOX News, NBC’s TODAY Show Cover Preppers

I recently came across two video segments from FOX News and NBC that focused on the growing prepper movement. One was positive. The other- maybe not so much.

First, there’s the FOX News segment from March 7:


“Preparing for Doomsday”
FOX News Video

Some things the FOX News host said during her interview of prepper Jack Jobe:

• “So I was very excited when I saw this topic”
• “That’s not a bad idea”
• “It never hurts to be prepared, right? That’s the mission, and that’s what you’re talking about.”

Then, there’s the NBC’s TODAY Show segment from March 5, in which well-known preppers Lisa Bedford, Peggy Layton, Dennis McClung, and Hugh Vail appeared:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

“Doomsday ‘preppers’ ready for the worst”
NBC Video

Like Jobe in the FOX News segment, these preppers did a wonderful job serving as unofficial representatives of the prepping community.

That being said, the TODAY Show segment could be construed as attempting to portray preppers as extremists. From NBC’s Janet Shamlian in the piece:

• “But what you’re about to see is much more extreme and it is becoming much more common. In fact, someone you know, could be gearing up, for the end.”
• “Hugh Vail is president of the American Preppers Network. Yes, there is such a group.”
• “Being prepared is a government recommendation but FEMA suggests only a 3-day supply of food and water per person”
• “So these people are taking it to an extreme, and Matt, as you saw, their numbers now topping 3 million families that are preparing to greater extents”

At one point in the NBC segment, Shamlian was talking to Dennis McClung:

MCCLUNG: Basically I would say we’re preparing for the end of the world as we know it.
SHAMLIAN: The end of the world?
MCCLUNG: The end of the world as we know it.

Look at McClung’s face as he corrected the reporter. Priceless.

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On TV: Livin’ For The Apocalypse

Back on August 9, Dennis McClung of Doomsday Preppers-fame informed Survival And Prosperity readers that he’d be appearing in a TLC one-hour special called Livin’ for the Apocalypse on August 28. From the TLC website:

They have stock piles of canned goods, gas masks, bomb shelters and even a tilapia pond. They are the families featured on TLC’s newest one-hour special LIVIN’ FOR THE APOCALYPSE, premiering on Sunday, August 28 at 10 PM ET/PT.

Amid the world’s latest natural disasters, cultural doomsday predictions and economic collapses, there are those who are convinced that this is the end of civilization, as we know it. LIVIN’ FOR THE APOCALYPSE takes a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of families who have spent years preparing for the day that they believe will mark the end of mankind. From rabbit-raising to meat-canning, no measure is too over-the-top when it comes to preparing for one’s post-apocalyptical survival. The fascinating special will document these extreme actions and personal survival guides as these unique families prepare for the future…or not.

While I caught the special on TV, I haven’t been able to review it- until now. Livin’ for the Apocalypse focused on four different parties. First up was Scott and Peggy Layton of Manti, Utah. The Laytons have been married for 33 years and have 7 children. Peggy shared with viewers why her family was preparing. She explained:

I know there’s going to be an apocalypse in the near future, and I have an urgency to get completely set up with emergency preparedness supplies, so that we can live through this and take care of our children.

The show highlighted a number of the Laytons’ preps, including their accumulation of food supplies, their garden, and their root cellar. During the part about food storage, Peggy pointed out:

I have a philosophy. If it’s unorganized, and it’s messy, and you can’t find it- then it’s hoarding. If it’s organized, and it’s put away, and you can find it when you need it- then it’s being prepared.

The show also revealed that the Laytons have “bug-out” property (an emergency location) in the nearby mountains.

Now, Peggy Layton is no stranger to the prepper/survivalist movements. As she explained:

My greatest passion and my love is for being prepared. It has propelled me into a business. I started out with one book on the subject of food storage, and it has grown into several books.

Perhaps the most well-known of these is her Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook.

Peggy runs her food storage company (PeggyLayton.com, “Food storage Preparation essentials”) out of a building she purchased a few years ago that contains, of all things, a bomb shelter. In the show the Layton family was in the process of “updating” the space with running water. Peggy concluded:

I feel a great urgency to be prepared, and to have my family prepared. It’s a possibility we can have an earthquake, we can have just economic collapse.

Next up was “Survival Doc” and “Lisa,” a married couple from St. Louis, Missouri. When it comes to preparing, “Survival Doc” is big on precious metals. He explained:

One of the biggest threats that I’ve always been afraid of is the collapse of the dollar, because that’s what’s happening. The dollar is buying you less than it did before. But the same amount of silver that would buy you a gallon of gas say a few decades ago will still buy a gallon of gas. I could see this whole scenario coming down the line in the late eighties, and that was when I actually decided to start buying silver. The government- they can just print money, and print money, and print money- but they’re eventually going to print so much money where the dollar is going to be worthless. And that is the whole reason for buying precious metals.

“Survival Doc” touched on the importance of operational security, or OPSEC. He told viewers:

I don’t want to use my real name, because when the stuff hits the fan, the people who know that I’m storing a lot of silver, they might decide to come over to my place to get my stuff.

Makes sense. A couple of years ago I was watching CNBC when one of the talking heads boasted he didn’t need to own gold because he’d just take it away from “goldbugs” using force if it ever came to that. Doubtful. I know of quite a few precious metals owners who also happen to be armed. Heavily, in some instances. Good luck with that, Mr. Talking Head.

“Survival Doc” discussed the importance of food to his preparations. He noted:

There are a lot of people out there warning about food shortages. A year from now, it might cost $100 to buy a loaf of bread.

Like the Laytons, “Doc” stressed the importance of growing one’s own food and storing it. In addition, he recommended people “produce” their own meat as well (he keeps rabbits). And like Peggy Layton, “Survival Doc” is known to a number of members of the prepper/survivalist community, as he not only hosts his own YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/thenewsurvivalist) but runs the disaster preparedness and self-reliance educational website TheNewSurvivalist.com.

Other useful information shared by the “Survival Doc” included:

• Alcohol makes a great bartering item
• Redundancy is essential. “One is none, two is one.”
• Firearms are important tools for self-protection. The “Doc” carries a handgun on him whenever possible.
• Have other means of self-defense. The “Survival Doc” just took up martial arts recently.


“Livin’ for the Apocalypse- Ready for War”
YouTube Video

The third household looked at in Livin’ for the Apocalypse was Dennis and Danielle McClung from Mesa, Arizona. The McClungs have two small kids. Dennis shared their reasons for preparing:

My wife and I are, and have been, preparing for catastrophic events to happen in and around December 21, 2012. After that, I see the end of the world as we know it. There is all of these prophecies that can be interpreted to the end of the world age: the St. Malachy prophecies, the Hopi prophecies, the Mayan calendar, the Book of Changes, the Chinese book of I Ching. So you have all of these world cultures, all of these prophecies, pointing to a past world calamity and saying, “Hey, it going to happen again, it’s only a matter of time, because history has a tendency of repeating itself.”

Even though the young couple’s children are only 2 and 5-years-old, they’re already learning survival skills. When the McClungs purchased their home, it came with a swimming pool. As tempting as it might have been to use it for its intended use, the family transformed the pool into a self-sufficient aquaponic greenhouse that feeds them 365 days a year. Plants, chickens, and an abundance of tilapia fish in the deep end comprise the system. They also raise Nigerian goats for milk. Inside the home the McClungs have a “survival supply room” which contains plenty of freeze dried food, canning supplies, and other preparedness items.

Dennis and Danielle McClung are striving to be self-sufficient by 2012. Dennis explained:

The nice thing about having a deadline- 2012- is it puts pressure on us to continually work on our project until we reach where we want to be.

Once again, Dennis McClung is no stranger to preppers/survivalists due to his disaster supply business at 2012Supplies.com and his appearances on shows like Doomsday Preppers. Dennis concludes:

I don’t see ourselves as fear-mongerers. I don’t even consider us negative people. I think we’re actually very optimistic people- we’re an optimistic family. We’re just preparing for the worst case scenario- and hoping for the best. Maybe in preparing for the worst, it brings out the best in humanity. A rule of thumb for your typical survivalist is to keep low-key and tell no one of your preparing. The problem with that is, we feel we have something to offer the public. To show them what can be done by an average young family… We feel we need to inform the public how to be a little more prepared. And to us that’s a better situation because if more people are prepared, there will be less chaos in the end for us.

Finally, there’s Jackie and Gidget from the Southwest desert of the United States (again, practicing OPSEC by not revealing more than that information). Gidget explained why the two roommates were preparing for disaster:

We’re preparing because the world as we know, and especially our country, is coming to an end… In 2012, I really feel that life as we know it is going to come to an end. So we’re going to be prepared for whatever happens.

Consequently, Livin’ for the Apocalypse showed the two looking at and shooting firearms. The roommates also shared with viewers the extent to which they’ve already gone to build up their food supply. Canning is especially big with these two.

As Jackie underwent transgender surgery 10 years ago and requires various hormones/medication, these items need to be stockpiled. Taking these costs and the expenses of other preps the two still want to carry out into consideration, the roommates hold a garage sale and put up Gidget’s doll collection and some of her creations as a seamstress for sale to raise funds.

TLC’s Livin’ for the Apocalypse concluded with the following:

Gidget and Jackie, the Laytons, “Survival Doc” and “Lisa,” and the McClung family are all part of a growing number of Americans who feel the Apocalypse is near. But they all prepare in very different ways.

It’s true- all four parties prepared in very different ways. However, a number of their preps overlapped here-and-there, including:

• Having the ability to grow one’s own food
• Being able to store this food through canning and other means
• Building up a food supply
• Redundancy
• Acquiring firearms as tools for self-defense
• Implementing operational security as it concerns one’s preparations

All the individuals in the show had at least one thing in common in that they all strived for some degree of self-sufficiency in the event of disaster.

Livin’ for the Apocalypse was very informative, very interesting, and kind of funny as well. Hard-core preppers/survivalists might dismiss it as being too rudimentary. To be fair, they probably weren’t the intended audience to begin with. I highly-recommend watching it the next time it appears on TLC.

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Coronal Mass Ejections Pose Growing Threat To Earth

Back on August 3, I wrote about the show Doomsday Preppers that’s been playing on the National Geographic Channel. The production focused on “four families preparing for the end of the world as we know it.” A member of one of those families, Dennis McClung, caught my attention with something he said on the show. McClung indicated that he feared 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.” Not knowing that much about the phenomenon, I decided to look into it yesterday. And what I found was somewhat disturbing. Contra Costa Times’ Suzanne Bohan wrote on Saturday:

The sun has entered a cycle of increasingly powerful flares and eruptions, catapulting to Earth high-energy particles capable of wreaking havoc on electronic and communication systems that support our high-tech civilization.

“We’re seeing so much more now, compared with the last few years,” said Ben Burress, an astronomer with the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. He pointed to a satellite image that showed flares and magnetic storms roiling the sun’s surface.

“And when you have them happening five times a day, there’s a greater chance of one actually hitting us,” he said.

The powerful solar storms shift the spectacular northern lights as far south as Florida and Texas, but they also punch holes in the Earth’s protective magnetic field, which can cause health problems as well as disrupt communications. On Tuesday, radiation from a solar flare briefly interfered with shortwave radio signals, an easily affected high-frequency wave.

The disruptions are coming because the sun is entering a decade-long phase that scientists call “solar maximum.” In the midst of this phase, the sun’s magnetic field flips north to south, contributing to the solar storms that NASA says should peak in 2013 or 2014.

Solar flares typically affect radio signals on the daylight side of the planet, said Joseph Kunches, a space scientist at the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo.

The real danger comes when a solar storm ejects a chunk of the corona — the sun’s outermost layer — toward the Earth. It hurtles through space as a huge electrically charged cloud with its own magnetic field. Scientists call it a “coronal mass ejection.”

“That cloud of plasma is thrown off the sun like a bowling ball, and sometimes we’re at the other end of the bowling alley and it hits us,” Kunches said.

When that happens, the Earth’s magnetic field buckles and resulting magnetic storms can set off electrical surges that damage transformers and other equipment in electrical grids.

Bohan noted that solar “superstorms” hit the earth in 1859 and in 1921. In 1859, the effect was so significant that it disrupted telegraph systems around the world. But what if an intense CME hits us square-on today? Bohan warned:

Those storms struck the pre-electronic Earth. A repeat of it in modern times would be a “space weather Katrina,” according to the Academy of Sciences report. It estimates a severe solar storm could cause $1 trillion to $2 trillion in losses the first year, and take four to 10 years to fully recover from.

On August 9, the most powerful sun storm since 2006 occurred. SPACE.com senior writer Clara Moskowitz wrote that day:

Flares such as this one could become the norm soon, though, as our sun’s 11-year cycle of magnetic activity ramps up, scientists explained. The sun is just coming out of a lull, and scientists expect the next peak of activity in 2013…

Earth got lucky with the most recent flare, which wasn’t pointed directly at Earth; therefore, it didn’t send the brunt of its charged particles toward us, but out into space. However, we may not be so fortunate in the future, experts warned.

As if we needed one more thing to worry about these days.

By the way, Dennis McClung informed me that his family will be appearing in a one-hour TLC special entitled Livin for the Apocalypse that premieres Sunday, August 28, at 10 PM ET/PT. He added that home economist Peggy Layton, author of the Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook, will also be featured. More information about the show can be found on the TLC website here. Mark your calendars!

Sources:

Bohan, Suzanne. “Solar activity increases odds of disruptions on Earth.” Contra Costa Times. 13 Aug. 2011. (http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18678275?nclick_check=1). 16 Aug. 2011.

Moskowitz, Clara. “Solar Storms Building Toward Peak in 2013, NASA Predicts.” SPACE.com. 9 Aug. 2011. (http://www.space.com/12586-solar-storms-intensity-2013-peak-nasa.html). 16 Aug. 2011.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers

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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