Practical Preppers

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: 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 ‘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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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Don’t Betray The Colony’ Review

“As long as nothing happens, preppers are idiots. The day after something happens- we’re geniuses.”

-Tony C., prepper featured on National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers episode “Don’ Betray the Colony”

In addition to watching the premiere of National Geographic Channel’s latest prepper/survivalist-themed project, Doomsday Castle (blogged about here), I caught the latest Doomsday Preppers episode, “Don’t Betray the Colony.”

Question- Was Tuesday night’s airing the start of season 3 of the show (making this episode 1), or is it a continuation of season 2 (making this episode 31, according to Wikipedia)?

Moving on, from the Nat Geo Channel website:

Some preppers believe in safety in numbers — as is the case for Jeff Mann, who leads “the Colony,” a community of 25 preppers unified with the single purpose of surviving doomsday. Watch as he prepares his son, Colten, to take the reins by having him hunt down live boar in the Florida swamps and builds the Colony’s very own gallows — an important message that there are laws to be upheld, even in times of chaos.

Actually, there was more to the episode than just Jeff Mann- “We’re preparing for an economic collapse”- and the prepper “colony.” The show also introduced Tony C.- “I’m preparing for a space-borne disaster”- and Cheree- “We’re preparing for a mega-earthquake.”

My thoughts about “Don’t Betray the Colony”:

Part 1: The prepper “colony”

When I heard this new episode would be featuring a “colony,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Actually, I came away pretty impressed with the 21-year-old son Colten Mann. Fearing the worst, I reluctantly kept watching, suspecting the culinary school student might flounder (remember, this is “reality” TV, where drama plays a big role in the genre). I was relieved when Milandred and Hennessey put Colten through the paces and he managed to show a good deal of promise (got to give him a lot of credit for gutting and getting all up in that wild boar like he did).

But then there was that part with the gallows. Just prior to that, there was talk of a “city council” and “laws.” Now, I don’t see anything wrong with discussing a post-apocalyptic judicial system. “Post-apocalyptic” being the key words here. But throwing up that gallows on private property these days might have raised the eyebrows of authorities. If not local- higher up. And if these authorities are anything like the ones I know and have worked with in the past, thoughts of “Waco” probably crossed their minds. I’m just saying.

Personally, I would mothball the gallows until a situation exists without the rule of law. But as much as I might be inclined to agree with Milandred on just banishing the guilty parties, Hennessey may have been on to something here. You see, in a hypothetical societal collapse, banishing a colony member could mean unintentionally providing hostiles with intel about any vulnerabilities the setup may have. I suspect Hennessey was aware of the potential for this happening.

Last point about the prepper colony. They received an assessment score of 89, or a “19 month initial survival time.” That’s got to be one of the highest scores (highest?) ever given by Practical Preppers to a prepper individual or group. I’m impressed.

Part 2: The underground RV shelter

WTSHTF, some people will bug out in their recreational vehicles. Others, to an underground shelter. But Tony C. and his family, an underground RV shelter. I’m intrigued. Not only because it’s something I don’t come across too often (the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort in Kansas notwithstanding) but also because it sounds like something that might be more affordable than building out an underground bunker with utilities. According to the episode, Tony dug a hole in the Indiana woods 52 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 12 feet high, and then parked his RV in there, constructing an underground compound with 1,200 square feet of living space. Tony explained:

The reason for that is everything’s done in the RV. You have all the comforts of home, and all the systems- the wiring, the plumbing, pressure pumps, inverters. Everything’s in an RV because it’s designed to be self-contained living.

I’d be curious to find out how much it cost him to build his shelter, minus the RV and supplies.

One other thing. That homemade filtration system Tony C. “MacGyvered” up- I wonder if he’s put it to the test yet? And if so, was it effective? It’s just as cool a contraption as that hand-held water pump in the final part of “Don’t Bertray the Colony.”

Part 3- The pacifist prepper camp

In the last part of Tuesday’s show, viewers were introduced to 27-year-old Cheree and her parents Jessica and Carl. They own and operate a 21-acre Christian camp in the foothills of the California’s Sierra Mountains. Cheree is concerned about a mega-earthquake striking the area, and wishes to follow in Christ’s footsteps and take care of disaster victims after the event. Very noble.

While hosting friends and family from the Bay area for a disaster aftermath dry-run, viewers are informed that Cheree adheres to a strict policy of non-violence and no weapons. The problem is, one of their group, Garry, wants a firearm for protection. He explained:

In a critical scenario, where you have people scrambling for food, for water, for shelter, for whatever. If they want it, and they have weapons, they’re going to take it. So, in that respect, I have to take appropriate action.

Cheree sticks to her guns, and “Garry is voted out of the group, and asked to leave the premises.”

Cheree later said:

I think that my faith brings me peace. And it may not necessarily better equip me physically prepping, but mentally and emotionally, He’s the one I turn to. I realize that whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, and God’s in control.

Hmmm. Two things come to mind here. First, this is a situation that has come up before in Doomsday Preppers. Specifically, in season 1 episode 2, “I Hope I Am Crazy.” I blogged back on February 8, 2012:

Firearms- Which brings me to my next thought, which is about guns. One prepper said in episode 2:

It’s easy to feel a little left out of the prepper community if you live in New England and if you’re not fairly right-wing and conservative politically. But I just don’t spend my time worrying about storing guns and ammunition. Because our security comes not from stockpiling weapons but from having a community that respects each other, supports each other, and we have each other’s backs.

While the right of the law-abiding individual to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the Second Amendment, I understand that owning a gun may not be right for everyone. However, keep in mind that in a SHTF situation, there are individuals/groups this prepper and her community could very well come into contact with who have come out and said (future post) they don’t bother stockpiling food, water, and other supplies because they intend to take these items away from others under threat of force (guns). Firearms are without a doubt one of the most effective tools for self-defense, and with the proper training and tactics, our prepper and her beloved community might actually have a chance of keeping their preps safe against these roving bands of human parasites.

By the way, that future post about human “parasites” is here.

And the other thing that comes to mind when the “Pacifist Prepper” said “whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, and God’s in control”? Consider the following…

It rained for days and days and there was a terrific flood. The water rose so high that one man was forced to climb on top of his roof and sat in the rain. As the waters came up higher a man in a rowboat came up to the house and told him to get in. “No thank you, the Lord will save me!” he said, and the man in the rowboat rowed away.

The waters rose to the edge of the roof and still the man sat on the roof until another rowboat came by and another man told him to get in. “No thank you, the Lord will save me!” he said again, and the man rowed away.

The waters covered the house and the man was forced to sit on his chimney as the rain poured down and a helicopter came by and another man urged him to get in or he’ll drown. “No thank you,” the man said again, “The Lord will save me!”

After much begging and pleading the man in the helicopter gave up and flew away. The waters rose above the chimney and the man drowned and went to heaven where he met God.

“Lord, I don’t understand,” he told Him, frustrated, “The waters rose higher and higher and I waited hours for you to save me but you didn’t! Why?”

The Lord just shook his head and said, “What are you talking about? I sent two boats and a helicopter?!”

The moral of the story? Help God help yourself.

Otherwise, you may just succeed in teeing the Almighty off.

After getting yourself killed just prior to that accomplishment, of course.

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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Preppers Under Attack, Part 2

“All this prepping, it gives people an identity, a group to belong to. But it definitely is emerging as the ‘new kid on the block’ as far as cults go.”

– Dr. Peter Behrens, Penn State-Lehigh Valley professor

Last Friday night, I blogged that it seems to me “preppers” are coming under increasing attack these days.

Funny how things can change so dramatically in just a few days, as “seems” is now a significant understatement in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings.

But before I talk more about that horrific incident and its possibly-implied “relationship” to prepping, I want to discuss a recent piece I came across on the Nazareth, Pennsylvania Patch website. On December 13, Elizabeth Rich wrote about preppers/survivalists and said:

According to Dr. Peter Behrens, preppers are buying into a cult.

Dr. Behrens, a Penn State-Lehigh Valley professor who specializes in the history of psychology, abnormal psychology and personality psychology, says that the most recent form of Doomsday preparations have all the earmarks of an active, recruiting cult.

“From a psychological perspective [Doomsday prepping] is bizarre. Members spend so much time and energy readying for the end of the world. Prepping is just people trying to control what is beyond their control.”

Dr. Behrens believes that clusters of preppers and the movement as a whole has all the markings of a cult.

“I think this is just a modern iteration of the phenomenon of people believing that the end is coming in their lifetime. That idea is so selfish, so self-centered, so narcissistic. It’s mind control.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Unlike Valerie Lucus-McEwen and her concerns about the preppers featured on the National Geographic Channel TV show, according to Rich, Dr. Behrens attacks the prepping movement as a whole. It having all the markings of a cult.

A cult, huh? Would that make Doomsday Preppers evaluators Practical Preppers their Grand Poobahs then? And could National Geographic Channel now claim non-profit status on their taxes for spreading “the word” via the Doomsday Preppers TV show? Of course a uniform will be needed. Try this one on for size.

(Editor’s warning: video could be offensive to some)

Since I completed the first draft of this post, I’ve come across two more web articles that don’t paint the modern survivalist movement in a positive light.

In fact, some might argue they’re attempting to connect prepping with the Sandy Hook school shootings.

From The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

Connecticut school shooting: Adam Lanza’s mother was preparing for disaster

The mother of the gunman who killed 20 children and seven adults in America’s worst school massacre, was a gun-proud “survivalist” preparing for economic collapse, it has emerged.

Nancy Lanza, whose gun collection was raided by her son Adam for Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook school, was part of the “prepper” movement, which urges readiness for social chaos by hoarding supplies and training with weapons.

“She prepared for the worst,” her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters. “Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?”

And then there’s this from The Independent (UK) site this morning:

Mother of Sandy Hook school gunman Adam Lanza was a ‘prepper’ survivalist preparing for economic and social collapse, say reports

Friends and family have portrayed Mrs Lanza as a paranoid ‘survivalist’ who believed the world was on the brink of violent collapse.

Yep. Undoubtedly, preppers are under attack these days.

Sources:

Rich, Elizabeth. “Are Doomsday Preppers a Cult? A Lehigh Valley Professor Says Yes.” NazarethPatch. 13 Dec. 2012. (http://nazareth.patch.com/articles/are-doomsday-preppers-a-cult-this-professor-says-yes-7da6a028). 17 Dec. 2012.

Foster, Peter and Swaine, John. “Connecticut school shooting: Adam Lanza’s mother was preparing for disaster.” The Telegraph. 16 Dec. 2012. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9749217/Connecticut-school-shooting-Adam-Lanzas-mother-was-preparing-for-disaster.html). 17 Dec. 2012.

Williams, Rob. “Mother of Sandy Hook school gunman Adam Lanza was a ‘prepper’ survivalist preparing for economic and social collapse, say reports.” The Independent. 17 Dec. 2012. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/mother-of-sandy-hook-school-gunman-adam-lanza-was-a-prepper-survivalist-preparing-for-economic-and-social-collapse-say-reports-8422298.html). 17 Dec. 2012.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Taking From The Haves’ Review

Sorry for getting this review of episode 5 (season 2) of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series out a little later than usual, but I’ve been tied up with other things. “Taking From the Haves,” which aired Tuesday night, December 4, featured four preppers- John Adrain, Jeff Bushaw, and neighbors Allen and Franco.

John Adrain

During the first part of the show viewers were introduced to John Adrain, an inventor living in the Pacific Northwest with his two dogs. According to John:

I am preparing for the unexpected.

From the show:

John’s not sure which “doomsday” scenario will play out first- a supervirus, biological terrorist attacks, natural disaster. But he’s certain something’s coming. And since travel is often restricted in states of emergency, “bugging out” is the absolute last resort in John’s survival plan.

As such, the episode focused on John and his large fortified home in which he plans to “bug in.” From the show:

His primary goal is to turn his home into a technological fortress, in which he can keep rampaging survivors at bay.

John told viewers:

It doesn’t matter how many preps you have if you can’t protect them from others. Because the “have nots” are going to be taking from the “haves.”

John is shown trying out a .50 caliber long-range rifle called the Beowulf, upgrading the internal/external security of his home, showing off some home security gadgets he invented such as the Burglar Blaster and BedBunker, and practicing some home invasion drills during the remainder of the segment.

Jeff Bushaw

In the second part of the show, viewers were introduced to Jeff Bushaw, a full-time prepper living in Vancouver, Washington. According to Jeff:

I’m preparing for the Yellowstone supervolcano that may end the world as we know it.

From the show:

Yellowstone National Park’s majestic vistas, diverse wildlife, and impressive geysers draw more than 3 million visitors each year. But underneath the seeming tranquility of the park lurks an active supervolcano, one so large that that should it ever blow, the force of the super eruption could be as if 1,000 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs were going off every second … The force of the blast is likely to annihilate everything in the immediate vicinity. Even though Jeff lives more than 800 miles away from Yellowstone, he still doesn’t feel safe. That’s because the supervolcano could spew enough smoldering ash into the atmosphere to bury half of the United States at least several inches deep.

Besides the immediate loss of life and property from such an eruption, the episode noted:

Scientists believe it could take a decade for vegetation in parts of the Midwest to recover from the damage done by the massive ash clouds. Jeff fears the volcano will devastate crops, leading to food shortages throughout the U.S.

Fearing the effects of a “volcanic winter,” Jeff, along with son Hayden, are shown preparing for such an event, socking away food, participating in storage unit auctions in the hope they’ll find valuable preps, practicing bug-out drills, and taking flying lessons to give them the option of bugging out via plane should it come to that.

Allen and Franco

In the last part of the episode, two “neighbors” in Southwest Missouri were introduced. First up, Allen is an electrical engineer and veteran prepper with more than thirty years of experience. Allen said:

I’m preparing for an economic decline of the U.S. economy.

From the show:

Allen worries that the economy is failing, and that as the dollar’s value declines, food prices will skyrocket out of control.

Next, there’s Franco, a master electrician and newer prepper. Franco told viewers:

I’m preparing for the rise of food costs, food shortages, and the corruption of the food supply through big business.

Both Allen and Franco plan on “bugging in” when the food shortages come, but not after they’ve taken charge of their own food production via aquaponics. From the show:

In aquaponic systems, fish and plants are grown together in a closed environment, where the fish waste is converted into food for the plants. The fish excrete waste and ammonia into the water. That water is pumped into the grow beds, where bacteria convert the waste into nitrogen, which the plants use as fertilizer. As the plants use the nitrates, they filter the water, which is then sent back to the fish tanks, completing the circle.

While a challenge to maintain, the results are impressive.


“Doomsday Preppers: Prepper Profile: Franco and Allen”
Nat Geo Channel Video

My thoughts about Doomsday Preppers “Taking From the Haves”:

• While John Adrain’s “technological fortress” is amazing, I wonder how effective it would be in a long-term, grid-down event. His security system is comprised of an electronically-controlled entry gate, a computerized command center, 12 high-definition surveillance cameras, and a front door with sophisticated recognition software, among other things. Does Adrain have enough back-up power to operate this technology should the utilities go down for an extended period of time? And what if a device malfunctions or breaks?

• “But if the attackers come in multiple vehicles and penetrate the gate, John wants to be able to engage them at a distance before they cover the 1,000 feet from the gate to his front door.” Enter the Beowulf, a .50 caliber rifle that Adrain’s weapons guy Bill Alexander brought to the party. Three words. I LIKE IT!

• Another security feature of John Adrain’s fortified home is that its windows are coated with something he called “embassy tint,” a strong film that holds glass together in case it shatters. I’ve done a little bit of research on window security film, and from what I’ve seen via the Internet, the technology is pretty impressive. So much so I’d consider using it on my future residence.

• Adrain busted out some of his inventions in the episode. The Burglar Blaster is a self-contained electronic OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray anti-burglar system. When the infrared detector is tripped, the Burglar Blaster releases OC pepper spray in the immediate area, chasing away the intruder. The BedBunker is a concealed safe that replaces a bed boxspring. Another of Adrain’s inventions shown but not really discussed was the ConsoleBunker, an all-aluminum vehicle center console for storing firearms. The ConsoleBunker is tied in with the vehicle’s factory door locks and has a timing mechanism that prevents unauthorized access. Really neat and useful stuff.

Now I see how John can afford the big house and nice toys.

• In the segment with Jeff Bushaw, the Vancouver, Washington-based prepper was shown taking flying lessons in the event he and his family needed to bug out from the effects of a Yellowstone National Park supervolcano eruption. However, from what I recall, the show never mentioned Bushaw owning a plane. If he doesn’t, and an eruption did take place with an ash cloud headed his way, it might be difficult- if not impossible- to rent a plane in that type of situation. From looking at a map of Vancouver, I can’t help but wonder if he shouldn’t plan on bugging out of the area via ean-going boat.

• Speaking of maps, here’s a link to a 2007 FOX News web article with one showing (right arrow to slide 2) where ash fell from previous Yellowstone National Park supervolcano eruptions.

• In the segment with neighbors Allen and Franco, both preppers were shown riding scooters. While attending the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in the early nineties, these were cherished forms of transportation for many broke-ass college students such as myself (I didn’t own one, but could be seen riding on the back of one from time to time. That must have been a scary sight.) . I wouldn’t be surprised if some preppers/survivalists are including scooters/mopeds in their preps, especially if they anticipate an energy crunch and sky-high gasoline prices down the road.

• Like the preceding Doomsday Preppers episode, this one had its gross-out moment when Franco ingested one his red wigglers. Classic line by his young daughter though:

I’d rather drink pee.

• I found the following particular interesting in the “Assessment” portion of the final segment:

PRACTICAL PREPPERS LLC: You currently lack weapons, and have no tactical training. Without them, you will be unable to protect your home in a crisis.

FRANCO: Yeah, you’re right about the weapons. I do not possess them nor do I plan on possessing them. It’s not what I believe in.

To each their own. But considering what a juicy target he, his family, and his food could be in a real SHTF situation, I just hope Franco’s got something else up his sleeve to deal with those with weapons wanting what he has.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel on Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern Time.

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

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

Dr. Tom Perez

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

I’m preparing for a terroristic attack.

From the show:

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

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


“Doomsday Preppers: Doomsday Alamo”
Nat Geo Channel Video

Steven M. Vanasse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• When I heard Tom say:

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

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

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

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

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

Cutest little sniper you ever did see.

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

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

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

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

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

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 8

I finally got the chance to watch episode number 8 of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers.

The show focused on three groups of preppers Tuesday night, March 27. In order of appearance:

Bruce Beach, rural Ontario, Canada
Bruce and his family have built a massive underground shelter in anticipation of an inevitable nuclear war. “We are not about survival. We are about reconstruction.”

Jeremy and Kelly, outside Salt Lake City, Utah
“I’m preparing for the collapse of society due to peak oil”

Bradford Frank, San Diego, California
“I’m preparing for a worldwide pandemic that will end life as we know it”

Here are my thoughts about episode 8 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Bruce Beach

Bruce Beach is a retired scientist who thinks the world as we know it will end by nuclear destruction. According to Bruce:

This is going to be a universal catastrophe. It’s that sudden. I don’t think there’s going to be a two-minute warning. There’s a distinct possibility that mankind can destroy itself. I think nuclear war is inevitable. In a catastrophe this size, 80 percent of the population will die during the first 2 years. The things that will kill them are social disruption, plagues, lack of food, lack of heat, exposure. It’s a random sort of thing as to who’s going to be saved and who isn’t.

Thinking this will be our fate, Bruce has been preparing for decades now to rescue humanity. From the show:

To save mankind from apocalyptic destruction, Bruce has taken it upon himself to build a haven for humanity. A unique place to sit out the end of the world.

Bruce and his wife Jean have constructed a 10,000 square-foot shelter that’s been designed to survive a nuclear war. Built in 1985, it’s intended to be an “underground orphanage.” Bruce explained:

Save the children. That’s a basic human characteristic. They’re our hope for the continuation of life for building a new and better world.

According to the show:

Bruce’s protected safe house is constructed from building blocks that many kids would consider familiar surroundings: 42 recycled school buses, linked together and buried under 18 inches of concrete and 14 feet of earth…

School buses can support over one-and-a-half times their weight, and can cost as little as $300 second-hand, making them a prepper favorite for bug-out vehicles, and even safe mobile homes…

It’s been estimated that if a global nuclear war occurred, up to a billion lives would be at risk in the months and years following.

Bruce revealed:

We can have 500 people in here, but have to have a number of people to watch over the children.

The underground shelter complex is named Ark 2- in honor of Noah’s Ark.

The extended Beach family contributes to the upgrade and maintenance of the facility.

Although Ark 2 is located in southern Ontario, Canada, Bruce pointed out that an attack on missile bases in the central U.S. could bring significant fallout to their area. Should this or a nearby nuclear blast be reported, the Beach family plans to head to the underground bunker, and start taking in young refugees.

And what about the children’s parents/guardians or any others who come to the shelter but are turned away? Ark 2 staffers plan on giving them “Go Away Kits,” packs that will help people live outside of the bunker. These kits includes radiation detectors.

According to the episode:

Bruce expects refugees would have to stay inside the Ark for weeks, maybe months, to avoid the worst of the radiation outside.

As such, his family has spent 30 years stockpiling “tons of food” to feed the inhabitants.

Now the show pointed out:

One of the hazards of living underground for an extended period, is making sure you have enough air to breathe. At full capacity, and without proper air circulation, Bruce’s 10,000 foot shelter would run out of oxygen in approximately half a day. So Bruce has devised a rather unusual, and cost effective, air circulation system. This strong line of garbage bags can distribute 300 cubic feet of air from the outside vents to different locations in the shelter.

They didn’t say if Ark 2 has nuclear/biological/chemical (NBC) filters for these vents. I would hope so, in order to prevent radioactive fallout from entering and contaminating the facility’s air supply.

It’s not just the Beach family who are involved with the complex. It was revealed that a network of Ark 2 preppers exists all around the United States.

These days, Bruce is busy working on an off-grid communication system, which he hopes to distribute to key members in the local community so that Ark 2 can have a link to the outside world, especially as it concerns information about supplies, radiation levels, and security when TSHTF. From the episode:

The secondary effect of a nuclear detonation is an EMP, a wave of electromagnetic energy powerful enough to bring down the grid. So they are building a ham radio system, widely used by preppers, because it relies only on naturally-existing radio waves to transmit messages, and can work independently from the electrical grid.

According to the show, a 1.4 megaton bomb detonated 250 miles above Kansas would destroy most of the electronics in the United States.

As the segment drew to a close, Bruce Beach left viewers with this:

The Ark is about our service to humanity. And whether or not I pass the Ark on to the grandchildren is irrelevant. What is important is that I pass on to my grandchildren is a dedication of service to humanity. So that’s what my life is about. What my legacy will be, I have no idea.

Jeremy and Kelly

Jeremy (no last name given) is the owner of a digital media company. He and his wife Kelly have a 1-year-old son, Zander. The young family are preparing for peak oil- and what it could mean for our society. From the show:

The term peak oil refers to the eventual decline in the supply of oil reserves. If oil becomes harder to get, the price will increase past the point where people can afford to buy it. The U.S. alone consumes 20 million barrels of oil every day, and global demand is projected to grow by a quarter by 2030.

Jeremy talked about his concerns with peak oil:

I think drastic changes could happen literally in a matter of a couple of years from now. All it takes is for the demand for oil to outstrip the supply, and we’ve been on the razor’s edge of that for a really long time. My worst case scenario is that oil exporting countries stop exporting, and gas pumps start running dry around America. Then that just has a cascading effect across our entire society. People won’t be able to go to work. And if you can’t go to work, then infrastructure starts to fail…

Once infrastructure starts to fail, we could eventually even see the grid go down. And if the grid goes down, society as we know it will be very, very changed.

Kelly recalled something that might sound familiar to a number of preppers:

My first reaction to my husband’s desire to start prepping was a little scared. I actually walked away, and was like, trying to ignore him, because I didn’t want to admit it. It took me about a year to finally come to terms with the idea of prepping.

Jeremy said this about his prepping:

I like to think of myself as a fairly-balanced person. And I don’t think this is an obsession. It’s just a precaution.

To deal with potential water shortages, Jeremy and Kelly look to their 450 gallon hot tub. From the show:

Jeremy and Kelly are able to ration their hot tub water by using the drainage tube. This allows them to preserve a precious resource. Having clean water is essential to survival. So in a grid-down situation, it is imperative to have a water purification system. The 450 gallons in the hot tub could hydrate Jeremy, Kelly, and Zander for about 8 months.

Jeremy is also concerned about infections and disease. He noted:

One of the concerns in the post-collapse world is the lack of access to medical facilities, antibiotics, things like that.

According to the episode:

80 percent of the active ingredients used in American drugs are made overseas. And without the fuel to ship them, emergency treatment would be in short supply. So Jeremy is leaving nothing to chance.

The Utah prepper revealed:

It turns out that the antibiotics used for fish tanks is actually the same antibiotics as are prescribed for humans, so you can actually get human antibiotics at a pet store.

The show added:

Common antibiotics like amoxicillin are marketed under different names for aquatic use. Fish antibiotics are a favorite among preppers to stockpile, because they are widely available without a prescription or pharmacist.

I’ve come across material on the web for and against the substitution of fish antibiotics for human antibiotics. Since you’re only talking about your health here, it would probably be wise to research this very carefully before heading down to the local pet store to pick up some fish antibiotics.

The show returned to the topic of peak oil. From the episode:

Experts disagree as to when we will reach the peak of oil production. Some estimate it will peak as soon as 2035. Jeremy believes it already has.

Remember, “peak oil” doesn’t necessarily mean the Earth is running out of crude oil. Rather, it refers to the maximum rate of the production of crude oil.

Speaking of oil, Jeremy and Kelly have in their possession a bug-out vehicle known as “The Beast.” It’s a military surplus M35 2 1/2 ton cargo truck that Jeremy bought for $3,500. Due to the size of the vehicle, it serves as the family’s transportation and shelter in a SHTF situation. Best of all, it’s has multi-fuel capability, meaning it can be run on regular gas, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, and used motor oil.

Jeremy is shown collecting used motor oil for “The Beast.” His goal is to stockpile 1,000-1,500 gallons of it.

Near the end of the segment, the family practiced a bug-out drill. During the exercise, Jeremy taught Kelly how to drive the “deuce-and-a-half.” Telling her to “man-handle” it on rough terrain, she “woman-handles” the truck instead, and lets out a priceless roar.

Bradford Frank

Bradford Frank is a psychiatrist who lives in sunny San Diego, California, with his wife Narin and daughter Alexandria. He’s concerned a pandemic will bring about TEOTWAWKI . Bradford said:

Sometimes people refer to me as Doctor Doom. I think that most people would look at me and say, “He’s a nut case. He a psychiatrist, he’s obviously crazy.” And that’s the reason I don’t talk to a lot of people about prepping. I went to Yale and studied infectious diseases. And, that’s where I started to get interested in influenza, and in particular, bird flu.

Bradford added:

Super influenza- a super bug- is not a completely new event.

From the episode:

He believes a new, extremely-contagious form of bird flu will transmit to humans, then spread through the population like wildfire.

The World Health Organization considers 100 million infections a conservative estimates for a global pandemic.

Bradford predicted:

People would become hysterical, there would be chaos throughout the world. It’s not a question if it’s going to occur again. It’s only a question of when.

As a physician, the California prepper has easier access to medicine than most others. He explained:

I am able to obtain antibiotics and other medications because I am a physician. I actually buy these in large quantities. So we have all these medicines. It’s a little bit hard to know what to do with the antibiotics if you’re not a doctor.

The show added:

After a pandemic, Bradford believes hospitals will become hot zones for infection. So he’s stockpiling antibiotics to ensure his family never needs to leave the house for medical care.

Bradford’s wife, Narin, is concerned her spouse is wasting money on preparedness gear and supplies. She revealed:

I told him you like to think all negative things. And scary things. And nothing’s going to happen.

Despite her objections, Bradford stockpiles food, including 1,000 lbs. of rice. From the episode:

Bradford considers rice the perfect prepper food, because it’s inexpensive, contains protein, and has a long shelf-life.

The Franks’ daughter, Alexandria, seems a bit more understanding of her father’s efforts. She said:

I don’t really know how I feel about my dad being so concerned about bird flu. He lets it go to his head too much sometimes, and I feel he can be a little neurotic. But, it’s good that we have a little back up plan.

The show revealed the family has enough food stashed away to last a year.

Viewers were provided some insight into Narin’s stance on preparedness. Narin is from Cambodia, and all her primary relatives were killed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. At 19, she escaped from one of their prison camps, and did whatever was required to survive.

Could talk of prepping be bringing back bad memories? She said:

I don’t need a lot of food. And I don’t need a lot of medicine. I know how to survive in a different way.

Maybe so. But not needing a lot of food or medicine doesn’t mean squat should an easily-communicable and lethal strain of influenza arrive at your door. And should its appearance result in societal collapse, Narin must remember she’s no longer 19 as well.

Bradford is concerned that the infected will target doctors’ homes in search of medicine. Subsequently, he replaced his home’s sliding doors with quarter-inch thick sheets of ballistic glass, which repels projectiles and bullets. And according to the show:

Some glass manufacturers are making “one-way” bullet proof glass, allowing for return fire at the exterior threat

Interesting. Will have to look into that one.

Because the potential exists for infection via his neighbors, Bradford secured an isolated bug-out location- a gem mine 2.5 hours from San Diego. He pointed out:

The number one protection in a global pandemic is being away from other people who may be infectious.

The prepper also revealed just how driven he is to survive this and other life-threatening scenarios. Bradford said:

I have just a very powerful survival instinct that would propel me to continue to scratch and claw my way forward.

Getting back to the cave, the underground shelter brought back bad memories for Narin. During her flight from the Khmer Rouge, she was forced to hide in one for 2 months.

As such, it might not work for the Frank family.

Plus, in the “Expert Assessment” portion of segment, Practical Preppers LLC offered up the following:

However, if you ultimately choose to bug-out to an isolated location, we do not suggest a cave. A cave is susceptible to moisture, which would destroy your food stores.

In the “Doomsday Preppers Update,” viewers were informed that Bradford was carjacked at gunpoint while on vacation. He said:

Things turned out well, and the perpetrators are behind bars. But I actually hope that this experience is a positive one for my family in helping them understand that bad things can happen even when you least expect them.

Overall, another good episode of Doomsday Preppers. More interesting ideas to explore. Plus, I liked the additional focus on spouses and family members in this installment. I have a feeling there’s a lot more Narins out there than Jeans or Kellys when it comes to embracing prepping and the advantages it gives the individual/family should a SHTF event take place. But that’s not meant to take away anything from Mrs. Frank, who, as a survivor of the Cambodian “killing fields,” is obviously one tough, resilient woman. However, based on her experience “living” in “Democratic” Kampuchea, one might think she’d be more open to being prepared for those unexpected life-threatening situations that come along every once in a while, like a murderous regime seizing power or global pandemic, for example.

Anyway, I wish these preppers success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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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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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 7

This past weekend I finally got the chance to watch episode number 7 of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers.

The show focused on three prepper groups last Tuesday. In order of appearance:

Doug Huffman, Northern California
“I’m preparing for the Second Worldwide Great Depression”

Dianne (and Greg) Rogers, Alberta, Canada
“I’m passionate about prepping because I’m haunted.”

Ed (and Dianna) Peden, west of Topeka, Kansas
“I am preparing to survive and thrive underground.”

Here are my thoughts about episode 7 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Doug Huffman

Doug is a retired defense contractor who has a 240-acre ranch in Northern California. He thinks another economic depression is fast-approaching:

We’re $15.2 trillion in debt. No one’s doing anything to address the problems. We cannot continue to keep spending money in this country. At some point, this is all going to collapse. And there’s going to be a massive, massive reset in the United States. You’re going to have a shortage of food. There’s going to be food lines again, gas lines again…

In the first 9 months of this type of economic collapse- no food, no water, and amazingly simple sanitation. Without soap and water- boom, disease everywhere, unstoppable. Simulations have been done- up to an 80 percent loss of our population. The government’s not going to be able to help you. You are going to be on your own, and that is the reality.

As a result, Huffman has transformed his ranch into a self-reliant village. He explained:

Well the whole purpose of me “building” my self-reliant village is, if something should happen, you are only going to survive in a communal group.

Availability of food during an economic collapse is a major concern for the California resident, and the show revealed that Huffman has implemented a 4-stage post-apocalyptic food plan to deal with such a disruption:

1. Hunt local game
2. Breed fish in his lake
3. Grow food in 2,500-square-foot greenhouse
4. Raise a variety of farm animals

In perhaps the funniest/disturbing (depends on the person) scene of episode 7, Doug showed how he’s raising rabbits for food and introduced a couple of his baby bunnies to viewers- “Stir Fry,” “Crock Pot,” “Blackened,” and “Cajun.” He tells the incredibly-cute Stir Fry:

Yeah, you’re going to be surrounded in vegetables.

Awww.

The episode also revealed that the rest of the California prepper’s food is preserved and hidden in 3 secret locations, including a root cellar. According to the show:

Root cellars are controlled storage environments, buried under earth or in a basement. They were widely-used to store fruit and vegetables during the winter months before refrigerators became available.

With his “self-reliant village” containing all this food, Huffman knows the ranch would be a likely target in a SHTF event. How does he plan on defending the place? From the show:

And while civil unrest is a common prepper concern, Doug has no intention in investing in prepping staples like high fences, security cameras, and motion detectors designed to keep marauders out. His plan is to draw them in.

He explained:

My plan for self-defense might be a little bit different. I’m not so concerned about holding the ranch. I’m perfectly willing to give it up. The most effective survival system is to disappear during the chaos, and reappear to just take back what you’ve lost.

Huffman plans on achieving this through the use of camouflage and hidden foxholes. It’s revealed that Doug is a master in the art of camouflage:

Doug has 30 home-made camo suits designed for every possible environment and season.

Huffman pointed out:

You have to have the different colors to fit your environment in fall, winter, spring, summer. The grasses change, the snow- everything changes. Appropriate camouflage is the difference between life and death.

Helpful advice. In addition, Doug has several hidden shelters around the ranch where he can live in temporarily. He showed off what’s called a “spider hole” to his friend and fellow prepper Brian. From the episode:

A spider hole is a combat term widely-used in the Vietnam War. It’s a camouflaged one-man foxhole, about 3 feet deep and 7 feet long. Doug plans to use them to hide in plain sight for 3 to 7 days at a time.

The show revealed that Huffman has a half-dozen spider holes over two hundred miles up to 9,000 feet. Doug told viewers:

My plan is to retreat, ride it out, and live to fight another day. That’s what the spider hole is for.

And at night, he plans to return to the ranch and “reclaim” his property. Huffman explained:

I own the night. It’s been a way of life for me for 25 years. I would return back at night- doing my recon, looking through the windows, getting my numbers. And it’s very, very important psychologically that I just start dropping people within 24 hours. I’ll just start taking you out day, after day, after day.

Huffman wouldn’t be alone at the self-reliant village if things go south. He is training a team of 32 young preppers between the ages of 10 and 19 to rebuild a safe post-apocalyptic community on his ranch. Huffman said:

Twice a week, I got teach a youth group called the “Junior Rangers.” My whole goal is to train people in an apocalyptic event. And that’s what it’s going to take- groups of people that build communities and can defend and protect that community.

The Rangers are trained in survival, foraging, camouflaging techniques, weapons and defense tactics.

Dang. Where was this type of instruction when I was growing up?

Huffman said something earlier in the show that really stuck in my mind:

You had better be prepared. Because it is coming. And the fact that so many people put their head in the sand- that’s a huge mistake. Based upon my law of natural selection, they’re the first ones to die.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of this segment- conducted by Practical Preppers LLC- the following was said on the show:

In addition, when you retreat underground, it is likely that your supplies will be looted while unattended.

Huffman replied:

I look at that as a foolish answer. Alright? I am your worst nightmare. Maybe he doesn’t understand that.

I don’t think for a second Practical Preppers underestimates Huffman’s capabilities for “reclaiming” his ranch. But I wonder if the company founded by “original doomsday preppers” Scott Hunt and David Kobler recognizes the possibility that the “marauders” may not choose to stick around at the ranch once they take it. If they have the means (adequate transportation), the ability (traversable terrain), and the desire to remove Doug’s supplies from the ranch and continue on as soon as possible- rather than kick back and enjoy the spoils- they might try and do so. Huffman said it’s important for him to start “dropping people” within 24 hours. He might have to start and possibly finish doing that should the marauders intend to push on.

One other thought about this segment. Huffman mentioned that he thought the Second Great Depression would take place in 2012. It’s certainly possible. But recent activity in Washington and at the Federal Reserve have primed the pump, so to speak, and economic news looks to be on track for being rather good all the way until the November election- with the next major bout of economic pain not felt until 2013-2014- according to the same smart people who saw the 2008 global financial crisis coming.

Dianne (and Greg) Rogers

Greg and Dianne Rogers reside in Alberta, Canada, with their 7-year-old daughter Sara(h?). Dianne is a stay-at-home mom, and is prepping because of some reoccurring nightmare:

I’m passionate about prepping because I’m haunted. When I was in college, I had this dream- a disaster dream of some kind in that it was something that happened environmentally. It continues to this day. I’m trying to escape. Greg is getting our bags ready. I’m putting things away- trying to get to a colder place because it’s going to get hot. The temperature is rising. The dream happens all the time. For 20 years I haven’t been able to get away from it.

From the show:

Dianne is convinced her dream has a connection to the real world. A warning from the future that cannot be ignored.

She explained:

My greatest fear is that something catastrophic does happen environmentally and it sets off a chain reaction.

As a result, Greg and Dianne are prepping for all potential disasters (very smart).

Dianne’s husband is just as committed to prepping as she is. From the show:

Greg’s day job is as a granite fabricator. But at night, and on the weekends, he’s training as a security tech, a thief, and even an amateur chemist- all in the service of being prepared.

Greg explained:

In an unpredictable situation you never know what skills you’re going to need to pull yourself out of that situation and ensure your own safety and the safety of the family. I’m learning how to steal a car, for the same reason I’m learning how to pick a lock. I’m learning make gunpowder. Information is easy to carry.

In a SHTF event, the Rogers family plans on bugging-in. It’s revealed they have 12 months of supplies socked away.

Dianne and Greg share information about prepping with their daughter. Every night before bed, they have a “family prepping talk.” And in the show, Sara(h) goes with Mom and Dad to a gun store where the couple looks to purchase handguns. Greg revealed:

I’m not a big gun enthusiast myself, but I realize the importance, and it’s another tool in the tool chest.

Dianne said:

Sara(h) knows there might come a time when Mom and Dad need to use those weapons for things. She’s okay with that. And I would prefer that she’s comfortable around them.”

To successfully bug-in, the Rogers family transformed a portion of their basement into a makeshift bunker. They have food, water supplies, a propane stove, a medical/surgical kit, and a port-a-potty, among other things.

Dianne Rogers left viewers with this thought:

I think prepping has become such a big movement because there is so much more uncertainty in the world than there ever used to be. We know so much more now than we ever used to. Maybe it was easier when we didn’t know.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of this segment, Practical Preppers LLC said:

You live in close proximity to others- which could be a disadvantage in a disaster. However, you could turn this to your advantage by establishing a network within your community for survival and disaster planning.

Dianne responded with:

There seems to be a bit of hesitation among other people. They just don’t want to think about it.

I’ve noticed on the Internet that websites exist where preppers can go to link up with other preppers. PrepperGroups.com is perhaps the most well-known one. In addition, there’s Meetup.com, which bills itself as the world’s largest network of local groups. For example, doing a search on this site for preppers around Chicago brought up two preparedness groups in nearby Oak Brook and Wilmette. Even though Dianne and Greg live in Canada, I saw some Canadian-based preppers on PrepperGroups.com. If the family is serious about establishing a network within their community for survival and disaster planning, they might want to explore this route.

Going back to that part of the show where the Rogers family visited the gun store, it was noted how Glock handguns are used by many law enforcement agencies across the country, and as such, the availability of ammunition might be better during TEOTWAWKI. I’ve heard this claim before and the one that says firearms chambered for “common” caliber cartridges like 9mm Luger, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, etcetera might also be easier finding ammo for when TSHTF. However, I suspect that beyond the initial stage of the crisis, pretty much all rimfire and centerfire ammunition will disappear off the shelves- to be used as barter by enterprising individuals if anything. Furthermore, in most instances I doubt the police/military will be sharing ammunition with John Q. Public should things go to hell. In fact, some argue they’ll be replenishing their depleted ammo supply from you if needed. Gun owners are probably better off acquiring all the ammo they’ll need before the brown stuff hits the fan.

Ed (and Dianna) Peden

Ed and Dianna Peden live in a decommissioned Atlas missile site west of Topeka, Kansas. Ed, a retired teacher, first became interested in the complex back in the eighties when the specter of nuclear war hovered over the world. He explained:

The economy is certainly in trouble. In some ways the economy has already collapsed. And everybody thought the economy was going to bounce back- it was just a little recession. Well, that hasn’t happened. It’s not happening. There’s going to be desperation and there’s going to be potential violence. And those that can make adjustments to the changes in optimal ways will thrive, while many others are going to suffer.

Ed believes there’s no time to lose in his prepping, as he feels an economic doomsday is already underway. He claimed:

We are at a critical moment. The banking institutions are troubled. The stock market is reflecting these things. The politicians have no answers. And we’re not finished with these trends.

According to the show, the missile base cost $4 million to build in 1960. Ed bought it in the eighties for $40,000. Like the Rogers family, Dianna and Ed plan on bugging-in, closing their 20-inch-thick blast-proof front door to the outside. Stocked with 12 months of food and supplies, the Peden’s renovated 20,000 square-foot bunker is very secure with its 18-inch-thick walls, an 8-foot tall steel and barbed-wire perimeter fence, a recently-installed automatic gate, and a new 360-degree security camera system.

When it comes to using firearms for self-defense, the show revealed that Dianna is committed to non-violence. But Ed is not. He warned viewers:

I don’t show them, but I’m well-trained in them, and that’s all I would care to discuss about it.

Dianna and Ed don’t plan on going at it alone during TEOTWAWKI. From the show:

If Ed and Dianna Peden’s predictions come to pass, and economic catastrophe and societal breakdown occur, they are aware that the two of them do not possess all the skills they will need to survive. So they have selected a group of people to allow into their fortified bunker.

When preppers assemble survival teams, commonly sought after professions are emergency-room doctors, mechanics, and professional soldiers. But for their team, the Peden’s have selected a “living food chef,” an intuitive healer, and a spiritualist.

Ed left viewers with this thought:

If difficult times do come, and I think that’s most likely, it’s going to be so important who you are around, who you have on the bus with you, so to speak.

During the “Expert Assessment” portion of the segment, Practical Preppers advised:

We recommend you train consistently with whatever firearms you store inside the silo. And consider investing in bulletproof vests in case your home comes under siege.

The Kansas prepper replied with:

I’ll choose my own way with that. His consciousness is at a different place than ours.

Perhaps that’s what the intuitive healer is for? I thought the recommendation about “bulletproof” vests was a good one. To tweak something actor John Wayne allegedly once said:

Life during societal collapse is hard. It’s even harder when you’re perforated.

I wish these preppers success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 6

On Monday, I previewed episode number 6, “Nine Meals Away from Anarchy,” of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers. This afternoon, I’ll be doing my review of the episode.

The show focused on three prepper groups this past Tuesday. In order of appearance:

Mike Mester and family, suburb of Atlanta, Georgia
“We’re preparing for civil unrest caused by a global economic collapse.”

Preston White, central Colorado
“Preston believes that a cloud of deadly radiation from Fukushima is heading towards the mainland United States and will soon contaminate food and water supplies.”

Riley Cook and family, Silverthorne, Colorado
“I’m preparing my family to survive a polar shift.”

Here are my thoughts about episode 6 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Mike Mester and family

Mike Mester is a contractor who lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, kids, and dogs. Prepping is a way of life for the entire family, so much so that they’ve been doing it for almost a decade. Mike warned:

The way the United States economy works today is not sustainable. We were once the greatest creditor in the world. Now, we are the greatest debtor. Where will all the money come from? Look at the news, look at the papers. Police departments cut. Fire departments cut. What will we do when there’s no one there?

According to the show:

Mike believes that as the global economy falters, the U.S. economy will fall deeper and deeper into debt. Banks will close. Power will go out. Basic services will grind to a halt.

Which led Mike to ask:

If the grocery shelves are empty, you’re only nine meals away from anarchy. What will happen then? Will you be prepared?

It’s revealed that oldest son Ryan is away at college 250 miles away. Mike declared:

My wife and I, our home is our family. That’s why we want to ensure that we get all our children home when things collapse. We will go to any extent to ensure their safety.

As a result, Ryan’s parents provided him with a “get home” bag full of supplies, including food and water, that will support him for 4 days. In case their son is unable to make it back to the Mester household by himself, his parents have a backup plan in place. Mike explained:

Heaven forbid our oldest boy can’t make it home. That’s why we have plans to retrieve him in 30 days.

From the show:

Mike believes that after an economic collapse, rioting will spread from urban centers in waves, with violence cresting in the first few weeks. So 30 days is a key timeframe for braving the road.

Mr. Mester suspects gasoline will be hard to come by in an economic collapse, so he stores 50 gallons of it out in his garage. He replenishes his stockpile every 3 months to keep the gas fresh. Viewers were also informed in the episode:

He is also teaching his son Kyle methods for stealing gasoline, if necessary.

Nice. How about:

He is also teaching his son Kyle methods for recovering gasoline from abandoned/disabled vehicles in a societal collapse.

It’s just not the humans who are prepping in the Mester household. Their two German Shepherd dogs, Storm and Thunder, both have bug-out bags and were later shown to be receiving training for protecting the home and family.

Putting his logistician background to good work, Mike has amassed and organized an impressive stockpile of food and water. It’s revealed 3 rooms of his 4,500 square-foot house are dedicated to food storage. He estimated they have 2 years of food for 10 people. Viewers are also informed:

Mike stores thousands of cans, sometimes for years past their expiration date. Expired food might not taste good, but Mike knows it could keep his family alive in a crisis.

Mike added:

There’s a difference between shelf life and life-sustaining. In Third World countries, they use rancid cooking oil. Certainly, it will not hurt you.

Another interesting bit of info provided about the Mester family’s preps was the alternative fuel source they were shown fabricating and stockpiling. They collect dead leaves in the fall and combine them with newspaper to create an alternative fuel source. The mixture is soaked in water for 5 days, the slurry is compressed to remove the liquid, and briquettes are formed and air-dried for a week to serve as emergency heating and cooking sources. Very nice.

Like a number of other suburban preppers, Mike and his family recognize the potential threats from living so close to a major American city should a SHTF situation arise- and are preparing accordingly. Mike said:

Security is an important part of the prepper’s lifestyle. If there’s an economic collapse, civil unrest will likely ensue the metropolitan areas, then spread out to the suburbs. Downtown Atlanta is only 45 miles away. We don’t know how fast that civil unrest will get to us, but we certainly will be prepared if it does.

The Mester family possesses a battery of home-defense firearms and a stockpile of ammunition, and trains monthly at the shooting range.

Mike left viewers with this thought:

If you think the government’s going to be there, are you going to sit back and wait for the cavalry? They may never come. So what are you going to do about it? Why don’t you start to prepare? Because it’s your personal responsibility.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of the Mester segment, Practical Preppers LLC recommended:

You need to put your leadership skills to use in your community. Getting your neighbors aware of, and involved in your prepping, will only make your family more secure in a crisis situation.

Excellent advice. But I’d add, that depends on the neighbors. I’ve lived next to my share of wackjobs over the years. And here in Chicago, where a good number of the residents have bought into the notion of “cradle-to-grave” care and protection by the Nanny State, preppers/survivalists and firearm owners are looked upon with intense suspicion, if not disgust.

Finally, in the “Doomsday Preppers Update” portion, Mike Mester indicated that the family was planning to grow a 1,000 square foot garden in their backyard. Those who lived in Russia in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse will attest to how important a food garden is when society breaks down.

Preston White

Preston White is a web developer who lives in central Colorado. The recent disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan got him prepping. From the show:

Preston believes that a cloud of deadly radiation from Fukushima is heading towards the mainland United States and will soon contaminate food and water supplies.

White said:

People need to know Japan should be evacuated. California, Oregon, and Washington should be evacuated.

Convinced of this radioactive contamination, White makes putting together a seed bank a top priority. From the episode:

Believing that radioactive fallout from Japan will contaminate the American food chain, Preston is creating a seed bank, a store of fruit and vegetable seeds that can be used to grow radiation-free food in a post-apocalyptic world.

White has amassed so many seeds, he is shown displaying 11,000 different types for viewers. He explained:

A non-prepper might look at my supply and say, “Are you kidding me?” But if something happens- I win this game. People that aren’t prepared- they lose this game.

In the episode, Preston White worked with other preppers (Shane Anderson, Richard Dudas) to plant his seeds and create a radiation-free farm. A key component to the farm is the biosphere tent system, which acts as barrier to radioactive fallout while allowing enough light in to grow food year-round. In addition, these tents can be broken down/set up fast and easily transported should the situation call for it.

Besides growing food, these tents were also purchased so people can live in them. At this point in the episode, local Russell Preister brought in and demonstrated an HHO generator/home heater prototype that would hopefully provide energy, clean radiation-free water, and purified oxygen for the plant and human occupants. According to the show:

The HHO generator can turn water into highly-flammable gas by using electrolysis to separate water’s hydrogen and oxygen atoms. It can literally turn water into fire… HHO technology has become increasingly popular, with plans to build home generators readily available on the Internet.

Like the Mester family, White has a battery of home-defense firearms. He said:

If you’re a prepper, there’s 4 guns to have. You’ve got a 30-06 to kill a deer, shotgun, 22 rifle to protect your home, and a 9mm pistol. A sidearm for close contact. The guns I chose, I chose for defense.

Hope he meant to say that 22 rifle is a .223.

After learning a valuable lesson about violating operational security (OPSEC), White remarked:

I was faced with death. Decided I wasn’t going to be a victim. It changed my life the way I live tomorrow. I can affect my picture, and that’s what you do by prepping.

In the “Doomsday Preppers Update” portion of this segment, Preston said:

I’m hoping in the future to pick up a motor home and make it into a really good bug-out vehicle.

I always thought a mobile bug-out location was a neat idea. For those who can’t afford a fixed BOL, it might be worth investigating.

Riley Cook and family

Riley Cook is a welder living in Silverthorne, Colorado, with his wife and four kids. According to the show:

Riley believes that during his lifetime, there will be a catastrophic polar shift, a movement of the Earth’s North and South Poles along the Earth’s mantle. And this drastic geological change will unleash a litany of natural disasters.

The Cook family began seriously prepping 5 years ago. It was revealed they have already spent around $300,000 on prepping.

Prepping has become such an integral part of their lives, the Cook family’s welding shop recently became a disaster shelter building business. Because they construct customized underground bunkers, all sorts of features can be incorporated into a project. Even an incinerator to eliminate pesky intruders. Riley explained:

That’s what you get when you combine a prepper and a welder.

Getting back to the episode:

A bunker buried at a distant bug-out location is only effective if you can get to it. Riley expects that the catastrophic nature of a polar shift will cause severe fuel shortages. So he has used his expert welding skills to solve the problem of transportation. His latest prepping tool is a custom-made Cook original that he hopes will allow his family to carry supplies without needing a car or truck.

Riley designed and built a 100 lb. hand-crafted aluminum cart that allows him to haul almost 9 times his body weight by distributing loads like a horse and cart. In this case, Riley is the horse. It’s also water-tight and can float in a body of water. Pretty cool.

Not surprisingly, the Cook family has an underground survival shelter located at 11,200 feet in the Colorado mountains 10 miles from civilization. During the episode, Riley, his wife Sara(h?), and their kids are shown practicing bugging-out in severe weather up an unplowed, snow-covered mountain pass to the bunker. From the show:

Emergency preparedness experts suggest that you practice evacuating your home at least twice a year, and plot alternate routes in case roads become impassable.

Great advice.

The Cook family eventually made it to their “cabin,” and proceeded to hunker down for the remainder of their stay.

Overall, a really good episode. As I said in my preview earlier in the week, a lot of viewers can probably relate to the Mester family in the suburbs, the Cook family in the small town, and even Preston White out in central Colorado. And this week, a number of ideas (food gardens, HHO generators/home heaters, motor homes, etcetera) were introduced that might be worth looking into.

I wish these three prepper groups success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

And before I forget, have you seen the new Doomsday Preppers TV commercial yet? When I first heard it, I thought it sounded so similar to the beverage commercials from the late 70s/early 80s it had me wondering if the original crew hadn’t been hired to produce it…


“I’m a Prepper, You’re a Prepper”
YouTube Video

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 5

This weekend I got around to reviewing episode number 5 of National Geographic Channel’s new TV series Doomsday Preppers. “You Shall Not Fear,” which aired on February 28, focused on three prepper groups. In order of appearance:

Michael Douglas and family, Augusta, Maine
“I’m preparing for overpopulation to reach critical mass”

Larry Hall, Kansas plains
“I’m building a luxury survival condominium to protect against solar flare, worldwide economic collapse, or anything Mother Nature could throw at us”

Becky Brown, Salt Lake City, Utah
“Because of our nation’s high unemployment rate, Becky believes that the economy will collapse, causing the government to forcibly take over and declare martial law, which would dismantle democracy, and strip American citizens of their basic constitutional rights.”

Here are my thoughts about episode 5 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Michael Douglas and family

Michael Douglas is a former U.S. Marine who is now a wilderness school instructor. He lives on a 30-acre farm in Augusta, Maine, with his wife and three kids.

Michael is concerned about overpopulation. According to the Nat Geo Channel:

The global population first reached 1 billion in 1804. In only 200 years, the global population has soared from 1 billion to 7 billion. Researchers believe that the planet can only sustain a limited number of people. And Michael fears, that we are fast approaching critical mass, and will soon exceed the world’s carrying capacity.

The prepper added:

Overpopulation reaches critical mass, soils will be depleted and turn into deserts. Once those deserts establish themselves, it’s irreversible. Giant dust clouds turning the sky red for days will cover the landscape. What’s going to happen? Massive food riots in the streets. Violence. A gallon of water would cost more than a gallon of gas.

Not only has Michael been developing his survival skills for the last 20 years, but he’s also been teaching his three kids to be preppers and to be able to live off the land. He explained:

It’s important to have every family member on board if we are to survive as a family.

Michael predicts food and water shortages ahead. The farm produces food and has 400 gallons of water cached. However, he thinks the key to his family’s survival is to become “hunter-gatherers.”

Instead of utilizing traditional alarm systems, Michael has been teaching his kids to decipher alerts among the local bird population. He believes this gives them around 5 minutes warning of approaching danger. While this sounds good on the surface, what if there are no birds present in an area at a particular time? Or what if another sound (farm equipment, or steadily falling rain, for example) drowns out the birds? Then there’s the evening, when the family retires indoors to bed. The Douglas family might want to consider adding additional layers of alarms, such as a battery of motion detectors, particularly for those times when they’re inside their residence.

On the topic of protection, the show revealed:

Most preppers stock up on firearms for self-defense. But Michael does not possess guns. He believes population would cause ammunition to become a finite resource, and he does not want to become dependent on it.

Instead, the Douglas family uses martial arts, the tomahawk, and the throwing stick to protect themselves.

While I’m glad to hear that the family is paying attention to their personal safety, I wonder about the tools they’ve chosen. Martial arts has a limited effective range, as does the tomahawk and throwing stick. Introduce a firearm like a carbine or battle rifle into the equation and they could have a real problem. Also, in a confrontation, you’re likely talking about one tomahawk/one “stick,” one throw. Advantage, “high-capacity” magazine? Finally, while the family may be able to effectively deal with one or a small number of lightly-armed intruders with what they’re working with, I’m concerned the outcome might be different in other circumstances. The more bad guys, armament, training, and distance of engagement, the more likely the attackers will prevail.

Ammunition availability is a major concern for many preppers. The solution I often come across in my research? Get out there and start buying ammo, and be sure to “stack ‘em high and stack ‘em deep.”

Michael said he conducts self-defense drills every day, multiple times a day, and often without warning. That sounds great, although I hope he doesn’t end up like Cato from the Pink Panther movies some day.

The children are being guided towards a “rite of passage” event in which they are to recognize they have the essential skills they need to survive. In the episode, the middle child, 12-year-old Ryan, was undergoing such a rite. Initially, Ryan was shown as not being too interested in the whole program. The young man even said:

I don’t need to know all the different skills that he teaches me. Like, for the food, pizza. Fire, matches. Water, sink. Not drinking out of moss.

His rite was to require of Ryan to build a shelter and a fire using a blow drill and piece of notched wood. Turns out, Ryan was pretty darn good at doing both.

Michael Douglas is not one for accumulating survival “toys.” He announced:

A lot of preppers get sooo infatuated with new toys. They’re temporary conveniences that will rust, fall apart, break, get lost.

Great point- which is why preppers should obtain the best-quality “toys” they can afford.

Larry Hall

Larry Hall is an engineer turned real estate developer who is building luxury survival condos somewhere on the plains in Kansas. The condos are being constructed out of former nuclear missile silos. The structure is 14 stories deep (175 feet), embedded in up to 9 feet of concrete. It will contain room for 70 residents, including Larry, his wife, and 6-year-old son. He said:

The survival condo project is a one size fits all solution to solar flares and loss of the grid, avian bird flu, a nuclear explosion, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions.

The complex is stocked with a combination of freeze-dried and dehydrated food- approximately 5 years’ worth of food for each resident at 2,500 calories per day. Psychologists were consulted and recommendations implemented (high ceilings, for example) when dealing with potential “cabin fever.” Artificial windows, available with a number of different scenes, are being built into the structure. Redundancy has been achieved for key life support systems.

According to Hall, residents of the complex will perform preventative maintenance and man security details. The structure is almost completely hidden from view. A half-million dollar 4-stage security plan is in place:

• Security Stage One- 7-foot high perimeter fence
• Security Stage Two- Complex surveillance system monitoring interior/exterior
• Security Stage Three- Concrete-encased entrance offers protection for armed defenders
• Security Stage Four- 70 armed, battle-ready residents can be mustered if necessary

Each condo unit will be offered for between $1 to $2 million. A prospective buyer by the name of Sara(h?) visited the complex during filming. From the show:

Many Americans can identify with Sara(h)’s sense of impending dread. A recent poll found that 41 percent of Americans feel that preparing for a disastrous event is more important than saving for retirement. And over half believe some kind of catastrophic event will occur in the next 10 years.

Near the end of the second part of the show, Larry Hall offered up this little nugget of advice to viewers:

Be prepared, because you don’t want to deal with the alternative.

In the “Expert Assessment” section, Practical Preppers suggested:

However, you should think about recruiting inhabitants with advanced skills sets, including those with medical and military training.

Great advice. Larry responded with:

I agree 100 percent with that comment. We attempted to do just that, but given the economic conditions that we have today, that option became overcome by events, for lack of a better term.

I think I get what Hall is trying to say here. If that’s the case, the project leaders might want to coordinate top-notch training with the future inhabitants as soon as they sign on the dotted line.

One last thing. Residents who live some distance from the Kansas complex must figure out how to get to the bug-out location safely and promptly when all hell is breaking loose. Otherwise, their purchase might be for nothing. I wonder if this is something the project assists with (providing armed escort and transportation that is strategically-positioned around the country, for example) or is each party on their own. I’m guessing it’s the latter due to the significant costs that would be involved with the former.

Becky Brown

Becky Brown is a thirtysomething business school student living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was introduced in the episode with:

Because of our nation’s high unemployment rate, Becky believes that the economy will collapse, causing the government to forcibly take over and declare martial law, which would dismantle democracy, and strip American citizens of their basic constitutional rights.

Brown herself added:

I foresee the government takeover happening within the next year or two. Honestly.

Brown is pretty intense about her prepping. She spends 4 hours a day thinking about prepping. She revealed that she has spent $50,000 on preps to-date- $30,000 in the last year alone.

Brown lives near the Utah State Capitol building. She said:

Having the Capitol right behind me is a constant reminder that the government could declare martial law and take over the city. So, it’s a blessing that I’m living so close to be able to put the clues together.

Then again, one can put the clues together while not living so close to a high-profile government facility. Her proximity to this building might make bugging-in and bugging-out more difficult in a SHTF event. Or it might work in her favor, as the amount of security in the area might provide some stability in a major crisis. I’d still keep an eye out for a good bug-out location though.

Brown dedicates 200 square feet of her 1,800 square foot apartment to supplies and preps. She fears water will be in short supply during a major crisis:

We won’t have a water supply. They’re going to hold the water for the most elite.

Brown owns several bug-out bags. Preppers are often known to utilize a vehicle bug-out bag and an everyday carry bag, or EDC bag, in addition to their main bug-out bag positioned at their residence.

Becky owns a stun gun, but not a firearm. She said:

I’m a girl, I’m feminine. I’m not supposed to love guns.

However, she added:

But you get in a different mentality when you’re protecting your family, and your home, and the things that are most important to you.

Consequently, she is shown receiving firearm instruction from a friend of hers, a “professional contract sniper.” In addition to some handgun training, she is given a scoped bolt-action sniper rifle for hitting targets 1,000 yards away. She explained:

I’m taking sniper training, because then I can keep people as far away as I needed to.

She proceeded to hit targets out to 200 yards with the long gun. That’s great, but I can’t help but wonder if she shouldn’t be concentrating on learning fighting skills in a particular order. Based on her not owning a firearm and living in an urban environment, she might want to consider learning hand-to-hand fighting skills first. After this is done, perhaps training in basic handgun, basic shotgun, and basic rifle should be pursued, possibly in that order. Sniper training might be further down the list of priorities for her, considering her personal circumstances.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of the segment, Practical Preppers recommended to Becky:

If you have to leave Salt Lake City within a matter of minutes, it will be difficult to carry your supplies.

She responded with:

That’s why I have a big-frame hiking backpack , and so that’s the thing I would take if I were on foot.

Since it appears Becky has a large amount of supplies stored in her apartment, being able to take only a backpack-full of supplies in a “Get Out Of Dodge,” or G.O.O.D., situation seems wasteful. If she hasn’t done so already, she might want to select a good bug-out location (place of refuge in a major crisis) and pre-position supplies there and along the primary/alternate routes to the BOL in supply caches.

Becky recently appeared in a YouTube video with updates on improvements she’s made with her preps:


“National Geo Update.MP4″
YouTube Video

Another good episode. Funny how two of the preppers featured didn’t own firearms- although I wonder if Ms. Brown hasn’t changed her mind regarding that. Not as many good ideas worth looking into this time around- although I was intrigued by those artificial windows. I wish these three prepper groups success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 3

On Tuesday, February 14, episode 3 of the new National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers aired (I blogged about the first two episodes here). In “Back to the Stone Age,” four prepper groups were assessed. In order of appearance:

Tim Ralston and family, suburb of Phoenix, Arizona
“My major concern is an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP.”

Jason Charles and family, New York City, New York
“I’m preparing for the Yellowstone National Park supervolcano to explode.”

Jules Dervaes and family, Pasadena, California
“We’re prepping for the catastrophic collapse of the modern food system.”

Patrick and Lynette Brabble, small town somewhere in North Carolina
“I’m preparing for the downfall of society through hyperinflation.”

Here are my thoughts about episode 3 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Tim Ralston and family

Tim is prepping along with his wife and three kids. Ralston informed viewers that at first, his spouse “really wasn’t on the same page” as him when it came to prepping. This situation is something I’ve come across a number of times in my research. Ralston reacted by doing two things. First, he became a “closet prepper,” taking grocery money and keeping a couple dollars back, for example (probably not the greatest idea- if you get caught, the significant other could wonder what else you’re hiding from them). Second, Tim shared information with his wife. He said:

The more information I started to give to her, then it opened her eyes to the potential threats that are out there.

Gradually taking the time to discuss the hazards that exist out there in the world these days, and explaining how prepping is like an insurance policy that aims to protect your current lifestyle in case something real bad happens, may be a more effective way to get a partner and/or family members on board with the program than bombarding them all at once with scarier-than-hell images.

Tim considers himself a “prepper entrepreneur,” in that he and his business partners invent survival tools. One of their inventions featured on the episode is the Crovel, which combines thirteen different tools into a five pound package. Besides being a multifunction tool, it can also serve as a weapon, as Tim and his partners demonstrated on a deceased pig during the show. The shovel and crowbar multi-tool looks real promising.

Tim and his family are constructing a “secret desert bunker” as a “bug-out” location. He is building the shelter out of shipping containers. He explained:

The reason I chose a shipping container is it’s already got all the reinforced walls. We don’t have much time, so it’s already pre-fabbed for us. All we’re doing is building up the insides.

According to the show, these containers cost around $2,500 each. In addition, they’re also thought to be EMP-proof, which is important to Ralston. Like the Crovel, the shipping container also seems worth exploring.

Every couple of weeks, the Ralston family practices “bugging out” to their desert bunker. In the episode, the Ralstons are shown loading up a trailer behind what looks to be a late-model Jeep Wrangler, and then departing. Should that vehicle be hit by an electromagnetic pulse of the magnitude Tim fears, I’m not so sure how EMP-resistant it will be. Perhaps they’ve had some work done to it, if that’s possible.

Something that plenty of viewers probably weren’t expecting was Tim Ralston suffering an accidental gunshot wound during firearm training in the desert with his sons. Did he shoot himself, or was it the result of a misfire/something else? Ralston said:

It was one of those malfunctions. My thumb went in front of the barrel, and it went off.

Regardless, I wish him a complete recovery. Others might shy away from firearms after an incident like this, but Tim proclaims a prepper/survivalist mentality, as evidenced by the following statement:

As a prepper, the most important tool is your mind. We have a survivor’s mindset. Things like this, you can persevere, you can push through.

Jason Charles and family

Jason is prepping because he believes the Yellowstone National Park supervolcano is going to explode and New York City will be negatively-impacted by the event. He is worried about the resulting ash cloud falling back down to earth in NYC, clogging lungs and the water system, among other things. However, significant ash fallout from such an eruption is not expected on the East Coast. Historic fallout maps from past Yellowstone supervolcano events show the volcanic debris zone stopping just short and west of the Mississippi River.

Jason revealed he has ten bladed weapons. On firearms, the New York City firefighter says:

Why do I have so many knives? Well, you can’t have a gun. So, this is as good as it gets.

From what I understand, since it’s pretty difficult to get a handgun license in New York City, residents take the easier route and apply for a rifle/shotgun permit. As many of you probably already know, shotguns are an effective home defense firearm.

As part of their “bug-in” strategy for their urban apartment, the Charles family is shown dispersing crushed glass in front of their unit’s door. Jason said:

For a bug-in situation, I keep a box of crushed glass by the door for security.

I’m guessing the reason for this is two-fold:

1. The noise made when the glass shards are stepped on will alert the Charles family that someone is approaching the door of their apartment.

2. The broken glass makes it look like their apartment has already been looted.

Am I missing anything else?

The family also fills up a WaterBOB in their bathroom. Looks like a neat piece of equipment. From the WaterBOB website:

The waterBOB is a water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub in the event of an emergency. Constructed of heavy duty food grade plastic, the waterBOB keeps water fresh and clean for drinking, cooking, washing and flushing.

Jason left viewers with some pretty good advice when it comes to prepping:

My advice for everybody who’s unprepared, to start preparing, for any disaster that might happen. You never know when you’re going to need that food supply, that water supply. And I’ll do what I have to do to protect my family.

Jules Dervaes and family

Jules Dervaes said that he and his three grown children prep because they fear the “catastrophic collapse of the modern food system.” Dervaes talked about farmers moving to genetically-modified crops, which were created to weaken pests that destroy the crop. He thinks this is a “disaster waiting to happen.” Dervaes claimed superpests are adapting to the GM crops, and are becoming stronger. He points to the example of the corn rootworm. Last year, an Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann reported that Western corn rootworms in four Iowa fields had evolved to resist the natural pesticide in the genetically-modified corn plants. However, Monsanto, the maker of the GM crop, argues there’s no scientific confirmation of pest resistance to its Bt corn and claim less than 0.2 per cent of acres planted with the corn were affected by rootworm damage last year. In addition, some scientists believe the problem could be partly the result of farmers who are planting Bt corn year after year in the same fields.

Regardless, the Dervaes family became determined to grow as much of their own food as possible, and by the looks of their lush backyard food garden, they’ve come a long way. In fact, the show revealed the food the family produces makes up 90 percent of their diet during summer months. Impressive.

Jules said that their Pasadena, California, property is 100 feet from an 11-lane interstate highway. In certain SHTF situations, highways could become jammed with refugees. A number of these will almost certainly try to scavenge food and other items, possibly threatening the garden. I hope the family is taking this into consideration- and preparing accordingly.

Taking full advantage of their suburban garden, the Dervaes family trades flowers, vegetables, and fruit for waste vegetable oil from a local fast food restaurant. They take the used oil and utilize a biodiesel processor to produce clean biodiesel fuel for their diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz station wagon. According to the show, the family saves up to 80 percent on regular gas prices. Something else that might be worth looking into, especially if you suspect higher gas prices are on the horizon.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of this segment, Practical Preppers recommended the family purchase a diesel generator, “so that in a blackout, you can use the biodiesel you make to help power your home.” Great suggestion, because in a situation where regular gasoline becomes harder to obtain, having both a biodiesel processor and diesel generator on hand allows a family like the Dervaeses to trade for waste vegetable oil, refine it, and use it to power their vehicle and home.

Near the end of the segment, Jules said something that probably struck home with a lot of viewers. He pointed out:

Everybody else seems looking to be dependent on government, dependent on corporations, dependent on the banks, dependent on others. But we are providing for ourselves and living a self-sustaining life here.

Pat and Lynette Brabble

Pat Brabble and his wife Lynette live in a small North Carolina town, prepping for the “downfall of society through hyperinflation.” You may recall that Dennis Evers, the “Godfather Prepper” out in rural Colorado, voiced the same concern back in episode 2 (blogged about here). Some of the same people who predicted the 2008 global economic crisis are warning that the nation is heading for hyperinflation. Recent examples of such rapid inflation include Argentina a decade ago and Zimbabwe.

At one point in the segment, Lynette Brabble asks here husband if he could go to the barn and get her a jar of peanut butter. Pat walks out to another building and proceeds to access a false wall while the show says:

Pat follows the preppers’ rule of operational security. He keeps his preps in a secret location on his property. Only family members, and close friends, know its whereabouts.

I really hope the Brabbles purposely misled viewers as to the actual whereabouts of their preps, because based on the footage shown, some are probably thinking they have a pretty good idea where all this stuff might be located on their property. I’m not saying the Brabbles are guilty of violating operational security, but now is as good as any other time to remind everyone about the importance of OPSEC.

Continuing on, the show asked:

But what would happen if his home, and all of his preparations, came under assault?

Pat responds that the couple has 60 or 70 firearms in their safes. Viewers are then shown a variety of guns the Brabbles own. After watching this, the term “gun nut” might come to the minds of those not familiar with firearms. However, I’ve learned that firearms are considered tools by many gun owners, where a specific tool (gun) is called upon to complete a certain task. For example, you wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to nail two small pieces of wood together. Likewise, a rural property owner wouldn’t (normally) use a .50 caliber Barrett gun for pest control. And with the realities that come with rural living, different types of guns may be carried and used on a regular basis. Keeping this in mind, along with the prepper mindset that “two is one, and one is none,” and 60 or 70 firearms no longer sounds so extreme.

In “The Odds” portion of this segment, the show said:

What are the odds of catastrophic hyperinflation occurring? While the Fed considers a sustained rise in commodity prices a threat in the coming years, they project only modest inflation rates of about 2 percent over the next several years.

Now, the Federal Reserve doesn’t have the best record when it comes to forecasting. The central bank under both Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke didn’t see the U.S. housing bubble, the 2008 financial crisis, or the “Great Recession” coming. In fact, one can argue that the Fed actually helped create the conditions that led to these events by taking the federal funds rate (interests rates) down as far, and as long, as they did after the dot-com crash and 9/11, resulting in people who couldn’t afford to buy a TV set somehow ending up as proud “owners” of a McMansion.

All in all, a real good episode. Plenty of ideas worth looking into. I wish all these prepper groups success in their endeavors.

I hope to have the next review out a lot sooner.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers will air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers TV Series

Back on August 3, 2011, I wrote about a show called Doomsday Preppers that appeared on the National Geographic Channel that prior Sunday. Little did I know at that time that the one-hour special was really a pilot for a new series that goes by the same name and which debuted on Nat Geo last night. From their website:

About the Show

Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality.

The first two episodes of the new series were broadcast Tuesday night, and a total of seven “prepper” individuals/groups were assessed, including (in order of appearance):

Paul and Gloria Range, the “Retiree Preppers,” outside of Floresville, Texas
“We’re preparing for a polar shift that will cause a sudden climate change and change life as we know it forever.”

Christopher Nyerges, the “Street Survivor,” Los Angeles, California
“I’m prepping for a killer earthquake that could completely flatten the city of L.A.”

Megan Hurwitt, the “Young Urban Prepper,” Houston, Texas
“I’m prepping to survive a catastrophic oil crisis.”

David Sarti, the “Hillbilly Prepper,” outside of Nashville, Tennessee
“I’m prepping to survive an EMP detonation that will wipe out our nation’s transportation system.”

Kellene (and Scott) Bishop, the “Gourmet Prepper,” Orem, Utah
“I’m prepping for a collapse of our financial system that will mean the end of the world as we know it.”

Kathy (and Bruce) Harrison, the “Doris Day of Doom,” somewhere in New England
“I’m preparing for a black swan event like a catastrophic New Madrid earthquake.”

Dennis Evers, the “Godfather Prepper,” rural Colorado
“I’m prepping to protect my family against global chaos caused by hyperinflation.”

Watching these first two episodes of the new television series, I thought back to something I wrote last year regarding the 2011 pilot:

Watching Doomsday Preppers, one soon realizes that the use of the term “doomsday preppers” is somewhat misleading. None of these families indicated they believe the end of the word is at hand. Instead, they plan and prepare for anticipated large-scale, near-term disasters, natural (CME) and man-made (EMP strike, financial crash). This use of “doomsday” reminds me of the situation with Apocalypse PA, in which I suspected having “apocalypse” in the title was merely a marketing ploy.

And which worked, in my case.

That same situation applies here. None of these seven prepper individuals/groups believes the actual end of the world is at hand- or at least it wasn’t said on camera. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of prepping? Their reasons for preparing are best illustrated in quotes attributed to them on the Nat Geo Channel website and which I listed above.

I also picked-on something else from the pilot. I wrote back on August 3 last year:

My only beef with the National Geographic Channel in Doomsday Preppers was their not identifying who their prepper “expert” was. I run across a lot of “experts” in my research, and it’s highly-debatable whether a good number of these individuals are deserving of such a title.

This time around, Nat Geo did identify those conducting the assessments of the preppers. Who are they? In the original pilot, one of the groups assessed were the Kobler and Hunt families out of South Carolina, who formed a prepper community in anticipation of a global economic collapse. I wrote last year:

And David Kobler and Scott Hunt not only have their own YouTube channels, southernprepper1 and engineer775 respectively, but are also prepping consultants, heading up Practical Preppers LLC, “Providing tactical and technical solutions for all your prepping needs.”

The experts assessing the preppers in the new series? Practical Preppers. From their website:

National Geographic Project

Practical Prepper’s Scott Hunt and David Kobler were featured on the pilot episode of “Doomsday Preppers”, on the National Geographic Channel.

Then, they were asked to be the experts for 10 episodes of that series on prepping.

Four to six families are profiled on each show. After each family’s segment, the experts — Practical Preppers — evaluate the family’s level of preparedness, on several different scales. They also suggest approaches for improving their plan.

Congratulations Practical Preppers LLC on the sweet gig.

Some other thoughts about the new Doomsday Preppers TV series include:

Operational Security, or OPSEC- Obviously, I wasn’t the only individual contacted about casting for the new series. Others blogged about it last year, and one of the concerns brought up was the violation of operational security, or OPSEC, by appearing in such a production. The thought being, once the show airs, the “world” now knows you are sitting on valuable equipment and supplies, and should the poop hit the fan, you will find plenty of people, both good and bad, at your doorstep. Even without a major crisis, you may have unwillingly set yourself up as an attractive target for thieves. I was surprised that one prepper went so far as to reveal that the cost of her and her husband’s preps amounted to six-figures. Shhhh!

Firearms- Which brings me to my next thought, which is about guns. One prepper said in episode 2:

It’s easy to feel a little left out of the prepper community if you live in New England and if you’re not fairly right-wing and conservative politically. But I just don’t spend my time worrying about storing guns and ammunition. Because our security comes not from stockpiling weapons but from having a community that respects each other, supports each other, and we have each other’s backs.

While the right of the law-abiding individual to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the Second Amendment, I understand that owning a gun may not be right for everyone. However, keep in mind that in a SHTF situation, there are individuals/groups this prepper and her community could very well come into contact with who have come out and said (future post) they don’t bother stockpiling food, water, and other supplies because they intend to take these items away from others under threat of force (guns). Firearms are without a doubt one of the most effective tools for self-defense, and with the proper training and tactics, our prepper and her beloved community might actually have a chance of keeping their preps safe against these roving bands of human parasites.

“The Odds”- At the end of episode 1 and each section of episode 2 (refinement is often a good thing), there’s a part of the show called “The Odds” in which the likelihood of a particular prepper’s overriding concern (earthquake flattening Los Angeles, for example) is addressed. At the end of Kellene and Scott Bishop’s segment, viewers are told:

What are the odds of a financial collapse actually occurring? While hyperinflation and severe depressions have occurred in major economies in the past, most economists do not believe the United States is currently at risk.

At the end of Dennis Evers’ segment? We’re informed, once again:

What are the odds of hyperinflation actually occurring? While hyperinflation and severe depressions have occurred in major economies in the past, most economists do not believe the United States is currently at risk.

Then again, most economists didn’t see the 2008 global financial crisis coming. And the housing bubble. And the the dot-com bubble. The list goes on. And on.

In fact, quite a few economists and other financial-types who correctly-called the 2008 event now warn of a coming hyperinflation, severe depression, and a financial collapse. Not too surprisingly, those who didn’t spot the crisis three-and-a-half years ago are the ones claiming the U.S. economy is on a sustainable path to recovery. Who’s got the street cred here?

So does all this mean I didn’t like the first two episodes of the new Doomsday Preppers TV series? Actually, I’m rather kind of impressed. The production company could have taken the easy way out and cast some of the more eccentric members of the prepping community to attract an audience through shock value. Instead, the preppers introduced in these episodes didn’t seem much different than people I’d run into on the street in 2012. Then again, I’m from Chicago, soooo… All kidding aside, I do like the show. I especially liked how a number of themes emphasized in the prepper community- skill development, innovation, redundancy- made it into the first two installments. At times I found myself jotting down ideas gleaned from the show. Overall, I found the new Doomsday Preppers TV series interesting, informative, and even humorous at times. The production company succeeded in taking what is a scary subject for many and making it more palatable for the masses- without diluting the more serious aspects of the show.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers will be on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. From the Practical Preppers’ website, it looks like viewers can expect at least 10 episodes in this new series. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel site here.

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