preppers

On TV: American Blackout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“American Blackout”
YouTube Video

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

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

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

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

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

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What Effect Have (Post-) Apocalyptic-Themed TV Shows And Films Had On The Prepping Movement?

“i friggin LOVE “doomsday preppers”!”

-Milla Jovovich, American model and actress of Resident Evil-fame, Facebook post, November 24, 2012

Back in February 2012, the Daily Mail (UK) reported that “as many as three million Americans now fall into the category dubbed ‘preppers’- people who are making detailed plans for the end of the world as we know it.”

(Editor’s note: Most mainstream media outlets drop that “as we know it” bit out, which is a shame as there’s an important distinction to be made between preparing for the “end of the world as we know it” as opposed to the actual “end of the world” where such activity may be thought of as futile. Kudos to the the British publication for keeping this scenario “intact.”)

That the ranks of individuals taking up preparedness have grown significantly in the last couple of years while (post-) apocalyptic-themed television shows and big screen productions simultaneously exploded in popularity is probably not coincidence. As a matter of fact, it’s something the National Geographic Channel, as part of an upcoming “Blog Carnival,” is currently exploring. The American cable and satellite television channel wants to know what effect these TV shows and films have had on the prepping movement.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a strong correlation between the two. As more shows and movies of the (post-) apocalyptic genre were aired/released for public viewing, I can’t help but suspect increasing numbers of Americans bought into the idea of prepping.

I have a feeling the seed for prepping was already planted before watching such shows and films in many cases. Scientific and technological advancements in the Information Age have increased Americans’ knowledge of potential man-made and natural disasters beyond events fresh in the mind of many such as 9/11, 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, the Panic of ’08, 2012′s Hurricane Sandy, and April’s Boston Marathon Bombings. Viewing such productions on a TV in the family room or at a local movie theater might have made such threats feel closer to home, thereby prompting action.

So the TV shows and films may have served as some sort of prepping recruitment vehicle. Yet at the same time, the preppers portrayed in such media have more often than not been of the extreme sort. These individuals probably aren’t a good representative of your typical prepper, if only because there are many different kinds of preppers out there.

Not surprisingly, I’ve noticed a number of production companies and cable/satellite television channels have come under fire because of the way preppers are portrayed. I can understand why this is, as some believe such depictions only serve to fuel ridicule and potential persecution of preppers by a number of parties including the mainstream media and the government. However, keep in mind that cable/satellite television channels and production companies are part of the entertainment industry, where these extreme prepper types can be quite entertaining to watch (cha-ching!). Those behind the ridiculing and potential persecution of American citizens for merely fulfilling the federal government’s recommendations as it concerns household emergency preparedness should keep this in mind as well.

At the end of the day, it must be pointed out that preppers actually perform a major public service in the event of a community/regional/national emergency. That’s right. Think about it. Preppers strive to be able to take care of themselves, family, friends, and even neighbors in many cases in the event of a real crisis. That’s one less person or group of people public safety agencies need to attend to in a significant emergency, where resources are typically stretched thin already. Because preppers can assume this “sheepdog” role, police, fire, and other groups can focus their limited amount of resources on others (more often than not, those who didn’t prepare).

One might even argue here it should be the civic duty of Americans to prep if they can.

Imagine if every American household had a couple of weeks of emergency food, water, and other supplies socked away in case of emergency. The next time a man-made or natural disaster reared its ugly head, think how much smoother the emergency response might be, especially when compared to those recent events I listed earlier.

Returning to the National Geographic Channel’s question as to what effect (post-) apocalyptic-themed TV shows and films have had on prepping, despite often portraying more extreme prepper types (it’s just show business!), it’s my belief such productions have increased the ranks of preppers in the United States, thereby assisting public safety agencies across the United States in the event of a real disaster as preppers should be able to take care of themselves and a number of other individuals in many cases, freeing up limited resources to be applied elsewhere in the emergency response.

Thank you for doing this preppers!

And production companies and cable/satellite TV channels like the National Geographic Channel- go ahead and give yourselves a nice pat on the back as well.

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

Source:

Brady, Tara. “Fill the pool with fish and stockpile the guns: Up to THREE MILLION ‘Preppers’ in the U.S. are prepared for for the end of the world.” Daily Mail. 11 Feb. 2012. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099714/Meet-preppers-Up-3-MILLION-people-preparing-end-world-know-it.html). 20 Oct. 2013.

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September 11 ‘Million Muslim March’ Inviting ‘False Flag’ Operation?

“False flag” events. Covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations which are designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities.

Something many Americans readily dismiss as existing within the realm of conspiracy.

Yet history is full of such incidents.

Tomorrow is the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. And it’s also the day the “Million Muslim March” is scheduled to take place in the streets of the nation’s capital. From the American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) website:

“MAMAF – Million American March Against Fear” Join AMPAC on a Historic Moment on 9/11/13 for Establishing the Humanity and Justice through Civil Rights Movement

AMPAC National News: Washington DC, Feb 2013

Brothers and Sisters In The Struggle For Peace and Justice,

On September 11th, will you stand in peace with us?

Event: MAMAF – Million American March Against Fear on 9/11/13

AMPAC – The American Muslim Political Action Committee AMPAC in cooperation and solidarity with MANDAA – Movement Against the National Defense Authorization Act, NDPAAC – National Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, NYDPAAC – New York Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, NABAB – North American Bangladeshi Association for Bangladesh, MDPAAC – Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, CLA – Community Leadership Affairs, SACC – South Asian Chamber of Commerce, Mosque Care, DC Area 9/11 Truth Movement ,A&E – Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement, MMAT – Muslim Marching Against Terrorism, MD Rabbi Alam – the Founder of AMPAC, Richard Gage – the Founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement, Dr. Kevin Barrett – the National Spokesperson for Muslim Think Tank, and The March Against Drones (MAD) will be gathering on the National Mall, and then launching a march on the halls of power.

We invite you to stand with and join us to Rally Against Fear at 12 noon on The National Mall, then the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House, to hold truth to power at the three major branches of American government.

We ask all individuals and organizations working for peace to attend this collective action to tell our Government leaders we want transparency and policies of peace. In the past 12 years since 9/11 the United States government as failed to protect and promote Constitutional liberties and human life, here and abroad. We feel that accountability in government has been ignored and the time has arrived to collectively speak truth to power.

Speaking will be experts and individuals on the lack of transparency and questions plaguing 9/11, steady erosion of domestic civil liberties, drone policy and the very dire effect of these on of plight of American Muslims here at home, and Muslim communities globally in the scope of U.S. imperialism, and the modern face of resistance to unmanned aerial surveillance and warfare.

At 2:00 pm we will embark from the Rally Against Fear, and onto the March Against Drones. The march will go from the rally point between 7th and 14th Streets on the National Mall to the Capitol building, around the Capitol, and onto the street between the Supreme Court and Congress. We will rally there, in the streets, for about 15 minutes, and then we will continue. We will take Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue and down to the White House, where we will rally again in the street between Lafayette Park and the North Lawn.

This will be a professional, positive, and proactive event for the whole family, as we expect very soon for the National Park Service to grant us the permit we requested. At 2:00 pm we will embark from the Rally Against Fear, and onto the March Against Drones. The march will go from the rally point between 7th and 14th Streets on the National Mall to the Capitol building, around the Capitol, and onto the street between the Supreme Court and Congress. We will rally there, in the streets, for about 15 minutes, and then we will continue. We will take Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue and down to the White House, where we will rally again in the street between Lafayette Park and the North Lawn.

We will have water available for anyone that needs it, we know it is a healthy march, but we feel it will call due attention to the issues at hand, and that it is worth the challenge. We hope you do too, and we sincerely hope you bring your good energy, your friends and family as well, and you stand up and speak out with us. Love, light, and solidarity to you!

I know that the official name of the event is the “Million American March Against Fear,” or MAMAF. But it really began as the “Million Muslim March.” Dr. Kevin Barrett wrote on the PressTV.com website back on January 31, 2013:

AMPAC will be forcefully announcing its presence with a “Million Muslim March” on the White House on September 11, 2013. The goal, announced at AMPAC’s press conference in New York:

“We at AMPAC (American Muslim Political Action Committee) are planning a historic event for 9/11/13. One million Muslims will march to Washington D.C. and demand that our civil rights be protected by our government. We are demanding that laws be enacted protecting our First Amendment rights. We are asking President Obama to fulfill his promise from his first campaign for the Presidency of a transparent government. Lastly we are asking for the establishment of a real 9/11 Commission to reveal the truth to the American people.”

Anyway, while a Muslim-focused march scheduled to take place on the anniversary of a day where 19 Muslim extremists murdered 2,996 people is not surprisingly thought of by a number of Americans as being in bad taste, I respect the marchers’ right to free speech and hope it goes off without any harm to participants.

There may be more to Wednesday’s event though that meets the eye. You see, there’s a part of me that thinks such an occasion is ripe for a possible “false flag” operation being conducted in conjunction with it.

How so?

Well, if some group of Muslim extremists wants to get moderate Muslims on-board with their platform (example: force out U.S./Western interests from the Middle East), they might carry out an attack on the event and hope the blame falls on anti-Muslim Americans and the U.S. government (criticized for the massive failure in public safety).

Or if some group desires more American involvement in the Middle East (particular Israeli entities), they might carry out a “false flag” attack on the march, anticipating retaliatory activity by Muslim extremists and a subsequent U.S. response to that.

Another scenario, perhaps somewhat “out there,” would be an entity attacking the march in hopes certain groups in America today- Tea Partiers, libertarians, militias, even preppers and survivalists- get blamed and subsequently feel the heat from the federal government.

I have to stress this point again- I wish no harm comes to those participating in the Million American March Against Fear tomorrow. But I guess I’m the one who has the “Fear,” fear that the event presents ideal conditions for a “false flag” event to take place.

And if the “Million Muslim March” takes place without incident- fantastic. But my fear will remain a similar opportunity arises in which a “false flag” operation can be carried out.

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

Source:

Barrett, Kevin. “Muslims to march on White House next September 11th.” PressTV.com. 31 Jan. 2013. (http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/01/31/286487/million-muslim-march-on-white-house/). 10 Sep. 2013.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Whatever It Takes’ Review

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

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

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

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

Part 1: Prepper “rite of passage”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two is one and one is none.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those 10 “Cs” are:

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

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

Two things stood out for me in this segment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2: Doomsday academy

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

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

Brian explained:

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

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

Their curriculum is customized for doomsday.

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

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

According to the show:

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

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

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

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

From the episode:

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

Brian Moffatt confided:

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

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

My mother says that our prepping is a negative influence on our 8-year-old son. But I say it’s a positive influence on my son. Reality is what reality is. And the sooner that we face reality, the sooner that we’re going to be able to do something about it. I don’t want to lose anybody in our family. I don’t want people in my family to be hungry. I don’t want people in my family to be discomforted or in pain. And so I’m taking these steps beforehand, to see to it that that doesn’t happen to us.

Part 3: The “Odd Couple” preppers

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

We are preparing for World War 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the show’s web page on the National Geographic Channel site here.

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

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Celebrate National Preparedness Month: ‘You Can Be the Hero’

This September marks the ninth year that National Preparedness Month, hosted by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, is “celebrated” here in the United States. From President Barack Obama before the holiday weekend:

NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH, 2013

- – - – - – -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Time and again, America faces crises that test our readiness and challenge our resolve — from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods to shootings, cyber incidents, and even acts of terrorism. While my Administration is working tirelessly to avert national tragedies, it is every American’s responsibility to be prepared. By planning for emergencies, individuals can protect themselves and their families while also contributing to their communities’ resilience. During National Preparedness Month, we refocus our efforts on readying ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, and our Nation for any crisis we may face.

My Administration is committed to preparing our country for the full range of threats. In the face of an emergency, we will continue to cut through red tape and bolster coordination. At my direction, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will launch a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness with private sector, non-profit, and community leaders and all levels of government. The campaign will be based on science, research and development, public outreach, and broad participation. It will aim to inspire Americans of all ages to increase their preparedness by moving from awareness to action.

Over this past year, ordinary Americans have stepped up in moments of trial and tragedy to perform real acts of heroism. Despite the brave actions of first responders across America, neighbors and friends are often the first on the scene after an emergency, and circumstances can call anyone to become a hero. This year’s National Preparedness Month theme, “You Can Be the Hero,” asks all Americans to ready themselves to assist in case of emergency. Anyone can improve their preparedness by making or reviewing emergency plans with their family and by building a disaster kit with food, water, and essential supplies. Visit www.Ready.gov or www.Listo.gov to see which types of disasters are most likely for your area and learn more about what you can do to prepare.

This month, as we reflect on challenges to our communities, regions, and our Nation, we continue to lend our support to recovery efforts, and we honor our first responders by doing our part to build a more resilient America.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2013 as National Preparedness Month. I encourage all Americans to recognize the importance of preparedness and work together to enhance our national security, resilience, and readiness.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

In my opinion, being prepared for emergencies and man-made/natural disasters should be part of one’s civic duty.

In the event of a significant crisis, being able to take care of one’s self, loved ones, and neighbors means public safety agencies can focus their limited resources on more urgent areas.

Preppers. Survivalists. Americans who, whether they intend to or not, benefit the larger community in a real jam by their hard work towards being self-sufficient.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My thoughts about “A Stone From the Sling”:

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

Brent Sr. said:

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

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

Trebuchet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to “reality” TV.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The oldest son remarked:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Doomsday Trebuchet”
YouTube Video

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

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

It took a while, but I finally got around to watching season 3, episode 2, of Doomsday Preppers- “The Gates of Hell.” From the National Geographic Channel website:

An economic collapse could mean total chaos for the U.S. — looting, riots and civil unrest are top concerns. In Washington state, Steve works with a stern hand to prep his family for the potential threat. South Carolinian David Appleton is a comedian, but the idea of a devastating earthquake is no joke to him. His job doesn’t always pay the bills, so David must Dumpster dive to find supplies to make a DIY camouflage net to hide his preps.

Once again, there was more to the episode that aired last week than just the segments on Steve H. and David Appleton. The show also introduced Suzanne Strisower living out in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

My thoughts about “The Gates of Hell”:

Part 1: The heavily-defended bug-out location

Season 3, episode 2, of Doomsday Preppers opened with a segment about “Steve H.,” who told viewers:

I’m preparing my family for the imminent collapse of the United States economy.

According to the show:

Steve H. a contractor in Washington state, fears that economic collapse will encourage widespread riots and looting, and that his home, in an easily-accessible neighborhood, could become a target.

While Steve, his wife Kim, and sons Nick and Steven James work on their preps every week, most of their efforts are directed towards their bug-out location, a cabin 50 miles away in the mountains and where the family heads to on weekends.

The BOL and the preparations that have gone into constructing it are impressive, not the least of which is a concrete bunker that houses supplies.

Steve, along with friends Nolan and Dylan, have also put a lot of thought and effort into making the cabin highly-defensible. The prepper group is heavily-armed, utilizing even binary explosives to protect against intruders making their way up the only road to the cabin.

For those readers not familiar with binary explosives, according to the BATFE website:

Binary explosives are pre-packaged products consisting of two separate components, usually an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal.

The remainder of the segment showed what an attack on the mountain hideaway (not really, as it looks to be right off a paved road) might look like. Those into big guns (.50 caliber) and even bigger explosions (those binary explosives were put into action) probably enjoyed this part a lot. I know I did.

Two things stood out in this segment for me. First, I’ve heard/read concerns about youngsters participating in preparedness activities (usually, it relates to firearms). So has Steve, who has little man Steven James involved in the family’s prepping. Dad had this to say:

My mother says that our prepping is a negative influence on our 8-year-old son. But I say it’s a positive influence on my son. Reality is what reality is. And the sooner that we face reality, the sooner that we’re going to be able to do something about it. I don’t want to lose anybody in our family. I don’t people in my family to be hungry. I don’t want people in my family to be discomforted or in pain. And so I’m taking these steps beforehand, to see to it that that doesn’t happen to us.

Second, Practical Preppers awarded Steve and the group 79 points out of 100 points for their efforts. Instead of disputing the assessment- which happens quite a bit- Steve was incredibly open-minded about the whole thing. Steve confided with viewers:

I think the assessment is spot on. Especially about the security. There’s a lot of things that we can do that would be better. And I think that I’m going to seek some training.

Good for him.

Part 2: The dumpster-diving prepper

In the second segment, viewers met David Appleton, a professional comedian out of Charleston, South Carolina. Appleton explained:

I’m actually preparing for a catastrophic earthquake to hit Charleston, South Carolina.

“Apples,” as David is known on the comedy circuit, added:

I’m prepping for an earthquake because it’s happened in the past.

The show went on to confirm that it has- and in a big way.

It’s revealed David and his wife, Lauren, have 72 hours of preps set aside at their home, then they plan on bugging out in the event of a longer-term emergency.

Appleton is a also a self-admitted dumpster-diver. And using his scavenging skills, he’s been able to acquire materials that allow him to construct items like a multi-purpose rickshaw made out of PVC pipes. During the show, he demonstrated how to make camouflage netting out of what looked to be a discarded painter’s drop cloth, wire mesh, and various cans of spray paint.

The finished product looked like it might be pretty functional for its intended use.

Those who desire camouflage for their bug-out vehicles (especially trucks) but who don’t want to spend much money for it- take note.

Not all of the couple’s preps are scavenged. He’s acquired an old Army truck for a BOV and an old pontoon boat from his parents (shown with outboard engine). In the event David and Lauren ever have to get off the island where they live (only three earthquake-vulnerable bridges connect them to and from the mainland), they plan on trailering the boat and driving it down to the waterfront to escape. David was even shown fabricating and installing a rain catchment system onto the boat should they need to collect fresh water while on the “high seas.”

Part 3: Lifestyle prepping

In the final segment of “The Gates of Hell,” viewers were introduced to yet another pacifist from California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains- Suzanne Strisower- and her partner Dave. The couple reside on 30 acres there.

Strisower told viewers:

When the economy collapses, I’ll barter everything I have to survive and thrive.

She added:

The United States is not going to be the global standard for the currency anymore. I think we’re going for sure have some kind of currency collapse, where money is not going to be worth what it used to be worth. And I think it’s going to get worse. I tell everybody- listen, you need to have a plan. You need to know what you’re going to do if something comes down. So, it’s about mindfulness. It’s about preparation. It’s not about fear. That’s why I really advocate for people to be lifestyle preppers- not doomsday preppers.

The couple plans to survive TEOTWAWKI through bartering. From the show:

Suzanne’s lifestyle plan for an economic collapse is to turn her mountain retreat into a giant doomsday swap meet. All her resources will be alternate currency she’ll use to barter and trade for whatever she needs.

Strisower is a gifted barterer. She is shown putting this skill to work in order to acquire a dehydrator.

Recognizing the need for being able to protect themselves, the pacifist was shown visiting Surplus City, a local military surplus store, and talking to Robert Pratt there about what might best-suit them. Since lethal weapons are out of the question, Pratt suggested a stun gun. Strisower didn’t like the fact that it would require her to get close to an attacker to be able to use it.

Pratt came up with a different option for her- a paintball gun.

Used correctly, paintball guns can inflict a lot of pain on an aggressor some distance out. Strisower asked Pratt to come up to the couple’s place to demonstrate the gun, she tried it out, and was subsequently impressed.

Needless to say, viewers shouldn’t have been surprised when Practical Preppers only awarded her 3 out of a possible 20 points in the “Security” category of the assessment. Oh well. As Pratt said earlier in the segment:

I get it. You don’t want to have to hurt somebody. You don’t want to have to do it. But to me, you have to be willing to accept it. Willing to go with the fact that- I might have to.

Overall, a good episode.

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the show’s web page on the National Geographic Channel site here.

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

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Doomsday Garage Update

Last week I blogged about Doomsday Garage, “Suburban Commando,” that aired on the cable/satellite TV channel Country Music Television.

Curious to see if the half-hour show was just a one-off, a pilot, or the premiere episode of a new series, I headed over to the CMT website where this was posted:

This show is not playing on CMT during the next 7 days.

Oh well. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with Doomsday Garage (my recommendations- maximum info, minimal drama, pop-ups if keeping half-hour format).

In the meantime, I came across a really interesting article last week about the Garage crew. Kristi Turnquist wrote on The Oregonian website on August 20:

Starting a side business that helps people prepare for the worst may turn out to be one of the best decisions Jeff and Zach Aylesworth ever made.

The Longview, Wash., father-son duo have spent the last decade operating The Toy Store, a business specializing in vehicle restoration, accessories, customization and other services.

But not too long ago, Zach got the idea to add an offshoot business to The Toy Store. With BugOutTruck.com, the Aylesworths focused on building “bug out” vehicles, which as the website says, are “designed and outfitted specifically to help you survive … Whether you’re single or have a family of five, whether you need to escape from (the) metropolis or cross the tundra we have your answer. If you can dream it, we can build it.”

I headed over to BugOutTruck.com to take a peek at the site. Info about the business, the guys, a web-based store- good stuff. Even a blog, where in a May 16 post they talked about Glen Tate and “The Team” of 299 Days-fame. I’ve read a couple of Tate’s books- they’re really good. And here’s what Tate had to say about BugOutTruck- whom he’d worked with- over at his blog:

BugOutTruck.com kicks ass

Mind you, that’s just the title of one of his posts (February 10). But it sure says a lot, don’t you think?

Tate noted:

The other cool thing about the BugOutTruck.com guys is that they’re preppers. They aren’t just doing this to make money; they enjoy helping people make it through what’s coming.

Very cool indeed.

You can read Turnquist’s entire article on The Oregonian website here.

And to read Tate’s post about BugOutTruck.com, go to his blog here.

Here’s hoping we hear good news soon about Doomsday Garage. As in TV series-good.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 66

I don’t care what Uncle Sam says- costs seem to keep rising almost everywhere I look.

For those just beginning to prep, the price of gear and supplies these days are probably pretty daunting.

To conserve funds, many preppers/survivalists might want to take a “needs versus wants” approach to acquiring these things.

Thankfully, there are plenty of businesses around in 2013 to cater to them for necessities.

And with over 3 million preppers/survivalists in the United States, there’s billions of dollars to be made.

John C. Ogg wrote on the website of New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St. earlier this week:

Whether they prepare for long or short-term emergencies, at the very least survivalists plan to have the basic necessities: food, clothing and shelter. Many prepare for much more than the basics with self-defense and security measures, power systems, water filtration, communications and bunkers. Given their numbers and their willingness to spend money, catering to doomsday preppers has become a multibillion dollar business. Regardless of which item is being considered, each $1,000 of expenses for just 1 million people comes to $1 billion.

Ogg went on to identify “the industries making the most money on doomsday preppers.”

Prepping. Not only does it benefit you and your loved ones- but American businesses as well.

You can read the rest of the insightful piece on the 24/7 Wall St. website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Garage ‘Suburban Commando’ Review

Remember when I blogged the other day about a new “doomsday”-themed TV show on the cable/satellite channel Country Music Television?

Well, I got the chance to watch the premier episode of Doomsday Garage this afternoon.

Here’s a short summary of what went on in “Suburban Commando”:

The show started off with the following intro:

When all Hell breaks lose, people need to defend themselves and get out of harm’s way. A bunker isn’t going to cut it. It’s just an underground death trap. You’ve got to stay mobile. That’s where we come in. My son and I build custom vehicles called bug-out trucks. Whether it’s a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or a government takeover, you need to be tougher than the danger ahead. We build bug-out trucks, so regular Joes can protect themselves and their families. We’re the best in the business, because we live by only one rule:

When danger strikes, you’ve got to strike back.

Viewers were introduced to the following garage personnel (in order of appearance):

-Jeff (Aylesworth): Owner, The Toy Store, Longview, Washington
-Zach (Aylesworth): Jeff’s son and tasked with vehicle design
-Aaron: Fabricator
-Marion: Fabricator
-Mike: Weapons expert

In this episode, the client was Ryan, a prepper. Ryan lives with his wife Tina and three boys in the suburbs, and explained to viewers:

My fear is economic collapse, and the anarchy that would ensue, leaving a wasteland of desperate people doing desperate things.

I need a bug-out truck that would get my family and I to safety. I’m doing what every good husband and father should do.

Should Ryan and his young family ever have to “bug out,” they’d have to traverse some real difficult terrain by the sounds of it.

And besides needing to have the ability to go off-road, Ryan’s discussion with Jeff and Zach revealed their “survival truck” required weapons and a quad (all-terrain vehicle).

Regarding weaponry, Ryan insisted:

Big, right? We need to make that statement. We need to make sure that people know it’s about business.

This I had to see.

This first part of Doomsday Garage really reminded me of the beginning of Doomsday Bunkers.

Having the information they need from the client interview, the garage went to work.

Due to the size of the family and requirements , Jeff and Zach selected an older but in good shape Chevy Suburban for their vehicle platform (cost $4,000).

Thousands of dollars more were poured into the project with the following “improvements”:

-Full body exoskeleton (exterior roll cage) for protection and strength
-Roof rack for supplies, quad ramps
-Small drone for reconnaissance
-Four-wheeled ATV
-Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun (selected by Zach with Mike’s help)
-Paint job (all black truck, yellow cage)

It’s a sweet-looking bug-out vehicle, that’s all I can say.

Ryan and Tina seemed to think so too, and the last part of the “Suburban Commando” showed the couple putting their BOV through the paces with the help of Mike and the garage.

By the time Tina chewed up and detonated a junked car with her “Ma Deuce,” it became all too clear that not only did their customized Chevy Suburban look the part of a survival truck, but played it as well.

So what did I think about the premiere episode of Doomsday Garage?

I liked it. The premiere episode offered a little bit of everything for the prepper/survivalist, the gearhead, the off-roading enthusiast, the gun “nut,” and the “reality” TV fan.

Jeff, Zach, and the rest of cast are likeable too.

As I mentioned earlier, the format reminded me of Doomsday Bunkers quite a bit (which is funny considering the intro flamed underground shelters), where Deep Earth Bunker would meet with clients, talk to them about their needs, go about fabricating the customized underground shelter, and bring the clients to where their bunker was being fabricated.

Also, like I’ve said before with other prepper/survivalist-themed TV productions, I’m big on education/information with as little as possible “reality” TV. While I would have preferred more info on the various aspects of the setup and project (you can’t just buy an M2 machine gun at the local gun shop), the production company behind Doomsday Garage thankfully kept the reality stuff to a minimum (Aaron breaking the die on the pipe bender was the only instance of drama I can remember).

Come to think of it, there wasn’t much to dislike about the show at all. The only thing I really had a beef with was the episode being only a half-hour long. With such a time constraint, a lot of material can only be glossed-over. If that’s all the time Doomsday Garage will have to work with down the road, perhaps pop-ups can be utilized to share more information with viewers.

While Doomsday Garage looks set up to be an ongoing TV series, I couldn’t find anything on the Country Music Television website that indicates it will be.

Here’s hoping it is.

For more information about the show, visit the CMT website here.

And if you don’t have cable/satellite and CMT, don’t fret though, because CMT has uploaded the entire episode on their website here. Enjoy!

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

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Survival Warehouse Ranch Survival Community

Speaking of Doomsday Preppers, while I haven’t watched “The Gates of Hell” yet, I saw something that caught my eye in last week’s episode “Don’t Betray the Colony” that I thought was worth sharing with readers.

From time to time, I would see “Suvival Warehouse” emblazoned on things around Jeff Mann’s ranch-turned-preper “colony” in central Florida. For example, the shipping containers in which the colony’ residents would reside had these words on them. So I decided to query “Survival Warehouse” on an Internet search engine, and it turns out Survival Warehouse is a vendor of “earthquake, disaster and emergency preparedness products. The company “specializes in Dehydrated Food, Emergency Supply Food, Military MRE & MRE Meals and Survival Kits as well as various Freeze Dried Food and Freeze Dried Survival Food,” and has been doing business since 1993.

But here’s something else I found. Along their website’s sidebar is a link to something called the “Survival Warehouse Ranch.” According to the Survival Warehouse site:

Survival Warehouse Ranch is a survival community of like minded individuals on a 22 acre secured Central Florida ranch. Are you interested in preparing for a US societal collapse, natural disaster, or other problem that will make law and order a thing of the past? It can be overwhelming when you look at the cost and complexity of planning? So, you have been prepping at home? Large gangs of thugs will be going door to door collecting everything you have put together if your not in a secured community of other preppers. Are you a prepper looking for a group of like-minded individuals to bug out with? Do you want access to a fully secured and stocked retreat location but don’t have one of your own? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we may have a spot for you at the Survival Warehouse Ranch. We offer space and membership in our community for $150,000.

Let us do the planning for you and when the time comes, you’ll have a comfortable, well-prepared beautiful community to retreat to. Our 22-acre Central Florida prepare community is secure, and fully sustainable. We are assembling a community of like-minded individuals who wish to take advantage of thestrength in numbers principle to assure safety and long-term self-sufficiency in the event of a societal collapse. We are using 40′ high top containers as a secure base for this community. Each family has their own locked and secure container. The containers can be finished like a custom home or any way you prefer. We have eleven (11) containers on site now. We will consider the community filled at 40 containers. The ranch has two 4″ well going direct into spring water some 350′ down. Several modern large secure barns. On site caretakers and employees on the ranch 7-days a week. It is a beautiful safe haven in Central Florida filled with deer, emu, chickens, and more.

We believe that groups of well-prepared, well-informed survivalists will stand the best chance of long term survival in the event of a major societal collapse. When the SHTF you’ll want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals with a diverse range of skills and abilities – people to care for livestock, tend to the ill, protect and defend the area, growing the fresh foods, etc. Our growing community of survivalist and preparedness specialists (including doctors, police, former military, pilots, animal husbandry professionals, food preservation specialists, etc.) will ensure the health, well-being, and safety of our community members, resources, and assets.

In addition to our the highly trained community members and spacious, secure location we also offer a literal warehouse worth of survival supplies to guarantee long term self sufficient living for at least 50 people. We have 4 years worth of freeze-dried food in addition to reproducing livestock (including cattle, goats, chickens, fallow deer, and emu), an several heirloom seed kits to ensure fresh and adequate food for everyone. Our ranch features two 4″ deep wells, a rainwater collection system, as well as access to a lake and ponds in addition to 1,000 gallons of stored fresh water. We have all the necessary fresh and saltwater filtration systems to purify an unlimited amount of water.

For the safety and security of community members we are heavily armed and have more than 800,000 rounds of ammo. Our unique community includes trained tactical and weapons specialists as well as patrol dogs. We are equipped with radiation detection devices, night vision equipment, security systems, back-up generators and stored fuel, medical supplies, Segway’s, and communication radios for your protection and comfort. In addition, our small town has a standing emergency group of around 30 members. This group is almost all X-Law Enforcement, and X-Military and work directly with us. Your family will be safe & happy here. All Members of our community also buy survival foods and survival supplies at very big discounts. This alone will re-cover a lot of your membership cost.

A societal collapse, natural disaster, or one of many other disasters is a very real possibility and being prepared is essential but preparations don’t have to be scary and overwhelming. By securing your spot in our Survival Warehouse Ranch Community you’re assuring your families safety and well-being without all the stress and insecurity of planning and going it alone. Why not sit back, relax, and enjoy your pre-collapse life and let us do all the planning for you? Give Jeff Mann a call at 407-349-2525 today!

For those who can pony up the $150K, don’t want to be bothered with the hassle of preparing for a TEOTWAWKI scenario, and don’t relish the idea of living below-ground for an extended period of time- this setup might be worth exploring.

You can find out more about the Survival Warehouse Ranch on the Survival Warehouse website here.

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

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On TV: Doomsday Garage

In the beginning, it was Doomsday Preppers. Then Doomsday Bunkers. Followed by Doomsday Castle.

Now, there’s Doomsday Garage to add to the prepper/survivalist-themed television lineup, which premieres tonight, August 21, at 9:30 PM ET/PT on CMT.

From the CMT channel website:

Father and son team Jeff and Zach are the go-to guys for rides that can do a lot more than just off-roading. They are the leading builders of doomsday vehicles — cars, trucks, buses and boats that are built for survival against all elements and extended escape from civilization. When the end of the world is at your door step, you don’t want to be holed up in a bunker. You need to go mobile. Jeff and Zach take run-of-the-mill vehicles — be it a standard jeep, old school bus or mobile home — and turn them into all-out survival machines, stocked and outfitted with anything and everything you might need in the event of a natural disaster, terror attack, financial collapse — or just a wild weekend in the wilderness. With a crack team of automotive experts, Zach and Jeff can build everything from a luxury RV to an armored tank, depending on your doomsday budget. Protective cages, backup batteries, rifle mounts, even a compartment for the family pet. When you need to get out of dodge — and stay there — these are the guys to call.


“Doomsday Garage 101 Extras: Wake Up ”
CMT Video

Surprisingly, Doomsday Garage has some Chicago connections. Steve Johnson reported this morning on the Chicago Tribune website:

Wednesday’s premiere, 8:30 p.m. on CMT, part of the network’s “Bike Week” promotion, features a self-described “prepper” who wants a car that will protect his family during the societal meltdown for which he is preparing. The pretty intimidating result involves a modified GMC Suburban and a machine gun.

The show itself is constructed by executive producer Jason Morgan, a veteran reality TV producer who recently moved back to Naperville and is doing post-production on the series using Chicago facilities and talent.

I’m not a gearhead, but I do like cars/trucks and learning about them. So much so that I was all set to enroll in an automobile repair 101 class at the local community college this fall until I realized last week that with all the work still needing to be done around the new house, I’ll have to wait until spring to take the class (here’s hoping they offer it that semester).

Anyway, Doomsday Garage- sounds kind of cool. Even more so if you’re interested in vehicles and other forms of transportation for bugging-out or to get you around town WTSHTF.

Here’s hoping it’s educational too.

You can find out more about the show on the CMT website here.

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

Source:

Johnson, Steve. “CMT’s new ‘Doomsday Garage’ has Chicago ties.” Chicago Tribune. 21 Aug. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/chi-ent-cmts-doomsday-garage-chicago-ties-20130821,0,3707722.column). 21 Aug. 2013.

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Resource Of The Week: Prepper Website

Back on August 2, I named The Gun Feed as this blog’s “Resource Of The Week.”

I explained The Gun Feed as being:

Simply a Drudge Report-style news aggregation website with links to firearm-related-news… with a smidgen of humorous commentary thrown in.

This week’s ROTW is also a Drudge Report-style website- but with links to prepping-related articles, blogs, and websites.

Enter the Prepper Website, “The Internet’s Premier Source for Preparedness, Survival & Alternative News,” by Todd Sepulveda. From his “About” page:

Mission – to provide links to quality articles and websites that focus on preparing for emergencies, survival, homesteading, simple life and alternative news.

Like I said, the site has got a Drudge Report-feel to it. And while there is a healthy supply of links to notable prepping-related articles, Sepulveda’s managed to compile a ton of them under the following subject areas:

• “Frugal/Save/DIY”
• “Alternative News”
• “Firearms”
• “Forums”
• “Homesteading”
• “Online Magazines”
• “Podcasts”
• “Preparedness”
• “Preppers Resources”
• “PW Product Review”
• “Survival Fiction”
• “Youtube Channels”
• “Misc.”

The Prepper Website even offers a “Daily Newsletter.”

Very nice. I can’t wait ‘til I have more time to check out a number of interesting-sounding links.

Visit the Prepper Website at www.prepperwebsite.com.

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

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

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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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On TV: Doomsday Castle

Tuesday night, the premiere episode of the new National Geographic Channel television series Doomsday Castle aired. Despite thinking I wouldn’t be able to watch “Before The Flood” until a later date, I did manage to view it.

This is actually the second time I’ve talked about Doomsday Castle on the blog. From July 26:

I first got wind of Doomsday Castle back in the spring. From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Castles were the ultimate homes for the original preppers – kings and noblemen, who were under constant threat from neighboring enemies. But for American prepper Brent, a castle is the perfect defense for the doomsday scenario he fears will set the world back to the Dark Ages – an electromagnetic burst that causes massive power grid failure. Brent, with the help of his children, is on a quest to finish his towering castle that is isolated deep in the Carolina mountains. But the apocalypse he fears might shy in comparison to the clash of characters of his five children as they try to live and work together to prepare for the worst. If doomsday comes, will this family survive to rule the mountains, or will it self-destruct before the castle is ever completed?

Prepper Brent. Several children. A castle in the Carolina mountains. Any of this sound familiar to fans/followers of the Doomsday Preppers TV series? Brent, his family, and his castle starred in season 2 of the popular show in the episode entitled “No Such Thing As a Fair Fight.” From the Nat Geo Doomsday Preppers web page:

Businessman by day, prepper by night. Brent lives in fear of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that will make the world go dark, leaving his family of 12 with nothing. To prep for life after the EMP, Brent has constructed a medieval-style castle that will serve as the ultimate bug-out fortress.

On August 13 at 10 PM Eastern Time, “Before The Flood” debuts. According to the show’s webpage:

Brent Sr., a retired infantry officer, recruits his children to help him finish building his doomsday castle, a completely self-sufficient fortress of refuge for the end of days. His children are shocked at the conditions of the bunker, and Brent II even calls it a “hoarder’s paradise.” The first tasks are building a drawbridge for the front door and cleaning out the bunker, where the family will live during construction.


“Doomsday Castle: Welcome to the Castle”
National Geographic Channel Video

You might be wondering what I thought of the premier episode of Doomsday Castle.

Well, back in the early 1980s, I came across a book by award-winning author and illustrator David Macaulay entitled Castle, which was a “step-by-step planning and construction of both castle and town.” I remember there being a television special based on the book as well. Not really being into the medieval before those encounters, I became somewhat fascinated by the topic thereafter.

So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I actually came away from watching “Before The Flood” rather upbeat about the production going forward.

I’m not really sure why I should be. It contained a bit of that so-called “reality” show drama that others seem to like but I can do without (although to be fair, it’s more family dysfunctionality-based, which I’m guessing is reality for a lot of people- including myself). And preppers/survivalists hoping to learn a bunch of new stuff from the show were probably disappointed from that debut episode (the rat trap was rather something though).

But that castle.

Man oh man. I can’t begin to tell you how interested I am in seeing how Brent and his family build out that monstrous structure over time. I have a feeling if there’s any learning to be done, it will be related primarily to the construction of that castle. As much as I’m interested in that material, it would be nice if a lot more preparedness material was covered down the road however.

As for Brent and his family- Brent II, Ashley, Lindsey, Dawn-Marie, and Michael-I like them. Brent Sr. has a handsome family, and most of them seem like they can bring a good deal to the table in this project.

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

In my opinion, if Doomsday Castle keeps the “reality” show drama to a minimum and amps up the educational content, I think National Geographic Channel could have another hit TV series on its hands.

Otherwise, retaining viewers could be feudal.

I know. Corny as hell.

It’s 12:23 Thursday morning. Time to go to sleep.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, you can visit the National Geographic Channel’s web page for the new series here.

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

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