preppers

DayZ Standalone: A Survival Video Game For Preppers?

Back in the 1980s, I used to play computer games. A lot. I’m not much of a “gamer” anymore. First, I don’t really have the time these days. Second, if I’m going to play a video game, particularly a simulation-type game, I want it to be related to something I’m interested in and to be as realistic as possible. Even though game development has advanced by leaps and bounds since the days I toiled trying to break the glass backboard on One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird, realism is still a tall order.

Enter DayZ.

From Wikipedia:

DayZ is a multiplayer open world survival horror video game in development by Bohemia Interactive and the stand-alone version of the award-winning mod of the same name. The game was test-released on December 16, 2013 on PC for Microsoft Windows via digital distribution platform Steam, and is currently in early alpha testing.

The game places the player in the fictional post-Soviet state of Chernarus, where an unknown virus has turned most of the population into violent zombies. As a survivor, the player must scavenge the world for food, water, weapons, and medicine, while killing or avoiding zombies, and killing, avoiding or co-opting other players in an effort to survive the zombie apocalypse…


“DayZ Early Access Launch Trailer”
(Warning! Graphic Violence)
YouTube Video

I know what some of you might be thinking.

“Oh great. Another violent, shoot-the-zombies-up time waster.”

Now, I’ve been following the development of DayZ into its current stand-alone version for several months now, and I don’t think those who’ve played the game would classify it simply as a zombie-killing production. It’s the somewhat realistic survival aspect of it that keeps gamers coming back for more. Again from Wikipedia:

The goal of DayZ is to stay alive during the conditions of the zombie apocalypse that has befallen the in-game world. The player begins on the coast of the map equipped with only simple clothes and a flashlight, and must begin exploring the large 225 km landscape to investigate locations such as houses, barns, and apartments to scavenge supplies. These supplies include food and water, which are basic keys to prolonging the players life. Beyond the bare bones of survival, players can find various forms of clothing, which not only allows the player to customise their character, but can bring the benefit of extra storage space for supplies. Also scattered around the map are a variety of weapons, allowing players to protect themselves from zombies or other players if necessary. Currently these are largely focused on a range of melee weapons, but a small number of firearms (more are to be implemented with future updates) are present, as well as various attachments such as bipods and telescopic sights.

Whilst travelling around the game players can also find various medical supplies, as the environment poses a range of threats to their character. This includes diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis, which can be caught by ingesting dirty water or rotten food and must be cured with the appropriate medicine. If a player is shot or otherwise hurt, items on their person may be damaged. The player may also start bleeding and must be bandaged quickly to minimise blood loss; excessive damage or blood loss will result in serious deterioration of vision for the player and can render them unconscious…

Planned features include being able to build bases in the world in which players can keep their items safe, with the possibility of security systems and programmable computers having been considered. The standalone game will build on the text and close range voice chat of the mod version by including a new whisper channel, which will allow players to communicate over a very short distance without players nearby hearing, as well as radios (based off the “ACRE” mod for ARMA 2), which will allow longer range communication, including the possibility of encrypted two-way radios and player run radio stations. A number of features which are not currently available but will be added in a patch some time during the alpha have been confirmed including vehicles, more zombies, animals and hunting, and cooking.

I’ve been watching a variety of YouTube videos made of people playing DayZ Stand-Alone, and I have to say I’m real impressed with what I’ve seen:


“DayZ Standalone – I Saved Someone’s Life!”
(Warning! Graphic Violence, Language)
YouTube Video

I can envision myself trying out DayZ. As to it’s worth as a survival simulator? Let’s be honest, folks. No computer game at this point in time could possibly hope to replicate the real thing. But consider what “Selco” over at the SHTF School blog wrote about an earlier version of the project:

So overall I can say it is nice try to give people feeling of how survival like this feels. You often feel desperate and have to be careful all the time. It is far from perfect but creates clearer picture of what survival is about than any movie I saw in the past…

Selco would know, being a survivor of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

For more information on DayZ and how to buy it, head over to the game’s website here. As I type this, it’s €23.99- or $32.66 in U.S. dollars- to join in on the fun.

Just remember DayZ is still in “alpha testing”- where the bugs are in the process of being worked out.

Even though that’s the case, over 1 million copies have already been sold since its December release.

Not bad. And as word gets out about this latest version, I wonder if preppers won’t be tempted to get their gaming on?

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

Source:

Selco. “Dayz – the first real survival game?” SHTF School. 4 Aug. 2012. (http://shtfschool.com/general/dayz-the-first-real-survival-game/). 16 Jan. 2014.

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Zombie Survival Training In Chicago

It’s the beginning of a new year. And if you’re like me, you may be looking at taking a class or two in the next twelve months.

First Aid and AED/CPR training through the American Red Cross is high on my list.

Zombie Survival Training is up there as well.

Zombie Survival what?

I recently stumbled upon a locally-taught class entitled “Zombie Survival Training” on Dabble.com, an Internet “marketplace for classes.” From their website:

If the zombie apocalypse happened right now, would you be ready? Do you even have a plan?

This course is designed to teach you how to survive the worst disaster imaginable, even a wide-spread pandemic of flesh-eating zombies. Using the zombie apocalypse as the worst case scenario, we will discuss survival strategies, food and water preparation and improvised weapons. This class is perfect for zombie lovers and survivalists alike.

After this class you will know where to go, what to eat and how to defend yourself when the unthinkable happens.

Okay, so it’s not really all about zombies. In fact, at the top of the Dabble page it’s classified as a “disaster survival class.”

The course is being taught by The Green Suite. From the Dabble page:

A self-proclaimed eco-warrior, Nick Conrad founded The Green Suite to enlighten others how to lessen their impact on the environment while improving their homes. Through The Green Suite, he teaches innovative, DIY ways of producing food, power, and products from recycled objects and repurposed materials. The Green Suite offers classes, tips, and kits online to help any aspiring eco-file get started. Nick has been featured in Chicago’s Red Eye for his Zombie Survival Class and presented as a guest speaker in local schools…

I’ve heard of Nick Conrad before. Kara Spak wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times website back on June 24, 2013:

Conrad, 32, an Eagle Scout, Dick’s Last Resort waiter, former improv performer, small business owner and self-described ecowarrior, teaches Zombie Survival Training in Chicago…

Conrad is a zombie-genre fan but believes there are more realistic but equally sinister scenarios we should prepare for, like a weather disaster or a terrorist attack. Those who attend Zombie Survival Training- each class has room for about 30 people- will come away ready for those as well…

Conrad has background teaching survival skills. As an Eagle Scout in Texas, he taught wilderness survival…

Through Green Suite, Conrad offers more than just survival instruction. Spak added:

He’s an active environmentalist whose dream is to live totally off the grid in the city. His company, Green Suite, teaches local folks how to create more sustainable elements in their homes, like a hydroponic garden created from wine bottles. Through Green Suite, he teaches non-zombie-themed classes showing how to make a big but low-cost impact on the environment.

In his own two-bedroom Lake View apartment, Conrad has built solar panels, a hydroponic garden and a soil garden, all of which can be removed when he moves. On the third floor, Conrad said he is well positioned to survive a zombie apocalypse.

“I’ve got food, I’m building a water filtration system, I’ve got my own electricity,” he said…

Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me. And something I’d like to learn more about in the future.

According to Dabble, the next Zombie Survival Training class is scheduled to take place on January 29 at the Holiday Club, 4000 North Sheridan Road, Chicago (I remember hitting the Holiday Club with my pals back in the mid-90s and from what I recall- wink- it was a lot of fun). The cost is $25 per person, with only 3 spots left as I type this.

For more information, you can visit the Dabble page for the class here. To receive info on future classes and other instruction, you can subscribe to The Green Suite newsletter on their website here.


“Zombie Girl- Creepy Crawler- Music Video”
(Warning- Violence)
YouTube Video

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

Source:

Spak, Karen. “ Fear not the apocalypse; zombie survival training on offer.” Chicago Sun-Times. 24 June 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/20862179-421/fear-not-the-apocalypse-zombie-survival-training-on-offer.html). 13 Jan. 2014.

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Is This What A Prepper Expo Is Really Like?

Speaking of preparedness/survival-themed events tonight, I have to ask readers- has anyone ever been to one of these prepper/survivalist expos or conferences?

I haven’t, but would like to one of these days.

I recently read what seemed like an insightful article on these gatherings on the Fortune magazine website. David Morris wrote back on November 11:

More and more Americans are spending money to get ready for an uncertain future — gathering food, water, tools, and skills to help them weather anything from a hurricane to a pandemic. Contrary to images of deluded or gun-obsessed “lone wolves,” many preppers are average consumers reacting to concrete worries, and their way of thinking is spreading, fueling an emerging lifestyle trend. That lifestyle is generating demand for a broad spectrum of products offering survival — or even comfort — when large-scale systems go down.

An array of preparedness expos and conferences have cropped up around the country to serve this emerging and fast-changing market…


“Learning to survive: Arizona Survivalist Prepper Expo comes to Tucson”
YouTube Video

I wanted to bring up the Fortune article because I thought not only might you be interested in reading it, but also because I wanted to know if the author’s experience isn’t uncommon.

For example, Morris added in his piece:

At the end of my conversation with John Egger about the rise of “suburban homesteading,” a man with a white shock of hair interjected himself into the conversation. “You know what chemtrails are?” he asked, referring to another conspiracist trope that sees chemical tampering in jetstream vapor trails. “They’re changing the weather, then selling drought tolerant seeds. George Soros and Bill Gates are behind it.” Egger nodded politely and smiled, tolerant of a potential customer’s eccentricities.

“Conspiracist trope”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t certain people saying the same thing about talk that the U.S. government was spying on its own law-abiding citizens, not to mention those of other nations?

You can read the entire Fortune article on their website here. And please feel free to chime in about your day/weekend at a prepper expo or something similar.

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

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Chicago-Area Winter Survival Training Camp Planned For This Weekend

Brrr. It’s been cold here in Chicagoland. But that’s what I love above this part of the country- the four seasons. And it’s only fitting that with a couple of inches of snow on the ground already (with more expected tomorrow) that I’d spot the following scheduled winter activity on the American Preppers Network website tonight. From the section entitled “Prepper Expos And Events”:

Saturday December 14th, 10AM Saturday till 10:00 AM Sunday. Goodenow Grove, Will County IL: Winter Survival Training Camp, Sponsored by Southwest Chicago Live Free USA, Camping optional, preregistration required. Planned activities: fire craft, cooking, winter survival skills, snowshoes, sleds, skies, Equipment testing, more. Contact: dancingstick13@aol.com

Sounds interesting. Reading this reminded me of when I attended a “Klondike derby” in the Chicago-area forest preserves as a Boy Scout many years ago. I learned quite a bit from the different “stations” that frigid winter day. I’d be willing to bet I’d learn a good deal more from this planned gathering.

Contact that e-mail address above to see if the event is still a go and/or to find out more information. As for the Live Free USA program, you can find out more about them here.

Stay warm…

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

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Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 Education, Emergencies, Gear, Preparedness, Training, Weather No Comments

In Print: SAS Survival Handbook

I can’t believe it’s been almost two-and-a-half years since I last published a book review post.

Where does the time go, right?

Now, I recently got the chance to read John “Lofty” Wiseman’s SAS Survival Handbook. I picked this book to restart my “In Print” series because I’m in the process of adding survival-related texts to my home library. Prior to this purchase, the closest thing I had to it subject-wise was my trusty old Official Boy Scout Handbook from 1983.

There are a number of survival manuals out there, including the U.S. Army Survival Handbook, the U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook, and others. There were some pretty impressive reviews floating around out there on this SAS book, so I decided to pick up the 2009 revised edition of the text. From the back cover:

FOR ANY CLIMATE, IN ANY SITUATION

Newly updated to reflect the latest in survival knowledge and technology, the internationally bestselling SAS Survival Handbook is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. From basic campcraft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster, this complete course includes:

BEING PREPARED: Understanding basic survival needs and preparing essentials, such as a pocket survival kit.

MAKING CAMP: Finding the best location, constructing the appropriate shelter, organizing camp, and creating tools.

FOOD: What to eat, what to avoid, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

FIRST AID: A comprehensive course in emergency/wilderness medicine, including how to maximize survival in any climate or when injured.

DISASTER SURVIVAL: How to react in the face of increasingly frequent natural disasters and hostile situations—and how to survive at home if all services and supplies are cut off.

So who is John “Lofty” Wiseman? According to the back cover:

Wiseman served in the British Special Air Service (SAS) for twenty-six years. The SAS Survival Handbook is based on the training techniques of this world-famous elite fighting force.

A clearer picture of who the author is and what kind of survival knowledge he brings to the table with him in this handbook is found on the website of the Trueways Survival School, with whom Wiseman is an instructor. From that site:

John “Lofty” Wiseman joined the Parachute Regiment in 1958. He applied for service with the Special Air Service Regiment in 1959 and set a record as the youngest person ever to pass selection at the age of 18. John served with 22 SAS for 26 years (and, as he likes to point out, 55 days)! He saw active service worldwide, in every theatre of operations and special operations required of the British Army between 1959 and 1985. Amongst other things, John was Sergeant Major, B Squadron (Sabre Sqn) 22 SAS, Sergeant Major 22 SAS Training Wing, Head of Operational Research 22 SAS, set up the SP Team (Counter Hi-Jack), set up the SAS Counter-Terrorist Team (you know…those chaps who ended the Iranian Embassy siege) and trained the first members of the US Green Berets to return to the USA to form the famous Delta Force (US Special Forces). John also ran the famed SAS Selection Course, deciding who was fit to join the Regiment. By the time he retired from active service in 1985, he was held in such high esteem that it could be said of him, to directly quote the Commanding Officer of 22 SAS at the time, “Lofty is a legend in this Regiment”.

In addition, John ran the Survival Training School for 22 SAS at Hereford, specialising in all aspects of survival training (land, sea, jungle, desert, arctic, mountains – wherever a special forces soldier or civilian might find themselves). After retiring from 22 Special Air Service Regiment, John set up the Survival School at Hereford. John has trained survival instructors and consultants, expedition members, overseas survival training specialists, military and civilian.

Really impressive stuff.

Onto the 576-page book. It’s broken down into the following chapters:

Introduction
1. Essentials
2. Strategy
3. Climate & Terrain
4. Food
5. Camp Craft
6. Reading The Signs
7. On The Move
8. Health
9. Survival At Sea
10. Rescue
11. Disasters
Postscript
Index

In the introduction, Wiseman lays out a solid foundation for understanding survival from which readers are to work from. He says:

Survival depends upon applying basic principles and adapting them to the circumstances. These basic principles form an essential pyramid of learning for the survivor.

Think of a pyramid divided into three layers (largest one being the base, smallest being the tip), where the bottom-most layer is the “Will to live,” the middle being “Knowledge,” and the top-most layer is “Kit.”

In the next chapter, entitled “Essentials,” the former SAS survival instructor points out:

Survival is the art of staying alive. Any equipment you have must be considered a bonus.

Wiseman adds:

The main elements of survival are Food, Fire, Shelter, Water, Navigation and Medicine. To put these in order of priority we use the acronym PLAN. No matter where you are in the world this will never change be it in the Arctic, desert, jungle, sea or seashore.

PLAN stands for (P)rotection from further danger/elements, (L)ocation in terms of alerting rescuers to your position, (A)cquisition of food and water while waiting to be rescued, and (N)avigation where “good navigation will keep you en route and will often avert a survival situation.”

I just love when someone with so much knowledge about a subject can break things down and keep it simple for the rest of us.

The chapter goes on to talk about the “essentials” for survival- being prepared, research, planning, equipment, and the unexpected. It also goes into great detail about survival kits (“a few key items” stored in a tin), the “survival pouch” (“too large to carry in your pocket like your survival tin but kept where it can be grabbed quickly in an emergency”), and knives, before finishing up with a discussion about facing disaster, water, and salt.

The Intro and “Essentials” chapters serve as the launching point for the rest of the handbook, so readers are best served understanding what Wiseman is trying to get across in this section, practicing it, and putting together/acquiring the items he prescribes, especially if the text is being used as a “complete course” as mentioned on the back cover.

The remainder of the SAS Survival Handbook is chock-full of “how-to” information covering those topics broken down above. The accompanying illustrations are both color and black-and-white, and are detailed adequately enough.

I found Chapter 11, “Disasters,” particularly interesting. Drought, fire, chemical and biological warfare, gases and chemicals, flood, hurricane, tornado, lightning, earthquake, volcano, and nuclear explosion are covered, in addition to something called “Home Front.” Wiseman writes in the chapter intro:

Home front faces the problems of coping with survival on your own doorstep if the services and supplies on which we normally depend are cut off.

Wiseman reminds us:

You do not have to be miles away from civilization to be caught in a survival situation. Natural disaster, civil disturbance or military action could cut you off from all the usual services and food supplies. Until they can be re-established, you would be left to manage on your own resources and skills.

The former SAS survival instructor goes on to talk about food stores, priorities, water, fire, food, shelter, and hygiene in such a scenario.

In summary, I really liked this latest edition of the SAS Survival Handbook. Granted, I’m not a survival expert whose knowledgeable enough to point out any shortfalls tucked away in the nearly 600 pages of text and illustrations, nor do I really have anything else to compare it to (unless you count that Official Boy Scout Handbook, in which case, it’s the BSA handbook on steroids). But I do know this. The SAS book has tons and tons of information that I, personally, would want on-tap in case TSHTF. Not only is John “Lofty” Wiseman’s survival reference book a welcome addition to my home library, but I’m thinking about getting the 384-page pocket-size SAS Survival Guide by Wiseman to review as well with an eye towards throwing it in my future bug-out bag that I’ll be putting together down the road as part of my “Project Prepper” series of posts.

The SAS Survival Handbook is available for purchase on the Barnes & Noble website hereicon (all orders for eligible items amounting to $25 or more still qualify for free shipping within the U.S.). Please note by clicking on the link and making a purchase I receive a commission on the sale.

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

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

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On TV: Dude, You’re Screwed

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

WHOSE TURN IS IT TO PLAY THE GAME?

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

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

Each survivalist has a different background:

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

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

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

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


“Screwed In Iceland”
Discovery Channel Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Fight Ahead’ Preview

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

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

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


“Tunnel Time”
YouTube Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Armored for Armaggedon”
YouTube Video

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

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

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

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

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On TV: American Blackout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“American Blackout”
YouTube Video

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

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

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

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

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

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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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