Doomsday Preppers [National Geographic] — Totseans

Doomsday Preppers [National Geographic]

RemadERemadE Global Moderator
edited December 2012 in Spurious Generalities

Foreword: Apologies for any lack of structure. I was watching the program I rant about as well as talking to Family and generally being overloaded with rage to the point of being incoherent.
Also read my signature. Damn *smacks keyboard* "m" key.
I also may add to this as there's a load of stuff shooting around in my head right now.

So I'm watching series 2 of the National Geographic show "Doomsday Preppers. The basic premise is that each episode looks at 3 people/families in the USA where each one is prepping* for an event which could cause the end of the world or shit to hit the fan (SHTF).
Each one is graded on certain aspects such as food and water access/longevity, defence, bug-in and bug-out/backup strageties and survival skills (such as outdoorsman type, eg firelighting, scacenging/foraging, map reading etc).
Talking of firelighting, a 15 year old in this show almost burnt down an abandined building they decided to use as part of a training exercise to test a potential new member and see if he could join their group.
Don't ask me how, but the dumb fucker passed and was welcomed with open arms :facepalm:

The first series wasn't too bad. A few token nutjobs here and there, but series 2 just takes the fucking biscuit and raises a few questions about the American prepper in my mind.

YouTube videos

More of an observation, over the World there are preppers - and I read (I wish I could find the source) about how people from different Nations prepare and stockpile for a SHTF situation. What I, as well as others, find quite a fascinating phenomenon is that when it comes to what almost every prepper has in their kit, in America, is a firearm. Here in the UK it would be foodstuffs and in Norway it's apparently Tea. It seems that cultural influences and fear of others dictate what people think of first and foremost when they begin to prep.
Which brings me to the program.

What got to me was the fear instilled in people. I know the show is a peek into the world of a handful of people but the fanaticism seems rife. The acceptance of death with their kids, having them "what's a Terrorist attack?" which the Father will be brought to tears, and most of all - again about terrorism, one man in Houston said

"I believe there will be an attack on the US from Terrorists using a Dirty Bomb. There are many fanatics who wish to harm us and so I feel the need to prepare and protect my family"

The camera then pans and flashes to shots of him teaching his Sons how to use explosives, throwing Molotov Cocktails, boasting about stockpiling 17,000 rounds of ammunition and his 7 year old Son using a small sniper rifle.
Oh and as I am watching, he is now rubbing the blood of a slaughtered goat on his Kids' faces.
One of them is 7 years old and helped slit the throat of the animal. They even come under fire themselves as the explosives and weapons created by their prepper families need testing - then find out that it malfunctions or goes "boom" a bit too loud/large then they fold under the injury making you wonder if they are all talk and no bite.
In S2E4 at 34 minutes in, two guys fire a weapon with a Sig Sauer 556-looking rifle in a hunting-style blind on IEDs with ball bearings and shrapnel in. The report of the explosion is so loud that the dude is close to tears and pukes, blaming his mate of 5 years for his idiocy.

I am by no means a vegetarian Hippie as I love hunting, shooting and the prepper mindset (to a degree) as I was shooting .410, 12 gauges and .22LR rifles from the age of 6, but this just seems extreme. it's on another level completely when they spend $5,000,000+ on a shitty house, bunker or otherwise bug-out location in the middle of a desert/mountain range. The families of these (mostly) guys are trained on the level of having muzzles pointed at them or the kids are pointing weapons at other people, paranoia is rife where everyone is an enemy and their life is like a fucked up film adaptation of Red Dawn.
In places such as the UK to others like Pakistan, you don't see people stockpiling for an event that may or may not occur - people take life a day at a time. It's like life in the USA/for these people is so stressful, so stuck on top gear, that they cannot just chill and enjoy life for what it is without fear and paranoia seeping into every breath they take.

The cringe factor is massive here. Like I said earlier, the fanaticism about weapons is almost too much, everyone including a 7 year old, a 15 year old (who thinks the world will be consumed by "Anarchists") and guys who meet their Wife (from another Country) and on the same day, throw her glitzy clothes out to then make her first bug-out-bag.
I don't mean to bash Americans, but there does seem to be a minority, almost reminiscent of the Militias you hear of and see from time to time.
What I really wanted to know are answers to the following -
  • Most seem to be afraid of a Dirty Bomb or other Terrorist attack, despite a Dirty Bomb never being detonated. A few, the minority, are concerned about natural disasters or outbreak of a disease. Is the fear of Terrorism really that apparent in American Society? I'm not talking about the Government warnings, but rather how receptive/fearful people are there - despite you having a higher chance of dying from acts of your own Government, crossing the road or choking on food.
  • Are preppers that common?
  • Do people believe the end of the world propechies that are spat out and recycled every few months/years? Most people, mostly Men, on this show are either the stereotypical "hand-on-heart every morning" Patriot or Religious sorts.
  • Gold or other precious metals - are they popular with monetary devaluation?

I can't think of any more as my mind is racing, but I'm close to being speechless. I cannot get over how fanatical, cringeworthy and almost psychotic these people are. Like I said, there's a higher chance of you dying from something a lot closer to home than a Terrorist attack (despite the Media hype and constant reminders almost every day with inches of columns in newspapers dedicated to the topic) and the hypocrisy of these preppers justifying their almost Militia-type groups on "the collective other", ie Terrorists in a far-away land where they will never have to go (so far only 1 person in 2 series has been ex-Military and they left in 1992 or so).
I KNOW that TV loves to sensationalise shit like this to marginalise and mock a few, but I have actually talked to people like this on Skype, forums and once, face-to-face.

* The definition of prepping is where one makes plans, preparing, for a catastrophic event. It is generally more than just making a bug-out-bag as it involves some, but not all of the following:
  • Fortifying positions (home or alternate location such as a bunker/second house etc)
  • Investing in items to the point of stockpiling (such as food, ammunition, fuel, vehicles etc)
  • Possibly banding together with others (now popular on online forums) to form a group in the local area in case of an event that could cause widespread chaos

If you want to find a torrent, you know where to look.
Also there's a good discussion about this show, namely series 2, on the /k/ (weapons) board on 4chan here which is quite funny and interesting.

I know, I'm sorry for linking to 4chan...please don't hurt me. it's not like it's /b/.


  • DfgDfg Admin
    edited December 2012
    To be quite frank, I don't like the idea of prepping. All plans tend to fail in the end, so I go by day approach. I just keep an eye open and improvise on the spot. I know if something like that happened my only chance of survival would be to use my talents as a leader and get people following my orders and lead. A group is better than one person and there is a chance my family could get killed but that's something that can happen. In the end, my aim is to save as many lives as possible and make my mark before turning off the lights. It's the best I can hope for.

    Oh and have wild sex :D
  • Darth BeaverDarth Beaver Meine Ehre heißt Treue
    edited December 2012
    A plan is not meant to survive, no plan ever survived the battlefield, but a good plan will help you survive the battle.
  • DaktologistDaktologist Global Moderator
    edited December 2012
    A plan is not meant to survive, no plan ever survived the battlefield, but a good plan will help you survive the battle.

    Agreed. I have always laughed at how serious these guys get with "prepping". Then again they would have the last laugh should something happen.
  • Darth BeaverDarth Beaver Meine Ehre heißt Treue
    edited December 2012
    Agreed. I have always laughed at how serious these guys get with "prepping". Then again they would have the last laugh should something happen.

    Not really, I know several dozen of this type. For everyone I know there has to be hundreds if not thousands just like them. These are folks who think they are going to hole up and defend what is theirs. In a post apocalyptic scenario with no law enforcement mobility will be a better survival tool than a whole basement full of guns, ammo, food, and other supplies. I view these folks much the same as I view Mormons, as post apocalyptic connivance stores. They will be sitting in a static position with no intent of leaving their hoarded goods. This makes them sitting ducks. Kill one of them, take what you need and can carry, and cache what you need buy can't carry for another time. Nomad raiders will have a better shot than prepared hoarders.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited December 2012
    Totally agree with you there, TDR. As much as these preppers make bold claims, show off their storage of food/ammo/etc on TV - shows their weaknesses. Then again if there was a SHTF situation, these people are just supermarkets in a house environment. I really can't imagine them holding out, one against the world.

    Personally, I'd go for the bug out option. Stay somewhere short term, recover/resupply, then move on.

    As for weapons and the level of fanaticism, I really hope it's not a widespread thing. A lot of Europeans get shit for not having the same laws on firearms as the USA - however, places like Switzerland and Eastern Europe where weapons are given out by the Govt or easily available, this mindset about stockpiling and "hoorah!" against Government or oppressive forces just never materialises. There is opposition to Government, and no better example than in Greece, but the different Culture really proves it - where firearms aren't needed. However stockpiling does occur, as over there at least, supplies are patchy. It's almost semi-apocalyptic in places, actually. Got cooperatives, veggie patches, movements popping up etc.

    Yup. Went off on a tangent there.
  • ArkansanArkansan Regular
    edited December 2012
    I prep to a degree but not like these whackjobs. My wife and I both keep a well stocked bug out bag and about a weeks worth of extra food and three 5 gallon containers of spring water in the house in case of a stuck in place type situation. However I don't gear for the bunker type mentality, I am more looking to be prepared in the event of a short term natural disaster, my plan for any situation long term is to bug the fuck out to any one of a half dozen remote, and I mean remote in the sense of someone who is used to driving 30-45 mins to the nearest walmart, locations. I keep a few odd guns and a couple hundred rounds of ammo in the house, but honestly most people in Arkansas do that without any thought of prepping. However I do know several arm chair commandos to stock up on food and ammo for the day the Gub'mint finally comes for their bibles and their guns, these people I would consider targets in the case of a long term disaster scenario, as to my mind your best bet is to stay low and avoid armed confrontation totally unless you have a clear advantage(ambush).

    Many people in my area are prepared in a different sort of way, most people live on 5-6 acre plots of land with several related families inhabiting the same plot. These areas are remote, most are lifelong friends with their neighbors and most all keep largish gardens and or livestock and draw their water from wells that in a pinch can easily be converted to manual use. Most of these folks are also life long hunters and fishermen and are intimately familiar with their surroundings. I would bet on them with their deer rifles vs city born armchair commandos or misplaced gang bangers any day, as they say owning a rifle no more makes one a rifleman than owning a piano makes one a pianist. The thing is that most of the people that live like this aren't thinking of prepping, they are just continuing a way of life their families have carried on for generations.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited December 2012
    Makes sense. I have a BoB and get a lot of shit for it. I bring up short-term things such as when my Sister and Dad were stuck at a Hospital for 10 days and Nan was in her car for 2 days due to insane levels of snow or floods that happen here where I live.
    Long term is yet to be tested, but we have a good community (mostly) and puhLENTY of space to get to. It's definitely the armchair sorts who make me wonder, rage and then just quit. What has to be the funniest types are those who are so unfit they wouldn't be able to outrun a milk truck. Lol at the gubmint coming to take their stuff away. That does seem quite a topic at the moment - and in the past. Repeats itself etc.

    Definitely agree with the "owning a piano makes one a pianist" logic. A lot of people I know think just because they can do one thing (run, drive, shoot etc) they are a pro in that area.

    Appreciate the insight :)
  • GoingNowhereGoingNowhere Global Moderator
    edited December 2012
    This is hand on heart one of the scariest films I have ever seen. It really hit me and moved me like no other films thus far. Here is this film for you guys to watch, it is called Threads:

    Seriously good film though, and for it's time probs the most realistic your going to get presuming civilization actually survives.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited December 2012
    Is a very good, at times depressing film! Also recommended are
    - Jericho
    - Jeremiah
    - BBCs "Survivors"

    Protip for the Survivors one: try to ignore the woman who is totally preoccupied with finding her son. Literally all she talks about in the first half of season 1 at least.
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