Tonight on the National Geographic Channel started the second season premier of their runaway hit “Doomsday Preppers”, the channels highest rated show ever. Yeah…I’ll watch it, both episodes being shown tonight back to back. Do I expect to learn anything? Not really. Last season gave us the overall view that any “doomsday” prepper has to be a little crazy. Whether it’s “crazy like a fox” remains to be seen. Still, crazy is mostly the big draw of this series.
The overall focus on sheer amounts of material hoarding of food, ammo, tools, and sundries still took a backseat to the continuous references to guns, weapons, fortifications, bunkers, bug-outs, defense, and repetitive references to what we in this genre call the “Golden Hoard”, or from the nineties on the old newsgroups such as Misc.Survival, the infamous “Spikey Haired Mutants”. In layman’s terms…what happens when society breaks down, and the folks that didn’t prepare, find or dig out their guns and other weapons, and go find the folks that did prepare, to try to take their stores of goods by menace, force or outright war.
So many movies in the last 30 years (during and after the Cold War) had story lines that emphasized these good versus evil battles, that it has literally turned into real life. We saw it in Katrina, and we’re seeing it with “Superstorm Sandy” victims and wide areas of the NYC/NJ portions of the northeast United States. Looters, robberies, and death. Decades ago it was Mad Max, Red Dawn, and Damnation Alley. Recently we’ve seen The Book of Eli, The Road, and countless horror flicks of every genre. You may have heard the phrase “Shit just got real”? Talk to the helpless victims of Sandy in New Jersey and Staten Island even today, and see what is happening in our own nation’s largest metro areas.
Tonight’s DDP shows again shared a few family and individual stories, of WHY they prepare. A new 5 area scoring chart (out of 100 point total) after each prepper’s segment helped the prepper (and those of us paying attention), learn just how prepared these folks were…by those feckless self-described experts known far and wide now as the “practical preppers”. Some of the reasons given in this evening’s two episodes included prepping for F5 tornadoes, economic meltdown, small pox pandemics, nuclear attack and the like. Repeats from last season were shown before and after the new season’s episodes, for a good straight six hours of Pure Unadulterated Doom.
As usual, weapons and gun use were a big part of each segment of tonight’s shows. It seems that DDP truly feels that you aren’t a doomer or real prepper unless you’re really ready, willing, and able to kill to protect your stash of food and ammo. Why oh why does NGC almost require every prepper on the show to share their armory ideas (I can think of one prepper last season who did not even mention guns in their episode…good friend Bruce Beach).
Given all the above, is there anything to learn by spending an hour a week for the next 15 weeks watching future episodes of Doomsday Preppers? Hmmm. Let’s see.
1. Feature preppers discussing the basics of prepping? Helps people new to the idea start understanding that prepping is a REAL thing, for real events, that occur over and over again in this nation.
2. Have some kind of measurement (even if it’s completely arbitrary) to “rate” individual preparedness levels after reviewing their preps? Helpful for them, but not really for us. Really not real world science for the rest of us…just navel introspection by those practical prepper dreamers.
3. Make preparedness a topic for popular culture in times of strife and destruction? Look no further than Superstorm Sandy, Katrina, or last weeks election outcome. Yes, it DID just get real.
4. Create community discussion of how to better strengthen and enhance community resilience to natural and manmade disasters? NGC and DPP have only lightly glossed over the community aspect of prepping, but a few of the many participants did make sure to get THAT message across that community support and involvement is needed.
Bottom line, DDP is interesting, but assuredly not the end-all, be-all of the world of preparedness. On one hand, it’s a good thing, making identification of real threats to life and safety important and worthy of discussion. On another, it could be a psychological tool to out this small portion of society, that our fearless administration, in all its inate and moronic stupidity, have now labeled subversives. Look it up, my friends. I kid you not.
Time will tell. If you feel the urge to prep, then by all means, please do. But, don’t do what DDP’ers do…that is, don’t display and discuss YOUR plans and supplies with people who have no reason to know anything at all. Prep yourself, prep your family, and help your neighbors. Do NOT invite strangers into your realm…those will be the ones that abuse trust, and in times of strife, will take advantage of you. Just like what DDP is doing with this series.