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‘When The **** Hits The Fan’: The Eccentrics of Doomsday Preppers

They're a bit nutty, they're obsessed with disaster, and they just might live next door to you!

by
Chris Queen

Bio

April 5, 2012 - 10:40 am

Each episode does a decent job revealing the eccentricity behind the obsession with survival. One Texas couple practices shooting on a daily basis at their compound made from metal shipping containers, and they have stockpiled literally decades worth of food, much of which they’ve hunted or farmed themselves. Another woman prepares gourmet meals for her bunker and declares that when the apocalypse takes place, she’ll be the only person left with a hundred pounds to lose. One prepper in Los Angeles takes to the urban woods to survive a massive earthquake, a plan that includes his survival pack:

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Preppers love to talk about what happens “when the **** hits the fan.” Another common phrase you’ll hear from preppers is “bugging out.” When a family bugs out, they head to a predetermined location, presumably either out of harm’s way or in a remote enough area to be away from people. The couple from Texas that I mentioned earlier bugs out in converted school buses with a group of 22 people in a convoy aiming for a location 12 hours away. They literally circle the wagons when they stop to rest and guard their perimeter throughout the night. Other bug out locations are much simpler: mountain or desert cabins or remote campsites. One young woman plans to bug out from Houston to Mexico in the event of a global oil crisis.

While some of the preppers do some amazing and admirable things — one family lives almost completely off of the food they’ve grown in their urban garden on about a tenth of an acre — most preppers drive themselves to some desperate measures to ensure their survival. One prepper, a New York City firefighter who worries about an explosion of the super-volcano at Yellowstone National Park, practices regular “bug in” drills, where his family locks and tapes themselves into their small apartment, surviving on MREs and bathtub water, and throwing broken glass into the hallway to fend off intruders (certainly endearing himself to his neighbors). Another woman has a plan to euthanize her cat before she bugs out.

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