Doomsday Preppers Week 9: In the Hurt Locker
Are the show's experts biased against those who don't spend oodles of money on their preparations?
January 17, 2013 - 1:00 pm
Lucas Cameron is a farmer like his father, and has been working the same plot of land his entire life. He’s also a devout Christian who volunteers in his church’s outreach ministries. His study of the Bible has convinced him that like the original prepper, Noah, he should prepare his family both in faith and in substance to endure the wrath of God. In particular, he is preparing for the great earthquake predicted in Revelations.
I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Revelation 6:12
Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck–the worst since people were placed on the earth. Revelation 16:18
Lucas intends for his family to be among the delivered… and who can blame him? Towards that end, he works all day, every day, thinking about prepping his family for the End of Days, which he believes will occur on the New Madrid fault zone under his feet. To protect themselves against the anticipated lawlessness, they’ve spent roughly $50,000 fortifying the family farm, which they’ve dubbed “the Alamo.” Lucas is the second prepper this season (after Tom Perez) to dub his compound the Alamo. I wonder if either one is actually aware what happened to the defenders there.
Everybody died. If that is how you imagine you’ll end up, why bother prepping?
Bad name aside, Cameron has rounded up family friends into his prepping team, including a combat veteran for security, his father for his agricultural and beef-raising skills, and another friend who has helped him build a simple wood gasification system to power his portable generator.
Watching Mr. Cameron’s preps, I admired his desire to put enough food by not just for his family and prepping group, but enough for his nearby neighbors as well. I do wonder, however, about the wisdom of using glass mason jars and open shelves to store his food, and I wonder if he really grasps what an earthquake can do.
Kevin O’Brien was on last season of Doomsday Preppers. He moved his family from Florida to Eastern Tennessee because he’s worried the Sunshine State would end up under water in the event of polar shift. Even his kids think he’s nuts, which simply means they’ve learned how to work the Google.
Lonely in new surroundings, without friends or fellow preppers, Kevin started a web site to connect and network with other preppers. It just so happens that one of those preppers to join the web site is Lucas Cameron, only 35 miles away. Kevin would like to join Lucas and his group, but do that, he must first… bring them a shrubbery!
Oh, were it only so simple.
Instead, the producers put Kevin through a trial by fire, as Lucas and his group run mock-nighttime raids against the show’s experts, the team from Practical Preppers. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in two seasons where the crew from Practical Preppers stepped in front of the cameras. Yes, my curiosity was piqued. The guys were great at criticizing and ranking others, but how would they perform under (simulated) fire?
The scenario they ran involved the guys from Practical Preppers hitting a nighttime supply transfer between Kevin and Lucas’ prepping group. How did it go down?
The preppers got smoked. It wasn’t even close.
It’s one thing to practice on a static range against stationary targets in daylight, and quite another to fight an enemy with communications gear, night vision, and what appears to be real infantry training. Nonetheless, despite their lopsided loss, Lucas and his team were impressed with how Kevin stood his ground during the assault on the Alamo. Kevin now belongs to a prepping community.
It’s too bad he’s so deeply invested in a crackpot theory with no scientific validity at all. In Lucas’ defense, the threat of the New Madrid fault, while probably not the quake zone written about in the Bible, is at least a proven possible threat.
Apache Snake Blocker has a long cultural history tied to living off the land that predates the modern prepping movement by a thousand years, but his visions are of a thoroughly modern problem: an economic collapse and the social unrest that comes afterward.
Snake’s new wife Melissa, a school teacher and trained opera singer, seems to be the polar opposite of her salt-of-the-Earth Apache warrior husband.
Unlike the majority of preppers featured on the show, Snake hasn’t spent tens of thousands of dollars (or more) amassing food supplies, acquiring property, or building a bug-out location. Instead, he’s invested time in learning the ways of his nomadic forefathers who lied off the land through hunting and foraging. Purely as a practical matter, this is the most intelligent way to prep, as knowledge isn’t hard to pack, can’t be stolen, and can always grow as long as you cultivate it.
Snake gets it; survival isn’t always pretty, and he eats what he can find, from cactus, to ants (which I’ve had; they’re tart), to wasp larvae and a rabbit he’s managed to shoot with a bow. But the guys at Practical Preppers aren’t impressed with his lack of tangible supplies, shelter, and water-filtration capability, and suggest Snake has just 2-4 months survival based upon his strategy, which puts him solidly down at the bottom of the pile with clueless future victim Brian Murdock and his Colombian Internet bride.
Are we looking at confirmation bias from the staff of Practical Preppers towards a man and way of life that don’t need their services? Considering that Apaches have used these skills in the southwest since at least the 1400s, I’m inclined to think that maybe Snake Blocker might last a little longer than the experts give him.
Check out the previous installments in Bob Owens’ ongoing critique of Doomsday Preppers: