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Doomsday Preppers Week 7: Let's Drown the Family

Bryan Smith, the son of a sharecropper who once shot a man in self-defense, saw the worst coming and came up with a plan to not just survive it, but to help rebuild from the ashes afterward. He saved money from his successful lamination business and invested it in 47 acres of land in central Florida.

One of the crops he intends to grow on his compound is sugar cane, which he'll use not so much for sugar as for the alcohol that can be distilled from it. Lower levels of distilled alcohol can make a crude rum for barter, while more highly refined and concentrated alcohol can be used as fuel for a generator Bryan has refined to run on his home-brewed eco-fuel. He intends to use the generator to run a well that will pump 2,400 gallons an hour from the Florida aquifer.

Interestingly, Bryan can't grow fuel for his diesel tractor, but thinks he's found a way to steal fuel in a novel way. Electrical transformers hold gallons of mineral oil as a coolant, and Bryan intends to raid these to collect fuel for his tractor. I'm sure he's not the first to have come up with this idea, which means a crashed electrical grid that will be that much harder to resurrect as critical infrastructure is cannibalized for short-term gains.

Bryan has also spent $100,000 on the equipment and components to reload ammunition. He has the gear to turn out hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition. The question is, how does he keep it from being turned against him?

As you would expect, Bryan is also loaded for bear when it comes to guns, and sadly, he's wasted money on crappy "AOW" or "any other weapon" devices like pen guns and cane guns. If I ever become rich, someone remind me to simply practice with the guns I have to become more proficient, not fritter it away on gimmicky solutions.

In addition to all his above-ground prepping, Bryan has dropped a cool $150,000 on a 500 square-foot underground bunker from his friend Ron Hubbard at Los Angeles-based Atlas Survival Shelters.

It's nice when you have the money for such elaborate prepping, spending hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on acres of land, elaborate systems, and purpose-built and high-end custom solutions, and this season of Doomsday Preppers has featured quite a few multimillionaire preppers like Bryan. Sometimes, though, I have to question their motives.

Are the producers of the show attempting to turn it into Prepping Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous as a way of showing what someone can do if he has tons of cash and plenty of fear? Or are they attempting to assert that it isn't worth even trying to prep if you don't have cash to burn? Intended or accidental, a show that focuses so squarely on the filthy rich segment of the prepping market may have the effect of convincing less-wealthy individuals that trying to put things aside for bad times is beyond their reach. Unintended consequences? I'll leave you to decide.