Doomsday Preppers Week 10: Survivors and Ghosts
Lindsey and Ray are part of the urban agriculture movement, a movement that I personally support and encourage. Instead of getting all their food from the grocery stores (or worse, fast food restaurants) as too many Americans do today, they've taken to growing what they can, and seem to have embraced the relatively new concept of edible landscaping. They're concerned about a collapse of the world agricultural system.
If you're one of those people who wholeheartedly believes in global warming, stop sneering at Doomsday Preppers now; if global climate change really is upon us as some claim, then shifts in climate will lead to poor yields and even crops failures. Such shifts and the famines they caused are the most likely causes of the end of the Mayan and Egyptian empires, and affected us here in the United States to a lesser extent in the 1930s. Considering the massive shift from rural to urban lifestyles that has happened in the past 80 years, the overwhelming majority of us are reliant on a relative handful of American farmers.
Scared sober yet? Good.
In response to this threat, Lindsey has become an advocate for sustainable living, promoting her message through a call-in radio show to encourage her Idaho community to follow her lead.
While Lindsey focuses on promoting a sustainable lifestyle, her husband Ray is a former Marine intent on protecting Lindsey and their family from the rampaging hordes of starving people he expects to see if food supply collapses. He's secured for the family a bug-out location with simple cabins and a deep well, far away from other people and stockpiled with four years of supplies, communications gear, their own agricultural supplies to continue growing their own food, and, of course, weapons. Why?
Due in part to Lindsey's radio show, she and Ray are well-known as being the most-prepared among their friends and family. Some — who of course don't believe in prepping themselves — have told Ray, "If the sh*t hits the fan, we're coming over to your place." Ray, AK-pattern rifle in hand with a 30-round clip in place, says rather convincingly that no, they will not. Therein, chillingly stated by Ray with his takes-no-nonsense eyes, lies the harsh reality of prepping told through the fable of the grasshopper and the ant.
If you prep, you might live. If you live improvidently, and do not prepare for bad times, do not expect others to save you.
While Ray and Lindsey won't suffer the fools lacking the wisdom to amass skills, they do understand "safety in numbers," and they've made the wise decision to ally with like-minded individuals in their area who are both physically fit and equipped with the necessary skills.
In this episode, they highlighted two new recruits to the team, both of whom are active duty military with good gun handling and small unit tactics. As the producers love to do, they carried out a practice bug-out and had the two recruits clear the bug-out location, encountering an unexpected surprise when they find the cabins occupied.
As always, the shows experts graded Ray and Lindsey's preparations, and as usual, I disagree with their scores to a certain extent. Practical Preppers places Ray and Lindsey second of all preppers this season, behind prepper-inventor John Adrain from episode five, and while the score was was close, I don't for a second believe that a single individual in late middle age relying heavily on electronic technology has a better chance of long-term survival over a highly skilled group with a deep reservoir of supplies, a relatively secure and remote location, deep agricultural skills, and military skills and discipline.
If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Lindsey and Ray being the most well-rounded preppers featured in either season of the show.
Neither Jim D. nor his truck, nicknamed the "Behemoth," are subtle when it comes to prepping, but then again, neither is the disaster he is preparing against.
Jim is preparing for the collapse of the power grid, and the social unrest that will follow. He's one of many preppers featured on the show focused on this possible calamity, which ranks, if my memory serves, as the most prepped-for disaster this season behind a worldwide financial collapse, and with good reason. As fragile as financial markets are, the electrical grid and the computers on them are our world here in the information age. Everything we buy, sell, consume and replenish is dependent upon electricity, and the electrical grid that powers our world was thrown together in a haphazard way. It is poorly shielded against any sort of attack, from physical attacks on key physical equipment to electromagnetic discharges (natural or man-made) -- or Jim's primary concern, cyber-attacks.
Jim's massive, 13-ton "Behemoth" is an MRAP-inspired rolling safehouse, with 1/2" thick armored walls, and a multi-fuel engine with massive fuel tanks capable, he claims, of driving from Los Angeles to Nova Scotia on one tank of fuel. He's spent $300,000 modifying this monster into what it has become, and frankly, I'm not sold on the concept.
While the family's living compartment is armored, the rest of the vehicle doesn't appear to be, and as it is most likely to be struck on the move if things really do go sideways, I think that constitutes a fatal design flaw.
Defensively, Jim is apparently resorting to tactics better suited to Hannibal's elephants, riding on top of the vehicle, completely exposed, to fire at his presumed enemies. He claims to be a "security consultant," but I have serious questions about what kind of security consultant he must be. I'm convinced he can't be a physical security consultant, as anyone remotely aware of how frequently our soldiers in Iraq were sniped in vehicle turrets would be aware. A stationary shooter engaging an exposed moving target isn't an ideal situation, but the opposite situation outside of extremely close range using stabilized firearms capable of laying down suppressive firepower (i.e., belt-fed machine guns capable of sustained fire) is darn close to suicidal.
Of course, the producers of Doomsday Preppers want to make the flaws in Jim's defensive theory nakedly obvious, and so they set up a "demonstration" where he rides around on top of the "Behemoth" and shoots at targets for the camera. How does Jim fair?
Not too good.
Moving at most at 10 mph, Jim cleanly misses targets as close as 20-25 yards, posing no threat to to any opponent, while making himself little more than a carnival shooting target.
The experts from Practical Preppers give Jim 10 months, and I think they're being generous. At 13 tons and poorly laid out as a fighting vehicle, I don't expect Jim to outlast his first encounter with serious opposition if society falls apart.
There is more than one critic of Doomsday Preppers convinced that the subtext of the entire show is subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) mockery of the prepping lifestyle, and that the producers either seek out people who are certifiable loons to appear on the program or splice together dozens of hours of footage in such a way as to make the participants appear as dumb as possible when their 20 minutes of infamy air. If you subscribe to this theory and find it infuriating, simple turn off your computer and walk away now. I would, but I have to write this review.
Recognize the sacrifice, people.
Okay... I warned you.
Amanda Bobbin hears voices. This is normal for her, because Amanda claims to be psychic. Her husband Scott seems to have no problem with this at all.
Amanda never intended to be a prepper, but channeling the spirit of the former owner of her 51-room, 8,500 square foot mansion through automatic writing and her communications with the deceased "Greta" convinced Amanda and her husband Scott to become preppers.
"Greta" has also told Amanda that a comet is coming to hit the Earth. What mysterious force turns the "dear departed" into astronomers? No one will tell us.
It must be nice to be rich and insane.
At the very least, at least "Greta" is currently a benign insanity, and has merely "told" Amanda to open their home for survivors in the event her paranormal visions become reality.
Stunningly, Amanda Bobbin doesn't have custody of her two teenage sons — I can't imagine why — and the fun really starts when they come for a visit from Ireland, completely without a clue as to what awaits them.
The boys are awestruck as the Bobbins' neighbors present them with sort of a housewarming present to start their preps, a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. The two Irish boys, being European beta-males, looked like they were about to wet themselves upon seeing the shotgun.
What does Scott do with his gift? He immediately points it cluelessly at his neighbor's wife's head. The young man presenting the gift says calmly, "Don't point it at my mom." I think he's figuring out quickly he's dealing with idiots.
The shock of her bed-wetting Irish spawn convinces Amanda that she needs to "come clean" about her new prepping lifestyle, "Greta," the comet...
It verges on sadism to film young men at the moment they realize (if they didn't know already) that their mother is quite insane. The older son, Christopher, rather calmly points out that he thinks "scientists would be able to predict something like that. It's not just going to come out of the blue." The younger son, Jonathan, says he's on board with prepping, but his body language suggests he'd rather be anywhere else.
Christopher walks out, causing Amanda to note, "He doesn't think we're rational."
The experts give Amanda and Scott ten months of survival time. Since Amanda already communes with the dead, I'm not sure what the big deal is.
Check out the previous installments in Bob Owens' ongoing critique of Doomsday Preppers: