Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “_____ and _____ are worried about an economic collapse.” National Geographic should simply change the name of their hit show from Doomsday Preppers to Surviving Obama and be done with it.
Where was I? Oh, I remember.
Brad and Krystal are the parents of three near Tulsa, Oklahoma, and worried about an economic collapse. They’ve been preppers for several years, and have amassed enough food stores that they are beginning to overwhelm their 2,000 sq. ft. home. Their closets and rooms are overflowing to the point that just to get into bed Krystal has to climb over Brad; her side of the bed is packed with canned food.
Moments after we are introduced to the family and shown around their warehouse/home, we shuffle off to the shooting range, where the family is intent on introducing their youngest son, six-year-old Carson, to shooting.
Putting a six year old in charge of a firearm sends up a big red flag to many people, whether they are shooters or not. In the end, it is a call that the parents and instructors have to make: is this specific child mature enough to follow instructions to the letter? Is the environment controlled, with limited distractions? Are all the basic safety rules being followed, and is that child’s exposure to the firearm tightly supervised, and restricted to the firing line? Is there a need/way to restrict the muzzle of the firearm so that it can only point downrange?
As a rifle-shooting instructor, these are some of the concerns that ran through my mind when I heard they were going to put Carson on the firing line, and it turns out those concerns were well-grounded.
The family can’t even get out of the house without serious safety violations, such as when their kids walk out the front door holding uncased firearms by the stocks, and young Carson is pointing the muzzle of his .22LR singe-shot at his sister’s ankles and their concrete driveway. Oy vey!
It’s nearly impossible to review a show on the fly, so I’ve relied on DVRing each new episode of Doomsday Preppers, and reviewing it the next day. This worked great until last week, when for whatever reason episode 14, “A Fortress at Sea,” didn’t record. I chalked it up to there being a mid-season re-run (they happen), and didn’t know otherwise until a reader asked my why I didn’t review it. Oops.
So, this week we’re going to do the best we can and condense two episodes “A Fortress at Sea” and “Let Her Rip” into one post. Call it “Ripped at Sea,” which is what I’m going to wish I was after doing a twofer.
Ready? Here we go!
Kevin and Annissa Coy live in Washington atate and were impacted by the explosion of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Along with their children and grandchildren, they are preparing against the threat of another eruption from one of five active volcanoes within striking distance of their home, including the country-killer, Yellowstone.
They have multiple vehicles to bug-out in, including a truck towing a 5th-wheel RV, a converted Greyhound bus, a 27-foot sailboat on a trailer, and a rollback wrecker to tote a micro-house in case the worst happens. They’ve got livestock (chickens, pigs, rabbits, etc), a year’s supply of food for the entire family… and problems.
Prior to the show, their efforts, while generally well thought-out, had been hypothetical. When it came time to put the theory into practice, that hit several serious snags. The truck that they had to pull the livestock trailer was jacked up too high to connect to the trailer, so they were forced to leave most large livestock behind to die in the hypothetical ash cloud (sorry, Porky). The chickens and rabbits ended up shoved into the luggage compartments of the bus, and I frankly think they stand a decent chance of dying of carbon monoxide poisoning since those aren’t very well-ventilated.
The micro-house Kevin built for Annissa, sadly, wouldn’t load up on the flatbed. Presumably, they need a better skid system under it.
The show’s experts at Practical Preppers dinged the Coys pretty hard for not having adequate water filtration figured out (if someone knows of a volcanic ash-/sludge-rated water filter, please let me know) and for security preps. I was a little uncertain about that, but since the only firearms showed on their segment were a bolt action .22LR and a scoped-deer rifle, it might mean they didn’t have sufficient firepower and/or numbers, since it is rather difficult to drive and shoot. They give them 11 months of survival time.
Ah, lucky 13. We’ve hit the 13th episode of Doomsday Preppers, Season Two, and what have we learned so far?
We’ve developed an understanding that the single most common reason for prepping is the imminent collapse of the economy and the ensuing chaos that follows such an event. We’ve learned that the producers of this show — and to be fair, the producers of almost every “reality” show — have an eye for the eccentric and the absurd. The more outlandish and unhinged the prepper, it seems, the better chance they stand of getting on the show. That allowed, there have been some very ingenious preppers who have made the cut this season as well and impressed even the most grizzled critics with their ingenuity.
Craig Compeau lives in southeastern Alaska, the “last frontier,” with his wife and teenage daughters. The owner of a boat sales company, Craig fears an economic collapse and popular revolt that leads to martial law.
Should that eventuality come to pass, Craig intends to get his family out of Fairbanks fast and into Alaska’s rugged interior where limited government forces aren’t likely to try and chase down individual families in the bush.
For the time being, Craig’s family is split up. His wife and older daughter are in a different part of Alaska pursuing medical degrees, while he keeps the home-fires burning and the preps, er, prepping. This isn’t easy on his younger daughter, Emily, who, like most teens, thinks her parents are nuts.
True to form for the show, Craig wakes Emily before dawn and takes her on on a forced retreat to their bug-out location.
The AR-15 is the most common rifle sold in the United States over the past few years, and it is easy to understand why. The simple, basic, iron-sighted rifle hasn’t changed a great deal since it hit the civilian market 49 years ago in 1964, but in the past decade in particular, modern manufacturers have taken the modular nature of Eugene Stoner’s rifle and run wild with the possibilities.
One of the possibilities of the AR-15′s modular design is the ability to change just the barrel (and sometimes the bolt) and to fire cartridges far different than the common 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington calibers that made the firearm famous. AR-15 shooters know they have the option of picking cartridges ranging from the cheap and ubiquitous .22LR to the tiny-but-fast pistol-class 5.7x28mm, and up through the rifle calibers to the heavy-hitting short-range power of the .50 Beowulf — capable of taking down buffalo, bear, and other dangerous game.
One of these new cartridges designed specifically for the AR-15 is the 6.5 Grendel, which is one answer to the problem of extending Stoner’s mid-range rifle into a true-long range platform.
Named after the mythical monster from the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, the 6.5 Grendel was introduced to the world by Bill Alexander of Alexander Arms in 2003 at the long-distance precision-rifle training ranges of Blackwater (now Academi) in Moyock, North Carolina. The wind-slicing 6.5 bullet out-shot the standard 7.62 NATO cartridge used by many of America’s law enforcement and military snipers at long distances, with roughly half the recoil of the 7.62 round. It more than doubled the range of the standard 5.56 NATO cartridge and carried far more down-range energy at any distance.
In southeastern Tennessee, Doug is known as the “Rockman.” No, it has nothing to do with his passing resemblance to retired WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels, who was part of a tag-team called “The Rockers” in the 1980s, when Doug last cut his hair. Instead, Doug is called the Rockman for a far more direct reason: he finds, excavates, and sells rocks. Boulders, to be specific, of the visually appealing kind that find their way into carefully designed landscaping projects for commercials and residential clients. It takes a discerning eye, and not a small amount of brute force.
Like tens of thousands (if not millions) of Americans, Doug is worried about an economy he sees faltering and on the cusp of failing. This has become the most common recurring theme pushing people into prepping nationwide, both on and off the show.
In order to have something as a trade good after the expected collapse of paper dollars, Doug has come up with an interesting way to “prospect” for silver, at his local bank. Doug exchanges his paper money for roll after roll of half-dollar coins, and takes them home to crack them open. Once opened, he looks only at the edges of the coins, quickly discarding those that show copper, to single out older coins that might be made of silver. In the 2,000 half dollars he picked up during this bank run, 12 of them were older coins made with varying amounts of silver. The $6 of coins are actually worth more than $100 in silver. Doug will keep these for barter, while rolling the rest and shipping them back to the bank for their face value. One day soon, he’ll repeat the process again.
John and Kelly Taylor are retired firefighters from Florida who have moved to the mountains of Virginia to live on a 41-acre homestead.
What led them to leave the Sunshine State?
Former emergency responders, they’ve been on duty during hurricanes and other natural disasters, and they’ve seen how thin the veneer of civilization can be when the infrastructure holding our society breaks down for even a little while. They’ve seen mankind go primal, and they want to insulate themselves from the social unrest that will follow what they feel is a coming economic collapse. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah.
They invested all of John’s retirement into prepping. The little income they do have of $4,000-$6,000 a year comes from their solar panel array, which not only provides all the power they can use, but generates enough energy that they sell the remainder to the power company.
Between their crops, animals, and honey bees, the Taylors have managed to “check out” of the normal monetary economy, rendering them largely immune to the direct impact of the financial collapse they fear must come.
Of course, what they can’t do is isolate themselves 100% from the sort of social unrest that would presumably follow such a collapse, and so they’re taking steps to defend what they’ve built.
In the event that they are forced from their homestead due to invaders, they have supply caches in the hills nearby, and have a desire to protect them. Their solution? Conibear traps. I don’t claim to be an expert on trapping, but I’ve heard the stories of body traps such as these designed for possums and beavers killing family pets, and I find it both unethical and possibly illegal to set such traps and leave them unattended as they seem intent on doing. It’s also incredibly stupid. Do they really think a trap designed for a small animal is going to stop even the blind man that doesn’t see the shiny metal traps, or it is just going to tip invaders off that something nearby is worth taking?
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.
Several times in previous articles for PJ Media I’ve mentioned in passing that I am a volunteer with the Project Appleseed. A project of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association, “Appleseed” is a unique blend of heritage and marksmanship education you won’t find anywhere else.
In the time I’ve spent since participating in my first Appleseed in March of 2012 up through my current status as an instructor in training, I’ve had the opportunity to see literally hundreds of participants come to the firing line. While the students and instructors come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, there is quite a bit more uniformity among the rifles students and instructors choose to bring.
A typical firing line at an Appleseed anywhere in the nation will look something like this:
If you look closely at the rifles, starting from the bottom right of the screen, you’ll note something interesting.
The empty rifle grounded at the bottom right is an AR-15 or a similar firearm. The first shooter in frame is using a semi-automatic .22LR training rifle (probably a Mossberg 715T), which is also apparently the same rifle used by the next shooter in line. The next man, in the red shirt, is firing a Ruger 10/22 with a scope, and while the photo gets a little grainy after that, it appears that the next shooters in line are also shooting Ruger 10/22s.
This is very typical at an Appleseed. While we proudly boast that we’ll teach students marksmanship with nearly any rifle safe to fire (depending on the condition of the firearm and the safe caliber capacity of the range’s berms), the simple fact of the matter is that most shooters prefer semi-automatic, detachable magazine rifles, and for good reason.
Self-loading, semi-automatic rifles allow shooters to focus on marksmanship.
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?
This season of Doomsday Preppers has seen a real focus on preppers gearing up for a national or global economic collapse. Silly preppers! Didn’t you know all it takes to avoid that is a trillion-dollar coin?
Brent is a little different in that he is preparing for survival after an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which can come from any number of sources, some natural and some man-made. The Carrington event is the best known natural EMP, and the bad news is that we are in a period in time where our sun is pumping out solar flares and coronal mass ejections with disturbing frequency. To date, the large “X” class flares like those Mr. Carrington saw in 1859 have missed Earth, but if one fires in our direction, our advance warning may be measured only in days before the side of the planet facing the flare goes back to the Dark Ages when our entire electrical grid and every bit of un-shielded electrical barbeques itself. Think this is a fear of fiction or old news? Think again: a minor solar storm put six million in the dark in Canada as recently as 1989.
Our hero, however, is fearful of the manmade kind of EMP, which occurs when a nuclear device detonates high in the atmosphere, frying everything in its bird’s eye view. It’s not something to scoff at: the U.S. government has military experts that view a nuclear-triggered EMP as our greatest threat.
A former engineer and military officer, Brent is building a castle in western North Carolina to protect his ten children, ranging in age from 8-41. His medieval dream house has 6,000 square feet of living space above the dirt, and a 2,000 square-foot bunker below. He’s spent a million dollars on it so far, and it won’t even keep you dry.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “I’m preparing for an economic collapse that will lead to violent social unrest.”
Airing as the federal government technically went bankrupt and over the “fiscal cliff” it cannot possibly avoid or recover from, this episode, which featured preppers who are gearing up for an economic collapse of the U.S. government and the violent social unrest that will follow, now seems prescient. Our fiscal insolvency is finally starting to hit home with many Americans.
Dangerously, this comes at a time just weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, which Democratic politicians are using as a cudgel to push for extremely wide-ranging gun control and confiscation. The single most powerful newspaper in the United States—which is deeply in bed with the Obama regime—has published an editorial calling for the destruction of the Constitution. Another newspaper published an editorial calling for the brutal murders of Republican leaders by dragging them to death behind vehicles.
Americans have responded to this threat from the federal government by purchasing firearms at unprecedented levels. Local gun stores have sold out of even World War-era rifles, and the nation teeters on the edge of rebellion.
Prepping for “violent social unrest” is now incredibly real to many Americans for the first time.
All the preppers this season who have prepared for this eventuality — which are roughly half of the show’s participants this season — are no doubt on high alert. And who can blame them?
Reality television is on the cusp of becoming a horrible reality.
Margaret Ling fears that a catastrophic hurricane will devastate the city. Cameron Moore is preparing for the meltdown of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, a rather sketchy reactor on the east bank of the Hudson River north of the city. Stock trader Jay — who remembers 9/11 vividly — fears a dirty bomb. In this special Doomsday Preppers, these three team up with a team of experts and attempt to “escape from New York.”
Yes, like you I figured “they’re dead” before the opening credits completed but tempered my skepticism with the knowledge that this town has survived both terror attacks and Hurricane Sandy. Yes, they can be obnoxious, self-centered, and self-important, but they are survivors.
So… how did they do?
Bob Kay is a nutritional scientist who lives in Southern California and is prepping for a catastrophic earthquake. He describes the land under his feet as “Graham cracker crust” near where 5-6 major faults come together. Geologically speaking, if you live in Southern California and don’t prep, you might just be the one who is dangerously delusional.
As we’ve seen in graphic detail in recent decades, a major earthquake near large population areas can “pancake” overpasses and bridges, destroying roads and rails and leaving the affected area with severe bottlenecks at the most desperate of times. Bob’s plan is to turn his 2.5 acre property into an “oasis” where his family will have the supplies they need to ride out the chaos following a major quake.
Bob has six motorcycles of various types to get around regardless of road conditions following a major quake, and has spent tens of thousands of dollars in functional landscaping, from 300 types of edible plants and trees to thorny species that form subtle but effective barriers. He’s built a 35,000 gallon (concrete?!?) pool to use not just for recreation, but as a water source that he can filter and drink.
John Adrain is an inventor living on a cliff’s edge in the Pacific Northwest. He has a variety of fears, including nuclear fallout, natural disasters, and biological terrorist attacks. He’s worried about a lot.
Now, as much as I like teasing our preppers/victims each week, Mr. Adrain addresses something at the very beginning of his segment that has been bugging me for two bleeping years.
I don’t quite understand bugging out. Where are you going to bug out to? Because if there was some sort of a panic, people think they’re just going to get onto the freeway and drive somewhere? I think there’s a lot of problems with that. You’re better off being prepared where you are.
On behalf of sane people everywhere, thank you, Mr. Adrain, for pointing out the common-sense idea that so many people on this show just don’t seem to grasp.
Adrain is serious about his home-defense prepping. Did I mention he lives in a house perched on a cliff? Natural geological defense worked against the rampaging hordes, and his home takes advantage of natural terrain. While he didn’t go for a moat, he did splurge on a military base-security-grade steel gate that will stop a 10-ton vehicle going (if I heard the narrator correctly) 50 MPH.
Then he tickled this gunnie’s heart.
On the chance that a vehicle does breach the perimeter, Adrain wants a weapon that will penetrate the engine block or passenger compartment with equal ease. His cartridge of choice is the .50 Beowulf, a cartridge yours truly has fired on multiple occasions both in the recommended semi-auto and the absurdly entertaining full-auto, as shown on the next page.
Dr. Tom Perez is a retired chiropractor in Houston, TX. He lives with his wife Monica, daughter Kat, and sons Tommy and Matthew, and they prepare for a terrorist attack (specifically, a radiological dirty bomb). If that happens, and society panics, Dr. Perez plans to bug out to a 700-acre ranch 300 miles to the west in Bracketville, TX, near the Mexican border.
Brackettville was once home to Fort Clark, home to horse-mounted cavalry units from the 1850s up until World War II. It is perhaps best known as the location in which John Wayne starred as Davy Crockett in The Alamo. The Perez family compound borrowed that name for their two limestone homes… rather macabre, when you consider the name is synonymous with a doomed last stand.
Doomsday Preppers, by it’s very nature (hint, the title includes “Doomsday”), finds the most extreme preppers, and the Perez family breaks the mold in more ways than one. The family has spent ten years and more than $2 million to build the compound into a prepper’s fortress, which is to my knowledge the most money spent by any prepper in any season of the show. He has a windmill and concrete cisterns of more than 2,000 gallons.
The two buildings boast bullet-resistant walls, steel bars over the windows, security cameras, and the entire compound is surrounded by a 7′ high barbed-wire fence. He’s “contaminated” 10 percent of the food and water as a trap for those who would steal from him. He has 46,000 rounds of ammunition, enough cartridges, as the narrator points out, to shoot everyone in the entire county 12 times.
Last week’s premiere of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers was every bit the train wreck we’ve come to expect from the series, which features eccentric disaster-preparedness fanatics spending tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to prepare for a variety of disaster scenarios.
Tennessee-based prepper Big Al was afraid of a Soviet nuclear attack, and somehow thought that Valdimir Putin would give him enough time to drive halfway across a continent to his questionably safe wood-heated underground bunker. Future serial killer Jason Beacham coldly planned to leave his mom behind and pal around with knuckleheads his own age that might one day make a good meal. The Southwick family was the only family on last week’s episode that seemed to have a chance of lasting more than a few days, though the smallpox outbreak scenario the family patriarch was preparing against was farfetched at best.
The second episode, “Bad Times All the Times,” is a bit less insane than last week’s show, and actually offered up two prepper families that have a shot at surviving… along with a third that may end up split by the self-deportation to Colombia of the most rational person the show has seen since it’s been on the air.
The summer of 1996 was a rough season for eastern North Carolina. Hurricane Bertha roared ashore as a Category 2 storm in July, and a soggy month later Hurricane Fran hit even harder as a Category 3 storm. I was with my girlfriend (now wife) and saw 100-year-old oaks drop all around us, crushing cars and apartment buildings. We were without power for most of a week. It left an impression.
We’d graduated and moved to Durham, NC, survived the hysteria of the Y2K scare, and had no reason to expect much of consequence when the local weather told us there was going to be “a couple of inches” of snow the evening of January 24, 2000. When it finally stopped falling the next day, we had 22 inches on our back porch, and I had a very pregnant wife in her third trimester. For most of the next week, we were prisoners in our home.
Shortly after our daughter was born I pursued an opportunity in New York. We were in New Windsor, near Stewart Airport, when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 almost collided overhead. I’ve always thought it would have been better if they had. Shortly afterward, they smashed into the World Trade Center towers and changed our world.
I relate all this merely to establish that my own life experiences have made me very aware of the fact that catastrophic disasters, both man-made and natural, can happen at any time, and anywhere, to anyone. Because of these experiences, I’m sympathetic to the concept of disaster preparation, or “prepping” as a form of life insurance for those you love.
And then there is Doomsday Preppers, the National Geographic Channel hit that returned this week with the premiere episode of its second season (which, bizarrely, is the second episode … don’t ask why). For those of you unfamiliar with the show, I’d describe it as the paranoid version of MTV’s Jersey Shore with dumber livestock.
Preppers is in the very loosest sense “reality television,” in that those people starring in the show aren’t actors, but the scenarios and editing are both contrived and far-fetched, or at least you hope they are. Last season was a train wreck, and if last night’s premiere (second episode?) was an omen of things to come, we can expect more of it this season.
The format of the show breaks an hour-long program into segments focusing on three different sets of preppers, each preparing for some sort of catastrophe.
Last night’s episode was appropriately titled “Am I nuts or are you?” The characters featured were much what you would expect from the title.