Welcome to Jercol's Back to the Basics. This is where I will post useful information, tips, and gear reviews about what I learn about Outdoor Survival, Activities, and Disaster Preparation. My only goal is to be informative, realistic, and at least a little entertaining.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why "The Doomsday Preppers" Hurt Us

I almost hate to admit that I've watched this show and found it entertaining.  I hate admitting that because half of the entertainment value of this show is in watching people and their beliefs held up for "review".  Now, I haven't seen every episode, so I could have missed a few, but have you noticed that they never show the more rational preppers?  You know, the family that lives in tornado country and is preparing for a tornado?  Or the ones that live with the drought and are stocking up on water?  No, it's always the ones that believe the military industrial complex is going to forcefully take over.  Or it's the ones that believe the poor economy will collapse the government.  It's always the ones that have conspiracy theories.

Have you ever watched American Idol when they show all those people that didn't make it onto the show?  They were terrible, like two cats fighting in an alley, and you feel sorry for them, but you still laughed?  "Doomsday Preppers" is kind of like that.

One, I'm not interested in holding people up for public ridicule, no matter how strange their ideas might be (or how bad their singing).

Two, this show makes preppers look like the love children of conspiracy theorists and that crazy homeless guy wearing the sandwich board sign "The End is Coming!!"

Now, I'm not saying that all preppers are completely rational.  Preppers are this interesting cross section of society, there's a little bit of everything.  Sometimes though, it seems like the loudest voices are the ones with the most outlandish reasons for prepping.

It's impossible to go to a "survival board" or "prepper board" without finding a fairly thick streak of doomsday theorists (there are also quite a few Zombie Survival boards).  There are preppers that ramble about how the government is going to implement martial law, or sun spots might wipe out all electronics, or people need to protect themselves from evil corporations that run the world... there are a million different theories.  There are a million threads on the best rifles, or gun calibers, to survive when the SHTF (sh!t hits the fan).

The reason I have a problem with the show is that it makes the rest of us seem like fellow conspirators .  I have some supplies stocked, I am working on a BOB, I want to have some things ready for an emergency.  Does that mean I think Zombies will be coming for my brains soon?  No.  But if I went in to work and said "Hey, I got a cool new first aid kit for my bug out bag!"  I would probably get laughed at, whether or not having a first aid kit was actually a good idea.

You see what I mean?

The show and the theories make conversations about disaster and emergency preparation extremely difficult.  And some of those conspiracy theorists might have some good ideas about prepping and survival, but nobody is going to take them seriously.

Let's look at prepping another way.  What are those things that you pay for every month and hope to God that you never need to use it?  Oh yeah, insurance.  Health insurance, life insurance, renters insurance, car insurance...  Is it crazy or is it smart?  Does it give you some piece of mind to know that you have it if something bad happens?

Let's say you have hurricane insurance and a nice little hurricane comes along and turns your house into a pile of lincoln logs.  Is the Aflac bird going to fly in and drop off some MRE's and bottled water for you?  No.  If you're lucky some National Guardsmen will.  Do you want to be cold, hungry, and thirsty when they show up or would you rather be sitting around a campfire, boiling water for some spaghetti, and offer the Guardsmen a cup of coffee?

Insurance is a vitally important thing and something that is missed on a lot of the 'Survivalist' boards.  Consider it a long term 'prep', something that will help you back on your feet when things are hopefully getting back to normal.  Having some supplies set aside is just another form of insurance, something else that we hope we never have to use.  It's another kind of peace of mind.  I can't tell you how comforting it is to have that GHB in my trunk and my BOB in my closet.

You don't have to believe in the upcoming Aztec prophecies to think storing some food is a good idea.  Doomsday has nothing to do with it.  Focus on the 'preppers' part, to be prepared or preparing.  There's nothing wrong with that.

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