Doomsday Preppers… sign of the times?

I realize I’m not the only person half-joking about December 21, 2012. But I didn’t realize I’m so far behind the apoca-times that National Geographic has a show about Doomsday Preppers.

Since I consume my sitcoms exclusively via hulu, I miss a lot of popular culture, so this gem would have slipped by without Stephen Colbert’s valiant intern slaves. I imagine Stephen has a team of college students trapped in a purgatory-esque basement à la Ben Hur, damned to watch every asinine commentator on Fox News, gathering the choicest clips (or rather, scraping the bottom of the barrel?).

Stephen was nonplussed by these survivalist citizens and their bug-out plans, as evidenced by his segment titled Stephen Colbert’s End of the World of the Week.  “They’re all ready for the unthinkable. And they each unthink it will be something different.” Then he rolled the tape of all the different crazy things these bunker-loving wackos were prepping for: a second worldwide great depression, the possibility of a devastating earthquake city of LA, an electromagnetic pulse disabling America’s transportation system, and Yellowstone’s super-volcano to explode.

I’m not that sure about when the super-volcano is due to blow, but other than that there is actually precedence for all those events. Is it really that nuts to prep for a natural, environmental or economic disaster that has a percentage possibility of occurring? They didn’t even mention cesium pills for if the Diablo nuclear plant has a meltdown, or the radius of destruction if Mount Rainier erupts.

There’s a plethora of ways our globalized fossil fuel dependent economy can be brought to its knees by either accident or design, even if temporarily. There’s only three days of food in any city in America, and 87% of all commercial goods move by truck. So any natural disaster, coupled with damage to our terminally crumbling infrastructure (that’s what happens when you build something in the 30s and never repair it) and an insufficient response could strand many Americans without access to electricity, water, food, basic services, or an exit strategy. Is it so crazy to think about what to do in those situations? If there’s a huge storm, apparently Monterey turns into an island for a few days. What would I do if Trader Joes ran out of my favorite pumpkin flax granola? I should probably stock up.

In all (somewhat) seriousness, there’s a great website by Chris Martenson that approaches disaster preparedness as the most normal proactive sane thing anyone could do. If you live in an earthquake zone, shouldn’t you be ready to go without services for a few days at any point in time? Martenson argues that by having your batteries duct tape and emergency supplies you’re a better neighbor and citizen. You’ll be able to help others and remain calm. And if nothing ever happens, you’ll feel safer knowing you’re prepared.

I feel conflicted about prepping (considering I haven’t done any and my apartment has enough calories and supplies to last for roughly the first 7 ½ minutes of the apocalypse). Is it because I’m lazy and don’t have anyone to help me? Or because I don’t really want it to be true, at least yet – just give me five or ten more years before the s@#t hits the fan, please. More apoc-committed souls exist in America, however, and NatGeo put them all on this show. But after watching the promo clip on their website, I thought it was more eerie than ridiculous, as Stephen had intimated.

Megan believes that global oil crisis will hurl the country and her city into chaos in a matter of days. “We’re going to starve, that will send everyone into a panic, they’re going to buy up everything, people will start to steal food, they’ll start to kill each other, and come after you.” They’ve got food throughout their apartment and could hunker down for three months. They also have guns, and “bullets, lots of bullets.”

Okay, maybe that’s where Megan and I part ways, because I’m more like bayonets, bayonets! But seriously, she does look a little choked up when she talks about putting down the cats – one right to the back of the head. Probably the only humane thing to do to those domesticated felines, although I’d think a cat stands a better chance than most humans to make it out of here alive.

But as Stephen points out, “they’re not just a lot of gun nuts. They’re all kinds of nuts.” As the hippy-apocalypse-hackey-sacker says, he doesn’t have any guns. But if anyone comes to his ecovillage post-Rapture he’ll “invite them to a feast and charm them. If I find them useful or cooperative great, otherwise I’ll poison them in their sleep or something.” Stephen recommends to “save the scrotum, they make great hackey sacks.” Clearly Colbert has never had the Spanish delicacy sopa testículo.

As he says, the worst part is that Preppers is encouraging this behavior – and not necessarily in a constructive way, in my opinion. (In Stephen’s opinion I’m pretty sure there is no right way and these people are all just insane.) But it’s true that their bug out preparedness assessment on the show points out that a tank of gas won’t get the Suburban south of the border – because “in the radiation-strewn hellscape you want to make sure you have enough gas to get somewhere known for safety and stability – Mexico.”

Personally, I’ll be walking North, but it would be fine with me if people want to flood in the opposite direction, less hand to hand zombie combat required. Another day, another apoca-rant…

2 thoughts on “Doomsday Preppers… sign of the times?

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