Despite a lull following the end of the Cold War, survivalism has gained greater attention in recent years, resulting in increased popularity of the survivalist lifestyle, as well as increased scrutiny. A National Geographic show interviewing survivalists, Doomsday Preppers, was a "ratings bonanza" and "the network's most-watched series", yet Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times declared it an "absurd excess on display and at what an easy target the prepper worldview is for ridicule," noting, "how offensively anti-life these shows are, full of contempt for humankind."
I have 3 herniated cervical discs and C7 radiculopathy. I haven't really thought of it before today, but I think I'm going to rig up an emergency traction device with a towel, rope, and a quick disconnect. Not the safest thing in the world, but in a pinch, it beats pain and muscle atrophy if I jack up my neck in a SHTF scenario and I don't have access to prescription refills or my tried and true traction device.
Jennifer didn’t get into prepping with a hurricane like Maria in mind. Her own personal SHTF moment — the calamity that spurred her to start stockpiling and growing food in the first place — was one that most people can relate to: the sudden closure of the law firm where she’d worked for several years. “We were down to only one income, so I said, ‘I have to really do something to help us get through this,’” Jennifer recalls.
Disasters have, of course, put pressure on communities for a long time—including in the region now known as Mesa Verde, an area in southwestern Colorado renowned for its astonishing cliff dwellings. An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people lived at Mesa Verde between 1225 and 1260, and then the population declined rapidly. For a long time, archaeologists had no idea what had become of them. But Pueblo tribes—in what is now New Mexico and Arizona—had, for generations, told stories about an exodus from Mesa Verde, and they claimed the previous inhabitants as their ancestors.
Say what you want about the "characters" involved in the various episodes, but the bottom line is this - are you prepared? Likewise, do you have any friends or colleagues who you have bounced ideas off to create and assemble your emergency reaction plan? Probably not, is my guess. On the other hand, with these videos, you can extract the good and bad, the essential and non-essential, and develop your own plan. The program presents 2-4 different groups of individuals in each episode with a different crisis focus. For example, some preppers focus on EMP (Electronic Magnetic Pulse) disasters, other focus on the results of an economy meltdown, others on natural and man-made disasters. In any case, the concept each prepper conveys is the Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared". My thinking is that anyone who watches this series (at least this 1st season) will have a better chance to formulate their own ideas of whether making any emergency plans is worth their while. And if so, it's quite easy to filter through the sometimes odd personalities who've made the show what it is. Thing is, after an emergency, the issue of odd personalities will be a moot point. As they say, would you rather be six months too early or one-day too late in your emergency planing? My thinking is that everyone should analyze their own exposure to disaster (e.g., hurricanes, storm surges, tsunamis, nuclear radiation leakage, earthquakes, floods, and of course the darker concept of whether or not these United States of America will always be acceptably free and that our way of life will never be challenged). In any case, be prepared, patriots.
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Pense invites me to imagine a world turned lawless when the ninth transformer blows. Fifteen percent of the New Orleans Police Department deserted during Hurricane Katrina—imagine if the entire force lived where the levees broke. Big box stores killed off regional food distribution centers years ago; all we’ve got is what’s inside Walmart and Sam’s Club, and if you thought Black Friday was bad, imagine the crowds when it’s life or death. Drivers fleeing Springfield will hit roadblocks, where mobs will pull people from their vehicles like the LA rioters did to Reginald Denny. You might commit vehicular manslaughter, the preppers tell me, just to get out alive.
This idea alone was the reason I started prepping in the first place, it was my experience in a flood that made me realize how much I have taken for granted the systems that are controlled by so many others, from transport industries with food and fuel, to power plant operations and clean water. All of this is daily life norms, but when they are switched off, it’s something I was never prepared to deal with.
When I started putting together my first survival kit, I just collected whatever weird stuff I could find—like tablets that would protect my thyroid from nuclear fallout. My mindset changed when my first daughter was born. I realized I needed a more practical end-of-the-world plan, with equipment that would be useful for things that might actually happen. Nuclear war is probably not in store for 2018, and if it is, I’ll just open a window. I don’t want to live through that.
Staying at home might not be an option for long, especially in an urban area with lots of mouths to feed and dwindling supplies. A bunker is ideal, and at the very least should be partly belowground, fortified and well-provisioned. Barring that, a cave or a cabin somewhere away from populated areas will do. As a modicum of reduced exposure, a small, foldable tent or plastic tarp might not be a bad investment.