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Maybe you guys have seen this on the once-respectable National Geographic Channel:

These people piss me off. They really do. And it pisses me off that National Geographic gives them a mouthpiece. I'll try to explain below the orange cloud of righteous indignation.

First of all, let me start by saying that being prepared for an emergency is a good thing. Every household really should have a first aid kit, flashlights, smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher, etc.

But these "prepper" guys? Give me a break. This is some paranoia gone overboard. I think that it is above all, really selfish. Instead of stockpiling food and weapons to keep yourself "safe" (I use that word in quotes, because stockpiling weapons is not a safe thing to do), why not help out your local community and do everything you can to prevent whatever it is you're preparing for from happening?

Not to belabor the point about these stockpiled weapons, but well...

Look- if you really want to prepare for a horrible disaster, here's what to do (and its easy, I promise):

Go down to your local Red Cross office and give blood. Maybe sign up for some of their classes as well, you know, the classes that are free? The ones that teach you what to do in case of an emergency? That way, you're, you know, prepared. Think of all that extra room you'd have in your house when you ditch the 30 year canned food supply and the armory!

Am I gonna eat my words here if the zombie apocalypse happens, or if the Yellowstone caldera blows or if a North Korean nuke hits L.A.? I don't think I will. Because I have faith in people. We are smart. We have the Hubble space telescope. We're capable of some pretty amazing things. But when you're locked down in your fallout bunker, shooting anyone who comes close, you're not helping anyone. You are actually part of the problem.

Poll

How prepared are you for a disaster?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tim's going to miss his thumb whether the world (11+ / 0-)

    Ends or not.

    LOL, what a dumbass.

  •  What could go wrong: scenario #78. (10+ / 0-)

    "The damn thing misfired."

    Lucky the shithead didn't lose a son.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:52:29 AM PST

  •  By way of counterpoint (12+ / 0-)

    I would ask the reader to consider Alphageek's 2005 disaster prep diary series, which he wrote during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (Link goes to the last part of that series).

    Why? Because if Katrina taught us anything, it's that we're really not prepared to handle the short term effects of a major disaster.

    ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
    My Blog
    My wife's woodblock prints

    by maxomai on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:52:56 AM PST

    •  That is a fabulous series that I've highlighted... (23+ / 0-)

      ...several times. While some preppers take things to extremes, like the guys in the NatGeo piece, being well-prepared at reasonable levels is a good thing. Not being prepared is as foolish as being over-prepared. I live in earthquake country and I need to be ready.

      I grew up in the era of backyard bomb shelters (we DID NOT have one), which the government urged on people. Some of that prepping attitude comes from that time.

      Mormons take the concept of food storage very seriously, although the old charge to keep a year's worth of food has been reduced more recently. It's all part of the LDS credo that families should be "self sufficient."

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:04:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agree. I don't have weapons (5+ / 0-)

        (not allowed where I live anyway-yup it's unconstitutional but you are not allowed to possess a gun within city limits)

        but I have first aid stuff some food and water...and ways to get clean water.

        I call it insurance. I've needed it before, too.

      •  You're absolutely right. (7+ / 0-)

        As a former Boy Scout (3 score of years ago) the simple motto of  “Be Prepared”, trite and over used, is correct.  One's knowledge and awareness will, in the long run,  get further than will  an assault rifle and 30 round clips stacked to the roof of the root cellar called home.
        For most of these people,  ignorance, of the real world, is the fertile soil of paranoid induced behavior.
        Since News Corp (Murdock and Fox) bought National Geographic the programming has turned to shit.

        "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

        by carver on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:25:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, that is not the kind (4+ / 0-)

        of "Prepping" covered by this TV series.

        They are all preparing for "End of Days" events, and every one of them, with very few exceptions, needs to be able to survive, at 900 rounds a minute.

        Occasionally they have some very good ideas which would fit well with a more sustainable lifestyle. If that was the major topic I would write Diaries about it too :)

        I''ll contribute something about brewing beer.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:01:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think people should use common sense (5+ / 0-)

        but shoot it is hard for me to keep extra toilet paper in the house for 2 weeks  much less stock up on it for a year....People around here find my hiding places for the coca cola too.   My bunch would never let me be a prepper....They, along with me have little self control.
        Candles?  forget it... They light them when friends come over.
        Canned goods?   I can never find my can of tuna when I want a good tuna sandwich.   One of the household members will fess up and say they gave it to the cat.  A whole bag of Meow mix and they give away my Charlie Tuna.

        desserts?  Forget it.. Gone in thirty minutes.

        Every stash place has been discovered and raided.
        I doubt my bunch would ever consider my stash of anything an emergency.   Pepto Bismol...Gone..Both bottles.
        Maybe I should have answered screwed instead of basic emergency kit...but the bandaids are the only distrubed thing in that.  We have flashlights but someone keeps taking the batteries.

        MB..you can always prepare...to come to the Fl Meetup and have a sunshine time.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:58:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Couple of mormon thoughts (0+ / 0-)

        1) Having a supply of "stuff" can be useful to the family budget. If I have plenty of veggies stored then when my most favorite product (toilet paper!) is on sale I can shift a lot of my food budget to, um, paper products. This is good economics.
        2) It's a cushion for unemployment, etc.

        and if the zombie apocalypse comes...
        3) I'll be able to donate stuff to Seattle after the big earthquake. I live in eastern Washington state.

        For some reason I tend to think being a benefit to others is in the bible somewhere.  

    •  Katrina also illustrates the flaw of trusting that (5+ / 0-)

      government is going to be there to help us in the event of many of these disaster scenarios.

      While I would agree the specific scenarios those in many of the Doomsday Preppers shows are not the most likely, I enjoy the show and empathize with the ethos of self-reliance, and lack of trust that government, the community, or the system is going to come save us in the event of these breakdowns.

      The Katrina, Sandy, and other power outages debunk any theory that we can depend on government to quickly rescue us from likely, and predictable severe storm incident.

      The National Science Foundation published a scenario of up to two year delays in restoring electrical power to large regions of the nation in the event of a coronal mass ejection (big solar flare) in the direction of earth.

      Heck, why should anyone believe we will take care of victims of incidents like this any better than we take care of the 50 million currently without health insurance, or unable to qualify for state Medicaid.

      If you get in trouble in this primitive country you will be mostly on your own.  

      Individuals and small self-organized groups that prepare in advance to take care of their own needs, and the needs of their love ones and local communities are not misquided, IMO.  

      The two exceptions I have with the National Geographic series are that they depict, and even encourage the seemingly dominant assumption that preppers need extensive firearms and training to fight off fellow citizens who have not prepared, encouraging the expectation of running firefights between the "ants and the grasshoppers," instead of the Gandhi like spirit of self-reliance and freedom.

      The second major problem is that they select a series of extreme preppers whose fear of specific improbable disasters rather than more rationale generalized prepping makes the whole movement seem kooky.  For example, half of one show was dedicated to a women whose extensive preps against viral contamination seemed more related to uncontrolled OCD, rather than prudent more generalized balanced preparation.

      I have sleep apnea and require a breathing machine dependent on electricity.  I've already been in crisis twice as recent electrical outages left me without power for over a week in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Boston.

      Absolutely no one from the utility, or local government, made any provision for those dependent on  medical equipment requiring electricity.  All the local suppliers of gasoline powered electrical generators were sold out, but we found a way to get a gigantic $1,000 special shipment in a mad rush.  

      Anyone who thinks government, or communities are going to look our for the needy, poor, sick, or isolated in an emergency when we already ignore these needs during regular times is ..... greatly optimistic.

      I grew up in a neighborhood with many Mormons who took it as an instruction of faith to maintain at least a year's supply of food in their homes, and they had more in local churches.  I admire such self-reliance, and now in retrospect see a side-effect of such efforts is that these groups probably have lower incidence of hunger in their communities because of the self-reliance, capabilities, and sense of individual responsibility and self-initiative developed.

      After seeing how difficult it has been to get the incomplete ACA passed, and learning of the great holes that are still going to exist even if we implement most of it, I'm slow coming around to the idea that we are going to need a different model of self-reliance to achieve even minimal levels of universal health care.

      We now have 50 million American with no health insurance, and even the most optimistic estimates before the GOP governors defiance spread was that we may get  30 million more covered.

      Would it not be naive to expect the"magic transformation" of a natural disaster to change our countries basic orientation to the needy in the event of a disaster? The evidence shows that after a few benefit concerts you will be on your own.

      But, we definitely need to develop a more progressive sub-community of preppers, with more liberal values. Part of my own interest in solar, wind, and other sustainable energy generation resonates with what I read of Gandhi's writings and strategy of self-reliance to can liberation from British domination.

      To the extent that corporate and conservative interests have combined in a conspiracy to cripple government effectiveness and capacity self-reliance may be the only realistic way of maintaining and improving quality of life for the majority of citizens.

      Now that the Biden-McConnell bill makes the majority of Bush tax cuts permanent fixing federal government tax revenues at 18% of GDP while current government spending is 23.5% we are going to be in a decades long, or longer battle on how we cuts 22% out of current government spending, with the GOP dead set against any reduction to military spending.

      Unless we get a major change of plan, I see virtually no one talking about, today will be remembered as the "high water" mark of governments care of our citizenry.

      I expect future seasons of Doomsday Preppers will catch on to this and the extreme disasters scenarios of prepping for meteor strikes, viral pandemics, and post nuclear war survival will be replaced by shows about how average citizens will struggle to be able to find food, water, shelter, and basic health care for every day life, as much of our poorest, elderly, and sick, already do.

      In this regard I see the current Doomsday Preppers inspiring steps in the right direction.  

      But, we will need more liberal themes emphasizing ways of providing food and shelter for the masses rather than the current emphasis on arming individual and fortifying houses for combat in  food riots.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:02:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is quite the comment! (8+ / 0-)

        But I feel you. The thing is,

        I expect future seasons of Doomsday Preppers will catch on to this and the extreme disasters scenarios of prepping for meteor strikes, viral pandemics, and post nuclear war survival will be replaced by shows about how average citizens will struggle to be able to find food, water, shelter, and basic health care for every day life, as much of our poorest, elderly, and sick, already do.
        ...that's never gonna happen. These reality TV producers aren't gonna sign off on that. They want more idiots like the guy who blew his thumb off. That's what they think we want.

        Being prepared is a good thing. Waiting for the destruction of societal norms so that you can use your cache of weapons against other people is not to be applauded. That's my beef with this stuff. The "I got mine, screw everyone else" attitude of these *ssholes.

        "What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce." -Mark Twain

        by jared the bassplayer on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:18:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You make excellent points in this regard, Jared. (5+ / 0-)

          You are probably right about doubting National Geographic will pick up more liberal themes in future seasons. In this regard I'll confess to getting carried away in an excess snarkiness - caught in an improbable web of cynicism and optimism mixed up in an rhetorical flourish, as I often do.

          So, why don't you, or someone, start a liberal progressive variation of Doomsday Preppers - maybe called Everyday Preppers  for the Common People - which emphasized the development of volunteer community health care, like blood pressure and diabetes screening for the poor.

          After this comment, I remembered the Cuban community based, grass roots,  health care model that I have vague memories of reading gives Cuba higher scores than the US on many basic health measures.  But I may be mistaken.

          Now that your post as generated such good conversation I need to go back and tip and rec it.

          Thanks jared.  

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:44:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Liberal Themes" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jared the bassplayer

            The communitarian approach to disaster preparedness is not a "liberal theme" as the "Doomsday Preppers" are not really playing out a "conservative theme."   The communitarian approach is actually what works and the "Doomsday Prepper" ideal is basically paranoid nihilism rather than any kind of coherent conservatism.

            I've been following this TV perversion of preparedness for awhile now and wrote a diary about it here:
            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            There are a wide variety of ways the theme of preparedness could be shown on TV that built real emergency capacity and reduced paranoia.  Most of those ways could be entertaining as well with intelligent production and writing but NatGeo and TLC  (with their show on "Doomsday Bunkers") are not interested.

            Truth be told, PBS isn't much interested either.  Witness the paucity of sustainable energy renovations for most of the run of "This Old House."

            But then, I believe Solar IS Civil Defense:

            Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

            by gmoke on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:23:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  There's already a liberal prepper group (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pluto, chimene

            All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

            by Noddy on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:29:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well thank you. (0+ / 0-)

            Once again, I'm impressed by the depth of intelligence of the DK posts. And the broader conversations in the comments. Pretty cool. I always do find it fascinating what people write in.

            "What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce." -Mark Twain

            by jared the bassplayer on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:51:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not so much about liberal themes (0+ / 0-)

            as it is about the producers wanting to show a crisis, even if it means they have to provoke a crisis.

            I worked as a PA and an armorer on a movie shoot while a reality TV show was being shot around us. The producers made sure to fuck with our shoot any way they could, so they could get good footage for their show at the expense of our movie. They failed, because our director was a clever bastard.

            That said, I could see a producer doing a TV show about poor Americans trying to get food and water ten years from now. One might argue that shows like Moonshiners and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo show this now.

            ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
            My Blog
            My wife's woodblock prints

            by maxomai on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 04:37:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I watch the moonshiners show, and the one old (0+ / 0-)

              fellow once described how without moonshine a lot of the old timer could not have fed their families.  He said they whip up a batch of shine and get a dollar with which they would buy groceries which they could not get any other way.

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 01:37:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  What happened to Nat Geo? (14+ / 0-)

    It's now owned by none other than Rupert Murdoch, that's what happened.

    But yeah, shows like Doomsday Prep are pure crap.

  •  You're missing an all of the above option. (6+ / 0-)

    No reason why you can't donate blood, volunteer, and maintain a bunker all at the same time.

  •  I have told all my friends (6+ / 0-)

    they can come live on our organic farm when the world collapses, if they can get here.  Now, I just have to tell the rest of my family that they're all coming....

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:26:58 PM PST

  •  Not all preppers are crazy right wingers (7+ / 0-)

    Personally, I think it reasonable to have a few months of food and water laid away.

    We have household insurance in the unlikely event something happens. SImilarly some people believe that they should be able to sustain family if the grid fails etc or at least if there is a huge storm and they'll be on their own for weeks at a time.

    I hate that people on Kos seem to lump everyone togeather. Even on this show not everyone has (seemed) to be a right winger.

    I think living off the grid and living a sustainable life for example is a very worthy goal. I'd love to do it if I had the means (financial and health). I'd love to have chickens for example.

    •  They pick some of the most extreme people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, Cameron Hoppe

      such as this guy. BUt not every person as I said even on their own show was as extreme.

      We have a "just in time" delivery system in place in cities and suburbs. If shipping (trucks) is disrupted stores will be empty very quickly. THink how it is (if you've seen it) right before a major blizzard--shelves are empty.

      A few yrs ago in Boston the water was contaminated because a pipe broke. If I recall it was in the middle of the summer. BOttled water flew off the shelves. IIRC our water was contaminated for around a week.

      In some places it was hard to find clean water.

      Fortunately I had some at home myself. Which was good because I'm disabled enough with an injury that I can't run around store to store physically.

    •  woops SOME people here on Kos (0+ / 0-)

      (don't want to be a hypocrite!)

  •  there's an anti-government, I've got mine.. (7+ / 0-)

    screw anyone else philosophy with these people that is repugnant.

    Yes, being prepared for emergencies is common sense. Having a government ready to deal with emergencies is just more common sense. Stockpiling arms is.. dangerous.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:36:27 PM PST

  •  The most important disaster preparation is (7+ / 0-)

    getting to know your neighbors. It isn't the loner in the bunker with the automatic weapons who is going to survive. It is the groups who pool their resources and help each other. The Mormons know this also...

    •  Organize for disasters (4+ / 0-)

      The above is a critically important insight.

      Get your neighbors to a Community Emergency Response Team training session.

      Inventory skills. Is there a nurse in the neighborhood? A ham radio operator?

      Mr. Corckburn's point can't be emphasized enough. Ever noticed that the fire department never sends only one firefighter? It's always a team, because a team can accomplish things an individual can't.

  •  Having a few weeks worth of food is fine, but (4+ / 0-)

    the guys that stockpile a years worth don't seem to realize they won't last that long. The problem is not running out of food...the problems is everybody else running out of food.

  •  Anyone remember after 9/11 (5+ / 0-)

    when there were actual official types telling people to have duct tape to seal their windows in case someone set off a poisonous gas or biological weapon? Alas, I grew up a skeptical little girl in the "duck and cover" era, so I didn't buy this.

    Jon Husted is a dick.

    by anastasia p on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:41:53 PM PST

  •  Apparently the Orcs have taken over NatGeo (13+ / 0-)

    I was on a job with someone who directed shows for them in the past. From what I was told, there was a big shift in the executive layer at NatGeo channel, and the new folks decided to embrace the worst elements of reality TV whole hog. She stopped working for them because the shows were awful and the people she was working for were awful. And apparently they haven't figure out that their ratings decline was because they stopped putting quality stuff on the air.

    Every time this subject comes up, I think, "Yeah, remember 20 years ago when people were saying, 'Hey, we don't need PBS anymore! Quality cable programming like Discovery and TLC and A&E will do that job now.'" Riiiiiight....

    "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

    by kenlac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:02:20 PM PST

  •  Yup, I watch it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jared the bassplayer

    It is all about the guns, for nearly every one of them.

    Makes me giggle.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:57:27 PM PST

  •  Another real-life prepping step (5+ / 0-)

    Take one of those classes in back-country first aid, in which you actually have to take care of someone for days. Get a copy of "Where there is no doctor".

    In an economic collapse, medical services will be less effective. In a natural disaster, they will also be overwhelmed, and you won't be able to communicate with them.

    A Red Cross course is better than nothing, but it's not the same thing. Red Cross courses are for the 99.9% of occasions when civilization is working and you only need to stabilize things for a few minutes pending the arrival of people more skilled and equipped than you'll ever be.

    FEMA has field-tested preparedness advice. Check it out!

    Here's a clue for testing the realism of your prepping. If guns are in the top three or four items on your list you are doing it wrong.

  •  Does anyone remember Gary North Y2K guy? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jared the bassplayer

    He was predicting utter doom for the world due to the Y2K 'bug'.

    Advising people to be prepared for everything from the electrical grid going down to every bank failing. Total BS.

    Anyway, these prepper's don't make me angry, they kind of make me sad for them.
    I have an idea that their over the top 'prepping' is the only thing in their life they feel they have total control over.
    It's there way of dealing with their anxieties. Just my humble opinion.

    FORWARD! Obama/Biden 2012

    by Esjaydee on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:14:46 PM PST

  •  Mormon Theology (0+ / 0-)

    Being prepared for the End Of Times is standard Mormon theology.  They are expected to have a secure cellar with a Years Supply of water, dried food, ammunition, etc. for when the end comes.

      So homes and communities all over the west are ready for the end.

    "We borrow this Earth from our Grandchildren."

    by Arizona Mike on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:34:36 PM PST

  •  I'm tempted to take advice from a Silver Swan. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris

    The silver swan, who, living, had no note,
    When Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
    Leaning her breast upon the reedy shore,
    Thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
    "Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
    More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise."

    Orlando Gibbons.
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    These Doomsday Preppers seem like so many geese.  I'm not sure if I would want to live in a world filled with them.

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:00:15 PM PST

  •  Funny - just today I was looking up books (0+ / 0-)

    on permaculture, inspired by the cool recent post on agroecology. I was looking on Amazon, just to see what is out there. But what came up as 'also recommended' was all this prepper stuff. Books on how to use chickens to weed and fertilize your little orchard, and then these other books on how to make your home into a hardened survival retreat. It was very discouraging.

    Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

    by sfinx on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:59:13 PM PST

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