Monday, January 21, 2013

And you thought birthers were nuts

A friend mentioned the television series "Doomsday Preppers" and I could not resist checking out the web site. Once again, I found myself being amused by the paranoid fantasies of a group of gullible loons. What is it about us Americans that makes us so prone to irrationality? Where does our enormous faith in the wonders of technology come from? And why do some folks keep falling for con men  marketing "survival gear" that's overpriced and of dubious value?

Example: the web site includes a quiz that scores you on how likely you are to survive a doomsday scenario. "How much water do you have stored?" strikes me as a reasonable question. Everyone, regardless of whether or not they're anticipating the end of the world, should have some emergency supplies in the home, especially some safe drinking water. After all, if you live in an urban area and for some reason water stops coming out of the tap, you could be screwed pretty quickly. But shouldn't you also be prepared for having to purify water? I'd be encouraging preppers to invest in a few gallons of bleach, some water purification tablets, or a backpacking water pump/filter just in case the bottles of clean water run out. After all, if an actual apocalypse happens, Coke is going to stop bottling Dasani.

In any case, it was a question on which we scored low. We've got less than 5 gallons stashed. We don't worry much about water when we've got our own well and still own a functioning hand pump. That part of the quiz also asked about food stores, like stashes of meat and flour, but totally overlooked beans. How can anyone take a survivalist show seriously that doesn't include dried beans in its lists of must-haves? Dried beans are the ultimate survival food. Properly stored, they'll stay edible for decades, unlike flour (which can go rancid and/or easily become infested with weevils) or canned goods. I've cleaned out old people's pantries where there were some older canned goods (both home and commercial) hiding in the back -- those bulging cans and lids were definitely scary.

On to another question: do you own a 4-wheel drive vehicle? Apparently if you've got a nifty SUV with 4-wheel drive, your survival chances go up. Right. Like owning a Jeep is going to help a lot when the zombie apocalypse happens, I-75 out of Atlanta is bumper to bumper stalled traffic, and all the surface streets are a snarled mess. If you live in an urban area, you need to think about surviving in that urban area because there's no way to guarantee you're going to be able to get out. Again, of course, not a problem for us. Urban preppers may fantasize about their bug out cabins out in the boonies somewhere; we already live there.

And then there was the weapons question. . . apparently, the more guns and ammo you have hoarded, the better. Bizarre. Just looking at it logically and assuming long term social chaos, complete with looters and worse, what you really need to be doing is mastering relatively silent weapons (bows, bolos, slingshots, atlatls) because the first time you fire a gun, you've both spooked the game and drawn attention to yourself. No doubt there's something very machismo in the fantasy of bravely holding off a horde of would be looters, but in a real survival situation, the lower your profile, the better. You don't want to find yourself defending your own personal Alamo; you want to be invisible.

Besides, arrows are reusable. Bullets aren't. Sooner or later the ammo will run out -- and unless reloaders have also mastered the art of making gunpowder, their complex technological crutch is going to turn into just so much scrap metal. Instead of hanging out at the firing range playing with Bushmasters, the semi-savvy survivalist is going to be at home practicing making slings and deadfalls and channeling his or her inner Robin Hood. Of course, it's a lot more fun to go the range, talk tough with your fellow preppers, and fire off a zillion rounds at human-shaped targets than it is to think seriously about the need to someday hunt very quietly for squirrels and rabbits.

We definitely flunked the weapons question.

I think Hank Williams jr is pretty much of an ass, but I do like this song -- I wonder how many of those would-be preppers even know what a trot line is?


  1. ".....What is it about us Americans that makes us so prone to irrationality?....."

    Careful which questions you ask, they might be answered.

  2. i live three miles from the Sandy River, but oops no four wheeler so guess I will die of thirst.

    I was a Navy Winter Bush Survival Instructor for nine years...but we didn't teach about surviving zombies. Guess I'm doomed...doomed...doomed!

    My first priority would be to stock up on wine, beer and whiskey.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  3. Hum, I don't have a four wheel drive, but know how to get around just find with my two wheel drive.

    But I'm a big supporter of guns if the shit hits the fan and the city monkey's start heading this way, my guns will be one of the few ways I can deal with them.

    As for ammo, no problem, got more than I'll ever burn up.

  4. BBC said,

    " guns will be one of the few ways I can deal with them......"

    What would be some of the few non-gun related ways you might deal with these urban anthropoids?
    I'm curious to know.
    We in the Canadas do not normally own guns, yet we will have to deal with the Four-wheel Drive Set come the End of Days just like you Yankees.
    What else can we do?

  5. And check this out,

    It will keep all those radio waves and unseen forces from invading your person. There is some serious money to be made in this stuff. If you can keep a straight face!

  6. One nice thing about living in rural Ukraine is that everyone is in survival mode all the time. No loss of the old skills here because they are not old skills, they are today's way of living since the Soviet Union crashed.


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