I found myself watching the National Geographic channel the other night and their rather bizarre series Doomsday Preppers 2012 showing people preparing for what can only be described as the ‘worst case scenario’.
I’ve heard of such ‘ordinary Americans’, of course, but they’ve never entered my living room before and it was quite an eye-opener.
Survival seems to mostly depend on overweight men with long hair, ponytails and a penchant for bandanas. Oh, and guns. Lots of guns, knives, slings and arrows.
‘Home’ is a pretty basic affair made up of steel cargo containers stacked on top of each other in which he and his partner, Gloria Haswell, have stashed 5,000lbs of dried food – pasta, pulses etc – enough to feed two people for ten years.
They also share their armoured compound with 35 goats, 16 ducks, and four pigs, using the inevitable waste product and an anaerobic digester to produce a methane gas supply and windmills and solar panels to generate power. And an armoury.
Note the inconspicuous yellow ‘bug-out‘ bus in which they can decamp to their other base twelve hours drive north. (Note to Paul: north will be south after the polar somersault.)
There are a few would-be Sarah Connors featured on the programme, like Megan Hurwitt (left) who is described as a ‘metropolitan party girl living in the fourth largest city in the country: Houston, Texas.’
She is also a web developer, although I’m not sure how she fits any of this in since she spends six hours a day, six days a week, working out and preparing for the Peak Oil catastrophe.
And there’s the rub – the preppers can’t seem to agree on exactly what sort of Armageddon they should be prepping for. Here is a list of their favoured scenarios:
- A polar shift that will cause a sudden climate change
- The downfall of society through hyperinflation
- A catastrophic oil crisis
- An EMP detonation that will wipe out our nation’s transportation system
- A killer earthquake that could completely flatten the city of L.A.
- A coronal mass ejection that would take out the electrical grid and knock civilization back to the Stone Age
- A crumbling of our society due to overpopulation
- A catastrophic nuclear accident
- The Yellow Stone National Park Super Volcano to explode
- A worldwide pandemic
- The total destruction of the power grid
Economic disaster and hyperinflation is the scenario that gets the most votes from the preppers as the most clear and present danger, which I suppose reflects the worrying financial times we live in.
Next favourite is the world tipping on its axis with continents slipping about all over the place and compasses becoming generally unreliable.
Some still fret about a pandemic, but not as many as there might have been a few years ago when bird flu was not to be sneezed at.
But they can’t all be right. Most of the preppers are going to be more than a little disappointed when their doomsday of choice fails to materialise. It will be a disaster!
I blame much of this wasted effort on the proliferation of theories concerning the End of the World, especially the one that names 21st December as the date when we all go west.
And all because the Mayans foresaw the End of Days and considerately recorded it for us, even though they failed to spot the demise of their own civilisation. (See Information is Beautiful and make up your own mind on that theory.)
One thing that the preppers are all agreed upon though is the need to make their preparations in secret so as not to be a target when the balloon goes up. Which makes you wonder why they agree to appear on the People do the Maddest Things channel.
Of course I could be completely wrong and they may be right – they’ve covered most of the bases. I’ll feel no end of fool as the Earth evaporates around Christmas time and I apologise in advance if you feel that I’ve lulled you into a false sense of security. To make amends, here is the wholly accurate forewarning of man’s doom from Beyond the Fringe.