We had a double-header on the National Geographic Channel last night with an all new episode of Doomsday Preppers, entitled ′Let Her Rip′, followed by the premier of a new series, Apocalypse 101. On Doomsday Preppers, we were introduced to three families, including one a descendent of the famous Hatfield family and another ′Liberal′ prepper. While the Hatfields plan on using a home-made trebuchet, that′s catapult to you non-French-speakers, the Liberals hope that their spirit drumming and herd of goats will keep them alive. Apocalypse 101 featured four non-active duty Marines who started a survival supply and consulting company in eastern Colorado. Seems that NatGeo TV is looking to keep cashing in on this popular theme.
First up is Freda, a woman in the mountains of western Virginia who is a descendent of the famous Hatfield family. Like her ancestors, she is ready for a fight should World War 3 breaks out. She and her boyfriend, Mike, already live a minimalist lifestyle tucked away in a secluded forest. They store and can plenty of food, plus have a garden and orchard along with chickens. Three sources for water include a mountain stream which they have a home-made water-wheel for generating electricity. Weapon-wise, they have few guns but plenty of improvised devices ranging from throwing stars to a catapult made from scrap steel nicknamed, ′The Intimidator′ The experts score them a 56, giving them 7 months of survival.
Next up is Mike from Salem, Oregon whose family runs a diner, Adam′s Rib. Mike and his wife, Jessica, think that terrorist cells will invade the United States and take over cities and key government facilities like the White House. Mike skims off some of the smoked meat from the restaurant for canning. He′s trying to convince other family members that they need to get ready, but not all are cooperating. Jessica has epilepsy and requires medication, so Mike has a scheme where they will raid pharmacies after the terrorists take over using the city′s sewer system. During a practice drill, they get lost! The experts score them with a 52 giving them maybe 5 months to live.
Then we have Joe who has moved his family out to rural Kansas expecting a breakdown in the electrical grid and society in general. They grow wheat the old fashion way on their small farm using a horse and plow. I will say that despite his fun with spirit drums, Joe does have some good ideas. To keep the home cool during those hot Kansas summers, Joe has set up a system of geothermal ′Earth-tubes′ which draws in cool air thanks to a solar-powered fan. But he has no weapons and in the event that marauders come a-knocking, Joe and his family will bug-out into the woods with their herd of goats and forage for survival. The experts score them a 70, giving them a solid year of staying alive.
I have to say that I was disappointed with the premier of Apocalypse 101. Two of the consultants, Mike and Mark, visit a client who owns a 40-acre farm in Colorado. With only two adults and four very young daughters, security is their main problem. Travis and his wife, Kim, are fairly new to prepping, fearing a drought and food shortages. Mike and Mark advise them to use some of the scrap Travis collects, like used telephone poles and junk cars, to set up defensive barriers around their home. Bad idea!
If this is what the Marines are teaching these days, it is no wonder that we are still stuck in Afghanistan after 11 years! While the barriers seem like a good thing, they are positioned way too close to the house. During a mock attack by marauders using paint-ball guns, the attackers use the obstacles as cover to approach their objective. Travis and Kim are defeated in the drill. Apparently, nobody told these Jarheads that a good defensive position needs a nice, clear kill-zone of at least 200-300 meters. If you are going to allow for some obstacles in your kill zone, then at least booby-trap them! Sheesh!
So that wraps up this week′s recap of Doomsday Preppers on NatGeo TV. As well as the premier of Apocalypse 101, a new series on National Geographic exploiting the success of the prepper theme. I hope that the new show improves. The only decent part last night was when they built a Faraday Cage out of chicken wire and some scrap lumber, proving that it was more than adequate for protecting one′s electronic devices from an electromagnetic pulse.