Was “Doomsday Preppers” Necessary?

by suburban on March 4, 2012 · 28 comments

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DoomsdayPreppers Was Doomsday Preppers Necessary?I watched it.  I saved them on my DVR, and watched them.  You watched them.  We watched them.  We critiqued each prepper based on what we have and know.  Admit it.  You secretly did.  I know I did.  As the scenario was laid out I said, “they need more water, they need more food, they need better defenses, they need to cache food and supplies on their bug out route(s),” etc.  We all did.  We wanted to see what the other preppers had and what we were missing.  We wanted to see if we were on the same page.  We wanted to know we were prepping for something that was important.  We want to be right, in some screwed up romantic notion about why we prep.  But I have to ask.  Was “Doomsday Preppers” necessary?

Here is why I ask.  I’ve watched the episodes.  National Geographic has done a good job trying to make sure the show is impartial.  They do okay with that.  But, my formed opinion is one that I came to after some thought and watching six episodes.  Each episode, as you know, outlined three preppers lives and outlined the situation(s) they were prepping for.  I thought that was cool… Being able to see three preppers preps, and listen to why they were doing exactly what they were doing.  I thought it could help validate my own prepping, (I think we all, as preppers, want some validation) and that I might even learn a thing or two.  Well, I learned a few things.  In fact I probably picked up a tidbit or two from each episode.  However, I feel a bit like each prepper was “sensationalized” by National Geographic.  Getting them dressed up with their AR-15s for the commercial segments, etc.  I understand the need to run drills, etc.  But, after watching all the episodes, I feel that most of these preppers lives were dramatized in a way that might leave a non-prepper thinking that they were whacko.  I did not like that.  I’m not going to get into specific situations, nor am I going to point out specific people that were on the show.  But the video blogsphere has already had a wave of videos from a vlogger that has been to the hospital and now his guns have been taken away from him by the state in which he resides.  Is this a wave or ramification of his lifestyle?  I don’t know, however, I don’t like it.

Because of this blog, I have been asked to participate in shows such as The Colony, and other one off preparedness documentaries.  I have only granted two interviews.  The emails come in the form of a gmail or hotmail account from a production company that sends a two or three line semi cryptic email about doing a special on preppers that is tasteful and different from other prepping specials.  And, then you get something like Doomsday Preppers that I feel sensationalized preppers for who they were and led them down the gray line of what made them look like they were sensible or insane.  Personally, the spin was the later, but that is just my rant and my perception.  While I gleaned a few tidbits of knowledge from the episodes, I don’t really think Doomsday Preppers did the preparedness community any real good.

Let me know what you think…

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela_Barber March 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Thanks for posting this article. You added some insightfulness that I had not previously considered; with respect to your point about sensationalism and negative backlash.

Personally, my family has been prepping for a little over a year now. Some of the changes and decisions we’ve made have been minor and some more aggressive. Along the way, I’ve faced criticism from my close family and friends which has negatively impacted my relationships to a degree. It seems an unfortunate consequence to the philosophy of being concerned about a myriad of events and the desire, knowing we have limited control, to at least be proactive and somewhat prepared.

In light of some of these criticisms, there were several times over the course of the last year I questioned whether or not I was acting irrationally and even my sanity. Then I saw the advertisement for the show Doomsday Preppers and immediately set the DVR. To me personally, it was actually comforting just to know that others were out there doing some of the same things my family was. Thank goodness for outlets such as Twitter also, because I have made many connections and I was surprised to see how many people were out there.

In response to your original topic, I would say, just as in my personal life I would expect many naysayers to weight in with all kinds of jokes and ridicule. However, for the community of people who are Preppers; well, all the ones I’ve talked to found the show informative and appreciated the unbiased nature it was presented in.

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suburban March 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

 @Angela_Barber Angela, thanks for the comments. Definitely appreciated. I agree with you, and I also understand your position. I just personally feel they pushed the envelope of sensationalizing real fears and concerns. It is, of course entertainment as well, and you must sell the commercial to afford broadcasting the entertainment. I get that. I just didn’t like the way it was positioned… Thanks again!!!

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LoProPrepper March 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm

RT: @survivalblog Was Doomsday Preppers Necessary? http://t.co/nQduV8ru #PrepperTalk

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survivalblog March 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm

@LoProPrepper Thanks for the RT LoPro!

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TalkSouthRadio March 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm

@LoProPrepper @survivalblog Sensationalizing for TV can make anyone or thing seem wacko. I shy from using the term #prepper. #preppertalk

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LoProPrepper March 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm

#preppertalk @TalkSouthRadio @survivalblog Has the media made you shy from using the term #prepper to describe what you do?

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survivalblog March 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

@LoProPrepper Has not made me shy, always try to keep a low profile to reduce ridicule and having to explain myself to no avail.

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LoProPrepper March 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Now yer talk’n @survivalblog best to keep a LoPro as a #Prepper but not isolate yourself? No Man is an island … #PrepperTalk

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TalkSouthRadio March 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm

@LoProPrepper @survivalblog Definitely a stereotype linked to ‘prepper’ now. Media hypes the fringe, overlooks more mainstream. #preppertalk

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GrowGaia March 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm

@LoProPrepper Re: #preppers & media:we nevr usd the term R parents taught us abt growing&storing food long b4 tv usd it #preppertalk

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ShelfRelianceOH March 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

@GrowGaia @LoProPrepper We call ourselves “responsible parents” #preppertalk > #preppers

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GrowGaia March 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

@ShelfRelianceOH @LoProPrepper 2my folks it was Living the goodlife ala Helen/Scott Nearing tho we ad xtra steps 2 good life #preppertalk

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LoProPrepper March 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm

. @GrowGaia @ShelfRelianceOH Is that the self-reliant Good Life? #PrepperTalk

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GrowGaia March 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

@LoProPrepper @ShelfRelianceOH I think that’s a fair term for it as Nearings were completely self reliant #preppertalk

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LoProPrepper March 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm

. @GrowGaia @ShelfRelianceOH @SurvivalBlogs @TalkSouthRadio Bring them up in the #Prepper way,and that will not depart from it? #PrepperTalk

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GrowGaia March 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm

@LoProPrepper @ShelfRelianceOH @SurvivalBlogs @TalkSouthRadio In 1930s selfreliant 2 Nearings=SelfSufficncy in back2 land mvmnt #preppertalk

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madaise March 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I enjoyed the shows – some people and their setups more so than others.  I came across a post by one of the people who was featured on the show.  I’ll share the link – you can decide if you want to hyperlink it or now.   http://archive.aweber.com/survivalmom/I0ubw/h/Doomsday_Preppers_An_insider_s.htm
 
The funny thing, like you say about the sensationalizing, is while watching the show I didn’t think along those lines, but later, did wonder if they were portrayed the way they really do things.  I can understand running drills, especially for a family.. but some of the stuff going on seemed extreme.  
 
You mentioned the Colony that is also on.. I’ve only watched a couple episodes of that one.. It’s not my favorite, but I did find a couple things each episode that I thought were good ideas ~ simple things, like the water filtering system.. and tucked them away in my brain for future reference.

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suburban March 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm

 @madaise Don’t get me wrong, for the prepper, you can always pick up a bit of good information from what others are doing.  It’s a good way to learn, and smart to learn from others.  
 
The link for the post you put in your response is a good one, and covers what I had assumed.  I guess it is basically opposing views, and in the spirit of giving the producers the benefit of the doubt, if their intentions were pure in providing fact based content and entertainment, I still think (personally speaking) there is work to do… 

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Angela_Barber March 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm

@survivalblog Thanks for the mention!

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pwhiting March 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm

I personally think its great and have performed a great service by way of opening the eyes and minds of those of us who never gave prepping a first thought. I am now starting my prepping. We live in hurricane country so that is my first goal to be ready for.

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suburban March 5, 2012 at 7:28 am

 @pwhiting Good Point @pwhiting .  Appreciate that it helped to jumpstart your preps and your ambition.  

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padre4103 March 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I agree that it is sensationalized… that’s how they get an audience of preppers and non-preppers alike and how they get companies to pay for the episode with commercials.  I also agree that for most people (aka the Sheeple) who want their 1.8 kids 2 dogs 3 cars and a boat, RV or vacation condo.  Doomsday preppers was pure entertainment, sort of like American Idol’s qualification rounds which people watch as much for the odd folks who can’t sing as for the folks who can sing.However, I was polking about my local Army/Navy the other day and overheard a family that came in looking for 72 hour kits and talking about prepping, so I think that perhaps many American’s that have a self-reliant spirit may see Doomsday Preppers and be moved to action. 

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suburban March 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm

 @padre4103 Not only do I think it was sensationalized for entertainment purposes, one of my colleagues  and a friend of mine was laughing at the show and how it made everyone look like kooks.  I didn’t tell him I was a prepper, and he said he is all for being prepared for life as it comes at you, but that it made them look individually crazy.  This was a disinterested third party.  I do agree that the recent surge in media coverage (even if in reality TV form) helps to get people motivated, then ultimately I am all for it… 

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Delam March 23, 2012 at 10:28 am

I have to say that I for one was moved to action by the show. I originally wanted to watch for purely entertainment value. But since watching the show my wife and I have decided to start prepping. It really opened our eyes to what is going on in the world and the possibility that something may happen, natural, financial or otherwise.

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Delam March 23, 2012 at 10:28 am

I have to say that I for one was moved to action by the show. I originally wanted to watch for purely entertainment value. But since watching the show my wife and I have decided to start prepping. It really opened our eyes to what is going on in the world and the possibility that something may happen, natural, financial or otherwise.

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DelcoSheepdog April 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I’ve watch three of these episodes and have to agree that NatGeo picked the extremists (in most cases) and sensationalized the show more for entertainment than education.
 
The guy in New York was preparing for the Yellowstone Supervolcano to explore? Seriously? Wouldn’t it be more likely to prepare for a terrorist to destroy a bridge, tunnel, or building? Although I hate to ridicule any reason why people prepare, because at least they are learning skills and making preparations for ‘something’.
 
Also, some of these preparations are simply beyond the means of most people. I know I’ll never be able to afford a missile silo bunker, although it’s fun to dream. So again, it’s more entertainment than education.
 
I did enjoy the California family’s huge garden though. Impressive!

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DelcoSheepdog April 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I’ve watch three of these episodes and have to agree that NatGeo picked the extremists (in most cases) and sensationalized the show more for entertainment than education.
 
The guy in New York was preparing for the Yellowstone Supervolcano to explore? Seriously? Wouldn’t it be more likely to prepare for a terrorist to destroy a bridge, tunnel, or building? Although I hate to ridicule any reason why people prepare, because at least they are learning skills and making preparations for ‘something’.
 
Also, some of these preparations are simply beyond the means of most people. I know I’ll never be able to afford a missile silo bunker, although it’s fun to dream. So again, it’s more entertainment than education.
 
I did enjoy the California family’s huge garden though. Impressive!

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suburban September 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm

@ShelfRelianceOH @LoProPrepper 2my folks it was Living the goodlife ala Helen/Scott Nearing tho we ad xtra steps 2 good life #preppertalk

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