A few days ago, a Backdoor Survival reader asked “If you had some way of knowing that a SHTF situation would happen in the next few days, what would you do to prepare right away? What would be your biggest priority, especially with so much to consider?”
After thinking about my own answer, I put it this question out to Facebook and within a few hours had over eighty responses. Interestingly enough, something that came through loud and clear over and over again was the need to get in touch with family members and to convince them to join their prepping relatives someplace safe.
The Apocalypse – Albert Goodwin
My own response was this:
My own priority will be calling my family in the Seattle area and begging them to hit the road and come to my place. They have not prepared at all so I have kept that in mind with my own preps. My home is small (only one bedroom) but I have sleeping bags and a couch. We would make do.
Clearly, I had found a thread of common ground among us. But even more than that, it was obvious to me that in spite of our government and the media’s efforts to convince us to prepare, preppers are still a minority.
How could that be? The writing, as far as I am concerned, is on the wall in bright, bold print.
The End of the World as We Know It as Entertainment
THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IS ALREADY HERE
There is no need to wait for the end of the world as we know it because it is already here, As a matter of fact, you rarely see the acronym TEOTWAWKI in print anymore.
Here are just a few indicators that “the good old days” are gone:
- The entire world is in a major recession if not a depression.
- World manufacturing is down and unemployment is rampant.
- In the United States alone, we have a 17 trillion dollar deficit and no plan and no way to dig out.
- Politicians are playing their partisan games, extracting benefits and perks for themselves while taxing the populace to death.
- Large corporations such as Monsanto are either buying up family farms or running them out of business.
None of this is doomsday. It is reality.
This is not the world I remember in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Sure there were problems back then; banks failed, the stock market crashed and people lost their jobs. But in each case, there was a a plan to dig out and a gradual but steady recovery. Citizens were patriotic and were willing to sacrifice and to work hard to restore economic stability to their country.
Not so these days. Civil liberties are being challenged, personal privacy has become a thing of the past and people at all economic levels are fearful. So why is it that more people not joining the prepper movement? And is there anything we can do to convince them?
THE ROLE OF TV AND THE FILM INDUSTRY IN FOSTERING A PREPAREDNESS MINDSET
I was recently contacted by Nat Geo TV and asked to comment on the role of both TV and the film industry in fostering preparedness. After all, anyone who has access to a television or movies has surely noticed the proliferation of disaster and doomsday-type shows and films.
My feelings on the role of TV and movies on the prepper movement are mixed.
On the one hand, I have always loved apocalyptic movies, Starting way back when with On the Beach and later The Trigger Effect, The Road, Independence Day and 2012, I was hooked. Each of these films were entertaining for sure. But more than that, I now realize that they were instrumental in motivating me to consider the possibility that a disaster could happen to me and not just to someone else. You might say the the proverbial light bulb went off while watching these films.
More recently we have movies such as World War Z and The Book of Eli as well as “what if” TV shows such as Under the Dome, Jericho and Revolution depicting apocalyptic situations. We also have reality shows such as the hugely popular Doomsday Preppers.
In my opinion, these shows are a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they depict catastrophic situations and the human dynamic that contribute to their resolution, for better or for worse. On the other hand, situations that are serious are portrayed as entertainment, something to watch for instant gratification and then discarded in favor of the next item in the playlist.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE REALITY SHOWS?
As I wrote in Weighing in on the Doomsday Preppers, the participants in the initial episodes of the Doomsday Prepper series were portrayed as extremists. It is not that what they were doing that was so bizarre, but that each family appeared to be laser focused on some future apocalypse to the exclusion of living a joyful life in the present.
I am happy to say that currently, you will see participants that have more balance both in their daily life and in their preparations. This, in my opinion, will open up the genre as prepping preparing themselves.
Reality shows have the potential of educating a huge segment of our population about both the need to acquire self-sufficiency skills and the requirement to store food, water and supplies for an emergency. Whether they succeed or not will depend upon the show and its real-life depiction of practical strategies that can be accomplished by everyday families living in both the cities and suburbs as well as the country.
Eliminate the extreme and focus on everyday reality rather than Hollywood and these types of shows will shine.
THE FINAL WORD
Without sounding like a commercial, I am looking forward to watching the American Blackout later this month. This two hour film imagines life in the days immediately following a blackout and more specifically, from an EMP cyber-attack. I like that it will include an analysis of the challenges that we would face if such an event really happened and all indications are that the scenarios will be well-researched and credible. Of course I won’t know for sure until I see it.
You know and I know that being prepared is a necessity during these troubled times. If apocalyptic TV shows and films convince just one more person to take their head out of the sand and become a prepper, I will be happy.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: For your discernment, here are some of the items from the Amazon Top 10 and some whistles – because you can never have too many!
Magnesium Fire Starter: This Campers’ Magnesium Emergency Fire Starter.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.
BIC Disposable Classic Lighter With Child Guard: This six pack of Bic lighters is reasonably priced but check around since these often go on sale locally. BICs just work – every time.
Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.
BaoFeng UV-5R 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band Ham Radio: The Baofeng UV-5R is a compact hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. It is a compact, economical HT that includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported.
2 Pack Survival Kit Can Opener, Military, P-51 Model: This device makes a great addition to any survival, fishing, hiking or camping pack. It is lightweight and robust and it just works.
FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp: Here we go with another flashlight. It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof. Plus, it uses standard AA sized batteries.
Rothco Safety Orange Flat Whistle – 2 Pack These flat-style whistles are made by Rothco, a respected brand in outdoor gear.
SE 5 in 1 Survival Whistle: I have a few of these. They are a cheap but they do the job surprisingly well.
Windstorm Safety Whistle: This one is my personal favorite although it is a bit more expansive.
Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.
One of the best sale items this month is the Freeze Dried Chicken Breast Dices with Rib Meat. The price for a #10 can is $24.99 which represents and amazing discount of 42%. At this price I purchased some for my own food storage. (As you know, I have a monthly budget and each month I add a bit more FD products to my long term storage – always making my selection from sale items.)
Another great item this month is the Provident Pantry Baking Combo. This kit includes 12 cans of everything you will need to bake quick breads, breakfast items, and other goodies from your food storage. The price for all 12 cans is 109.99.
These are just two of the items on sale this month at Emergency Essentials. Click on the link below for more great deals from Emergency Essentials.
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11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: This little book will provide you with the motivation to get started or stay on track with a self-reliant life. 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, co-authored with my long time pal, George Ure (www.urbansurvival.com), and can purchased from Amazon.