"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Trouble With Doomsday

A few weeks ago I heard that National Geographic was going to run a show about Doomsday Preppers 

I'm fascinated with people who choose to live a lifestyle outside the "norm" and enjoy learning why they "do what they do."  I hit record on my DVR and didn't think anything more of it.  I watched the shows the other night and it bugged me enough that I don't think I'll be watching anymore of them.

Now, I don't know if it was how Nat Geo did the interviews or how the shows were edited.  Perhaps it was the people they chose to interview, but watching this show made me more than just a little bit uncomfortable. 

I'm kind of a live and let live kind of girl so I'm not criticizing these folks choice to arm themselves, to store bulk foods, to teach others about their concerns.  I get the whole "be prepared" aspect.  I'm living it myself! 

I'm building a garden and investing in fruit trees.  I'm learning to can, I'm buying in bulk, squirreling away food so I have a bit of a back stock.  I do all of these things so I'm prepared in case of an emergency but also because it just makes financial sense to do so.  It's not that hard to reap the benefits that a $2 seed packet can give you.  It's just plan old common sense.  I admire farmers or anyone who wishes to live a more self sustainable lifestyle. Again...It just makes sense to me to provide for yourself if you can.  

From an emergency point of view we have a "go to" closet in case of a tornado. (It's a bit cluttered right now...put that on the list of things to get organized...)  I have a few days of drinkable water set aside.  If I knew a hurricane was headed our way I'd be filling  up bathtubs and buckets.  I hope to install rain barrels this year to help water the garden.  I have candles and flashlights and I'm considering converting our gas log fireplace back to wood burning so we have heat in case of longer periods of power outages.  Again, these efforts just seem like common sense to me. 

What I don't have is paranoia.  Am I concerned about big brother, financial collapse, war in the Middle East, peak oil...(Gosh is the list really THAT long?)  Sure I am.  But I'm not freaking out about it.

Most of the people in the show were what I would categorize as extreme preppers.  (Pay attention to the shows title, Tami...It does say Doomsday Preppers for a reason.)  Most.  But not all of them. 

They did highlight a couple who live on a farm and teach sustainability to others.  I really liked this couple. 

They seemed rational, well prepared and even told the Nat Geo "experts" that they wouldn't change a thing when the "experts" told them that they needed to be able to defend themselves against the "hoard" of evil people who were going to descend upon them should "the shit hit fan". 

And THAT is what really bothers me about this whole "Doomsday Prepper" thing.  The anticipated violence.  Seriously.  Are you really going to turn your back on someone who comes to you in need?  Are you going to deny assistance to others who knock on your door?  Shoot them because they're on your property?  Really?  You can do that?  I'm not talking about someone who's there to hurt you or your family.  That's self defense and I would do everything in my power to protect myself and my family.  But if the chips were down and someone was stealing something from you because they were hungry or in need are you really going to shoot them?  Can you do that and go to sleep at night?  Because I couldn't.

Maybe I'm soft.  Maybe I'm naive.  But if Doomsday comes are you really going to want to live in that world where human decency is gone and everyone turns into a rabid animal hurting each other instead of helping each other?

That's the trouble with Doomsday, IMHO.  The expected violence.  Human decency out the window.  This is mine and you can't have it.  The breakdown of common sense and societal rules.  It sounds like war.  I suppose it would be.  I've never lived through a war.  Perhaps I'd feel differently if I did.  But I just can't see trying to live in that kind of world.  But is this a war that can be prevented?  You bet.

Everyone should be prepared as much as they can be.  But it can't be an individual effort and you can't isolate yourself from the world.  No man is an island.  We have to help each other.  As a community we have to show others, by our words and actions, that being able to take care of ourselves is a good thing. 

If your neighbor can sustain themselves then everyone benefits.  We can be strong TOGETHER.  Separately we'll fail.  We might hold out a little longer than the next person but eventually you will fail.  And that's what bothers me about all this.  Once the dust settles, what do you have left?  Your life...sure. 

But will it be a life worth living?  Good question. 

This life that I'm living must be one of love, kindness and compassion.  Positive thinking and positive living.  It's how God put me together and if life after Doomsday can't offer me those things than it's not a life worth living.  Not for me, anyway.  So I expect that I'd be toast pretty quick.  And that's OK with me.  The "animals" are welcome to my garden after I'm gone. 

Good luck with that.


  1. Tami - "This life that I'm living must be one of love, kindness and compassion. Positive thinking and positive living." I couldn't agree with you more.

    I haven't seen the show that you're talking about, although I have read a few reactions to it on different blogs.

    Unfortunately, if TSHTF, people would not act civilized. People would forget their upbringing. And people would not consider yours, yours - especially if you only had enough for a couple of meals left.

    I read a report somewhere that when food ran out (in the shops), within 10 days people would be (violently) taking what is not theirs, and, within 3 weeks, would consider eating any animal they could lay their hands on, and even human flesh in order to survive.

    I couldn't. Nor would I want to be part of that society.

    I remember, when I must have been 8 - 9 years old, reading a report in a local paper about the savagery in the Congo war. Horrible, Horrible. Horrible. It gave me nightmares for months. And still colours my brain when I hear of trouble in any country. Men became barbaric animals. And I'm not just talking about what they did to women either.

    And as for storing busloads of food... ludicrous! They should be learning how to live off the land and provide for themselves and their neighbours.

    Because, if the state of the world is that desperate, then that is all that could provide hope for the future - whatever that future is.

  2. I've not seen this program either. I'm like you-I provide for myself for the satisfaction of growing good healthy food and to save money. I'd like to think I would share (I do now), but I also think if it came down to some disaster, I'd be protecting what's mine. Hubby and I heard several people talking at an auction about something similar once--they said they didn't have to prepare--there are so many Amish in the area that are self-sufficient and since they are non-violent, they would just take their stuff. There will ALWAYS be people that are too lazy or stupid to provide for themselves. It's not that they aren't able, they just WON'T. So in that tone--yes, I would defend MY HARD WORK.
    As the laughing stock of the neighborhood for having a HUGE garden--these people can starve. Mean? Yes. Though I don't wish to live in a post-apolyptic world (sounds WAY too dismal for me), I would love to live in a world without "these types".

  3. OK. First I have not seen this show but may take a peek at it. Secondly upon seeing the title my first thought was 'are the preppy upper class worried about doomsday?' "Buffy, did you remember to ask Jeeves to replenish the flashlight batteries?"
    It takes me a minute or two to get started. I have to say that I do not lose not lose a lot of sleep over this. If it really is Doomsday, there's not too much you will be able to do about it anyway. I'll keep motoring along and deal with it when it comes. I do enjoy the benefits of gardening on our own, health and money wise, and hope that more people realize these benefits as well. As you said, for a $2.00 pack of seeds, you can have enough tomatoes to can for the following year. I too am making rain barrels as well as starting composting this year. Anything I can do to help myself and learn from it. Because I enjoy it!
    Stopping hoards of people? Won't happen. I do have a gun, an 1863 Winchester. Now, if John Wayne were to ride up and start taking my cukes, I may be able to do something. But I have no shells AND he is The Duke. I guess I could throw it at him.......
    Doomsday, let it come (hope not.) Maybe these crazies will take each other out and leave us sane (for the most part) alone.

  4. No matter what we may do to be self-sufficient (for whatever reason) there will always be the people that Sue referred to who would take advantage of anyone (such as the non-violent Amish) for their own benefit. That scares me but I don't know what we can do about it. We can try to educate by our own example, but those kind of people are not interested in listening or changing their morals. They are the ones who will be coming hungry to your door.

    A well-written post.

  5. I too, have never seen the program, but I have a few issues with these types of preppers.
    A. Where do they assume that our military will be? We live in a country that has one of the best military programs with men and women skilled in all aspects of protecting US soil, but when this disaster happens the military goes poof? Granted they can not protect every corner, but I do think wide spread civil unrest would not happen. I might not trust the government, but lets give our men and women in uniform a little credit.

    B. All of these 'preppers' seem to promote a heavy consumer sub group. They seem to like to tell people they must spend tons of money to have 10000 rounds of ammo, 5 pallets of MRE's, water purifiers, 100 knives, 4 back up generators. I am all about being able to survive on your own, but I think they are urging those less educated in the situation to go out and buy all this stuff so they are "safe". I have seen with my own eyes people going broke buying crap to load up their basement thinking they are prepared. The only thing they are prepared for is a foreclosure since they cant pay their bills now. So sad.
    C. I think this type of movement promotes a fear and hate based society. And that doesnt help anything.
    Ok, thats my 2 cents.

  6. I watched it...made me a bit uncomfortable. I'm not a killer. I like that I garden big time, can, knit, sew and have learned lots of skills that don't require fuel or electricity. Do I want to live in a Post Apocalyptic world where it's killed or be killed: nope. I'm a bit more like Kathy Harrison (the one you liked)altho we have guns: my men hunt. She wrote a great book: Just In Case: How to be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens.

  7. I was disappointed in the series because as with most TV, they only show the extreme fringe people just for ratings which simply reinforces the survivalist or prepper as a wacko. The fact is most preppers are normal people just trying to be prepared for events that most likely will affect them. Myself I must deal with hurricanes every year and in the past have seen the runs on supermarkets and home depot's which I now can avoid. It also saves me money buying in bulk and I now eat better like eating fresh milled grains that I make my own bread with and simple meals that are not loaded with preservatives.

  8. We don't have TV so I didn't know about this. I did see Nat'l Geos article about how cities were the way to save humanity / the world / etc. Obviously they have an agenda.