The National Geographic reality TV show ‘Doomsday Preppers’ aired from 2011 to 2014 and profiled various preppers and their families as they prepared for ‘doomsday.’
At the end of each episode, a group named ‘Practical Preppers’ evaluated them and gave each of the participants a score.
While the show was clearly designed to portray these people as crazy, it offered a glimpse into the lives and scope of the preparations these people have made.
When the show first aired, I was an avid viewer and considered Doomsday Preppers one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t often watch TV anymore, but I always stop and give it a bit of my time and attention when I encounter an episode.
Shows like this are not to be taken too seriously, but they can offer us some guidance in the form of things not to do. To this end, I have compiled a list of six dangerous mistakes from Doomsday Preppers.
Going On A Reality TV Show
When everyone and their dog knows the scope of your preparations, you can be assured that you will face the impossible decision of what to do when friends, family, and strangers come knocking at the door.
It is also impossible to deny that you are a prepper when a film crew follows you around for three days and broadcasts everything on national TV.
Good operational security (OPSEC) is critical to preparedness. When too many people know what you have stockpiled, some will attempt to steal those supplies from you.
It’s ok for people to know you’re into preparedness, but the true scale of your preps needs to be a secret from everyone aside from your immediate family.
Most Of The Preppers Are Preparing For Overly Specific Events
Most of the preppers that appear on the show are preparing for a very specific doomsday event. Pandemics, polar shifts, economic collapse, nuclear war, and EMPs are only a few of the scenarios for which these preppers are getting ready.
The problem with preparing for an overly specific event is that you will develop tunnel vision on that particular event, and being prepared for other probable events may suffer.
For example, if you put all your time and resources into prepping for a nuclear war, you may be ready for other events but not for others, like an earthquake.
In Many Cases, Prepping Has Taken Over Their Lives
There is nothing wrong with being prepared, but many of the people who appeared on Doomsday Preppers allowed prepping to take over their lives.
There are two significant issues with allowing prepping to become an obsession.
The first is that so much time focusing on the potential for doomsday reduces the enjoyment of regular life.
It also has a significant negative effect on mental health as there is only so much focus on future destruction that we can take before it affects our ability to enjoy the little things in life.
The second is that a prepping obsession will bleed over into your regular life, which can bestow the label of a ‘crazy survivalist.’
Indeed, we should not concern ourselves with the opinions of others, but we also face some risk when people consider us crazy or obsessed with the end of the world.
When people see us as being crazy, they start to take notice of all the seemingly ‘crazy’ things that we do.
For example, if your neighbor thinks you are nuts, they may call the authorities when they see you buying large amounts of food, weapons, or ammo. This will cause too much-unwanted scrutiny.
Over-Reliance On Supplies And Gear
With a few exceptions, most of the people profiled on the show have stockpiled a lot of supplies and gear.
There is no doubt that the show’s producers specifically chose people with a lot of ‘cool survival stuff’ to make the show more intriguing.
I am sure these preppers also have the required survival skills to weather whatever catastrophe they are preparing for.
Survival gear is great and makes surviving doomsday easier, but if you end up in an actual worst-case scenario, your skills and knowledge are all you have to fall back on.
We all must gain as much knowledge as possible to complement the gear, tools, and supplies we have acquired.
Often Their Plans Are Too Specific
The scenarios that these people were prepping for are pretty specific, as are their plans to deal with them.
Often, these plans were particular; whether sheltering in place or bugging out, they were very detailed and specific to the disaster they thought was imminent.
I’m sure many of the preppers who have appeared on the show also had contingency plans, but that is not how the producers often portrayed them.
The ability to think creatively and adapt to an ever-changing situation is critical to surviving any emergency, and an over-reliance on a specific course of action will be a deadly mistake.
The Show Provides An Unrealistic Portrayal Of Prepping
One of the major issues I have with Doomsday Preppers is that the show gives the audience an unrealistic idea of what prepping is.
There is no doubt that some preparedness-minded people would be put off by the extreme lengths that the people profiled on the show go to so they can be prepared for doomsday.
The reality is that you can obtain a good level of preparedness without going to the extremes depicted in the show
A bunker, bugout location, piles of gear, and years of food are great, but even modest attempts at preparedness exponentially increase your survivability in an SHTF situation.
Doomsday Preppers is a good TV show to watch to get some ideas for preparing for some specific doomsday scenarios.
It is also an excellent show to watch to get some ideas of what not to do. The essential factor to consider is that this is another reality show in a long linage of reality shows.
If you keep that in mind, there is definitely something to learn from watching these programs.
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