In this latest episode we finally get to meet Doug Huffman and the ‘spider-hole’ they’ve been playing up in the promos for weeks now. From northern California, he’s a retired ‘defense contractor’, whatever that means, as Max Brooks explains: “…‘contractor’ sounds like I should be laying drywall and smearin’ plaster. ‘Private security’ sounds like some dumbass mall guard. ‘Mercenary’ is the closest, I guess” (WWZ, 105).
Semantics aside, this northern Californian seems to have his shit together—although there’s no sign of a significant other? —but it’s nice to finally see a solid example of a ‘Type 3’ survivalist.
His claim—which initially sounds fanatical—of prepping seven days a week for upwards of fourteen hours a day isn’t really that bad…because he is a survival instructor!
Likewise, his estimate of having invested $30 to 40,000 in his preparations is downright stingy, at least compared to some of the others this show has featured.
His compulsory single-issue concern is a second worldwide great depression. Based on the inherent instability of civilized life (my words, not his), he expects that “at some point, all this will collapse, and we’ll have a massive reset”. I don’t care about the collapse (it’s been all-but-inevitable for 5,000 years), but it’s the reset that worries me.
He rightly thinks that “if something should happen, you are only going to survive in a communal group.” Damn right, Doug. I’m all about the lone-wolf-thing once the dust has settled and we’re in a longterm, Mad Max/Postman/Road/Book of Eli-type PAW, but for the short term we should all be solidifying our affinity groups and getting ourselves reacquainted with tribal living—it’s how we evolved to live.
Finally, we get to see the ‘spider-hole’ we’ve been hearing about. Weeks of previews have led me to expect this is his hidden underground bunker…but nope, it’s a coffin-sized hole in the ground. It’d be nice to see how he built it; I thought I saw some wood framing in there, so I don’t think it’s just a hole in the ground.
While he’s creeping back up to his house, there’s a shot of his feet. He’s wearing heavy boots, and surprise!, his feet are striking heel-first. Doug needs to hang out with Lundin and learn some barefoot injun sneaking skills to complement his serious camo discipline.
The show describes his creation of a team “to help him rebuild from the ashes”. *eye twitch*…there’s that R-word again. Anyway, they spend some time with the ‘Junior Rangers’ group he leads of kids ages 10-to-19. After checking out his survival school’s website, it’s obvious that the kids program is just one course among many that he teaches. But the way the show depicts it, I had to ask, ‘how is this not a militia or cult?’ To me, it looks like tacticool skool—too many camo BDUs, tight t-shirts, wraparound sunglasses, and accessorized black guns on three-point slings. Where’s the guy in the linen trousers and wool shirt with the WW2 gun on a homemade sling? Once again, I’m not on this show.
In the end, while he might be a touch overconfident, he seems like an alright dude. With the lack of fences and motion detectors, a big greenhouse, and the homestead-y root cellar, stocked pond, and meat animals, he’s got the best of the low-tech ‘Type 2’ survivalists, plus the militarism/defense foundation of the ‘Type 1’, while advocating skills-based education, and group living over individuals. It’s a pretty solid mix.