The episode (and the season, I guess) finishes with Jason Day of Miamisburg, Ohio. He and his wife have four kids, and is worried about the economy collapsing (hey, that makes three in a row!).
He says, “If the dollar does drop, you’re gonna need some way to buy food and stuff.” Yeah, or you could, y’know, learn to grow it yourself?
He has a furniture repair shop on Main Street, and has spent everything he’s earned from the business ($100,000 or so) on his preps.
Unexpectedly wise, he observes that “every great nation comes to an end…America’s just the same way”. And so logically, like the past couple, he’s preoccupied with trading gold and silver; reckons he’s spent one or two thousand dollars on those shiny rocks.
He estimates that he spends fifteen hours a day engaged in prepping activities. I have to wonder, how does that work? He’s not teaching survival skills, he’s repairing furniture. Oh, turns out that includes time spent shopping for gear on the internet.
Then it gets really silly, because he takes his kids out into the woods—not to teach them some actually useful survival skills—to pan for gold. In Ohio.
At this point, an encouraging caption pops up to remind us that the Staffordshire hoard of Saxon gold (estimated worth: ₤5.3 million) was found by a hobbyist with a metal detector, just like him! Like, untold riches lay under the surface just waiting to be dug up by peasants like you! Unfortunately, it’s completely deluding—finding thousand-year-old Saxon gold in England is one thing, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find Miami Indian gold, seeing as how they weren’t big on the whole gold-smelting thing.
Because it is becoming increasingly clear (and troubling) that Mr. Day’s vision of survival is nearly identical to that of the previous couple—one based on maintaining one’s current civilized standard of living through capitalism (even if what you’re worried about is the collapse of said economy)—his dream purchase is apparently a $75,000 bunker.
Wife: “That’s the price of a house.”
Jason: “A house isn’t going to save us”. Oh, but a bunker is?
He shows off his stash of fairly high-end medical supplies:
“Here’s a tourniquet. If your arm gets blown off, you can clamp this down to stop the bleeding.” I guess he imagines people will start throwing grenades when the dollar becomes worthless?
“If someone has blood loss, here’s an IV.” Erm, well, that’s kind of worthless unless you have some blood in the freezer. And more importantly, do you know how to use that stuff? The wife works in a med lab or something, so why is the woodworker husband sticking the IV in her (incorrectly, some have observed)?
This is another one of those examples where the family isn’t totally supportive of what they probably see as Dad’s irrational hobby, so they just kind of go along with him.
Like a lot of folks on this show, they have a practice bug-in. And where does he think is the ultimate place to hunker down? In the basement of his furniture shop.
Jason explains how he thinks the best part of his hideout is the basement’s single entry point. Well, dude, choke points work both ways—it’s good that it’s the only way in, so you only have to worry about things coming from one place, but it’s also the only way out for you.
Personally, if I was him, I’d be in the attic or highest level I could get to. Larger field of view, no worry about flooding (from water as well as sewage), and if you’re anticipating taking fire (as he seems to), having the high ground is always most advantageous. He also says that down in the basement, “no one will know we’re there”. Well, if you enforce some sound and light discipline, your presence in the attic could go unnoticed too, but that would require changes in behavior, which seems to be the worst-case scenario for most people.
So, on their basement bug-in, one of the kids remarks that there are crickets and mice down in the basement. So? Set some traps and eat ‘em. But of course they don’t, so they eat some freeze-dried astronaut crap, which needs hot water to cook. So logically—since they’re trying to practice survival, remember?—instead of bringing some cold water and heating it up with a backpacking stove or whatever (y’know, like you might have to do in a real emergency), dad just packs in some preheated water. Really? Earlier in the segment, he said something about it being his responsibility to help his kids survive. Well maybe he should actually let them practice things they’ll need to survive (like how to heat water without a microwave, or whatever). Bringing hot water along for your little indoor camping trip is simply lazy and irresponsible.
But hey, what do I know? Maybe they don’t light a fire because they’re worried about carbon monoxide poisoning down in the basement? If that’s the case, maybe they need to pick a better place for their bug-in. What about sanitation? This guy seems to think they’ll be down in the basement for like, four months, so he’d better teach the kids how to shit in a plastic bag and dig slit trenches while they’re down there.
In the end, it’s too bad they end the season with this guy. Personally, I would’ve saved someone like Doug Huffman for the finale, to leave viewers with a pretty sustainable vision of survival. Because these folks—and their philosophy of survival through consumption—leave me worried more than anything.