The series continues with an episode (‘Pain is Good’) looking at folks in the US&A’s two youngest states. We’ll start off with a look at Craig Compeau and Don Kubley of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Transparency clause: it was pretty easy to see why these guys agreed to do the show (Craig sells fancy boats and Don sells fancy domes). As I wrote in my notes for this profile, “I’m pretty sure this whole segment is just an Alaska hunting trip, and they’re calling it prepping.” And yeah, that’s exactly what it is. See this article for great insight into the ‘reality’ behind this show.
Craig is [playing somebody] concerned with the possibility of “total government takeover”, but like everyone else this season, that’s really code for economic collapse. The way he sees it, our nation’s enormous debt—usually reckoned around sixteen trillion, though I’ve seen figures as mind-bogglingly high as 200 trillion—will eventually lead to widespread economic devastation. As we’ve heard a thousand times, when people don’t have jobs they don’t have food (most troubling of all, no one ever wants to take a step back to question what this says about this civilizational experiment of ours), and will turn to widespread rioting, leading to declaration of martial law. Of course, even though martial law has never been declared nationwide (only for isolated areas or events, like in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina), Craig is afraid that someday it will. In which case, he believes that the government will then “control every aspect of our lives”, somehow turning “every town into a prison.”
As I’ve said many times before, this oft-recited scenario is just one end result of the unsustainable worldview promulgated by Our culture, one ingredient in a deadly cocktail of shatterpoint issues. If we speak of the economic issue, the adoption of ‘money’ (itself simply a more-portable representation of the shiny rocks it is ‘backed’ by) as the only acceptable form of wealth brings out the most selfish behaviors in humans. In our tribal days, ‘wealth’ was intangible, taking the form of prestige or respect, resulting from unselfish acts which functioned to support the tribe as a whole. However, when ‘wealth’ took the form of Things, people were free to act solely in their own interests, and the accumulation of that ‘wealth’ became the driving characteristic of the lives of those at the top of the pyramid. Of course, those at the bottom of the pyramid looked up and saw what their ‘superiors’ were doing and so began to try and get their own ‘piece of the pie’—though by the time that ‘wealth’ eventually reached them, they got little more than crumbs.
With regards to his fear about the guvvmint turning towns into inescapable prisons, take a big-picture look and see that it wouldn’t take much; the pieces are already in place. The relentless global expansion of Our culture (and its One Right Way to Live) has already formed bars of a world-prison which one really cannot escape (“sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small that we can never get away from the Sprawl?”); the unspoken and unquestioned tenet underlying Our culture (“go to Work, or you starve”) leaves little room for the rewilded rest of us. /soapbox.
Anyway, should the guvvmint hammer come down, Craig’s objective will become “get out of Fairbanks, fast.” Luckily, he’s not planning on bugging out by himself, as he has a prepping buddy in his daughter Emily.
(For what it’s worth, take note that even though they live up near the Arctic Circle, their home looks as if it could have been plucked out of the suburbs of Chicago, Denver, or Seattle—witness our culture’s one-size-fits-all solution to housing (a nature-isolating plywood-and-drywall box incapable of operation without relying on the Grid for heating, cooling, water, sanitation, and energy), with no room for regional variety. Ugh.
Apparently, Craig likes to do this practice bugout twice a year (i.e. hunting season). Their itinerary begins with a four mile hike to reach their SJX jet-boat (it’s made of UHMW, some kind of super-plastic?), and then a four hour (90 mile) boat ride to reach their bugout location. The boat is very light on the draft, so they’re able to travel in shallow water (did I hear him say as shallow as six inches? Impressive.). Along the way upriver, Craig has somehow put explosives in certain trees, which they shoot and explode, to provide additional roadblocks (riverblocks?) to would-be followers. There’s a lot of industrial NÜMETAL-type music while they’re jumping over all these downed trees and stuff; I guess it’s supposed to be HaRdCoRe or something.
When they reach the Dome, we’re warned of “another threat to their lives”: they come across a bent-up garbage can and Craig reminds Emmy that “we’ve got bears, so have your gun ready!” Now, maybe it’s just because I’ve been reading a deep-green book on interspecies communication, but I’m pretty sure Craig’s first instinct if he saw a bear (shoot it!) would not be appreciated by the bear. Should he actually come upon a bear, sure it’s possible the bear might attack (especially if it’s a mother with cubs), but it’s also possible that the bear wouldn’t attack. At least give the critter a chance!
When we’re finally shown the Dome, I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed. They claim that it’s supposed to totally blend into its environment, and from what we see, I guess the structure itself is pretty shiny, but the outside of it is just a mess; there are gas cans and more white bleach bottles strewn around the place than I can count, so…way to be camouflaged, dude. The dome is an ‘InterShelter’ designed and marketed by Craig’s friend, Don Kubley:
Don brings his boat up to the Dome for a visit, and there’s a hilarious bit where Craig and Emmy catch him in a net when he arrives; dunno what that was all about. Once he’s there, they decide it’s time to go moose hunting separately. Now, I understand that moose are like, the hippopotamus or rhinoceros of the northern hemisphere—aggressive and prone to charging if threatened. Personally, considering they’re using big-game-hunting, bolt-action guns (a nice change of pace from the black, tricked-out paramiliscary pieces we usually see), I’d go as a group, but oh well. Emmy and dad come across one and she tries to shoot it. Mind you, she’s standing, in a boat, in a river, and she’s shooting off-hand…so yeah, she misses. Moose walks off into the brush. Meanwhile, actually Don shoots himself a bull moose.
No, an actual bull moose. There’s a shot of Don waving the antlers over his head and shouting like he’s so proud of killing this animal. It’s like every time deer season rolls around, the local county newspaper always runs pictures of kids proudly holding up these animals that they can’t imagine are their brothers and sisters. Though I can’t say I’m surprised based on what I’ve seen of these folks; I didn’t seriously expect Craig and Don to thank the Great Spirit for the moose’s strength or speed, or apologize to the moose for taking its life or anything.
Anyway, the experts suggest that they get a water filter at the Dome, because it’s possible that water could be polluted and unusable. Dudes, it’s Alaska; it’s supposed to be like, the last untouched wilderness or whatever. If we get to the point where even that water becomes undrinkable, there’s a good chance that everybody else is dead. Then again, if Canada’s tar sands operation is allowed to expand, it’s always possible.
The experts also say they should “harden their shelter against high-caliber weapons”, because apparently they expect Craig and Don are going to have to go up against grizzly bears with machineguns? Yeah, and clean the place up while you’re at it.
However, in the end, the guys get a new high of 82 points, for seventeen months’ initial survival time. Now, in the past, if the prepper disagrees with the experts or thinks he deserves a higher score, they usually say something like, “Well, that evaluation didn’t take into account some stuff we didn’t show the film crew, so I’ll just agree to disagree.” Craig, however, just replies, “Those numbers are $%@#. Practical Preppers can kiss my ass.” Jerk.
And in their post-filming update, we hear that they’ve added a bulletproof dome 75 miles upriver (not sure if that’s fifteen miles before they get to the other dome, or fifteen miles past it?), and Craig has designed some sort of water cannon to hook up to his jetboat.