The series’ next (or maybe previous—my tivo got messed up) episode (‘Gates of Hell!!!’) opens with a look at yet another posterchild of unsustainable preparedness, ‘Steve H’ of Washington state.
Like everybody else, Steve’s concerned that there’s an “imminent collapse of the US economy”, for which he’s “waiting, watching”, because he “knows what’s gonna happen.” His worst fears will be realized when the guvvmint “comes to take our stuff”, in which case he’ll answer the door with a big ol’ handcannon. Let me know how that works out for ya.
To achieve his preparedness goals, Steve gets the family together to set a weekly family preparedness goal! Like, ‘this week we’re going to hoard twenty cases of canned tomato soup’, and then at the end of the week, they truck the load of soup up to the bugout cabin. There is an interesting bit where Steve shows off an alternative use for a household vacuum sealer—they’re not just good for sealing fish fillets or whatever, they’re also good for sealing up guns! Hmm.
So, in the event of an out-of-the-blue Economic Collapse, Steve intends on bugging out to his family’s little mountainside cabin, 50 miles away. If you ask me, Type I preppers like Steve (with their mongered fear of sudden and unforeseen world-ending disasters) put an awful lot (probably too much) of stock on the assumption that roads will be drivable in an emergency. After the oft-repeated mantra about ‘after three days without food on the supermarket shelf, people go crazy’, I think the commonly-held belief is that all of those crazy people will immediately hop on the interstate in search of Top Ramen and Doritos. So, if you’re worried about such a thing occurring, wouldn’t you want to tailor your disaster plan to avoid such modes of transportation? Here’s an option far too few folks consider—make like a supertramp and ride the rails!
So, Steve’s plan revolves around being able to drive a few miles from the cabin, and then hike in with the family after linking up with two of his son’s wannabe-mercenary friends? Ugh, so much tacticool gear.
During their approach to and arrival at the cabin, they’re constantly tacti-talking about ‘taking out’ any squatters or potential enemies. I have to wonder—if your supersecret isolated mountain retreat can be found and occupied by folks before you get there, perhaps it isn’t hidden enough? Besides, Steve talks as if the worst enemy of all is displaced hungry people. Seriously, the guy has a fourteen-by-fourteen foot concrete bunker he uses exclusively for storing his foodbuckets—if some hungry folks show up at his door, the least he could do is give them a bite to eat. Then again, I’m coming from an uncivilized/tribal approach, in which generosity and cooperation are the foundations of society, and in which letting someone go hungry when you have plenty is the most heinous crime. Steve also says that above all else, he doesn’t want his family to be hungry—but I guess he’s totally fine with other folks starving. And really, if you’re worried about having enough food, where’s the garden? Them foodbuckets ain’t gonna last forever, ya know… And hey, if things do go south for the long-term, if Steve had a big horticulture setup, he could let hungry refugees work his land in exchange for food and shelter— y’know, making him the kind of neofeudal lord I think a lot of these Type I preppers really want to be.
Apparently, Steve’s biggest fear is synchronized attacks by raiders with vehicles? And so (like ya do), he devises yet another big tannerite explosion-for-‘defense’ (although ‘for ratings’ is more like it). This time they put 40 pounds of the stuff in a truck and have a little two-pronged attack simulation (someone shoots TAKES OUT a couple of man-shaped targets while someone else shoots TAKES OUT the truck-bomb. Whoopdy-doo, we’re left with a big crater in the ground…and probably in Steve’s wallet, too.
The experts give them 79 points for 16 months’ worth of ‘initial survival time’. I noted that they gave Steve 16 ‘x-factor’ points, for his ‘construction experience’. Erm, unless his experience is in timberframed strawbale cabins, earthbag domes, yurts, tipis, wigwams, or Pawnee earthlodges, (I’m gonna guess not), that Home Depot-lumberyard-based experience isn’t going to translate very well to the post-cheap-oil world that all these preppers really ought to be prepping for.