Posts Tagged ‘military’

Riots, revelers, teams, and tribes

Whenever local public outrage boils over following a flashpoint murder of an unarmed person of color by a member of the State’s domestic terrorism arm (read:the Police), I usually see at least one social media post by an educated, left-leaning friend like this:

In other words, when a large number of (largely) Caucasian college students and/or sports fans get together in public to celebrate their chosen sports team’s victory by overturning automobiles and burning couches, it’s usually depicted and described by the Media as ‘reveling’…

But when a large number of persons of color get together in public to express their frustration over what has become increasingly clear is the systemic murder of members of their community by those who exist to supposedly ‘serve and protect’ those communities, it’s usually described by the Media as ‘rioting’.

Please note that I’m not addressing looting—which does occur in connection with both types of unrest. Looters, as far as I’m concerned, are a few bad apples making the larger group look bad: criminals, plain and simple, who are taking advantage of unrest in order to commit crimes.
What I am addressing is folks getting together in public, in connection with recent events, to protest—by-and-large nonviolently—police abuses.

Why this difference in how these types of unrest are described? It’s not entirely about race—you have to take a step back and look at the big picture:
42915The reason why sports-related riots are depicted as ‘reveling’ and mass protests are depicted as ‘riots’ is this: because in the sports riots, violence is directed horizontally, contained within the bottom of the pyramid, and it only serves to reinforce arbitrary divisions between artificial tribes (sports teams and their fans). However, the violence (or even non-violence) of a protesting populace is directed in another direction: upwards—from the bottom of the pyramid towards the systems of violence, power, and control at the top…and that’s when the militarized tacti-cops and their SWAT vans come out to play:
7052b-ferguson2bmilitarized2briot2bpoliceThe current power systems in place recognize that the violence of rioting sports fans doesn’t pose a threat to them, and so the ‘revelers’ are allowed their night of diversionary couch-burning fun. Jerry M. Lewis explains quite adeptly how,
“In America the rioting is typically with young white males, and it’s always after championship play or an important playoff game. Why do they do it? It’s a way they identify with the victory. Fan violence becomes an act of sporting success. They can’t dunk a basketball, but they can be violent, which is a metaphor for athletic success.”

Indeed! Being a sports-fan now is primarily a passive pursuit (sit and watch TV)—unless your team wins, in which case, you’d better prove you’re a true fan and flip that car.
And why is this behavior seen “typically with young white males”? As Daniel Quinn writes,

“For ten thousand years you’ve believed that you have the one right way for people to live. But for the last [four] decades or so, that belief has become more and more untenable with every passing year. You may think it odd that this is so, but it’s the men of your culture who are being hit the hardest by the failure of your cultural mythology. They have (and have always had) a much greater investment in the righteousness of your revolution. In coming years, as the signs of collapse become more and more unmistakable, you’ll see them withdraw ever more completely into the surrogate world of male success, the world of sports.”

It’s a great irony—only after abandoning a tribal society in favor of a hierarchical, pyramid-shaped one, our culture found that its men still needed tribes to belong to and identify with…and so professional sports teams were born. Now, if you want to join a tribe, instead undergoing a painful initiation ritual, all you have to do is go out and buy a jersey and some facepaint, and scream louder and burn more couches than the other team’s fans—it’s macho posturing in the same way that tribal folk for a million years have been painting themselves up to both show their affiliations, and intimidate other groups. Unfortunately, at the core of this modern incarnation are petty, arbitrary divisions that only serve to distract and divide an ignorant population—to say nothing of the ubiquitous and constant advertising!

When the Good Guys look like the Bad Guys…

In case you don’t hang around on pop culture websites, here’s the link to what you may have missed last week: the latest nugget of Hunger Games movie-franchise teaser images features the ostensible ‘rebel warriors’ who will appear in the series’ third film, Mockingjay, Part The First.
And here are the posters, all together:

HGMJ1rebs

(On a superficial note, Cressida‘s extreme undercut shaved-head look won’t hold up well in twenty years or so. Plus, good luck getting us to believe the story is set hundreds of years in the future when a character has an oh-so-trendy twenty-teens ‘do like that.)

Ugh. I think my first thought upon seeing these was something along the lines of, “Huh. Good Guys are looking pretty tacticool: black plastic submachineguns, black ninja suits…Are our protagonists planning to take the fight to the Capitol, or raid a Branch Davidian compound?”

In general, I find that the entire publicity/marketing propaganda campaign for these sequels leaves me feeling somewhat nauseous. While the ‘Capitol’ campaign is focused on ideas of ‘unity’ and decadence, the opposition seems more concerned with manufactured ‘resistance’ and being bleak. However, make no mistake, there is nothing organic about either campaign: each is meticulously planned, arranged, ‘shopped, and doled out to the masses of salivating fans.

However, in light of last month’s (justified and, frankly, long overdue) protests/riots and resulting police overkill/crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent broaching of a national conversation about the militarization of police, I have to say that I find this latest batch of publicity posters pretty repulsive. Hell, even if they were released long before things went down in Ferguson, I still would have found them repulsive.

On the Wired link above, I counted (as of 4 September) 35 comments; most seemed to focus on fawning over the sole female in the lineup (I gathered that she also appears on the toxic ‘Game of Thrones’ series), complaining about the first and second films’ similarities, or technical issues. Of those 35, only a single commenter seemed able to separate his enjoyment of the franchise from the troubling visual message on display. This individual (who uses an image of a Black man as their avatar) remarked simply, “Wait, this is the Ferguson Police squad.”
Indeed. Congratulations, ‘tmsruge’, you win.

In fact, if you covered up the faces of these characters and the name of the film being promoted, I would have to assume that they were either elite, spooky, SEAL-type shadowy assassin-tools-of-the-State, or shady Blackwater-type ‘contractor’ mercenaries for private hire. But, surprise!, these are supposedly the Good Guys! Well, I’ll believe it when I see it, because as soon as you put your ‘rebels’ in matching uniforms*, they start looking entirely like oppressive, top-of-the-Pyramid Powers That Be.

And yes, tha Police fall neatly into that category.

*(History seems to show us that in a conflict, the less-civilized force will almost always be the one without uniforms (underdogs may have a similar look, but usually won’t be standardized). Star Wars is a good example of a rare exception: even though the Rebels have a standardized military, they’re still the less-Civilized of the two parties (being democratic, gylanic, and diverse, etc. versus the xenophobic, patriarchal, literal Space Nazis of the Galactic Empire.)

Why is this? Is it some kind of Stockholm Syndrome in the water? Have we become so accustomed to being oppressed by these kinds of paramilitary forces that we’re supposed to identify with—and even root for—them now?
Either the costume designers clearly do not understand what is meant by ‘ragtag resistance’, or perhaps this is a reflection of the fact that the rebels are entirely backed by District 13, whose leadership is just as corrupt as the Capitol?

Anyway, as I close, I’ll bring this back to the Real World, with a handy little tool—compliments of the Freedom of Information Act!—that reports what kind of groovy ex-military gear your local peacekeepers can bring to bear on your community. Stay informed!

Doomsday Preppers: Robert

After a break for Thanksgivukkah, I’m back with season three’s next collection of elaborate survival-related construction projects, episode Survival is an Ugly Beast.
© NatGeo/Sharp EntertainmentFirst up is Robert (no last name) of somewhere outside Dallas, TX; the episode guide says he operates a ‘survival store’ in the area?

He’s a former serviceman (Airforce) and it shows. It’s kind of disarming, because his face really reminds me of Cody Lundin, except that Rob ’Roids is bald, sweaty, sausage-necked, and on the complete opposite side of the spectrum from the AboDude.

Anyway, Rob is “preparing for martial law”, *summarily execute mannequin*; so…that’s pretty telling.
As before, a minimal amount of time is spent ‘showing off preps’. Their around-the-house stuff isn’t horrible: in addition to two years’ worth of stacked foodbuckets, he has two pretty big pv-solar panels and a battery bank he claims can power the house for a week. Not sure if that’s a week of normal Amerikan usage (all the lights on, bigscreen TV, A/C, dishwasher, &c.), but if they were to preemptively adopt a low-power lifestyle, that stored juice might last them two weeks or more, post-disaster! Also, I’m not sure if the batteries are ‘saved’ for emergency use only or if they just use that juice day-to-day? I’m hoping the latter, though I suspect the former.

And while the narrator announces that “Rob makes his own bullets”, it’d be more accurate to say he’s a reloader. Which of course brings us to his ‘stockpile of weapons’, because “firearms are important at any time, but especially after martial law is declared!” Alright, if you say so.
Rob shows off his arsenal of overpowered, high-capacity boom-sticks, up to and including a .50-caliber rifle (“If you can’t stop them with this, you probably need a tank!”—which is apparently what he expects to go up against).
Ugh. Seriously, this kind of puffed-up, ‘guns equal masculinity’, fetishizing, overcompensation nonsense is possibly the most significant—yet overlooked-by-most—root causes behind the rash of school- and other mass shootings in recent decades. Of course, you’ll never hear that perspective on the network news, which instead focus on mental health and gun control, which are easy to ‘fix’ in our system’s traditional manner—all together now: make a Program and throw money at it, while avoiding introspection and discussion (which might lead to making actual cultural changes). Blerg.

Anyway, Rob links up with his ‘Nam-vet friend Gary, and decides the best way to protect his “family, supplies, and freedoms” is to surround his property with booby-traps. Honestly, I have a feeling we’re just seeing two grown men cutting loose and getting to act like boys for an afternoon. Because grown men making (and seriously considering using) booby-traps is all kinds of silly/disturbing, but goofing off with powertools and guns and building ridiculous, impractical ‘traps’ for shits and giggles sounds a whole lot like what I did with my buddies on the weekends in high school.

So, first up is an auditory alarm (tripwire + rat trap + shotshell), which doesn’t work. They bump it up a notch and move to tripwire + red phosphorus flares, which actually works, but will also probably burn down whatever tree you attach it to. Also, every single deer, coyote, or wild hog in the neighborhood would be setting off traps left and right. These are the kinds of things one must consider if you don’t want to do things half-assed.

Next up is essentially a punji-stick pit trap. Hey, don’t forget to smear ‘em with poop!
They ‘test’ it with a pig’s head. Whoo. I guess either Rob is only considering two-legged intruders, or he’s really hurting for wild game, because widespread use of spikey fall traps would result in a whole lotta dead-or-maimed critters.
Last up—because it’s not an episode of Doomsday Preppers without a tannerite explosion!—they put some boom-powder in some livestock tubs, surround with mannequins, and explode. Whoo.

Oh, and because context is for the weak, there’s a bit in which Rob tests out some one-way bulletproof glass. He shoots at it from one side, and then crawls into an empty oil drum and shoots up another mannequin. No idea what the point of that was, but for what it’s worth, enclosed metal spaces aren’t the best for shooting in without ear/eye protection.

And in the midst of all this, there’s a big chunk of drama spent worrying about a thunderstorm when Rob’s wife Wendy runs to pick up their daughter at school; she’s a little late getting back and Rob turns into a nervous wreck, because as he says, pretty much his only reason for existing is to protect them. Yet again—why not get the wife and daughter involved?: take a family survival course, get some skills and know-how, make sure every vehicle has a roadside survival kit, and hope for the best? I’m totally sick of all of these gung-ho, ex-mil Patriarchs thinking that the responsibility for family safety falls entirely on their shoulders—it shouldn’t.

The experts’ scoreless assessment pats Rob on the back for doing some TV-friendly stunts and suggests he think about storing seeds for food resupply. Rob responds with some corporate/military buzzword-y nonsense.

Doomsday Preppers: Mike Evock

The show continues on to Laurinburg, North Carolina, where it will spend a half hour gratuitously pandering to the lowest common denominator of Red State American cable-tv viewers.
© NatGeo/Sharp EntertainmentMike Evock runs a 700-acre ‘ATV park’, which somehow (he claims) doubles as his bug-out location. We’re told that “what most people don’t know is that the family business is a front”…well, they do now!

He’s ex-Special Forces (of course), and based on those experiences he’s prepping for a bio/chemical attack of some sort, possibly involving cropduster planes?
Apparently, Evock’s site has some interesting water filtration systems and watchtowers, but of course the audience might actually learn something useful from seeing those, so instead the producers give us an uninspiring look at Southern internal-combustion-engine-enthusiast culture.

There’s a Task segment where we watch Mike’s goofy son Junior put up a ‘biodome’ while dad does laps. And when I say ‘does laps’, I don’t mean he goes for a jog in the interests of cardio and mental/physical well-being, but instead (because this is ‘Murka!) he just drives his four-wheeler in a circle around a track. Dude, if you’re worried about surviving various disaster scenarios (unless you’re really only worried about biochem attacks—in which case you’re completely shortsighted), learning to get by without petrol would be an excellent first step; swap the Ancient Sunlight Juice for Person Power (use your own two feet!).

There’s a big chunk of chasing-trucks-with-four-wheelers, something with anti-marauder maneuvering? In this case the marauders apparently have come for their treasured (remember, this is NASCAR country) checkered flag.

And so we get yet another ‘welding-crap-onto-a-petrol-powered-vehicle-over-generic-rock-music’ montage, because four-wheelers aren’t extreme enough by themselves – they need armor plating and machinegun(excuse me, ‘Weapons Systems’) mounts!

While they’re camouflaging the quad, Mike reminds his son that “Nothing in nature has straight edges”; wanna guess what shape his ‘body armor’ is? Yup, a square. And besides, a single two-foot square of armor mounted dead-center just looks pretty ineffective. Couldn’t they have welded some sheet steel between the wheels, to shield the driver’s legs from the sides? Or some angled pieces above the front wheels, to shield the driver’s arms and body? Unless the operator is protected from multiple directions, you don’t have much business calling it a “mini tank”. I dunno, I’m just not a fan of people getting all puffed up when they only do a project half-assed.

Oh, and I guess it’s now required that preppers give their overkill vehicles a macho, tactical-posturing name.

© NatGeo/Sharp Entertainment

behold, ‘the Interceptor’…*yawn*.

Mike shows his father-worshipping son how to make caltrops out of sheet steel, and then they burn some more petrol to test them out on a car. Yeah…I’m pretty sure they didn’t really work.
And we wrap up with even more chasing of trucks with four-wheelers. Except this time, they can train a rifle on the truck and make them stop and hand over their precious checkered flag.

Man, car culture (and its devotees) just leaves me completely uninspired. Blech.

Doomsday Preppers: Rodney Dial

I had really hoped Doomsday Preppers had jumped the shark after their mini-season, but alas.
And so…they’re back. Can we really be surprised this show—loathsome parade of swagger and dick-measuring that it is—got picked up for a third season? When ratings (=profit$) are involved, of course not!
Because I really do have better things to do, until I see someone on this show doing really good things (y’know, demonstrating positive, life-affirming attitudes, progressive thinking, and real solutions—in other words, the polar opposite of what I think we’re in for this season), I’m gonna try and keep these commentaries short.
S03E01(‘Take Back the Country!’) opens with Rodney Dial of Ketchikan, Alaska.
© NatGeo/Sharp EntertainmentHe’s worried about “a major earthquake in the Alaska area”, which would likely result in a large tsunami. This is not entirely irrational, seeing how he’s right on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

As we’ve come to expect by this point, Rodney couches his fears using the same worn-out Survivalist mantra of ‘after three days without groceries, people go crazy!’. But don’t worry, because he also believes that “after a tsunami, only those who know how to live off the land would survive”.
Of course this sequence is intercut with a bunch of stock footage of rioting crowds in urban centers, which really clashes when juxtaposed against Ketchikan’s “quiet fishing village”. Seriously, with the right pre-disaster attitude, a small-ish town (Ketchikan is only about 8,000 people) stands a way better chance (compared to a major metropolis) of actually becoming a real community and coming together for mutual support in the event of a disaster!

Rodney apparently has “20 years of military experience”, so you know what that means—he’s all about black tactical crap, big talk, and showing off! Oh, and he runs a tattoo parlor.
Apparently, he’s dropped $100k on his wholly misguided ‘preps’—these include a 5,000-gallon grain-bin-as-rain-barrel (cool idea, but how watertight would that be?) and only six months’ worth of food storage (for a family of three), but don’t worry, he has a tank! (clearly used as mobile advertising for his tattoo shop):

© NatGeo/Sharp Entertainment

boys and their toys…*eyeroll*

Our narrator points out Rodney’s battlewagon is designed “to establish authority”—in other words, let folks know you’re the one holding power over their lives. This, of course, has been the policy of every Younger Culture military from Uruk up to Amerika: flaunt all the life-destroying goodies you’ve made, to keep the citizenry in line and make sure they know who’s in charge.
Rodney’s teenage daughter thinks dad’s tank is “kind of embarrassing”, and I have to agree—seriously, couldn’t he have just bought a red convertible like all the other mid-life crisis dads?

There’s a bit where Rodney goes scubadiving for sea cucumbers for the family to eat. “They’re everywhere here!” he says, which I’m pretty sure is exactly what they said about Atlantic cod, bluefin tuna, and the American bison. Thankfully, as soon as Rodney says that, a caption pops up, mirroring my thoughts—letting us know that overharvesting of sea cucumbers is strictly regulated. Of course, such in-system sanctions do nothing to combat the deeper, more insidious implications: this Man helps himself to these organisms because he has been taught by his culture that he is superior to them, and so he can continue to exploit them, giving nothing back, until they are gone. This is the pattern of our civilization.

About half of Rodney’s segment is wrapped up with his delusion of making underwater supply tube-caches to keep goodies out of the hands of his lawless neighbors. There’s some drama resulting from forcing a typical teenage girl to do something she doesn’t want to (she gets a piece of metal in her eye; she gets better), meh. They weld up these steel tubes and drop them out in the ocean (hope they don’t rust in the saltwater!), because if they can’t have supplies, nobody can! (or…something). Apparently, while they don’t want to rely on a boat (which could be lost in our hypothetical tsunami) to retrieve their caches, they do want to rely on terrestrial landmarks like trees? I got news for ya, dude—if your tsunami does go down, the landscape’s gonna look pretty different.
At least he has a cool improvised tank-free diving setup, using an innertube, compressor and battery.

Oh, and of course: to keep us watching, it looks like they’re cutting each show’s segments together, so unlike in previous seasons, we don’t just get a 15-minute block of JoeBob, then a block of BobbyJoe. This of course gives the producers more opportunities for dramatic cutaways. Ugh.

Aaannnd…it also looks like they’ve done away with season two’s ‘expert assessment’ scores? We still have an ‘assessment’ section, but it’s not quantitative: it’s mostly just the narrator telling our subjects ‘good job on buying enough stuff to make you feel ‘prepared’; now think about how you’re going to refill those foodbuckets’.

Doomsday Preppers: Alex Dunbar

Up next is the episode ‘People Become Animals!’, which seems to continue the previous profile’s theme of low-key prepping. On the whole, this one is pretty much the Least Prepper-y Episode ever—nobody shoots anything, and incredibly, nothing blows up.
© NatGeo/Sharp Entertainment
So we begin with Alex Dunbar, of around San Luis, Colorado. He’s former USMC, which usually translates to supertactical and generally obnoxious. However, he seems pretty down to earth, as you’d expect from someone who claims to be “training an army of dogs to survive World War Three”.

Of course, I think—like most of the folks on the show—he’s really just appearing for some publicity for his dog-training outfit.
His rationale is something about “the whole world hating America” or some such. I dunno, the world didn’t always hate us back in our isolationist days, but about a hundred years ago that started to change. Now that we’re the imperial World Police, you can’t really blame them. But don’t worry—every empire in the last six thousand years (which is to say, all of them) has collapsed after exhausting their landbase and/or stretching themselves too thin.

In order to confront his hypothetical scenario, Alex has “pre-bugged out” to a 320-acre compound out in the middle of nowhere, very well-suited to his dog-training enterprise. As he says, a well-trained German Shepherd can fill all the roles of a body guard, offensive weapon, defensive alarm system, &c.

There’s a bunch of unnecessary focus on the individual dogs, giving them names and headshots and stuff. Bleh.

As you might imagine, it could potentially cost a lot of money to keep this many big dogs fed, so Alex takes the DIY route and makes his own dog food, using fruits, veggies, and yak meat. I think he says something about planning to raise yaks? That’d be cool, everywhere could use more megafauna.

Something I thought was interesting was how Alex has chosen to train his dogs in Slovakian. The rationale being the idea that it would give him a slight edge over anyone he was operating against, expecting to hear ‘Attack! Heel! Sic balls!’ or whatever, only to hear some completely foreign language (unless he’s invaded by Slovakians, that is). It’s probably not a bad idea.

The producer’s stunt comes when Alex takes one of the dogs (who has a fear of heights) and rappels with him off a 50-foot bridge. The dog doesn’t freak out too terribly, so I’d say Alex trains them pretty well.

On account of his isolation and pre-bugged-out-edness, experts award him 70 points for a year’s worth of initial survival time.

Doomsday Preppers: ‘The Colony’

Well, it seems those television executives are hungrier than ever for ratings (and the all-powerful Dollar they represent), and so have been so generous as to give us a late-summer ‘mini-season’ of everybody’s favorite shameless freakshow! Technically, I suppose this should be Season 2.5, but I’ve rounded up and filed it as Season 3 anyway. Enjoy.

We begin watching Jeff Mann, ‘exotic animal broker’, patrolling his 25-acre ‘ranch’ in Florida (ugh). He does this patrol tooling around on a Segway, which I don’t think we ever see him step off the whole time. Man, if you’re worried about the end of the world as you know it, better hop off the electric (therefore coal-powered, therefore unsustainable) machine and get used to walking!
It seems Jeff has turned this ranch into a right-proper Prepper Compound—which he calls The Colony (hey, just like that unfortunate soft-scripted prepper reality bitchfest)—complete with three easily-hoppable electric gates and shipping-container barracks!
Oh, what a surprise. You know this was filmed as part of Season 2, because their fear is one of economic collapse!!! Someone comments that this “will happen because we don’t know how to control our spending”—but I’m not sure if he’s talking about themselves, or the capitalist system in general?

But don’t worry, “there’s safety in numbers—he’s a doctor, he’s an engineer, he’s a hunter” (ugh, specialization is for insects), and Jeff has recruited others to help him rule his tiny Type I kingdom: ‘former Marine’ (say no more!) Bill Hennessey, and ‘professional survivalist’ John Milandred. That last title sounds made-up, but it’s just fancy-talk for ‘hands-on survival instructor’. Amidst all the macho, guns-and-gear bunker-dwellers we’ve seen on this show, John (and the few others like him) stands out as an example of the type of guy you really want on your side in a disaster–he’s down-to-earth and well-versed in low-tech living and so doesn’t seem afraid to live without the comforts and conveniences we associate with our fragile civilizational experiment.

I guess that with all their security enhancements hoarded astronaut food and junk (and the eight firearms per person), Bill thinks the Colony “is the place you’d want to be” when shit goes south (erm, Florida? I don’t think so.); because “this is where we’d make our final stand’ (remember, for professional Takers like Bill, life is war!)

It seems that for joining the Colony, each family gets their own shipping container, and gets to decorate it however they want? Oh, joy! Lipstick on a pig, much? It’s still a shipping container.
Apparently Jeff has a daughter and a son, and he’s trying to decide who he should pass the mantle of Colony Leader onto. I had expected we’d get a whole lotta father-son drama, but was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t go that route.

It’s funny, if you’re planning on supporting 25+ people, you’d think we’d see a big-ass garden and people working in it or something, but no, we just see a warehouse of food boxes and buckets (Mountain House and the like)…because gardening requires time and knowledge, but foodbuckets just require $$$.
Then we get to the Task part of the segment, in which we learn if young Colten can step up and do all the duties of Colony Leader.
First test—can he feed the whole colony if all of their livestock is gone?
Okay, first off—ditch the cows, they’re inefficient for the amount of pasturage they require.
Second—nothing happens suddenly. I can think of very few likely scenarios in which you will suddenly go from a menagerie of animals to zero. If you have chickens and a rooster, then you will have chicks. Ditto for goats. That’s how husbandry works.
Third—what are all the rest of the colony folks doing during this time? Is daddy Jeff currently responsible for feeding everybody?
Four—there’s more to having food to eat than hunting and trapping. Eat lower down the energy pyramid (go veggie) and you’ll have enough for everybody.

And so, John takes Colten to teach him “the survival trades that the rest of the colony doesn’t know”—wait, what? Are they consciously keeping the others in the dark? Have they taken in people with no survival skills? What’s their angle, hoping to play the savior?
They set out into the woods to find a wild hog, but you’d think if they were serious about hunting wild boars they wouldn’t go walking around unarmed in their blue jeans? I dunno.
They set up a giant have-a-heart trap, and the whole catching and dispatching of the sow suspiciously happens entirely offscreen during a commercial break, so I’m not convinced they actually caught it.
John shows him how to butcher it, but since this is NatGeo’s Doomsday Preppers, of course it’s played for the ‘eww, guts!’ angle, instead of how someone like Ray Mears would show it and actually demonstrate how to properly butcher.

Then there’s some dumbassery (this was probably the requisite producer-enforced stunt) involving shooting a tub of that exploding-target mixture folks on this show are so fond of, except the scenario involves Jeff’s son running up to a junked car, throwing the bottle in the car, hitting the dirt and crawling uprange back to the others, while they shoot automatic weapons over his head. Eventually Jeff shoots the car with his .50 cal, and sets off the explosion. Luckily no shrapnel (or anyone’s bullet) hits the boy.
According to the narrator, the idea is somehow to use junked-cars-with-exploding-stuff as some kind of perimeter defense. I don’t buy it.
© NatGeo/Sharp Entertainment
Now we move onto the drama-with-larger-implications segment of the profile, in which we ponder post-disaster politics.
Someone suggests that in a disaster scenario, the colony will be run by a “city council that would govern…” Obviously, we’re dealing with civilized bluepills who have never questioned our culture’s mistaken belief that they need someone higher up on the pyramid to tell them what to do and give order to their lives.
Seriously, if your ‘colony’ is going to be in the 25-to-50-people range, that’s a textbook Band, so why not go with the only natural form of leadership for that size society—pure-democratic tribal law? Well, the ‘why not’ is easy—because Bill has grown up in a culture that’s been painting tribal societies as Wild Savages for the last eight thousand years!
And so, he suggests they establish a “punishment for crimes that dates back to Rome” (well, say no more!)—hanging! Yup, Bill has them build a half-assed gallows (couple of 4x4s stuck together), to symbolize the same old anti-tribal rule of Law we’ve been dealing with since ol’ Hammurabi, because as Bill intones, “We have to have a set of laws, people have to respect the law!”
Really! You can’t make this stuff up! This, from the pistol-toting, camo-clad-from-head-to-toe, former marine, colony’s ‘head of security’ guy—he couldn’t be a better posterchild for the Taker way if he tried!

Well, unless if he started genocide-ing the local tribal folks…

However, John steps up as the sensible dissenting voice, suggesting that instead of executing them, post-collapse lawbreakers should get kicked out of the colony—y’know, expelled into the wild without the support net of the tribe. There’s some pissy drama—justified when Bill brings out the Taker’s ultimate insult and calls John a tree-hugger—that eventually plays out when Jeff’s son manages to broker a kind of peace between the two, though I think John really has disassociated himself from the Colony.

Anyway, this confrontation is an absolutely perfect example of the clash that has occurred at the frontiers of Our culture for the last eight thousand years. For another look at Taker-versus-Leaver philosophies played-for-drama in a survivalist television setting, see Dual Survival: Cody Lundin exemplifies the primitive, harmonious, and ultimately sustainable viewpoint, set against Dave Canterbury’s stubborn embrace of a civilized, military-industrial approach that sees Nature as an opponent to be eliminated, and which can only result in the extinction of the human species (while probably taking the rest of the planet down with it).

In the end, the group gets a new high score of 89 ‘points’ for 19 months ‘initial survival time’. Woo, Type I prepping.