'Doomsday Preppers' disturbing insights: Show reveals that prepping can be dangerous, expensive

Yahoo Contributor Network

"Doomsday Preppers," National Geographic's eye-opening and insightful show, showcases disaster preppers who speak of widespread food, fuel, and water shortages. Their words seem almost prophetic because in 2012 alone, refinery problems led to spiking gasoline prices in California while typhoons and flooding in North Korea created food shortages in that country.

Though most people believe they would behave honorably during a time of crisis, "Doomsday Preppers" offers frightening insights into human nature. That loving, church-going couple next door, for instance, may be ready, willing, and able to toss a Molotov cocktail your way to protect their stores of food and water.

"Survival of the fittest" takes on a whole new meaning

Most people profiled on "Doomsday Preppers" are die-hard realists. Megan Hurwitt, who describes herself as a party girl, is a dedicated prepper who loves fashion and her cats. Yet, Hurwitt admits to the Nat Geo cameras that her boyfriend wants to shoot their cats before "bugging out" to a safe location. Pampered pets, it seems, would only slow the couple down while making their escape.

The show also mentions the importance of stockpiling weapons, especially rifles and handguns, to protect against angry, hungry hoards. It also demonstrates the need for proper handling of those weapons. While training with his sons, Tim Ralston of Phoenix, Ariz., shot his own thumb off. The cameras show Ralston on the ground on the verge of passing out. Graphic photos also illustrate how badly Ralston hurt himself with what this blogger calls a "negligent discharge."

Becky Brown of Salt Lake City, Utah, on the other hand, took some on-camera sniper lessons from an unidentified expert. Preparing for a government takeover, Brown wants to be able to go on the offensive.

During a crisis, other preppers will do what they have to in order to survive. In one segment, Mike Mester teaches his son different methods of stealing gasoline from other vehicles. If siphoning isn't practical, Mester shows his offspring how to poke a hole in the gas tank and collect the fuel.

Survival can be expensive

For many preppers, survival is a lifestyle that comes with a price tag. The aforementioned Tim Ralston told the Nat Geo cameras that he has $20,000-$30,000 tied up in prepping supplies. In contrast, gourmet foodie Kellene Bishop says she and her husband spent over $100,000 on their preparedness plans. Bishop wants to eat well in a post-apocalyptic world.

Beware of meeting preppers online

Preston White has collected more than 11,000 types of seeds in preparation for the long-term, radioactive effects of the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Always looking for new varieties, White answered a Craigslist ad about trading seeds, but after a clandestine meeting, the prepper said he traded gunfire with the person who placed the ad.

Questions were raised in the episode about the true nature of that meeting, but the fact remains that answering online ads can be a risky proposition. There are plenty of opportunists, it seems, who might take advantage of preppers.

The prepper next door

Think you know your neighbors? There may be a die-hard prepper like Kathy Harrison in your area. Called the "Doris Day of Doom," Harrison is preparing for "Black Swan" events that come out of nowhere. Harrison does, however, actively involve her New England community in making cider and canning food.
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