I fear that Doomsday Preppers is making a laughingstock out of people who are "sensible preppers." And that begs us to ask two very interesting questions. What is sensible prepping and what is driving the behavior of the people on this show? Sensibility? Now every one needs to make their own risk assessments based on where they live. That's fine. Live in a flood area? Nuke plant? Bad weather can seal you up for a week? That's all very sensible to prepare for. But what the people on this TV show are doing is preparing for the improbable. Not the impossible mind you, but the improbable. And herein lies the catch. You can't say with 100% certitude that whatever calamity these people fear won't happen. And very often people like this think that's the answer that justifies their behavior. NatGeo may be failing to portray "typical preppers" but they're smart to lay out the odds against the Armageddon these people fear. Super Volcanos? EMP? Nuclear war? Crazy deadly flu? Hyperinflation? All unlikely. But you can't say it won't ever happen. A black hole could wander into our solar system and screw us all up, but the odds are, forgive the pun, astronomical. Sure, they'll say, "Noah was the first prepper! And they all thought he was nuts." My reply to that - you have delusions of grandeur. Motivation? Judging from what I've seen of the program most of the people on it are suffering from a type of mental problem. Don't roll your eyes just yet. Look at the facts that came from their own mouths. The liquor for trade guy said he spent $400 a week on preps. Another guy, the one with the bunker in Utah, said he doesn't do sports or hobbies anymore. He just runs constant risk assessments. Somebody else said they spent well over $10000 on preps in a couple of years! For most of these people, prepping is an all-consuming passion. If the show is to be believed at face value, these people spend and awful lot of time doing it! And what the program has not shown us is the social cost some of these people are paying for their activities. Notice how some family photos were blurred? Sure, some of the digitally scrambled might be a secret black operator somewhere, but I think the some of them are just embarrassed. Who have these preppers driven away? Not sheeple, but real people who think they are plum crazy? If you look at questionnaires that mental health professionals use to screen for addictions, just remove "gambling" "sex" "drugs" or "booze" and insert "prepping. Here's a checklist I cobbled together using one from Gambler's Anonymous. 1) Has prepping ever made your home life unhappy? 2) Has prepping affected your reputation? 3) Have you ever felt remorse after prepping? 4) After a prepping shopping trip, did you have a strong urge to return and buy more more? Just gotta get one more flashlight! 5) Have you ever sold anything to finance prepping? 6) Were you reluctant to use "prepping money" for normal expenditures? 7) Have you ever prepped longer than you had planned? (Like using all your free time? Your vacation?) 8) Have you ever prepped to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness? 9) Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act with regards to prepping? I'll leave this one for the tactical guys. 10) Does prepping get in the way of activities you once enjoyed? (I took that one from a depression checklist, but it applies here as well.) Many of the people on Doomsday Preppers are addicts. Prepping can be an addiction. I worked in mental health for years and, let me tell you, people can get addicted to anything - throwing up, cutting oneself, the Internet, porn - you name it. And it can happen with preppers too. And in some respects pathological prepping is very similar to hoarding. Hoarders amass inordinate amounts of stuff as a sort of buffer against psychological pain - as if the piles of food, clothing, furniture (Or dogs, cats, birds!) they surround themselves with can keep bad things from happening. And, when you try and get a hoarder to part with an item, they’ll often cringe saying, “I may need that one day.” For a day that will probably never come. That's delusional thinking - so we’ve come back full circle to sensibility. Part of delusional thinking is not being able apprehend reality as it is, like the odds of a thing happening and the level of one's response to that thing. And the overarching a hallmark of a hoarder? When you talk to them they come across as rational people. It's only when you shine a light on the negative consequences of their behavior (Or try and get into their house/bunker to check on them) that they flip out. Most of the people on the show sound rational, but some of their behaviors are not. And we've only seen carefully edited footage. Having a relative who is a hoarder, I can say that her problem has repelled most of her friends and family to the point where she is now a very lonely and ill person. I fear some of the people on this show have, or are developing, serious problems. Now some people have lots of stuff. That doesn’t make them hoarders. Some people play lotto. That doesn’t make them gambling addicts. Many of us prep, and most of us are probably very mentally healthy. But prepping has a dark side. And it’s good to stare that reality in the face. Wanna kill these ads? We can help!