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Doomsday Preppers & Pathological Prepping

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by runcible68, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. runcible68


    Aug 23, 2006
    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.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  2. nutty_one


    Sep 20, 2004
    Pac NW
    I'd say having food and medical supplies on hand to ride out a long term natural disaster - earthquake, flood, wild fire - whatever is most common in your area - is sensible. We can look to Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath to see why it might make sense - it was a long while before power, law & order, and sanitary services were back online in many places.

    Here in the PNW - we're sitting on a major fault line that hasn't let go in a big way in a while - and the science types keep telling us we're over-due to get hit with something in the 6.0+ range - and where I live, that'd be devastating just about everywhere - our infrastructure isn't designed to handle something like that, and our civil servants probably don't get enough training, because it's not something that happens every few years like in L.A. - so it might be a little while before things are restored and cleaned up if we get hit with a big one.

    I would say though - that a person should build their stock of preps in accordance with their income - spending 50% of what you take home each pay check on stuff to stock pile is crazy. I'm sure there's other things - rent, mortgage, utilities, bills, doctors visits, etc that probably need more financial attention for most folks.

    Reasonable - to me - would be 6-9 months of stored food and typical medical supplies, and maybe bags of seeds for planting a garden for fresh veggies. Unemployment can be a disaster that can happen to any family at any time - and it's just as smart to have a stockpile of food & whatnot as it is to have 3-6 months of wages saved up and a fully funded retirement account. Having the spare supplies can make the job loss a lot easier - instead of having to buy food and band aids - the family can devote their unemployment (if they get it) toward keeping the roof over their heads.

    Reality shows like Doomsday Preppers purposely try to find the fringe people - those who are just a tip toe from full on lunacy - because it makes for "good TV" - and it makes the normal people look like tards. Just like Sons of Guns makes gunsmiths and gun owners look like drama llamas with slack jaws and bad attitudes. They don't portray the average gun maker, custom shop, or gun owner in any reasonable light. It'd be pretty damn boring for most folks to watch Les Baer or Ed Brown or Robbie Barkmann do their deal, and thus the ratings would suffer.

    I doubt most crab boats operate with the level of drama you'd see on the Cornelia Marie, and most logging operations aren't full of bickering and fighting like you see from Rygaard or S&S.

    But most certainly, when it becomes an obsession, when it cuts into other areas of your life, when it drives away friends in numbers - it's out of hand. But I'd prefer NOT to see the government stepping in and saying "you have too much food, too many bandages, too many guns, too much ammo" and seize them and commit the person.

  3. TangoFoxtrot

    TangoFoxtrot OIF 04-05

    Sep 10, 2008
    Nowhereville, USA
    Doomsday Preppers & Pathological Prepping
    Hey it is what it is. NGS will aire what ever they think will attract the viewers attention, whether its realistic or not.
  4. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

    Sep 16, 2008
    I think SOME preppers are basically compulsive shoppers and hoarders.

    I don't think its a function of being a prepper, its basically in the population of preppers you are going to have some that are compulsive, mental, and paranoid where prepping is their outlet. Some people can be compulsive with eating, buying shoes, clothing, car parts, and other stuff.

    Well before prepping became popular gun nuts bought guns and outdoor nuts bought hiking gear and equipment in excess. Heck many of us probably had depression era relatives who hoarded/stored canned good in the basement.

    I think it could become a problem with some people. I seen it on prepping sites all the time, usually with people spending well above their means. Can't protect yourself from a possible economic collapse when you are bankrupt from buying too much stuff. Also its a problem when you start hoarding stuff for no good reason. Letting food rot in 5 gallon buckets, buying 20 "handout" rifles even though you only have 10 friends & Family, and having a mountain of gear pile up collecting dust is simply STUPID. Your prepping hobby is now an anchor to your family's overall well being and survival.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  5. Rumbler_G20


    Dec 5, 2011
    N. Florida

    Then there are those who feel they are competent to stand in judgement of others behavior when in fact they haven't a clue.

    For instance, there are ONLY three types of people:

    Sheep. Wolves. Sheepdogs. The sheepdogs look an awful lot like the wolves to the sheep, they have fangs and the capacity for violence. That makes the sheep think that there are only two types; Sheep like themselves (read: "real people") and wolves.

    And lord knows that all wolves are abnormal. :upeyes:
  6. runcible68


    Aug 23, 2006
    I'm curious, and mean no disrespect, but do you really think people neatly fit into those categories? I've heard people say. "There are two kinds of people, leaders and followers." But people sometimes lead and sometimes are led, like in the military. So, there are people who, at various times in their lives might be a sheep, sheepdog and, occasionally a wolf.
    Myself, I've always seem the whole "sheepdog" thing as kind of simplistic and Disneyesque, but I'm open to being educated. :)
  7. G29Reload

    G29Reload Tread Lightly

    Sep 28, 2009
    I saw the worst of it the other night…American Guns? Jesus.

    Nothing to do with reality. Totally scripted 'tard drama, gunshop with shallow clown, wife with fake rack and collagen injected fake lips and stupid attitude complete with daughter along for the ride, argument over female customers desire for pink gun and a family celebration of marital anniversary finished off with a target shoot of a flower vase full of roses and champagne glasses. Couldnt make up how repulsive and shallow it was.
  8. Lionhill


    Jan 15, 2007
    Pacific NW
    I would not be surprised to learn if these were paid actors and the entire show scripted. As a prepper, most people who consider me a friend or neighbour have no idea about what I have or store.

    It's a liability at a time when you need no liabilities.

    The show makes me feel embarrassed for those involved. I cannot and will not watch it ever again.

  9. Atomic Punk

    Atomic Punk

    Mar 11, 2008
    i would love to have the money to go way overboard on prepping. my wife and best friend really enjoy camping, and a lot of that stuff hits camping/prepping.

    and you never know what the preps will be used for. my wife recently got fired ( lying customers ) and a lot of our stored food preps are coming in handy.
  10. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Oct 11, 2004
    Avondale, AZ.
    My mom use to can lots of stuff from the garden every year. We've still got a lot of Mason and Ball canning jars(call em' jars but they're glass, ya'll know what I'm talking about) under the house in storage. Guess that kind of made her a "Prepper" of sorts. I think it's always a good idea to have some food and water put back "just in case". You never can tell what's going to happen in the future and if nothing does then fine, we'll add the stuff we've put back to our normal food supply but if something DOES happen it'll be nice to be able to have something to eat.
  11. eracer

    eracer Where's my EBT?

    Apr 5, 2011
    Tampa, FL
    I carry a gun every day because I want to be prepared in the unlikely event that I will need to use it to defend my life, or the lives of others, from a criminal intent on doing me mortal harm.

    Doomsday prepping is the same thing, except that it requires more commitment. And for some, who prep for the EXTREMELY unlikely, it requires a level of commitment that I am unwilling to make.

    For me, prepping is a way to survive into a world that I want to live in. For the doomsdayers, they want to survive into a world I don't believe I'd want to live in.

    As for them making other, less extreme, preppers look 'bad'...

    I think most intelligent folks have speculated on the possibility that the S could H the F. Most of them don't want to take the time to do any prepping, instead adopting the 'It probably won't happen' attitude.

    But most people also admire a certain amount of preparedness in others, and recognize that there is a continuum of prepping, just like there is a continuum in most things in life.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  12. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    We'd rather have it not need it as ta the reverse.'08.
  13. NDCent

    NDCent Socially Inept

    Mar 19, 2010
    The show only makes us happy we've kept our prepping mostly to ourselves. A couple of very close friends and family members know we prep, and they don't know exactly to what extent. No, we're not over the top by almost any means. But, to some that continue to live above their means so they can have the latest and greatest gadgets, I guess we could be. You have to make a choice in what you're comfortable with. Although I'm glad people don't naturally think of me when they see those type shows, I could really give a rats arse either way in the long run. :tongueout:
  14. vtbluegrass


    Dec 1, 2009
    Organization and value of items is about all that separates "Hoarders" from "Preppers" when it comes to TV and I would say several of those TV preppers are indeed compulsive.

    Also I make no claims of being in great shape but about half of those preppers need to prepare to fight coronary disease and not the end times.
  15. 17119jfkioe


    Apr 23, 2010

    Great post! Always felt the same way, just couln't articulate it as well as you.:thumbsup:
  16. Lone Kimono

    Lone Kimono

    Jul 15, 2009
    Prepping can be a fun hobby, but if consumes your life to the point you aren't enjoying life (and the good times we are currently blessed with) it's a problem.
  17. Jake514


    Feb 3, 2007
    My money spent prepping could be spend on a lot worse habits or things.

    I certainly am no saint and have plenty of bad habits to spend my money on just the same as many other peers. My money spent on reasonable prepping makes me feel slightly easier (but not relaxed or satisfied and still a long ways to go) and provides a sense of some assurance and independence and knowing at least it is a step in the right direction.
  18. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    I'll give an example,If you lost your job tomorrow how long could you feed your family? While paying a mortgage/insert debt here.

    Folks,I started my preps in the 80s when I was unemployed and was hungry.I spent months living off rice and garlic salt.I decided that will never happen again.We got grub,more important we have the ability ta grow our own.'08.
  19. glocked1


    Feb 2, 2011
    That show is hilarious!
  20. Good post op. Definitely good to reflect on balance in our lives.