Monday, March 12, 2012

Doomsday Preppers Forgetting Something




I don't know where The National Geographic Channel is headed with shows like Doomsday Preppers and the barrage of drug and taboo documentaries, but it must have something to do with what viewers want to see (sure a departure from the magazine that I read as a kid.).

Network television these days pump out the reality shows at a furious pace, trying to hit on some formula that works so they can replicate it (to death).  Take the forerunner reality hit Deadliest Catch that spawned all of the other adventure/ treasure hunting shows (Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold and a slew of misses).

Power Goes Out Then Your Electronics Are Worthless

If the end of the world did come, you could kiss the infrastructure goodbye that connects all the different devices and computers that we use on a daily basis to communicate with each other and receive information with.  One has to only experience a day or so without power, gas, water, or some other vital source of link of our modern society to learn that most of what we use is worthless the second things "go dark".  Your phones, televisions, tablets, and computers would be nothing but worthless junk as soon as the power company goes down for good.

Too Focused on Eating and Killing

Watching a couple episodes of the Doomsday Preppers got me thinking about what these people are missing or at least what is not exciting enough to show viewers at home.  It seems these American survivalists are so focused on food, shelter, and weaponry that they are totally forgetting about information.

I realize that these "Prepper" folks are focused on surviving the immediate time after an event in which the rest of the population (their neighbors) turns into some sort of Zombie Mob of looters, however food and weapons can only get you so far.  Eventually your supplies will diminish and it will be time to make your own with whatever resources are available.  There will be no internet to turn to, it will be a totally analog world that has not existed for decades, and information will be at a premium.

The Preppers on the show seem like isolationists who will snipe anyone within a mile of their bunker (regardless of the intruders intentions).  If I was in a bunker after some sort of apocalyptic event I would really want to know what is happening on the outside of my bunker and then figure out how to prepare for it.  The only electronics I would want are battery powered and ones that receive and transmit information, perhaps a 3rd World Laptop (hand powered windup laptops) would do the trick for post apocalypse computing.

The Move Towards eBooks Not a Good One For Preppers

As we move towards replacing print books with electronic versions that are to be read with powered devices, we should keep in mind that this format of information does not go well with apocalyptic conditions.  If survivalists are truly concerned about surviving some sort of doomsday scenario they should probably be concerned with arming themselves with information that is accessible in any condition (think about the different books that will aid in survival such as:  maps, medical, mechanics, agriculture, communication, and the list goes on).

Nobody Wants Print Books Today, Outfit Your Bunker Library Cheap

If I had a bunker I think I would insulate it with books.  Doomsday Preppers are hitting prime time at a good point in time as far as the used print book market goes.  Used print books are being unloaded at a drastic rate by readers that are opting for their lightweight digital counterpart, the eBook.  Libraries everywhere are receiving huge donations of large collections of paper bound books, in fact more than they can handle (many of which get donated to places like Better World Books.  This unloading of print materials makes it easy for Preppers to outfit their bunker with a whole library of life sustaining information for pennies on the dollar. 

While I have not seen all of the Doomsday episodes, I do hope to see the area of libraries and information addressed in the program. Don't forget to throw a couple radios in the bunker too.  Outfit your bunker with life saving information in the form of print books that will last a long time if protected and taken care of.  Unless your bunker-mates are a perfect mixture of mechanics, engineers, doctors, and a farmers, you will need a lot of information to survive after an apocalyptic event.

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Post-Apocalyptic Libraries and Librarians 2012


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