Doomsday Preppers: Surviving The End Of The World So You Don't Have To

Nat Geo's new show takes a look into the lives of people so worried about the oncoming apocalypse that they stock up on machine guns, grenades, tinned food and even build underground bunkers in the mountains...
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Nat Geo's new show takes a look into the lives of people so worried about the oncoming apocalypse that they stock up on machine guns, grenades, tinned food and even build underground bunkers in the mountains...

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Those pesky Mayans. When they weren't predicting Simon Cowell’s true form (Antichrist anybody?), they were telling us that on an arbitrary date, in the far flung future that they would never live until, the world was going to end on December 21st 2012. It may turn out to be just a case of whoever sorted out the calendar clocked off early and left it for someone else to do.

But if it does turn out that the End Of The World is right around the corner, how prepared will you be? I know a lot of you are thinking ‘I’ll just hole up in the basement or attic and continue instagramming people running from the zombie apocalypse.’ Well you won’t! If it isn’t rampaging zombies stumbling around the world tearing people apart just for lulz, then it could be nuclear strikes reciprocated by other nuclear strikes until we’re all the colour of Dale Winton’s scrotum. Have you seen ‘Threads’? Terrifying.

Luckily not everyone gets their arses and elbows confused, there’s even a group of people in America who are so prepared for the upcoming storm that, frankly, they look a bit like a mental case. Doomsday Preppers (NatGeo, various times) looks at some of these crazies and examines the extent that they will go to just so they don’t get ripped apart by destitute urchins led by an anti-semitic stereotype.

Mike Mester, a family man from the suburbs claims that the Millennium Bug that didn’t happen inspired him to take up the crazy course and become self sufficient. Not in the Green Energy way that you see on local news when it’s a lazy news day, but in a way that when civil unrest caused by the collapse of the global economy does happen, he can blow the crazies’ brains out.

He’s got enough food to feed ten people for two years, more than most Tesco Metros. He has enough guns to defend his family from invaders looking for internet access and even teaches his child how to make papier maché. Maybe to burn to keep everyone warm, or maybe just to make fancy vases to pass the time between eating rotten meatloaf and watching how the world is going to shit in a handbasket.

When civil unrest caused by the collapse of the global economy does happen, he can blow the crazies’ brains out with ease.

However intimidating the Mesters might be, with their attack dogs and worries about the Eurozone, they are nothing compared to the craziest man in the Western hemisphere.

Say hello to Preston White. Remember when the Fukushima power plant in Japan was hit by that tsunami and everyone was sure that it was going to detonate like an overripe melon, spewing radiation into the air and killing us all? Except it didn’t, and instead we managed to create a World where One Direction were acceptable instead? Well, Preston believes that there’s a cloud of radiation floating it’s way towards the United States, bringing with it death and destruction.

But how does Preston combat this threat? By collecting seeds.

To combat the Radiation Cloud that no one can see, Preston has stored over 11,000 different types of seeds so he can grown his own food in his Nuclear Gazebo, should it hit him like a pretty hefty fart cloud in a lift. And also believes that Japan, Washington, Oregon and California should be evacuated. He doesn’t suggest where one of the largest populated countries should be evacuated to, but that’s part of Preston’s appeal.

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His mad cap, Mad Scientist beliefs aren’t as scary, or as omnipresent as the Mesters. They just make you want to run your fingers through his hair and call him a bit of a scamp.

Driving around his town, like a Justice League sponsored version of Holland and Barrett, in Preston’s head he is the eventual King of all he surveys. He knows that he’s the saviour of civilization. With his Three Sisters tomatoes and medium sized cucumbers, he is the only person stood between starvation and living without scurvy. When the inevitable happens, and Godzilla doesn’t come to save his small town, he’ll be handing out salads and cucumber sandwiches to all who ask.

Except Preston doesn’t seem that altruistic, and looks like he would probably expect sexual favours in return for some cauliflower and admittance to his Nuclear Gazebo. The scamp.

On the other hand, Riley, the All American Hero, in typical American fashion, doesn’t care about the collapse of society, or radiation poisoning. All he cares about is making sure that his family survive the oncoming Apocalypse, and making as much money as possible at the same time.

Preston doesn’t seem that altruistic, and looks like he would probably expect sexual favours in return for some cauliflower and admittance to his Nuclear Gazebo.

The All American Hero owns a welding business that he’s changed into an underground bunker business. Brilliant for Bond villains who need to make an unerupted volcano a bit more of a desres, but for small town Americans, perhaps not. His bunkers, looking like giant Coca Cola cans on legs are essentially a panic room, but without that pesky Jodie Foster lisping it up all over the place.

So sure is the All American Hero that the poles will shift and cause untold natural disasters and chaos that he’s spent $300,000 on building a home away from home, a weekend getaway, into the side of a mountain. To be fair to him, he has made it look homely and comfortable and his secret mountain bunker doesn’t look like the Mir space station.

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All very innocent and lovely; looking after his family’s best interests, but when Riley is selling one of his bunkers to a yokel, he drops what makes him slightly scary. In every bunker Riley sells you also get a free incineration room. Handy for destroying lots of rubbish at the same time, but that isn’t what it’s there for. It’s to defend his family should anyone try and attack them, or try and find some help if their car broke down. The maniacal glint in Riley’s eyes belays his best family’s interests, and makes him a true Prepper. Under all of the good intentions, like Preston’s seed farm, or Mike’s family of gun crime, there’s a predisposition for violence and mayhem.

These people want civilization to collapse, only to show how right they were to plough money into harebrained schemes. And maybe justly kill someone.

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