Doomsday Preppers Proves U.S. Doesn't Understand Farming

Prairie Gleanings

National Geographic show highlights how far Americans have strayed from the farm.

Published on: September 18, 2012

A couple years ago, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t bear to watch another one of network television’s new sitcoms or fantasy dramas. The breaking point was when I realized Charlie Sheen’s “Two and a Half Men” was one of the top-rated sitcoms.

I was beginning to accept that I was paying for cable just so I could watch sports. Then I found “Doomsday Preppers.” If you haven’t seen this show, do yourself a favor and set the DVR now.

Here’s the premise. The National Geographic Channel profiles folks who are convinced Armageddon is just months away. In the process, the families (Note: in many episodes, the wife is not on board with the plan.) discuss which disaster they’re preparing for and what they’ve done to ensure survival.

I’m not going to debate whether or not the end of the world is near. Rather, I’d like to point out the complete idiocy that seems to be a requisite part of any “preppers”’ plan.

Most folks follow the same basic outline. Step one: buy a bunch of food with a long shelf life. Step two: acquire a safe place to ride out the end of days. Step three: get a bunch of guns and ammo to shoot looters. Step four: wait.

Depending on the prepper’s IQ, the likelihood of successfully implementing the plan varies wildly. One of my favorite episodes featured a woman who lived in Washington, across the street from the nation’s capitol. She’d stockpiled a room full of food, but her safe place was in Utah. The “experts” quickly pointed out that there was no way she could carry enough food to sustain her on a cross-country hike.

Here’s the clincher: most of these are urban folks who don’t even consider the possibility of growing your own food as a sustainable means of survival. Instead, they pretty much all follow the “protect the food stash” code.

And, let’s be honest, who will come looking for food in the wake of a crisis? Do you think a bus load of convicted felons will kick down the door and steal your food? Or, perhaps more likely, your next-door neighbor will knock on the door and ask if you could spare a can of soup? Are they really willing to shoot their neighbors for asking for food? I hope not.

Very few episodes have profiled folks who plan to set up an agrarian settlement in the wake of a disaster. Instead, they’re too busy worrying about killing enough wild game to feed their family. I’ve got to think this has something to do with all these survival-themed shows. There’s a big difference in finding your way back to civilization and starting a new civilization.

I’d wager most “Doomsday Preppers” viewers see a bunch of paranoid gun nuts. I see a nation that’s forgotten how to farm. Isn’t there an old parable about teaching a man to fish vs. giving him a fish? We need to remind folks that celebrity chefs and grocery stores do not feed people. Farmers do.