There has been a lot of talk about the end of the world recently, and manifestations of possible doom have even appeared in cinematic form, as in the movie “2012.” Rumors are rampant that the world is going to end because the Mayan calendar runs out at the end of this year, and last year, evangelist Harold Camping claimed that the rapture would occur on Oct. 21, 2011.
According to a Feb. 28 Huffington Post article by John Celock, the state of Wyoming even was on the verge of passing a “Doomsday Bill.” The bill “originally was pushed as a study of the state’s homeland security and its approach to emergencies,” but it spiraled out of control to include proposals for funds to start a draft, coin their own currency and purchase an aircraft carrier. These provisions were removed before it was voted on, but the bill was still voted down.
Various possibilities for the end of the world have become popular topics of conversation. National Geographic has even started a show documenting the efforts of people getting ready.
The show is called “Doomsday Preppers.”
Normally, I would not speak out against emergency readiness. But this is not preparing for a typical emergency like earthquakes and tornadoes or other frequently occurring natural events. As the title suggests, these families are not preparing for foul weather situations; they are preparing for their version of “Armageddon” without Bruce Willis.
These versions range from electromagnetic pulse attacks to knock out power and technology, asteroid strikes, super volcanoes and extreme hyperinflation. Most of the show’s participants seem to have a fear of one of the unlikely super-disasters causing hyperinflation by throwing everyone in a panic.
According to the show’s experts, these events are not likely to occur, but they still recommend the following to each family: a six-month supply of food, a steady supply of fuel and enough guns and ammo for a small army.
Besides the issue of anticipating such dramatic events, some of the ways the individuals on the show have gone about prepping are suspect. According to those on the show, when the world ends or some catastrophic disaster occurs, everyone who has not prepared is going to turn the world into a living version of “Mad Max” or “The Road.” However, I believe those who think hyperinflation is going to occur in the wake of a much greater disaster are going about their solution the wrong way.
Their solution is to buy bulk from a store and stockpile food. See the problem? People are expecting that inflation will make goods unobtainable and their solution includes getting their food from the future unreliable source. Some have circumvented this issue by starting their own farms and gardens, but the show doesn’t differentiate from renewable and non-renewable.
For those who recall, Manhattan had its power knocked out for a week or so after the ice storm in December 2007. This was not on the scale of world-ending disasters, but there were no roving bands of thieves, just a shortage of firewood to buy at the hardware store and some individuals needing to buy electric generators.
My last problem with the show is that for all the readiness it promotes, nowhere does the show recommend putting together a first aid kit, which would be vital in an emergency.
I believe that people should plan practically for realistic crisis situations. Spending $600 extra on your grocery bill will not make you safe from rising food prices in the long run, and having a gun only protects you from the animal kingdom, not Mother Nature. For tips for what would make a good storm kit, last Sunday’s Manhattan Mercury included a very comprehensive list of items and supplies to put together. My own list includes items like flashlights, radio, batteries for both, bandages, gauze, rubbing alcohol and the ever-awesome Swiss army knife. Be safe, but be smart.
Patrick White is a junior in journalism. Please send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.