“We’re putting together a new show about preppers. Can you tell us about your bunker, your bug out vehicle, maybe your stockpiles of food and guns.”
That was how the conversation began with a casting director from a New York production company. “Would you be willing to tell us about your bug out location?” the nice lady on the phone inquired.

To that last question I responded, “I am already there.” That answer did not excite her. She seemed even more disappointed when I confessed that I did not own a “bug out vehicle” and that I did not plan to hide out in a bunker. 

I supposed that I am the most boring prepared person in America, at least as far as Hollywood people are concerned. We don’t have a sniper’s nest or a secret, underground, “bug out” bunker in the hills. I don’t own a decommissioned Humvee with a .50 caliber in a pintle mount, not that I am opposed to such a thing. 

Hollywood Wants a Freak Show, not Reality (courtesy: National Geographic Channel)

Reality versus Hollywood Expectations

I have been producing television for ten years now. That’s not a tremendous amount of time, but I have had a few encounters with Hollywood people. I have written previously about the disconnect between reality and what Hollywood people expect, particularly when it comes to the gun culture.

Whether we are talking about New York or Los Angeles, there is a very real disconnect between what actually happens in the heartland of America and how people in the big city perceive it.

I suppose I cannot fault them too much. When you live in a metropolitan area that has over a million people all stacked on top of each other, it is hard to truly comprehend life in small-town America.

Hollywood has made a lot of money by dangling the idea of celebrity in the faces of common folks. Reality TV is a boon for television producers.

They get to charge their standard ad rates without the bother of dealing with Screen Actors Guild members and their agents/managers who expect to be paid well.

Many years ago, I was a bit surprised to discover that most of the participants on reality shows make little to no money compared to a working Hollywood actor. A couple of friends of mine were on reality, contest shows and reported that, unless you are the winner, you get nothing but food and lodging.  

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Dumbass Preppers

I have had telephone conversations and Skype meetings with casting agents before. This recent one reinforced to me that they have not changed all that much. They want a freak show. The casting director almost yawned when I related my resume of thirty years of teaching and training people.

She might have nodded off when I mentioned the numerous books I have penned on the subject of personal and community preparedness. 

When I stated that we produce Student of the Gun, a television and radio show, she said, “Oh, you have a website. That’s nice.” Yeah, we also have a dedicated app television channel on Roku, Apple TV, etc. Again, back to being the most boring prepared person in America. When I said we actually grow food in our garden I think she might have snored. 

After getting off of the phone with the nice lady, it struck me that they should call their new show; “Dumbass Preppers” because that is what they want. Hollywood wants kooks, weirdos, and fringe whackos they can parade in front of cameras. They want dumbasses wearing Israeli surplus gas masks, digging bunkers on the side of a hill, and bragging about their stockpiles of canned food or MRE’s. 

I should not have to tell the readers that any genuine prepared person is not going to bring a camera crew into their food and supply locker to show off. If you genuinely have a fallback position to escape the mass hysteria of a city in collapse, you’d be an idiot to go on TV and tell everyone where it is.

A true prepper will know how to grow, harvest, and can their own food. (courtesy: Countryliving.com)

Genuine Preparedness

Being a genuinely prepared person or family is not all that difficult, but it does require dedicated effort. There are numerous areas of preparation that must be addressed, having guns and ammo is just one part of the overall plan.

For many years, we have extolled the virtue of incremental preparation. Trying to do it all over one weekend is a recipe for frustration and failure. We tell people to first be sure you have 3 days of self-sufficiency, then a week, then two weeks, and build from there.

Realistic “prepping” includes understanding how to grow your own food, which is a bit more than just sticking some seeds in the ground.

Boring preppers understand the importance of compost, fertilizer, and irrigation. Not exciting preppers know how to harvest and can food long before the power goes out and people start to get hungry.

Practical, realistic preppers, who don’t look cool on camera, realize that stockpiling guns and ammo is pointless if you do not have any training. They also comprehend that the idea of the lone wolf or last man standing prepper is likely the absolute worst plan for survival during a crisis.

Finally, genuinely prepared people have come to understand that hiding out in a bunker is an extremely short-term solution at best. The best plan for long term prosperity during a societal or economic breakdown is a prepared community, a real team of people.

It also stands to reason that the best way to go about this preparation plan is to work with your neighbors or team members long before the disaster or crisis ever occurs. While this is certainly true, to be fair, a bunch of neighbors working on a community garden or learning how to can food does not make for sexy TV.

The Patriot Fire Team Manual is all about having a prepared and secure community

 

If you’re in the mood for another mind exercise, you can take a moment to read American Liberty Is Not A Game.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.