Don’t bug out! Stock up on those munchies — National Geographic Channel’s highest-rated series is back. Doomsday Preppers, which has become a pop-culture phenomenon and a ratings hit, is back for Season 2 starting Nov. 13. Over the course of 15 episodes we will meet more individuals who are committed to thinking through every contingency plan for what they personally believe will be the inevitable disaster that brings the complete breakdown of society. There’s a diabetic mother stockpiling insulin to survive the F-5 tornado she fears is coming; a 14-year-old prepping for global economic collapse; a millionaire doctor getting ready for a massive earthquake.
“Everybody is a little bit of a prepper,” says Braxton Southwick of Salt Lake City, who will be featured in the Season 2 premiere episode of Preppers, called “Am I Nuts or Are You?” “They might not go to an extreme like I have, but everybody, a little bit — whether that’s preparing for an earthquake, a hurricane, whatever. So I think people have really related to [Doomsday Preppers] that way.
“Basically, everybody has their own personal nightmare of what they think happens,” continues Southwick, explaining why preppers do what they do. Along with his wife and six kids, all pictured above, Southwick has been prepping for his personal “nightmare” — a biological terrorist attack.
“I think a series of things will happen,” Southwick explains, “but first and foremost, the very first to start off would be a biological terrorist attack. … I think it will be smallpox. … And I’ve had that theory for a long time, and I wrote a book about it [A Letter to My Friends], that’s how I came on the show. … The entire [episode] was about the attack — what would happen, what we would do. In fact, [Doomsday Preppers] took a page right out of my book about how we’d try to flee the city. The CDC and the military would stop us to try to contain the disease. And we kind of [acted that out].”
Southwick’s first plan of action would be to “bug out” (a familiar term in the preppers world, and surely to those who have grown to become fans of the show) to a cabin he has up in the mountains, where he believes he and his family could survive on the land indefinitely. In the event he could not get to the cabin, and had to “bug in” and stay at the house, he is not as optimistic.
“In the city, I can’t control that environment. … Law enforcement, everything breaks down, and it always has, and it always will. So you really can’t count on government. … If this happens, we can’t rely on them. I’d like to, but if society breaks down, we really can’t. It’ll end up after a couple of weeks of no electricity, for example, with grocery stores being cleaned out — it’s really everybody for themselves.”
Lending even more of a realistic tone to Southwick’s nightmare vision was the presence of actual military personnel from a local base, who were recruited to play roles in the Southwicks’ Doomsday Preppers episode.
“They had a blockade,” says Southwick, “and they stopped us, in our cars, pulled us out. And they had machine guns, [tested] us for biological/nuclear fallout. And I was talking to the guys between takes, the military guys, and I said, ‘Is this real world?’ He goes, ‘This is a training exercise for us right now. This is why we agreed to do it.’ And I said, ‘Is this exactly how it would be?’ And he said, ‘We are exactly, but behind the fence you would see 20 guys with automatic weapons, and if anybody tried to run across the border they would shoot them, no matter the age or who it was. And that’s because we have to protect the rest of the country.’ And I thought, ‘Wow. That’s a good example of what it can turn into.’”
Season 2 of Doomsday Preppers premieres Nov. 13 with two episodes, at 9pm and 10pm ET/PT. The series airs Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT.
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