Why “doomsday prepping” is ridiculous

Do you know anyone who is into the whole “doomsday prep” thing? I’ve seen people I’m pretty sure are preppers loading up the flatbeds at Costco and Sams, and I’ve definitely seen the preppers on TV.

These people have the trailers, solar panels, batteries, guns, ammo and enough MREs to last several lifetimes, and even then, it’s apparently not enough for them.

Aside from the whole obsessive hording part, where they get the time and money for all this is beyond me.

The good news is that I finally found a pair of articles with great arguments on why doomsday prepping is ridiculous.

The short version – math.

The first article by Jon Stokes in the alloutdoor.com website points out that even if a “doomsday” scenario hits and takes out over two thirds of the world’s population, that’s still not going to be enough people for a “that’s all folks” kind of reset.

“Wiping out two thirds of the population would bring us back [in population numbers] to the opening decades of the 1900’s, the era of the early seasons of Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire. Neither of these two shows look anything like The Walking Dead to me.

Killing off a whopping 90% of the population would take us back [in population numbers] to 1860, the year that Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th president of the United States. I also saw the movie Lincoln, and it, too, did not look like The Walking Dead.””

Stokes’ article also goes on about how the stock market really is immortal and hunting for long-term survival is really a baaaad thing, but the main bullet point in his article is the sheer numbers of people left alive in a potential 80 / 90 / 95 percent disaster ratio.

In another article on the same alloutdoor.com website, Bill J, goes over why the idea of “hunting squirrels” (and by proxy, all other small game) isn’t going to cut it.

“Assuming that you can get a pound of game meat from an average squirrel, which is optimistic, you’re looking at about 540 calories per squirrel. That may sound like a lot, but it isn’t. If you’re planning to use squirrel for, say, only a quarter the calories of a 2,000-calorie per day diet, then you have to bag one per day per family member.

There are about five or six squirrels per acre in urban areas (about two per acre in rural areas), so with four family members to feed and a 100% success rate in killing every squirrel you see, you’re clearing out around three acres every four days in the city. And you’re not the only one trying to eat them! How long is the squirrel population really going to last in your town?”

I really do thing “doomsday prepping” is this generation’s “duck and cover”. It’s entertaining to see on TV, and it might make some people feel better, but I think this whole prepping thing is the symptom of a feeling-secure and general future-direction discontent, and not the solution to the underlying social problems at all.

A suggestion for White House drone security

On the FCW Federal Technology website, there’s a story about Congress looking for inter-agency cooperation on drafting a drone policy. 

The reason for this sudden concern on drones is because a few weeks ago, some idiot crashed their drone on the White House lawn. The best part is that the secret service had no idea it happened and had nothing in their tactics to prevent it from happening again.

So now congress wants the Department of Homeland Security to come on down and make a “comprehensive strategy to combat the potential threat of domestic drones” and pull in “the Defense Department and, perhaps, the Energy Department” into this mess as well.

Here’s my favorite part of the article…

Todd E. Humphreys, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering, offered one possible remedy.

“For especially sensitive sites like the White House, we could deploy a network of infrared cameras set up to detect and track an incoming drone by looking for the thermal signatures of its warm batteries and motors,” he said. “And this network of sensors could be used to guide an always-ready squadron of interceptor drones that could capture the intruder in a net and carry it off.”

Seriously. Capture a flying object. In a net. That’s the plan.

All we need now are a few Scooby Snacks and we’re good!

How about this real cheap and slightly more-effective three-step solution… First, bring in a dozen more Secret Service agents with military sharp-shooter backgrounds specifically as White House perimeter security. Give them all VEPR-12s. Have them WALK around the White House lawn with these 10-12 round semi-auto AK-style shotguns and the standing authority to shoot down anything that flies near the White House. As an extra bonus, they can double as ground support to prevent any fence-jumper from making it all the way into the FRONT DOOR of the White House. You know… that whole “protect the president” merit badge the Secret Service gets to wear every so often.

Second, infrared isn’t going to pick up diddly-squat in the DC summers. They need to go with sonics – set up a wide perimeter “gunfire locator” around the White House. These things are pretty cool and are already in place in DC. Add to the gunfire detectors the RPM of drone engines in the list of things to report and triangulate. Once the system picks up the sound of a drone engine, the exact location and direction can be relayed to the ground security and the target can be eliminated if necessary.

Third – since that one particular drone made it all the way to the White House lawn, GPS and WiFi blockers need to be set up as well. I’m talking zero WiFi and GPS signals in a very VERY wide area around the White House to keep drones out and/or confused long enough to take them down.

Runaway drones are a high-tech problem with a very low-tech solution. A decent drone costs anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000. A single 00 buck round costs $1. Make it permanent “drone season” around the White House, get the serial numbers from any of the parts left intact from a downed drone, track the purchaser through those serial numbers, and once they’re found, pop them with a $2 million “idiot” fine.

Of course there’s an option “B”… hire a buncha good old boys, set them up with some federal duck blinds and a couple of cases of beer around the White House and offer them a reality TV series… “Drone Dynasty”.