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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Surviving Armageddon – A History Channel Perspective

We recently watched the last half of a History Channel show entitled “Surviving Armageddon”. It immediately held our interest while channel surfing as the program appeared to be what we are writing about – Urban Survival, and moving out of the cities to a planned safe area, requiring Survival Skills and Preparation.

All in all a good show, depicting what we believe to be a fairy accurate portrayal of what we could expect with a total infrastructure collapse from any number of incidents; Nuclear and/or EMP attack; Super Economic collapse; Pandemic, or a host or combination of others. The program talks about the cities emptying out as people go in search of food and water and safety.

It further discusses the human condition and how people are basically nice because they are comfortable, then the program asks the rhetorical question, “how nice would you be (to people in need during an infrastructure collapse) if you yourself were miserable”. To be sure, the generosity of humans is not infinite and you can be assured that people facing death from starvation will resort to barbarism.

The key actors were a man, woman and their teenage son fleeing the greater Los Angeles area into the Mojave Desert. We did not see the beginning of the show to see what point in the collapse did they make the decision to flee. The show did a good job of forecasting what the situation would look like with armed gangs possibly taking over food warehouses, electrical grid off, fuel and water distribution broke therefore water and fuel unobtainable.

The program depicted the man approaching an armed group looking for food. The man offers paper money, which of course, holds no current value. And just as obvious, the armed group is not willing to barter. The man leaves at the point of the gun and without his expensive looking watch for his efforts. The trio stops on the highway to take a break and think of what their next actions are. Upon seeing an approaching truck, the trio hides in the brush and watches as the truck stops and armed men steal the trio’s belongings and drains the van of fuel. Which brought to light another obvious point, your firearms (but he didn’t have any) and your bug out bag or individual kit are never more than arms reach away. So at this point the trio have nothing.

The show moves on with the trio trying to walk out of the desert, occasionally searching houses, either abandoned or with dead people on the porch, to search for water. The man does locate some non-potable water in a bucket which he filters through his shirt, starts a fire with a car battery and steel wool, and purifies the water. This is the high point for the depiction of survival skills, basically everything else they do is in haste, like searching other houses for water and not realizing the potential for water in hot water heaters, for example.

Once the trio stumbles into a yard to find, what presumably is, the family pet being cooked over a fire. A young girl tries to drive them off with a shotgun. The man takes the shotgun away from the girl only for the viewer to see him without the shotgun in the next scene.

We’ll end our review of the show with that, but will say that this show was worth watching and was advertised as being available from, however after a quick search of that site we could not locate the particular DVD. The show was worth re-checking the history channel web site for its availability a few weeks from now.