Thursday, June 06, 2013

"Training for the Apocalypse", a NatGeo documentary looks at "survivalism" in several communities

The National Geographic Channel offers a selective overview if the survivalist world (pre-2012-Mayan) in the 45-minute documentary by Robert Van Alkemade, "Training for the Apocalypse".  .

The film focuses mainly on three communities:  a post-Mayan tribe living around a volcano lake in Guatemala, a group of exiled Mormon fundamentalists in an area called Parowan, Utah, and another “survivalist” in modern day Philadelphia.

The largest amount of coverage is given to the people following the “Parowan Prophet”, led by a plane crash survivor Leland Freeborn.  A father is teaching his 5-year-pld son to shoot on a rifle range, and then his little daughter; there is a scene with several small children in a room with rifles. 

There’s a group conversation where the religious word “abomination” turns into an unfortunate pun, “Obamination”.  The group keeps potassium iodide around and fully expects nuclear catastrophe. 

There is discussion about what self-sufficiency should mean.  Should it include interdependence on geographical neighbors (propinquity)?  One home says., “If you can read this, you are within range.”
In Philadelphia, Fernando Salguero teaches urban survivalism, in a group called “survive and thrive”. In outdoor sessions, people even eschew camping gear for Stone Age basics.  One of the members speculates that self-sufficiency is a moral duty; civilization where we can depend on an infrastructure is a kind of unsustainable aberration.  If that is so, there certainly is a profound effect on our moral views on almost everything about the relationship between self and others. Salguero says that everyone must decide whether to be a "hero, villain, or a victim."   I think that the words "victim" and "casualty" have different moral connotations.  

After all, the Neanderthals survived about 100,000 years on a basic level.  But they didn’t make it forever.  One could wonder this about the Amish.
The term “Doomsday Preppers” is never mentioned, but it  certainly could have been.

There's no direct mention of the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) threat from a terrorist attack, or severe power grid disruptions from large solar storms, but that would have been appropriate. 

I noticed on imdb that Gregory Smith (postings May 30, June 3) is listed as an executive producer.   

There's a classical orchestra work which could apply, Anatoly Liadov's "From the Apocalypse". Op/ 66. 

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