Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by Matt Sevald.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the readers at The Prepper Journal. I trust you and yours are well and progressing each day. The holidays have blessed our house with good food, too many toys, and a welcome respite for myself between nursing school semesters. While I have whittled down a few chores on my honey-do list, I have found some time to attack the growing number of shows on the DVR that sit idly for viewing between getting home from work and passing out for a few hours’ sleep. Among these was a pleasant surprise: Revelation: The End of Days on the History Channel.
The four-hour, two night presentation (probably two-and-a-half hours without commercials) is a made-for-TV dramatic interpretation of the Bible’s take on how the end of the world will go down from the second-person viewpoint of a non-believing cameraman and reporter who find themselves caught up in the tribulation. I will eschew theology because that’s not the focus of The Prepper Journal and quite honestly, I think the show took too many liberties cherry picking text for dramatic effect. What I found quite intriguing, and often riveting, were the scenarios underlying the miracles: man-made and natural disasters ranging from mundane, to inconveniencing, to hellacious and diabolical. The fact this was all filmed as if you were the one holding the video camera puts you right into the action, makes the emotions all-the-more real, and got me thinking how I would handle some of these situations – and that is what I am writing about (contains spoilers).
The Rapture: Police are Overworked and Understaffed
The show starts out with news reports of ominous sounds and booms in the sky, much the same as one finds on You Tube. This leads to the innocent (children) disappearing from the face of the planet. What follows are hundreds of thousands of parents across the country (presumably the world as well) flooding local police departments demanding help. The police can’t handle this and when one of the characters who is also a police officer tries to get some special favors to have his kid found another citizen becomes disorderly over the use of privilege. This leads to the officer putting the Desk Sergeant in a bad spot and he backs off helping anyone as the scene cuts to the next bit of drama.
Does this sound familiar? No, not children being beamed into Heaven while God punishes the wicked, but the police being too busy, too understaffed, or too unwilling to help? New York is going through this right now as officers are citing and arresting fewer due to the ongoing threats to their safety and bad feelings toward their civilian leadership. I have written about the dangers of depending on government when disaster strikes, and I feel this is the overarching, albeit unintended, non-religious theme of this show. What will you do if your local emergency services are not available? What is your SHTF plan?
Not one Stone Left Standing Upon Another: Terror Event Near You
Another portion of the show deals with the Wailing Wall being bombed in Jerusalem by an unknown group. What follows is pandemonium in crowded urban streets as people run away and run towards the chaos: emotions run the gamut; emergency services spring into action; chaos is everywhere. What would you do in a similar situation? Have you been in one? 9/11? London Bombings? Boston Bombing? Aurora shooting? What are your plans? Do you have a get home bag? Do you have cash with you? Good shoes? What if you’re in a foreign country or far from home? Do you know how to navigate? Is this something to which you have given any thought or is it something you’re putting off for tomorrow?
The second part of this terror event was the subsequent military actions pursued by a retaliatory Israel against a suspected Iran and the counterattacks by surrounding Arab nations and Russia. Can war in the Middle East affect us here in the United States? You bet. Lone terrorists and small cells have notably been attempting to gain entry and cause destruction even before 9/11. Now the region is in full-blown turmoil and those who wish us ill are calling for more attacks on our nation and on our citizens abroad. Have the last two decades changed the way you travel? Perhaps you won’t fly civilian air through a war-zone anymore? Are you more aware of your surroundings and do you have contingency plans for things going awry?
Behold, a Pale Horse: Man-made or natural pandemics
I will give credit where credit is due. The concept of the beast with seven heads found in Revelation being a genetically engineered “seven headed” virus got the science geek in me smiling as pretty creative. That it was intentionally released got me thinking about our own Ebola woes and bizarre decisions made by the government. That the cure was intentionally withheld in order to make the problem worse only to have it released in a timely and miraculous fashion so as to both reduce the population and create a cult-like devotion to the government got me angry. I can see this happening. After all, we can’t let a good crisis go to waste. Do you have a quarantine plan in case disease or pollution spreads?
The Name of the Star is Wormwood: Climate Change & Power Loss
A meteor strikes the Midwest, launching dust into the atmosphere. Less daylight leads to year-round winter, leads to crop loss, leads to death, etc. Unless you have a bunker with a decade worth of supplies, you’re not escaping this kind of catastrophe. But what about a smaller scale problem? Do you have food stored? Do you have weapons to deal with the roving gangs of looters who don’t flee but also don’t produce? Stored any gasoline (“worth its weight in gold” in the show)? Do you have water? The “water turns to blood” interpretation was a red algal bloom brought about by the meteor dust in the atmosphere. It only affected the northern US and people were forced to purify or flee. Which would you chose? Would you have a choice?
Fallen, Fallen is Babylon the Great: FEMA
On the show, the director of the FEMA analog (and Antichrist) is awarded power after the President and Vice President die from the manufactured disease he had released and for which he intentionally withheld the cure. He creates a “Safe Zone” in the southern United States capitaled in New Orleans and encourages all to migrate for safety and prosperity. It is nothing short of a giant FEMA camp. “Safety buses” are organized to help the elderly with transport since they can no longer care for themselves, and in a nod to Soylent Green, they are slaughtered because they have no value. Millions flock toward salvation only to be herded like cattle, live in absolute destitute poverty, and survive on handouts. Would you be one of them?
Those who remain outside are off the grid due to complete societal collapse. These are mostly good guys, but plenty of not-so-nice people remain as well. As the “tribulation saints” wage war against the Beast, he deftly broadcasts slurs about the “Christian terrorists” and initiates martial law and military strikes. The masses cheer because it has become difficult to distinguish good from evil. What really struck me was how easily the people were swayed by noble, patriotic, and level-headed sounding rhetoric. I fell victim to that myself when I enlisted in the Marines to go fight in Iraq. I know I did good things there, but our national reason behind the scenes was not pristine. Would you be swept up in nationalism if it meant the difference between being allowed to eat or not? What would it take for you to compromise your ethics? In the film, only those with a tattoo to prove inoculation against the plague (Mark of the Beast) were allowed in the Safe Zone. Everyone else was the enemy. Do you have the supplies to get through the rough times and the skills and knowledge to survive long term?
I encourage you to check out this program and at least consider it another set of scenarios for your knowledge base. It was entertaining, and, again, for me, the greatest part was the camera view which made me feel very much a part of the goings on, hence my increased attentiveness to the underlying prepper issues. We’re all in various stages of the prepping continuum, and we focus a lot on accumulating goods and traditional farming/hunting/homesteading knowledge, but it’s good practice to gut check ourselves with the unpleasant side of disasters lest we be unprepared.
Happy New Year!