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Oct 27

American Blackout Preview With Thoughts

Don’t forget that American Blackout is on Nat Geo tonight at 9pm EST.  I came across a clip on YouTube which had a small preview of the show, check it out.

Since it’s easy to troubleshoot other people’s scenarios from the comfort of my own couch I’ll go ahead and pick this clip apart.  The issues which immediately become apparent to me are as follows:

1- Why a small child is allowed to roam freely during a crisis like this is beyond me, especially near the border of one’s property.  The perimeter does need to be checked on occasion but only by armed adults who are familiar with what procedures to follow should they encounter strangers.

2- The father in this clip failed on multiple accounts, first and foremost by wearing that corny ACU pattern shirt and hat.  But seriously he clearly did not discuss a plan with his family on what procedures to follow should they encounter a stranger or what they would be willing to give (or not give).  This created a problem when one person said they did have food while he was telling the stranger that they didn’t.  Everyone needs to be on the same page.

3- In a situation like that I would always have a long gun at my disposal and if possible would have approached the fence with another individual who was armed.  What happens if you get to the fence and there is a large family of 10 people, a few of which are rightfully carrying their own firearms for personal protection?

4- I would have vetted the source and if he truly was my neighbor I would have helped him out….but ONLY once.  By pulling a gun and telling the neighbor to walk away the father only created more (immediate) problems.  There is a way to handle the situation with charity and compassion while remaining firm and making a clear statement.  Find out if the man is truly a neighbor and if he is offer him a few day’s worth of food.  Upon offering the food tell the man: “This is a one time deal, I ask that you actively seek out other means to find food in town.  Listen to me carefully, if I see you again I will not discuss anything with you.  I will treat you as a trespasser who is trying to gain access to my property.  I repeat that this is a one time deal and I’m not asking, but telling you to never approach my property again seeking food or you will be treated as a trespasser.  Understand?”  Granted this is a no win scenario as the neighbor could still come back but at least by offering him some food and giving a firm response with a show of force, he might go elsewhere next time.  By simply pointing a gun at him and forcing him to leave it is almost guaranteed that he will return…with many more hungry people or possibly an armed mob.  I should clarify that I would only do this for a neighbor, those who are passing through are a different scenario altogether.

Any more thoughts on the video?

 

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20 comments

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  1. Bruce

    There is a new Doomsday prepper which immediately proceeds American Blackout.

    Frankly, I have been looking forward to American Blackout.
    Hopefully its portrayed well, and does not focus on and attempt to portray those that are prepared as whack jobs.

    1. PJ

      I hope that the main point of the movie revolves around just how unprepared our society is for a scenario like this. Utter chaos within days…quite literally.

  2. The Maj

    Great points PJ. I was looking forward to the movie, after watching the clip, I am afraid it will be disappointing. Couple of other points:

    1. It may be admirable to rush to the scene in today’s world, but rushing up to a potential threat and then not keeping something (like a tree) between yourself and the threat probably is not going to end well. Take your time, assess the situation and let the situation dictate your actions or tactics. The way that guy just ran up there could have been a shooter waiting out of sight to take him out.

    2. Don’t stand there talking to someone that can be a potential threat without at least telling them to put their hands on top of their head. If they take them off of their head, then they are dead.

    3. Know your neighbors before SHTF. In today’s world very few people know who their neighbors are, we all prefer to remain private, and ignore the things around us. At the minimum have a conversation with those living around you.

    1. PJ

      Great points which I forgot to mention, thanks for adding them. Taking time to assess any situation is absolutely imperative. I also like the idea of using cover as the “I need food” guy could be bait for a sniper. I think another point I forgot to discuss is how to approach others if YOU are in need of something. Let’s face it no matter how well prepared we think we are there could be instances where we have to seek help.

      In those circumstances it might be better to do it the old fashioned way, approaching with a white flag and seeking to speak to a leader of the group. You have to appear as non-threatening as possible and be able to state your needs clearly, and what you are willing to trade so that your needs can be met. Just some more things to ponder…

  3. PJ

    I’m about halfway into this movie. All I can say is: WOW. Great so far and I hope this helps to wake America up (sadly I doubt it).

  4. The Maj

    Almost over and I have been impressed. Other than the manner in which the prepper family were portrayed. Some very stupid moves on their part and mistakes (especially one big one) that I just don’t see most preppers making.

    1. PJ

      You are probably further along that I am, we had to DVR it as The Walking Dead was on too (although the zombies are stupid the life lessons are still there). But back to American Blackout, really great movie. I too have been impressed. I need to order more preps. :) Water…Water…Water…Water

  5. The Maj

    Well, I was impressed with the movie UNTIL the end. The power comes back on and “bam” everything is hunky dory again. Ten days without power and everything is not going to just return to normal the minute the power comes back on. I understand that they had two hours and really could not do justice in some areas, but still. Other than that, I thought it was an excellent wake up call for all the sheeple out there but they probably were not watching it.

    1. PJ

      There were some great points made in the movie, many of which we have discussed on the site previously.

      - In the initial stages of this type of event, cash will be KING. ATMs and Debit cards will not work although (as accurately portrayed) many people will continue to try in vain to use them. Lesson: Have a wad of cash in your safe AND in your wallet so that if you are stuck away from home you’ll be able to throw some dollars at a problem which might give you the advantage (buying gas comes to mind).

      - Once people figure out that someone in a uniform or wearing a badge is not going to swoop in and save the day panic will quickly set in. Massive runs on basic necessities will take place, the most coveted item being water (shortly followed by food). Lesson: Have supplies on hand so that you do not have to go out into the mayhem.

      I think Nat Geo did a good job here but like you said, once the lights come back on things will not go back to normal instantly.

  6. J

    I missed it last night…for those that watched it, I gather it is worth looking for a recast of it?

    1. PJ

      Definitely worth the watch, it will be shown again on Wed, NOV 13 at 9pm.

  7. J

    Awesome, am off on that day. Thanks!

  8. J

    just got a chance to watch this on Youtube. I agree with Maj on how the prepper family was portrayed….

    I will make sure not to eat old caviar given to me by a coworker, too!

    I had a conversation with a friend of mine in the UK, evidently there was a UK version of this program made as well, called “Blackout.” Am planning on looking it up, if possible, to compare how it is done.

    All in all, I think it was a decent enough program.

    1. PJ

      J

      Glad you got to watch it. In the UK version do they substitute baseball bats and pitchforks for guns? LOL! :)

  9. J

    Not seen it yet, but I can tell you, all jokes aside, that there is a lot of violent crime using knives and the like over there, even though you have to be 18 to buy a kitchen knife from a department store I visit friends over there once a year and see a lot of articles in the news about knives and bats being used; also broken bottles. It kind of reinfirces to me that anyone can find a weapon should they want.

    I will let you know if I find a link to the UK version if you are interested in seeing it.

  10. KE

    This is a weird movie. I live in Australia. My city has many times lost power for days. Whether its because of a flood or a cyclone/hurricane. Trucks get stranded and fresh food doesn’t get in.
    People get out whatever camping equipment they have and deal with it. Even if you have absolutely no food when the power goes out, grocery stores give away anything that will spoil. But i cannot believe these people didn’t have a box of cereal or a tin of tuna hiding in the back of a cupboard. And why does no one have a canopener? No one starves to death or murders someone when they haven’t eaten for a few days.
    Oh and my phone battery dies after a few hours of using the camera or the torch app. Who has endless supplies of batteries and wind up chargers but no canopener?
    And the president established martial law without blinking after a couple of days but couldn’t stomach asking for foriegn help for over a week? Did you forget the rest of the world exists?
    30 hours into an emergency and allies and trading partners who rely on the American economy would be there.
    Make the time frame weeks and the whole earth blacked out and maybe this scenario could almost happen.

  11. J

    You bring up some good points, KE. I think we all keep in mind that, yes, this was a television show and as such, it was designed to bring in viewers with a bit of over the top drama at times. Some of what was portrayed in this show, though, does hit a bit close to home, in my mind.

    I think that what was more dangerous than the power failure portrayed and even the equipment failures that it led to, was the state of mass hysteria and panic that was portrayed. Over here, this has happened on a number of occaisions. When people lose their ability or will to think rationally, they are capable of doing almost anything, in my experience.

    Panic is also contagious.

    You spoke of similiar power losses due to cyclones in your part of the world. This gives you experience and the understanding that such a circumstance is not the end of the world. Unfortunately, over here in the US, a lot of people seem to have become complacent and used to luxuries to the point of considering them necessities.

    While there were some flaws in the program, I think there was also several good points that were served more as food for thought for the uninformed than anything else.

    Losing power isn’t the end of the world; losing your mind, on the other hand, can be.

  12. KE

    J: ‘Losing power isn’t the end of the world; losing your mind, on the other hand, can be.’ Gives me something to think about.
    I was also wondering is it true the American grid is grouped into a few systems? like they stated at the beginning. That is, if one grid/system goes down a large geographic area is affected?
    Here the grid isn’t that connected. You can have an area affected by a blackout and go one suburb away and the power is on. When we have large scale black outs its because of a large scale problem, lots of poles down or large areas flooded. And if you are lucky enough to live near a hospital you rarely lose power and are the first to get it back on. That tells me the systems are seperate somehow. Australia as far as I’m aware never has domino effect blackouts. We definitely don’t get blackouts because everyone turned their aircon on at the same time. (I don’t own a heater or have air conditioning. A lot of people here (subtropics) don’t. We have a blessed climate it never (rarely) gets below 7 (45F) or above 38 (100 F) generally the temps are in the 20s or between 68f and 86f.
    Another question, sorry I just rarely get American people’s pov on this stuff. Do Americans seriously use that much water a day? 400 gallons per household per day according to the movie. The average here is 280kl per household per year which is 203 gallons a day. Thats about what my family uses. So approx half your average. And we are a first world family of four with a flush toilet and washing machine. We pay for our water per kiloliter. I pay about $400 Australian per quarter about $375 US. Do you pay for water? We also have water restrictions most of the time so no using hoses or sprinklers or automatic irrigation in the garden. Having to use a watering can or bucket gets old quickly. Most people have tanks and Grey water systems if they want a nice garden. Maybe that’s the difference.

    1. PJ

      KE

      No water restrictions here. I could turn on the shower and fall asleep with it running, I’d just end up paying more for it. So yes we do pay for water, which can vary depending on which region of the US one lives in. I’m not sure how many gallons my family uses but I pay around $100/month for my water and sewer bill.

  13. J

    As far as the grid as I know it, we have some pretty antiquated technology. About 10 years ago, (others correct me if I am wrong) there was a significant blackout in the areas of Pennsylvania, New York and several other Eastern States that was the after effect of a problem relating to a software malfunction. am attaching a wiki link for reference.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_blackout_of_2003

    I cannot vouch for the complete accuracy of this information, but the general article is a good read on it. From what I recall of the news coiverage, it was pointed out that out grid, as a whole, had not really been updated from the 60′s era technology that most of it was built with. A general “if it isnt broke, dont fix it” attitude prevailed, I think.

    As far as water, I cannot really see the consumption level they speak of. I know my family does not use nearly that amount. Conservation, however, is not something that is a general American thought process, in my experience.

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