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Monday, June 18, 2012

Apocalypse Soon?

The latest trend in TV suggests it is.

(CNN) -- In March, 9 million viewers tuned in to AMC to watch a farm -- which served as a safe haven to survivors of a zombie apocalypse -- burn to the ground on "The Walking Dead."

This Sunday, TNT (a Time Warner network, like CNN) commences its second season of "Falling Skies," which sees a group of survivors fight back against alien invaders while their home state of Massachusetts lies in ruins.

Switch over to NBC, and you're likely to see promos for "Revolution," a series about what happens 15 years after the loss of all advanced technology and electronics.

Post-apocalyptic scenarios are cropping up all over the small screen -- oddly enough, in the year 2012. But is the runaway success of "The Walking Dead" the main reason for it, or is there something else going on here?

"There's always a copycat trend in the industry," TV critic Ryan McGee said, pointing to last year's "Pan Am" and "Playboy Club," both of which drew comparisons to "Mad Men."

"There's no way executives aren't looking at the ratings for 'The Walking Dead' and aren't salivating."

George Ure of Urban Survival figured it out a long time ago. Here's a snippet from a recent column:

The main thing to think through is attachment to a "thing" like your home. If you have put some 1/4 to 3/8"-inch plate steel into the walls (think about something that a 7.62 can't easily penetrate) then I suppose "making a stand" is something that shows up in American film a lot and you might be able to do it. But if you think just having a zillion rounds of ammo is an answer, it is NOT. Remember for every round outgoing there are likely to be two or more incoming. Choose "stands" carefully. Ask every time: "Is this worth decisively engaging the enemy?

Myself? I'm more likely to do a strategic retreat and then assess my longer-term objectives and options. You have to remember that if you're a prepper, you need to be realistic in who the "opposing force" is likely to be. Friendly people who just want to make you share? Maybe, but not likely. You're a nuisance to them and dead is a very real outcome to be considered. More food for them.

The criminal mindset is very much "turf" and "thing" oriented. People stealing televisions in the middle of Katrina/Rita showed that. I don't have a problem with a strategic retreat to dispersed resources and then killing brigands at my leisure should 9-11 not respond in a timely manner.

Problem is (and most don't think stuff through very far) is that if the gangs are any sort of organized at all, if you do a cowboy stand-off successfully, they will just be back with more manpower (thinking: "Gee he must have a lot of resource he's defending... he killed my brother...I'll just go get some help to take what he has an avenge my brother's death...").

In the event of that kind of social upheaval, you'll be better served, I think, with at least a three-legged escape plan. Ours includes pedal, foot, flight, and float.

The popular mood is actually more likely to sense something our so-called leaders seem to be missing. Apocalypse soon? Depends on your definition of “soon.”