The events of this 1996 movie take place in a Los Angeles suburb, but these events could have taken place in any suburb. This movie is a 95 minute teaching tool that depicts an extended power blackout and the consequences that can befall those who are unprepared for and affected by such a power and communications blackout.
In the movie, the stress generated by the power blackout magnifies the stresses that has already been afflicting the lives of the movie characters. Life suddenly becomes more perplexing without electronic services such as phones, TVs, radios, and ATMs. A married couple, for example, has a sick child and because of the power and communications blackout, the desperate husband must steal the prescription medication from a pharmacy.
After hearing rumors of looting and social unrest, the family has a harrowing encounter with a burglar one night. A neighbor shoots the fleeing burglar, and then everyone conspires to cover up the fact that the dead burglar was armed only with a knife.
Following this traumatic event and a contentious, unproductive meeting with neighbors regarding how to cooperate during the blackout, the family decides to “bug out” to the wife’s parents’ house, which is about 500 miles away. Their fortunes on the road, however, are even worse than those that they experienced at home. They run low on gas and become involved in a gunfight when they try to siphon gas from what they thought was an abandoned vehicle. When the husband first approaches an outlying, solitary house to seek help, he is not able to enlist the help that he needs from the suspicious occupant.
This movie shows the many dangerous mistakes that unprepared people can make during a disaster such as a power blackout. This family, for example, had given no thought beforehand to a shelter in place plan or to a “bug out” plan, and they were woefully unprepared to do either.
Without communications with the outside world, this family had no way to confirm the rumors of unrest and looting. They did not even have factual information regarding how far the power blackout extended. The Great Northeastern Blackout of 2003, for example, extended all of the way from parts of the northeastern and Midwestern U. S. to the Canadian Province of Ontario. A movie review is available for this movie as well.
A prepper family would have been better prepared, and less stressed. They would have handled the power blackout problems in a less dangerous manner.
Watching a movie like this is a form of stress inoculation for preppers. They see the mistakes that the movie characters make, and then preppers are motivated to acquire the equipment and skills that they need to avoid making these same mistakes. After having “experienced” the disaster once, and after having prepared well for such a disaster in the future, preppers are much better prepared to manage such future disasters.
Without preparation, disaster victims can become desperate and impulse driven. Their resulting behavior can cause such victims to resort to a less civilized demeanor that makes them dangerous to themselves and to others.
Although this movie has an “R” rating, it can offer a good way to help convince reluctant spouses and older children of the need to embrace the prepper lifestyle.
In my opinion,“The Trigger Effect” is a good movie for preppers to watch.
Daniel Vale has a black belt in Seibu Kan Karate and has taught three credit self-defense courses at three colleges and universities. Over the years, he also has worked as a police officer, caseworker, security guard, and state hospital security attendant. He has 21 semester hours and 9 quarter hours of criminal justice related of courses.