Vicino wouldn’t let Forbes visit any of his bunkers nor reveal their exact locations – “insisting that there are too many ‘wing nuts and wackos’ out there” – but his aim to attract rich clients who fear the Apocalypse is, say Forbes and other business experts, “a real growth industry” with thousands of wealthy Americans shelling out millions to build their own doomsday shelters. The Apocalypse is not only a popular Bible reference to the end times on Earth, but also real science that looks at the end of civilization due a catastrophe such as nuclear warfare, a health pandemic, cyber-war, an attack from supernatural UFO phenomena or simply another ecological disaster such as the recent earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear reactor crisis in Japan.
Doomsday bunkers a growth industry out West
Bruce Beach, who markets the “Utah Shelter Systems” here in the Eugene region and throughout the Pacific Northwest and California, also seems to use the same scare tactics to market a new lower-end line of shelters for the not-so-rich in America who also want to live on after the Apocalypse hits.
Beach is sharing his good news about why Americans should build their own doomsday shelter because he warns that your cell phone, computer and TV will not work after terrorists or one of the nuke-holding nations – China, Iran, North Korea, France, Israel, Russia, England – decides to launch their missiles.
“A better way to wipe out the communications of North America is to just explode four thermonuclear devices at a high altitude over the continent. These will generate an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) that will knock out most electric and electronic devices tied into the power grids. It will also knock out any new devices that contain IC's (integrated circuits) and that have an antenna over thirty inches long. That means your car radio, portable radio, and television will be inoperable, even if the power ever does come back on,” Beach explains on his website that warns of the Apocalypse and how regular folks can survive.
Forbes informs America’s rich of business and lifestyle trends
The recent May 9 edition of Forbes Magazine – a publication that’s well-known for its lists of the richest Americans (the Forbes 400) and its list of billionaires – is sharing a “trend” where “successful private enterprises” that are building and selling doomsday shelters around the U.S. as fears of the Apocalypse has evident with recent tornadoes, violent storms, earthquakes, Tsunamis, global war, new terrorism nuke threats and even predictions that Earth will come to a violent end in 2012 when the ancient Mayan life cycle calendar will end.
In turn, Vicino told Forbes that he’s “not trying to panic people. However, in the weeks following the Japanese crisis, he says applications for his doomsday shelters “soared, from up to 100 per day to 1,000” with America’s rich wanting a place to hide out if all hell broke loose.
According to USA Today and AP reports: “Radius Engineering in Terrell, Texas, has built underground shelters for more than three decades, and business has never been better, says Walton McCarthy, company president. The company sells fiberglass shelters that can accommodate 10 to 2,000 adults to live underground for one to five years with power, food, water and filtered air, McCarthy says. The shelters range from $400,000 to a $41 million facility Radius built and installed underground that is suitable for 750 people, McCarthy says. He declined to disclose the client or location of the shelter but said ‘we've doubled sales every year for five years.’ Other shelter manufacturers include Hardened Structures of Colorado and Utah Shelter Systems, which also report increased sales.
Moreover, Vicino also told Forbes that after the nuclear crisis in Japan that America’s filthy rich would be willing to lay out millions for their own private doomsday bunkers, with “each bunker will cost $6 million to $20 to renovate and make habitable.”
Vicino, 57, is a California property developer who is “using his own money and bridge loans from real estate lenders,” to also build his “time-share” bunkers for the rich to wait out the first waves of destruction from the Apocalypse, states Forbes.
Forbes also noted that each of Vicino’s time-share doomsday bunkers “is equipped with a medical center, classroom, theater, gym and a detention area to jail unruly residents.”
Doomsday shelters for lower class Americans also a growth industry
“The political climate now in some ways reflects the Cold War era, when many Americans dug backyard fallout shelters, said Jeffrey Knopf, an associate professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in a USA Today story about the doomsday shelter growth industry
“There’s a lot of free-floating anxiety out there about the dangers that terrorists will get nuclear weapons and it multiplies,” adds Knopf of companies – such as one in nearby Portland, Oregon – that are investing in doomsday shelters for Americans who cannot afford to spend millions or even time-share prices of upwards of $50,000 to wait out nuclear warfare bomb blasts.
In turn, these relics of the Cold War era are making a comeback in the Eugene area with laid-off construction workers offering to “dig a hole in your backyard for a disaster bunker.”
Carlos "Chaz" Morales and friends even plan to share their cut-rate doomsday shelters at a proposed exhibit for the Eugene area “Oregon Country Fair” in July. Morales says the Country Fair draws a lot of “naturalists who know how to stay alive by using natural means, but need some shelter to wait out the first wave of hell when it breaks loose.”
“We figure each one will cost around 500 bucks. That’s not bad if you don’t have a cellar or someplace to hide when the terror happens,” explains Morales who’s modeled his low-end doomsday shelters after the “Anderson shelters” that were first designed in 1938 to prepare for the air-raid bombings of England by Nazi Germany.
The shelters were named for Sir John Anderson who was responsible for the protection of the homeland in times leading up to the outbreak of World War II.
Morales notes finding plans from “these Anderson shelters” at a local library.
These “affordable shelters” are simply made of galvanized corrugated steel panels that are either bolted together and placed in one’s backyard, or framed into place underground in a hole that Morales and his friends dig for locals in the Eugene area who want to sit out a possible doomsday scenario.
End Times Economy: survivalists cottage industry grows as fear rises
A promotional video with the narrator sounding like the late actor Charles Bronson explains: “This is how it will go when the ‘End Times’ comes;” while, at the same time, this storage unit that’s also dubbed a “survival store” -- in the nearby blue-collar seaside town of Coos Bay -- is “doing booming business,” says the owner who sells such things as water filtration and storage devices, home heating fuels and backup generators, special first aid kits that includes a “minor surgery” kit and lots of guns.
“Folks are scared. They know the ‘End Times’ are coming. They believe that. And, I sell them supplies,” explains Ken, the proprietor whose also a very proud Vietnam War veteran decked out in a faded camouflage Army uniform.
“You take water. We won a lot of fights when the enemy exhausted their water supply. When the end comes, you will need water,” says the veteran who handles his job with composed confidence.
In turn, the Charles Bronson sounding narrator of this survival marking video goes on to explain “what happens after a nuclear missile knocks out communications? What happens when grocery stores and banks close? What happens when you can’t get gas to run your cars and trucks? What happens when your lights go out for good?”
For survivalists such as Ken and others who frequent this storage until “survival store,” the end times are at hand and a new era of looting and lawless society will emerge.
“We’re already seeing folks siphoning fuel from vehicles around town. There’s people breaking into homes just to get food and other supplies. This is survival, man, and it’s serious as a heart attack,” quips Ken with eyes squinted with amusement.
Ken, who was laid off back in 2008 at the height of the recession as a logging “rigger,” is still upset, it seems, at the “machine” that he says “runs America.”
One of Ken’s long-time customers, Paula, concurs.
“I stopped using credit cards a long time ago. What we deal in is hard cash, silver, gold coins and even guns in a barter system. If you’re not into this way of doing business when the end times comes, you will be toast,” says Paula, who also wears the signature camouflaged military shirt and pants.
Overall, the focus for these end times survivalists is to prepare for a time in the near future when modern industrialized society will crumble in the wake of a nuclear bomb attack or similar catastrophe that will make such things as the Internet and cyberspace moot with no power or even people to operate modern systems.
More realistically, adds Ken, “we’re seeing this recession becoming a regular part of life. This depression, as we call it, has forced people to live like it really is the End Times.”
Image source of a WW II-era Anderson Shelter: Wikipedia