Monday, May 20, 2013


I don't know if this ABC story describes a real trend or is just well-placed industry hype, but the mere fact that somebody is apparently buying the merchandise under discussion tells me that some of the dumb rubes who watch Fox News and listen to talk radio are in the upper-tax-bracket dumb rubes:
Bomb Shelter Boom Sees Underground Pools, Basketball Courts

The latest real estate boom to sweep America comes with all the trappings of luxurious living: custom-built swimming pools, gyms, full-length basketball courts, and even airplane hangars.

The only catch is that this time, the features are all buried underground.

The boom in bomb shelter sales over the past 15 years has taken the spartan 1950s notion of a fallout shelter and given it a makeover, according the owners of three companies that make and sell shelters....

"You can have all your major amenities: TV, high power and high voltage (appliances)... horticulture rooms where you can grow vegetables and gardens, a full shower, all the amenities of your full home. We're not limiting what people can do," said Brad Roberson, marketing director for Rising S Company, which builds and installs custom shelters....

A bunker on the small side of 10 feet by 20 feet starts at about $54,000. They go up from there to $10 million, Roberson said....

In the past 15 years, companies that make and sell underground bunkers have sprouted up around the country, mainly in the West and South....
The West and South! Imagine my surprise.
Bomb shelter manufacturers said that their average customer is a middle-aged, affluent man....
This is a midlife guy thing? Knock me over with a feather. Next you'll be telling me the guys are almost all white and Republican.
[Sharon] Packer of Utah Shelter Systems said that of her customers, she has seen few traditional "survivalists," and many more ordinary, highly-educated professionals coming to her in case of a worst-case scenario.

"The vast majority are professionals," Packers said. "They are very well educated, a lot of doctors. The majority of them are physicians, and attorneys, a lot of engineers, all of whom understand the real threat."
Which is what?
"It won't matter how close you were to the blast radius. It's going to be the 'haves and have-nots', and if they need it they're going to take it, to come into your house and burn it down," [Brad Roberson] said....
I say this all the time about phony macho men (e.g., the gunners), and I'll say it again: this isn't fear, it's wish fulfillment. It's people with too much money paying to have a bunker built that tells them a pleasing story every day: You are a rich and important person, and people would like to tear you down, but that won't happen because YOU ARE A SURVIVOR, you big, brave man.

The fact that these people might get through the immediate aftermath of the apocalypse is one reason I hope I'm flash-fried at Ground Zero if it ever happens. On the other hand, these are the last people I expect to survive an apocalypse long-term, because a lot of them have forgotten how to do anything without employing a lot of underpaid peons to do it for them. If anyone rebuilds civilization after an apocalypse, I think it's going to be those peons. (I'm not very resourceful myself, but I'm not deluding myself into thinking I am.)

In any case, the apocalypse is highly unlikely to be coming anytime soon -- sorry to burst anyone's bubble. Doomsday-prepper thinking, even on the part of one-percenters, is just a silly way to ignore the slow degradation of American society, which is what we really need to worry about. Of course, these are the guys who don't need to worry about it, because their American society is still intact, and still provides them with money to burn this way.

And on the subject of rich people's intelligence: well, if we didn't know rich people could be dumb Foxites and Beck-heads, all we had to do was read Donald Trump's Twitter feed, right?


aimai said...

Yes, the best post apocaplyse strategy is simply to work on one of these bunkers when its being built and stocked, make note of the location, and then come and kill the owners and take their shit when the time comes. Easy peasy. The pyramids were built, in some ways, for the same purpose and the builders and workers were sometimes killed in order to prevent just that kind of post-death looting. Since these effete exurban assholes are probably not in a position to kill off their workforce or fly them in and out of the country to prevent them from coming back later they won't have this advantage.

Ten Bears said...

Now you're thinking like an omnivore.

Key survival trait, that.

No fear.

pwlocke said...

1970's Flashback! I enjoyed those teenage hypothetical discussion: remain in the city and be incinerated or flee to Vermont and follow the faux survivalist fantasies. (It seems like a 20-year cycle, skipping the 90's due to falling Soviets.) So the latest version includes luxury designs and multi-use rooms, but I've been in 1950's era bomb shelters that tried to do the same and still ended up as poorly maintained dank basements. At least their wasted money supports the laborers who build them.

The New York Crank said...

And let us not forget that Rudy Giuliani, survivalist mayor of New York, had a combined bomb shelter and Command Center built for himself so that he could sit in insulated, radioactive-proof, electronic-gizmo-equipped safety and direct the peons out on the street from his "cave" until the crisis was over. It was bulletproof, radio active proof, and loaded with radios, cables, tv screens and computers. Best of all, it was impenetrable by yahoos with automatic weapons.

It also happened to be in the World Trade Center and got flattened with the rest of Ground Zero.

So uh, let's encourage the building of more of these things. It creates employment for construction workers, which isn't all bad.

BTW, my own fantasy is that after the one percent runs inside their shelters, we padlock them from the outside and throw away the keys.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

Victor said...

Maybe we're reading this wrong.

Maybe these people are 'smarter than the average bear,' and, with the threat of massive tornado's, like the one that struck OK yesterday, and hurricanes, like the one that hit NY City last fall, they're building their MANSION'S underground now.

Now, THAT, would be smart!

So, no.
It can't be that.

It's that these rich, low-taxed, self-important people, have too much time and money on their hands.

And if there is a nuclear war, I've always said that I want the first nuke that's fired, to hit me on the top of my bald head, as I'm finishing a large cocktail.

Ten Bears said...

Building underground is more energy efficient.

I actually have a forties/fifties bomb shelter under my house. We call it a root cellar. Use it to store not only canned goods but apples, potatoes, onions and such, cure fresh meat, play spooky tricks on the grandkids.

No fear.

Ten Bears said...

Funny thing: my grandfather was building contractor who made a lot of money building these things. A lot of people bought them. Oregon was the only place that got bombed during the war. From the start, though, no one ever called them "Bomb Shelters".

Root Cellars.

No fear.