And what better place to prepare than the Ozarks? Strafford got 47 inches of rain last year; the mean temperature was a mild 59 degrees. The Springfield Plateau has a 200-foot-deep aquifer for when rainwater gets scarce. The region is largely insulated from natural disasters—save the odd tornado or benign rumbling from the Bootheel’s New Madrid Fault Line—and the low population density of like-minded folks means preppers, survivalists and homesteaders get left alone. A Lebanon real estate agent tells me remote acreage is an increasingly hot commodity for city dwellers eager to go native. Conversations with locals and time spent on survivalism forums reveal a religious cohort who believe the Ozarks are God’s country—sacred ground upon which one can wage a last stand against the sins of a rapidly globalizing world.
Even the smartest smartphone hasn’t been able to compensate for having no signal; until now. goTenna leverages a simple messaging app to allow you to communicate with the outside world should you be in need of help. You can share your GPS coordinates and condition, access offline maps or broadcast your situation to any other goTenna user in the vicinity. You also get confirmation your messages were delivered successfully so you can rest assured help is on the way. Finally, a way to get more from your phone when you’re off-grid. A smart, affordable piece of survival gear.
Others featured on Doomsday Preppers are more out there — literally. Robert and Debbie Earl, retired Florida chicken farmers, worry about the seas rising. So they are building a home constructed of old tires and sand-filled bottles near Alpine, Texas. Robert Earl describes himself as "Mad Max meets Rube Goldberg with a little bit of Al Gore thrown in."
Experts worry most about the grid’s nervous system: 2,000 extra-high voltage transformers. They’re 200- and 300-ton behemoths, individually engineered to meet specific power demands, and on average, they’re 40 years old. Notwithstanding the fact that 85 percent of transformers are imported, the U.S. Department of Energy says it takes between 5 and 16 months to replace a single one. According to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, an attack that destroyed nine of the 2,000 transformers would “cause a protracted nationwide blackout.” There’s no national cache of spare transformers.
When he gets up to show me about his cabin, Pense stands with the height and permanence of the dignified trees that encircle the property. He doesn’t say “um,” or “well”—the slow, deliberate syllables that emanate from his jowls feel like historical record, perhaps with a sprinkle of Americana, but not quite jingoism. Listening to him talk about his life is like having R. Lee Ermey recite your high school American studies textbook, but gentler.
Although most people have enough room to designate a corner of the pantry or an area in the basement for their emergency supplies, there are other options. Assemble or buy a 72-hour survival kit for each member of the family and each pet. Store these items where each family member can grab his or her own in an emergency. Conveniently place these kits in a bedroom closet, on a shelf in the mudroom, or in the trunk of the car. Make sure everyone knows where you have stored the kits, and designate someone to grab kits for pets and young children.
Popular at this particular show were bug-out bags, the vendors tell me, because the casual interloper can purchase a lot of peace of mind all at once. For $449, Lenexa, Kansas retailer Game Plan Experts sells a bag with waterproof matches, a flint fire-starter, energy bars, utensils, a camp stove, water pouches and filtration, a first-aid kit, masks, a survival whistle, a pry bar, a folding shovel, an emergency blanket, toilet paper, a toothbrush, a hand-crank radio, survival candles and more. For the über paranoid, they’ll find a discreet contractor in your area to dig a hole in your yard and install a doomsday bunker.
Adherents of the back-to-the-land movement inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, sporadically popular in the United States in the 1930s and 1970s (exemplified by The Mother Earth News magazine), share many of the same interests in self-sufficiency and preparedness. Back-to-the-landers differ from most survivalists in that they have a greater interest in ecology and counterculture. Despite these differences, The Mother Earth News was widely read by survivalists as well as back-to-the-landers during that magazine's early years, and there was some overlap between the two movements.
Craig Compeau is a third-generation Alaskan who is prepping for a government takeover. Craig has set up a remote bugout InterShelter in the Alaskan wilderness. We also meet 44-year-old adventurer David Lakota who depends on his intuition and connection to nature to survive a giant tsunami and the mountainous terrain of Hawaii. During the program David and his girlfriend Rachaelle bug out with minimal supplies from the Kalalau Valley on Kaua'i to the 4000' high plateaus above.
Those impulses are not as contradictory as they seem. Technology rewards the ability to imagine wildly different futures, Roy Bahat, the head of Bloomberg Beta, a San Francisco-based venture-capital firm, told me. “When you do that, it’s pretty common that you take things ad infinitum, and that leads you to utopias and dystopias,” he said. It can inspire radical optimism—such as the cryonics movement, which calls for freezing bodies at death in the hope that science will one day revive them—or bleak scenarios. Tim Chang, the venture capitalist who keeps his bags packed, told me, “My current state of mind is oscillating between optimism and sheer terror.”
James Patrick Douglas, a man of the land in Maine, shows off homesteading techniques he believes will become necessary based upon overpopulation fears; Larry Hall turns an underground missile silo into a bunker to make sure his family is safe during any event; Becky Brown (of Grab n Go Food Storage) is making sure she and others are ready for martial law.
At the time, Americans were marvelling at engineering advances—attendees at the 1893 World’s Fair, in Chicago, beheld new uses for electric light—but were also protesting low wages, poor working conditions, and corporate greed. “It was very much like today,” White said. “It was a sense that the political system had spun out of control, and was no longer able to deal with society. There was a huge inequity in wealth, a stirring of working classes. Life spans were getting shorter. There was a feeling that America’s advance had stopped, and the whole thing was going to break.”
Survivalists' concerns and preparations have changed over the years. During the 1970s, fears were economic collapse, hyperinflation, and famine. Preparations included food storage and survival retreats in the country which could be farmed. Some survivalists stockpiled precious metals and barterable goods (such as common-caliber ammunition) because they assumed that paper currency would become worthless. During the early 1980s, nuclear war became a common fear, and some survivalists constructed fallout shelters.
Firearms instructor and survivalist Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote on hardening retreats against small arms fire. In an article titled "Notes on Tactical Residential Architecture" in Issue #30 of P.S. Letter (April, 1982), Cooper suggested using the "Vauban Principle", whereby projecting bastion corners would prevent miscreants from being able to approach a retreat's exterior walls in any blind spots. Corners with this simplified implementation of a Vauban Star are now called "Cooper Corners" by James Wesley Rawles, in honor of Jeff Cooper. Depending on the size of the group needing shelter, design elements of traditional European castle architecture, as well as Chinese Fujian Tulou and Mexican walled courtyard houses have been suggested for survival retreats.
Reverse depends: AdjBQR, AER, AF, ahaz, AHR, AIM, anoint, APtools, attribrisk, Ball, BART, bayesDP, BayesMixSurv, bayesSurv, bhm, biostat3, BivarP, BMA, bshazard, carcass, cchs, cmprsk, coin, compound.Cox, cond, CoxBoost, coxed, coxinterval, coxme, CoxPhLb, coxphSGD, coxphw, CoxRidge, coxrobust, CPE, cr17, crossmatch, crrp, crrSC, csampling, ctqr, currentSurvival, distcomp, drgee, dynamichazard, dynfrail, DynNom, dynpred, eha, epiDisplay, epiR, FamEvent, fitdistrplus, flexPM, flexrsurv, flexsurv, flexsurvcure, frailtyEM, frailtyHL, frailtypack, frailtySurv, gamlss.cens, gamlss.nl, gcerisk, geecure, geneSignatureFinder, glmpath, globalboosttest, glrt, goftte, GORCure, greyzoneSurv, GSAgm, GSED, gte, gtx, HapEstXXR, HCmodelSets, Hmisc, iBST, ICBayes, icenReg, icensBKL, ICGOR, idmTPreg, IDPSurvival, imputeYn, InferenceSMR, InformativeCensoring, interval, invGauss, ipflasso, IPWsurvival, isoph, JM, JMbayes, joineR, joineRmeta, joineRML, joint.Cox, JointModel, JSM, kaps, kin.cohort, km.ci, kmconfband, lava.tobit, lcmm, LCox, linERR, LncMod, LogicReg, luca, MapGAM, marg, mexhaz, mfp, mhurdle, MiRKAT, missDeaths, mixor, mma, mmabig, mmc, MMMS, MPLikelihoodWB, MRH, mRMRe, MRsurv, MST, mstate, multcomp, multipleNCC, multistate, NADA, NestedCohort, nlreg, NPHMC, nricens, NSM3, optmatch, OrdFacReg, ordinalgmifs, OTRselect, OutlierDC, p3state.msm, packHV, paf, pamr, parfm, partDSA, pch, penalized, PenCoxFrail, peperr, permGPU, permGS, PHeval, PIGE, plac, plRasch, PRIMsrc, prognosticROC, PwrGSD, qrcm, qrcmNP, QualInt, RcmdrPlugin.coin, RcmdrPlugin.survival, relsurv, risksetROC, rms, RobustAFT, ROC632, ROCt, RPCLR, rprev, rstpm2, season, seawaveQ, selectiveInference, SemiCompRisks, seqDesign, seqMeta, SIMMS, simMSM, smcure, smoothHR, smoothSurv, SNPassoc, sp23design, speff2trial, SPREDA, sprinter, sptm, ssym, STAND, STAR, stepp, SubgrpID, superpc, surrosurvROC, survAccuracyMeasures, survAUC, survBootOutliers, survC1, survexp.fr, survey, Survgini, survIDINRI, survivalMPL, survivalsvm, survJamda, survMisc, SurvRegCensCov, survRM2, survSNP, SurvTrunc, tdROC, TH.data, threg, thregI, time2event, timereg, tnet, TransModel, uniah, uniCox, winRatioAnalysis, WPC, Zelig