Companies that build private bomb shelters have recently seen an unprecedented spike in business internationally. Owners attribute this to the rising tensions between the US and North Korea. With an apocalyptic edge to it, this end-of-days industry has a bitter-sweet Messianic side to it.
This phenomenon was illustrated last week when Fox Business interviewed Clyde Scott, the owner of Texas-based Rising S Shelters. Scott said his bunker sales have gone up 200 per cent in the last two weeks.
“This week alone we sold eight,” Scott said. “I normally sell about two a week, we are selling about eight a week right now.”
His company’s best seller is a $129,000 steel bunker equipped with bunk beds, a toilet, shower, air filtration system and water heaters. Scott was clear on the cause of the bunker boom.
”North Korea is the only reason for the increase I’ve seen,” Scott said. “Customers say they are worried Kim Jong-Un has little man syndrome and Donald Trump has got to be right no matter what.”
A similar run on bunkers was seen by Gary Lynch, general manager of Rising S Bunkers in Texas. Lynch told Bloomberg News that sales jumped 700 percent after Trump took office, and that last month sales doubled again.
The industry has also seen a change in the demographics of its customers.
“It used to be just mainly conservative Christians and now there’s really a move towards the Democratic side [who] are making a lot of purchases right now,” Scott said. “Hollywood elite stars who you see on TV all the time and rap stars, and they use them not just for nuclear war but to keep their stuff safe like jewellery and money.”
It is not just Americans who are feeling the need to have a hideaway. Japan is feeling the threat from North Korea even more than America. The Japanese government shocked the world last week when it announced its belief that North Korea is now capable of attaching a miniaturized nuclear device to an intercontinental ballistic missile which can reach targets in the US.
The trend is also reflected in Japanese bunker sales. Last month, Lynch told Bloomberg that 80 percent of the orders for new bunkers come from Japan. Japanese bomb shelter company Oribe Seiki Seisakusho also reported that its bunker sales tripled since March.
Bunkers and shelters, now becoming more mainstream, were previously associated with the prepper movement. Also known as survivalists, preppers actively prepare for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international.
For Israelis, bomb shelters are a way of life, required by law in every new structure. Joshua Wander, head of the Israeli ‘preppers’ movement, speculated about how this Israeli tradition is now catching on in America.
“If I lived in California, I’d get a bomb shelter,” Wander told Breaking Israel News, noting that the recent rise in alarmism in America probably had several sources.
“I think it’s a combination of events,” Wander said. “People are certainly reacting to the situation in North Korea, but North Korea isn’t a direct threat to California, unless it escalates to something global. I think the internal strife between the right and left wing is certainly a contributing factor, making people more concerned about their security.”
For Wander, prepping for the end-of days is a spiritual matter. Wander lives on the Mount of Olives overlooking the site Jewish tradition holds will be the first area affected by the post-Messianic resurrection of the dead.
“There are a wide variety of preppers, but the basis of the prepper movement is religious,” Wander explained. “Religious people accept that the period before Moshiach (Messiah) will be incredibly turbulent. Religious people realize they have to prepare for the end-of-days, spiritually and physically.”