There’s no right way to respond to the dramatic standoff between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, two world leaders posturing like ’80s action-movie villains despite the fact that they both look like the lackey with mustard stains on his shirt. Apathy, humor, and crippling anxiety all work. So too does dropping tens of thousands of dollars on bomb shelters — an increasingly popular choice, according to a spate of recent reports.
Sales of bomb shelters first began spiking after last year’s election, at least for Gary Lynch, general manager of Rising S Bunkers in Texas. He told the Miami Herald in January that sales were up 700 percent since Trump was elected, with many people citing a desire to avoid the “Trumpocalypse” or “Trumpnado.” And that was before Trump had time to do anything dumb.
By April, the company’s owner Clyde Scott told CNBC that Rising S was backlogged with work stretching out for the next year. And if you believe him, he may not be able to finish fast enough to save all his customers. “We are the longest living government in the history of the world without a complete collapse, the United States,” he said, like a true salesman. “It’s our time.”
The bunkers Scott sells are only for those with deep pockets — his most popular version is a 500-square-foot, $125,000 underground lair — and he markets to those with unrelenting paranoia. In a comment on one YouTube video, written years before Trump even took office, Scott’s company says, “Nuclear threats and global war are realities we are threatened with on a daily basis. Our steel bomb shelters are the perfect way to ensure your family’s future.”
As 2017 wore on, Kim Jong-un joined Trump on the list of reasons to hide underground. The North Korean leader has always been an unhinged egomaniac with designs on nuclear weapons, but he’s grown more brazen and more confrontational than ever before. That’s opened up a new market for bomb shelters, Ron Hubbard, owner of Atlas Survival, recently told Bloomberg.
Despite lying squarely within range of Kim’s itchy trigger finger for years, people in Japan are now ordering bomb shelters like never before. “Japan’s going hog wild right now,” Hubbard said. In an interview this week with Circa, Hubbard added, “The Japanese market, which is the hot market right now, it was non-existent for me six months ago, seven months ago. It pretty much started when Kim Jong-un started testing all of his long range ballistic missiles.”
Gary Lynch of Rising S has seen the interest too. In late July, inquires to his company doubled, he told Bloomberg, with 80 percent coming from Japan.
North Korea’s first-ever test of an ICBM on July 4 spurred the interest. Pyongyang followed that by testing a second ICBM three weeks later. So far this year, the country has carried out 18 missile tests, which puts it on pace to conduct more tests than ever before, according to CNN. And now, with reports of Kim having a “miniaturized nuclear warhead,” and Trump’s threatening “fire and fury,” sales of bomb shelters are sure to surge.
But if Scott and Hubbard are ever going to find a wide market for these cramped paranoia dens, they’re going to have to bring the cost down. To that end, Atlas Survival recently introduced the Bombnado — a smaller underground bunker that goes for as little as $18,999 (assault rifles not included).
But even that will be too expensive for most people looking to avoid the effects of a nuclear explosion and the subsequent fallout. For them, there is little to do beyond preparing, and thanks to the public-health office of Ventura County, California, at least we have these tips.