HOUSTON--As we go about the business of our daily lives, more Americans than ever, it seems, are convinced that time is running out, that the end is near and it’s not going to be pretty. Yet, some still manage to see the glass as half-full.
"We’re all about the good news of nuclear destruction," said Shane Connor, a 'prepper' out of Gonzales, TX.
What could possibly be good about nuclear destruction?
"It really is survivable," said Connor. "For instance, most people don’t realize that when it comes to fallout after a nuclear explosion, in 48 hours, 99-percent of it has already dissipated."
Connor owns and operates a radiation calibration lab. He also has the world’s largest stockpile of potassium iodide, which is key to combating radiation illness.
"During the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, we delivered more than six million doses," said Connor, "which is more than a lot of small countries even have."
Connor is a 'prepper,' and his company KI4U caters to 'preppers.' He even sells underground doomsday bunkers ranging in price from $3,500 to more than $100,000. In fact, some companies report a 1000 percent increase in bunker sales last year.
While the theories about what may happen are as diverse as preppers themselves, they are united by the common belief that the end of the world, at least as we know it, is near, possibly as soon as this year. They believe it could be the result of a natural disaster, economic collapse or a terrorist attack.
"It’s a disruption of services," said Connor, "and that’s your food and your water and medical and your banking services and getting fuel and having electricity. It’s all of these basic things, and if you stock up, you’re going to be in a better position to protect your family. "
Connor is very reluctant to discuss his own preparations, although he admits his personal underground bunker could hold up to 24 people.
"That’s private," said Connor. "That’s kind of like asking about your bank account or anything else."
In the aftermath of disaster he says there’s a thin line between civility and chaos, and the bunkers are built to keep out intruders, no matter how well they’re armed.
"The thin veneer of civilization will erode pretty quickly. When you look at the riots we’ve had for other reasons over time, none of them in this country were because people didn’t know where their next meal was coming from," said Connor. "That’s going to be a whole new level."
A whole new level in a whole new world, he says, the likes of which we’ve never seen.