The 'Prepper' Phenomenon

Hosted byIan Punnett

The 'Prepper' Phenomenon

About the show

Currently, 3.7 million Americans call themselves 'preppers.' Author Bradley Garrett argues that survival prepping is a rational response to unstable global, social, and political systems. He joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) for the latter three hours, discussing his travels around the world to meet those who are constructing underground 'doomsday' bunkers, stockpiling supplies, and preparing go bags, and "bug out" vehicles. He described one project in Kansas, converted from a retired military silo that had contained a nuclear ICBM. Larry Hall spent $10 million, turning it into a luxury underground condominium complex that would be the second tallest structure in Kansas if it was built above ground. Hall's idea, Garrett explained, is that the deeper you go into the Earth, the safer you are from a disaster on the surface-- thus, the 'penthouse' is on the lowest level.

The preppers he interviewed spoke about their conceptions of the Post-Apocalyptic World (PAW), and their views of this influenced their preparations and planning, especially the amount of time they thought they would need to be in a bunker or living off-grid. Another builder, Dr. Drew Miller, is creating secure off-grid facilities in different locations around the US. Known as Fortitude Ranch, Miller hopes to sell the bunkers as a kind of "time-share" where people can retreat to the nearest ranch in the event of a disaster. The idea of underground complexes dates back to antiquity, Garrett noted, for instance, with the Hittites in Turkey who dug into volcanic rock and created an enormous city.

Another bunker entrepreneur is Robert Vicino, who has constructed various shelter communities. His sold-out subterranean location in Indiana is said to be able to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear bomb. One of the flaws in luxury-oriented bunker communities is the notion that people can buy their way out of a disaster, and survive in exclusivity, Garrett commented. "The way to make it through these turbulent times," he continued, "is to build community, not to build a 'bug out' plan that doesn't include anyone else."


First-hour guest, researcher Professor Slim King spoke about mentalism and hypnosis and presented an update on the DB Cooper mystery. One curiosity he reported is that cash discovered near an Oregon riverbank (thought to have fallen when Cooper parachuted out of the plane) was planted there from a different time frame than the 1971 skyjacking. He also suggested that a man named Walter Reca was actually DB Cooper, and survived the jump from the airplane.

Bumper Music

Last Night

Inside the CIA / Rethinking Death
Inside the CIA / Rethinking Death
Analyst J. Michael Waller discussed the history and operation of the CIA and some of its failings. Followed by death doula Alua Arthur on the dying process and our attitudes around it.


CoastZone banner
Sign up for our free CoastZone e-newsletter to receive exclusive daily articles.