Not so long ago — perhaps just a few months even — the idea of Americans preparing bomb shelters to protect families from nuclear attack would have seemed humorously retro, quite 1950’s. “Duck and Cover,” as if school desks could protect from a man-made nuclear wind.
Not so much anymore. As scary as it seems and hopefully far-fetched, the idea of preparing a place to hide in the event of nuclear attack is under active consideration right now by many on both sides of the Pacific.
Credit/blame North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un for the newly-booming business. His regime has launched upwards of 20 missile tests this year alone, one just this morning Asia time. Last Saturday he launched three simultaneous intermediate range missiles that could devastate much of populated South Korea if armed.
Monday’s test actually flew over Japanese territory and landed in the Pacific, possibly in pieces, as Ed wrote here. Trying to reflect calm, Pentagon officials said the tests were no threat to the U.S. Great news! For now anyway.
Opponents made fun of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s for his idea of an anti-missile missile. Now, not so much. The developing American system is installed in Alaska and South Korea but has only about a 60% accuracy test record.
So, maybe having a well-stocked hiding hole in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco or Hawaii no longer seems crazy.
“The increase in demand is everywhere,” Ron Hubbard of California’s Atlas Survival Shelters tells McClatchy Newspapers. “We’re getting hundreds of calls.”
Hubbard says he expects to sell 1,000 shelter units this year at around $25,000 apiece. He’s also opening a new Dallas facility mainly to meet demands in the Japanese market, which knows up close the experience of a nuclear attack — two, in fact. Officials there watched the latest Communist test fly over the northern island of Hokkaido.
Bomb-shelter-making is a discreet line of construction. People don’t want neighbors to know, in part because guess where they’d try to go in the event of Armageddon.
As you might imagine, the bomb shelter business is a cyclical one, rising and falling with the perceived threat levels. That perception jumped this summer as Kim increased his threats and the Trump administration responded with massive military movements, joint exercises and dire warnings against any attacks on U.S territory or South Korean and Japanese allies.
“We’ve got a crazy man on one side and Donald Trump on the other,” adds Hubbard.