Nuclear war and extreme prepping

Published 9:48 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

Do you know where the nearest nuclear fallout shelter is?

I do not, so if you do, please enlighten me. Because you never know what President Trump and North Korea’s leader will do once they get bored of their war of words.

Is nuclear war a possibility? According to www.ready. gov, the U.S. government’s website for all things disaster related, yes it is possible.

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“The danger of a massive strategic nuclear attack on the United States is predicted by experts to be less likely today. However, terrorism, by nature, is unpredictable,” the website states.

That’s not very reassuring, and I’m not sure that statement has been updated since Trump warned North Korea that the U.S. is “locked and loaded.”

According to, Brookhaven would not be a potential target. Places like missile sites, military bases, centers of government, financial centers and major ports and airfields would be. That’s only reassuring if you’re concerned about dying from the initial nuclear blast. Nuclear war, in theory, could kill us all no matter where we live.

But the U.S. government is optimistic about surviving such a war, and provides some tips for what to do before and after a nuclear blast.

1: Build an emergency supply kit and make a family plan.

2: Find a fallout shelter. (Note to self: build a fallout shelter).

3: During heightened threat, have enough disaster supplies for two weeks. (Note to self: start buying disaster supplies yesterday).

4: During a blast, take cover below ground and stay there. (See earlier note to self).

5: Go as far below ground as possible (Again, see earlier note to self).

6: Do not look at the nuclear blast or fireball. (Looking death in the eye could be hazardous to your health).

7: When possible, take a shower to remove radioactive contamination. (For some reason, I don’t think a warm shower will do the trick).

8: People in most of the areas that would be affected could be allowed to come out of shelter within a few days and, if necessary, evacuate to unaffected areas. The heaviest fallout would be limited to the area at or downwind from the explosion. It might be necessary for those in the areas with highest radiation levels to shelter for up to a month. (A month! Note to self: buy more disaster supplies).

The world’s super rich have been preparing for an end-of-the-world war, and their plans seem good to me. Reddit’s founder and CEO has stockpiled motorcycles, guns, ammo and food. Other super-rich folks are building shelters, and stockpiling cash, gold, food and water. (Note to self: find buried treasure and then bury it in my backyard).

There is also a “prepper” movement that emphasizes preparing for worst-case scenarios. A nuclear blast is high on most lists of worst-case scenarios. Preppers are people just like you or me, except they stock food, water and other necessary supplies to hopefully survive the unthinkable. Some even go to the extreme and have Geiger counters and hazmat suits on hand.

Just about all prepper survival lists include guns and ammo, which shouldn’t be a problem for us in Mississippi.

Several of these prepper websites recommend having a way to garden in an underground cave or bunker if you want to survive nuclear war. They even recommend beekeeping (also underground, I presume) so that crops can be pollinated. (Note to self: start raising a bee hive under the house).

The extreme preppers go so far as to recommend raising children underground in anticipation of a nuclear war, that way a new generation will have the best chance of survival since they won’t have been exposed to radiation at all. (This is crazy, right?).

After spending too much time reading these doomsday websites, one thing became very clear. Most “prepper” websites and affiliated companies simply want to scare you into purchasing supplies. There are countless pitches for books, guns, ammo, food, flashlights and just about anything else you can imagine. There is an entire economy built on preparing for the unthinkable.

While my time as a Boy Scout taught me to always be prepared, most of these folks have taken it to the extreme. While I think Trump is irresponsible and dangerous, I like to think the world (even North Korea) understands that starting a nuclear war is self-defeating. If nothing else, the regime there is in the business of self-preservation. 

But deep down inside all of us, there’s a tiny voice that says “what if?” What if Trump provokes North Korea into a nuclear attack? What if Trump gives the command to launch? What if he receives word of an incoming attack and responds recklessly instead of listening to his military advisers? There are a lot of “what ifs?” when it comes to Trump and North Korea.

Should that unthinkable day come, I’m sure most of us will be unprepared. I, for one, will probably not have gotten around to building that shelter or stockpiling food and water. In that case, I’m hoping one of you has. I’ll be knocking on your lead-lined shelter doors hoping you have room inside for my family of seven. I promise to share my buried treasure and underground bees.

Publisher Luke Horton can be reached at