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Posted: 4/5/2009 5:33:30 AM EDT
This guy lives in my city...


http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1299768.html

Dallas-Fort Worth's 'modern survivalists' are ready for layoffs –– or war
By MELODY McDONALD
[email protected]

Jack Spirko owns a media company, is married to a nurse and has a son in college. He has two dogs and lives in a nice house with a pool in a diversified neighborhood in Arlington.

Spirko, 36, considers himself an average guy with a normal life.

But for the past few years, Spirko has been stockpiling food, water, gas, guns and ammunition. He also has a load of red wine, Starbucks coffee and deodorant stashed away.

"I refer to myself as a modern survivalist, which means I don’t do without," Spirko explained. "I have a nice TV; I have nice furniture. We are not living in the sticks, but I take all of these things very seriously."

Spirko, an Army veteran and self-described "stark-raving-mad Libertarian," is part of a growing movement of people who are preparing for a disaster — natural, economic or man-made. Referred to as "modern survivalists" or "preppers," they are taking steps to protect and provide for their families should something bad happen.

Theirs is a different breed of survivalist, far from the right-wing militants or religious extremists who hole up in bunkers, live off the land and wait for the apocalypse.

Preppers are regular people with regular jobs who decided after 9-11, after Hurricane Katrina or when their 401(k)s tanked that they can’t rely on someone else to help them if something goes awry.

"We are normal people just like you," Spirko said. "We just understand that, sometimes, stuff goes wrong."

Prompted by Katrina

Donnie, 38, a McKinney resident who is an account executive with an international trade show organization, said Hurricane Katrina opened his eyes. He spent six weeks working as a paramedic in New Orleans.

"It was a logistical nightmare getting to the area," Donnie said. "And the longer you were there, the more you realized that, in a blink of an eye, your life can be turned upside down. I don’t want to be the person in the bread line or standing in line for ice."

Donnie, like many of those interviewed for this article, agreed to talk to the Star-Telegram on the condition that his last name not be used.

"I usually don’t advertise it," Donnie said. "There are people who cast a wary eye."

He said that after Katrina, he amassed about two weeks’ worth of food. But last September, after the economy began to sour, he "kicked into a higher gear" and acquired more supplies and water-filtration systems.

"I probably have about six months’ worth of food for two people," Donnie said. "I keep about 30 gallons of water on hand, and I have the means to store another 200 gallons if I have advance notice of something going bad."

Art Markman, a professor of psychology at University of Texas at Austin, said that when people start stockpiling food and water or buying weapons, they are in a motivational state called "avoidance mode."

"You turn on the news and only hear about job losses and the prospect that things are going to get worse than better," he said. "You see signals that the world is full of nasty things you need to avoid. You’ve engaged in this general sense of avoidance. You are trying to focus on safety concerns."

Markman said the trend is not surprising, given the economy.

What exactly preppers are preparing for isn’t specific. It could be a layoff, tornado, global pandemic or nuclear war.

Internet sites devoted to survivalism often refer to scenarios like TEOTWAWKI, an acronym for "the end of the world as we know it."

"I am prepared for just about any disaster that disrupts everyday living," said Bob, 43, a sales manager from eastern Pennsylvania who runs www.thinkprepared.net.

". . . The economy is at the forefront of my concerns. The unemployment rate is soaring, and most people are not prepared to be without a paycheck for a week, much less a month or longer," Bob said.

Booming business

Businesses that sell storable foods, disaster shelters and guns are thriving.

Bruce Hopkins, owner of Best Prices Storable Foods, which sells dehydrated and canned foods, said sales "exploded" last spring and remain steady. On a single day last week, Hopkins sold $31,000 worth of storable food. Hopkins said a popular item is a one-year food supply for a family of four or family of two, priced at $4,000 and $2,700, respectively.

"I think to have anything less than a month’s food supply is foolish," said Hopkins, whose business is in Quinlan, south of Greenville. "I think it is time to stop watching American Idol and start paying attention to what is going on in the world."

Walton McCarthy, owner and principal engineer of Radius Engineering International, builds underground disaster shelters that protect against nuclear, chemical and biological warfare, among other things.

He said his business has tripled since July, when reports of Iranian missile tests surfaced. McCarthy’s disaster shelters hold 10 to 300 people and cost $105,000 to $6 million. His customers include politicians, doctors and key executives.

"What we are going through now is the Pearl Harbor blues," said McCarthy, whose company is based in Forney, east of Dallas. "All of the ingredients are here. It is around the corner, and no one should be surprised."

At Cheaper Than Dirt Outdoor Adventures, a gun store in north Fort Worth, business has never been better. Owner Dewayne Irwin said he sees three types of customers: "You have the everyday good ol’ boy Texas gun owner.

"You have the folks that are coming in and saying, 'I’ve lost my job and my neighbor lost their job’ and they really believe they might have to fight over a bucket of carrots or something. And you have the guys who are first-time gun buyers and they don’t really know why. It is Main Street. It is crazy."

'Going back to my roots’

Spirko grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where hunting, fishing, gardening, and canning and storing food were a way of life.

"No one looked at that back then and said, 'These people were survivalists,’ " Spirko said. "That is just what you did."

After Spirko got out of the Army, he moved to Texas and started working in communications and sales.

"I found myself in my mid-20s pursuing corporate America, working the six-figure job and traveling all over the United States," Spirko said.

And then, Y2K happened or, rather, didn’t happen.

"I thought they were absolutely crazy," Spirko said. "They thought the toaster was going to explode when it goes to 2000 or whatever."

And while Spirko didn’t buy into the Y2K scare, he did think legitimate concerns had been raised.

"Right after that, we had the dot-com bubble explode. We had the stock market crash. My portfolio went down by 50 percent overnight. And then 9-11," he said. "I started going back to my roots and started to look at ways to preserve our cash and make sure we had some food on hand."

In July, Spirko launched a podcast for modern survivalists at TheSurvivalPodcast.com. He encourages people to pay down their debt and have extra cash, water and food and an evacuation plan. About the same time, he expanded his backyard garden, where he grows tomatoes, peas, corn, strawberries, onions and jalapeños, among other things.

"We had two big scares with produce last year — jalapeños and tomatoes," Spirko said. "First jalapeños had salmonella, and then tomatoes had salmonella. If that can happen, what other things can happen?"

Gwenn, 52, a self-described "girlvivalist," runs a lodging house in Beaumont. She has plenty of water, a year’s worth of food and a shotgun for protection.

"When we had Hurricane Ike here, a lot of my tenants didn’t evacuate," she said. "While my neighbors were standing in line for MREs [Meals Ready to Eat] at the shopping center, we were grilling steak."

Keeping it quiet

Many survivalists — Spirko is not one of them — are "closet preppers."

Afraid that they will be viewed as crazy or weird, they don’t tell people they are storing freeze-dried food, canning their own vegetables or setting up an alternate location where they can go if TEOTWAWKI arrives. They also don’t want "raiders" beating down their door if a disaster happens.

Bob said survivalists are often viewed — incorrectly — as doomsayers.

"Some people think we want the end of the world as we know it," he said. "I can tell you from my heart, I hope nothing like that ever happens. I want my sons to grow up and have a great life."

Still, Bob believes that everybody should at least have a 72-hour bag of gear, also known as a "bug-out bag," ready to go.

"Survival today is more about being prepared for short-term situations, like hurricanes, floods and blizzards," Bob said. ". . . Learn some basic skills like gardening, first aid and personal defense. Become self-reliant like our grandparents were."

Jordan Mills, 30, an information technology contractor in downtown Houston, put his bug-out bag to good use during Hurricanes Rita and Ike. In it, he keeps his birth certificate, medical records, cash, food, water, flashlights, tape, garbage bags, clothes and other supplies.

Mills said he didn’t choose the "survivalist" label, but others have called him that.

"The word brings to my mind an image of a gruff mountain man with a log cabin, 10 years of food stored up and enough guns to outfit a small army," he said. "I don’t meet that image at all. I consider the chance of a total collapse of society and the end of the world as we know it to be pretty much zero. To me, survivalism is really just preparing for day-to-day inconveniences or emergencies."

A growing community

Every morning, Spirko gets in his diesel Jetta and makes the 50-mile commute from Arlington to Frisco, where his media company is based.

During the drive, he records his daily podcast. He discusses things like storing food safely, finding alternative energy options, dealing with anti-survivalist stigma and finding time to prep.

"The more I dug in, the more I learned," he said. "And then something really cool happened: This community started to build around it."

Spirko said that about 4,000 people download his podcast each day and that his audience is growing.

"People are always waiting for someone else to come and help them," he said. "To me, survivalism is just waking back up to traditional American values. I’m talking about basic self-responsibility, basic self-worth — understanding that you control your life more than anybody else.

"If you do nothing, you may not regret it. But if you do regret it, you are really going to regret it."

Resources
Best Prices Storable Foods in Quinlan, www. internet-grocer.net

Radius Engineering, www.bombshelters.com. Buy McCarthy’s book, Principles of Protection, there or from the American Civil Defense Association.

Cheaper Than Dirt, 2522 NE Loop 820, Fort Worth

People are always waiting for someone else to come and help them. To me, survivalism is just waking back up to traditional American values."
Jack Spirko

MELODY McDONALD, 817-390-7386
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 5:58:58 AM EDT
I love how they always need to quota a shrink in these articles.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 6:27:14 AM EDT
Quoted:
I love how they always need to quota a shrink in these articles.



Paul, I agree with you.  However, it is a pretty good article for our side.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 6:33:27 AM EDT
Quoted:
I love how they always need to quota a shrink in these articles.


In the author's defense, the quote is rather applicable; I'm not a deep-out-there backwoods nutjob waiting for the end of civilization, I am just very get-caught-with-my-pants-down adverse.

Jack's podcast is very much worth a listen..
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 6:51:48 AM EDT
this definetly has a better spin than most media and prepping
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 7:01:22 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
I love how they always need to quota a shrink in these articles.



Paul, I agree with you.  However, it is a pretty good article for our side.



If our country wasnt blind to their rights and libertys and the media wasnt full of more S then a christmas turkey we wouldnt NEED a side. Why should we need a side??

We are crazy because we care about our familys well being? After seeing people starving in the super dome living in what looked like a dump? Or in their homes filled with mold with no food?  Having their guns taken from them?  The sheeple need to wake the hell up!!!!  Our country has grown soft!

To the Depression generation thats leaving us rapidly stock piling was not crazy. They grew gardens , canned food , stock piled regular canned food , kept freezers and fridges as stocked as they could afford!  Why because they went thru the depression and never wanted to be caught with the pants down again!  I guess my 95 year old grand mother who we recently had to put in a home for health reasons was crazy because she has always had enough food and supplies to seriously live a year with out even having a fridge. SHE REFUSED to go with an electric stove because when the electric is out she can cook ( she showed me right when we were without power for 2 weeks)  Is she nuts because she had a ruger 10/22 a shotgun and her fathers old revolver and multiple boxes of ammo? Nope .... she remembered being a girl  her and her 3 sisters and a brother having to not only farm their property but hunt small game ect to suppliment the familys food supply.  


While not as hardcore as some guys here I was a prepper all my life and never knew it. I have a full pantry with 6 shelves always loaded with canned goods , pastas , rice , beans , flour , sugar ect ect ect. Plus a few regular kitchen cabinets. Why? because I grew up around it. Thats what my grand mother taught me. Laura is the same way. Infact she over buys worse then I do. Did we have 10 years of food and a millions reounds of ammo? No but we easily had  several months worth at a time just normally...

Screw the media. The only side I want to be on is the living one.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 7:34:49 AM EDT
I was so glad to see how the article was written - hopefully it gets some people thinking...  more people prepping is better for all of us...

there's a video of Jack on the Star-Telegram website, too:  http://video.star-telegram.videos.vmixcore.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=3563142

Link Posted: 4/5/2009 7:38:08 AM EDT
good article - thanks - I forwarded it to friends and family
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 7:43:13 AM EDT
I'd love to help our side out, but I'll be damned if they'd have my name in the article, and that's on the off chance that I ever admitted it, to ANYONE.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 7:45:09 AM EDT
Quoted:
I'd love to help our side out, but I'll be damned if they'd have my name in the article, and that's on the off chance that I ever admitted it, to ANYONE.


But "our side" would sell you out in a heart beat to protect their own interests.

The real hard core bikers were right all along... FTW!!!
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 7:51:20 AM EDT
Good artical nationwide

Thanks for posting it.


GM
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 8:06:35 AM EDT
"You have the folks that are coming in and saying, 'I’ve lost my job and my neighbor lost their job’ and they really believe they might have to fight over a bucket of carrots or something."



Link Posted: 4/5/2009 8:08:54 AM EDT
BTW  

Great find, Nationwide!
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 8:13:55 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
I'd love to help our side out, but I'll be damned if they'd have my name in the article, and that's on the off chance that I ever admitted it, to ANYONE.


But "our side" would sell you out in a heart beat to protect their own interests.

The real hard core bikers were right all along... FTW!!!


3 people that know about it, know where I live. They have as much to lose as me.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 8:30:30 AM EDT
Yeah, I thought it was pretty good with the exception of talking to the shrink.

I mean, if you're just paying attention, you should be prepped for AT LEAST 2-3 days.  Dang, doesn't our own .gov suggest this?

I've talked to people about my prepps, but I'll probably be changing that policy.

Don't need anyone showing up at the door...
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 8:36:47 AM EDT
Quoted:
Yeah, I thought it was pretty good with the exception of talking to the shrink.


+1 the psychobabble did not add to the article.  other than that, it was a good read.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 9:43:49 AM EDT
Ed Wallace reported on his radio show yesterday that an internet seller of long term storage foods based in Dallas has had sales QUADRUPLE in the last quarter.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 10:03:34 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Yeah, I thought it was pretty good with the exception of talking to the shrink.


+1 the psychobabble did not add to the article.  other than that, it was a good read.


Knowledge of behavioral science can be a useful preparation.

Do not discount anything that may give you an edge in adverse times.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 3:27:56 PM EDT
Of course, when a politician buys a huge nuclear fallout shelter....that's OK. When the federal government spends untold billions on their Continuity of Government facilities....it's called "prudent planning". Just don't let Joe Citizen do this on his own though....
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 5:22:22 PM EDT
Good article from a MSM Paper. I thought they did a fair job.

I know that the Dallas Morning News is full on Libtard. But what about the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. Is it more conservative since Ft. Worth is more conservative than Dallas is? Just curious.
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 5:24:29 PM EDT
This is the guy that has the survivalist podcast....

link
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 7:19:17 PM EDT
Just subscribed to it on iTunes
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 9:20:37 PM EDT
So is nationwide the same guy that was peppering all of his postes awhile back with the "TheSurvivalPodcast.com" befor the mods told him to stop???

OPSEC bro, OPSEC..

name, location, buisness...
Link Posted: 4/5/2009 10:27:37 PM EDT
Quoted:
So is nationwide the same guy that was peppering all of his postes awhile back with the "TheSurvivalPodcast.com" befor the mods told him to stop???

OPSEC bro, OPSEC..

name, location, buisness...


While the mods frequently tell me to "stop", it is usually because they are wrong... not because I post links to anything off site.  
Link Posted: 4/6/2009 2:23:22 AM EDT
i really dislike the  whole  hyphenated survivalist crap.
Im not a survivalist..those are just camo clad 20 yrs of food militia guys, who live  out in the woods...evil,bad survivalist,,bad....
I am a prepper i drive a BMW, have a shot gun, and go out to eat twice a week....

Here is the deal... your a survivalist..stop being in denial over the fact––becuase thats what it is called when you wont admitt what you are!

While i will applaud anyone taking responsibilty for their lives and getting prepared, trying to seperate themselves from what they are puts a very negative tone to anything that doesnt fit into their "sub" class
i live in suburbia..i have a sq foot garden.. i have 2 months of frezze dried, and a gen set.
So now we get folks going  " hey doesnt ole jimbo live out on that 20 acre farm  outside of town....he's one of the "preppers" to aint he..he was talking about canning up some beans......"..." NAW he's one of them whacko survivalist types, he has solar power,  that old army blazer and is always out shooting..prolly got him self of them there militias as well..."

You dont want folks to know what you are practice OPSEC its that simple, but can we stay away from the lets re name the wheel crap it does more harm than good!
YMMV


Link Posted: 4/6/2009 4:12:12 AM EDT
Great article indeed, however, I wished they would have emphasized the need to prepare/protect against the criminal element more––but then again, that may have turned it into more of a "gun" article . . . .
Link Posted: 4/6/2009 4:48:49 AM EDT
I do think there is a difference between a survivalist and a prepper.  

A survivalist (I was one in the 70s & 80s) is a pesimist. They believe that you had to prepare for TEOTWAWKI which was inevitable. The country could fall apart in an apocalyptic manner.  

A prepper (which I am now) is an optimist. They believe that the end of the world isn't at hand but it does make sense to be prepared for disasters and things that are likely to happen. It is not so much a matter of survival as it is maintaining a decent standard of living in hard times.
Link Posted: 4/6/2009 5:23:28 AM EDT
Quoted:
A survivalist (I was one in the 70s & 80s) is a pesimist.
A prepper (which I am now) is an optimist.



I think the most successful survivalist or prepper is going to be a cynical pessimist.  These people aren't looking for the silver lining, because they know that anything good that happens is just gravy (in that it won't hurt you and can only help).  These people are watching for the storm clounds, because they know therein lies the pain/suffering/tragedy.  I ready a study once (anyone remember this or have the link?) that concludes that cynical pessimists are the most well adjusted, becuase unlike optomists, they are not "crushed" when things turn out bad, or not as they predicted.

Link Posted: 4/6/2009 6:27:54 AM EDT
Quoted:
Great article indeed, however, I wished they would have emphasized the need to prepare/protect against the criminal element more––but then again, that may have turned it into more of a "gun" article . . . .


Dude, this is Tarrant County, home of Fort Worth.  Even on the police cars it says "Where the west begins".

People who are inclined to use force to protect their lives, family, and property already have guns and lots of 'em!  




Ammo, not so much lately
Link Posted: 4/6/2009 8:20:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/6/2009 8:39:32 AM EDT
Good article.
My wife was reading it yesterday and asked me if I knew what TEOTWAWKI means, I smiled and told her of course. Next she asked what a bug out bag was, so I went and got mine out of the truck and showed it to her.
Link Posted: 4/6/2009 11:03:54 AM EDT
I like the idea of their being a "Modern" survivalist.
Link Posted: 4/6/2009 11:41:45 AM EDT
I realized I was a survivalist when I read my first issue of American Survival Guide back in the early 80s.  I was raised, camping, hiking, cutting fire wood for the woostove during the Arab Oil Embargo. I thought it was normal. (Still do)

The MEDIA demonized survivalists back then in the 80's.   BigTime.
They took a look at "militias", then they packaged them with "hate groups"  and smashed Survivalists right into the same bunch.

There are hate groups and militias, that are also Survivalists,  but they are not one-in-the-same.

Even today I hear people swear they are "preppers" and not survivalists?
A prepper "is" a survivalist.   It's anyone who is furthering their "position" on self-reliance and against disasters small and large, natural or man-made.

Don't allow the media to continue to demonize the word "survivalist".  
Many of us are afraid to use the term openly because it has been twisted and contorted into something sub-human, not normal, or extremist fringe.    When really we are merely a magnification of every wife/mom out there who shops for groceries.  

We can build a debris hut and make primitive tools and weapons, grow food, reload ammo, or wire in a solar array.  High tech or low tech,  doesn't matter,  a well rounded Survivalist is prepared for no power grid,  or having the car crap out in the wilderness, or a natural disaster.  
And still prepared to cap zombies, don't forget the Zombies.

Mostly it was a good article.
It's taken this economic downturn, tougher times, for enough of the population to realize they too had the "S" chromosome (Survival).

And now,  with the internet,  like minded folks are realizing there are more of us than we once imagined.

If you are a prepper,  that's cool with me,  as you are preparing to survive, as we all should.

We are all decsendants of the humans who survived.  
Which is why we are, the way we are.  It's in our DNA.



Link Posted: 4/6/2009 11:43:29 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
A survivalist (I was one in the 70s & 80s) is a pesimist.
A prepper (which I am now) is an optimist.



I think the most successful survivalist or prepper is going to be a cynical pessimist.  These people aren't looking for the silver lining, because they know that anything good that happens is just gravy (in that it won't hurt you and can only help).  These people are watching for the storm clounds, because they know therein lies the pain/suffering/tragedy.  I ready a study once (anyone remember this or have the link?) that concludes that cynical pessimists are the most well adjusted, becuase unlike optomists, they are not "crushed" when things turn out bad, or not as they predicted.



I read your first like and thought "hey, I agree!"  I just thought of the Boy Scout motto "Be prepared," not "hope that change will occur and that the government will take care of all your needs"
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