As We See It

When the end comes, Survival Expo attendees will be ready

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As the Survival Expo showed, post-apocalyptic living is all about attitude … and big guns.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

If you’re reading this sentence, you’re going to die. Not necessarily soon—sorry if I scared you there—but at some point. Hopefully you’ll die of old age, but what if you don’t? What if all those 2012 end-of-the-world crackpots are right? What if the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar’s conclusion really does mark the apocalypse? Then you’re going to wish you were at the Cashman Center last weekend.

The 2012 Survival Expo, held at Cashman, offered everything you need to survive certain planetary disaster. Hawaiian-style beef jerky, water filters, skin staplers, skin staple removers—the whole survivalist shebang. But let’s start with the basics: shelter. You’re house isn’t going to cut it. Nothing on the earth will cut it; you want to be underground. And if you’re going to go underground, why not do so in an Atlas Survival Shelter?

2012 Survivor Expo

I climb into the floor model and poke around the mini-home-in-a-storm-pipe intended to be buried 20 feet below the surface. The Cashman display model is propped three feet above the ground. The pipe home is fitted with a blast hatch (Lost fans rejoice), an emergency exit, a laser-cut doorway (the shelter is airtight), a “Protected by Homeowner/I Will Blow Your Ass Away” sign, a kitchenette, a big-screen TV (bring some DVDs; post-apocalypse programming will suck) and a rifle rack. Electric toilette optional.

An interested couple asks the Atlas worker whether they can outfit their model with air conditioning. The rep replies, “You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s going to be 55 degrees in here.”

Note to self: Bring blankets to apocalypse.

Next up: guns. If you’re going to survive, you’re going to have to kill people. They’ll be after your supplies, and they’re not going to take a polite “no” for an answer. So start by winning a gun at the NRA booth (The NRA guy has his briefcase open and the words “WIN A GUN” taped to it in masking tape.) Then, hide the gun under your arm with a Deep Conceal holster (if it’s on your hip, somebody might see it and take it).

“I carry a loaded .45 at all times,” Deep Conceal inventor Steve Morrow tells me. “And I wear a dress shirt that opens with Velcro. I used to work in the finance industry, and at the time, there was no way to conceal a gun in business attire.”

Steve outfits me with a Deep Conceal holster and a blue Velcro-up shirt with fake buttons on the front. I’m able to rip open the shirt and pull the gun in three seconds. Bang! Take that, random zombie roaming around promoting the Zombie Apocalypse Store!

There’s a mini-stage in the center of the room where a lady with a kind voice is discussing the Red Cross. She’s talking about Hurricane Isaac—you know, the actual disaster that people are actually, currently trying to survive. But only eight people are listening. Maybe the Red Cross’ operations don’t jive with the survivalist’s every-man-for-himself mentality. Or maybe it’s just more fun to prepare to survive than it is to actually do it.

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