Terra Vivos (which Mark wrote about in May) is a 135-person bomb shelter in the Mojave, a "Luxury Underground Community" that is the first of several to be installed in driving distance of major cities. I always wonder if the people who decide to secede from their neighbors' society at the first sign of disaster (on the ground that they can't trust their neighbors) ever think that, just maybe, the "bug-out" mentality will do more to harm us than any disaster could? Every disaster I've been in or near has been primarily characterized by people helping each other, doing their best to avoid the Mall Ninjas who are convinced that Mad Max is around the corner. See, for example, the people selflessly rescuing their neighbors after Katrina, while shoot-to-kill Blackwater roughnecks herded them into a sports stadium where there was insufficient food, drink, and sanitation.
Buyers are drawn to Vivos for a variety of reasons. Jason Hodge, a 40-year-old former mechanic, says the promised air-filtration system was a major attraction: "I live 123 miles from Los Angeles, and I'm on the windward side of town. If a dirty bomb goes off in L.A., the fallout's hitting my neighborhood within a couple of hours." Steve Kramer, a 56-year-old respiratory therapist from Palos Verdes, California, is more concerned about post-apocalyptic raiders. He made his deposit, he says, after inspecting the bunker's hardened-steel doors, which are strong enough to repel a tank blast.
Building the Vivos society requires complicated engineering too. Vicino says he has 5,000 additional applicants on file but that he is being selective in order to create a balanced community. "You wouldn't want 200 doctors in one facility and no plumbers," he says. "If the toilet breaks, that could be a real disaster." People can bring guns, but they must check them at the door. If someone misbehaves, the security staff will lock him in a detention center. Vicino is also thinking about survival of the species, not just his customers. He plans to stock each Vivos bunker with a freezer full of DNA samples of as many species as he can collect. Whether it's preserving humanity or reseeding a scorched planet, he asks, "don't you want to be one of the guys repopulating the Earth?"
The World's First Everything-Proof Underground Luxury Community