Mike Monko

Viva Las Vegas… Preppers

Late last night I read an interesting article published earlier in the day on the Las Vegas Sun website that focused on preppers/survivalists out in Southern Nevada. In “Prepping for Doomsday: The survivalism movement’s fine line between protection and paranoia,” Rob Miech drew from interviews with Mike Monko and Anthony Champion of Zombie Apocalypse Store, an anonymous employee of Lock N Load Tactical, “Max” at Mad Man Army Surplus, and his neighbor Bailey (“a former military sharpshooter”) to pen the following:

The king of all earthquakes topples the high-rises of Las Vegas Boulevard. A 2-billion-volt electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strike has zapped computers and cell towers. Some other black swan event has pulverized the city’s power grid. In any such cataclysm, a woman implored to Mike Monko, fallout shelters below certain Strip hotels would protect their rank and file.

They would be taken care of, she continued, in a subterranean world of 40,000-square-foot domiciles with massive food supplies fit for 20,000 people. In his Zombie Apocalypse Store, Monko struggled to keep his eyes from rolling. “She was arguing with me,” he said. “She insisted that they exist. I said, ‘God bless you, ma’am. Would you like some more water?’ Here, you hear it all, like, the Sunrise Mountains are hollow and people are living under them.”

They are survivalists, preppers or doomsday preppers, or any of various mutations. Some staunchly pigeonhole themselves; others dismiss definitions. Those who drive only older vehicles- whose pre-solid-state-electronics engines are immune to an EMP strike- belong in a distinct category of preparedness.

Such tales come with Monko’s territory, where fact, fiction and fear straddle fine lines between protection and paranoia. Hollywood inspired the business, which opened in 2011; sales have cooled over the past year. It’s a starting block to gauge what it means to be a survivalist today in Southern Nevada, amid such uncertainty about tomorrow

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There seemed to be that “preppers/survivalists are kooks” theme permeating the article. But to be fair, Miech is arguing there’s a “fine line between protection and paranoia,” so the use of “fringe” examples is to be expected. That being said, some notable passages from the piece included:

-A glimpse at how many preppers/survivalists there might be out in Las Vegas
-How the prepping/survival industry is doing these days in Southern Nevada
-“Liberal Preppers” on the Vegas scene
-And these bits:

As a group, according to Monko, they do not play well together. They lack communication skills, and when they do gather, their egos always clash. “It’s turmoil,” Monko said. They become even more solitary…

The owner of Lock N Load, which sells weapons and ammunition in the Henderson foothills, declined an interview request. One of her employees, who requested anonymity, recounted how an older woman, nearly teary-eyed and trembling, had recently approached him to buy her first handgun. Her post-Trump trauma was stark; the employee told me he talked her off the ledge. He convinced her not to buy something so dangerous in such a state…

Wow. You can read the article in its entirety over on the Las Vegas Sun website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
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