Navy Times reported last week people such as Gunnery Sgt. David Williams of Gulfport, Miss., who are part of the preppers movement -- people who say they intend to be prepared for whatever calamities befall us -- don't care if you think they're crazy. They just take comfort in their stockpiles of food, water, weapons and other vital supplies.
"A lot of the guys in my unit think I'm crazy. I'll push the zombie apocalypse and the whole 2012 end-of-the-world business. I don't really believe any of that crap, but it makes it fun," Williams, a member of a Navy Seabee construction unit who has served in Afghanistan, told the newspaper. "When you're planning for the zombie apocalypse, you're still planning.
"Survival really is a community effort. If you're just one dude or one family living in a bunker, what are you living for? What's the point? What are [you] trying to stick around for? You might as well go out with everybody else because there isn't going to be anything when you climb out of your hole."
Williams -- who has served as an instructor at the Marine Corps' Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., and has been a survival, evasion, resistance and escape instructor -- has written the Survivology 101 blog for the past three years.
"If we all die together, we all die together," Williams said. "But if we make it through, we become a strong community and we rebuild. It may not be the diehard survival mentality, but there has to be something to live for, too. You have to have something more than yourself; otherwise, you're a sociopath and probably don't need to be living anyway."
Navy Times says survivalists seeking beefed-up abodes were a boom niche in the depressed housing market of recent years.
"We've been doubling our business every year since 2008," Walton McCarthy, president of Radius Engineering International in Dallas, said. "We've gone from $2 million in 2008 to $36 million this year."
Options available to preppers, the newspaper says, range from tens of thousands of dollars to the million-dollar level such as:
-- Safe rooms that can withstand a hurricane or tornado.
-- Backyard underground bunkers that can withstand bombs, chemical or biological threats or an electromagnetic pulse blackout built underground with an air and water filtration system and room for at least a few months' worth of supplies.
-- Backcountry retreats that include modular housing systems that can be buried in a weekend with internal generators and water and air filters.
-- U.S. military missile sites and communications bunkers left over from the Cold War.
-- Survival staterooms and luxury condos in underground communities.