Due to growing fears of violence that could break out after the presidential election, a chain of survival communities will activate and open to members for the first time on Election Day, Reuters reported.
What are the details?
Fortitude Ranch camps in West Virginia and Colorado will open Nov. 3 to protect members, the outlet noted, citing the company's October newsletter. In addition, Fortitude Ranch expects possible "looting and violence" that could turn into clashes that spread far and wide and last a long time — and that's whether Republican President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the election, Reuters added.
"This will be the first time we have opened for a collapse disaster, though it may end up not being so," Fortitude Ranch CEO Drew Miller told the outlet in emailed statement. "We consider the risk of violence that could escalate in irrational, unpredictable ways into widespread loss of law and order is real."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
More from Reuters:
Fortitude Ranch set up its first camp in West Virginia in 2015 and has two more in Colorado. For an annual fee of around $1,000, members can vacation at camps in good times, and use them as a refuge in the event of a societal collapse. Members are required to own either a rifle or shotgun to defend the communities. The company does not disclose membership numbers.
U.S. security officials have warned that violent domestic extremists pose a threat to the presidential election, citing rising political tensions, civil unrest and foreign disinformation campaigns. FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memos said threats by domestic extremists to election-related targets will likely increase in the run-up to the election.
The outlet added that anxiety over a disputed or undecided presidential election has spiked interest in the "prepper" movement, whose adherents make sure life's necessities and adequate protection are at the ready should such things we count on daily disappear in the event a natural disaster or other catastrophes occur.
Here's a look at Fortitude Ranch in Colorado when it was taking shape last year:
A doomsday 'prepper' is bringing his sanctuary ranch to Colorado youtu.be
'These are people who are smartly concerned, who want some insurance'
Fortitude Ranch was profiled in a National Public Radio story in February, as was Miller — a Harvard Ph.D. and former military intelligence officer with 30 years of experience.
And he knows all about the prepper stereotypes — many of which he said stem from television shows such as the National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers — and rejects them, NPR said.
"These are people who are smartly concerned, who want some insurance so that if the electric system goes down, a pandemic occurs, you know, they can survive," he told the outlet.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
In addition, he told NPR that Fortitude Ranch markets to the middle class, given what the outlet called its "spartan" amenities. But on the other hand, NPR also couldn't help but notice the "secluded, wild, and scenic places" where the Fortitude Ranch communities are located.
And then there are more practical considerations, the outlet noted:
If the structures of society crumble, Miller envisions each Fortitude Ranch location as a protected community of about 50 people, up to a maximum of 500. Initially, there will be supplies and food on-site to last a full year. However, once members fall into a routine of gardening, hunting and fishing in the adjacent national forest, Miller said, it should be sustainable in the long term.
Fortitude Ranch currently has about 150 paying members nationwide. Growth in the prepper industry is slow, Miller said, but all it takes is one big scare for his open membership spots to sell out.
As worries spread about coronavirus, plus the recent announcement that the Doomsday Clock has ticked closer than it ever has to midnight, Miller may yet find that there are even business opportunities in the apocalypse.
"I don't have to ask my members for permission to do things," he told NPR. "[My staff and I] set the rules, run the show, and we've got the expertise to make sure that we can survive the worst disaster."