Government Shutdown Heightens Survivalists' Fears

Is this really the apocalypse now? Why the "Doomsday Preppers" believe the end is nigh.
6:52 | 10/17/13

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Transcript for Government Shutdown Heightens Survivalists' Fears
They are called the doomsday preppers. And they say the whole mess in washington is but one sign of impending disaster. And these guys are not taking any chances. Here is abc's david wright. Reporter: What if the end came not with a bang, or boom, or the blast of a trumpet, the seventh trumpet of revelations that is, heralding the final row of the apocalypse -- no, what if the end were self-inflicted. What if all it took was a barackdown of the political system we all take for granted. To trigger the ultimate collapse of civil society. Collapse significant to cause a run on the banks and gas pumps and grocery store shelves. That's a doomsday scenario, the lens through which doomsday preppers view what is going on in washington this week. The economy, by far, number one. 80% to 90% of the people I deal with concerned about where the country is heading economically, their future jobs. Scott hunt runs doomsday academy of sorts in south carolina training people to be self-sufficient in the end of the days. His company. Practical prepper, a one stop shop for survival. The last few weeks business has been booming. We have seen an uptick in e-mail. Phone calls, a lot of contact through social media. Through help. Whether it is teachingment equipment, installations, information. Hunt is also a consultant for the "national geographic" channel, doomsday preppers. And his customers are deeply concerned. It's unsettling when the government doesn't function. The government is there to serve and protect its people. There is an uneasiness. From people of all walks of life. He says one of the big things his customers fear is anarchy. To them it doesn't matter if anarchy is brought on by natural or man made disaster. It doesn't matter whether it is encouraged by left wing activists angry at corporations or right-wing activists angry at big government. Either way the result they see is the same. And the future they see, it is every man and every woman for themselves. I'm preparing for an economic collapse. Reporter: Curt is one of the stars of the doomsday preppers. The government has been infiltr infiltrated. Infiltrated by corporations. Banks, financial institutions, labor union. A lot of special interests. Reporter: What scares him the most is the crushing burd en u.S. Debt. Yes, the deficit means doomsday to some people. When our $16 trillion becomes due, we will be in big trouble. And the government will be shuttle down basically. Reporter: He played out the movie in his head. To him it looks an awful lot like "mad max." Or the road post apocalyptic. I have nothing else. I ftry to dream the dreams of a child's imaginings. All the things we take for granted every single day could possibly be gone. Gas for your car to get anywhere. Electricity could become an issue. Food will not be at your gresh gresh -- grocery store. It could get desperate and nasty. They don't look like survivalists. She is a stay at home mom. He is a ten tis nis instructor. They spent $800 each and three-day weekend learning how to escape if you're handcuffed in the trunk of a car and other survival lessons. I'm not worried. I just want to be prepared. It is on the rumble, most people are anxious. Most people can feel it. Who knows what it is going to be or where it is going to be. I would look to be prepared. Reporter: Prepared for even the most extreme crisis. I worry about my girls and myself. And, if something were to happen to him. I want to take care of myself just as easily. Reporter: Their survival instructor, kevin reeve who used to market software for apple. Says increasing the people we trains are middle-class folks like the hites. Getting a lot more, normal, every day, american civilian citizens, who are saying, you know what, things are not going really good. Put one on each toe. Reporter: These folks are not crazy. In fact you could argue that concern about the future of humanity is part of what makes us human. Over the centuries the collective response to those concerns have biven rgiven rise to great religions. Faith of an sort may be ultimate manifestation, a bull work against humanity's extinction, offering reassurance that in the grand scheme will will come out okay. In the modern era, technology has given us new things to fear. And new idea how to survive. Duck and cover under the table. Babyboomers grew up with it. Duck and cover. That's a boy. Surprise sowing many should turn to it now. They fall into two camps. There are the preppers, time rallston, stockpiling for the inevitable. Oh, my god. Quite a man cave. Taken over the two car garage in scottsdale and turned into a staging area. Crammed with canned food, and walter purification system. Not bad? Not bad. Sugary. Reporter: Weapons. Lots of weapons and ammo. He is planning to bury his cash in a container deep in the the desert. And he is training his sons to defend it. At the other extreme there are folks who take a less aggressive approach. Not the preppers but the wilderness survivalists, tom brown who runs a school where he trains people to live off the land. They see the preppers as potential victims of their own preparation. Looking at that approach to surviv survival, you are -- in prison. You are in prison by your structure. You are in prison by your supplies. You are, ammunition, your guns. Everything involved. In fact there are maps you can get off the internet that tell you where the bunkers are. I don't want to be in one, it's a supermarket. Reporter: As of tonight both the preppers and survivalists can breathe a bit easier. The fact that in washington, doomsday didn't come this time. Doesn't convince them they were wrong tomb fe fighter. As they see it they now have a bit more time to get ready. David wright, "nightline," los

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