BY GORDON DICKSON
MURCHISON, Texas – Inside his football field-size warehouse an hour’s drive southeast of Dallas, Gary Lynch is busy trying to keep up with orders for his solid-steel bomb shelters.
He offers visitors a tour of a 600-square-foot model under construction for a Saudi customer.
Right now, it’s just a steel shell, he said, but when the work is done it will be a luxurious underground bunker with a master bedroom, four bunk beds, a composting toilet, a living room with satellite television capability, filtered air and water, and a storage closet with room for months of food.
Lynch explains that orders for his most expensive shelters, which can cost as much as several million dollars, have increased since the November election.
“It definitely has picked up a little as Donald Trump emerged as president,” said Lynch, general manager of Rising S Co. on the outskirts of the rural city of Murchison. Lynch said some customers even half-jokingly say they’re trying to protect themselves from a “Trumpocalypse” or “Trumpnado.”
“There’s some people who maybe even voted for Donald Trump and may be worried some of the riots are going to get out of hand and there’s going to be social or civil unrest,” he said.
“Then you’ve got people who didn’t vote for him and are thinking that now that he’s president maybe he’s going to start a war. There’s definitely been some renewed interest from people since the election.”
Doomsday prepping — the act of stockpiling food and other essentials in a reinforced, often-underground shelter — used to be mostly associated with Libertarian-leaning Americans who feared their own government would turn on them.
But now that Trump has taken office, some centrists and left-leaning folks also are building bomb shelters under their homes and businesses, apparently fearing either civil strife or war with an external enemy.
Sales of Rising S’s most luxurious shelters have jumped 700 percent in recent months, he said. Lynch didn’t provide specific data on how many units he typically sells, but he said Rising S Co. recorded about $14 million in sales during the past year.
Although Lynch credits Trump’s surprising rise to power for the latest sales spike, he said a similar jump in sales occurred eight years ago when President Obama took office.
He has been building shelters for 13 years.
“When a Republican is president, the left wants to buy a bunker,” he said. “It’s the opposite when a Democrat is president.”
The phrase “#Trumpocalypse” has taken on a life of its own on social media such as Twitter.
And a quick search online shows many other examples of people taking advantage of Trump’s knack for controversy to sell their fare.
For example, in Pearsall, south of San Antonio, a Craigslist seller named Dan was offering used buses for $3,000 to $5,000, and explaining on his advertisement that “They make good Trump Bunkers and Bomb Shelters.”
“You Know Who’s Finger will be on the Button,” the ad continues. “Make America Great Again. Buy a Bus. All are welcome. Pro Donald. Pro Hilary. (sic) Can we all be friends again?”