And like anyone dealing with sensitive matters of life and death, they witnessed their share of distress. When Hurricane Andrew hit, recalls the doctor, he rounded up a few of his late-term pregnant women in a single hospital room and waited out the storm with them. Through a shaking window, he watched a concrete bus bench topple over, then blow away.

Almost a decade later, on the morning of September 11, 2001, the doctor was delivering a baby by cesarean section at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines as the World Trade Center towers collapsed. The baby was fine, but due to an error by a shell-shocked nurse who had heard of the attacks, the doctor says, a sponge was left inside the patient. The mother brought a malpractice suit against the doctor and the hospital, which ended in a large settlement. The doctor, who retains his medical license in good stead, retired from his practice a few years later and has since become a prominent teacher in the prepping world. Dr. Bones operates mostly on pigs' feet these days, but if he and Amy are right about the way the world is going, this work could be just as important.

Approaching their home in Weston, I stop at the entrance to a lush, gated community and hand my driver's license to the unarmed guard. A fountain trickles in front of the gatehouse. I drive around a large cul-de-sac to a house with a giant portico and entryway. Amy answers the door.

She carries herself with the abundant tenderness of her nurse's trade and looks younger than her age of 46.

"Beautiful neighborhood," I say.

"Yeah. Except we don't know any of our neighbors."

Nurse Amy sounds a little sad about this typical suburban malaise, but her isolation is also intentional. She and her husband have stockpiled a year of food in the garage and maintain an experimental "survival garden" with edible food, curative herbs, and a tilapia pond. They also have enough medical supplies and knowledge to perform virtually any procedure on the fly. Like other preppers, they say they're worried that if their identities and location got out, they would be the target of aggressive zombies in a collapse. They publish under the pen names of Joseph and Amy Alton.

Their latest book, The Doom and Bloom Guide to Survival Medicine, contains 400 pages of comprehensive medical advice on everything from burn treatment to insulin shock, anticipating a world without doctors or functioning hospitals. The book contains a hefty disclaimer about how it's illegal to be one's own doctor but also imagines a world where that's the only option.

Their life now is calm and domestic, filled with old knowledge. Amy leads me out into the garden. Under the expansive screened-in pool area, a pepper vine climbs to the ceiling, and a pump vibrates in an ornate stucco pond that's filled with (edible) tilapia. Tomato plants compete for sunlight nearby. Most things in the garden are edible, explains Amy, but they wouldn't sustain the couple for long in a true collapse. This garden is mostly for experimentation and instruction through their YouTube videos.

We sit at the table on the patio where the couple host their weekly Doom and Bloom Survival Hour internet radio show on blogtalkradio.com, talking to call-in guests and sharing tips for gardening, medicine, and general self-sufficiency. Dr. Bones tells me that their library is filled with 19th-century medical books, from a time when people often had to take care of medical emergencies themselves.

"These things should just be normal," Amy says. "People who don't prep — I hope they're the unusual ones."

The couple seem very normal, right down to their little marital idiosyncrasies. They are affectionately competitive, and often cut off each others' sentences. But do they really, truly believe that the world as we know it is coming to an end?

"No," says Amy. But, she adds, "a slow economic collapse is what you're seeing now."

"The likelihood of any particular disaster is very small," the doctor interrupts, "but what's the likelihood that none of them will happen in your lifetime?"

He pauses. "Our dream is to die at age 100 with our grandchildren whispering in our ears, 'Hey Gramps, what the heck are we going to do with all these supplies?' "


When the shit hits the fan, not much will happen, because there will be no electricity to power the fan. So the filthy fan will just sit there in the rising heat, along with the rest of our old conveniences, rendered useless in a future that most of us have failed to properly imagine.

It might begin with something small and nonviolent: For example, the value of the dollar starts to tumble steadily. You go to the bank to get some cash, so you can convert what savings you have into material investments. When you get to the bank, you see a long line of cars at the drive-through. On the radio, you listen to news of impending war with a Middle Eastern state backed by China, an expanding global competitor in arms and trade. Oil transport routes have been closed off in the conflict. A few of the waiting customers have turned off their ignitions to save gas and must fire up the engine to advance a space in line.

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8 comments
KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Homeland Security  just placed an order for 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammo, for domestic distribution to various and sundry law enforcement agencies. War baby. WTF?

AnotherSoFloPrepper
AnotherSoFloPrepper

Allegedly, they need it for practice.  However, it may that a lot of us will be getting two to the chest and one to the head. 

Chris J Petrovich
Chris J Petrovich

We welcome one and all to join us on our  southfloridapreppers meetup group or find me on my facebook and linkedin pages  or  on  survivalistnow    To clarify, it wasn't Zulu Rebels, it was IFP Zulu Nationalists demostrating against Mandela's ruling ANC Party, and it wasn't a slit throat, it was a burning tire on the poor guy's head. They also omitted my best experiences from Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda watching the bodies wash up on shore from Rwanda.....while America's President in 1994 ignored it, because it was an election year. 1 million people in 100 days. Also, I am a plain Non-Hyphenated American........

Chris J Petrovich
Chris J Petrovich

We welcome one and all to join us.   To clarify, it wasn't Zulu Rebels, it was IFP Zulu Nationalists demonstrating against Mandela's ruling ANC Party, and it wasn't a slit throat, it was a burning tire on the poor guy's head. They also omitted my best experiences from Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda watching the bodies wash up on shore from Rwanda.....while the US President in 1994 actively suppresed coverage , because it was an election year. 1 million people in 100 days. Also, I am a plain Non-Hyphenated American........

Chris J Petrovich
Chris J Petrovich

We welcome one and all to join us on our  southfloridapreppers meetup group or find me on my facebook and linkedin pages  or  on  survivalistnow   To clarify, it wasn't Zulu Rebels, it was IFP Zulu Nationalists demostrating against Mandela's ruling ANC Party, and it wasn't a slit throat, it was a burning tire on the poor guy's head. They also omitted my best experiences from Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda watching the bodies wash up on shore from Rwanda.....while America's first Black President Bill Clinton ignored it, because it was an election year. 1 million people in 100 days.Also, I am a plain Non-Hyphenated American........

FQS9000
FQS9000

The alternative to these guys are the Democraps who think that you can spend money you don't have forever.  Neither one is likely to be correct.

Steven g.
Steven g.

Not gonna defend the prepped , we saw civil collapse in he wake of hurricane Katrina... Just 1 example of a million that could happen... Question is when. For our families sake , we cannot pretend that everything is in crystal clear color... When over all we only control ourselves and not our external world and the forces that work within it. I don't think having a backup plans a bad idea.

 
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