Doomsday Preppers: Barry Knowles

This segment was kind of weird, because they had me thinking that here was another prepper (like Jeremy from a couple weeks back) who had the insight to not reveal his last name or location. For about ¾ of this segment he’s just referred to as Barry (and his girlfriend is named Pink?). Then, in the last few minutes they drop his last name and he talks about his location (near Puget Sound). So, so much for ‘operational security’.
After seven years in the military and reportedly losing his savings in the whole 2008 financial hoo-hah, he decides he needs a survival pod underneath his garage (which leads me to wonder how he financed the damn thing). So he clandestinely digs one. By hand, he claims. It turns out that the resulting “urban foxhole” is a 512-cubic foot (that’s 8x8x8, somehow) concrete sphere, reached by climbing down a ladder, hidden under a Hatch.
And why would he think this is necessary? Because “the world has never been more dangerous”, his “most likely catastrophe is a social/economic collapse that comes from an EMP device going off”—ooh, he’s getting creative and mixing up his buzzwords! He claims his pod will enable him to “survive almost any kind of disaster” by supporting five people for two months.
For some family bonding time, he decides to spend the night in the pod with two of his sons (aged 11 and 29), while Pink acts as lookout, guarding the house. Here’s one of many problems with the pod. He claims that it’s cleverly concealed under his garage. Well, maybe before they headed down, when the Hatch was under some cardboard boxes. But it’s not as if those boxes can be rearranged over the Hatch from the inside (I’m thinking of a scene in Schindler’s List where Jews hiding under the floorboards pull a rug back over the trapdoor with a string from the inside). Maybe the girlfriend re-covers the Hatch once they’re down there this time, but what if the whole family has to shelter-in-place down there? If you’re worried about the usual marauding gangs mucking about in your house looking for food and supplies, a big silver door in the garage floor is a dead giveaway (not to mention the GI Joe-scale model of the pod on display in the living room). Basically, I have about a thousand issues with the whole ‘button up, hunker down’ model of survival, and this guy is no exception.
Anyway, while they’re camped out in the bunker, they play cards and eat supper. And what do they eat? Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs (sealed up as they are, it’s probably a good thing they’re not eating beans!).  Revealing his civilized prejudices, Barry quips that they could be outside, eating bugs! Like those unfortunate, primitive Third World-ers, or something!

So, they only spend a few hours overnight. The kid says he thinks he’d go crazy long before 60 days was up; I probably would too, staring at bare concrete walls. And after 60 days, what then? Thankfully, Barry’s survival plan has a Stage 2. Which involves hiking 15 miles at night to their hopefully-still-seaworthy sailboat, and finding an uninhabited island in Puget Sound. Because, y’know, he thinks they’ll “stand a better chance of surviving at sea than…on land.”  Sure, maybe if you’re planning on channeling the Kwakiutl or Tlingit and becoming whale-hunters. But, really? Uninhabited islands? Are they really going to ‘rough it’ out there? I don’t see it happening.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jeffrey richards on 30 November, 2012 at 05:49

    Did you ever stop to think. He didn’t build the bunker and he’s just trying to market and sell them?

    It looked too good to be true for me. The door is like thosd used in submarines. And I’m sure the air pump had a filter on it.

    If the pump didn’t have a carbon monoxide filter. Then a simple charcoal grill in the garage would kill them all in a day or less.

    If you ask me. The pod underground is a huge waste of money and resources. And really.. why didn’t they dig 3 feet further down and make a small septic system under the pod. Ididots!


    • Hi Jeffrey, Yeah, I’m unsure who actually built the pod–he claims he dug it out himself, but I don’t know; his website is definitely geared towards finding more people to advertise the pod. And as I discussed, I have big issues with buttoning up and hunkering down for more than a few days.


  2. Posted by Paul on 29 January, 2013 at 19:28

    So heres a few of my thoughts on this. I myself have had to have my concrete foundation leveled, concrete piers were pushed with hydraulic jacks into the ground raising the house up making the foundation level, prior to this being done on a entire wall the workers tunneled under to a interior wall, the piers support the house, once leveled, the dirt was back filled. The company that did this had photos of a house that was raised 10 feet in this manner due to being in a area that floods often. My thinking is with this type of support, a bunker could be built under the entire house much like a basement, here in Houston Texas we dont have basements, the entrance could be hidden any where in the house


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