Multimedia / Fear and Ammo inTexas

29 more in collection FEAR AND AMMO IN TEXAS , 12 more in collection Editor's Picks 25 July 2013 , 10 more in collection Editor's Picks 3 October , 23 more in collection America: Editor's Picks

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An audio and visual slideshow

The Texas Survivalists is a militia group operating in the suburbs of Dallas, a mile from a middle school softball stadium. For them, bad times are coming: economic collapse, overnight inflation, nuclear war, epidemic, invasion and fuel shortages. The Survivalists – maybe a dozen in all, men and women in their early 20s to late 50s such as Trust Harold Rosenbaum, a Vietnam veteran, Ralph Severe, an armed security guard and Patricia, who is recovering from breast cancer – are steps ahead of most. They are combat training, storing food, stockpiling ammo, planning escape routes, packing survival kits, making soap and, most of all, assuring themselves that they don’t need another human alive to survive.

Their preparations can seem extreme to an outsider. They always pack a pistol and a supply of hollow-point rounds to cause maximum injury. They hide homemade knives around their living rooms. (Under the bookshelf is a favorite spot.) They place bug-out bags the size of coffee tables in the hallway, in preparation to run. Their survival kits bulge with dried food, clothes, ammunition and seeds - everything to start a new life. They have ceased living with day-to-day annoyances. They leave dishes dirty in the sink (Why wash when tomorrow's not coming?), let dust settle on the television, and seem oblivious to possessions piled in disarray on bare floors. Regular housework seems pointless when you're preparing to escape a collapsing city at a moment's notice.

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