Target Austin: Two Minutes To Midnight

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In 1960, KTBC released a short film called"Target Austin" narrated by legendary broadcaster Cactus Pryor.

The film imagined a typical day in the middle of the 20th century.  Until it wasn't.

"An air raid warning has been declared in this area.  This means that possibly within 20 minutes the Austin area may be hit by missiles.  There will not be time to evacuate.  Repeat.  There will not be time to evacuate," the city's Civil Defense Director said in the film.

Target Austin depicted how Austin would react to the threat of a nuclear blast.  Some took shelter...others ran.

Target Austin looks like the "Twilight Zone" and it is legitimately frightening.  Even though North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was photographed in 2013 with some sort of a strike map and Austin was on it, aiming for Austin is unlikely.  

But with President Trump and Kim Jong Un constantly at odds, Target SOMEWHERE is a very real possibility.  The "Doomsday Clock" is 2 minutes to midnight.

Gary Lynch sells insurance...so to speak.

"You have auto insurance, you're not planning to have a wreck.  You have health insurance, you're not planning on having a stroke.  I mean it's the same thing," Lynch said.

Nearly 200 miles from Austin, in East Texas, the Rising S Company in Murchison is building safe havens from economic collapse, civil unrest and nuclear fallout.

"Not only is this a bomb shelter this is a place to stay away from everything when all hell breaks loose," Lynch said.             

Speaking of bomb shelters and all hell breaking loose, when other Target Austin characters went into hysterics at the thought of a nuclear strike, Dorothy Klukis was calm.

"She knows they are prepared.  That their home contains a fallout shelter designed specifically for this emergency," Pryor narrated.

"They were trying to demonstrate how to get into one, how to make one and 'Please go in your backyard and do one,'" said Austin actress Coleen Hardin.

Hardin portrayed Dorothy all those years ago.  She's 95 years old today.

"I was telling my son about this and he said 'you do remember that we kept having these drills to have to get under our desks?'  They would pull the shade or do something, make a lot of noise and all of the kids had to get under their desks...he said as if that was going to keep you from an atomic bomb," Hardin laughed.

Hardin says the fallout shelter her fictional family went down into was in Zilker Park.  The shelter is still there...a relic of the past behind the caretakers cottage which is now the park rangers' station.

According to an old Statesman article you could build one of the concrete rooms for under $2,000.  A little bit more expensive to build one these days.

At first glance a modern day bomb shelter looks fairly similar to the one Dorothy Klukis and her family used back in the '60s with a few upgrades:  comfortable bedding fit for a family of 4.  The ones Rising S builds are made of pure steel.  Living room, television set, working water, stove, shower...even a toilet. 

Also solar power, blast valves and a Nuclear Biological Chemical Filtration System.

Lynch says his shelters start at $40,000.  Depending on what customers want, the price tag can get into the millions.

"I've put swimming pools underground, greenhouses underground, horse stables underground, built shelters with a bowling alley, shooting ranges," Lynch said.

And when tension between North Korea and the U.S. plays out on the evening news, the phones at Rising S start ringing.

So how likely is a nuclear strike on American soil?

Dr. Alan Kuperman is founding coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

The group works to make sure peaceful uses for nuclear technology don't end up putting nuclear weapons in the hands of the bad guys.

Dr. Kuperman says North Korea has missiles that could reach the U.S., warheads that could do serious damage and they're probably working on re-entry.

"Most experts believe that within a year or two they'll have the full package," Kuperman said.
 Kuperman says President Trump should be toning down the rhetoric with Kim Jong Un.

"If they think we are going to hit them first they are much more likely to hit us either in retaliation or out of panic that they're about to lose their arsenal so it's 'use it or lose it' they might as well shoot at us," Kuperman said.

If a strike happens and you don't have a state of the art shelter, the Department of Homeland Security's

"Ready" website says to remove contaminated clothing and try get into a basement or the center of the nearest building.
 

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