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Fears Of Government Takeover, Chaos, Draw Clients To Lake Elsinore Retailer

Protective Bunkers Survival Center has been open for nearly a year at 279 San Jacinto River Road in Lake Elsinore, and current events keep customers coming in the door, the owners say.

Dave "Rocky" Roknian fits his semi-automatic Desert Eagle into a holster at Protective Bunkers Survival Center in Lake Elsinore.  Photo/Toni McAllister
Dave "Rocky" Roknian fits his semi-automatic Desert Eagle into a holster at Protective Bunkers Survival Center in Lake Elsinore. Photo/Toni McAllister

About 70 percent of customers who visit Protective Bunkers Survival Center in Lake Elsinore believe the U.S. government is arming up against its citizens, according to Josh Jackling, who, along with his wife, Rachel, own the retail store located just off the 15 Freeway.

The Jacklings say they want to educate and prepare U.S. citizens in the event that scenario should actually happen.

But it’s not just armed takeover the Jacklings say people are worried about. Approximately 20 percent of the store’s customers believe another terrorist attack on U.S. soil is coming, and about 10 percent are primarily concerned about emergency situations like earthquake, fire or massive power outages, Josh said.

Preparedness, the Jacklings say, is key to survival.

“We started looking for a bunker for ourselves after Japan (the 2011 earthquake that left thousands dead). A lot of people are gearing up,” Josh said.

Protective Bunkers Survival Center has been open for nearly a year. Not only does the store stock military-style products like survival kits, hunting tools, camouflage and tactical gear, gas masks, large water containers, and more, Josh also custom builds underground bunkers. Any size, any design.

He talked about one bunker he’s been working on for a customer who insisted on incorporating a dog run. The idea, Josh said, is to make a bunker feel like home even though conditions above ground may be worst-case scenario. 

“You’re already scared. You want it to be comfortable,” he explained. 

Josh said business is picking up at Protective Bunkers Survival Center. The Jacklings have more visibility now due to a billboard on the 15 Freeway, just north of the Diamond Drive exit in Lake Elsinore. The large sign advertises the store to southbound travelers and was installed this month, and this Labor Day weekend the store is having a big sale.

Timing of the sign and sale could be just coincidence, but Josh said he is aware of heightened concern among some about current events. The alleged chemical weapon use in Syria is just one of many tipping points, according to Josh.

Rachel said she became more concerned about self-protection after 9/11. 

“That’s when it really hit me,” she explained.

Dave “Rocky” Roknian made the trek Wednesday afternoon to Protective Bunkers Survival Center from Upland. A holster for his semi-automatic Desert Eagle was on his shopping list. He found what he was looking for at the store, checked its fit with his unloaded weapon, made the purchase, and shared his reasons for needing a semi-automatic.

A computer guy by profession with an outgoing personality, Roknian did not speak of government takeovers. Instead, he talked of his travels to a very remote (and secret) Southland desert location where he and “law enforcement types” practice survival skills.

“It’s camping at the very upper levels,” he said, noting that participants –- sometimes 50 people at a time –- practice living off the land using tools like cross bows, machetes, snares, fishing gear, and other devices. They wear camo, and use ham radios to communicate and keep abreast of weather emergencies. 

As for the Desert Eagle, Roknian said it’s more of a “deterrent,” just in case he needs to defend himself. 

“I’m not panicked,” he said. “I just want to be ready for anything.”

Preparedness became paramount, explained Roknian, during work with NBC in Los Angeles, where every Wednesday in Universal City he and colleagues practiced earthquake drills.

“If food and water becomes scarce, California has millions of people,” Roknian said, “and everyone is going to say, ‘me first.’”

Josh said Protective Bunkers Survival Center does not sell firearms or ammunition. Instead, they market survival tools and educate the public, he explained. For example, on Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the store, the Jacklings will host a discussion on conspiracy theories.

“It will be an open dialogue, where people can talk about these issues,” he continued, while alluding to online chatter about worries of an impending emergency in this country on or about Oct. 1.

“FEMA could takes weeks – if ever – to respond, and once you have martial law," he said, "it all goes out the window."

Roberto August 31, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Joseph, I would more offended of being called a Nobama supporter than the other insults Kristin C. hurled at you. Seems some people can never get their point across no matter how many times they change their monikers...LOL!
LAKE ELSINORE RESIDENT August 31, 2013 at 03:12 PM
I agree with Roberto, change your monikers all you non-entities we still don't care what you have to say ROTFLMAO.
Joseph Morabito August 31, 2013 at 03:22 PM
But LER... you know that everyone in SoCal is hanging on every syllable that you post... and we always breathe a sigh of relief when you inform us that you are rolling on the floor, laughing your a** off. It assures us that all is right in the world. Thank you dear brother for all your kind words of encouragement. Hugs and Kisses.
Chris Hazel August 31, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Great store, great people. Surely most of the readers can recognize a media article written from the media perspective. I'm sure one could go to a Ford dealership and eventually come across someone that's buying a pickup truck to protect them from some calamitous notion.
Tony Pelato August 31, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Great addition to one of the fastest growing cities in the region. I recently bought a trauma kit from them that I carry on duty as a police detective. I was taught to "be prepared" as a young scout and it always made sense to do so. They carry unique survival products that will help during any emergency. My next purchase will be a bug out kit that I could use to better serve those I took an oath to protect.
Larry From Elsinore August 31, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Kristin C, I have only one thing to say to you. As a father of a mentally disabled daughter, you sound to me to be a paranoid schizophrenic and should seek some serious help. Paranoid schizophrenics believe that there are those out to get them and many believe it's their own elected officials. You might want to consider finding a good psychiatrist and requesting a prescription of lithium.
Paulie T August 31, 2013 at 07:43 PM
It never hurts to be prepared. I hope their business continues to grow.
julian August 31, 2013 at 07:52 PM
I'll be proud to go on the record saying that the place is a crazy magnet, btw thanks Patch for a laugh - the pictures are priceless.
Paulie T August 31, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Julian- I'm sure they get their fair share of crazy, hey, so does Walmart!! :) But they do provide some normal preparedness items too.
LAKE ELSINORE RESIDENT August 31, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I stopped by with the wife and kids today, they are getting business thanks to the Patch
Sew Good August 31, 2013 at 11:30 PM
It's funny that people will never believe our beloved leaders would ever do such a thing to its citizens when it has all been done before. You probably think our government never lies to us, either. And you probably believe FEMA is there to save your ass. When disaster strikes and FEMA knocks on your door the first thing they say is "Surrender any weapons you have". It's already been done. They count on you believing what the media reports, and being too busy watching Miley with her foam finger to care.
joetherealist September 01, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Kristin C., calmness is a good thing, you should try it instead of fear sometime. You wanted the Mormon dude, he didn't win, tough luck. Obama is not coming to get you, or your guns, or your children, or anything. Calm down small amygdala folks, the World is not collapsing around you. Sew Good, complete BS comment. Come on, man... PS that guy in the photo should lose a hundy if he's going to be anywhere near effective in survival mode. Or should he....? Live off the fat of the gut, I mean land, for awhile?
julian September 01, 2013 at 01:01 AM
This place will make it easy for the department of homeland security and the nsa or one of the various 16 US spy agencies to gather intelligence about all our local locos. Sheesh. what a joke. This business is an embarrassment and only brings us the wrong type of publicity.
Maryjane Cannabliss September 01, 2013 at 01:11 PM
There is a lot more to survival then strapping on your gun. If we were to be taken over by our government<insert eye roll> physical fitness would also be a tremendous help. Some good advice would be get a gym membership, invest in a good trainer, work on cardio and core and put down your gun for a while.
Roberto September 01, 2013 at 02:11 PM
With a name like Maryjane Cannibis I would have thought you would be to stoned to care or workout for that matter. MOST pothead I know are lazy and don't have any initiative.
LAKE ELSINORE RESIDENT September 01, 2013 at 02:29 PM
This calls for a song: Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone But I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get stoned Well, they'll stone ya when you're walkin' 'long the street They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to keep your seat They'll stone ya when you're walkin' on the floor They'll stone ya when you're walkin' to the door But I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get stoned
Maryjane Cannabliss September 01, 2013 at 02:40 PM
@Roberto. Really!!?!! NBA legend Bill Walton, Michael Phelps, Kareen Abdul-Jabbar are lazy with no initiative? It's 2013 Roberto, us "stoners" love and work hard for our families and our community, workout, care about the environment, eat healthy, and wait for it....... we don't believe in zombies or spend our time building bunkers to hide from the government when they come to get us ; ) Who knew!!?!!
Jayne Jackling September 01, 2013 at 03:02 PM
people who have to attack others for there comments or for their size, race, opinions, or to work on their wiliness to be prepared for anything, needs more help then survival skills... that is why there is so many people hanging on to others shirt tails, not willing to work at anything just wanting ever thing for free, what is wrong with everyone learning to lean on there own know how?,... being educated on how to survive in any kind of disaster is smart not paranoid... the more we know the better off we are... if nothing ever happens then awesome, but if it does and you don't know how to take care of your family, there is no do overs, then what? come on people if you don't believe in being prepared then skip the article don't put your put downs in the comments... I for one is glad the store is there and that they care enough to teach others the skills they mayor may not need someday..
Jayne Jackling September 01, 2013 at 03:03 PM
may or may not**
Roberto September 01, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Again Maryjane, I said MOST potheads. There are exceptions to every rule and we are not all affected the same way by DRUGS like maryjane. Of course when I was young so I never inhaled and don't know what I'm talking about. Paranoia? I know more paranoid potheads that straight people. Just because Pot isn't as harmful as lets say cocaine, it doesn't mean it's not a DRUG. And with Hash oil hitting the market? oh my! lol!
Rachel Jackling September 01, 2013 at 05:26 PM
What is even more sad is to see how divided we all are. I would like to think in the event of a natural disaster (yes, they do and will continue to happen; wildfires, earthquakes, etc.) we would all be able to work together. The man you are all bagging on with the Desert Eagle? He is actually a bad ass, highly trained, highly educated and is the type of person who would help someone in need. However, would help those of you who are bagging on him? Doubt it... Also, he was kind enough to take the time to talk to the reporter and be photographed when asked and shared his story. We can only hope we will never be faced with an emergency or survival situation, but if we are, I know my family won't go hungry. Education is the key to survival...and no..I don't believe in zombies.. good grief. Try being constructive rather than hurtful. Who knows... you might need help from one of us "crazy people" one of these days. As far as being bad for our city? We brought jobs and money to The City of Lake Elsinore. We educate the public FOR FREE and have met some AMAZING people. We promote preparedness and self-sufficiency, not craziness. Living on a fault line, you would be crazy NOT to at least be prepared with food and water. Rather than judging, come in and check out our store. We give free advice on many topics, discounts to military (active and former), law enforcement, etc. Our classes include: map reading and land navigation, aquaponics, growing your own organic foods, canning,first aid and trauma classes, self-defense, fire starting and more. Thank you to those of you who made some positive comments. We truly appreciate your business and support.
Rocky September 01, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Wow, scary headline! I was just there to check out what kind of camping and survival gear they had, and they had a lot of very unique items there, like 250 gallon water drums and wind up powered weather radios and other very specialized equipment. Seeing my pic reminds me to hit the gym more! Yikes! lol.... I would like to thank Toni for writing this article to bring to light the need for us to be prepared here in So Cal...we have excellent emergency services, but there are times when ordinary citizens will be needed to help each other out in disaster situations. When I worked at NBC, I joined their Earthquake Preparedness classes (offered FREE to the community). I learned how NOT ready most of us are (especially me, and I camp quite a bit). Things to think about after a major HUGE earthquake,, do you go HOME if at work(we all work far from hom in So Calif it seems). The drills taught me how to safely triage people and save as many as possible during tough situations. I was there to get a holster for my pistol that day as well as a medkit and some other misc items. Everyone I met at the store were kind friendly people. I highly recommend stopping by and taking a look for yourself at the store. Take care! -Rocky
Danielle Robinson-Rice September 01, 2013 at 08:24 PM
@ ROCKY..... u r an amazing person I PERSONALLY know the JACKLINGS... if they dont have it in their store THEY WILL FIND IT and GET IT for u... THATS CUSTOMER SERVICE.. I find myself not being as prepared as needed and seeing the article has made me realize that i should get on track... THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE and demonstrating your skills .. I KNOW they appreciate having customers like u... LOVE THIS STORE AND THE OWNERS Rachel and Josh u ROCK!!!!! THANKS FOR YOUR EDUCATION...
Rachel Jackling September 01, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Rocky you are the man!
LAKE ELSINORE RESIDENT September 02, 2013 at 10:14 AM
My apologies go out to the Jackling family and Rocky you were being bagged on by the non-entities with all kinds of aka's which comments mean nothing. You have a great store and I will continue shopping in your store along with all the people who are prepping for the big one, their next outdoor adventure, camping supplies the list goes on.
Ward McCreery September 04, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Go hide in a hole so we don't have to hear your stupidity!
robin September 04, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Any zombie gear??? ha ha j/k!!!
John Smith September 05, 2013 at 07:11 AM
One word ... WACO .... if the Government wants to get you they will.
Grace September 05, 2013 at 09:34 AM
There is nothing wrong with being prepared for disasters. We have been told to have 72 hours worth of food, water, and Mormons are told to have 1 year's worth of supplies in case of hard times or disasters. Now building a bunker in an active earthquake zone makes about as much sense as trying to run across the I-15 at 5 pm, but hey, there are people who are paranoid, others have some common sense, others are just wacko and this store fulfills a need for all of them. And don't these people realize that IF the government wanted to take over (which is about as likely as a meteor destroying the earth within the next week) a few assault weapons or semi-automatics cannot compete with tanks, planes, nukes or drones. Think about it people before you spend a lot of money to "protect" yourselves....
joetherealist September 05, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Grace hit he nail right on the head, my sentiments exactly. And folks, the ghbmint is only coming to get youin Fox News lala land. Let's keep calm, eh. Sounds like a cool store.

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