ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – As the rhetoric ramps up over North Korea and nuclear weapons, the cash registers have been ringing at a local Army Supply store, where some are apparently prepping for a third World War.

Ben Orr, the manager of Joe’s Army Navy in Royal Oak, says he’s been selling a lot of “prepper items” over the past week or so.

“We’ve been very busy. Unusually busy, I’d say,” Orr told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “It’s definitely an increase, just in selling all the normal prepper stuff, end of the world stuff. A lot of water prep stuff, food, MREs — the military meals.”

And there’s been a substantial increase in the sale of a particular item they don’t sell much of — a so-called radiation antidote called potassium iodide.

Ben Orr shows off a package of potassium iodide. (Credit: Sandra McNeill/WWJ Newsradio 95)

“It actually stops your thyroid from absorbing any radiation. So, it fills your thyroid with iodine, which it normally does anyways,” said Orr. “Your body can’t tell the difference between bad, radioactive iodine and acceptable iodine, so it actually will stop you from getting thyroid cancer.”

The antidote is usually hard to find, but Orr’s store carries two brands.

“It’s supposed to work. It’s FDA approved. But they also recommend you don’t take it unless the government says to take it,” he said. “Unless people are scared of something, we don’t really ever sell it.”

Another popular request: gas masks. But most people looking for those will be out of luck.

“Gas masks are a big thing too, but we only sell them as novelty,” said Orr. “A lot of them are out of date and we don’t guarantee them to work.”

Orr said most people come in and make their purchases without giving any explanation, but a few people have mentioned North Korea.

“Some woman came in earlier and said she had to get it because of little Kim (Jong-un),” he said. “I don’t know if she was making a joke or just got it mixed up.”

Earlier this week, North Korea announced a detailed plan to launch a volley of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. The announcement warned the North is preparing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 U.S. military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000. It said the plan could be finalized within a week or so and would then go to leader Kim Jong Un for approval. It would be up to Kim whether the move is actually carried out. It said the missiles would hit waters 19 to 25 miles away from the island.

It’s unclear whether North Korea would risk firing missiles so close to U.S. territory, which could provoke countermeasures and further escalation. North Korea frequently uses extremely bellicose rhetoric with warnings of military action to keep its adversaries on their heels. It generally couches its threats with language stating it will not attack the United States unless it has been attacked first or has determined an attack is imminent. But the statement raised worries amid a barrage of threats from both sides.

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” if North Korea acts “unwisely,” escalating an exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations. As it is, the U.S. has a robust military presence in the region, including six B-1 bombers in Guam and Air Force fighter jet units in South Korea, plus other assets across the Pacific Ocean and in the skies above. U.S. military options range from nothing to a full-on conventional assault by air, sea and ground forces. Any order by the president could be executed quickly.

Orr says it’s not a bad idea to be prepared for an emergency, but he’s not sure we need to get ready for the end of the world just yet.

“I have a little bit of stuff at home. I don’t really prepare much for the radioactive scenario because it’s probably not much to prepare for on that front,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have some food and water tucked away by any means.”

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments (28)
  1. Please go to the CDC website and educate yourself.

    “Adults older than 40 years should not take KI (potassium iodide) unless public health or emergency management officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected.”

    1. Jim Davidson says:

      Same CDC that prevents people from bring Cipro into the country out of fear that anthrax might develop a tolerance to the drug. Same rich, deep state entitled folk fearing that their medicine won’t enable them to survive an anthrax attack.

  2. Ron Reynolds says:

    LMAO…KI is not magic and not something you can just take a few like aspirin and have it perform its job. Like John Dennis said above, educate yourself and don’t be ignorant.

  3. North Korea nukes are Clinton’s legacy. Iran nukes will be Obama’s. Thank your local liberal for this mess.

    The Liberal elite do nothing but bleed the middle class dry. My tax rate is 40% and my healthcare is now $700 per month thanks to Obamacare. My car insurance is still just $25/month (thanks to Insurance-Panda), but if you look at Democrat strongholds like Detroit and New Orleans, where car insurance will run you $300+ per month, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the future of the United Socialist States of America.

    It’s been a long time since we had a President who cared about us. Save our country, President Trump! God bless America!

  4. Yup, because it’s in the strategic interests of our enemies to…destroy Detroit. 🙄

    1. Well we still have huge amounts of auto manufacturing and vital infrastructure in Metro Detroit.

  5. Last time I was in Detroit it looked like it had already been it.

  6. Check with your pharmacist, there may be drug interactions with KI and heroine.

  7. If we are super lucky all of the liberals will take “antidotes” offered by snake oil salesmen and die.

    That should make things run much smoother in congress.

  8. The ability for the media to still get the stupid to run around in circles is astonishing.

    I suppose all this technology we have at our fingertips is not being used by many to actually educate themselves.

    We have been preparing for defense of attack by many, many nuclear missiles from Russia/Soviet union, China and more recently the wacko religious freaks in Iran for a very long time.

    You should be prepared for many days of hunkering down where you are at all times. When you travel by automobile, you should have emergency supplies on board…heck, if not just for the possibility of running off the road and having to survive for several days while people look for you.

    If a proper slightly above ground level detonation of a nuclear weapon happens near you, a gas mask and some iodine are not going to guaranty anything. The best thing you can have is duck/duct tape and plastic to seal your home from the inside, but even then you have to breathe so you cant hermetically seal it. All out war is horrendous and in life, is unavoidable for many people. There may come a time when it is us, right here, but death by nuclear blast or death at the end of a rifle ends the same. Stop freaking people out media!

    We have formidable anti missile defenses. We have been preparing for this for a long time as a military. We did however just suffer 8 years of a president that could not care less about America’s defense and did everything he could to degrade our defenses, but were are in as good a shape as any nation on this issue today. Obama didn’t succeed in kneecapping us completely.

    North Korea is not a national existential threat but they could be a regional threat if one of their missiles slipped through our defenses somewhere. But we could also be hit by an asteroid at any moment too, NASA misses them all the time as they pass near…and geologically, we are due for a massive earthquake somewhere too. As humans, we live under threat of death from the day we are born…and we hurl ourselves down highways all the time in the most likely scenario of sudden death…called the automobile.

    Stand up and face the way bravely. Don’t be a coward

    1. Got some bad news for you. IF they have a blast in your area your car isn’t going to work any longer so you are on foot. So you had better be able to carry all the food, water and Potassium Iodide with you as you fend off the hordes of people frantically attempting to take it away from you. By the way, KI is not something that your body stores, meaning that you have to keep taking it. So, how long do you think you need to take it? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Hope you have a good supply for you and your family.

      Oh, and those police that everyone hates? Don’t expect help from them because they will be a part of the horde that are trying to take your stuff away from you. As far as fending yourself with guns and ammo, that probably won’t work for you either. You against how many that are probably just as well armed as you are? Oh, stay under ground? Not when they find your air supply.

    2. Alan Robbins says:

      Your first sentence says it all. Only our beloved media would throw gasoline on a fire, and then run a headline “Fire dramatically increases, experts warn of fatal burn risk”

      I’m surprised we don’t see headlines like “Big Light slated to appear in East, Scientists warn not to look”

  9. Willem Reese says:

    The more practical self-preservation kit for a Detroit inhabitant would include body armor before iodine.

  10. Ra Williams says:

    A nuke story from Detroit. That’s ironic really. Would Detroit change that much from getting nuked?

    1. Mike Arvand says:

      Might improve it actually.

  11. Mike Arvand says:

    Pyongyang will still look better after a nuke, than what the liberals did to Detroit.

  12. Michael Lang says:

    People are so stupid.

    1. You got that right Mike. Especially the one’s that think that they are going to survive if if it really happens. The ignorant MSM attempting to teach the ignorant people. It’s funny if you think about it.

  13. All President Trump needs to do is have one of our ICBMs loaded with pink paint. Explode it in the courtyard of the little puke’s palace (or wherever he resides). Once little dough boy realizes how accurate our weaponry can be, he’ll fill his shorts with Kim Jong Oooo. He’ll keep quiet after that.

  14. No worries, you won’t die of radiation induced cancer…Chance are you will be dead of starvation, lack of clean water, killed by someone trying to take your food or maybe an invading enemy army WAY before you get cancer…You would be better off buying a gun and ammo for it…but liberals won’t…which is good…since they will be easy to overpower when food and ammo become the new legal tender…

    1. Even if you had guns and they didn’t you wouldn’t be able to kill them off fast enough to keep them from getting you. You see when you are desperate and starving to death anyway bullets don’t do the trick if there are enough of them against you. It’s the China syndrome. With China’s population you could line them up ten abreast and march them over a cliff into the sea and never get to the end of the line. Now, considering the state of liberalism and the survivalist wackos out there, just how long do you think you can resist the onslaught?

  15. All those people who make fun of preppers . . . who is laughing now, cupcakes?

    1. Who’s laughing? Well I am no cupcake or snowflake like you might think but I am laughing. I am laughing, along with the retailers and manufacturers, at people like you for giving me and them your money in a futile attempt to save yourself for something that you can’t save yourself from and if you did manage to save yourself from the the inevitable it would be a place that would be the stone age. Sorry but I just don’t think that you will make it and your best use of your time and money could be better spent to prevent something like this from happening. Oh, BTW, Gore is laughing at all the people who panic out over his global warming BS. You should note carefully that Gore doesn’t practice what he preaches to the rest of his adoring fans. You may be ‘prepared’ but the odds just are not in your favor. .

  16. Why is the man in the photo smiling? Because he knows that you are going to stupidly give him your money thinking that you are actually helping yourself to survive what no one else, prepared or not, will survive. The only variable will be how many days you will survive.

  17. People give WAY too much credit to the KPA… WAY, WAY too much credit.

  18. The end of the word? Does no one edit their stories anymore? Haha!

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