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Man in bunker standoff called a 'survivalist type'

  • Survivalists take extreme precautions to prepare for emergencies
  • Neighbors describe kidnapper's actions as 'anti-government'
Jimmy Lee Dykes:

Ex-FBI agent: Forcing Dykes out won't work

Jimmy Lee Dykes

Inside the underground bunker

Inside the underground bunker

For almost a week now, a 5-year-old boy has been kidnapped and held hostage in Midland City, Alabama, by a slaying suspect that has been called a survivalist type.

Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, the man that local neighbors have identified as the kidnapper, is holding the boy in a bunker that he built on his own property. He identified the bunker as a storm shelter to people that lived near him. However, he was known as "anti-government and abusive" by the residents of Midland City, according to CNN, and has been called a "survivalist type" by Tim Byrd, the chief investigator with the Dale County Sheriff's office.

But what is a survivalist, or "prepper," as they are sometimes called? If you've seen TLC's "Living for the Apocalypse" or National Geographic's "Doomsday Preppers," you may be familiar with some of the hallmarks of survivalist behavior.

Simply put, a survivalist believes that there is reason to prepare for future tragedies or events and takes the necessary precautions to do so.

Many survivalists simply plan ahead without breaking any laws. However, Dykes was already wanted by the authorities for the killing of 66-year-old bus driver Charles Poland.

While survivalists may all fall under the same broad umbrella, there are many subsects, which differ greatly. Some prepare for natural disasters or medical crises, while others believe strongly in doomsday theories and devise plans to live in a post-apocalyptic world.

Neighbors that lived in Midland City said Dykes is a Vietnam veteran and that he maintained an "anti-government" attitude, but so far there is no connection between the man and any specific survivalist groups. 

The hostage situation with Dykes and the kindergartner has now been going on for four days with no end in sight. The FBI has been communicating with Dykes through a pipe in the ground near his property that connects to the bunker, but so far there is no sign of him agreeing to let the boy go.

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