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NORCO 80: The Aftermath - Survivalism

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM on Thursday, May 13, 2021

During the past year, many of us turned towards the general tenets of survivalism, stocking up on supplies, planting gardens, and limiting our interactions with those outside of our immediate household.

On May 9, 1980, it wasn’t a pandemic, but rather the fear of an imminent, biblical reckoning that led two men obsessed with self-preservation to devise and execute an audacious, mid-day bank robbery in the small town of Norco, CA. George Wayne Smith and Christopher Harven were steeped in the world of survivalism and religious fervor and believed they needed an ample supply of guns and money to weather the coming apocalypse.

Through understanding the lives and motivations of these men and the friends they recruited to assist in the heist, we can examine how a culture of self-reliance and a fascination with guns enthralled the men involved in the robbery and still resonate in our society today. How is this different—or the same—as what fueled the Norco robbers in 1980?

Watch the archive video of LAist Studios Executive Producer and Norco 80 podcast host Antonia Cereijido and special guests with an in-depth look at survivalism and preppers, past and present.

Special guests:

Paige Ferrari, producer - Doomsday Preppers

Bradley Garrett, author of Bunker: Building for the End Times

We’re also hosting a roundtable discussion on the impact of the Norco robbery on the militarization of law enforcement and pervasiveness of gun culture as part of this event series. Join us for Norco 80: The Aftermath - Guns and Police on May 20.

And catch up on the podcast here