Letter Re: Opinion on The Retreat Potential of New Hampshire?

What is your opinion (since it isn’t on your list of 19 [preferred states for retreat relocation]) of the Free Stater’s choice, New Hampshire? I personally would not be that comfortable living near the east coast with their weather Thanks, – GRD

JWR Replies: If for some reason I was forced by circumstances to live in the northeast (it would probably take a set of Peerless handcuffs and a whole roll of duct tape), I would probably choose New Hampshire. It certainly has the highest “freedom quotient” of any of the states in the northeast. Its guns laws resemble those found in the Deep South and in the West. The tax situation is also more agreeable than in some of its neighboring states. New Hampshire is very friendly to small business and entrepreneurs. I could live with weather in the northeast. However, the overall high population density of the northeastern U.S. is a hazard in the event of TEOTWAWKI. The three following quotes from my recently-released book, Rawles on Retreat and Relocation: sum up my thoughts on this subject:

The northeastern states depend on nuclear power plants for 47% of their electricity. (South Carolina is similarly dependent.) This is an unacceptable level of high technology systems dependence, particularly in light of the emerging terrorist threat. (Refer to Chapter 8 for further discussion and a map of reactor locations.) You must also consider that virtually all of the eastern states are downwind of major nuclear targets–most notably the USAF missile fields in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Colorado. (Refer to Chapter 9 for further discussion and a map of likely fallout distribution.) If for one reason or another you are stuck in the northeast, consider New Hampshire or Vermont. They are both gun friendly and have more self-sufficient lifestyle. But unless you have some compelling reason to stay in the East, I most strongly encourage you to Go West!


If you are an eastern urbanite and come to the conclusion that you need to buy “a cabin in upstate New York” or “a brick house in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens,” then you are wrong, quite possibly dead wrong. (BTW, I’ve heard both of those quoted suggestions in e-mails from readers of my novel [Patriots]!) A rural area that is within an overall heavily populated region is not truly rural. It lacks real isolation from the basic problem–population. Wave after wave of refugees and then looters will overwhelm these seemingly “rural” areas. In essence, you will need to be at least one tank of gas away from the big cities–preferably at least 300 miles, if possible.

and, to explain the significance of population density:

Once the Golden Horde has been thinned (and honed to ferocity) and they’ve cleaned out an area, the thugs at the pinnacle of ruthlessness will comprise the most formidable rover packs imaginable. They will move on to an adjoining region, and then another. But the inverse square law will work in your favor: Imagine that you take a jar full of marbles turn it upside down on a wooden floor and then lift the jar suddenly upward. The marbles will spread out semi-randomly. You will see that the farther from the mouth of the jar, the marbles are farther apart. The same thing will happen with rover packs from the big cities. They will attenuate themselves into a huge rural expanse that is peopled with well-armed country folks. By the time the looters work their way out 150 miles from the big cities, they will be thinned out considerably. The rover pack is your primary threat in a total collapse, no matter how remote your retreat. Here are your potential adversaries: A squad to company size force (12 to 60 individuals), highly mobile, moderately well armed, with a motley assortment of weapons and vehicles, and imbued with absolute ruthlessness. Be prepared to fight them, with no outside assistance.

In my opinion, the Free State Project made more of a political choice than a practical choice when they selected New Hampshire rather than Wyoming. Let’s face it: The majority of the nation’s population lives in the East. So in terms of attracting the greatest number of Free Staters that would actually relocate, they did what they thought the best. The political impact of those relocatees would have been much greater in Wyoming, which is very lightly populated. Instead, they diluted their potential effectiveness by moving to a state that has a relatively high population. I wish them the best, but they should have listened to Boston T. Party!