In this essay, I will address how to know if it’s time for you to relocate.
One of the seminal questions a preparedness-minded individual asks themselves is “Do I need to move to a better location?” Oftentimes the preparedness “fantasy” is the remote retreat in scenic Idaho, with beautiful views and being miles away from a paved road. This sounds great (who wouldn’t want that?) but the reality is that may not be feasible for most people. In this article, I will strive to give you criteria to look at to determine whether your location, the society you are in is “good enough” for preparedness purposes.
The primary question you should look to answer is “Can the community I live in effectively self-govern in the vacuum of effective social control?” I will pose some questions to answer that may help you answer that question. By no means is this an exhaustive list, and it is not a “foolproof” diagnosis.
- Look at the shopping carts. This may sound very strange and nonsensical but bear with me here. Get in your vehicle and drive around to your local grocery stores. Note how many shopping carts are running “wild and free” in the parking lot. Are the majority of them in the cart corral, or are they a danger to people’s cars? Shopping carts are, for most of the country, a great litmus test for how your society behaves when “nobody is watching.” In most of the country, there is no punishment for not replacing the shopping cart in the store or into a cart corral. It costs no money, and there are very few reasons somebody would just ditch a shopping cart. You will also not be punished (in most areas) for NOT corralling a shopping cart. A person who corrals a shopping cart at the end of their shopping trip does so out of their own goodwill, because the grocery store has asked them to. In a society where the carts are all “running wild” it signifies that people either: 1. Do not care to clean up after themselves, and so cannot effectively self-govern, or 2. They feel like they are “above” corralling a shopping cart, and so feel entitled. Neither of these societies are good places to live. A society that cannot effectively self-govern will descend into anarchy. A society full of entitled people is oftentimes the first society that forms “redistribution committees,” sending armed men with “emergency powers” to seize supplies from the more prepared. Neither of these societies are societies I’d like to live in, especially post-collapse. Note: If you live in an area where the government has seen fit to impose a law that makes it illegal to not corral a cart, the possibility is very real that you live in an over reaching “nanny state” and I would think about moving.
- What happened after your last disaster? When was the last time your area had a major disaster? What happened then? In my area, our last major disaster was a major tornado. Power was out for weeks and many people were left homeless. Donations, volunteers, and supplies came in droves to help those affected. If your locals did not help others after a disaster, but instead took to looting and robbing liquor stores, clothing stores, etc., then it is time to think about a move. A society where the citizens’ first thoughts are looting stores is a society that will loot you. I know “operational security” is absolutely paramount when preparing, but it is good to not have to worry about citizens that will start stealing at the first sign of trouble.
- You should also look at how the recent coronavirus outbreak was handled. A city close to me has a reputation for a “conservative, freedom-loving society” got absolutely drunk with power and threatened area pastors with jail for holding safe church services. If your local law enforcement agency had a publicized “snitch line” and it was widely used by the citizens, it may be time to move. A government that goes mad with power, and citizens who are largely willing to aid this evil goal, should be avoided. These citizens will be the ones to turn in those who are “hoarding supplies,” which is what your preparedness efforts will be deemed.
- Do you have a gang problem? It might be tempting to think that “gangs” are only confined to “urban areas” but this may not be true. If you live in an area that has high gang related crime, it is time to leave. It does not matter whether that gang is the stereotypical “urban gang” (i.e. Crips/bloods/etc.) or an “outlaw” biker gang. A gang will form a raiding party when times get slim. You do not want to be one of a few trying to hold off a gang of starving raiders. If you have a gang problem, it may be time to move.
- What is your local law enforcement like? Look at your local law enforcement, whether it be a city police department or a county sheriff’s office. Do they have a good relationship with their citizens, or do they have a reputation as trigger happy stormtroopers? Do they do “community events” such as coffee with a cop, police explorers’ day, food drives, etc. all the time, or only after a bad publicity event? Does the head of the agency have a reputation for being a moral, upstanding leader, or a fat-cat despot? Do they stick up for citizens’ rights, even when it isn’t popular to do so? Do they stand up against bad laws (or the possibility of bad laws)? It is tempting to think that law enforcement will simply “disappear” post collapse, but this is oftentimes not the case. They may be the one at the head of those “redistribution” squads I mentioned above. Can you trust your local law enforcement? If not, maybe think about moving.
- Your local church situation. Look at how many people are active members of your local church. I say this not try to “push religion” on anyone, but it is simply a statement of fact that those who helped after the above-mentioned tornado were overwhelmingly active members of local churches. People who claim to take Darwinism and “survival of fittest” seriously will oftentimes turn to acting like the animals they love to study when times get bad, especially in a post collapse setting.
- Are the people just plain friendly? This might seem like a no-brainer, but are the people in your area friendly people? Sure, everywhere has its grouches, but by and large, are the people in your area kind? Note that to accurately answer this question, you cannot isolate yourself from the world, going from work to home, shut the garage up and never talk to anyone, and then complain about how nobody says “hello” on the street anymore. When you take a walk in your neighborhood or down the street, do people wave? Better yet, do they strike up a conversation? Or is everybody buttoned up in their houses, never meets your eyes, and treats a friendly wave like a rude gesture? If so, maybe think about moving. A society where one feels welcomed, liked, and valued is a society that will function better post collapse. Not to mention, it’s better for your mental health to socialize with people.
- Is your community safe? Similar to the gang question above, how is the crime in your area? I have heard that someone should move to a place where you don’t have to lock your doors, but truthfully this is nowhere in the country today. You should lock your doors regardless, but that is beside the point. Crime rates will not decrease post-collapse. An area with sky high crime will not suddenly become a tranquil paradise post-collapse. Especially important is knowing the rate of drug crime, especially hard drugs like crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Many of the precursors for these drugs are either imported from other countries (usually China) or at least manufactured. Post collapse, this supply will suddenly stop, as borders are either buttoned up or manufacturing ceases. These people who are now addicts will be desperate for some kind of fix and will resort to stealing. If your area has a drug problem, think about moving.
Where There is Kindness
Now, these questions are not an exhaustive list, nor is it the end-all, be-all diagnosis of whether your area is bad for survival. I also recognize that it is theoretically possible to live just about anywhere, and with enough supplies and security you could survive. But ask yourself this: Do you really want to be holed up in your basement with the door welded shut, eating cold beanie weenies by the light of a candle, shooting anything that moves, all because you did not want the hassle of moving to a better place? Yes, you are surviving, but what quality of life do you have?
Personally, I want to live in a society that is full of people who always want to lend a helping hand and are kind people. Usually those societies do not change much post collapse. I find it is better for my mental health to live in a society full of friendly, salt of the earth people. I do not want to have to be a lone wolf post collapse, and, if I can help it, I do not want to cut my family off from larger society as well. The goal of a prepared society should be to continue on as normal as possible post collapse. Do you think this is your town? Your county? Think about it.