Should I Move? by Southern J.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.




72 Comments

  1. Good points to think about. I’d never considered the “shopping cart indicator”. Maybe add to it the question of whether people in your area walk off with shopping carts(if there is any physical way to remove them) to take their groceries home and leave them on the streets, in parking lots etc? That’s also an indicator of extreme selfishness. It did get me thinking though as I considered a few different stores that I frequent. I spend a fair amount of time down in the north central area of my state and have found that at the large food coop, pretty near everyone takes the time to take their shopping cart back into the store where they are parked in the entry-way- no shopping cart corrals in the lot. At the nearby Walmart though, where there are cart corrals easily available, it seems that many can’t be bothered and just leave them wherever in the parking lot. So this tells me something more about the types of people who shop at the coop versus the ones who shop at Walmart more than about the area.

    But yeah, even though the politics of my state can get to me, the way people have dealt with natural disasters in the past has been amazing(Hurricane Irene especially) and is one of the reasons I’m still here.

    1. Agreed about the shopping cart indicator. In my town the WalMart has corrals but the Tractor Supply doesn’t. I overheard a young boy in the TSC parking lot ask where the shopping cart corral was. The father replied “they don’t need one here, son. Country people know to put stuff back where it belongs.”

        1. The shopping cart indicator illustrates the difference between urban and rural areas. The grocery store I frequent does not have a cart corral, almost all people put the cart back in the store. 20 miles away in a liberal city shopping carts get shoved into nearby cars.

          1. @ Ema

            Not sure I’d agree with that. As I noted, the food coop which is a bastion of liberalism, requires the carts to be taken back into the store and nearly everyone does that. The Walmart which attracts a different crowd has cart corrals but many can’t be bothered. Maybe someone will do their PhD on this topic! 😉

  2. Thanks for your thought-provoking article, Southern J. I agree with your list of criteria to consider when contemplating a move.

    We made our move 2 years ago from a city of nearly 1 million population in the SW US to a semi-rural town of around 3500 in the N Central US. What a culture shock! We went from “Don’t make eye contact with anyone. It may trigger an attack,” to every one waving or saying hello as they drive, bicycle, or walk by, and every store clerk and bank teller talking to us as though we’re a lifelong friend. The county sheriff recently posted an article in our weekly local newspaper reminding folks that even though it’s highly unlikely we’ll be robbed, we really should consider locking our homes and cars overnight. In our neighborhood folks assist each other with lawn mowing, snow removal, and moving the trash cans out to the street and back.

    Yes, there are some inconveniences, such as limited supply of some items in our local shops, but it isn’t unreasonably far to travel to the “big city” for some of our shopping. Overall, the stress level of day to day life is immensely reduced for us in our new location.

  3. Interesting thoughts. I would discuss the physical situation along with the Human issues.

    Not that human issues (Gangs and shopping carts) are not important but for example no matter how well behaved and kind folks are in the desert once power goes off for those very deep wells your going to suffer and die with in about 3-4 days when your stored water is gone.

    If your living somewhere were HOA’s prevent a food garden or indeed you have to submit to HOA demands aka Cities and Larger Towns how do you expect things will be when Just in Time fails? Minor dictators grow into bigger ones as recent news reports during this COVID19 situation.

    Now to moving to a “Better Place”. How do you search for the kindness factors in a short time?

    Also there is the “Who are YOU” syndrome that all rural folks have learned. When things get tough outsiders are not accepted. They are competition for the few local jobs and grocery store supply limits (remember Toilet Paper raiders from big cities?).

    In NH we have a LOT of Wealthy second home owners from Boston who mostly have not assimilated as neighbors. They often have to pay top dollar for home repairs and some more obtuse-arrogant of them simply have to sell out or bring in workers from Boston to do their work as the locals shun them.

    There is a parable about the young traveler and the old man at the city gates that in short says you find what you seek.

    Once the physical needs (Water, food production and physical safety) are met do you have TRUSTED and Loyal Friends to back you up and you them?

    Hard to MOVE into Trusted and Loyal Friends, yet they are more critical in a true SHTF situation like the Bosnian Civil War or economic-social collapse situation like Venezuela. I see both situations developing in our beloved Republic.

    Develop trusted friends. Lone wolves and small family groups will not thrive when the current support systems of Law Enforcement, EMS, and Grid power fails.

    1. A good article by Southern J with food for thought, and appreciated Michael’s follow up re: the need to assess the human or cultural features of an area alongside the physical features. Michael made an excellent point about what we think of as “short term equalization” in an SHTF. In a matter of just 3-4 days, those physical features will probably become a far greater advantage (or disadvantage) than the human or cultural features. Additionally, it’s fair to say that assessing demeanor (kindness or other expressions) is difficult to evaluate in a short period of time. It’s a great idea, and one can certainly develop impressions, but such an endeavor may or may not be deeply revealing without the additional information that can only be gathered with time and interactive experience.

  4. the local community is a huge factor that a lot of people dont give enough importance to. i’m glad to see it being mentioned here as a prime subject! very much so!
    theres another dimension as well which is that a closely knit community is not necessarily going to open up easily to an outsider. one big reason why i’m where i am is that here weve got family and friends etc (still a pretty rural middle of nowhere location, too) going back generations, whereas if i’d have relocated as i had been seriously contemplating (government here is very oppressive and corrupt, taxation high and arbitrary, no legal right to even defend oneself much less keep or bear arms, and so on) relocating, but in the end decided against it mainly because wherever i’d go, i’d be the unwelcome newcomer and just as times were getting hard, thats a pretty dangerous role to play. no matter how well you prove yourself as an honest, dependable, well behaved citizen, its gonna be a long slow uphill struggle to become part of a community , and i think the more worthwhile that community is, the more selective theyre gonna be. That’s good if you manage to crack into that circle. bad if not. One thing you cannot do is rush that process, it will take years, so if youre going to relocate, do it sooner rather than later. In my equation i decided to stay where we have people even if a lot of other things are not so great.

    1. So true. It could take a decade to be completely accepted, and it is a different culture that some may not be able to assimilate. However, if one has traditional values, you’ll naturally blend in some extent with a few persons. If you can only bring the family and friends out to a remote location, you may not be a part of the community, but the odds of defending yourself successfully go way up. Where there are people, there are problems…

      1. Yes, and one should take the time to deliberately, and consistently work to develop relationships, and a community. Think long term. Only then will one find that old and trusted friend, and perhaps a circle of friends.

  5. Excellent and thoughtful article – a blueprint to find that special place. It might seem like a good idea to live near a major city with wonderful medical care, nice places to have fun, but as the government – both nationally and locally – becomes more Socialistic and less what our Founders envisioned, it can become a real problem in a natural or ECONOMIC disaster. During this time of the Wuhan Virus, and the economic destruction caused by politicians and skewed statistics have caused, and the MASSIVE increase in job losses, I expect that more will end up in poverty, and crime will increase. I have lived a long time, in both blue and red states, and have the stories of ancestors passed down to me from the 1600’s. It is sad to see what is happening to America and those in charge of our Dollar (Federal Reserve), the politicians over decades who SPEND AND SPEND and never deal with the growing debt, think that it will be ok. It will not. My younger relatives are victims of our Progressive Public Education System, and have little to no interest or knowledge of what is real money, that massive debt kills nations, and yes, people. Living somewhere, as the author described, even on a few acres and at least grow and raise some food, and become as self-sufficient is what I would tell them. They can still use their education, work from home, or commute, and earn a good living, but do NOT live above your means. In the Great Depression most farmers (with exception of the Dust Bowl area) at least did not starve. They do not understand that the US Dollar is worth 2 pennies of what it was worth in 1913 when the Fed. Reserve was created. The lesson of Rome and the “bread and circuses” is coming home to roost, but I do believe that those who know the land, try and live off the land, who study HISTORY, and have learned how to think in a critical manner, may be the “seed” that keeps the flame of FREEDOM alive.

    1. Hercy Lord!
      From your post: “I have lived a long time, in both blue and red states, and have the stories of ancestors passed down to me from the 1600’s.”

      In addition to a solid knowledge of history generally, specific family history and life stories are extremely important. We can learn so very much from those who have gone before us.

      Enjoyed your follow up, and share these views.

    2. Love your reply! Similar family situation, but one of my family branches only goes back to the 1700’s!

      Spot on regarding farmers during the Depression. My father’s father had a farm and was able to feed his wife and 8 children adequately. However, when everyone decided to have chickens during the Depression, the price of eggs dropped greatly. My grandfather sold the farm and his extra piece of land and moved to the big city. He became a butcher. Needless to say, he put meat on the table every day!

  6. Some of us having lived in the places “it may be time to move away” from, realized EVENTUALLY, a lot of the problems mentioned in your article where prevalent to our location. However, over time we became numb and desensitized. In ways we cocooned ourselves and families from the reality – excepting it as normal. Wake up!
    It’s not ~ it ROT!

  7. Like minded individuals generally seek out others.
    No community will be perfect. The human factor is the wild card.
    We have moved to communities that culturally seemed right only to have changes occur.
    You get new neighbors or a family owned hardware store is replaced by a corporate giant.
    Farmland gets plowed under for the Olive Garden.
    I think the author is on to something. Quality of life is the key. None of us know where growth will occur but we can put geography between us and them.
    For many of us older folk the access to medical care and the right doctors also play into the equation. We are willing to drive a few hours as long as the doctors are right and the roads are passable.
    Something to consider, a passable road to me means means a two lane rural highway that is maintained after a blizzard, not ten lanes of lunacy.
    Can we grow food, keep livestock, and practice 2A?
    Can we defend where we live right now?
    If changes noted above occur do we have strong community systems in place to hold our values?
    Do we participate in the kindness referenced by the author?

  8. We left Southern California for 2 primary reasons 30+ years ago. #1 The cost of living didn’t leave much time for “living” & #2 The law enforcement presence never had time to respond to calls (attempted strong arm robbery…) but you could always count on a speed trap on every shift on the main drag we lived next to. Hmmm… doesn’t seem… appropriate. Riots in the 90s…. no police presence. Covid 19… arresting people for going to the beach. Just go somewhere sane. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19: 1-29)? The angels had to drag Lot and his family out of the city because of their reluctance to leave their comfort zone even though they knew that destruction was eminent. I understand that it’s difficult, but let reason prevail. If you wait too long… you might not be able to relocate.

  9. Great message. During my move a year ago, I looked at a lot of those factors and more. (The shopping carts is such a great analogy)
    The ONE thing that was and still is difficult. Being much farther away from family and good friends.

  10. I have the good fortune to live 6 miles outside of a village of 450 people. There is a town of about 10,000, 25 minutes drive from us. The village is pretty homogeneous, and everybody at least knows everybody. (Heck, over half are probably related to each other) We have several other small towns/villages scattered around us with 30 minutes drive.

    It also tends to be a rather law and order place. With police response times being half hour or longer, we tend to look after issues on our own to a great extent. Not vigilante justice – there are just certain things that the town as a whole is not willing to put up with. I can’t use the shopping cart rule, because the 2 or 3 little stores we have in town don’t have shopping carts.

    During this Covid-19 scare we didn’t have shortages, because people were willing to pull together. Seniors were checked on to make sure that they had what they needed. My wife did some shopping for seniors who had no way to get to town, 30 minutes away. The community ladies started looking at using the Agricultural Hall for communal meals if it got that bad. No panic. No hysteria. Just good old fashioned rural people doing what needs to be done.

    I may not be the perfect place to ride out the apocalypse, but it’s better than many. I don’t know if I chose it, or it chose me, but I call it home, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    1. During this Covid-19 scare we didn’t have shortages, because people were willing to pull together. Seniors were checked on to make sure that they had what they needed.

      Is that anything Special in Canada

  11. In recent months ( maybe years or so ) I’ve over heard or have talked with people that are getting worried about their safety, both at home and out and about. And more than a few have purchased firearms ( handguns ) and are getting the training and are carrying them, some of these people either have had them in a storage spot or have just purchased them. Ex. A guy I know recently had his car stolen from his driveway while he was in full view of it while working in his garage. the perp was later caught in the next state with drugs and the stolen car. the surprising thing is the perp was out on parole less than 9 months later and back in the same town where he had stolen the car. So yes, this guy is carrying full time now and doesn’t leave his keys in his car anymore

  12. regarding Wal-Mart: I live in a community (urban) where the store is in chaos. the shelves are not properly stocked, prices not properly listed, items not on shelves and on nearly every visit I find frozen or refrigerated food (example:steaks) located on hardware department shelves (spoiling) or in other inappropriate locations because shoppers were too lazy to return them to their proper place after changing their mind about the purchase. I sometimes visit another Wal-Mart in a rural area (St. Marys, PA). This store is so clean you could perhaps eat off of the floor. Not only is the stocking 100% accurate but the items on the shelves appear to have been measured so they are an equal distance apart ( example: WD-40 cans all 2 inches apart). I have never found a steak or any other food item abandoned on a shelf that was inappropriate. This says a lot about not only the employees but the customers. p

    1. For sure. The Walmart that I referred to is pretty bad; poorly stocked and generally out of what you want. Then I was traveling this summer and got to go to a Walmart in West Virginia and another in North Carolina; OMG. Clean, well stocked, great selection. I’d never seen such a thing. And dollar stores. When I was pet sitting in MA I frequented a dollar store that was awesome; great selection, neat, helpful staff. The one in Central VT(not far from that Walmart I referred to) was in abysmal shape when I returned and went there. It was filthy, stuff strewn everywhere, poorly stocked. Evidently the company finally axed most of the staff, hired new people and brought in employees from out-of-state to try to fix it up which they did a very good job of. But yeah, I’d say a lot of it reflects on who the customers are as if they just trash the store it must be tough on the employees. But it does tell you something about who goes there.

  13. If there are no loose shopping carts in the parking lot because they get stolen by the homeless, that might be another indicator. Just saying…

    I personally think LOCAL wealth is important — rich people who feel a sense of ownership in the community and look after it. Ensuring there is a decent hospital, schools and police force, for example.

    Yes, they can sometimes become petty tyrants if only one family dominates but rivalry usually ensures you can find a protector if you annoy another one of the elite.

    I am not Mormon but I think the church’s rule on keeping a year’s supply of food is smart —it recognizes that a LOT of people lose their morality if times get hard.

    Those who sneer at the sins of the poor might want pray they never have to live with the pain and miseries of being poor. Some of your fellow church-going Americans have to live in places that have the highest murder rates on the planet — because the area is too poor to have enough local police , because the federal and state police focus on protecting the rich (and their property) , and because our smug “patriotism” is evidently content with that situation.

      1. 1) I concede that there are multiple factors — willingness of DAs to prosecute, of judges to punish, tendency of unaccountable ACLU lawyers to interfere etc — but I am pretty sure that a homicide rivaling that of El Salvador’s would be tolerated in our many gated communities.

        2) You can see what Giuliani did in New York City to see what aggressive , widespread police enforcement can do. Last time I checked, police depend on snitches , not community vigilance , and snitches weren’t that hard to recruit.

        Although I myself think a few public hangings are also needed in some places. Look at the mass murderers still alive years after killing multiple children who are sitting in a warm cell with free medical care while their unaccountable lawyers play games in court.

      2. It’s not just morality, ethics or community. People also need hope and income. A person who doesn’t know where the money for next month’s rent, or next week’s food is going to come from, a person who doesn’t have hope, who doesn’t see a positive future is going to be much less likely to follow societies rules or care about others. You’ve described the hoards after the SHTF, but we have people living that life today, last month, last year in the US. If you have nothing you have nothing to lose. Then ponder the person who has income, has kids, has hope, doesn’t worry about food, shelter or clothing. They have something to lose and the survival instinct isn’t challenging their morals or ethics. It’s complicated.

  14. Should i move? That was an easy one for us to answer B.H.O. had just been re elected and the voters put Gov. moonbeam back in office.
    The very first thing we did upon arrival to our new home was to remove our license plates and get new ones,but most folks suspected where we were from.
    We told everyone we came here because we loved what we saw and had no intentions of changing things,we wanted to be a part of the community.
    We found the local church and joined it, volunteered wherever we could, the fire dept. search & rescue, senior center etc. and after a period of time got to know the community and them us. Is there a perfect place? no, but wherever you go just make it better.
    Oh the only time cars are locked in town is during zucchini harvest you may return to your vehicle and find it full!

    1. In many small towns, there is a “He ain’t from here attitude” and a general resentment of out of towners moving in. I don’t think that this is a regional attitude.

      A fellow I knew moved to North Carolina and came back to California because of what he claimed was an aloofness because his “granddaddy wasn’t buried there.” (Of course, his treatment may have been based on the fact that he was a jerk, too.)

      A friend here moved to Eastern Kentucky to work as a pastor. He was having trouble making connections in the community until he connected with an informal, but very influential individual who invited him to his barbeque. While at the barbeque, this individual took him around and introduced him to everyone, saying, “This is so-and-so, everybody. He’s alright.” After that, all sorts of doors were opened to him.

      A friend moved to Prescott, AZ. He told me that there was some resentment of locals about so many Californians escaping to Prescott like he did because too many brought their California values with them. (He was an exception.) I asked him if I moved there and added a Trump sticker to my pickup truck’s bumper if I would be okay. He laughed and said, “Probably.”

      I should have added going to Harbor Freight and buying a flag pole kit and ordering a Gadsden Flag on the internet for it. I expect that doing this would make it clear to locals that I was not a typical Blue State arrival.

  15. My wife and I are seriously considering moving to Northern Idaho from our Jacksonville, Florida home. There are, however, compelling reasons to stay. We love our beautiful home, our lovely neighborhood, and our wonderful neighbors. We love our local church family and our friends. And I’m a 68 y/o heart patient living 2 miles from the Mayo Clinic. My state of health is currently robust, but still…

    I believe our neighborhood is defensible, but only if we can can raise a defense force of 50-60 armed persons willing to flip the switch on evil doers. Our community has about 500 homes. I’d like to know how many of them are 2A supporters willing to defend their families.

    How would you, members of the SB community, approach this problem? A community event on the Fourth of July? How would you go about it, given that probably half the community are sympathetic to the left?

    1. Kenfr – start a neighborhood watch program with roving patrols. Wear high visibility vests, have a flashlight in hand, cell phone with local police dept. on speed dial, two man teams. This will get you introduced to lots of people very quickly. You may need to do it by yourself for a while but once you get a second man or woman to join you it gets noticed. It’s a great intro to other neighbors on other streets. Good way to do an area study, too. In a way you are giving up the gray man approach because people will get to know you as someone who keeps an eye on things but thats not a bad thing. All the walking is good for you.

    2. Kenfr – it sounds like you have a lot of good things going for you where you are. From someone who moved to Northern Idaho (and returned back to the Midwest) I can say that there are pros and cons to everyplace. Northern Idaho is a beautiful place with a lot going for it, but they have their issues there too. I base that on my experiences living and working in LE out there, and my experiences back home in the Midwest. Just my 2 cents . . . .

  16. About the shopping cart rule, I think that is “a bridge too far.”

    First, cart corrals, unless I have missed something, aren’t uniformly placed in all parking lots, leaving it often uncertain as to their location.

    Second, some kid’s job sometimes depends on their being shopping carts to round up.

    Third, retailers gladly accept responsibility for rounding up the carts in the same way that they now gladly wipe down shopping cart handles with disinfectant. It is part of the cost of doing business, and retailers want more business.

    If I looked at a parking lot and saw it filled with shopping carts, I would think that business was booming, or that the store was poorly staffed (which might be the canary in the coal mine about other things that might be amiss, such as the stocking of shelves, etc.)

    I am not sure how widespread the Aldi’s grocery chain is in this country. Not that this is a world shaking issue, but Aldi’s, a German-owned grocery chain with low prices and well-run stores, requires that you slip a quarter in a slot on each cart in order to separate it from the line of shopping carts at the front of the store. To get your quarter back, you have to return the cart to the line of carts. Once your cart is slid into the one in front of it, the quarter pops out of the slot.

    I doubt that few shoppers would walk very far in returning their cart just to get a quarter back. Yet, they do so because the store has made it clear it would like for the cart to be returned. I almost never see an abandoned cart in the Aldi’s lot.

    In Germany, I suppose it is the case that “Vee have za rules, and you vill follow zem!” And it works!

    1. I always return the shopping cart. Not because I’m trying to interfere with some kid’s job but because shopping carts left in the parking lot interfere with trafic and parking and it is kind of a lazy ignorant act. There are some shoppers I would give a pass to, such as mothers who put their kids into the car and shouldn’t push the cart any distance from the car. Also to the older less mobile people or those with disabilities.

    2. In Germany and most of Europe: Jihadists stab, shoot, run over and kill their citizens on a daily basis. So if you think Germany is so great, try living there!!

      1. My comment was not intended to promote or justify all things German. All I was saying is that with an incentive of just a quarter, almost every customer returned his cart and got his quarter back.

        Germany hasn’t been worth much since WWII. In the past several years it has been selling the soul of its culture in exchange for Muslim immigrants who have nothing in common religiously, culturally, and, to a great extent, educationally with Germans, but who work for cheap wages. (Gee, maybe that’s where we got the idea.)

        Sooner or later they will demand their own Sharia courts and demand that no schools be open on Friday.

  17. “but it is simply a statement of fact that those who helped after the above-mentioned tornado were overwhelmingly active members of local churches.” = From the good article. …. People moving to a small town would also be more likely to meet more people by joining a local church, or checking-in with a synagogue.

    [There are so many divergent religious groups, even in small downs; there should be a religious group to join. … Someone that can’t find other people with similar values, maybe should never discuss politics or religion; expect to say, “i believe in that which is right and good.”]
    …….. Joining the VFW or a Service-Social Club could also help with meeting people in a new town.
    ************
    ************

    A #3 category could be added to article, for the women that jump into their cars without pushing a shopping cart back to the store. =
    >Women are afraid of being kidnapped and raped, having their purse stolen, or just encountering someone that looks threatening.

    In my town, many stores now hire a Security Guard in uniform with a car, to patrol the big parking lot. There use to be a group of drinkin’ men turning the shopping carts over on the side, to provide a drinkin’ seat, where I shop.
    …….. [John Law solved that problem. The drinkin’ men know the difference between a Security Guard and a Real Cop, that can toss a drinkin’ man into the Drunk-Tank.]

    Anyone running for Mayor in my town would get my vote, if they made a promise to build BIGGER and More Drunk Tanks, in my town. … People addled on illegal drugs can be tossed into the Drunk-Tank too.

  18. Good points.

    Disagree with JWR — police prescence can be a deterrent, but a temporary one, and at that time and place. However, disrespect for police is on the rise in the east, particularly in the big cities and suburbs. Gangs prior to the pandemic were infiltrating stores/attractions in malls and then using them in off-hours for initiation rites. Drugs are flowing through the gangs and sometimes gang wars erupt. This scenario is coming to a big town near you!

    The question becomes: what size group that you hunker down with will be big enough (and diversified enough, as far as skill sets) to repel/destroy a roving gang? Your comments would be welcome.

    1. There is no single answer, but do have some one in your group with combat experience, or at the minimum, some one who has advanced infantry training. Understanding of only a few classic ambush techniques could be the deciding factor. I know how I would set defenses for such, yet there should be different tactics used for different groups, or persons. And the terrain they have to work with is huge factor. There is an advantage for larger numbers of defenders, yet a smaller cohesive team can get it done as well. I prefer the Special Forces model, but would draw on the small community in the area to some extent.

      There is plenty of information on the net about all this. Here are two quick and easy techniques. If nothing else, or at the minimum, set up an impassible road block as far out as possible, where the terrain is advantageous, and put out at least two riflemen 24/7 on it, at least 200 yards away, to keep the barricade from be being dismantled or removed, and to prevent them from approaching on foot. Accurate long distance fire is the force multiplier here. Or if the terrain allows, drop trees across the road in as great a number as possible, and for several hundred yards in length, and put two persons out to observe only, or have one both who are marksman. These are only a first layer of in a defense. There are variations on these, and it may only buy time for reinforcements to arrive, or for the community to muster their individual defenses.

      Anyone can set up something like this, more or less, but do not stop developing your defenses in layer and skills. This is a starting point only. There are many other options that might be better choices, but these examples are the easiest to convey and deploy.

      1. The LOCAL police are part of the USA’s biggest and most powerful gang — so it might be best to ally with them, esp given their many legal protections when it comes to use of force.

        I.e, it would be important to have a local sheriff who is amenable to enlisting local citizens into an emergency posse /reserve police force that is guided by the regular cops.

        So that any defensive action is cloaked under the cover of law enforcement in exceptional times. I

        Otherwise, it can be hard to claim self defense if you shoot someone a 100 yards away with an assault rifle, even though the action might be perfectly reasonable in high threat circumstances.

        And I think we will always have some police and rule of law — the elites will ensure that they are protected. The rest of us may be left on our own unless we have relationships with local officials.

        FEDERAL or STATE law enforcement may be a different matter, depending on how things sort out. The federal government claims extraordinary powers to confiscate resources in a national emergency — and they are far better survivalists than we are, given their resources.
        One only needs to look at Stalin’s Holodomor in Ukraine to see what FEMA might do.

        But local officials also have some constitutional protections against being drafted into federal service. And are immune from federal gun controls.

        1. I worked for one of the largest Sheriff’s Departments in the country, mostly as an administrator type. Unless the Sheriff is self proclaimed, and proven as a staunch Constitutional Sheriff, I am going to stay far away. The local law is mostly worthless, already distrusted, and would be easily swayed by the Feds. They are amateurs as well. Fortunately our Sheriff will not even patrol my area. I quote our Sheriff: “They take care of themselves”.

          Eventually the rule of law would be reestablished, and one may have to face an investigation and possibly charges in the future. In Montana, our currently law is favorable for those who defend themselves and their property. Document the incident as best as one can, photograph the attackers, and record the facts, interview witnesses, and preserve the physical evidence as if you were conducting an investigation. This information may be helpful, or not, if the courts remain, or become further corrupted. Say nothing until you have an lawyer. Zero! If the deceased is well known and liked, you more likely to need this information for your defense. Often a complex case is simply too much for the local law to adequately investigate during peaceful times and may be overwhelm post WROL, and do little or nothing, unless the relatives have enough influence. The lies or claims from irate and influential relatives seeking vengeance could be used against you. The local courts are liberals in this area, and enforcement inconsistent in most regards. They usually sweep it under the rug if they can. I speak with some experience with the local law. After submitting a first class report containing court room quality evidence that would have resulted in an arrest where I come from, resulted in little meaningful action, and no justice. The person who committed the theft was a reserve officer. Instead of being properly investigated, he was fired. He should have been charged. The evidence was substantial, but they chose to accept an unsubstantiated story, and took the easy way out.

          Anyone looking for a place in Montana who has no connections to a particular area should look at Sander’s County where there is a Constitutional Sheriff that is not simply talk. He may eventually form a Posse or other Reserve program that can indeed be the core of a defense. The fact that he was elected tell us about the sentiments of the people there. If I were not established here, I would be there.

    2. A good point related to the danger of gangs. Unfortunately they are all over the place, big towns and small towns too. They may not always been seen on the street in smaller places, but lack of a “visible presence” does not mean “not present”.

  19. “I hate it here in ________, I’m moving to Wyoming, where I can enjoy freedom.”

    a year later….

    “I hate Wyoming, they don’t do things like we did in _______.”

  20. I once entertained this question de jour, and left the comforts of home in search of a better place. Could one be fortunate to find that rare and exceptional community in a densely populated region? In Argentina during their near hyperinflationary collapse in about 2000, some gated communities could afford a security force 24/7. They were safe for a time, yet eventually some were raided, even though the government had not entirely collapsed. Was there any part of Argentina that did not suffer during that time?

    Had Northern Europe not being flooded with a Muslim population that mostly segregates itself and retains is culture, Europe might be a place where society would remain somewhat orderly in a collapse. Disillusioned by the apathy here in the U.S. I considered your topic, and a small isolated island and farming community called Bornholm in Denmark. It was an alternative to the U.S., as I can easily blend in. Relative to the American Redoubt, it is densely populated, yet the island had many redeeming attributes, however it had a glaring fault in its inability to defend itself, especially from fanatical Muslims. The Danes simply do not have the traditions and laws that are still alive in the U.S. Having a polite and orderly society that does not have the will and means to fight, would easily conquered by a small in number, and ferocious enemy. Simply owning a shotgun, or even a rifle is not enough. There must be the will, and the skills to fight. To wit, there is indeed something rotten in Denmark.

    Here in my part of the Redoubt, we are rough, willing and able, yet not so inclined to be blindly law abiding. While we lack the social graces, because we are a well armed ‘society’ of sorts, we will be inclined to be at least somewhat polite. In select areas where there is still a sense of community, not ruined by the liberal mentality found in the towns, we would be able, and ferocious defenders. Even disorganized, each home would hold their ground, often armed with better firearms than issued in the military. While I could go unnoticed in a nice restaurant in Copenhagen, I chose to return to the untamed inter-mountain west that is rough and ready. There is no escaping this fact, unless one leaves it all behind. Where there are people, there are problems. And where there are more people, there are more liberals, and less will, and ability to defend themselves. This what I discovered in my travels. As Will Rogers once said, “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”

    1. While I have known part of your story, even now as I read here, I had tears of thankfulness falling down my face because I was so moved by the Lord’s goodness to myself and others here at SurvivalBlog, that He brought you back, and gave you to us. You are a teacher, friend and blessing to us all.

      The Will Rogers quote had me burst out laughing! As a kid, when out on adventures, we always wanted to cut across this one ranchers ginormous pasture. We would pick a 2′-3′ piece of grass to touch the electric fence with to see if it was on. It nearly always was… Anyways, thanks for the great laugh.

  21. For quite awhile I was convinced that if we didn’t move to Idaho, that we’d be out of luck in a true societal collapse. I was obsessed with it for a couple of years, until I realized there was no financially responsible way to accomplish it in our current situation. The advantages of being in the Redoubt region are of course obvious, but I don’t think you’re doomed if you’re somewhere else (within reason). Still would like to live there though….

  22. “Should I Move?”

    I did, but without having a remote rural homestead to move to (yet).

    I fled California (Bay Area) last year and live as a nomad in remote public land.

    I checked all eight on Southern J’s list, and my answer to his primary question was “no”. The Bay Area is lost.

    Really important article. There will be no PSA alert that “society is collapsing, you need to get out now”.

  23. From your post: “There will be no PSA alert that “society is collapsing, you need to get out now”.”

    Well said… So true. Many of the warning signs will not be recognized until people see them in the rear view mirror.

  24. I love the shopping car litmus test! One of my own tests is the “dude on a bike” test. I’m not talking about a dad riding a bike with his kids or those bicyclists in spandex on a weekend ride…I’m talking about the 20-40 year old “dudes” riding around town in layers of clothing while wearing a stuffed backpack. Odd are they: 1) have a suspended driver’s license for a) unpaid tickets b) drug/alcohol use c) unpaid child support. 2) don’t have a steady home life 3) are use to living on the street for extended periods of time 3) don’t have strong family ties that would otherwise keep them home 4) don’t have the means to buy a car (i.e. no job). And the big red flag is when I see 2 or more of these “dudes” gather-up to hang out. This test helped me avoid sending one of my sons to a particular college town.

  25. Our move was 43 years ago to a small rural N. CA county. One of our first friends here told us “you live here for 20 years and you will be related to everyone in the county”.
    Only problem is the county has changed like so much of the rest of our nation.
    Big box stores ate all the mom and pop places, then the jobs started fading with mill closures and the final change was a large prison with all its attached changes.
    Many of our churches are strong and some of our folks still rally together in times of crisis. Yet is it enough to save a community or county undergoing the possible breakdown we face?
    We as a small community have tried (Neighborhood Watch) and other programs to bring neighbors together, they fail, my thinking is because the folks moving here bring with them the issues they were trying to escape from.
    Our grandchildren in the Redoubt face the same thing we are facing here, Boise is no longer the community it was even 10 years ago. Good friends in White Fish and other family in the Yakk share our same concerns.
    I study history both biblical and worldly, we grow a garden and tend a small orchard, and maintain a small library and general repair shop. We try to be a foundation for our children, grandchildren and now great grand kids. We are a bit old to be starting again in our mid 70’s.
    So what’s the answer, move, fight, hide? Everywhere we look and travel to we see the same issues either already there or developing. Yes, its a given to try to move from a major metro area but when you find the same issues in places like Eureka, CA. or Grants Pass, OR. or McCall, ID. It makes me wonder if there is a worldly solution.
    So, enough of this doomer stuff, Pray without ceasing, Teach the young ones, maintain your foundation.
    On a slightly different tack, Avalanche Lily, are the seed potato grower still in Moyie Spring?
    Best to you all, steve.

    1. Thanks for your insight. I’m about 20 behind you in age and I’ve been holding out For a golden glimmer of hope that we’ll find the right “magical” place to move after I retire. I’d love to invite our young adult kids to restart in a fresh place. But like you said, the more I research, the more disappointed a feel. You’re right about praying and simply maintaining our foundation. Thank you.

      1. We use the “holding the door open” test. It’s refreshing to see a parent teach this to their children in
        stores – almost always in small, rural towns.
        When you thank a five year old for holding the door
        open for you, you are rewarded with a look of accomplishment and pride. Mom or Dad nods approvingly. It’s a seemingly small thing, but life is
        made up of them.
        Contrast this in a large city.
        Notice how most choose the automatic doors?
        When there is only manual doors there is no thought
        of holding doors open for others. Once and awhile I used to say “you’re welcome” when I hold a door open for someone and receive no acknowledgement. If they
        did make eye contact it was one of annoyance and bewilderment.

  26. Just a note on shopping carts. I leave my cart at my parking spot not for any of the reasons listed.

    I used to work the parking lot for Kroger when I was a kid. I LOVED it when there were carts all over the place and far far out in the lot. What a better way to stay outside and out of eye shot of the boss.

  27. You can vote out the tyrants. If you can’t then you MUST move.

    I like the dollar tree index. Count the stuff which is in the wrong place. 5x for anything frozen. Its not just shopping carts, there are evil cultures that jsut don’t care.

    Infra, I moved to Wyo. Unfortunately the real conservatives split the vote so GOP Guestapo Gordon won. SoDak was the first runner up, and I’m not sure I chose wisely.

    The current state v.s. uncivility in various levels can change things. It will be terrible but Police will likely eventually shoot someone trying to just survive, or conversely will be shot trying to “harass our people and eat out their substance”. This is a critical pivot point, what police do.

  28. I thoroughly enjoy reading SurvivalBlog and the comments posted. I live in a small town in Northern Colorado. Our formerly conservative state has been overcome by less conservative cities, Denver, Boulder and now Ft.Collins. There’s a real divide between these large voting blocs and rural eastern areas, and sad to say they’ve turned the state blue. I’d really like a RedState, so it may be Wyoming. Family is in Minneapolis which is not good at this time. They have their work there and like the area so they’re not likely to move. I’m wondering if there are any areas in Wisconsin or Minnesota that are conservative.
    The shopping cart test is great. I look for the number and type of cars parked in neighborhoods. If there are a lot of “drug looking” type cars I figure, no. If there are well kept pick ups, that’s ok. I figure those are people with jobs and they’re taking care of things. Also, those homes that bother to put out American flags have my vote.

  29. I usually park at the outside of the parking lot, and pick up a cart someone didn’t Put in the cart area. Then use it to do my shopping. I don’t feel bad about leaving it where I found it. I do however strive to place it out of the way of traffic and not just leave it in a parking slot. It is so annoying to pull into a spot only to find you have to get out and move a cart to finish parking. Although there is the cart you need right at hand. Opportunity knocking.

  30. Pennyf,

    We left the foothills west of Denver for the same reason. We were in a solidly “red” county until a few years ago. Between Amendment 64 (legalizing recreational marijuana) and universal “Voting by Mail,” (I DARE you to claim it doesn’t increase the occurrence of fraud), our old county has become solidly “blue” in just a few years. And it can’t be due to an influx of liberals moving from Denver. Housing prices are too high, most of those people can’t afford to live there.

    In 2013, we decided we needed some property in a state that was 2A friendly (Colorado had changed that much in only 11 years!) so we considered various states. Our criteria included: no hurricanes; no earthquakes; no volcanoes; no tornadoes (well, okay, we had to fudge on that one a bit); low crime; 2nd Amendment friendly; low or no state income tax; reasonable land prices and property taxes. We narrowed it down to Texas and Wyoming. If SHTF, we figured that Texas had a few advantages over Wyoming: winters are milder; escape can be by land or sea; secession can happen by tearing up the treaty. We forgot to take into account the wide variety of insects and arachnids, but otherwise, it has turned out to be a pretty good decision. We are now full time residents down here in the Lone Star State (a “Republic” in a good way, not like “The People’s Republic of Boulder”) and will sell our property in Colorado as soon as the new house is built.

    Check out the Texas Panhandle (the southern end of it) for a possible relocation locale. People here are friendly and you can be in a really rural area even if you are only half an hour from Amarillo or Lubbock, yet still within reasonable reach of shopping and medical facilities. And strangely enough, the more land you buy, the cheaper it is per acre. Growing season is long but water is at a premium. And those darned grasshoppers are back! But otherwise, life’s pretty good here.

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