The Golden Horde and the Thin Veneer

Because of the urbanization of the U.S. population, if the entire eastern or western power grid goes down for more than a week, the cities will rapidly become unlivable. I foresee that there will be an almost unstoppable chain of events: Power -> water -> food distribution -> law and order -> arson fires -> full scale looting
As the comfort level in the cities rapidly drops to nil, there will be a massive involuntary outpouring from the big cities and suburbs into the hinterboonies. This is the phenomenon that my late father, Donald Robert Rawles–a career particle physics research administrator at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories–half-jokingly called “The Golden Horde.” He was of course referring to the Mongol Horde of the 13th Century, but in a modern context. (The Mongol rulers were chosen from the ‘Golden Family’ of Temujin. Hence the term “The Golden Horde.”) I can remember as a child, my father pointing to the hills at the west end of the Livermore Valley, where we then lived. He opined: “If The Bomb ever drops, we’ll see a Golden Horde come swarming over those hills [from Oakland and beyond] of the like that the world has never seen. And they’ll be very unpleasant, believe you me!”

In my lectures on survival topics I often mention that there is just a thin veneer of civilization on our society. What is underneath is not pretty, and it does take much to peel away that veneer. You take your average urbanite or suburbanite and get him excessively cold, wet, tired, hungry and/or thirsty and take away his television, beer, drugs, and other pacifiers, and you will soon seen the savage within. It is like peeling the skin of an onion—remove a couple of layers and it gets very smelly. As a Christian, I attribute this to man’s inherently sinful nature.

Here is a mental exercise: Put yourself in the mind set of Mr. Joe Sixpack, Suburbanite. (Visualize him in or near a big city near where you live.) He is unprepared. He has less than one week’s food on hand, he has a 12 gauge pump action shotgun that he hasn’t fired in years, and just half a tank of gas in his minivan and maybe a gallon or two in a can that he keeps on hand for his lawn mower. Then TEOTWAWKI hits. The power grid is down, his job is history, the toilet doesn’t flush, and water no longer magically comes cascading from the tap. There are riots beginning in his city. The local service stations have run out of gas. The banks have closed. Now he is suddenly desperate. Where will he go? What will he do?

Odds are, Joe will think: “I’ve gotta go find a vacation cabin somewhere, up in the mountains, where some rich dude only goes a few weeks out of each year.” So vacation destinations like Lake Tahoe, Lake Arrowhead, and Squaw Valley, California; Prescott and Sedona, Arizona; Hot Springs, Arkansas; Vail and Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and the other various rural ski, spa, Great Lakes, and coastal resort areas will get swarmed. Or, he will think: “I’ve got to go to where they grow food.” So places like the Imperial Valley, the Willamette Valley, and the Red River Valley will similarly get overrun. There will be so many desperate Joe Sixpacks arriving all at once that these areas will degenerate into free-fire zones. It will be an intensely ugly situation and will not be safe for anyone. In some places the locals may be so vastly outnumbered that they won’t survive. But some of the Joe Sixpacks will survive, and then the more ruthless among them will begin to fight amongst themselves for the few remaining resources. They will form ad hoc gangs of perhaps 6 to 30 people.

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 of marbles turn it upside down on a wooden floor and then lift the jar suddenly upward. The marbles will spread out semi-randomly. But the farther from the mouth of the jar, the lighter the density of marbles. Hence, the rover packs 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.

Bookmark the permalink.



2 Responses to The Golden Horde and the Thin Veneer

  1. Michelle from Canada says:

    Thank you for this text James. Oh Boy! I need help. I live in Canada in the Province of Quebec. What would be your advice in terms of region where to relocate? Population density is an important factor.

    Numbers matter, right? When you have few people in your area how do you defend your homestead? I count on myself. It is sad to say, but the reality is that people will wait until they are deep into it, before they wake up and you said it, many won’t be prepared. If I am the only one prepared, it seams almost as bad as not being prepared. Should you live deep in the wilderness? I don’t see myself moving to kuujjuaq, Quebec. Ontario is very flat as terrain. Quebec has a few mountains. Altitude has some importance. And we have to make this financially sustainable, while fulfilling all our other obligations. People who forget that, often fail. My great preoccupation is my 26 years old daughter who lives at home. She is a young adult and I want her to be safe. This is a major motivation for me to prepare and protect.

    How should we deal with the Golden Horde? That is up your alley, James. Get the military man in action. I will be attentive.

  2. Michelle from Canada says:

    We can prepare on an individual basis according to our personal circumstances. Once you are determined to be prepared, this is mostly material preparation. With some training of course. But let’s be realistic here. Who could
    train me? You James? Training has to come from someone with real knowledge, and in my book, you learn by doing. I can’t see myself practicing shooting in the park. You can loose your gun permit doing that. Don’t worry, I am all about safety.

    There is something equally important. The positive human factor. You need allies. People don’t seam to understand that concept. We have been a competitive individualist society for so long, people have a hard time to even be sociable. People have to learn cooperation. Networking will prove to be a very useful tool. I see people as positive assets, not as potential enemies. I know the difference. Don’t get me wrong. In WW2 the infrastructure remained in place. In the future we might not be so lucky. As for protection against a Golden Horde, you must have an organized concerted effort to stop that bunch of wild beast before they get to your farm, homestead or home in the boonies.
    You cannot stop a Golden Horde with a family. These are wild, determined, and they will get anything they can
    including your wife or daughter.
    In small towns or villages, it might be possible to organise the defense of the town with the cooperation of the village dwellers. They must be trained by a retired military. Men like you James, can organize the logistic and lead in engagement. (ROE) Other retired militaries train
    the people. My moto is delegate, delegate, unless you want to do something specific by yourself.

    We need an excellent networking system. And in villages ,homestead farms, and in the boonies retreat, must be implemented., defense must be implemented.
    It is better to have a way to prevent the Golden Horde from coming all the way to the village, or farm. This means, to stop them before they reach you.

    Q-James, Are we in a better situation in Canada to deal with Golden Hordes?
    Which of these 4 is better?
    1) in a small town 2) in the boonies 3) a remote Homestead 4) on a farm

    Are you reading these replies James?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.
Anonymous comments are allowed, but will be moderated.
Note: Please read our discussion guidlelines before commenting.