Reading over all the responses to Dan B.’s article, there seems to be a common misunderstanding of the foe we are facing. I have seen several failed states and disasters up close and they are nothing like a “B Movie”. Please don’t expect to face a disorganized mob of lightly armed refugees. The refugees are going congregate in a town nearby. They are not going to storm your cabin, they are going to vote in a town meeting to send professionals to do it.
There may be “raiders” in the form of biker gangs or prison escapees (think The Road Warrior), ravaging your area. If so, you have a slight (but possible ) chance of standing them off with a determined armed response. Outlaw raiders suffer from all of the faults pointed out in the recent response letters. They will be too selfish to risk death, and not cohesive as a unit. They may also move on to easier pickings if you bloody their noses. The trouble is, Mutant Zombie Biker (MZB) gangs are almost a fantasy enemy. I don’t see outlaw gangs as the primary foe.
The enemy that will approach your homestead will be wearing a badge and smiling. He may be a deacon in your church. He will politely knock on your door and show you a paper that authorizes him to search your property for “hoarded food” and fuel. He will probably have a small group of workers and a truck, but may not even be armed. He will be apologetic. He’s “just doing his job”. What are you going to do? Shoot him?
If you choose to refuse his reasonable request, you are a criminal. The polity that sent him, (probably a town council) will put out a warrant for your arrest. They may not have enough food, but they have other resources, like weapons and manpower. They can deputize hundreds of men if they need to. The very fact that you are not letting them search your property will be enough justification to use whatever force they require. Remember, the Mayor or council, doesn’t have to storm your homestead. They are in no danger of being shot. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain from sending in the dogs of war.
Their “professionals” may be a sheriff and a small police department and you might even be so arrogant that you think you can beat them in a firefight. But remember, the local town sheriff is not alone. He can request assistance from the county, or state. And he will. No sheriff can let a group of nuts with rifles defy him with impunity. He must take you down or risk losing his authority or even his job. He will get help in the form of heavy weapons and troops from the national guard if he needs it. You may be facing a Bradley [Infantry Fighting Vehicle] platoon, or an artillery barrage, not a starving mob.
A local government is never going to “move on to easier pickings if you shoot a few.” That’s because they are going to systematically search every building…not just the easy ones. You literally can’t fight city hall (and expect to win).
I know this is hard to think about, but please believe me: An infantry squad or a SWAT team will defeat you if you plan to fight from a fixed defense. Dan B. is absolutely right. You can’t win, no matter how much ammo you store. You are much better off storing more food. – JIR
Dear Mr. Rawles:
With regard to the thought of BG in his comments on Four Great Preparedness Myths, I recall Bruce Clayton in “Thinking About Survival “, relating his evolution as a survivalist, finally considering securing enough wheat to feed every family in a five mile radius from his homestead for one year. (pp. 21-26). One aspect of his rationale bears on this issue: “…(my neighbors) might not form a very effective fighting force by military standards, but at least I’d know that anyone who started taking potshots at my windows would soon have one of my neighbors getting into position behind him. It wouldn’t just be (my family) and me against the world any more”. BTW, I strongly recommend this book to one and all. Very thoughtful, very thought provoking. – Skyrat
Dear Jim and Family,
Thanks to articles on Polities, defending against the Golden Horde, and Greece, I have to conclude there are some very different, and probably equally viable ways to get through this enduring crisis we call the Great Recession (which is still not over). Some of the outcomes have been rather surprising. I did not, for example, expect the price of oil to drop. Its running out, after all, so you’d think it would go up and up. Greece and the rest of the EU depression has drastically cut demand so the price has fallen. This will only happen until the oil producing nations cut production so they can hang onto what they’ve still got for their children.
Thirty years ago, in 1980, the conventional wisdom for dealing with TEOTWAWKI was “beans and bullets”. That’s not so much the best way now. This is a multigenerational collapse, but it’s not a Golden Horde MZB collapse. It’s a Great Depression type, perhaps similar to what has happened in Japan for the last 20 years. Japan has been in and out (but mostly in) Recession since 1990. The population endures long term unemployment. They tried to cheer themselves up, and have finally moved to saving their money in the mattress rather than buy things they don’t need. We are looking at much the same thing. Manufacturing jobs have moved overseas to benefit multinational corporations. Our only defense against them is to refuse to buy their products. Those same multinationals somehow convinced (Bribed?) our government to bail them out when their bets went South, but they always kept the profits when things were good. We have to hold our government responsible for that. The poll results of the primaries have certainly shown we don’t like what they’ve done. I think it highly unlikely the current president will get a second term. He’s made Jimmy Carter look successful, and that’s really saying something.
The good news is that this multigenerational collapse is so slow moving that the fears of a population panicking and turning into the Golden Horde hasn’t happened and probably won’t. They have lots of time to adjust to the new reality, a return to poorer roots. It will be hardest for today’s teenagers, raised on limitless wealth and materialism. Some here refer to spiritual defense. In this case I’d agree. A spiritual defense against materialism is definitely called for. If we fail in this, those same youth will be hurting us to get what they want via gangs and mafia and even simple burglary or falling into drugs and prostitution, which is typically a short trip into the next life, such as it is. It is easy to say: respect their choices and let them die. But we do need them. We need them to work and reshape our world into something which can exist without cheap energy and easy solutions. We can’t throw money at a problem until it goes away. That was how our parents did things, and look where that got us. We have to do better. It’s our job now.
The only ways through the current mess of enduring Recession (Depression) is 1) hide or 2) lead. Leading is easier and cheaper. Hiding may end up making you a target, once your position is known. You can build the rural complex, and call it a farm and start bartering with your neighbors, but eventually the tax man or the burglar will come and the wrong choice at the wrong time will lose the farm or get you locked away, maybe both. This is the biggest downside to the firearms collection. It has very limited utility, and a very small legal window, particularly because Rule Of Law is not suspended during our Long Recession and probably won’t be. We don’t get to have easy answers. We get to have hard ones. That’s the biggest and most unpleasant truth to this Multigenerational Collapse. If you lead you have a chance to change the course and fix the mistakes and say no when it must be said.
The good news is once the current generation of materialist twits, and the past generation that caused this collapse have either grown up or faded away, ourselves and a generation without the conceits of easy materialism can build a serious future that will actually work, one without cheap oil, celebrity worship, and cultural antagonism. Why am I so optimistic? This isn’t optimism. It’s pragmatism.
The Recession is a temper tantrum. It will end when we stop clinging to a past that isn’t going to get better. We have to embrace a future built on honest labor, clean water, local agriculture, local manufacturing, rail transport, and renewable energy. No more money to angry Middle Eastern tyrants, hypocritical Asian capitalists, African pirates, or pretentious Venezuelans. Our government has shown itself incompetent dealing with those threats. Those things aren’t our concern any more. There is no point in continuing to pay for failure.
We really should let our leaders know that the world needs to take care of itself, and we should take care of ourselves. As is the case in business, being first is often the way to succeed. If you’ve shaken off the yoke of materialism, you have a real chance to lead the rest of your generation out of this mess and end the collapse, at least locally, sooner. I really do think we’ll end up locally bootstrapping ourselves out of this, that relying even slightly on Washington DC to fix it is childish. We have to be grownups here, because they can’t be. They’re trapped into the image of a lost age, one that’s well and truly over. Best, – InyoKern