Saturday, July 2, 2011


Rottenclam got me to thinking. That, and what I have been reading over at the Bison blog. Which is the ludicrousness of most survival plans an ideas.

The stronghold idea. I thought about that and I think, given a .270 with a scope, a decent sidekick, and some muscle, I could crack any stronghold. All it would take is the ability to wound a human being regardless of age or sex.

It will take a community to survive. Even then you might have to pay off the local warlord. The local warlord will probably be wearing a US Army or LE uniform. You would still be paying. Most people assume the feds would quietly go away. Not.Going. To. Happen. Even if a collapse happened tomorrow the fed's would still be major players three generations from now. They have the manufacturing base, the resources, and the weapons to make sure of that.

I would suggest studying the Russian collapse. Soon we will have Greece. Perhaps China and other European countries.


  1. *Response Part 1*

    You know, Nova, its strange. Part of what attracted me to the whole AA series so strongly in the first place was the fact that it seem so damn "unplanned", and by that, I mean it sounds slightly closer to reality than a lot of other post-apocalypse fiction that I've read.

    I'll elaborate a bit. Gardener (and Max, and Night, and Ninja) really just tried to get through their lives around DC until they absolutely knew that they had leave.

    When they settled in to Max's friend's place, it seemed like it was just going to be "temporary". When they settled in the town where Shelli worked, it was a place where the group just sort of "set up shop" in an impromptu manner. When they settled in the cave, it was a lucky place of "last resort" that was found before Winter. When Gardner settled into the re-education center, it was merely to scheme his way into somewhere else. They're almost always on the move; and the plan is loosely formed at best.

    I think Lord Bison at his Blog and Rawles over at Survival Blog have it right in respect to living in super-remote areas being a way to avoid a lot of pain, but the problem is that for 99.99% of the rest of us, we're going to have a front row seat to the decline (ala' Gardener and company when they're in the DC area during AA Part I). So if you crunch the numbers 99.99% of us have ZERO plan.

    My point of reference for what the collapse *may* look like is an amalgamation of the American Apocalypse stories, our very own Great Depression, and the refugee migrations within Europe during WW2.

    Depending on how much law and order is maintained (and how benevolent it is) will determine the amount of refugees and their respective patterns of movement that we see.

  2. *Response Part 2*

    If you look at China today, those living in the rural areas answer to the Warlord that you describe in your article above. Sure that Warlord is really just a "party authority", but he is still usually a gangster or feudal lord of sorts.

    In parts of the Middle East and in many parts of Africa, you answer to the local Warlord. This Warlord and his gang take a tithe from whatever you yield from your crops, goats, etc. In return, you are allowed to live and grow your family...but not your family's wealth.

    In South America, the rural folks answer to the cocaine Warlords or the Land Barons. If you dont obey the cocaine Warlords you are "disappeared", and if you dont obey the Land Barons (when you are asked to deforest your own community's land), your local water-well is poisoned.

    In the continents listed above, there is no upward mobility and all the local Warlords pay up to the politicians or even bigger Warlords (which may in fact be US business interests from time to time).

    So here is my point. Do any of those people living in those rural situations have a survival plan? They live in remote regions, just like Rawles and Lord Bison recommend. Yet the people are fucked!

    The collapse will definitely reveal a Warlord class. Whether it is sponsored by government or not is almost irrelevant (just look at China). Either way, many of us are screwed.

    The big difference between those people living on those continents (and in those tough conditions) and us, is that we have a 300 year old taste of personal freedoms and have also lived lives that embody sound principles of Liberty. So putting us back into a state where we answer to brutal Warlords will be a tough transition.

    Like you say, we definitely need community to make sure we are not exploited. Survival plans that are based on the "lone wolf" strategy will probably deflate pretty fast.

    My concern with my community is that what I stock away today is a secret I keep from them. I'm worried that if my neighbors ever found out I had 20 toothbrushes stashed, they would think I'm nuts.

    Of course, I'm *also* worried that my neighbors might just come knocking on my door, post-collapse, looking for a toothbrush.

    Which would you rather have? You have two options:

    1. Your neighbors think that you are crazy now.


    2. Your neighbors want to take your shit later.

    Building community under this pretense of impending collapse is a pretty delicate craft.

    Last but not least; what if nothing goes wrong? How does having a stash of 20 toothbrushes improve my life today? I guess time will tell....

  3. rottenclam,

    I'd go with crazy. I'm ok with that.

  4. I kind of like the idea of the stronghold. But it's not a question of strength or how remote you are but if you will outlast the biggest gun on the block.

    Call me crazy but I'll opt for going down swinging.

    Jim in MO.

  5. more important than any accumulation of goods, i think, is learning the art of clear thinking. Also, training the ability to make a decision and and act on it RIGHTFUCKINGNOW. Those are able to recognise when "it" happens and act on that knowledge will be miles ahead of the ones who stand around incredulously while strongmen start kicking in heads and taking what they want.

    perception. clear thinking. decisive action.


  6. Anon 3:34pm - So true. Being completely lucid (combined with being a deft decision maker) during times of crisis will be critical to one more day of survival. That includes knowing when to LEAVE a secluded retreat.

  7. In fact, that is how AA1 had an unhappy ending. All the leaders in the group knew it was time to bug out ASAP, but they couldn't walk away from their stores into the unknown.

    Quick, decisive action is easy to speculate on and hope for, but it's not easy to actually do, especially when your family is on the line.

    Also, quick decisive incorrect action can easily get you killed.

  8. too true FHSB. i can imagine the squawking when i tell my wife we need to leave behind all the stuff we have stashed RIGHT NOW. especially after all the fight to get it stored up in the first place.


  9. "we need to leave behind all the stuff we have stashed RIGHT NOW. especially after all the fight to get it stored up in the first place."

    This happens in stages:

    You pull away from the the house with a repo notice on door. It's been cheap to live there since the mortgage become uncollectable, but they finally cut off the utilities to try to get folks out of that section of town.

    The big clunky junk was left behind in the house and garage, perhaps on fire. The truck with camper-house, RV or car towing self-contained trailer is not too heavy and big enough for all 4 of us if we behave. Where to? Driving around much will drain the tank and cash savings very quickly, assuming that there is fuel to buy. Find a place: temporary or long-term homestead out of RV? Having landed friends is a good thing.

    If no place within finding range of gas/money, prepare to walk/bicycle. RV without Grid power/propane/water/tank draining is no fun. Cave-like, at best. A backpack tent/bivy is better.

    Still holding onto those silver and gold coins, right? A pistol in size that starts with "4" will also be useful and worth its' weight when ounces are being stripped from the pack.

    Welcome to pedestrian refugee status. Avoid camps with lots of rules especially where they have to "hold" your pack and coat. Everything begins to suck as the number of calories expended begins to equal or not-quite equal those expended.

    Even Rawles doesn't claim to have the answer, but I believe that he is correctly offering "better odds" than the standard NO-PLAN.

    Some people without anything and knowing nothing will survive. Some are plain lucky and stumble onto the right situation at the right time. Their children will probably be lucky too. How does one tell a smooth criminal from a genuinely lucky person in a group of "survivors"?

    I can go to Reno and put 10 rolls of nickels in a machine and get back $1.50, put that in and go broke. Done. GF hands bartender a $10 bill, asks for a roll of quarters and a beer. She plays 10 quarters and wins $100. Then does what never happens: she hands me the beer for finishing and says "let's go".

    It's my job to save and plan, while she gets to be lucky.

    The Rawles plan, or something like it, gets you away from the urban danger zones early and in a controlled manner. With family getting gardens in shape and meeting the neighbors, commuting into urban areas for high-value work might be worth while in exchange for the risk of having to walk home alone when it's over.

  10. Better still if you can bicycle with a couple of other like minded, well heeled neighbors on your commute to and from.

  11. This article made the gears in my head turn, rapidly:

    I'd add that having a 72 hr. bug out pack handy at all times is prudent, and having decided ahead of time what goes and what stays.

  12. The collapse is upon us: it's just slow.

  13. Fortresses don't work against attackers more sophisticated than a mob. Against a mob, your wall doesn't burn and when they get in range they get shot and annoyed by loud noises. There's no food/water/shelter outside the fortress for several miles, so the siege is thirsty/hungry/cold/wet/hot, and it's time to go.

    Against a post-gunpowder military force, it's a matter of time before they starve you out, smash down the wall/gates, or make your life miserable with indirect fire. Even Roman sieges did this before explosives.

    Maneuver warfare with force multipliers like high-tech cheap bombs (EFP or captured-component IED's), trained militia, and tiny observation aircraft are the way to keep safe and repel the OpFor. A certain amount of sturdy and obscure is good in structures, but 9th or 21st century castle/keep is very expensive compared to how safe it makes the occupants.

    If we expect collapse to be slow, we have to get our costs and outputs well below our incomes BEFORE the collapse makes us inconvenienced. Start with transport: Bicycle for each person, at least, with spare wear parts (chains, tires, tubes, wheels, bearings, etc.) tools and some books/training to fix/ maintain. Food production facilities that can make vegetables/fruit as well as protein (fish/meat) will be a fine source of independence as well as small cash/credit/barter income. Water catchment/tankage and purification will cut a bill from the muni-utility for both water and sewer (sewer charge calculated based on water consumption). Electricity for lighting (and DX-only radio, cellular phone charging, small battery charging) is not a huge investment, when comparing LED to kerosene or candle lighting cost/effectiveness. One solar panel, one <$200 MPPT controller, one long-term deep cycle gel battery,hook-up wire, meter, and lights will do the basic job of minimal night lighting of enough to read by.

    This is like trying to sell a house into a declining market. You can't ask "what it's worth" you must ask a price that seems like such a deal that the first real buyer can't resist, even if it's for a potential fix/flip.
    Waiting or asking a "fair price" will end poorly.


  14. I decided about thirty years ago that things in the States may actually get bad sometrime in the future and I gave a lot of thought to where my family should be. The RAwls solution or having a bug out retreat somewhere far away from civilization was attractive but unaffordable. Living in the sduburbs of Chicago, I knew getting away from the urban area was the most important but I still had to be cloe enough to make enough income to support us. I started spending a lot of time thinking about what would be best.

    I decided that I needed a very remote, very small, agbiz cxommunity well away from of the Interstate highways that cross Illinois. It needed to have a grain company and grain elevators because you can survive a long time on millions of bushels of corn and soybean. It would also need to have water supplied by the town owned wells and there would need to be both electrical and natural gas lines in town.

    An agbiz community is filled with resources. It usually has every trade represented; welders, carpenters, mechanics, electricians, usually has plenty of vets who are familiar with military training, lots of hunters and mainly folks who are used to relying on themselves.

    If the town is well away from the Interstates, it will probably cut down on refugees and foragers, and what sooner or later will turn into brigands.

    So, 25 years ago I moved my family into just that kind of town. After two and a half decades in a town of 800, everone knows me, knows about me and my family and we are accepted as a valid member opf the community.

    To the extent that many of us have agreed on common calibers of ammunition to stock pile, the need for building up equipment that would be really nice to have in an emergency and over the years, we have several town wide weather related emergencies that we have all bonded together.

    I am glad I did this because I really am not sure where all that is going on will lead us.

  15. Bud,

    Sounds like a nice place to bring up a family and live regardless.

    I'm not sure where we are going either but I am sure its going to be interesting.

  16. Well,

    There's always room for you here.

    There seems to be a lot of empty houses lately and anybody that likes SA pistols would fit right in

  17. Thanks Bud,

    I always figured I would live and die in Virginia but life can change in a heartbeat.

    I'm in Texas and picked up a nice tooled gun belt for my Vaquero. Made the entire trip worth while.