This is another one of those topics that everybody “knows”, but few people have any real experience with here in the United States. The most common thinking is to live in the country on a farm or to bug out to the hills in case of some kind of disaster/economic meltdown/societal collapse.
The current thinking is that the criminals will stay in the city picking off the local citizens while those living in the country will be able to run off any pesky bad guys with an impressive array of firepower.
I found a post on Surviving in Argentina on this topic and thought it might warrant some discussion here. First of all, FerFal is in the unique position of having actually lived through an economic collapse and agree or not with what he has to say you should pay attention to him. I realize he’s only one man living one piece of a big story, but when someone with experience speaks I tend to listen.
In this post he talks about how a friend of his (wealthy I assume) who has a farm in the country with staff and family living there is invaded by a gang of bad guys. The gang moved in and took out the wait staff and farm hands who were working there before going on to rob the main house. Luckily no one was killed during the invasion, but he makes the case that they must have been watching the house for some time. The family that owned the farm actually lived in a gated community and thus avoided being present when the gang moved in.
Here in the United States we’re not exactly unfamiliar with violent crime. In this story the defendants say they chose this particular house because of its isolation. (I don’t think that detail is mentioned in this particular story, but Google it online and you’ll find way more details about the story than you want to hear.)
Then again, there’s the story of the Petit family where a couple of guys follow the mother home and then later break in and kill the mother and two daughters. I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that it’s another horrible story.
On the one hand the Cates family in the first story lived in an isolated spot in Vermont and the Petit family lived in a small New England town. Who would be safer when TSHTF? I don’t doubt crime will rise given some kind of economic collapse, especially if benefits to a certain part of the population who are dependent on them suddenly dry up.
Could it Happen Here?
Crime is one of the big problems in Argentina right now and whether or not it would get that bad here in the U.S. if/when an economic collapse happens remains to be seen; however, being a prepper I think it’s wise to at least think about it now and have some kind of plan in your back pocket just in case.
As FerFal points out in his article Mexico is currently experiencing major drug battles right now with spill-over in some of our southern states. When an economy goes bad and people have nowhere to go and are hungy I suspect a gang life can look pretty attractive. You got people watching your back and you’re fighting for a cause.
In his post he talks a little about gated communities, but how many of us live in a place like that? I live in a pretty rural setting with few houses nearby. My nearest neighbor is about 100′ through the woods to the southwest. The next nearest neighbor is across the street and down about a 100 meters. After that the nearest house is a 1/4 mile or more. My house would not be that easy to defend unless everybody on my road decided to pitch in. Road guards on either end of the road? Absurd! Or is it?
If zombie bikers did attack in any kind of force I don’t see any way I’d be able to fend them off for any length of time by myself or even with Mrs Jarhead helping (and she’s an excellent shot.) I do have a bug-out route out the back door through the woods with a small camp and minimal supplies, but that’s my last ditch plan. But at least I have a plan, weak as it may be.
If you think you are safe because you live in the country you should reevaluate your position by looking through a different lens. Drive down your road thinking like a robber and look at the houses near where you live. Whose house makes a juicy target? Why? Is it easy to get close to the house? Are there motion lights? Is there a dog? Are there neighbors close by? Is there any one living near you who could hear gunfire coming from inside the house? If so, would they help? Do you know your neighbors? Would you be willing to help them out if you heard gunfire coming from their land or house?
Honestly, I don’t want to live in the city for reasons that have nothing to do with OPSEC or anything to do with survivalism. I like the country. Yes, I’ve been in the big city many times and every time I come home from one I’m that much happier that I live where I do. But in the city there can be safety in numbers, and if you band together you might be able to stave off an attack by a show of force that I probably couldn’t mount in the country side.
So what’s your choice? Country or city?