Monday, August 11, 2014

Bugging out: Why and Where?

Bugging out:  Going somewhere else where you will feel safer.

Why wouldn’t you feel safest in your own familiar, cozy home?  In the event of most conceivable cataclysmic or life threatening events certainly you can store ample food and water in your home  - and be perfectly safe – perhaps more easily than in a distant location.  But then again, maybe not.

There are two reasons for getting out of dodge:

  1. Your house is in danger of being seriously damaged or destroyed or has already been damaged or destroyed.  The most likely causes include hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, sinkholes, and fires (house and forest).
  2. Your life is in danger of being seriously violated.  The most likely cause is civil unrest created by roving bands of hotheads, ragheads, potheads, or desperately panicked people provoked by a wide variety of black swan* or even more predictable events.  Something as common as alleged police brutality triggers riots and mayhem in an instant, as currently witnessed in a suburb of St. Louis.  More esoteric triggers could include an Ebola or other pandemic provoked panic, bank closures, and EMP-generated destruction of electrical infrastructure – all of which will create food and water shortages within days or weeks that will quickly create a psychotic population.

Given Reason 1, natural disaster, most any alternative location removed from the immediate area of destruction will be an option:  a motel, a friends house across town, and even a nearby shelter.  Sheltering in place may be the option of choice for most folks in all but the most life-threatening events.

Reason 2, civil unrest, requires much more careful thought and preparation.  If you KNOW that the civil temper tantrum is localized AND temporary, then you can either batten down in place or spontaneously relocate to a safer location for a few hours or a day or two until things calm down.

On the other hand, if you suspect that the unrest is spreading, or likely to spread to broader areas and is likely to continue and worsen as a result of a major trigger event, then an alternate location may be your only rational option.  Guess what?  If you didn’t plan ahead for this eventuality, it may be too late.

Since it is a good idea to plan ahead, several questions arise.  Where should you go?  How will you get there?  Who should you be with?  What should you bring or have on site? 

This article will focus only on the “where you should go” part of protecting your existence.  What are the best locations to insulate you from any chaos that you suspect may not only worsen but be long lasting?

Here is a list of the most important locational criteria for your safe zone:

  • Off the beaten path
  • Easily defensible from others
  • Easily accessible to you
  • Accessible food and water

Taking these criteria one at a time, here are several specifics that ferret out the characteristics of each one:

Off the beaten path.  Look for places…

  • Away from population centers:  At least 20 miles away from large cities (over 100,000); at least 10 miles away from mid-sized cities (20,000 to 100,000); at least 2 miles away from small cities/towns (below 20,000).
  • With low density population.  Rural is better than urban or suburban.  The fewer homes and people per acre, the better.
  • With little or no existing public infrastructure.  The less dependent nearby residents have been on public infrastructure, the easier it will be for them to adapt to having no public services and the less stressed and psychotic they are likely to become.
  • Away from throughways.  Desperate people will travel roads of every type that go from population center A to population center B looking for something “better.”  Whether an Interstate, State Road, County Road, or farm road - if it extends from one populated area to another, it will get traffic.  Look for retreats that are at the “end of the line” that don’t go anywhere.  These might be at the edge of a National Forest, on a body of water, or on a road that loops in and out of an area where people have no reason to be.
  • Hidden from view or “blending in” the surrounding area, appearing to be nothing special.  Avoid looking “prepared”.  No obvious barbed wire; no obvious stores of supplies or food; no off-site noise from generators; no out-of-place looking windmills.

Easily defensible from others.  Look for places…

  • Having limited, monitorable, and controllable routes of access.
  • Having natural defensible boundaries, such as bodies of water, ravines, or bluffs.
  • Having heavily wooded terrain that shields on-site activity from off-site view.
  • With ample acreage around the perimeter of the retreat that serves as a buffer zone that can be patrolled to keep uncivil behavior from occurring within the retreat area.  This would ideally extend a quarter mile or more with several hundred feet being a minimum.

Easily accessible to you and other retreat members.  Look for places…

  • Within an easy drive or manageable hike.  Within 15 to 30 miles would be an ideal.  Events may turn fast.  You may not have time to bug out to your North Carolina mountain cabin in the woods.
  • With alternate routes of access in case the principle route becomes blocked.
  • With other like minded folks to help you get there in case you can’t.

Accessible, sustainable food and water.  Look for places…

  • Next to or near a body of water – a lake, river, stream.
  • Where rain barrels can be installed in abundance without being seen off-site.
  • With enough open space clear of trees either on-site or close by that can be used for growing edibles.
  • Near areas where wild game is in abundance and can be hunted without shooting other desperate hunters.  Ideally the location would not have dozens or hundreds of other hunters doing the same thing.

These measures seem extreme to most people.  Most are blinded by their normalcy bias.  However, most people don’t really pay much attention to what is going on in the world – the rapid pace of cultural, governmental, economic, religious, demographic, and moral change.   Cultural clashes from economic, religious, and ethnic differences and disputes from feelings of inequality, injustice, or “devine right” to annihilate those who disagree – example:  Islam – are becoming more common.  We live in an increasingly polarized and psychotic society. 

The odds of conflict are increasing.  Do you care?


* Black Swan event:  Named after the rarity but existence of black swans.  An event in human history that was unprecedented and unexpected at the point in time it occurred. However, after evaluating the surrounding context, domain experts (and in some cases even laymen) can usually conclude: “it was bound to happen”.   More HERE.


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