Monday, November 3, 2008

Archived Article- City versus Country

Archived article from

As previously stated we are going to use this venue to archive old blog posts from the main site listed above. RH

City versus Country- copyright April 2007 Robert Henry

For years it was commonly accepted that a survivor living in the country had a much better chance of making it than his citybound counterpart. A lot has changed in the way of demographics, social climate and independence in the last 20 years that may have changed some of this thinking.

For the most part, gone are the days of the notion that all country people are good. Per capita the crime rates are probably fairly similar to what they are in the city. The big plus simply being that less people around= less chances for major problems. The lack of decent employment, lesser living conditions and drug use can be directly linked to this increase. Overall, the general downturn of moral values in this country is to blame.

The country was once looked upon where boys would develop into men via hard farm work. Not much hand labor is done on farms any more, especially on the larger farms. Much of the country attributes adherent to the "old school" of moral values has went the way of the dinosaur. Even here in the "Bible belt" this is true.

The lack of character, selfishness and poor moral value once thought mainly to reside with easy living city folk is now broadcast via satellite TV into most every rural house in the country. Yes, TV plays a major part in it.

When we left Florida 8 years old we left behind any TV service. When I think of the time I wasted over the years mindlessly flipping channels looking for something to drain my brain, honestly, I feel ashamed. And you should too. So often you find people with there TV sets on constantly, even when no one is watching. WTH is the point in that? Is it that we have become so morally bankcrupt and alone that we must at least "sense" that others are near us even when they are not?

I love to see people on the message boards whining and moaning that they don't have enough money to prep. Ask those same types what happened on TV last night and they will have plenty of answers for you then. There family will starve one day but at least they can be "programmed" now.

Years ago I had a friend that was absolutely mesmerized by the TV. I was actually quite funny to watch him when it was on- for all practical purposes he was no longer even in the room.

A lot of would be survivalists think that they are going to get some type of firsthand information on when to bug out from the TV and therefore justify watching it for that reason. Fox news or some other channel "may" offer some breaking news to an event before it's censored but the real question is will you ACT on it? What if the information is there but cannot be "verified?" Are you willing to put your plans into affect then? If not, you might be waiting too late, especially if you are one of those that must bug out in a disaster.

OK back to city and country....

So basically what I'm saying is that for the most part, you are not going to find the Sheriff Taylor and Aunt Bee type morals in the country anymore.

A short ride through a rural area will also show you that not everyone that resides in the country is self sufficient or has the land necessary for such. In most cases, neither will the skills for that type of living be found in the country any more also.

So why then bother with getting out of the cities?

Population density

In my view, it's a simple question of numbers. In the country you may have 100 people living within a 5 mile radius, 90% of which are not able to go 2 weeks without outside assistance.

In the city, you may have 100,000 living within a 5 mile radius, 99% of which are not able to go 2 weeks without assistance.

What do you suppose those 100,000 folks are going to do? Sit quietly and die? Ain't gonna happen.

You hear this non-sense bantied around sometimes about subdivisions (we've covered some of why this won't work before), how some survivalists have these grand plans of "organizing" there subdivisions and blocking roads in and surviving a disaster that way. MIGHT WORK for the short term disaster, I.e, Hurricane. Will NOT work for the long term. You cannot be the only well fed person in a community of two or three hundred and expect it to go unnoticed.

So if not the city, and the country isn't what it's cracked up to be, then what?

I think the best option long term (again, no "2 week" prep BS here) is going to be living in the country but being by yourself, i.e, not a part of a small town. Yes this goes against what Tappan and others wrote 30 years ago. However a LOT has changed with small cities in the last 30 years. However, your also going to have to bring some friends with you (i.e, survivalists) or invite them there, you won't be able to do it all on your own.

You are absolutely going to have to have a minimal amount of land in order to produce enough food to live long term. You cannot raise enough food to live on in an apartment or even in a backyard in suburbia. Sorry, ain't gonna happen, I don't care what Square foot gardening books you've read or how pretty your raised beds are. Remember when your growing food for survival, you have to grow enough to eat fresh now AND enough to get you through to the next harvest (next year). Did I mention you'll have to save enough seed for next year also? Did I mention you won't be making a trip to the nursery for seedlings, or the feed store for new stock? Did I mention your going to have to grow grains for yourself and your livestock also?

Everyone has there "pet" scenarios and situations that they feel will cause TSHTF. I try not to concentrate on the scenario but rather how it will affect me and those around me. One thing that will likely happen as a result of most scenarios is a famine. It follows war like a shadow (so does epidemics). Most every scenario we envision includes a disruption of shipping and trucking- a possible trigger for food shortages. Various NBC scenarios will bring about famine situations. An invasion or takeover by hostile forces (foreign or domestic) would see a small scale famine (never forget, FOOD IS POWER).

So I've put a lot into having the resources both in land, equipment, supplies and most importantly experience to be able to raise our own food over and above the necessary level of food in storage. It's a learning curve to be sure, but luckily we are mid way through our curve.

What about less than a total collapse?

I still cannot see why a city location would fare better than a well prepared country location. Only in situations involving a serious scarcity of fuel would this be a problem. Only a problem if work had to be obtained a great distance away.

This is one of the main reasons keeping many survivalists from moving to the country now- work and money concerns.

5 years ago, when the housing bubble wasn't leaking air... I advocated that folks in high priced areas who had lived there for a while (and therefore had adequate equity built up) who had seen some of the dramatic appreciation (can you still call it that now?) in there homes should sell out and move to the country. A chipboard McMansion bought for $90,000. in the late 90's that could be sold for $250,000. in 03 or 04 could have set the seller up very nicely in the country. The seller could have cleared out the debt he had (the $90K sans any equity) and could have put $160K in his pocket to buy a house and land in the country. In essence entirely reversing his course in life. Going from paying out $800.00 or more a month in mortgage to being debt free AND owning a modest home.

In addition, this lack of mortgage would give the seller the ability to WORK FOR LESS MONEY in the country. There would not be the "need" to make the extra money offered for a similiar city job due to the fact that $800.00 or more (with higher property taxes and insurance) would NOT be needed for the family budget. This in turn would increase the TRUE "quality of life" for the person. Unfortunately when most people talk about "quality of life" it means having more junk, better junk, a house much bigger than is actually needed, etc. By "true quality of life" I mean being able to spend time with your family, a house that's truly a home for the family, etc.

I know quite a few that were not scared and did this. Most of the worldly city bound wanna-be's chickened out, not willing to give up there psuedo-lives in the city. I'd be willing to bet quite a few of them are regretting it and more than a few will be as we hit hard economic times very soon. (Editor's note- this was written in early 2007)

"So if we live by ourselves in the country, will that work?"

Probably not.

Why? Numbers. I've shown before here on the blog and in the "long long ago" on the shortwave radio show how it takes teamwork to survive. The single family approach probably won't work for a number of reasons-

1. Unless it's a family the size Jacob had (12 sons) there will likely not be enough manpower to mount an effective guard duty. I would say at a bare minimum it takes 4 people to maintain a 24 hour guard duty for 1 position. Also, those 4 people aren't going to be able to do much else besides guard duty. This leaves the women folk (that might not be used as guards) to handle the majority of the day to day work at the retreat- gardening, animal husbandry, preserving food, cooking food, washing clothes, taking care of the children, teaching children, etc. We will have an upcoming article soon relating to this.

2. The single family will usually lack the essential mix of skills necessary for long term survival. My family could build, fix or maintain just about any structure, dwelling or piece of equipment you could imagine. However none of them outside of myself know squat about anything medical. None of them know anything about growing food or preserving it. If you attempt to go the single family route, you MUST know the weaknesses in your family structure, both in skillsets and on the personal level.

3. Nine times out of ten there is really only one family member "into" preparedness. The rest for all practical purposes are baggage. Consider this carefully when you get into a group situation. Some people by there very nature are lazy, others are troublemakers, quite a few excel at both . Don't kid yourself, if you are inviting family members that are not prepared and they make no efforts to be that way now, you must prepare for them! No two ways about it, they will be a burden to your supplies, plan accordingly. This goes doubly for the "friends" that have told you the dreaded "I know where I'm coming when I get hungry" non-sense. Unless you can honestly and truthfully say that you could do them harm (which has serious consequences both here and later), you will need to stock food for them also. The whole idea of "butter knife" weapons to hand out to people you barely know (neighbors, acquantances, etc.) is ridiculous. Better to stock food for them than expecting them to be your unpaid and unfed mercenary. Sometimes it helps to take the rose colored survival fantasy glasses off and consider realistically the scenarios you plan for.

Back to an earlier blog post where I stated that after much thought and consideration I came to the conclusion long ago that you absolutely had to be a part of a functioning, established (not thrown together at the last minute, "kabobble" group) group to make it long term.

I realize this is a lot for people to swallow. A lot of people now a days aren't willing to take drastic steps on there own. Few and far between are the truly independent types of yester year. However if you truly want to survive, your going to have to learn to be a leader, to be the one that steps up to the plate and gets things done.

After all, isn't that what being a survivor is all about?

Hope this helps

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