One of the single biggest mistakes preppers make is that they buy into the myth that relocating to a small region in the North West corner of the United States is their “best” chance of survival. As you now know from my previous three articles in this series, this theory is inaccurate and is not based on any sound research. Further, it causes people to unnecessarily incur significant additional costs and difficulties when developing their preparedness plans. However, what you still may not know is that there is a large body of empirical evidence that repeatedly demonstrates people living in isolated, remote areas are often at the greatest risk during wide spread social chaos and collapse. Not coincidentally, these people also suffer some of the most hardships. Therefore, with respect to our contemporary situation in the United States, preppers relocating to Idaho with the explicit intent to escape an oppressive government and or are planning to escape widespread instability during a systemic collapse of the system might very well be signing their death warrants. Instead, contrary to contemporary prepping strategies, it would be better to be closer if not in the midst of a more densely populated area.
I understand what I just wrote probably sent many readers into anger and shock. Nonetheless, it is far better to get the right information now then to continue along a misguided path to destruction. No doubt, some readers will immediately discount what I am about to say because they are blinded by their own preconceived biases. I cannot help those people. Thankfully, the majority of my readers are intelligent thinking people that will quickly grasp the conclusions to be drawn from the evidence and modify their preparedness strategies accordingly. In fact, don’t take my word alone, I invite everyone to conduct their own independent research into our prepping assumptions and disseminate their findings.
My theories seem counterintuitive to the premise that the farther from people you are, the farther from harm you are. This is because the basic assumptions of this safety distance premise are flawed. As the theory goes, in the event of a collapse or major catastrophe, being located away from people in a remote, self-sufficient redoubt is your best chance. I have already discussed why the 300 mile rule is a useless metric and that the notion of a “Golden Horde” of refugees fleeing a city and destroying all in their wake is equally unfounded and completely untrue. The last pillar of this theory is that being isolated conveys additional survival benefits. To test it accurately, one must evaluate case studies from around the world and then correctly apply them to a realistic scenario domestically.
In the real world, case studies prove people actually become more likely to help each other during a crisis and not the opposite. My studies show that although criminals are a global reality, in towns and cities, people seem biased toward order and rules. Therefore in these areas, even after major disasters, there are more law abiding people, which keep the minority criminal elements in check. Looters for example are real, but they are the minority and quickly get arrested by the police or shot by the locals after a disaster such as major hurricane. In rural and isolated settings, this is not the case with respect to the numerical advantage. Rural people do work together and are generally law abiding, but because it is so easy to achieve numerical superiority against people living isolated from towns and larger populations, they are easily outnumbered and overwhelmed by even small organized criminal elements. Further, and far more important, in the event of a widespread collapse of the system, people living in remote, rural areas are not actually escaping their biggest threat, which is an oppressive government that has declared them the enemy. Those “individuals” are still well within the range of the gestapo. They are easy targets because a trained tactical unit can quickly descend upon their isolated location, easily surround it, and wipe it out in a single night. The fact a target, “you,” is isolated allows both government and criminal elements to maximize their advantages. If you are alone in the mountains, it means there will be no witnesses and heavy weapons can be used against you since there is no fear of collateral damage. It also means any help will take far longer to arrive. Using the powers of an out of control police state, you can quickly be identified, categorized as a domestic terrorist, targeted, and killed. In fact, today, there is no need for people to even be directly physically involved in removing you permanently from society. A drone flown from anywhere in the world is more than capable. Your bunker, observations posts, rifles, weapons skills, and camouflage are essentially useless against this new tool in the arsenals of police states. There are tools of resistance and means to fight these threats, but the old tactics are so badly outdated they collectively should be referred to as Kamikaze Tactics. This is the reality preppers in 2016 face going forward and the strategy to dig a hole in Idaho is completely inadequate to survive this type real world scenario. If the strategy was ever effective, it certainly is not today and must be revised.
The fantasy world created in survivalist books written by James Rawles and others make for entertaining reads, but are not credible guides for today’s survival realities. Any cognizant combat participate in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan know that an insurgent group or individuals resisting an out of control government from their redoubts as Rawles suggests would be quickly wiped out. You may be able to hold out against some limited incursions of small criminal gangs, but will be wiped out against any semi-organized group. As an insurgent, your survival is completely dependent upon integrating with the population and becoming impossible to differentiate from that population. You cannot live and operate in the same region independent of the “general” population. If you allow yourself to become isolated within the borders of the country during a collapse either you will face being wiped out by the rising insurgency against the government or you will be a part of the insurgency and face being wiped out by the government. If you think you can sit on the sidelines and ride it out, you will be wiped out by all sides. You will not be afforded the luxury of sitting on the sidelines during such domestic unrest and turmoil. You must pick a side. No matter what side that is, if you allow yourself to become isolated in a remote area, you will be wiped out.
Let me provide you more detail on what I am saying because it is critical you understand the mechanics of what actually happens to countries during a collapse. Most people prepping are prepping for some type of major break down of our society. This is good because it is realistic and occurring in real time. When a collapse occurs, it is a systemic failure and is not isolated. It unleashes a spiral of worsening social unrest and government reactions. For example, as the US goes bankrupt; many “entitlements” programs are no longer going to be able to provide the benefits promised. This will lead to riots and protests in major cities that you could be swept up in as collateral damage if not properly prepared. Don’t worry too much though because case studies suggest that anyone that has made basic preps should easily weather this initial storm. Very rarely does unrest become a city wide event and the government will quickly step in to suppress the unrest before it spreads to the “good” neighborhoods. It is this secondary government reaction that becomes the bigger long term problem that preppers should really plan for.
Instead of addressing the core grievances of the public, the parasitic government run by self-serving elites cracks down on the public protests and creates a cycle of worsening violence. As things become more violent, the level of oppression increases. This causes conditions to further deteriorate and people to become more desperate. The collateral effect is that any residual economic activity is frozen by the police state lock down to restore order. Even though order will more or less be maintained in cities where the majority of government resources are concentrated, it is not a sustainable situation. The martial law eliminates normal commerce, which starves an already bankrupt government of the last pennies of revenue. This fiscal crisis forces even more spending cuts and creates an even greater scarcity of resources. The people most affected by this are the people living in rural areas. A number of reasons for this exist, but to put it in simple terms, it is easier to let some coal miners in West Virginia you have never met starve than it is to fire a bunch of bureaucrats living and working in the same building as the people making the decisions on where to cut the spending. As such, government activity in these rural areas effectively ceases to function. This creates a vacuum of governance. It is in these vacuums the conditions for the emergence of insurgencies are created.
To recap, if you are prepping, you are prepping for the collapse of society so you need to understand how collapses occur. Wide spread collapses do not happen in a bubble. A country in collapse is synonymous with a government in collapse. If a government collapses, it fundamentally has failed to deliver effective governance to the people. As this occurs, it causes a balkanization of politicized aggrieved groups against each other and the government. We are witnessing this today in the US.
As the collapse progresses, these initially legitimate groups, like “Black Lives Matter,” soon take on an insurgent identity as these organizations form and evolve to “fix” the perceived injustices and lapses in government services. Ironically, these groups and the divisive agendas are usually first created and used by the elites to divide and control the population. These control tactics have historically been used to distract the population from the bigger fundamental problems facing the country. However, there comes a point where control can be lost if effective change and real improvements are not realized. This is often when a government initiates a foreign war as a last resort to avert a domestic civil war or insurgency. This is always the case in bankrupt nations because you can only distract people so long before the reality hits them in the stomach. The US is just now beginning to realize the degree of financial trouble it is in and is already having to cut pensions, seize savings through negative interest rates, massively increase health care costs, cut Social Security, and eliminate other entitlements. This is never received well by a population that has been trained to be dependents of a welfare state such as in Venezuela.
As people become desperate, insurgent organizations emerge to provide what the government failed to provide with respect to food, shelter, and security. These groups are outlawed by the sitting “legitimate” government and it reacts in a heavy handed and violent manner to put down the dissent. This always backfires and causes more chaos, which a nefarious government will use as an excuse to seize more power in order to “reestablish order and security.” This will include total gun confiscation, persistent surveillance of the population, suspension of any remaining civil liberties, and the categorization of political enemies that resist this takeover (you) as domestic terrorists. The unintended consequence of the government’s totalitarian response to restore order is almost always the outbreak of a full blown civil war or insurgency.
So this point brings us closer to the core problem with the periphery and why you need to prepare accordingly. If you have relocated to a remote region, you will be in this governance vacuum where new autonomous governments will arise at the local level. This initially sounds very appealing. It is also very much like the emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, for better or worse. In fact, if you study insurgencies, you will see that for this reason, more often than not, insurgencies begin in the peripheries and move to the center, not the reverse. However, as this occurs, the “legitimate government” realizes that it is in danger of completely losing all power and declares these organizations illegal, but fails to replace them with anything close to a viable alternative. This reality should be glaringly self-evident because a government that can’t provide governance by definition can’t fix the problem of no governance. This is why a total collapse is always inevitable by this point. It is very rare that once a country crosses this gray line where we witness the genesis of proto-insurgencies does it ever turn things around without a complete collapse. However, an astonishing number of people miss this truth and it is also one of the reasons I argue that a complete relocation out of a country is historically your best option. Either way, this creates an impossible situation for the population in the periphery (places like Idaho) stuck between warring factions without any legitimate or stable governance. In these chaotic times, the worst place to be is on the fence. Further, both sides seek to exploit and control this rural population through coercion, force, and sheer violence. That means if you are actively engaged in supporting an insurgent government, you are a domestic terrorist and will be attacked ruthlessly by the government forces easily able to isolate you from the rest of the population. If you are actively siding with the government, your neighbors siding with the insurgency will exploit your isolation and kill you. The worst situation will be those of you without the backing of either the insurgents or the government trying to stay out of it. You will be exploited and forced by both sides to join or die. Until the conclusive end of an insurgency when it either is defeated or takes over the major cities, the people that are the worst off are not the city dwellers, but the people living in the rural periphery where there is an active battle for control.
Although the term insurgent has a negative connotation, in reality, as witnessed across the globe in hundreds of contemporary examples, the “insurgent” is nothing more than the most prepared and organized element able to step up and fill the need for order and resist oppression. In our world, this means well organized and prepared “preppers” will by default become insurgents. This is even more likely in the event the red line of gun confiscation is crossed. As such, one must plan that a major event such as a full scale economic collapse will lead to wide spread insurgency in an already hotly divided nation. Once a nation descends into insurgency or open civil war, no one is spared the luxury of sitting on the sidelines as an innocent civilian. Ask any veteran, the “civilians” are always the people that suffer the worst during any conflict. Knowing this, what would be one of the worst moves an insurgent force could make? The worst move would be to isolate itself from the population in a location easily surrounded by the government. This always leads to rapid destruction and defeat of the insurgency.
So now we get to the crux of why being isolated is not actually the best strategy if you are prepping for a true systemic collapse of the system, which most of us are. If there is any lesson on how to defeat an insurgency, it would state you must isolate the insurgent from the population. To do this, the counterinsurgent must be able to identify the insurgents and eliminate their sanctuaries. Fail to do this and the government forces will lose. Succeed and you will achieve a decisive and swift victory over the insurgency. The insurgent must never allow himself to become isolated from the population or will being cut off and eliminated. By concentrating in one relatively small and remote area of Idaho, this makes the government’s job of cutting off and wiping out an insurgency very easy through the use of drones and special operations raids where maximum firepower can be used at little risk of collateral damage or witnesses. The idea of some preppers in Montana and Idaho eliminating the first Infantry Division in a conventional battle is so grossly inaccurate I would deem the mere mention of it as an outward expression of suicidal tendencies. Those of us that have fought recently in America’s unconstitutional wars have learned a few things. One of those is that the nature of warfare has undergone a revolution. This revolution toward persistent unmanned and autonomous systems is an Orwellian game changer in warfare. It means that your hunter never sleeps, doesn’t blink, and won’t ever stop. Without high tech defenses, you are dead and are left almost completely helpless once engaged on the battlefield. The state can afford to lose drones; you can’t afford to lose men. How long before your numbers are bled dry? If there is one simple way to mitigate the effectiveness of drones, it is to blend in with the population and hug the belt of the government so that no attack can be launched without killing and alienating the remaining urban supporters of the regime. However, in-depth discussions regarding modern insurgent tactics will have to wait for another day. For now, understand that finding the happy middle ground between densely populated cities and sparsely populated mountains will be a critical aspect of any relocation plan and will imbue your redoubt with far better survivability.
To conclude, as we have witnessed around the world to contemporarily include Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Venezuela, a collapse occurs for a variety of reasons, but the descent follows a predictable pattern that almost always includes the emergence of insurgencies. Therefore, we must prep for insurgency. Specifically, an insurgent movement emerges where governance is no longer provided (the peripheries outside of cities). These peripheries then become the battlegrounds between the state and the people. This is why inhabitants in these isolated and thinly populated regions suffer greatly at the hands of both the insurgent and government forces. However, in the end, the “solution” the government imposed to suppress dissent and control the public ultimately backfires and creates the conditions that will utterly destroy that government. I believe the US has crossed that fine line and we are witnessing the formation of proto-insurgencies and the death spiral of a nation. Armed with this knowledge, think long and hard before you relocate to an area such as Idaho where you are very isolated and at the epicenter of what the government will eventually declare insurgent territory.
By Guiles Hendrik
September 11, 2016