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Everybody’s always wrong: thoughts on TEOTWAWKI scenarios

I just love reading predictions. Economic. Political. Psychic. No matter. It’s amusing (and a good reminder not to get too cocky). ‘Cause they’re always wrong.

Economists have a special talent for being wrong; they’re right up there with psychics for how egregious they can be. (And just like psychics, they like to edit themselves after the fact to show how “right” they were. The guy who got 9 out of 10 predictions wrong will put up advertising banners touting the one he got sort of semi-correct.) But that’s another story.

Today the “everybody’s always wrong” topic is TEOTWAWKI.

Understand, this isn’t to knock anybody. I perfectly well understand why we need to think about future scenarios, even if our best predictions can only end up being approximations. In fact one of the two articles I’m highlighting below is quite well-thought-out.

It’s just that everybody who ever predicts the future is wrong. Period. Whatever happens always happens in a different way than we think it will. The future may “rhyme” with our predictions, but it will never match them — and it rarely, rarely even comes close to what we envision. That’s just life, not anybody’s fault. But the reason that matters is that, whatever happens, we’ll need flexibility to deal with it.

If we think TEOTWAWKI is inevitable (and we’re kinda secretly hopeful it is so we can haul out our Super-Duper Whizzwhacker cannon and start blasting away at zombies), then we may end up wasting a lot of money, energy, and emotion if zombies never come knocking. OTOH, if we’re sunnily convinced that things just aren’t going to get that bad, we may end up so stunned by reality that we stand there numb and dumb while the zombies run over us.


Anyhow, the two articles that got me thinking about this both arrived from jed earlier this week.

First up is “Why I Am Not a Doomsday Prepper” by Jon Stokes.

Stokes is witty and insightful and I’m sympathetic to his basic premise:

But this isn’t a treatise on prepping. Rather, it’s about why I don’t prep for The End Of The World As We Know It, TSHTF, the apocalypse, the collapse, or whatever else you want to call it. Yes, I do keep an excessive amount of long term storage food on hand–my urban-dwelling family of five is prepared for roughly three months of loss of access to basic services, but I’m not even remotely interested in doing any more. Of course, by most people’s standards, having three months of dehydrated food on hand is just completely insane, but by prepper standards I’ve basically given up and will just die in the second wave rather than the first.

I agree with him that having three months of preps is fantastic for most people. Would that all our neighbors were so well-prepared!

Expecting every prepper to be ready for TEOTWAWKI isn’t realistic and the expectation that everybody should have a year’s worth of lentils, an underground bunker, and two lifetimes’ supply of .308 or .50 ammo probably puts off more people than it encourages.

But Stokes then goes on to speculate about “well, what if it’s TEOTWAWKI after all?” and millions of people die? No big deal, he seems to say:

Wiping out two thirds of the population would bring us back to the opening decades of the 1900’s, the era of the early seasons of Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire. Neither of these two shows look anything like The Walking Dead to me.

Killing off a whopping 90% of the population would take us back to 1860, the year that Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th president of the United States. I also saw the movie Lincoln, and it, too, did not look like The Walking Dead.

Losing 99% of our population would take us back to the post-Revolutionary War period of the 1780’s. At that point, Harvard University had already been operating for about 150 years. Again, Rick Grimes’ group of survivors would be out of place here.

My point is this: with only 1% of our present population, humanity had arts and letters, transatlantic trade, a thriving stock market (in London, at least, and a few years later in the US)–in short, we had civilization. It was not a Hobbesian “state of nature.”

And you’ve already spotted the catastrophic flaw in that logic, right? Losing X-percent of population in some catastrophe isn’t in any way the same as never having had that population around in the first place. Not even close, baby. Not even close.

If 90 days’ preps are all you can muster, then muster them. Just by being aware and ready to get through a few bad weeks, you’re ahead of the game. But don’t delude yourself that TEOTWAWKI, if it comes, would be a picnic.


The second article is by somebody who takes TEOTWAWKI much more seriously and has for years. Matt Bracken writes “When the Music Stops — How America’s Cities May Explode in Violence.”

This is a long read, but Bracken clearly knows whereof he speaks and has even provided his thought-provoking (and well-known, to some) diagram mapping the meta-terrain of Civil War 2.

Rather than quote extensively from the article, I’ll just say go read it. It’s worth your time. And again, I have to stress that I’m not knocking Bracken. I’m merely observing that all of us have foggy crystal balls.

Bracken is answering the rather obtuse, government-endorsed viewpoint that somehow terrorism and societal chaos will ultimately arise from the tired old Tea Party/militia/rural/gun-owner axis — a view so truly stupid it hardly merits serious consideration, let alone the very serious counter-argument Bracken gives it.

But both Bracken’s and the fedgov’s senarios contain (of course) their own biases. Big Government sees rural, gun-owning white people as its biggest threat a) because we’re noisy malcontents with blogs and b) because it views urban minorities as its friends. (It would also of course be highly politically incorrect, and would raise a media ruckus, if the U.S. Army or the F.B.I. were to name minorities as a problem. Everybody knows, OTOH, that it’s perfectly okay to despise flyover-country crackers.)

Bracken goes into great detail about his belief that any real chaos will start in the inner cities and spread outward from there. He envisions a scenario in which urban minorities, realizing that cops can’t stop them, fan out into the suburbs and beyond, terrorizing helpless, nearly unresisting (and mostly white) populations.

Well … maybe. My crystal ball is as cloudy as anybody else’s. But while I suspect Bracken is correct about the potential for widespread urban chaos, my guess is that the whole “hordes of dark people rampaging out of cities to attack helpless whites” vision arises more from Bracken’s fears and prejudices than from reality. He is quite invested in the idea of a new civil war and the related notion that this will, at least in part, be a race war.

I don’t know about that. Certainly the way academics and the media are stirring up class and race resentments, it could be.

However, even if resentment and desperation rose to catastrophic pitch, it would actually be very hard for masses of starving urban brown people to rampage very far beyond their own neighborhoods. And should such a thing ever happen … well, heck, aren’t all those suburbs and the rural areas beyond them filled with heavily armed “conservatives” ready and more-than-willing to defend themselves? I mean, according to government and media (and IMHO, reality), the people of the suburbs and hinterlands are … dangerous! Dangerous in a “don’t tread on me” way. Not looking for trouble. But ready to respond if trouble comes to them.

Nope, I just don’t see hordes rampaging from the ghettos to leafy suburbs and beyond. Not many of them, and not too successfully if they try. My crystal ball says any urban rampaging, however widespread, however driven, is likely to stay (mostly) urban. Oh, conditions in the suburbs and rural bergs could get very bad for many reasons. But probably not like that. (Where I live, for instance, I suspect we’re a lot more likely to have to shoot our own tweaker-and-deadbeat neighbors in a time of violent crisis than to fend off roaming urbanites. I also suspect it’s even more likely that the local tweakers and deadbeats will understand that fact perfectly well, and will tend to behave themselves, and that any real crisis will end up unifying us for our own well-being, rather than dividing us into crazed mobs.)

But as I say, my crystal ball doesn’t work any better than anybody else’s. Everybody is always wrong about the future. All we can do is remain aware, reasonably prepared, and ready to shift gears depending on what the future actually pitches at us.


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty March 19, 2015 1:52 pm

    I’ve spent some interesting hours gazing into my murky little ball too, writing some stories about potential outcomes. I think conditions and the response of people to a major upheaval would depend on the conditions and culture in the area already present, and it would be different almost everywhere. NYC is going to see a whole different outcome than NE Wyoming.

    Race would be part of the conflict then, in places where it is part of the problem now. Tweakers and deadbeats could be part of the problem in exactly the same places where they live now. Same for cops… But I expect that most of the cops, soldiers and so forth would be doing whatever they could to get home to their own families instead of attacking innocent people, or trying to control the masses… but I could sure be wrong about that.

    Good neighbors will continue to be just that, probably better. And yes, even the marginal or downright poor neighbors would have every incentive to cooperate. As most of us have always had. All we really want is to be left alone. What a shame that seems to be just too much to ask. We’re going to have to insist on it at some point.

  2. Felinenation
    Felinenation March 19, 2015 3:16 pm

    That fear, “hordes of dark people rampaging out of cities to attack helpless whites,” isn’t something new. I have heard suburban (racist) folks express the same fear about the 1960s urban riots, that the blacks, if unchecked, would have come out of the Cleveland Hough ghetto, down the freeway, into the suburban/rural counties. Right, while bypassing wealthy, closer suburbs like Shaker Heights, Beachwood and Bratenahl.

  3. Fred
    Fred March 19, 2015 3:18 pm

    Some fella wrote a book called 1984…..pretty much nailed a lot of things.

  4. Claire
    Claire March 19, 2015 3:55 pm

    Ain’t it the truth, Felinenation? There’s always some “horde” or another for people to fear. Just pick the “other” of the moment: Catholics, Jews, Chinese (my father was always going on about the “Yellow Peril” that was going to overwhelm the U.S.), Muslims, blacks, Mexicans, etc.

    Of course, sometimes you really do have to something to fear from the horde. Ironically, the last time that happened in this country, we white folks were the “horde” in question, wiping out the natives.

  5. jed
    jed March 19, 2015 4:32 pm

    I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle, more on Bracken’s side than the other. I don’t see how things won’t come to difficulty. At some point, the financial house of cards is going to fall over. IMHO, it’s just a question of when. After that, of how bad things will get.

    And, when things do go Tango Uniform, I do think it’s reasonable to expect that some people will band together based on race. Heck, that’s already happening. And it is criminal gangs who are already organized for surviving by looting and pillaging. Some of those are predominately one race, or even one racial sub-group. Mara Salvatrucha comes to mind. Do a web search for the racial makeup of gangs, and you’ll find their composition to be mostly Black and Hispanic – in the U.S. at least, “minorities”. So I see a lot of potential for race-based violence.

    How far it goes is an unknowable. I agree with ML that the further you are from major population centers, the less likely it is you’ll find yourself playing defense against an outlaw band.

    I sometimes read an article by “Selco”, over at SHTF School. I have no knowledge of his bona-fides. Is it within the realms of probability that some areas of the US will see a Yugoslav type of conflict? Well, I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised at some areas of the US becoming something akin to cities in Mexico, such as Nuevo Laredo, where the drug cartels take over. That’s just one variety of tribalism. And aren’t there already areas in the U.S. where similar situations are already in place? I recall reading an article, last year, on gang activity, which mentioned there being some areas in the Watts neighborhood where you just don’t go. Perhaps that’s no longer true, but it’s illustrative.

    And I admit, FWIW, that I have no idea how I’ll manage, if it comes to that.

  6. jed
    jed March 19, 2015 4:49 pm

    I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include this tune from REM.

    Also hearing in my head “Life During Wartime” by the Talking Heads.

    In terms of whom you identify as “other”, well, as you point out, Claire, right now there’s quite a bit of anti-white sentiment being stirred up, and not just by the media. It’s tragic, but in a post-SHTF survival situation, an IFF engagement is going to have a racial component.

  7. MJR
    MJR March 19, 2015 5:39 pm

    I find that I fall somewhere between these two camps. I’m not the kind of person to simply trust that nothing will go wrong yet I find the whole TEOTWAWKI thing a little much. Yes I have taken some precautions and I think of what I have done as I would any other form of insurance. Will something happen? How bad will things get? How long will the darkness last? Who knows. My total objective is to be as resilient as I can without going crazy over it.

    Funny story, about 2 weeks before Y2K (TEOTWAWKI) I was at work. The guys in the office were taking about the preps they had made while I read a newspaper. I was trying to stay out of the conversation because it was all BS. Finally my supervisor asked me what I had done for Y2K. I looked him in the eye and calmly told him I had done nothing. He said that he couldn’t believe I had that much faith in Government. I said that I had no faith in the government what so ever but I didn’t have to prep. I went on to say it was because I owned guns and and my neighbours had nothing I couldn’t take away if I really needed it. You could have heard a pin drop. BTW I was kidding and I had done some preps but I didn’t want to tell everyone about them.

  8. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 19, 2015 5:39 pm

    Prepare. Learn skills that have served people for thousands of years. Be adaptable. That’s the best you can do, and if it’s not enough…

    Bracken kinda lost me over the years. Either I began to see through “conservative” woowoo, or he got deeper into it. Not sure which.

  9. Joel
    Joel March 19, 2015 7:06 pm

    Bracken lost me when one (at least) of his novels had urban blacks developing systematic cannibalism within weeks of a collapse. On the subject of race, at least, the man has a problem of the “should seek help” variety.

  10. Brent
    Brent March 19, 2015 7:38 pm

    Every single one of you fell for it.

    The Race card.

    We, every single being reading this is a member of the same race. Homo Sapien.

    Call it what it REALLY is. Tribal hatred/fear.

    Group A should hate and fear group B because THEY LOOK DIFFERENT.

    that is all it is. but speaking of it honestly, openly reveals the truth of it.

  11. Brent
    Brent March 19, 2015 7:42 pm

    Once TSHTF and TEOTWAWKI begins, there will be lots of hungry people. These hungry people will not give a shit what color anyone is. They will mob rush anyplace with food and overrun it like zombies.

    What the first author mentioned by Claire fails to understand is that if 90% of the populace DOES just peacefully die off…..the rotting bodies alone will cause a….hrm, how to put this…Serious Issue. ™

  12. jed
    jed March 19, 2015 8:06 pm

    Upon revisiting, I realize I was putting words in your mouth, Claire.

    The stirring up of race and class resentment by the media cuts multiple ways, and class resentment isn’t specific to race or ethnicity either. Nonetheless, my perception is that it is generally biased in one direction.

    I read Enemies Foreign and Domestic but have yet to crack the other two. Now Kent and Joel have my curiosity up. So many of my books are in boxes, that I don’t recall whether I even own them.

    The only thing I did in preparation for Y2K was to be sure I wasn’t working in a job where I had to labor over endless code fixes on ancient programs using a 2-digit date.

  13. Publicola
    Publicola March 19, 2015 8:40 pm

    Culture & race are often confused. The inner city violence scenario Bracken wrote of is plausible, but because of culture (or sub-culture). That racial similarities exist within those potentially roaming hordes has much more to do with the belief system they were inundated with because of where they grew up than any genetic markers they may have.

    The Stokes piece reminds me of the stereotypical M.A. candidate staring wistfully at the bust of Rousseau, sipping some (multi-adjective, loan word heavy) coffee substitute, smoking an unfiltered cigarette & proclaiming “life iz sheeet”

    Crystals balls can be quite accurate. In my youth I often predicted, with incredible accuracy, as I was just starting to walk in her direction, that the lovely young lady with the blonde/brunette/red/plaid hair in the bar I was in was going to say “no”. 99% of the time I was right!

    Perception can shape reality, so usually negative predictors are realized. Positive ones can be as well. I seem to recall a few different examinations of survivors of plane crashed & such, where the folks that survived, often with no idea of what to do in the woods, had one thing in common – their outlook. They believed they’d get through this, whatever it was. (It’s entirely possible that the ones that didn’t survive had this belief as well, though it’s speculative either way) Reality can’t be altered by belief, but how one deals with reality can be altered by what we think. & from what I’ve seen, Darwin was wrong – it’s not “survival of the fittest”, but rather, “survival of the most adaptable”.

    Stokes’ article looks at the collective, assuming that since “civilization” was booking right along with smaller populations then everything would work out fine for society. As miss Claire pointed out, that’s not entirely accurate. But then he jumps to the notion that since hunting is impossible (???) & farming is hard then we’d be better off dying quickly than risk losing half our numbers to the first winter?

    Again, perception does matter. It can’t trump reality, but it can help you adapt to it. If I can’t find enough rabbits & squirrels to fill the pot then I lose nothing by believing I can & trying anyway. However if I just get all “it’s hopeless” & don’t even try then I’d have an active hand in validating his prediction.

    Oh, back to the roaming horde thing – I think folks are too complacent. I mean, just because we haven’t heard anything from the Visigoths in a while doesn’t mean they’re done. Methinks they’re just biding their time. So if they end up sacking your village while you’re busy worrying about who all is tapping into your I-phone, then don’t say I didn’t warn ya. (Remember what they did to Rome? Imagine what they’d do to Cleveland!)

  14. Jerry the Geek
    Jerry the Geek March 19, 2015 10:11 pm

    “It’s just that everybody who ever predicts the future is wrong. Period. ”

    Robert Heinlein. Cell Phones. 1930’s.
    And his entire “If This Goes On” .. except for “The Roads Must Roll”, of course.

    Not “EVERYBODY” who predicts the future is wrong ‘always’ … just people who aren’t engineers, visionaries, and Robert Heinlein.

  15. LarryA
    LarryA March 19, 2015 11:20 pm

    I remember back when Harry Browne was telling us to save our silver coins, and I still hear of preppers doing so.

    Yes, the metal in a “real” dime is intrinsically worth more than what’s in a composition coin. But no one has explained how to convince the non-prepper store manager with the loaf of bread for sale, that a dime isn’t a dime.

    In cities, once the power goes out, the water stops flowing, and the sewer backs up, people still there my not have time to starve. I think lots of them will wait for government help.

    the rather obtuse, government-endorsed viewpoint that somehow terrorism and societal chaos will ultimately arise from the tired old Tea Party/militia/rural/gun-owner axis

    Except that a lot of EOTW fiction has the same endorsement. “Mr. President, we can’t tell the people about the [meteor or whatever] because panic/riot/looting.” (Not a mistake MamaLiberty made in her story.)

    Me? I’d be worried about militia units taken over by alphabet agency infiltrators. Most high-level government will be in bunkers that make ours look like grass shacks.

  16. LarryA
    LarryA March 19, 2015 11:34 pm

    My point is this: with only 1% of our present population, humanity had arts and letters, transatlantic trade, a thriving stock market (in London, at least, and a few years later in the US)–in short, we had civilization. It was not a Hobbesian “state of nature.”

    Right. But even 1900 was before the refrigerator was invented. Approximately everybody in that 1% knew how to raise, preserve, and prepare food using human and animal labor. Most people today have never had anything but pets, never raised any significant crop, or prepared anything that didn’t come from a supermarket already preserved.

  17. Claire
    Claire March 20, 2015 5:19 am

    Jerry the Geek — Of course some people get some details right. Not only Heinlein in the examples you cite but Heinlein with waterbeds, Clarke with geostationary satellites, etc. Happens all the time.

    But nobody ever gets it all right, and the more predictions (or more detailed predictions) people try, the more they get wrong. Always.

  18. david
    david March 20, 2015 6:02 am

    Hordes schmordes! Unless you live within sight of the high-rise tenements you might not see them. Sure, a couple guys, several maybe. But for most of us who are 30 miles or more out of the cities, it’s possibly nothing but a red-herring.

    Remember, nobody can predict precisely what will happen. Even if you get the cause right, even if the food riots in the cities don’t get them cut off from the countryside and contained by martial law (why do you thing the feds are buying up MREs like crazy and there is an exec order that says they can confiscate your stored food?), you cannot predict whether or not they’ll come to your road, your town, your home. And really, if you hear gunfire in TEOTWAKI, and don’t go to check it out and try to help, then you’re just waiting for the bad guys to come to your house. In that case, you’d better have fortified extensively – which BTW is already illegal in many states. Government doesn’t want people fortifying against criminals because that same feature resists invasion by agency or military thugs. (Which means if you do it, don’t get a permit or invite your building inspector to see your work.)

    I tried to write ‘disaster recovery’ plans for a few companies – and it’s nearly impossible. Just list all the possible causes, then start breaking that down into guessing at how extensive it might be and where it might or might not happen, and you have too many possibilities to cover already. So my approach to that and to being prepared is ‘tools and flexibility’. What is that?

    I try to have the tools stockpiled for defense and protection of course, but also for survival, rebuilding, and maintaining life when the crap stops raining down – gardening tools, building tools, etc.. I try to have the skills to deal with whatever will happen – e.g. not only some stocks of food, but I also work on foraging skills and learning to identify food sources that I’m not familiar with – and I practice foraging and eating it too with my son-in-law and a few friends. I have tools for many levels of ‘defense’ – say a few guns and some blades – but those are of limited use if I don’t have good skills for using them, or the physical fitness to fight and survive. Melee skills are necessary too – not just CQB, but fighting in a free-for-all with or without weapons because you don’t ever know what situation you may find yourself in. (You might awaken to a couple of goons in the house.) So I try to learn those skills as well as having the tools for all levels of combat, and I try to stay at least somewhat ‘fit for battle’.

    I could continue in depth, but won’t because it will only lead to falling down rabbit holes. My point is that I try to have the tools and skills for anything – from EMP blast to super-volcano explosion – and then don’t worry about the specifics because I cannot predict those, nor prepare adequately for all of them, without ‘tools and skills’ being the two primary preps.

  19. Pat
    Pat March 20, 2015 6:04 am

    And then there’s Nostradamus.
    What percentage of his predictions came true – and how can we be sure?

    “A range of quite different views are expressed in printed literature and on the Internet. At one end of the spectrum, there are extreme academic views such as those of Jacques Halbronn, suggesting at great length and with great complexity that Nostradamus’s Prophecies are antedated forgeries written by later hands with a political axe to grind.[65] No other major source accepts this view [see reference-list].

    At the other end of the spectrum, there are numerous fairly recent popular books, and thousands of private websites, suggesting not only that the Prophecies are genuine but that Nostradamus was a true prophet. Due to the subjective nature of these interpretations, however, no two of them agree on exactly what he predicted, whether for the past or for the future.”

  20. R.L. Wurdack
    R.L. Wurdack March 20, 2015 6:29 am

    I have recently put together my Heinlein collection (54 books), ordered them in copyright order, and am about halfway through rereading them.
    It is remarkable not only how many technological things he got right, but his perspacacity/perspacuity of human nature and politics is impressive.

    He fairly well predicts the comment conversation above.

  21. david
    david March 20, 2015 6:32 am

    So, I just read Bracken’s essay, and I have a few random thoughts.

    One, he seems to assume that the police – overwhelmed, exhausted and under threat themselves – will first, show up for work instead of protecting their homes and families – and, second that they will not just get sick of being so tired and endangered that they just decide to begin shooting rioters and looters themselves. To me that assumption is unrealistic.

    Second – checkpoints? What better place to ambush a few guys with grand-dad’s old cowboy rifle that you can barely find ammo for today, and acquire nice new, modern carbines with lots of loaded mags? I think he’s right about fedgov choosing the side of the rioters over the working citizens, so why not just include those who take that martial law duty as ‘enemies’? Those who honor their oath won’t be showing up for duty.

    Sorry if those thoughts sound gruesome, but in any scenario even close to what he’s discussing, one has to be practical and worry about the ethics of it later. Or worry first, and die while you’re deciding.

  22. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein March 20, 2015 7:00 am

    Great piece, Claire. I think pretty much like you and exactly like Mama; always do. Surely there can be no wiser goal right now than “flexibility.”

    I thought of an odd twist, maybe the first instance of “individualist projection,” since individualists don’t generally err on the point that their conclusions belong to someone else.

    We’ve got it right how the individuals would behave I think, *if they were in the situation we imagine*. The clear problem is that between now and then, Govco can enact all sorts of policies and start all sorts of actions, that grossly change the scenario. This, both strategically and tactically. And too sadly, the vast majority of everyone are likely to go along, at least as it stands this moment. Sure hope they change their minds, and quickly.

    I can think of no other way to say it—“The persuasion stage is over.”

  23. Reginald Firehammer
    Reginald Firehammer March 20, 2015 7:07 am

    You are so right, Claire! It’s a principle most people never learn. No one can predict the future. It’s gratifying to find someone else (a very rare occurrence) who knows it.

    There’s a corollary: nothing stays the same.

    It means, though you cannot predict what will happen, you can be sure something will, and it will bring changes you could not have expected.

    It’s the reason I’m not a prepper. One cannot prepare for everything and no matter what you prepare for, the disaster will be the one thing you didn’t prepare for, and most disasters cannot be prepared for. How does one prepare for that day one is working in their skyscraper office when some Muslim nut flies a plane into it.

    The only preparation I make is the one everyone must make to live: learn all one can about everything one can and be competent in as many things as possible. Always figure on the worst, but pursue the best.

  24. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein March 20, 2015 7:11 am

    I’ve been saying for a while that as goes Marvin Louis Guy, so goes the country. I just saw the most recent article–January, cuz info travels so slowly these days–and I see no reason to change that hunch.

    I know absolutely nothing of Guy personally; that’s been mighty quiet too. He could be a cool dude or he could be a multiple-time thug; I have no idea. Nor do I care even a bit. AFAIK he’s still being held hostage–a POW to me, at this stage–on an impossible charge, that he was defending his home against attackers.

    If property means anything, and it does, then there can be no such crime.

  25. Matt, another
    Matt, another March 20, 2015 8:06 am

    Roaming Hordes? Pish-Posh, very unlikely to happen. Just ignore the roaming horde in the middle east, called ISIS. Simply an aberation of course…

    When I look through the history of the U.S. I see lots of different violence that occured throught the centuries. There was the original violence against the Native Americans, and their violent push back against invasion. Communities took losses but organized and defended themselves. There was the violence associated with Texas becoming a Republic, involved roaming armies from both sides. War with Mexico was another violent period. As the U.S. moved westward there was violence, aganist native americans or course, and between burgeoning communities and states. There was conflict and threatened conflict over borders, states rights etc. There was, briefly, a roaming horde called Jay-Hawkers and Red-legs fighting between Kansas and Missouri. Don’t forget the roaming horde that also inflicted the southwest for years, Commanche’s and Apache’s. After they were suppressed some parts of the U.S. Mexico border had to deal with bandits from both countries. Whew, been lots of violence. THe ultimate for us was of course the Civil War. Huge roaming hordes called armies that the best defense was getting out of there way. North and South was inflicted with internal violence during the war years as well. Don’t forget the semi-affilated gangs such as quantrells raiders.

    Roamingg violence can occur here. Will there be a huge ourpouring from the cities? Possibly. Will it extend further than the extent of fule in cars? Maybe not. Best to be prepared just in case.

  26. Claire
    Claire March 20, 2015 8:47 am

    “Roaming Hordes? Pish-Posh, very unlikely to happen. Just ignore the roaming horde in the middle east, called ISIS. Simply an aberation of course…”

    Nobody ever said that roaming hordes are impossible (or even unlikely) here. My point was that they’re unlikely in the particular situation Bracken envisions.

    Compare and contrast.

    ISIS: extremely well-funded; has coherent leadership; has goals appealing to millions outside the organization; is expanding into a historically chaotic region; gets at least tacit support from some government factions; has leisure time to conduct its campaign.

    Starving urban mobs: none of the above; not even food or fuel. How far would most of the “mobsters” get, even if they wanted to do what Bracken depicts?

  27. Matt, another
    Matt, another March 20, 2015 9:32 am

    I actually do agree with your point of view. My view on roaming hordes is they could happen given the right conditions and they can also be dealt with and defended against. I do consider them unlikely. I don’t think what Bracken depicts would be succesful. Even now there are many good and bad urban dwellers that would never step outside the confines of a major urban area. The concept is totally foreign to them. They also often only have a knowledge of their city of one or two neighborhoods or a certain number of blocks of where they live, they know about the rest, but don’t go there. The industrious ones might leave a city lookng for better refuge but they would be few.

  28. Claire
    Claire March 20, 2015 9:55 am

    Yep, Matt. We’re totally agreed on that. Well said.

  29. Claire
    Claire March 20, 2015 9:56 am

    “It means, though you cannot predict what will happen, you can be sure something will, and it will bring changes you could not have expected.”

    Funny how many people fail to recognize that simple truth of the human (and for that matter, even non-human) condition. Well put, Reginald Firehammer.

  30. fred
    fred March 20, 2015 9:57 am

    The hordes? The biker gangs are well organized,and have some comptetent stragagists. The thing being in the country is a NICE target,no neighbors,can loot for days and rape and pillage,that has happened in our recent collapses like south africa and argentina.

    As for the typical hispanic or black gangs,they will kill themselves just fighting over their own street,so I think they will wipe themselves out before they have a chance to get out and do much damage to us not living among them.

    Real coins,dependinhg on situation,Koreans and Indians and Russians,Chinese.. all understand the value,if not too severe,they will trade.Real bad,they wont.That bad,we arent going to make it.

    I have no illusions,it takes one match and an arrow to take out my entire neighborhood,many country folks in trees,we are toast if its that bad.

    My answer,it isnt going to get that extreme,and I can survive an economic upheaval 1930’s style perhaps,but if its starving hordes and the sheep arent in the fema prison camps for food…Daddy will kill you if little jimmy is starving.In my case,one match and we are history.

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 20, 2015 7:27 pm

    > Bracken kinda lost me over the years. Either [Kent] began to see through
    > “conservative” woowoo, or he got deeper into it. Not sure which.

    Both, I suspect. You evolved your understanding after gathering facts more widely; he entrenched his position having discarded those same facts.

  32. revjen45
    revjen45 March 21, 2015 9:21 am

    That we can’t be ready for anything and everything is no reason to have nothing beyond today’s needs. Disruptions to the norm have occurred in the past (The Greater Los Angeles County Inter-ethnic Festifval of May ’92, aka the Rodney King Riots being an example) without devolving into Thunderdome. A 2 week supply of comestibles and a 12 gauge pump fowling piece will put you way ahead of most of the Drooling Masses, and is realistic in terms of being achieveable.

  33. Tam
    Tam March 21, 2015 8:00 pm

    But don’t delude yourself that TEOTWAWKI, if it comes, would be a picnic.

    But that isn’t what Stokes said. :/

  34. Slidemansailor
    Slidemansailor March 23, 2015 6:16 am

    fred touched it … dads with starving kids are not peaceful people.

    Hungry people make lousy neighbors.

    We live out there a bit. Even a modest sized horde is a week’s walk away. That won’t answer. There isn’t enough food in my immediate vicinity to get us to next year’s gardening season.

    Maybe I could peacefully starve to death; maybe not. Someone who could would be a rarity. Someone who could kill children rather than feeding them also would.

    The NWO folks with their 90% population reduction plans are pushing for war, economic collapse, cultural collapse and plague. They may get some or all of it right. Nature may play a trump card anytime the whim strikes her.

    The one safe prediction is that some day our world will change dramatically with really ugly results. Nobody will be ready for it. Survival will be awful.

    Natural history tells us that the adaptable and the lucky survive. I don’t know if I hope to be one of them or not, but seem unable to not set some tools, supplies and plans in place.

  35. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau March 23, 2015 10:30 am

    [My crystal ball is as cloudy as anybody else’s. But while I suspect Bracken is correct about the potential for widespread urban chaos, my guess is that the whole “hordes of dark people rampaging out of cities to attack helpless whites” vision arises more from Bracken’s fears and prejudices than from reality.]

    Exactly my take on Bracken. Some people just won’t be happy unless it ends up as a race war.

    It’s funny because, have people not noticed, that it’s increasingly difficult to figure out what race a person belongs to? Even the terms we use, “white” and “black” (and “yellow”) are just a joke, with little connection to reality. Also something that Bracken conveniently forgets, is that there are more “white” people on welfare than “black”.

    I think when the shooting starts, race might make *some* difference in who to shoot (in the more questionable scenarios) but more likely it will be actions on which decisions will be based. If some group of people looks like a mob of looters, we won’t be spending time wondering what race they are, or how much melanin they have.

    Keep in mind also what “Ferfal” says about SHTF. He’s actually lived through it, and I have detected no hint of race war in anything he writes.

  36. jed
    jed March 23, 2015 3:54 pm

    Paul> Keep in mind also what “Ferfal” says about SHTF. He’s actually lived through it, and I have detected no hint of race war in anything he writes.

    Oh dear. Yet another blog to read. 🙂

  37. Fred
    Fred March 23, 2015 8:39 pm

    Ferfal is a very interesting guy,in his case the city was the safer place to be,now that sure isnt what we tend to think.His situation was SHTF,not end of world,and he has a LOT to say that IMO is excellent advice,and a lot is viable for us to do.Handgun was an essential tool for instance.

  38. Fred
    Fred March 23, 2015 8:41 pm

    Oh,and situational awareness leaving and returning home was a very serious concern.

  39. Andrew
    Andrew March 24, 2015 7:05 am

    Here’s an easy prediction- the civilian population will suffer the worst. Whatever happens, there’s sure to be two or more sides fighting over it. The weaker side will take to the hills and go guerrilla, and the stronger side will hunt them. When the guerrilla forces sense that they’re safe for the moment, they’ll come down from the hills to raid villages and homesteads for supplies and to shoot any “collaborators,” or suspected collaborators, or people who don’t willingly give up what they have, or who hide what they have.

    The following day, the stronger force will convoy in and interrogate people, detain or execute “sympathizers” or suspected sympathizers, search homes for hidden weapons, burn down the homes of anyone suspected of destroying bridges or cutting phone lines or anything like that, and either garrison the place or leave some degree of “scorched earth” to cut off the guerrilla force’s supply.

    It happens in every war. The little people get crushed.

  40. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau March 25, 2015 9:25 am

    [It happens in every war. The little people get crushed.]

    The *unarmed* little people, certainly.

    BTW I do recommend Ferfal’s book highly. I won’t say his case will match ours in all respects (Americans are more heavily armed, and a dollar meltdown has to look different than their currency meltdown) but it will open your eyes to the downsides of such strategies as having an isolated home in the boonies.

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