This is a rather long post, so please grab yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and prepare to do some hard thinking.
I was reading SurvivalBlog the other day when a rather startling piece leaped out at me. Most of SurvivalBlog's pieces are written by readers, but this piece was written by James Rawles himself, who runs SurvivalBlog.
It was the passion behind the piece that surprised me. Mr. Rawles suggests readers move - now - to the western mountain states (specifically Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington). He calls these "safe haven states." He urges people to move as part of a coordinated movement which he calls the American Redoubt.
Apparently Mr. Rawles had a straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back moment after reading an article on how Florida motorists who had the temerity to use large bills to pay their road tolls were being illegally detained. This so outraged Mr. Rawles that he wrote a piece urging his readers to get the heck out of Dodge and move somewhere less troublesome... before it's too late.
He printed a long list of suggestions (copied below) but you'll need to read the original article to understand the reasoning behind it.
Don and I spent some time discussing this piece last night. We've been faithful SurvivalBlog readers for about the past year, and this article was quite unlike anything we'd seen before. It was, in a word, drastic.
We talked about how everyone has a breaking point. While we've been active Preppers for quite awhile, the recent article on how Louisville, Colorado is putting language into its emergency response plan which would allow the city to "commandeer" private property and seize necessary supplies, concerned us a great deal. While I wouldn't call this our "straw" moment (our backs were "broken" quite awhile ago), it does make me realize how unprepared this nation is as a whole to deal with widespread interruptions in just-in-time deliveries of food, medicines, etc. And this doesn't even begin to address the rapid erosion of our Constitutionally enumerated liberties and the overweening power the Federal, State, and local governments are grabbing.
Mr. Rawles urgent suggestion to "go west, young man" illustrates how at some point you have to decide what you’re going to do. There are places in this country that are already lost. Do you really want to be caught in Los Angeles or New York or Chicago if the dollar crashes and legions of entitlement-dependent people begin rioting for food? Do you think you can get out of Dodge if everyone else has the same idea? Or worse ideas?
By this point I'm sure everyone stuck in undesirably areas is saying something along the lines of, "Yeah right - get real. I've got a job, I have a family to support, I have a house I can't sell, I can't just up and leave."
I understand. It's hard. It's a wrenching lifestyle change. Money is tight. You might have connections - family, church, community - you don't want to sever. If you decided to take the plunge you might have to take a huge financial loss.
As my friend Enola Gay puts it, there are those who talk about Prepping, and there are those who DO it. Don't get me wrong - the "talking" part is important because it means you're beginning to think things through. "How much food, water, medical supplies, ammunition, etc., would I need to see my family through hard times? How safe or dangerous is my current location?"
But there comes a time when you have to put those thoughts into actions or the whole concept of Prepping is useless. We've moved from the "talking" stage to the "doing it" stage several years ago, and I spend a lot of time on this blog and in my WorldNetDaily columns urging others to do the same.
But many times those urgings fall on deaf ears. Skeptics doubt anything truly catastrophic could ever happen. People don't want to interrupt their comfortable lifestyle and sell the big-screen TV to buy wheat or rice.
But - especially with my readers - the more common response is, "I can't." The depressed real estate market means selling the house in the 'burbs is virtually impossible. Finances might be tight through unemployment or bankruptcy. The harsh reality of our current economy means a lot of people feel trapped and unable to change their current conditions.
Please believe me when I say I understand. But it also means I worry about you.
No-nonsense radio talk show host Dr. Laura, when suggesting a particularly difficult course of action to a caller, often hears them say, "But I can't do that - it will be too hard." Dr. Laura always responds with a variation of, "Of course it will be hard. No one denies that. But that doesn't mean you don't do it. Where there's a will, there's a way. Your job is to find the way."
I believe one of the concerns behind Mr. Rawles' post stems from the idea that, even if you're an urban Prepper who has supplies up the whazoo, what will happen in the long-term once those supplies are used up? How will you get more supplies if there are no more supplies to be had?
It's an interesting (and frightening) thought.
Here's James Rawles' list from his article, as something to think about:
I suggest that you follow these guidelines, as you prepare and then move to the American Redoubt:
* Research geography, climate, and micro-climates very carefully.
* Develop a home-based business.
* Lighten the load. Keep the practical items but sell your junk and impractical items at a garage sale.
* Bring your guns.
* Sell your television.
* Sell your jewelry and fancy wristwatch. Buy a Stihl chainsaw instead.
* Choose your church home wisely, seeking sound doctrine, not "programs"
* Leave your Big City expectations behind. There probably won't be cell phone coverage, high speed Internet, or Pilates.
* Expect a long driving distances for work and shopping.
* Sell your bric-a-brac and collectibles. What is more important? A large collection of Hummel figurines, or having a lot of good hand tools and Mason jars?
* Switch to a practical wardrobe and "sensible shoes".
* After your buy your land, convert the rest of your Dollar-denominated wealth into practical tangibles.
* Begin homeschooling your children.
* Sell your sports car and buy a reliable crew cab pickup.
* Expect persecution and hardship. You will be despised for being true to your faith. (Just read 2 Timothy 3:1-12. and Matthew 5:10-14, and John 15:18-19.)
* Encourage your kids to XBox and Wii less and read more.
* Make a clean break by selling your house and any rental properties. You aren't coming back.
* If you buy an existing house, get one with an extra bedroom or two. Some relatives may be joining you, unexpectedly.
* Donate any older bulky furniture to the local charity store before you move.
After you move:
* Don't try to change things to be like the suburb that you left behind. You are escaping all that!
* Pitch in by joining the local Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Ski Patrol, Sheriff's Posse, or EMT team.
* Be a good neighbor.
* Patronize the local farmer's market and craft shows.
* Respect the property rights and the traditions of your neighbors.
* Be active, politically, but use a pseudonym in letters to the editor an internet posts.
* Use VPN tunneling, RSA encryption, firewalls, and anonymous remailers.
* Support local businesses, and companies that are headquartered inside the redoubt, not Wal-Mart.
* Encourage like-minded family and friends to join you.
* Stock up heavily on storage foods for lengthy power failures, or worse.
* Do your banking locally, preferably with a credit union and/or a farm credit union.
* Be active in local home school co-ops and service organizations.
* Find and visit your local second-hand stores. Watch for useful, practical items that don't need electricity.
* Conduct as much business as possible via barter or with precious metals.
* Gradually acquire a home library that includes self-sufficiency books and classic books--history, biographies, and novels.
* Join the local ham radio club. (Affiliated with the ARRL.)
* Expect to be the subject of gossip. Live a righteous life so there won't be much to gossip about.
* Loyally support your local church with tithes and support your local food bank.
* Get used to eating venison, elk, moose, antelope, trout, and salmon.
* Attend some farm auctions in your region to gather a good collection of useful hand tools and a treadle sewing machine.
* Attend gun shows in your state. (This keeps money circulating in the state and keeps you legal, for private gun purchases.)
* Choose your fights wisely. Don't tilt at windmills, but when you feel convicted, don't back down.
Doing these things may be hard. They may call for you to lose much. And they will take time. But time, I'm truly afraid, is not on our side now. Please my dear readers - look into your hearts, talk to your family, and pray (a lot). Then act.
One of Don's favorite quotes is from the character Aragon in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: "One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters..."
Don't be fettered.