Don has lots more to say on the subject, so here's his Part 2.
Sorry for the delay in getting to part two. As you can see by the last Friday Roundup, we've been pretty busy around here.
First let me say kudos to PioneerPreppy [note: you can see his posts in the comment section of Part 1] for the demographic work on dispersion. It is spot-on. I've done some similar calculations; but for Terry, I'd like to take it a bit more "hearts and minds." Some of the very important considerations of a metroplex dispersion (or potential "Golden Horde" event) are the physiological and psychological aspects.
The "Golden Horde" or mass self-evacuation of cities as a result of a TEOTWAWKI event is a common element in lots of apocalyptic literature. While I won't deny such dispersals may occur, I think far too much weight has been placed on such events.
Like PioneerPreppy, I am a "Golden Horde" denier.
Lots of folks, when commenting on urban mass migration, use the largest mass evacuation ever to occur in the U.S. as an example: that of New Orleans immediately prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. There is so much literature and so much well-publicized finger-pointing for the failures of government with regards to the evacuation that most folks don't realize what an amazing success the evacuation really was. By the combined titanic (no pun intended) efforts of federal, state, and municipal governments, roughly 80 percent, or as many as 800,000 people, were removed from the path of the hurricane prior to landfall. Estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000 people who were unable or unwilling to evacuate.
A great success, yes ... but ... this was just one large city, certainly nowhere near the largest in the USA. Billions of dollars were spent on the evacuation, whole multi-lane highways were converted to "exit-only," airlines moved tens of thousands, and increasingly strident governmental recommendations and finally demands to evacuate began five days before the expected landfall. And yet the largest daily percentage of New Orleans residents still didn't leave until 12 hours before Katrina came ashore.
That's one city.
What would happen if it was ten large cities? Or twenty? Or a hundred? Suppose that there was no warning? An EMP attack. A coordinated power grid attack. A catastrophic natural disaster. What would happen if there was no one to tell folks what to do? No one to hold open the roads? No means of communicating instructions?
I'm currently finishing up an e-booklet on how to bug out from a city that will appear soon on our Country Living Series website. Let me quote from a part of it:
"...how would you leave a large urban area if such assistance was not available; if there was no functional governmental evacuation plan? If the usual travel systems (roads, rails, aircraft) were blocked or nonoperational?
If you were on you own?
To put it bluntly, if you have to evacuate from a large metro-complex in a catastrophic TEOTWAWKI scenario, your chances of survival are frighteningly low. Let's be realistic. In a major and immediate catastrophe, individual and familial survival will reign supreme. The already-thinning veneer of community in most cities will shatter. If looting and rioting is already commonplace after a successful win by a local sports team, or by the real or politically-manufactured effects of a police shooting, imagine the degree of societal breakdown likely to occur after the explosion of a dirty bomb or the loss of all electronics following an EMP attack."
Studies and surveys conducted by various governmental and educational institutions have shown that most urban residents, without any authoritative guidance, will remain in place for up to a week before self-evacuating. But what will they do when they finally realize no one is coming to their rescue? In the ten largest cities in America, over one-third of the urban population does not own a car. In New York alone, 56% of the residents don't own an automobile.
And consider this: even in the best of conditions, on a normal day, a simple fender bender can shut down a major highway for hours.
Now: "... imagine a more grim scenario. A situation so dire and so widespread and so immediate that people like tow truck drivers, emergency service personnel, and police – in other words, those professionals who usually manage events like these – are busy elsewhere, dead, or are in the process of ‘bugging out’ themselves. Also imagine how much more likely a traffic jam would be in a situation where tens of thousands of people are attempting to flee a catastrophe while scared and stressed and furious. One simple mistake by you or someone else, and your vehicular escape route may become impassible for a very very long time."
This is not just a possibility. It is a virtual certainty.
Remember in my first post, I briefly discussed the differences between city and country folk with regards to neighborly relations? Suppose that all the exit roads were blocked (quite possibly on purpose – more on that in a minute). Suppose that the street lights and traffic signals were out. Suppose you had to walk out. Would you be prepared? After a week of waiting for someone to save you, would you be hungry? Thirsty? Would the folks walking alongside you be as friendly as they seem, or would they simply be waiting for the right moment to relieve you of your meager possessions? How would you rest without someone you know and trust to keep watch? How far could you go in a day – tired, scared, with children or elderly or injured relatives – especially knowing that anything that might have been worth eating or drinking on your chosen path has already been consumed?
Terry, with regards to your " ... large groups [traveling together] for safety ... armed to the teeth.” How and where did this group form up? Presumably they didn't know each other before the catastrophic event. Who is in charge of this group and what is their motivation? Where did the group members get their guns? Gun ownership per capita in large cities is much smaller than their country cousins, and most of the available guns will be hand guns (what rural people refer to as "the kind of gun you use if you have to fight your way back to your long guns").
But let's say you've got together with twenty like-minded folks for your long walk out of town, dodging wrecked and abandoned vehicles along a highway. Your bad week will begin to get worse. Long before you get to face off with a bunch of country bumpkins, you're going to get some hands-on training from an entirely different breed: the urban sharks who would never even think of heading to an uncertain great wilderness when the hunting is so much better close to home.
Remember, this is a TEOTWAWKI situation. Law enforcement is quite likely to be long gone. The hunting season is now wide open for the unsavory types the police usually keep in check, and there's no longer anything like a bag limit. These are the folks who might block roads intentionally (as mentioned above) under the universally understood concept of "fish in a barrel.”
You and your traveling companions will consist of: baristas, accountants, school teachers, and social workers. Experience with weapons: little to none.
The urban sharks will consist of: gangbangers, thugs, muggers, one-percenters. Experience with weapons: actually not all that much, but better then yours – and with no moral compunction against their use for personal gain or pleasure.
The point: Most of the people who will attempt to leave a large city in a SHTF scenario will never leave that city alive.
But let's think (at least temporarily) happier thoughts.
Let’s say you and your significant other and your child did manage to find a clear road. You are one of the 66% who owns a car and you just happened to top off the tank the day before. It's a good thing you did, because no one will be delivering fuel to the service stations for a very long time; and even if the gas stations have fuel, the owners (being realists) won't share – even if they can get the fuel out of the tanks without electricity to drive the pumps. But let's increase your luck. Let’s say you managed to overcome the distrust of strangers and "clubbed-up" with a hundred other folks who also have their own full-tank vehicles, and everyone in the group has a firearm of some type.
(Apologies to all the fiction writers out there; I know I'm really pushing the credulity factor.)
Let's say you cleared the suburbs without incident (even though that is probably not possible). Congratulations! You made it to the country.
(Part 3 coming soon.)