Misc Erratic Thoughts

Qualifier:  As I wrote today’s post my mind was kind of jumping around, so what you’ll read is sort of a mishmash of things.  I tend to have a thought about something and then play devil’s advocate with myself and some of that might come through here.  Anyway, here we go!

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For the sake of argument let’s say a catastrophe has occurred and everybody has lost their electricity.  Maybe a huge solar flare has cooked the grid and we’re looking at not having it back up again for at least six months for a large part of the country.   If you live in a city you’ve got some tough decisions to make if the power goes out.  Most likely the delivery trucks will stop rolling leaving millions without access to food.  Should you bug-out or bug-in?  I’ve met many people from the city who don’t have the first clue about living in the wilderness and there will be thousands upon thousands of citizens with the same lack of experience wondering what to do.  If you’re one of these city dwellers I hope you’ve got a plan in your back pocket and your preps in place.

Are you better off living in the country?  I personally think so, but I’m sure that many of you will have differing opinions.  In my opinion one of the reasons we’re better off in the country is that we’re not as dependent on the electric grid as the city.  The power goes out here from time to time and we’ve learned how to get by without it when necessary.  Does it suck when it happens?  Hell yeah, but at least we can do it.  Another thing is that I can grow my own garden and while it’s not enough to get me by all year long it at least gives me some food in the summer.  Also, we both (wife and I) hunt deer and it’s nice to have a freezer full of deer meat.

There are many reasons that I think we’re better off in the country.  We’re pretty well off the beaten track and don’t get a lot of traffic through where I live, I know the neighbors, there are several farms within walking (actually spitting) distance, I have space for a garden of my own, and there is plenty of game in the woods around my house. If the SHTF it would make sense for me to stay in place as long as the area I live in isn’t directly threatened.  The only thing I’d have to worry about in a long term situation is the refugees from the city trying to take what’s mine.

Now, if I lived in the city it would be a different story.  I’d still have food and water stored, but having an electric generator with 20 gallons of gas standing by isn’t feasible if you live in an apartment.  Living in the city would be a good motivator for me to have a bug-out bag standing by along with a plan on how to get out of the city and a destination to go to.

A destination is important because if you think you’re going to hit the woods and live off the land you’re wrong.  If you beat your chest and say that you can do it I challenge you go out in the woods right now with your bug out bag and see how long you can survive once your food runs out.  It’s winter here in Maine so you ’d better have a good sleeping bag!  There’s a big difference between this:

Appalachian Trail in the Summer (that’s me filtering water.)

And this:

Appalachian Trail in the Fall.  In winter the snowfall in the mountains is measured in feet.

Believe me, if you have little or no experience in the wilderness the last place you want to be in the winter is in the mountains or forests trying to fend for you and your family.  I’ve met some very nice people from the city who I liked quite a bit, but as soon as they got in the woods they didn’t have a single single idea about what to do.  They couldn’t navigate, they couldn’t build a shelter and they couldn’t build a fire.  In reality most people I know from the city couldn’t start a fire with a blowtorch and paper much less a firesteel and dry tinder.  These folks aren’t bad people, they just didn’t have any exposure to this kind of living.

Let’s assume for a second that everybody in the city knew how to hunt, trap, fish and otherwise survive.  If that were the case the forests would be stripped bare of edible plants and animals in just a few months; however, this isn’t the case.  How about hunting and dressing their own game?  Unlikely.  Most people don’t like the sight of an animal before it’s been processed and look at the act of killing something to eat it as barbaric.

Mrs Jarhead’s Deer

deer

I’m not sure where they think the steak in the local grocery store comes from and they probably don’t care as long as they don’t have to think about it.  No, it isn’t pretty, but it will be necessary if a scenario like this ever played itself out.

I’ve been in many different cities throughout the country and the world and they’re all dependent to one extent or another on gasoline, electricity, and food being delivered from outside.  A total electric grid meltdown could devastate the fragile Just In Time (JIT) chain.

However, do I really think the grid is going to go down for good?  Hmmm, not really, not for good anyway.  I try to be prepared for it because that’s what we do, but I don’t really think it’s going to and unless you’ve gone out and invested heavily in converting your house over to solar or wind power you probably don’t think so either.  Oh sure, I have a small solar panel, battery, charge controller, and an inverter, and it might be good for powering a freezer for a day or a laptop and a few lights for a night or two, but that’s it.

If anything I believe it’s going to be some kind of economic breakdown.  Inflation, maybe hyperinflation or deflation, a depression worse than the 30’s, who knows?  I don’t think we can pump the kind of money into the economy like we have been without causing serious problems.  And don’t get me started about the big bank bailouts or “too big to fail.”  Grrrrr.

When the economy collapsed in Russia in the 90’s people were forced to make do with what they had.  Civilization didn’t collapse and it wasn’t the end of the world, but it was painful for them.  Black markets sprang up, crime rose, but eventually they got through the hard times, which is something that is more likely to happen here in the US if the same thing were to happen.  I don’t think the world would end or society would collapse, but there would be a lot of pain and suffering as people got used to the “new reality” of much higher food costs (happening now), higher fuel prices (happening now), higher clothing costs (happening now.)  You get the idea.  I think a lot more people will be asking, “Should I buy heating oil or food,” in the coming times then asking themselves, “Should I vacation in Florida or go to the Bahamas this year?”

Even if this does happen I don’t think it will be the end of America.  We may be a little more humble and thrifty and a lot less “me” centric than we are today, but who knows?

Ok, I’ve done enough rambling for today.  Anybody out there have any thoughts?  Am I way off base and are we heading towards a global economic firestorm?  Am I too paranoid and thinking like a psychotic fool?  Honestly, I try to walk a middle ground here, but sometimes I don’t know what to think.

What do you think?

-Jarhead Survivor