Stay or Go After a Population Wipeout

I’ve been doing some light reading for the holidays. :-D Recently completed is the classic SHTF novel The Stand. I loved it of course.  Nothing like tempering the sweetness of the holidays with a bit of pandemic and population wipe out.  It’s definitely one of those books that you can give to non-preppers as a way to start the prepping conversation.  Even though it illustrates one of the few situations in which prepping won’t help you much, and survivors have their pick of the gear left laying about.  :-D

*slight spoiler* The majority of the book is the story of the survivors and how they band together. With only 1% of the population left alive, there are not many left, and they’re all on the move. Now, I can understand a bit of that. Surviving by one’s lonesome is a rather large and lonely proposition, even with the accoutrements of society left for your picking.  As is pointed out in the book, a fall, an accident or illness can easy be your undoing without a buddy around to help out.  But, coalescing into large settlements in large abandoned metropolises? Where does that get you?

What’s the point? Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t be listening to dreams to make my decisions following a pandemic.  Finding a small group to rebuild a life with is all well and good, but traveling across the country to go find thousands of other survivors? I’ll pass.   In both of the large cities written about in detail, they spend the majority of the first year, returning things to “normal.”  Countless man hours spent getting the lights on and the water running, just so they can comfortably live in the cities they land in.   The Mother Abigail character at one point ruminates that her old house, with it’s outhouse and hand pump well was much better suited to comfortable living without the grid.  But, does anyone spend even a minute discussing the possibility that they might be better off abandoning the grid and adapting to the power down in a more graceful fashion? No, they can’t seem to fathom life without electricity and flush toilets.

Probably not just fiction. –  I’m betting that most survivors of such an event will behave in a similar fashion.  They’ll consider grid up to be the better alternative, and they’ll go to any lengths necessary to make that happen. Including making big fat targets out of themselves by settling in the biggest town that will support that dream and all the other idiots with the same dream. I’m willing to believe that I’m in the minority on this opinion, but I’ll put it forward anyway, because I’m just that kind of gal.   I would be headed in the opposite direction.  Give me a tiny town, with some old fashioned hand powered tech, and I’d be staying put.  Mr. King can gloss over the details of how exactly they kept all those thousands of people fed after they wasted the summer traveling to Colorado. ( I’m guessing they were all really tired of venison and canned food by the end of winter. ) But, such details are what I spend most of my time thinking about, and there’s no way I would join up with anyone who thought it was more important to get toilets and streetlights going than getting permaculture and seeds saved before winter.

One thing leads to another. The last chapter of the book has some characters finally coming to my conclusion.  The ever growing police force has just been issued guns. (And this was the “Good guys.”) “Stu” wonders if anyone else notices that they’re setting themselves right back on the path towards the man-made virus that just hit the reset button.   I’m betting no one will even blink, they’ll happily hand over all sorts of things in the name of “safety.”

What do you think? Find the other survivors and enjoy flush toilets? Or stick it out in the boonies, content with hand tools and freedom?  I’m betting I know how most of our readers will go. :-D

– Calamity Jane