Warning: Do You Recognize these Five Common Piles of Prepper BS

The golden horde

drive-4600_640The golden horde theory has been portrayed for years by survival authors, bloggers and fiction writers, but will the golden horde of hopeless refugees swarm like hundreds of thousands of locust from the cities to the countryside after an economic collapse?

No they won’t, not after an economic collapse anyways, in fact, I look for the opposite to happen, with hordes of people packing it up and leaving rural areas for the cities to look for work (when things settle down and after the initial riots that will occur in some areas). Recent examples of this happening after an economic collapse; include present day Greece, Argentina 1998–2002, the former USSR in the 1990s, New Zealand in the 1980’s and the U.S. Great Depression of the 1930’s.

In all the examples given above none saw a huge influx of refuges fleeing the cities to the country, but the opposite reaction with people leaving the rural areas for the cities in hopes of finding work. You can’t believe everything some self-proclaimed survival expert told you in his fiction novel, look at history as an example instead. History offers much more realistic examples of how events will unfold in the real world than do the fantasies of some delusional fiction author.

In fact, I don’t see the “golden horde” heading toward the countryside at all unless the disaster is localized to the urban area that they are fleeing from such as after Katrina. Most of the supposed “hordes” will die (or be killed) in place waiting on the government to come in and rescue them before they would head out for the countryside .

Yes; there will be some people who will leave the cities to try farming in the rural areas (there will also be people leaving the rural areas for the city in hopes of finding work), but after such an event the cities will not empty into the countryside as you’ve been told…

In the long-term after an economic collapse, there will be roving gangs of armed survivors from the cities that will make trips into the surrounding countryside to raid homes, farms and other sources for supplies but it will not be the “horde” of hundreds of thousands that is foreseen by many in the survival / prepper community… Those most at risk of attack by these types of “raiders” will be those living within 50 miles of major population areas – but the further you are away from those areas the lower your risk will be…

There is also a good possibility that the federal government will take resources from rural areas (food for example) and redistribute those resources to urban areas after an economic collapse (a new form of welfare?) so why would they want to come and take it when the federal government will do it for them?

I do know that any and all government resources will be put toward helping urban areas after such an event. As I’ve said before an economic collapse does not mean a government collapse – those in power will only tighten the screws and take from you to redistribute to the cities…


Without the rule of law – this is another one of those events, like the golden horde theory, that survival writers have promoted for years, but does it have merit in the real world? Well the answer is yes and no… let me explain. After a major disaster there very well maybe a period of time without the rule of law, but unlike what has been portrayed, in the pages of countless survival fiction books and movies, it will in all likelihood be a short-term and localized event.

You see most people want law and order and will work together to achieve that end. Crime will no doubt increase after an economic collapse (and most other disasters), with home invasions, robbery, murder, kidnapping and rape being all to common, but such offenses will still be against the law, both legally and morally, and people will demand that the perpetrators be apprehended and justice served, even if that justice is via the rule and judgment of a local warlord or governor and a public stoning in the street.

Shoot first

This ties in with concept of  WROL “without the rule of law” mentioned above and is where the majority of preppers seem to be confused (and trigger happy). We’ve all heard, read and contemplated it but is the shoot-first-crowd being realistic or simply feeding their Rambo fantasies with visions of using uncontrolled, and unaccounted-for deadly force on their neighbors or anyone else that comes within one thousand yards of their retreat after the balloon goes up…

Listen; in all but the most extreme circumstances of total and long-term collapse and anarchy (example = full blown civil war), the laws, and punishment for the unjustifiable taking of a human life will still apply, and will be enforced, even if that punishment is your public execution in the street. You will not be able to kill your neighbor because he looked at your wife with lust in his eyes, or trespassed on your property without there being repercussions brought against you.

My advice is to study up on the laws regarding self-defense in your state and to also have nonlethal means of protecting yourself, such as defensive spray, extendable baton, tazer,  bean bag rounds etc…

It’s also a good idea to be friends with your local Sheriff and as many of his deputies as possible – remember they write the reports (just hope that it was not one of their family or friends that you shot). A good shovel also might be a good idea, you know, just in case that you let things get out of hand…

Those that use unjustifiable lethal force against another person will be held accountable if caught, no matter how bad the economy gets or how deep and far reaching the crash. To think otherwise is a sure way of ending up in jail or worse.

Bugging out to the woods

If you’ve read my article “Bugging out vs. Hunkering down” then you already know, that I’m not a big fan of the “bugging out” theory in general and planning to bug out to the woods to hide and wait out a disaster is suicidal for most. Come on let’s be realistic, could you live in the woods with no outside support for four to six years? Would you be safer roaming the backwoods than if you stayed home where you are stocked up and can blend in with everyone else?

Planning to leave the familiarity and security of your home to “bug out” to the woods isn’t very smart – In nearly every instance it’s better to hunker down or “bug in” than to bug out. I mean, why leave the safety and familiar surroundings of your home, for the open and unforgiving wilderness.

You need to weigh the risks of bugging out vs. hunkering down and make your final decision based on logic and type of threats that you face. That’s the way decisions should be made, unfortunately, many people when making plans for survival side with emotion instead of the tried and true form of decision-making known as logic.

Relying on emotion instead of logic can make for some interesting adventures; however without sound planning beforehand those adventures are likely to be sort lived. For example, I recently asked a fellow in his late 30’s what he would do if disaster struck his area.

He thought for a moment and said he would gather his family and all the food, guns and ammunition he could find and head for the mountains that lay some seventy-five miles to the north of his home.

Depending on the type of disaster, his “plan” might work short-term for a lone survivor or a small group of trained individuals in good physical condition with proper gear and mind-set. But he is a new father and his wife is one of those that think missing an appointment at the nail-salon is the end of the world as she knows it.

Making matters worse he has no outdoor survival training or skills other than watching reruns of Less Stroud’s “Survivorman” and camping at a national park campground with all the utilities and hookups. Why he thinks he can survive long-term off the wilderness while dragging his family along, I don’t know. He isn’t thinking logically.

Being “squared away” in the wilderness

Some survival writers suggest relocating as far away from other people as possible – this is what I call the “cabin in the woods” survival philosophy. Living in the backwoods is great, now, but in the aftermath of a long-term disaster or economic collapse, those “squared away” in the wilderness will become targets.

And guess what… you’ll be on your own. No one will come to your rescue – if the looters manage to take control of your isolated cabin in the woods, they can stay for as long as they want and do what ever they want to you and your family, and no one will hear your screams for help.

Robbers, thieves, rapists and murders will seek out isolated retreats, because of there isolation, I know this goes against what some other self-appointed “survival guru” has repeatedly told his readers, but recent history and common sense prove that I’m right.  Armed and organized home invasions will be a constant threat for isolated families.

One lone gunman could easily, take out an isolated family from a distance or even selectively pick off all of the male inhabitants while saving the females for his own pleasure.

I’ve lived in an isolated area where my closest neighbors were well over a mile away, and the peace and quiet are great, I loved the isolation, but even then, I constantly worried about thieves breaking in and stealing my stuff, every time that I left the house to go to town or visit my family. And this was during good times – now imagine how quickly things would deteriorate in the aftermath of an economic collapse or other major disaster..

So what do I suggest that you do…

I suggest that you find a small town or community and move there if possible,  get to know your neighbors and become part of the community. If possible purchase, from five to ten acres of property and set up a mini-farm / homestead (avoid going into debt if possible). This will give you the best of both worlds, you can have privacy, and still be self-reliant on your own land while still being close enough neighbors to avoid becoming an easy target and you can get help if you need it.

For example; my home / retreat / homestead / mini farm or whatever you want to call it (I call it “The Last Stand”) is 5 1/2 acres with my closest neighbors being 190 yards to the left and 230 yards to the right and about 300 yards in front, to the rear there is nothing but forest that connects to national forest land.

My neighbors are far enough away and through the trees that I have plenty of privacy, but they are still close enough that we can help each other if needed. CB radios are great for this – if each neighbor has one (you can provide them if needed) you can work out an agreement to keep the radios turned on and monitored and to quickly come to the aid of your neighbor should they need for help.

Well there you have it… the five most common piles of prepper BS.

Want An Advantage?

Then take a look at my all in one survival and prepper library on CD-Rom – there are over 200 books, manuals and reports that have been hand-picked by me for quality, and usefulness.

[ Click Here for Full Details ]

This is a massive prepper library designed to help you prepare for any disaster, become self-reliant or build a homestead. This CD has all the knowledge you will need to survive any disaster – guaranteed…


  1. Leonard M. Urban says:

    One popular novel that’s become something of a bible for preppers and survivalists promotes the fantasy that older vehicles will be functional after an EMP attack. They won’t. Nor will vacuum tube radios/tvs, etc. A gentleman at my church who is a scientist that’s worked at Sandia Weapons Lab at Sandia Air Force Base assures me that anything not stashed in a PROPER Faraday Cage–not the simple tinfoil version one sees explained online–will be fried. Whether your vehicle is a 1950 Cadillac or 2014 Japanese rice burner with umpteen computer-driven spangles and doodads, it will be irretrieveably dead…

  2. Jeffrey C. Anthony says:

    Real and outstanding. The problem that creates most of the myths breaks down to a lack of faith in humanity IMHO. I do feel that there is possibility among people of good character who work together when they need to, and can recognize the individual and their rights. Simple to me, amazing that our world has strayed from that to such a huge extent.

  3. Lessons from Argentina’s economic collapse

    Guess what? There was no “golden horde” leaving the cities for the countryside…


    • one problem, their society is largely homogenous. not ours. their society was also less violent and more laid back, like the spaniards.

      • “their society was also less violent”

        That one statement shows your complete lack of knowledge and understanding of what happened there and after a total economic collapse. Please do some actual research, or at the least watch some YouTube videos of the riots that took place there after their economic collapse… Look up the violent crime rates… doing this will help you to avoid looking stupid in the future.

        • riverrider says:

          mike, i was talking about BEFORE the “collapse”. who had a higher murder rate? u.s… who had a higher assault rate? rape? robbery? prior to the collapse, which wasn’t even close to whats coming here, the argentines had a lower level of crime. yes crime, but theft, etc not so much violent crimes. they were generally more laid back people. a lot of folks are using past “collapses” to predict the future of one that will likely be magnitudes larger than anything previously seen. i hope you are right. my gut tells me not so. even a mere hurricane sent 250k people into my area from 200 miles east. grid lock, fights at the empty gas stations, meltdowns over no enfamil was the least of the worries. and that was a short term, localized event. many folks not on the east coast have no idea how densely packed people are nor how quickly the thin veneer of civility disappears. good luck to you all….. and call me stupid to my face it’ll be the last time with all of your teeth. its intolerant assholes like you that give people a bad name.

  4. My concern is how people have changed. Look at how they will kill each other on Black Friday to get a great deal…what would they do if they didn’t have food?

  5. “Do you really want to pile up sandbags around your home, dig fox holes in preparation for the “golden horde” that just wont come? Knock yourself out!”

    Quote from : FerFAL the guy that lived through the economic collapse in Argentina…

  6. If you look at the poorest, most desperate countries (Haiti for example), there are still cities, people still have jobs, and money still works and there has been no golden horde.

  7. Yea but see, how do you write a novel about that? Well you could but you would actually have to DEVELOP characters and plot lines. Very few in the genre seem to want to do that.

    I would love to see an author take a real crack at a story based on the real likely outcomes of economic collapse.

  8. If there wasn’t a golden horde from the cities to the countryside in Argentina, Lebanon, the west bank/gaza strip, Columbia, Haiti, South Africa, or Zimbabwe (they fled to other cities in South Africa) it isn’t going to happen in the U.S. either.

  9. Dirk Williams says:

    Interesting views. If I might ask what are your credentials. Anything that makes me think I like. You have accomplished that. I hope your right.

    Good day.

  10. The author makes a great point about community. Check out http://www.rerootusa.com if you have similar feelings. This is how the I Am Liberty faithful believe we can get the country back on track

  11. GoatHollow says:


  12. Excellent, sobering and thoughtful. Great article, M.D. it truly is. I’d like to print out a copy to show to a guy at my club who pretty much has bought into all you mentioned.

    I live near a city (15 miles) whose population, by and large, depends on some form of government assistance, but at the same time, I don’t have much concern about a tidal wave of looters fanning out. You were spot on: cities are the logical places to send supplies, as they always exist at the nexus of transportation routes. Where I live, I’d have more to fear from some of my less-couth neighbors.

    And finally, someone who debunks the old “Throw your pack on and head for the hills!” myth that’s been going around for so long. Again, the guy at my club is totally onboard with this, while at the same time, he probably wouldn’t last more than a week or so in the woods “for real”. Personally, I know my limitations (many), and could possibly eke out an existence for some time, but it’d be at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy to be sure. Even when I was young and healthy, just packing for a three to four-day excursion in the mountains meant a substantial amount of materiel just to maintain living, much less carving out a new life for myself.

    And it’s high time that folks like us stop playing Internet Tough Guy when the subject of what they would do when the inevitable “shoot/don’t shoot” question comes up. I like the way you dealt with that.

    And the small community idea doesn’t have to take place in a rural/semi-rural setting.It could be in a cul-de-sac, a suburban neighborhood, an apartment complex, or an urban street setting.
    All it takes is for someone to take the first steps in getting to know your neighbors better.

    And that’s for everyday, not just for Doomsday. Even if the most you do is smile and wave at them, it’s something more than coldly ignoring them. Good or bad, know who lays their head in the house next to yours, it could prove beneficial someday. Know what cars they drive, a general idea of when they’re at work or just out, when they’re in.
    I love solitude, but I wouldn’t like it for long. Even the hermits who used to live in the mountains above Salt Lake back when I lived there had to come into town, if anything to remind them why they were hermits, but they still needed human contact in order to do that. We’re a social animal, not very good at living the true solitary life of some other creatures. We need each other, even if we don’t like each other very much at times.

    • Rick, you reminded me of something with this: “And the small community idea doesn’t have to take place in a rural/semi-rural setting.It could be in a cul-de-sac, a suburban neighborhood, an apartment complex”

      Back in the late 1980s (think: Height of the Crack Wars) I lived in Milwaukee, and to get to the highway I frequently took a route through some of the worst drug-ridden areas.

      One day I turned onto a street I had never been on, and realized it was a block long cul-de-sac. Every house on the block had a chain link fence around it. Every house was freshly painted. Every house has flower gardens and a nice lawn.

      Not a single house in the surrounding blocks had any of those except the chain link fences.

      It struck me that the only physical difference was that no one could drive or walk through that block on their way elsewhere. That meant the home owners knew who should be walking or driving their block, and who shouldn’t be. They had a little enclave in the heart of the Crack Wars, and they made it work.

      Of course the government discourages cul-de-sacs because they are expensive to plow in the winter, and fire trucks can’t get beyond them.

      It seems to me that the benefits would be worth the costs, though.

      In Beirut in 1975, during the beginning of their civil war, I went with a neighbor to a house on a standard grid pattern street. The neighbors had blocked each end of the block with flat bed trailers, and had sand bag gun posts on the corners. They turned their block into an enclave.

      It seemed to be working for them, in the midst of people going to the grocery store with belt fed machine guns mounted on the vehicles, and people shooting rockets at the Holiday Inn. And people in the Holiday Inn shooting rockets back.

      It may not have been a perfect solution, but they sure improved on what they started with.

  13. Draq wraith says:

    Did anyone here live in the 1980’s see the movie ‘The Survivors’?
    Everytime I keep hearing the run for the hills crowd I think about that show. How the extremism the land grabs and the mole people just keeps that movie vivid in my mind. To me there should be a happy middle ground that’s just right for the events that may come. It would be nice to see that happen but everyone has their line in the sand that they don’t cross. Hope folks have at least a weeks worth of prep and safety gear. But I know trying to get people to plan ahead is like peeing in the Mississippi to get Iit to reverse course. Just doesn’t work.

  14. Rider of Rohan says:

    One of the best and most thought-provoking articles I have ever seen, MD. It ought to be required reading for everyone with an IQ over 100. And the comments are excellent. Well done!

    • One thing I would add to his discussion is the warning shot. I’m disappointed in the decline of using a warning shot. If one can’t spare a warning shot perhaps they’d better bone up at the range.

  15. What an awesome discussion. I agree with you completely, MD. I live in a rural ag area close to a thriving city and I already see lots of farmers whose spouse works in town, as there are few jobs here. Most people who don’t farm commute to town and if times got tough they would spend about 2 seconds calculating the costs and be gone from here. I could see significant others living in town and visiting home on the weekends, taking produce back with them to supplement expensive store bought goods. I also think we will see people doubling and tripling up, and maybe bringing back the old fashioned boarding house. All it would really take is a spike in the gas prices that doesn’t get manipulated back down to an economically palatable level. One thing to keep in mind is that where I live (rural South Dakota) a lot of people have their homes paid for and do have some leeway in their budgets. They hunt, fish, preserve foods from their own gardens and are somewhat insulated from all these conversations, because it doesn’t affect them. We do have a rural hospital 12 miles away with a close circuit ER that connects them to a trauma center so in many ways we are set to ride it out. We don’t have some businesses but we do have internet. What people seem to forget is what happened in this country during the depression and dust bowl. Everyone “bugged out” for California or other parts where jobs were available. I think you’re spot on.

  16. I have read this thread and comments completely through from beginning to end. One of the attributes about preparing for whatever is likely to come your way is the multitude of ideas from people who are attempting to survive whatever calamity comes their way.

    Absolutely none of us knows with any degree of accuracy how a “Financial Collapse” will play out either nationwide or locally. We can only judge by what has occured in the past and project those scenerios into our future planning along with any current potential crises we might envision.

    There has never been this much Debt, i.e.; Personal, Credit Card, Student Loans, Corporate, GSE and Sovereign in the history of mankind. There is over One Quadrillion in Derivitives sloshing around in the world’s financial system.

    When the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back” occurs, I do expect a lengthy “Bank Holiday” to be immediately followed by a long list of draconian actions from the Imperial Government in DC. Currency Controls, GRA aka Retirement confiscation, i.e.; 401Ks, IRAs, SEPs. Perhaps also your long term (2-5 Year) CDs.

    We will also see at this time witness severe means testing for Social Security and Medicare as well as Medicaid if these programs even survive. Ditto for Food Stamps. Reductions in “Retired” Pay for Military, Civil Service and Postal.

    There are so many ways this could and will play out.

    BUT if you live near or in a large Urban area that is majority minority I would urge you to be cautious and plan ahead for your safety.

  17. Thank you Dr. Creekmore. We just had a great Thanksgiving with our grown children flying in from out of State to attend with us at our new home that is described quite well by yourself describing yours. Ours isn’t quite that big but our trees are enormous.

    We have a travel trailer for “bugging out”, but I fully intend to hunker down. We just got this place a few months ago. Paid cash for it. The well was full of roots and it was a pretty penny to fix that but we finally have what we had always hoped for. We even lucked out with the neighbors and I like your CB radio idea. Two miles North of a small town with the National Forest for a neighbor. It’s beautiful. Perfect.

    Last Friday after work we drove up there and when we awoke Saturday morning there was two inches of fresh snow.

    • David,

      Glad to here that you’ve found your place. I wish that mine had a water well on it, but we get plenty of rain and I have to farm ponds and a small lake all within 1/2 mile of my property.

  18. Enzo Pamrona says:

    “That Other” survival blog offers a long article (by a reader) today examining the details of bugging out. The same recommendations that have been repeated for decades as referenced above. Sigh.

  19. I love this post. You have very interesting ideas about not isolating yourself too much. You are spot on about being in an extremely vulnerable position by isolating yourself too much. Small communities do seem to be where the most safety lies. A small homestead is great to support an off the grid lifestyle. An additional layer of protection would be an underground bunker. They can provide a safe place to lay in wait while the worst of the expected civil unrest unravels. The most important aspect of having a bunker is making sure everyone doesn’t know about it. Rising S Bunkers (found here http://www.risingsbunkers.com/pricing-and-floor-plans/ ) builds underground bunkers with confidentiality a big priority. They are a national company so the location need not matter. They build steel underground bunkers of the highest quality. They can build the bunkers to be completely off the grid at an affordable price. Its a great alternative to live off the grid. A lot of people want to have the security of living off the grid when necessary, but don’t want to make the sacrifices of that lifestyle while the world is still a peachy place. An off the grid underground bunker is the wisest investment you can make today.
    M.D. Creekmore you are opening a lot of minds about prepping and I really enjoyed reading your well written entry.

  20. Pretty much spot on. Read up on what happened to isolated farmers in Rawanda and what is currently happening to isolated farmers in South Africa. Need groups of people working together for common protection. Unless of course the army shows up and says relocate because we are taking your land. Then its run or be hauled off.

  21. I live in the city, where there’s no place to hunt/fish. Here’s how I “prep” for a downturn:

    1. Give up soda, alcohol, tobacco, and processed foods. I can’t afford to be unhealthy, not with price of healthcare these days.
    2. Go running three times a week at 5am.
    3. I ride a bike everywhere, to work. I only use public transport 2 or three times a year.
    4. In the winter, avoid caffein, salt, and sugar. It makes it harder to take the cold weather.
    5. In the winter, eat more fat and protein.
    6. Wear thick socks.
    7. Get rid of the TV. It wastes your time (and electricity.)
    8. If there’s a sale on meat and fish, smoke/can it.
    9. Try to get along with your neighbors. You never know when you may need their help.

  22. Bob Nelson says:

    You need to have the most trusted and least selfish close friends in a small group! Going this alone makes you an easy target. In my case, I have some of my most trusted friends who are woods and defense-savvy, many with Special Ops training from Uncle Sam. We began preparing long ago (decades).

    All understand and accept that relatives have no special place if/when this goes worst-case. Some own businesses that are already stocked.

  23. trust can get you killed and as for cabin in the woods being a target no one able to hear your crys for help works both ways lol

  24. I would suggest flares to call out for help. Maybe outlandish but heh. Why not?

    • 1MoreBoyScout says:

      Flares are good defensive weapons as well ! ! So is grain alcohol in glass bottles with a rag for a fuse. Soak, light, throw, burst, BOOM! quick distraction tactic.

  25. 1MoreBoyScout says:

    Well…. All of these post’ are from around January. I always seem to be bringing up the rear, so to speak. (I’ll catch up one of these day’s!)
    Were about 5 – 6 miles from any town, the biggest locally, about 7 miles away. Neighbor wise, 1/4 to 1/2 a mile in any direction making that literally, 4 neighbors. With the exception of a Hand pump for the well, and an electrical (combustion) generator, I think were in good shape. I My (actual) biggest concern proximity wise, is an Air Force base, about 5 miles away. Just my own paranoia, as I am not sure just how “they” will react to a societal break-down. I can see the disadvantage to some isolation instances, & also the advantage. I believe were far enough “out of
    town” that we wont have to deal too much with the common hordes. There is a lot of pasture lands, & woods to keep them from wandering, at least on foot, very far. The families that do live around us are farmers, cattle ranchers, & hunters. They seem to patrol their respective lands regularly, & we all live on gravel roads, so we can here & see who’s approaching, at least vehicle wise, And I am certain from interaction’s with them, that we would all be a sort of “minute man” group if TSHTF. We have no plans of bugging out, unless it really get’s bad-bad. We have plenty of room to garden sustainable crops, & crops for barter, hunting area & a stocked pond. WITH ALL THAT said, it comes down to this, If God want’s us here, here is where we’ll be. If God call’s us home, were going home. That’s his call to make, weather or not we actually realize it at the time, is on us, but one thing is for certain: Were NOT going down without a blood & bones fight to the death.. But, that is just my opinion. “What do I really know…”

    • 1MoreBoyScout says:

      Perhaps it’s a mix of the Stubborn Pawnee / Irish mix in me. I have deep rooted ties to this country of ours. I’m not into “rolling over” so to speak. Futures, certain or not, are worth fighting for. I wish I could say it’s a common mind-set. I’m not sure anymore. I feel the younger generation coming up behind
      doesn’t have the fortitude to stand up, & the remainder with an exception of a few, are too scared & lazy. Again, my opinion. I hope I’m proven wrong…

  26. Not knowing the inevitable catalyst, it undoubtedbly will come down to the survival of the fittest / luckiest. Wondering if this new world, and the person that I’ll undoubtedly need to step up to be in order to survive, will be worth it.