The golden horde
The 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 refugees 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 may be 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 too 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.
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 non-lethal 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 mindset. 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 from 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 whatever 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 their 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.