Prepping

The Biggest Threats to America Right Now

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America faces many challenges going forward. Some of these challenges are new, some are lurking fears that have never quite perished, but all threaten the safety and security of our nation, in total or in part, and ergo the citizenry. None may be so bad as to completely destroy our country, but all could come at the cost of many lives, widespread devastation and an unpredictable and terrible reordering of society.

It is best to be ready for regional or national disasters. Despite their dreadful portents, they are survivable with the right plan, the right preparation, a lot of grit and a little luck. Below are some of the most plausible threats against America that will certainly have regional and perhaps nationwide effects.

What is on this List?

This list is comprised of disasters and crisis events that are natural or “man-made” in origin. All are plausible events, not fantastic or nigh-impossible scenarios so unlikely to occur as to be fiction or nearly so. You will not be seeing any zombie outbreaks, gamma ray bursts or alien invasions.

You will be seeing events that, while not as incredible, promise to be no less spectacular, terrible and dangerous. Truly preparing for these will involve some diligence and perhaps measures and supplies beyond what even a seasoned and self-reliant person would keep on hand. Luck, while always a factor in survival, may play a greater part in your odds than your common “everyday” disaster scenarios.

By their very nature, many of these events will have severe death tolls, either at their onset or in the aftermath, and will exact a terrible toll. Many, even the well prepared, may perish simply due to bad luck or timing. Such is the nature of true catastrophes. It is hard to accept, but there it is.

Nonetheless, you should prepare. Even the very worst disasters are often survivable if you are prepared, where an unprepared person may still perish. Much of the core preps for surviving any prolonged and protracted disaster will apply to this list, but long-term or initial sustainment and survival may require specialist equipment, knowledge or other preparation. You can find out more in the entry for each.

The List of Threats

World War III: Nuclear Exchange

A limited or major nuclear exchange between the U.S.A. and some other power or force would see unimaginable destruction or outright annihilation visited upon population centers, followed by a complete upheaval in civilian life following elimination, reduction or disruption of basic services and commerce.

Tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of deaths will happen in a heartbeat when a nuclear warhead detonates, with subsequent and follow-on casualties growing exponentially in the aftermath thanks to radiation and fallout.

The intermediate to long-term effects are tough to predict, but shortages of medical care, food and water, if not outright famine, will become the rule. Refugees from bombed areas will be enormous in number. Martial law is a certainty, and a draft call is very likely. Mass unrest and rioting, looting, and crackdowns will strain law enforcement and military personnel to their limits. America will be especially vulnerable to follow on attacks from external and internal forces at this time.

Surviving an initial nuclear strike is possible, so long as you are not near ground zero. That is best accomplished by living far from major population centers, military installations and seats of government. After that, avoiding fallout will be your number one concern, both directly and its ruinous effect on consumables. Long term assured survival will mandate having a fallback location far from populated areas, significant stores of food, CBRN gear, and expertise for dealing with irradiated areas.

Economic Collapse

The U.S.’s debt is spiraling out of control, and no amount of rebranding or tin-plate promises will forestall the inalienable laws of economics forever. Society is only three missed meals away from total pandemonium. When one day a dollar will only buy you a nickel’s worth of milk, society will unravel in short order. Riots and outright bedlam will become commonplace. There will not be enough law enforcement quell disturbances at any level, local, state or federal.

Without the rule of law, and with stomachs grumbling, the unfed and desperate will swarm like locusts. The situation will be worst, quickest, in major population centers as always. Your chances of becoming a victim will increase geometrically the longer you remain near large concentrations of people. The intolerable strain on local food supplies already totally dependent on the gears of commerce will vanish in a blink. Starvation and malnutrition will be immediate threats, as will being attacked or even killed over basic commodities.

For those fortunate enough to be in areas where barter, farming and trade may see them through, government confiscation (at gunpoint) will be a constant concern. Even in small, tight knit communities need will become a constant companion. Many will die from loss of once taken for granted things like reliable medical care, food or electricity.

Long term survival will be dependent on sustainably providing food, water and shelter. Those things will keep you alive if you can keep them; theft and brigandry will become common occurrences, perhaps even from current or former officials. Any disease or illness that requires steady access to medication or treatment may be a death sentence.

Total Loss of Power Grid

Whether from an EMP, severe solar storm or some other massive natural disaster, the result is the same: the lights are off, and they are not coming back on. It is very difficult to calculate just how far reaching the consequences will be for a nation so hopelessly dependent on technology, with electricity being the most vital and fragile part of that system.

The U.S. power grid is tottering, old and vulnerable. A cascading failure will mean the vast majority of business and services halt, probably permanently. No electricity means no computing, no refrigeration, no networks, no phones. Assuming the cause is something other than an EMP, these devices will all survive, but barring generator power and a steady supply of fuel (the extraction, processing and delivery of which is totally dependent on electricity) they will be out of commission.

Even a short term total loss of power to most or all of the country will see deaths from exposure rocket up, and shortly after deaths resulting from other complications like loss of power at care facilities. A significant portion of refrigerated food will be lost, as will the ability to make more on the industrial scale required to feed a population numbering 320 million plus. The chaos and uncertainty of such an event will see some criminal elements operate more boldly, especially in major cities. Looting will become common.

The real question is whether or not such an event could be mitigated with a coordinated government response. Despite some half-hearted assurances, it is not likely currently that the federal government has a plan for dealing with a total loss of power thanks to a regional or grid-down event.

Long term survival will be predicated on having secure and hidden stores of food, medicine and fresh water. The ability to make do with manual power for everything from transportation to farming may make the difference in the long run. A clever prepper may turn to homebrew solar, wind or hydro power, laying place such personal infrastructure ahead of time to keep the lights on and fridge cold with nary a hitch.

Conclusion

The above list contains the most plausible major threats to safety and security in the United States. Each one will result in long-term, enduring risk and must be met with an equally clear long-term strategy for survival. Hope is not a strategy: any of the above could happen tomorrow. It is best to plan now.

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Charles Yor

About Charles Yor

Charles Yor is an advocate of low-profile preparation, readiness as a virtue and avoiding trouble before it starts. He has enjoyed a long career in personal security implementation throughout the lower 48 of the United States.
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9 thoughts on “The Biggest Threats to America Right Now

    1. Thor1,

      Still a couple more that could be added are civil war and pandemic.

      I tend to think that both of those would be regional, and at least in the case of epidemic / pandemic emergency managers have plans and resources in place for mitigation.
      While I hope it’s a real stretch, the Yellowstone super volcano is technically overdue, and would be both nationally and globally devastating. Sometimes you just prepare the best you can and cross your fingers.

        1. Thor1,
          That’s OK if you believe that kind of thing; but, prophecy whether from the Bible, Nostradamus, or the I Ching / Yi Jing (Book of Changes) has never proven to be factual over time. Even Jeane Dixon got a few of them right; but, when you throw lots of things at a target, one of them is sure to land a hit.

    2. agreed, civil war is possible, but not as much as economic collapse or pandemic. right now a lot of ny population is talking about secession and dividing ny into 2 halves, nyc and the rest of ny. nyc and albany are bastions of liberal extremism and nyc has more than half the stte population in it (one of the biggest cities on earth) unfortunatly they decide state leadership, so the rest of us have to pay taxes to support city bullshit handouts and choke down liberal extremist laws (they just passed one requiring anyone buying a gun to let police search their computers last 3 years browser history, and anything they posted on social networks and read emails over the same time, a law that violates the 1st 2nd and 4th amendments all at once, city people jizz themselves over it, and ny is loosing about 250,000 people a year as people like me are putting our farms up for sale and getting out. i could see a civil war of some kind happening, or at least a revolt of some kind between country people and city people, not just ny but places like taxechusets and commicalifornia.

      pandemic is also possible, something like spanish flu getting loose would spread faster than ever before, used to be stuff spread by ship or horse speed at best, but now even remote places have flights half way across the country to major cities. a flu like that could burn though cities and spread everywhere in under a week.

      1. Nemoseto, one word, EBOLA. Samples of blood were missing and a case of contraction was under investigation at the university of Pennsylvania.

        I believe the civil war will be just like the revolution as reason to be started. Taxation without representation and attempted gun confiscation. The people are using the rallying cry “I will not comply” in most states that are trying to enforce illegal gun laws.

        Shall not be infringed !!!

      2. Nemoseto,

        city people jizz themselves over it, and ny is loosing about 250,000 people a year as people like me are putting our farms up for sale and getting out. i could see a civil war of some kind happening, or at least a revolt of some kind between country people and city people, not just ny but places like taxechusets and commicalifornia.

        The revolt is already in progress as those who can afford it are voting with their feet and their money, heading to tax free places like Florida and Texas. If we do have a major grid down event or pandemic, it will likely hit the larger cities first, potentially solving or muting the problem that affects all of us to some extent.

        pandemic is also possible, something like spanish flu getting loose would spread faster than ever before, used to be stuff spread by ship or horse speed at best, but now even remote places have flights half way across the country to major cities. a flu like that could burn though cities and spread everywhere in under a week.

        I think too many people fear and misunderstand the Spanish influenza outbreak. The influenza killed by two mechanisms, secondary infections like pneumonia, easily treated with modern antibiotics, and the cytokine storm, where the immune system overruns itself. Additionally, sanitary methods were not as widely known then as they are today. In the 1918 pandemic, many older people survived, and thoughts are that their exposure to the 1889–1890 flu pandemic, known as the Russian flu gave them some immunity, so those who are current on their influenza shots over the decades, quite likely have overlapping protection against other strains. I have not missed a ”flu shot” in more than two decades, and cannot remember when I last had the flu.

  1. Of the possible events listed, I think the only viable one is an Economic Collapse; but, don’t see that being a total collapse like for instance Argentina, since our government and economic system is mostly decentralized and not a complete top down command economy.

    Without the rule of law, and with stomachs grumbling, the unfed and desperate will swarm like locusts. The situation will be worst, quickest, in major population centers as always. Your chances of becoming a victim will increase geometrically the longer you remain near large concentrations of people.

    This has always been true and at least one of the reasons why we live more than an hour by motor vehicle from the nearest large population center. While many things are not as convenient as those in the cities, our crime and other urban problems are also mostly nonexistent.

    Long term survival will be dependent on sustainably providing food, water and shelter. Those things will keep you alive if you can keep them; theft and brigandry will become common occurrences, perhaps even from current or former officials.

    This again is where having your own means of production and placing distance between those officials is important.

    Any disease or illness that requires steady access to medication or treatment may be a death sentence.

    Things like diabetes will indeed become terminal over time; but, it was only in the mid to last century that this was also true with antibiotics unavailable until the 1940’s. Earlier last century in the 1920’s insulin was discovered and pressed into service. Prior to 1921, people with Type 1 diabetes rarely lived more than a year or two. It was perhaps one of the greatest medical discoveries of the last century and is the only effective treatment for people with Type 1 diabetes even today. My point is that we don’t have to be transformed back to the stone age or even to the 17 & 1800’s to have dire problems.
    My only issue for a long term problems would be the need to change my pacemaker at the end of battery life in another 5 years.

    Total Loss of Power Grid

    Whether from an EMP, severe solar storm or some other massive natural disaster, the result is the same: the lights are off, and they are not coming back on. It is very difficult to calculate just how far reaching the consequences will be for a nation so hopelessly dependent on technology, with electricity being the most vital and fragile part of that system.

    First of all I disagree that they are not coming back on. Eventually the power will be restored; but, the time to do so will be months to years, depending on where you live. In our case, a combination of our own power generation capability with plenty of fuel, some limited solar and batteries along with alternative ways to heat and cook could sustain us for a very long time. These are choices one make in life, accepting some inconvenience and expense, to have plans to survive the longer term

    The chaos and uncertainty of such an event will see some criminal elements operate more boldly, especially in major cities. Looting will become common.

    Yet one more reason to stay away from the major cities where chaos will no doubt be rampant.

    Long term survival will be predicated on having secure and hidden stores of food, medicine and fresh water. The ability to make do with manual power for everything from transportation to farming may make the difference in the long run. A clever prepper may turn to homebrew solar, wind or hydro power, laying place such personal infrastructure ahead of time to keep the lights on and fridge cold with nary a hitch.

    I agree with secure; but, hidden is one of those things that needs to be defined. We already have our own means of water production and sewage disposal, and can produce power from various means; but, more importantly, we have plans in place to work with reduced power and still stay warm, well fed and hydrated with more than adequate hygiene.

    The above list contains the most plausible major threats to safety and security in the United States. Each one will result in long-term, enduring risk and must be met with an equally clear long-term strategy for survival. Hope is not a strategy: any of the above could happen tomorrow. It is best to plan now.

    Our plans are still being honed and tweaked as time and money allow; but, have been in progress for more than 40 years, for nearly 35 years on this homestead. As you work toward that ”Perfect” plan and place, you may likely never get there; but, slow and steady, bit by bit, each improvement makes your odds of long term survival better & better.

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