The term martial law is a scary one to most people. It conjures up images of military lockdowns, armed and guarded checkpoints, regular inspections and the loss of rights. Most freedom loving people are likely right to be apprehensive about even the suggestion that martial law could be implemented.
With the state of the world today, owing to increasing government overreach globally at all levels of society and ever widening cultural and ideological gulfs, some are convinced it is only a matter of time until the unthinkable happens here at home.
That will definitely be a game changer. Gone will be civilian leadership at the local level. The police will no longer be truly in charge of law enforcement. Instead, the military will take over both, with everything that that entails.
I believe even the most staunchly pro-military supporter does not want to see that happen, and they are right in that regard. Much can go wrong with martial law, and anytime the military is responsible for law enforcement the stage is set for disaster.
The time is now to start playing what you’ll do and where you go should martial law be instituted at the local, regional or national level.
Trying to go along and get along may result in a bad outcome depending on how strained the situation becomes. Hoping for the best does not guarantee a good outcome, and accordingly you’d be well served to stay away from trouble if martial law is declared.
To help you in that end we are bringing you a list of five places where you might successfully hide from the worst effects of martial law.
Table of Contents
Could Martial Law Actually Be Instituted?
Martial law is declared more often around the world than most people think, and though it is rare and historically employed rarely in the United States, there is still a precedent for it, and it has occurred before and not as long ago as most people think.
Though the declaration of martial law is considered lawful based on our federal and State statutes, that doesn’t mean it is good for you or good for the country.
One thing to keep in mind is that martial law does not necessarily mean a coast to coast replacement of civilian leadership and law enforcement with a military equivalent.
Martial law could be declared at a limited local level, in a given city or municipality, at a state level, a national regional level or even full-blown, federal sea-to-shining-sea level.
For anything but the most intense and turbulent small-scale events, a regional or national declaration of martial law generally means that something truly terrible has happened, or that the government is rightly afraid that the citizenry is about to remove them with no ifs, ands, or buts.
What you should take away from this is that while martial law could definitely be implemented in the US and in many ways is more likely to be implemented in the near future and also means that in most situations there will be places that are not under a declaration of martial law.
Keep that in mind, keep your head about you and let us take the time to prepare accordingly.
How Will Life Change Under Martial Law?
Right now, you might be one of those good, upstanding citizens who believe that because you are a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen who still believes in your country, right or wrong, and the rule of law that you have nothing to fear from a declaration of martial law.
After all, our soldiers, sailors and airmen are all the good guys, right? This is a common sentiment, but one that almost always vanishes into a puff of steam immediately after learning what martial law actually means for the common citizen.
First and foremost, martial law means a major change into the day today running of a place, a change to how business is done.
You should absolutely expect regular searches, checkpointing, and even confiscation of contraband to happen regularly. As always, this is for reasons of security, but the real question is for the security of whom?
Naturally, a curfew will be put into place and enforced with more or less muscle, but you can expect any violation of the curfew to be met with significant reprisal, including detainment.
As you go from place to place you can expect to be asked to show papers, have your person and your vehicle searched and potentially any property you are in possession of seized.
But most egregiously, your civil rights, pretty much all of them, will be rendered null and void, suspended for the duration of the declaration of martial law in the affected area.
That means you do not have a right to go anywhere, you do not have a right to assemble, a right to bear arms, a right to privacy from confiscation or search and no right to be free of detention without formal charges.
This is how people wind up “renditioned,” or indefinitely detained without charges.
I hope I have your full and total attention now. I trust that I have impressed upon you how important picking when and where to hide or stay during a declaration of martial law is.
Safety is Your Number One Priority Under Martial Law
It is crucial to understand that martial law will affect your life in all kinds of ways. Socially, economically and potentially physically.
The stakes for you, personally, are very high if you are living in an area under martial law. You must understand that any place you might go, if it is a place under the declaration, will not be truly safe, only safer.
Every place on the list below entails trade-offs, and you’ll have to assess these trade-offs and then decide based on the circumstances of your life, family and other considerations.
Something else to keep in mind is that staying out of trouble and avoiding the attention of the military and other authorities in an area affected by martial law is not just a matter of blending in with the crowd and minding your own business.
All of your personal information, including your vital statistics, personal contacts, family members, financial info and more is all collated, readily available and highly sticky, meaning that regular access to electronic systems and carriage of a smartphone or similar device means that every part of you, nearly down to your DNA, is tracked almost in real time.
You need not think it is possible in our era to merely skip town, live and work under an assumed name and get paid in cash without anyone being the wiser.
Sure, that might have worked back in the day but it isn’t going to cut the mustard in the current year.
All it will take to dispel such a notion is one single, solitary, and potentially inadvertent contact on any number of electronic systems using information that is tied to and associated with your genuine identity.
This is a pitfall that is difficult to avoid, and growing increasingly more difficult every single day.
Keep that in mind as you read the list below, and know that the challenges associated with the information age have been taken into account when we assembled our list.
5 Safe Locations to Hide During Martial Law
Outside the Bounds of the Affected Area
Probably the best and most elegant solution to avoiding the troubles and travails associated with living in an area under martial law is to simply get out from under that affected area.
No matter what happens, it is unlikely that a massive regional or nationwide implementation of martial law will occur.
Based on a response projection established to counter localized or smaller regional incidents, you can expect martial law to be in place in a tiny fraction of the country when it is in effect at all.
The solution, then, is simple. If at all possible, pack up your life and your family and head elsewhere.
Depending on the specifics of the declaration, this might be across the state, across state lines or even across the country. Don’t rule anything out, and be prepared that you might have to move a little farther than you would like.
Though this might be a dreadful challenge, the good news is that life will, more or less, go on as usual in the areas that are not under martial law.
Depending on your family and financial situation, you might even want to look into a drop everything vacation with an extended rental, be it a condo or house, even an extended stay hotel.
If your profession is amenable to working from home and especially working remotely via the internet, so much the better as this will only increase the attractiveness of this response.
As good as this option is, you must plan for a worst case scenario of the martial law declaration being expanded or implemented elsewhere.
If you are going to an area that itself is likely to see martial law declared you could be facing the classic blunder of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Consider carefully whether or not the prospective safe haven is known for commercial, industrial or political importance or if it is currently experiencing heightened levels of unrest that might provoke a serious government response.
If you are of a conventional prepper mentality, your default plan to all kinds of societal trouble might be simply to head for deep country.
I don’t think it is any exaggeration to assert that a declaration of martial law, especially one in response to civil unrest would definitely qualify as societal trouble!
Heading out into the wilderness can definitely get you out from under the thumb of martial law and the troopers enforcing it, so it is a meaningful response, but more than most this plan has significant drawbacks to go with the perks. Let us start with the good and then we will move on to the bad.
In the park column, so long as you are not near any area of strategic interest, you really won’t be worrying about the day-to-day dealings with troopers or other officials like you would if you were near any kind of civilization currently under the effect of martial law.
This will allow you to relax and it generally live life as you would under the circumstances. Plus you being away from the bulk of the population means that attention is not going to be directed to you unless you are already wanted.
However, you are trading out one set of problems, those represented by martial law, for another set of problems, represented by the attendant challenges and difficulties of living way off grid in the wilderness.
All of your survival necessities, from shelter, food and water to security considerations must be attended to day in and day out or else you will start feeling the squeeze.
For anything but the most skilled of preppers living in the most abundant, pleasant climates this means a certain amount of dependency on supplies and accordingly, on resupply.
This option may be out of the question for some people entirely depending on the overall climate and weather where they live. The type of shelter that is amenable to you is entirely dependent on your group or family situation as well as the climate.
In some areas, retreating to the wilderness is a virtual death sentence where in others it will be more or less pleasant weather permitting.
Nonetheless, this is a viable option and one you should consider if your outdoor survival and sustainment skills are up to the challenge. If they are not, or you live in a hostile environment, discount it entirely unless you have no other option.
A Small Town
Small town living is attractive to many people, and it has many advantages likewise when we are trying to deal with the existential problem of martial law.
First, assuming you are dealing with a regional or otherwise widespread implementation of martial law smaller towns are less likely to be strategically or tactically important and so accordingly are less likely to be seriously staffed or watched by soldiers and other officials.
It is even entirely possible that there might not be an active military presence in the region at all.
Beyond the obvious benefits of being less likely to fall under the watchful eye of military forces, the culture of small towns might make them entirely more suitable for enduring martial law while you are there, whether or not the town is affected properly.
The stronger bonds between people and their ties to the community means folks are more likely to pull together and help each other in times of trouble.
At least, they are if you are known to them and in good standing with the community. Villains and outsiders are less likely to be treated with hospitality to say the least.
It is also worth considering that small towns, especially agrarian communities, are far more likely to be able to meaningfully self-sustain during the attendant economic and logistical fallout that will result from a serious implementation of martial law.
Food, water and other essentials are likely to be more plentiful, along with the skill sets needed to procure more of both. Blue collar lifestyles are alive, well and flourishing in small towns and this breeds a culture of personal readiness and grit.
However, it is worth considering second and third order effects that are likely to affect small towns if martial law is declared for reasons of domestic security.
Our military has learned time and time again that small towns and their insular nature is often amenable to the sheltering or raising of insurgents, and partisan or gorilla forces throughout history have often relied on remote villages and small towns as part of their underground network.
It goes without saying, the military already has well established and effective plans for dealing with just such a contingency.
In a Big City
At first, it might sound counterintuitive. How is a major population center a good place to hide during martial law, when major population centers will, invariably, be disproportionately subject to scrutiny and control compared to elsewhere?
Like the old saying says, the easiest way to hide a zebra is in a herd of other zebras. With massive numbers of citizens comes massive crowds, and if you can become just one face in that crowd of hundreds of thousands, even millions, you are significantly less likely to have negative interactions with military forces so long as you play your cards right and are cautious.
Now, you must understand that assuming you’re going to keep participating in your day-to-day life, or what passes forward under the circumstances, you will in all likelihood have interactions with troopers or other officials.
This does not mean you will go unnoticed or undetected, it only means you will be just another face in a literally unending sea of other faces for the people who are tasked with controlling the area.
Imagine it for yourself. Every, single day, pushing a post, inspecting IDs, peeking into the windows of vehicles, manning a turnstile or some other soul crushing post of drudgery.
So long as you don’t stick out or do anything obvious to court further inspection the people you are dealing with are likely to go through the motions and just wave you through.
Yes, you’ll still have to stand in line, show your ID and jump through all the other hoops that we have previously discussed, but chances are no one is going to be singling you out for special attention.
But on that note, if you do garner special attention, or are just the unfortunate victim of a case of mistaken identity or wrong place wrong time you will be much, much closer to a hub of military power and you will find it much harder to hide in any one place for any length of time without a noose tightening around you.
For Americans who profoundly love their country, the idea of jumping ship and leaving the borders of the nation that raised you is virtually unthinkable, especially in times of trouble.
It is still something that must be considered under the circumstances and most especially if you are a person who is already sought by authorities or if the martial law situation is taking a grim turn toward tyranny and abuse.
We can say for certain that you won’t be retreating towards a country that is a greater bastion of freedom than the United States.
For freedom loving people, we are the first and last stop, even though we have our own problems. However, you must consider the notion that a temporary withdrawal might give up a battle to win the war, as the saying goes. The next obvious question is where you will head.
Neighboring countries like Mexico, Canada, or any of the island territories near the US are obvious candidates but consider the fact that you might be pursued easily enough or even rounded up and sent home by authorities in those countries depending on the severity of the domestic situation.
Assuming the United States government and the military have bigger fish to fry than you, however, they are probably decent enough options.
More so than most of the other hiding places on this list, logistics will be a major concern. There is the obvious question of a language barrier, if extant, to consider and then also considerations about employment and the length and status of your stay.
Since the unspecified virus of unknown origin hit the globe, mandates about vaccinations, shots and medical waivers are ubiquitous and likely to be a factor for some time.
These are all things you must put careful thought into well ahead of time because you definitely don’t want to be dealing with them at the instant after you arrive.
The prospect of martial law being implemented seriously within the borders of the United States is terrifying for many, and though it is still statistically unlikely the chances that this will happen are more likely than they have been in six decades and are only increasing.
The time is now to start thinking about where you will go should your home be affected by a declaration of martial law.