Why Cities Will Unavoidably Become Lawless Within a Week or Two of a Level 2/3 Event

Initially it will be ‘other people’ and ‘bad people’ rioting and looting. But within a week or two, it will be your neighbors, too.

We came across an interesting article on a survivalist blog.  The writer said he believed that too many people are being too negative in terms of their projections about what will happen after TEOTWAWKI.

This writer spoke about his belief in the basic goodness of the American people, and offered up various high-minded platitudes to this effect.  As well as platitudes, he also described in some detail a scenario that he believed would apply.

Basically, it was the ‘neighborhood watch on steroids’ concept, where the residents in a neighborhood all banded together to defend themselves against roving gangs of looters and rioters.

A mean-minded person would point out that his reference to roving gangs of goblins already acknowledged that cities would become lawless to a greater or lesser extent.  But let’s not score points through rhetoric, and let’s concentrate instead on the viability of smaller neighborhood communities managing to keep law and order within their own cul-de-sac or apartment complex or gated community or whatever.

He added the comment ‘around where I live, there are more rifles than people’; that may or may not be true about where you live, but it doesn’t really matter and obscures an appreciation of the issues that do matter.

Let’s simply agree with this optimistic view of the future – that you and your neighbors have lots of weapons, are decent honest people, and you all effectively band together harmoniously and create your own micro-community and safe zone, keeping the goblins away.



What happens next?

By this we simply mean, what happens when food starts to run low in your little micro-community? We see three breakdown events occurring in the days after the creation of your neighborhood cooperative.

First Breakdown

The first level of breakdown will be when your tiny self-defense cooperative is first formed.  What’s the betting that part of the deal will be the organizers saying ‘We need to join together and pool our resources for our shared common good’.  Now that all sounds fine and dandy when they’re saying ‘We all need to take turns watching out for raiders and repelling them’ but the chances they are also saying ‘And let’s pool all our food and other survival resources’.

So right from day one, you’ll be under pressure from your fellow law-abiding neighbors to share away everything you have to help them.  In return for this, they are offering additional security – ostensibly from others outside your neighborhood, but the unwritten unstated ugliness is you’re also getting security from them, too.

However, let’s say this is not a problem.  Maybe you are all equally prepared, so redistribution of all your supplies has little effect.

Second Breakdown

But now for stage two.  Some people in your community have strangely used up their share of the pooled community supplies much faster than others.  Are they secretly hoarding food?  Eating twice as much as anyone else?  Or just being wasteful?  Whatever the cause, your community and you now have your second social crisis.  Do you reward these people’s bad behavior and give them more food – especially because, at this point, everyone’s supplies are now diminishing.

With any measure of remaining civilization, this is almost certainly what will happen, because not only will some people be lobbying for more food, half the other people will also be looking ahead to the point where they too will be needing support from anyone who still has surplus food.  So they’ll support the concept of daily redistributions of food based on need, because they see themselves becoming net beneficiaries of the policy, too.  A bit like taxing a few wealthy people to feed the many poor people, right?

Besides which, while you might have had to shoot at and maybe even hit looters attempting to attack your community, they have all been strangers at a distance, and there’s been a life or death, them or us, element to the encounter.  But are you to let one of your neighbors starve in front of you?  And will they just passively starve while you continue to eat, or will they fight you to get your food?

The outcome of this second breakdown is almost certain – you give up still more of your own prepared supplies in exchange for a little bit more peace and safety within your community.

Third Breakdown

Now for stage three, and this is the point where we feel we must surely ‘win’ the argument (we use quotes, because we wish we were wrong, but we fear we are right).

You’re now at the point where everyone in your community group has exhausted their food supplies.  What do you do now?

Your choices are starkly simple.  You stay where you are, and slowly starve to death, or alternatively, you do whatever it takes to get additional food for your friends, your families, and yourselves.

This is the point where all community members, of all communities, have no choice but to become ‘lawless looters’ – except that it won’t just be empty stores you’ll be smashing into to steal food from.  The stores will already have been emptied, days or weeks ago.  The only places where you can get food now are places where people still have food and are protecting their food from people like – yes, from people like you.

What do you do when your polite request for a gift of food is rebuffed?  What do you do after you’ve offered to pay them with money, with valuables, with anything at all they care to ask for, and they’ve still refused to sell/exchange even a single food item?

Most people will manage to become morally outraged at this, and so will then see what happens next not as their own transition to a lawless looter, but instead, they’ll see themselves as morally empowered to fairly redistribute the remaining food and to stop selfish people from illegally hoarding more food than they could ever truly need.

These people will not see themselves as killing the current lawful owners of whatever food remains.  They’ll see themselves saving the lives of many others when they secure the food and redistribute it.

Indeed, what passes for the remaining lawful authorities will probably pass urgent laws making it illegal to keep more than a day or two of food in one’s house, requiring ‘hoarders’ to give up their food, and authorizing any necessary level of force to take it from these demon selfish ‘hoarders’.  (Do we need to add that the people passing such laws are very unlikely to be preppers?)

The Life or Death Question That Has Only One Answer

We agree with the person who wrote the positive heartwarming article.  Many communities will band together to create isolated pockets of safety where the rule of law prevails.  Maybe even entire towns and cities will do so.

But what happens when the food runs out?  Let’s assume there’s less than a week of food for the community.  Maybe on half rations, that will keep people reasonably healthy and comfortable for two weeks.  But if there’s no clear sign of food resupply coming any time soon, at some point people will be forced to choose between taking food by force from wherever they can find it, or passively dying of starvation in their dwellings.

A starving person has no choice – they have to do whatever it takes to find food.

How Fast Will the Collapse Occur

Probably the total collapse of society doesn’t occur instantly.  Depending on the nature of the Level 2/3 event, it may take some days or even weeks for a clear understanding of the changed world to be broadly accepted.

Maybe the authorities will succeed in maintaining order to start with.  But police and national guardsmen have to eat, too, and so do their families.  This sets in place another no-win situation.  Either the security forces are given food while the rest of the population starves, or else the security forces starve alongside the population as a whole.

In the former case, the alienation between the communities and the security forces will grow to the point where ordinary people will no longer feel inhibited at revolting against uniformed officers with guns and badges.  In the latter case, the security forces won’t hesitate too long to join in the lawlessness themselves, because if they don’t, they’ll die.

Things might slowly decay over the course of a week or two – maybe even three or four, but if populations can’t eat lawfully, they’ll do whatever it takes to get food, any way they can.

And because of the very nature of cities and our country today, there is no way that urban concentrations can become self-supporting.  Some cities have a million or more people, and little or no food growing resources within 100 miles.

Do you know how much food a typical person needs to eat every day?  Let’s say, on low rations, they need half a pound of solids (plus lots of water).  That is 500,000 lbs of solids every day – 250 tons of food a day to support a million people.  Where will 250 tons of food a day come from?

People can’t start planting gardens today and harvesting enough food to live tomorrow.  Apartment dwellers can’t do it at all.  People with yards would need seed, fertilizer, and patience – what say the Level 2/3 event comes just after the end of a growing season, with perhaps 200 non-growing days now to wait through before seed can be sown and crops started?

Without the promise of adequate resupplies of food, there is no avoiding this outcome.  Level 3 events, by definition, imply no resupply for over a year, Level 2 events for somewhere between some weeks and a year or so.

The collapse will come, at a rate determined by the remaining supply of food and the certainty of future resupply.  The cities will become totally lawless and anarchistic, and the former city dwellers will necessarily stream out from the cities in their essential quest for food.

These people will stop only when they find food or die.

What You Must Do

Prepping for a Level 2 or 3 event must start from the decision that you will abandon your urban residence and flee to a safer retreat, far from urban concentrations of people.

Stockpiling food in an urban location will only result in it being taken from you and you finding yourself no better equipped to survive than the unprepared people all around you.

You must develop a plan to leave the city and to live in a place where you have stockpiled food and where you can transition to a self-contained and sustainable lifestyle.  City living does not, will not, and can not allow for this.

Are We Being Too Optimistic?

You might think this article is negative – perhaps even too negative.  So please now consider reading an article based on comments from a veteran police officer, but if you don’t have the time to read the entire article, its title will give you a clue as to what it says :  Cities Will Collapse Even Sooner Than We Fear.

50 Replies to “Why Cities Will Unavoidably Become Lawless Within a Week or Two of a Level 2/3 Event”

  1. scott malone

    It really boggles my mind, given the little space needed, why more ppl dont grow there own food either indoor or out, especially with all the poisons we are being fed. 🙁

    • David Spero

      Hi, Scott

      While I agree that people should become more self-sufficient, that is very much more easily said than done.

      1. Many people are apartment dwellers. They have close to zero opportunity to grow significant amounts of food.

      2. The average lot size for suburban city dwellers is getting smaller and smaller, and the net amount of available land, after landscaping, lawns, flower beds, etc, for food growing is trivial.

      3. Not everyone lives in areas with positive soils or climates that allow for productive gardening.

      4. Studies give wildly varying numbers, but a rule of thumb seems to be that for self-sufficiency, you need to allow an acre or more per person. Few of us have that.

      • Jeremy Hamilton

        To be quite frank, the only one of the scenarios that you have listed that really bears a whole lot of weight is the first one: Apartment Dwellers. I have seen countless videos where people have taken these smaller lots and, through hard work and dedication have made self-sustaining gardens out of their backyards. And I grew up in a family that lived, mostly, off of food storage, that was grown in a garden, for nearly a year. We were a family of 5 (at the time) and had, maybe, a one acre lot at the most.

        Now, in a SHTF scenario, you might not be able to grow everything that you would like. But, people could start getting those things together and learning how to garden NOW so that, if/when the time comes, you CAN produce your own food.

        Now, I’m saying this to myself as well as to anyone else who cares to listen. I need to store what needs to be stored to maintain a garden. I need to get a garden in place. I need to grow and store my own food.

        • David Spero

          Hi Jeremy

          Thanks for writing and your comments. But I don’t agree with your conclusions.

          First, let’s look at your own experience – a family of five living mostly off what you grew on a one acre lot. That’s the key word – ‘mostly’. Which in reality means ‘we could not live off the one acre lot’; furthermore, you were using external support for what food you could grow – fertilizer, seed, possibly powered machinery, and almost certainly refrigeration as well – oh yes, how well would you have survived without electricity?

          Which comes to my next point. You’re focusing only on food. But there’s a lot more to consider. Water, for example. Where will that come from? And, most difficult of all, energy.

          One final point. Maybe – and that’s a huge maybe – people could start learning to become self-sustainable in their tiny urban lots now. But they aren’t. The real world collides with our hoped for best case scenarios again.

  2. Sharon

    …People that are starving and looking for food will find you, no matter where you are…moving away from the city will not save you…they will come looking no matter where you are!

    • David Spero

      Hi, Sharon

      I’ve heard that comment, or similar comments, many times. Basically, the argument goes ‘nothing you can do will save you from the problems that will occur’.

      Clearly I disagree, as do most other preppers.

      That’s not to say that life will be easy in the wake of a Level 2 or 3 event, but it is also not to say that life will become impossible and that everyone will perish. We can look at the outcomes of disasters all around the world, and one thing we see is that no matter how high the casualty figures may be, there are still some survivors.

      For us as preppers, it is all about moving ourselves from the ‘casualty’ column to the ‘survivor’ column.

      Now, for the specific point you make, the ‘happy reality’ (for us, not them) is that as soon as people run out of gas for their cars, their mobility will collapse in on them. They’ll not be able to travel far and wide on foraging/raiding expeditions. They’ll need to concentrate more on finding their food within a half-day travel radius of where they live; and probably even closer than that due to the extra challenge of hauling food back home again.

      That leaves huge parts of the country and countryside safely away from where most people will be roaming. And one doesn’t need to be 100% impossibly remote – it is a bit like being with friends in the woods, and then being chased by a bear. You don’t need to be able to outrun the bear. You just need to be able to outrun your friends!

      The same thing here. You don’t need to be impossibly remote. You just need to be more remote, and more resistant, than other places may be.

    • Julie

      The bad news is, right now there are way too many people in the cities vs. the country, and most of them will end up starving in short order if there is a Level 3 disaster under existing conditions.

      The good new is, more and more people are waking up to the facts, and agreeing that “something needs to be done”. Not so long ago, if you started talking about anything that resembled “survivalism”, people would give you odd looks and start sidling away, wondering if you were one of those nut cases that planned to live in a shack in the woods by yourself with an arsenal of weapons and not much else. Now, virtually EVERY person I have talked to about the subject, is now nodding in agreement that yes, it wouldn’t hurt to at least store up some rice and beans and tanks of water and fuel in one’s garage. After the FEMA disasters of the recent past, people are no longer so confident that the government is just going to swoop in and save them if something bad happens; and we as a country are becoming more aware of how fragile and dependent our existence is on the current power grid and microchip-driven communications.

      My point is, rather than hoarding information in an “us against them” mentality, the best thing that ALL of us can do, is to convince EVERYONE around us to participate in prepping, at least to the extent that they are able. The more people who have extra food and supplies stored up in advance, the more time we will all have before society breaks down and the starving hordes have to begin foraging. And if you are in a small community and have managed to organize some type of emergency/disaster measures ahead of time, you have the best chance of getting people to band together for the common good to actually survive whatever comes.

  3. Dana

    How come so many of you survivalists are all “government sucks, we have too many rules” and then, when it comes time to contemplate the aftereffects of losing that sucky government and all those rules, you decide society’s going to fall apart and that’s bad?

    Which is it? It can’t be that we have “too many rules” or that “government sucks” if the rules and the government are keeping everyone polite.

    I actually am very cool with the general survivalist message; I think it’s prudent to prepare for disaster and to even be able to make it on your own to a certain extent. (Though I think it’s unrealistic to expect people to split off into isolated families or isolated single units and stay like that forever. We’re a social critter.) But if all this is going to be is dog-whistle for “OMG the government is not keeping the uppity darkies in line”–put all the pictures of fighting drunk white guys up that you’d like, that’s still what you’re saying–then don’t call the majority of people “sheep” when they’re turned off by your message.

    Look at what’s happening in the Northeast for crying out loud. It’s not perfect, and I don’t know how they expect the poor and starving to “behave” when they’re letting them be isolated and starve, but it’s a heck of a lot more positive than the future *you’re* predicting.

  4. JD Reedy

    It will not be long before the zombie crowd comes knocking at your door. It will be a dog eat dog kinda scenario. Only those who know how to defend themselves will survive for awhile. After that …well its going to be a crap shoot. ..God have mercy on our souls.

  5. becky sublette

    Some of us, myself included, have tried vegetable gardening- here in NE Tarrant County (TX) — and it is discouraging when so little edible food is produced.

    My gardening results in little more than a snack, really. so I know I am probably not able to grow enough food to live on. I don’t know how to can, or how to live without electricity either.

    Moving away from the city will buy you some time…but preparing for that, educating oneself on self-sustaining practices, buying land and building on it—–most will not, and/or cannot afford it; most do not feel the urgency, or DO feel the urgency but because of fear and denial will only WISH they had prepared at the time of the crisis.


    • michele

      Without modern conveniences there is a reason some geographic areas of the country/world is not the best to be inhabited, at least not permanently.

      • Mitch Seveer

        I disagree..Going to a place where most would stay away because they would feel nothing to be found or gained would be perfect for me.

        As long as I can find a source of water (drill my own well) and I know how to do this with very little and scavenge the towns for the hard ware needed to build what I need..I will be Ok.

        Becky..look into Aquaponics and try that..Look on You tube at small operations….The best you can do is try new things and learn because the best tool you will have with you when TSHTF is your knowledge and its never to late to expand it….

        • Carrie McColl

          Becky, don’t get discouraged with your gardening you will need to work on soil building more than anything.

          I am from Hood County and it took three years to get good soil from composting, clippings, woodchips, horse poo where I could find it and other organics to put into the soil to build it but you can do it and doing it now is better than trying to do it later.

          Also Hydroponics, but the problem with that is having to still rely on chemicals to grow… I can grow 1200 lbs of produce on a regular city lot which is more than most people will ever need. You can do it!

          As for societal breakdown, things will get more complex as we hit rock bottom no question. The people that have skills will be allowed into these situations of community (viability) where people are making it.

          Learn skills that make you valuable just in case your stores get taken from you. Learn herb healing, Essential oil healing (they are light and portable and potent) Learn more advanced skills of medicine like running an IV , stitches, setting a fracture, (bouncing) organs, tying off blood vessels, deliver babies and amputating. Knowing how to irrigate wounds and heal people will the very very important if there is no antibiotic available. Not to mention a skill that is invaluable unless the group found a wandering doctor.

          I am in a different situation having a farm and animals and property to defend. We know all of our neighbors and most of them are like minded. The problem is most of them need medications (bad position to be in) so we are sharing ideas how to stockpile meds. Most of us are farmers as well and know how to grow, trap, raise animals , hunt and overcome the malady of problems that come into that picture. Water will still be an issue though.

    • Michelle

      In situations where you live in a place that is not hospitable to the modern food we typically grow in a garden, you need to look at what the native population grew in that area before the Europeans arrived and then start looking for those heirloom seeds (and save the seeds from your harvest).

      This land was populated long before the explorers from the West “discovered” it. Also consider that a lot of tribes were nomads and moved to follow the game herds, or water, and foraged for wild food every day. And, of course, TRIBE is the most important part.

      Humans lived in groups because we needed to- one isolated family was not how our ancestors lived. You need many hunters, many gatherers, many people to move everything to follow a herd or to harvest crops, etc. They also passed down the knowledge needed to survive to the next generation- we have access to more information that we can possibly every use, so find out what you would need to know to survive!

  6. Julie

    I agree that I definitely wouldn’t want to be living in a city after a major disaster, and that it is only logical to do whatever one can to prepare as well as possible for the eventuality of SOME type of disaster, that is likely to occur at some point. Even knowing it is inevitable that desperate people – maybe even your neighbors – will come looking for you and want you to “share” your food, I’m certainly not ready to give up without even trying!

    Having read the book “One Second After” (well, listened to the audiobook actually) about the likelihood and ramifications of a well-aimed EMP attack, I have to wonder what you recommend as a means of transportation in such a scenario? On the one hand, it is the most likely event I can think of that would result in a full “Level 3” disaster, and which could likely occur at any time in the near future; on the other hand, right when one now realizes this is the “big one” in which you would want to GOOD, you are faced with discovering that no type of modern vehicle is going to work due to all of the microcircuits being fried (along with all other transportation, communications, and the power grid.) Am I right in guessing the only likely reliable transportation would be a pre-microchip vintage-type vehicle…and that you would also have to count on carrying your own gasoline with you, as no gas stations would be able to pump due to lack of electricity?
    If so, even if one has all of the above available, it would still be one heck of a battle to get any distance, without being attacked by some of the countless hordes of people who will be streaming away from the cities…on foot, perhaps, but many of them still armed and dangerous. Not to mention those “I’m from the government” types who are going to demand to confiscate your vehicle as soon as they see it: even if you take all back roads and avoid the main arteries, it’s going to be pretty hard to avoid passing through at least some of the smaller, rural towns. The sound of an engine running, in an ocean of dead silence, is going to be a clarion call to anyone and everyone to come running – if nothing else, they will be wondering if perhaps the cavalry has come to the rescue – and as soon as they see it is “only you”, they will be keen to settle for taking your vehicle instead, “in the interest of the public good”.
    I’m predicting, one probably couldn’t manage to get more than 5 miles or so, before having one’s vehicle attacked and taken, whether by groups or individuals.

    Aside from that, I’m having trouble imagining another scenario in which the US is completely shut down, in a very short time, to a Level 2 or 3. That is, one that is not localized to a relatively small region of the US, such as with Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Most natural disasters (short of, perhaps, the eruption of the huge caldera in Yellowstone National Park, which could take out maybe 2/3 of the country fairly quickly) are going to be localized to a specific region; and so, while extremely inconvenient or disruptive to those in that region, it will be obvious that the rest of the country is still going as usual, which automatically makes it a Level 1-2 emergency. A complete economic collapse might eventually bring about nationwide disruption, but I think it would take a little while for things to completely sink in, everyone to lose their jobs and stop working and thus have no more food, etc…and so there would be a little more time to make a decision to leave, and not one big immediate exodus from the cities. A foreign power or terrorist group bombing one or more of our cities – assuming they managed to make it through our defense network – would again tend to be limited to the area in and around that city, even if it ended up causing a lot more disruption down the road.

    Or am I missing something?

    • Michelle

      I have a bicycle, which is what I plan on using for as far as I can (with a wagon attached)- but who knows.

      Like you, I question whether the ENTIRE society could collapse in a short enough period of time to make some things relevant. I read a wonderful book called “World Made by Hand” that was a fictionalized post-apocalypse story (yet entirely plausible), which premised on a “chain reaction”- a series of events over a number of years that included not only a major terrorist attack on ports (which stopped the flow of oil from outside the US) and then a pandemic. I see a chain reaction of events as a more likely possibility, since, like you said, it would take something on the scale of an Earth Event (like an eruption in Yellowstone) to effect the entire US in an instant.

      Planning ahead for what you would do if those events started to unfold, for me, is a reasonable thing to consider (like moving in with that family member who lives in the country or closer to a natural water source, ripping up the lawn to start growing food and storing rain water, learning to hunt, etc). That being said, having some supplies (10 days of food, water, medical supplies, a shelter, fuel for cooking) in case something huge happens in your area could be the difference between a miserable week/month while FEMA tries to get itself together and using FEMA as a supplement to what you already have.

      • Julie

        Yes, I think a chain reaction or “snowball” effect has the most probability of being what would actually cause a total collapse: a series of events, natural and/or manmade, none of which by themselves would cause a total collapse, but taken in series with not enough time in between to recover, could do it.

        As I recall from history, it was not a single crop failure, or eruption of Mt Vesuvius, or invasion of a ‘barbaric’ tribe, which caused Rome to fall. While an invasion of lawless hordes sacking Rome may well have seemed like ‘the end of the world’ to those living there at the time, the Roman empire was actually on a long slow decline over a period of 600 years or so; it’s debatable what point one could consider to be “the end.” Extreme weather conditions (possibly caused by the last eruption of Krakatoa, prior to the one in the 1800’s) caused massive crop failures which in turn caused roving hordes of starving people to attack anyplace they thought might have some food…which in turn caused local farmers to flee to the protection of local lords & the building of medieval-style fortresses, ushering in the feudal system which lasted for around the next 1000 years…but all that was kind of the last straw, after years of decline due to wars and political infighting and mismanagement (which I would tend to define as “squandering a nation’s wealth on projects of questionable value” – just like today.)

        Given the various types of disasters that have occurred over the last few years, I think it’s pretty easy to imagine some severe storms…combined with an aging infrastructure system, in which too many parts of the power grid fail with not enough time to obtain new parts from Germany or wherever and get them up and running again…combined with another major banking failure or other economic disaster…followed shortly thereafter by one or another or our international enemies deciding to take the opportunity to strike while we are weak…You get the picture.

        I guess the big question in my mind is: will the government at that point be willing to sit back and allow entrepreneurs and survival-minded people free reign to “get ‘er done”, so to speak…or will those still grasping to their existing power structure try to stay in control by passing edicts that only make things worse in the long run?

    • Julie

      You mean, recently? I think the Civil War is a pretty good example, of just how bad things can get. And that was back when most of the population was still rural, & most people still had a fair knowledge of basic farming skills, or could ask someone next door who did.

  7. Merwin

    Another big factor is also going to be in the mix .. the drug connection .. whether it is meds to maintain health .. or Tobacco or Alcohol .. cravings will begin .. and increase the level of stress.

  8. Rob

    Well, that’s just great! I’m done for….:o( I want to leave the big city by my family members don’t believe and want to stay. Is anyone stuck in a similar situation like me?

    • G Lewis

      I am in that situation myself. I never liked cities, I grew up in one and I would like to move out of this area for good. After 9/11 and now Sandy, I don’t think I can live in this area long-term. It is also hard to move out on your own when you don’t have much money or know many people in the area you’re moving to, but I think It’s best to get out of the city anyway.

  9. FutureSee

    What preppers fail to realize is that the govt knows who and where all of the farmers and preppers are, and they will be coming to make sure you contribute your “fair share” at the point of a gun, and if you don’t cooperate it’s off to the FEMA camp for you.

    So unless you have a really good way to hide you and your supplies they will most likely be taken.

    • David Spero


      Your comments about an all-knowing government are harder to refute in the wake of the disclosures over the last few days about the extent of NSA and other surveillance programs.

      But, does that mean the government will come to seize our supplies? Not necessarily. In more serious disruptions and failures of society, there’ll be no more central government to coordinate such things. It will be ‘every man for himself’.

      There is also the issue of what legal authority the government can invoke to seize your possessions. As I vaguely understand it, eminent domain applies to real property – to land – not to personal items such as food.

      That’s not to say that we don’t need to worry about such things. It is a worry, for sure; and the irony of the situation is stark. The government, allegedly and theoretically formed to help and protect us, may become our biggest risk! This is another reason why we urge you to integrate into your local community and ‘become part of the solution, not part of the problem’. See our article here : https://codegreenprep.com/2012/08/becoming-part-of-the-solution-not-part-of-the-problem-post-teotwawki/

  10. JR

    You indicate “people will be streaming” out of the cities… but HOW? On foot? How far will THAT take them? By car? Of course, all the gas stations will be fully operational while the rest of the world has gone to pot, right? Hardly! Will some inner city gang walk 40 miles looking for food, when they can barely waddle 40 blocks now? People will be eating spoiled food, drinking bad water, etc. and SICK. They’ll have sprained ankles, and it will be freezing cold, boiling hot, or raining. People will get hypothermia outside of summer. Gangs – as we have seen with the Mexican drug cartels – will be riven by internal dissention, and much more. Yes, there might be roving gangs, and all sorts of other things. However, the assumption that the bad guys are going to operating as if the status quo is in effect is unfounded. There will be serious degredation in their abilities, too.

    • David Spero

      Hi, JR

      Thanks for adding your thoughts about what the future might hold for us all. The thing is that none of us know exactly what to expect, so it is helpful so see as many different projections/predictions as possible. The truth is out there, somewhere!

      Indeed, my first comment in response is that we quite likely might see different things occur in different cities. What happens with the population in one city could be quite different to what happens in another city. Issues such as weather/time of year, where the city is located, and who knows what else will all impact on what occurs.

      To look at some of your specific points :

      1. Traveling by car. Sure, some people will have nearly empty gas tanks, but some people will have nearly full gas tanks. Some people might have a 5 gallon can of extra petrol at home, too. So some people will definitely be able to drive hundreds of miles before running out of gas. Most modern cars seem to have a range of 300 or more miles from a tank of gas.

      2. 40 blocks or 40 miles? Yes, some people will struggle to travel 40 blocks. But some people will indeed go 40 miles, and some will even go 400. When you have a city of a million people, even if only 1% of the population manages to go 100 miles or more, that is still a sudden surge of 10,000 people.

      You also should look at historical refugee flows. People are hardier than you might think, and can travel much greater distances. Again, it is a numbers game. Sure, some people won’t go far, but some people will go very long distances, and, pretty much by definition and self selection, those will be the ones who pose the greatest potential threat.

      3. Gangs riven by internal dissent, etc? I’m not so sure about this. It would be lovely to think that the gangs would just fight among themselves and implode, but I see that as incredibly unlikely, and I’d also point out that the Mexican gangs, whether in Mexico or in this country, are extremely powerful in terms of their external projection of force, no matter what might be happening internally.

      Indeed, it seems to me that in the first some months, gangs will be so busy enjoying a sudden flood of ‘easy pickings’ in a situation with no rule of law to complain them, that the gang members will be so happy with life they’ll never pause to argue among themselves. I think we’ll see gangs massively grow in size – established gangs will flourish, breakaway groups will form, and new gangs will appear from nowhere.

      Thanks again for your points.

      • Julie

        Just watched “Cold Mountain” again last night, & was reminded of the dangers the rural residents faced, not only from random roving soldiers who had deserted from both sides of the Civil war, but also from the local self-proclaimed “Home Guard”, made up of men “too old or disabled” to go off & fight in the war but who took full advantage of being “in charge” while the rest of the able-bodied men were away, to terrorize the local residents. Many examples of how the people then tried to hide what few chickens, livestock or supplies they had; most of the ones in the movie ended up being shot and/or giving up their supplies, because they were alone without the support of friends or neighbors when the “wolves” came, picking them off one by one.

        Not sure what the solution to that is, given that those who try to keep things going will necessarily need to spend most of their time on their own farms doing everything that needs to be done; and given the likelihood that if things break down to the extent we are talking about, there is not likely to be cell phone service for anyone to “call a friend” when in need. Even if there is some sort of alarm system – say a large, loud bell, or a localized PA system, that can be heard by the neighbors – it would likely take more minutes for someone to respond than it would be marauders to shoot & grab…assuming they come at all, and don’t decide to hunker down on their own farm instead.

        I agree, even if the majority of city residents are too lazy or unfit to travel very far – or are killed themselves before they get there – it only takes 1% or whatever to pose quite a threat. I honestly don’t know which to fear more: the ex-urban dwellers roving the countryside, or the local “authorities” who can pass any sort of “emergency measure” to give them the right to confiscate all your food & weapons.

        • David Spero

          Hi, Julie

          Nice to welcome you back again; you’ve been quiet for a while.

          You are correct – sometimes the best answer to future unknowns is to study past events and use them to learn from. So definitely some things to be taken from Civil War examples.

          As to the answer, I sure don’t have the complete answer, but I do have part of it. People have to group together. There is strength and safety and security in numbers; there is also efficiency in numbers, even without the benefits of high tech machinery.

          One person working full time in the fields can produce enough food for more than one, but maybe not enough for two. But what that means then is that two people working in the fields can produce enough food for third and the third person can be a security guard. Four people in the fields produce enough for six – a security guard and someone else, adding value in some other area. Six people can cover nine, and now you’ve three other people to do additional things at the same time; something that wouldn’t have been possible with only one person.

          The numbers are approximations, of course, but the conclusion is definite. Preppers need to group together to survive. That’s what the Code Green Community is all about.

          • RickE.

            I worry about grouping together,as I live way off of the grid, with the nearest neighbor being 3 1/2 miles away. And he’s not friendly-just formal when encountering him on the road or in town.(town is 28 miles away).
            My area is about 20 miles long by about 30 miles wide. In this area there are 12 families total. Finding like-minded folks is a real problem, as everyone is spread out and relatively independent.
            I would like to find like-minded folks in my area in northern Arizona!

          • David Spero

            That truly is a problem, isn’t it. The good news – wonderfully low population density. The bad news – too low population density!

            Perhaps you should come join us in northern MT/ID….. 🙂

  11. cindy long

    there are other options to growing vegetables-raised vegetable beds, bucket gardening and container gardening. Research vegetables that grow well in your area .A small popup greenhouse makes seed starting and growing plants easier and less messy.

  12. David Spero

    Hi, Cindy

    I don’t quite understand your comments. When you say there are other options, what are you referring to?

    Of course there are many ways to grow vegetables, even if you don’t have much land. But the thing is that if there is a collapse in our society, before enough people in any city could start growing enough vegetables for enough other people (and that is assuming a good time of year to grow, available seeds, etc) everyone will have long since died from starvation, disease, thirst, or some other outcome of the failed city and lack of services.

    As we point out in this article and its follow-up article, Cities Will Collapse Even Sooner Than We Fear, the cities will quickly fail, much more quickly than the time it takes to start growing food and harvesting it.

  13. R.E.Stowell.writer

    Good posting and a lot of good comments. I don’t have the answers, but I do know how to live without all of the modern conveniences. I do so now and have done so most of my life. I am 71 years old, so have experience in this.

    I agree that cities and most thickly populated areas will be places best avoided. Not only no food, but disease will be rampant. There certainly isn’t enough wilderness left in the Lower 48 for all those people to find their own little hidey holes and den up, hoping to survive until they learn how to fend for themselves.

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