(Note – it might be helpful to refresh your understanding of what we define as Level 1, 2 and 3 events.)
The main challenge you will have in a Level 2 situation is security. While you probably will have food and energy supplies for a year or two (or three….), most ‘normal’ unprepared people have no energy stockpiles and little food. Within a week, most people will be increasingly forced to ‘forage’ for their food – and we use this word ‘forage’ as a euphemism for more than simple ‘stealing’, because stealing is a familiar and non-violent sounding term.
Interestingly, we see the greatest problems being in the early days of any Level 2/3 scenario. There is probably an evolutionary process that society will shake down through – we discuss this in our article on the security/lawlessness cycle here.
In that article we lightly touch on the concept that people will be forced to choose between starvation and forcibly taking such food and shelter as they can, by any means necessary. Let’s look into this in some more detail both in terms of the types of risks and threats you’ll face, and how you need to prepare for them.
Level 2 Risks : (a) Lawless Gangs
We have regularly seen, both in the US and elsewhere in the world, the propensity of some groups of society to degenerate into violent lawlessness any time society hiccups and normal law enforcement activities pause.
These people violently riot and loot (and attack and murder) for the sheer devilry and ‘fun’ of it, and because they are laboring under some bizarre view of reality that makes them feel entitled to behave that way, and also for the opportunistic chance to enrich themselves by carrying away color televisions and other home electronics from stores they are looting.
How much more aggressive will they be in a Level 2 situation? It seems realistic to accept that normal law enforcement will be massively reduced in a Level 2 situation. Even if all the police and other law enforcement personnel still report for duty, the same as normal, they’ll be overwhelmed by the number of problems suddenly dropping in their lap.
As we saw in, for example, the Los Angeles riots in 1992, normal law enforcement numbers can be completely inadequate for any outbreaks of mass violence, and in a Level 2 situation, not only will there be even greater disorder, there will not be regional and national reserves of manpower to call upon, because every other region will also be struggling to keep ahead of their own problems. The inability of local law enforcement to deal with rioting is the flipside of the coin to do with the police relying on the general consent and acquiescence of the communities they police – when this starts to fail, so too does the policing, whether it be as we say in Los Angeles in 1992, or more recently in London in 2011, or anywhere else.
Add to that the fact that such roving gangs of people won’t only be looting for fun and for personal enrichment, and they won’t just be seeking things such as computers, iPhones, and suchlike. They’ll be as threatened with starvation as anyone else, and they’ll be looting for food and survival, too – just more vigorously and violently then everyone else.
Level 2 Risks : (b) Organized Gangs
A much greater threat is the presence of organized gangs – bikers, drug distribution networks, street gangs, and such like. While there aren’t as many of these people as there will be, initially, of lawless gangs, they are organized, disciplined, and totally amoral.
They are also determined. Whereas lawless groups of people – ad hoc gangs – are opportunistic and will attack easy targets and avoid hard targets, organized gangs will be willing to attack all types of targets – weak targets because they can, and hard targets because they pose potential threats to the organized gang that will otherwise seek to become the new power structure in a region.
Even worse, many of these gangs are vaguely prepping for the future, too. They’re poised, waiting to attack society as soon as it becomes feasible to do so.
Level 2 Risks : (c) Starving People
We don’t need guns if/when a person politely comes up and knocks on our door and asks if we can spare any food. If we are unable to help out, they thank us for our time and leave again.
But do you really think that is what will happen?
Let’s say 50% of the population only has food for three days or less, another 25% for about ten days, another 20% for about twenty days. And let’s say it becomes obvious to everyone that the Level 2 situation will take not days or weeks, but many months to be resolved.
In three days, half the population will be looking at empty pantries. What will they do?
Within another week, 75% of the population will have no food, and there will be a growing realization by everyone, whether they still have food or not, that there is no hope of any arriving any time soon. What will all these people do?
Over the next ten days, they’ll be joined by just about everyone else. In less than three weeks – probably much less – more than 95% of the population will be starving.
Will these people politely knock on your door, and then just shuffle off and die quietly on the street if you refuse to share your own limited supply of food with them? It is possible that a pacifist single person might do this, but what about a man (or woman) with a spouse and children to feed? Will they just passively let their entire family die of starvation, while watching you and a very few others continue to eat almost normally?
Here’s the logic they face :
You can threaten to shoot me with your gun, but if I don’t take your food from you, I’ll definitely die of starvation, so it makes sense for me to risk being shot while doing anything and everything necessary to take your food from you. If I have to choose between you dying, or me and my family dying, you will be the one I prefer to see die.
You need to understand this. If you refuse to feed your best friend in a post Level 2/3 situation, then he, just as much as any stranger, has no choice but to use whatever means necessary to take your food from you, because it is essential tp the survival of himself and his family.
You also need to remember how people are so brilliantly good at justifying any actions to themselves. The same people who laughed at you for stockpiling food will now be demanding it from you as their ‘right’ – ‘You have no right not to share your food with us, you can’t just leave us to die, you selfish so-and-so’. That’s only one small step removed from ‘You are trying to kill us by withholding food from us’ and ‘You’ve more food than you could possibly need yourself, there should be a law against such selfishness’.
After they’ve demonized you in their own mind, and played up their own deserving victim status, they’ll feel totally justified to shoot you in your doorway, and then to clamber over your dead body and to loot your house of all its supplies.
We are deliberately writing this in vivid shock terms, but you need to understand and accept this. If it sounds impossible to you, ask yourself – and answer the question – what will starving people do instead when they see you with plenty of food while they have none?
Some people might find it unlikely that their friendly next door neighbors will turn around and use any and all means up to and including lethal force to take food from them. We agree this is unlikely, but we realistically fear that it is much more likely that your neighbors (and, of course, strangers too) will do this than it is that they’ll just peacefully and calmly resign themselves to die of starvation and lie waiting for death to occur in their own homes.
No matter where you have your retreat located, sooner or later it will be found by groups of starving marauders and/or opportunistic gangs (see our article on ‘Is it Realistic to Expect Your Retreat Will Not be Found‘). The only three things you don’t know is how long it will be until you are first confronted by starving/looting marauders, how often such confrontations will occur into the future, and how many people you’ll encounter on each occasion.
The one thing you can be sure of is that these people mean to take your food and other supplies and resources from you, and if they have to do it by force, they won’t even pause to think twice. Indeed, their resentment at you being well prepared is such they’ll feel you ‘deserve to die’ – this is about as warped as illogic can get, but do you want to bet your life that this is not how people will end up thinking?
You will have become the evil ‘1%’ that has recently been demonized by the ‘Occupy Wall St’ protesters. We’ve seen, over the last year, people trying to wrap themselves in the righteous mantle of being part of a supposed 99% of the country, using this supposed ‘moral majority’ empowerment to advocate violence and sanctions against the remaining 1% of the country – even though the supposed 99% group are – quite obviously to those of us who truly are mainstream – anything but representative members of the majority. They’re as much a 1% minority group as are the people they claim that their ‘majority status’ empowers them to act against.
We make these points not so much to criticize the Occupy Wall St people (although we definitely don’t support them) but rather to point out how people readily make completely ridiculous claims about themselves so as to give themselves a self-claimed mantle of legitimacy that then empowers them to do whatever lawless and wrong acts they wish.
The same people who are keen to live off government handouts today, and who believe that rich people should be taxed and then taxed some more so that they (the ‘99%’) don’t need to do any work themselves, will of course now resent you for doing the very thing they will have laughed at you about before the Level 2 event – preparing prudently and storing food.
They won’t now consider it to have been prudent preparation and storing of your food. They will claim it to be immorally selfish hoarding of food that should belong to the community (and, in particular, to them). Your refusal to give all your food to them means that you are denying them the right to live. So, of course, they’ll feel totally morally empowered to at the very least take all your food from you, and if they have to shoot you in the process, so be it.
You need to plan your retreat not just from a perspective of weather and suitability for agricultural purposes and everything else. You also need to plan to make it defendable against people keen to rob you by force, even by lethal force if necessary.
The most important adage is ‘safety in numbers’. You need to become part of a community to share the burden of defending your properties, and to have the strength in numbers necessary to prevail against attacks by evildoers.