The most common approach that many people take when seeking a community to join is one we are very uncomfortable with. They say ‘I’ll go settle in the American Redoubt (especially northern Idaho/Montana), where there are lots of like-minded self-reliant God-fearing conservative folks already’. Add extra adjectives as you wish, but you get the idea. Maybe you’ve even thought this yourself. 🙂
Now, don’t get us wrong. We like and respect such people and share similar values ourselves. But we’ve also spent time in small towns in both ID and MT. We have to tell you, there’s a world of difference between a mixed group of people, many of whom support the abstract concepts of prepping, independence, and all those other things; and people who actually do prepare and can survive in a difficult future.
We’ve been inside the homes of the former sort of people. We know what they do for work, and such other details as they care to share with us. We’ve seen what level of preparation they have. And, sadly, most of the time, it is close to zero.
Many of these people equate owning a pickup truck and chainsaw, and having a rifle and occasionally going hunting, with being sufficiently prepared and fully self-sufficient. But ask them where they’ll get electricity from, and you’ll get a blank stare, or perhaps they’ll proudly point to a generator, but ask them next how they’ll refuel the generator and there’s that blank stare again.
Ask them what they’ll do in the winter when there’s no game to be found; ask them what they’ll do for vegetables and anything other than venison, even ask them where they’ll get their water from when their well’s electric pump fails due to no more electricity, and you’ll get the blank stare again. (Well, actually, by this time you’ve made them angry and the conversation will have ended!)
Speak to the cashier in the local store and while she’ll tell you how she believes in helping out in her community, when you politely try to find out what it is that she can do to help out – what specific skills she has, beyond struggling to make change from her cash-register; and/or what specific resources she can share and use, you’ll find the answer is nothing and nothing. Sure, she might support the concept of other people prepping, and she enjoys going out shooting somewhere up a forestry road with her boyfriend sometimes, but does she do any actual prepping herself? No. She lives at home, makes minimum wage, and spends any left over money each pay period on makeup and clothes.
What’s more, even this degree of so-called prepping is far from universally embraced. As a very broad and unfair generalization, but as an example of the diversity of opinion, even in states such as ID and MT, look at the Presidential vote split in both states over the last two elections.
In 2008, 47% of Montana voters chose Barack Obama, and 42% chose him in 2012. In 2008, Montana got within 2.4% of giving the state to Obama (McCain scored 49.5%). Now explain again about how MT is such a conservative traditional values state?
In Idaho, Obama scored 36% in 2008 and 33% in 2012 – less than MT, but still more than one in three voters supporting Obama.
If we drill down from state level to county level, even ultra-conservative Boundary County in Idaho still had 31% of voters supporting Obama in 2008 and 27% in 2012. In Montana, Lincoln County voted 33% and 29% for Obama, and adjacent Sanders County went 34% and 29%. Some counties in both states actually scored more Obama votes than Republican votes. Some other counties had much greater Republican vote shares, but are in less desirable parts of the two states.
So, in round figures, even in the more conservative parts of the more conservative states, there are still almost one in three people who don’t share some very fundamental values with you (assuming you’re not also an Obama supporter; but if you are, then think about the opposite of this – in the places you’re thinking best suited for prepping, two-thirds or more of people have fundamentally opposite views on most aspects of our nation’s governance!).
Do you really think those Obama supporters are also ardent preppers, believing strongly in self-reliance rather than government support?
Look around the town. Excuse us for being blunt, but you’ll find the same mix of people as you’d find in a big city, although you’ll probably find fewer well educated and affluent people (we’re not saying this as an unkind slur, we’re simply reporting on the clear demographics of country towns and rural areas).
You’ll find ‘trailer trash’ people, you’ll find unmotivated unemployed tattooed pierced youths smoking strange smelling cigarettes, you’ll find massively overweight unhealthy people with unhealthy lifestyles, you’ll find rabid left wingers believing the government is obliged to care for them and despising wealth and success, and so on. You’ll find restaurants where the concept of ‘haute cuisine’ is garnishing a burger with a slice of wilted lettuce, and bars where there’s nothing other than well drinks, nameless generic red and white house wine, and megabrewery lite beers. Most of the people in the town probably live in old mobile homes on small lots and with no vegetable garden or other self sufficiency.
Okay, so you’ll also find wonderful people with traditional values; people as honest and hardworking as the day is long, people you’d trust with anything and without hesitation. But does the small number of such people compensate for the much larger number of people you’d not really like to share a survival scenario with at all – the same type of people you thought you were escaping by leaving the city?
So, think about it. You move to an area ‘full’ of ‘like-minded’ people. But ‘full’ includes maybe one-third of the people with very different values to your own, so ‘full’ hardly means full, does it. And while perhaps half of the other two-thirds might be ‘like-minded’, please don’t make the mistake of considering this the same as being truly self-reliant and able to survive on their own in a Level 2/3 situation. There’s an ocean of difference between ‘like’ minded and ‘identically’ minded, and still more difference between ‘talking the talk’ and ‘walking the walk’. Just because a person understands and agrees about the need and sense inherent in prepping, that does not mean he is personally well prepared for a Level 2 or 3 situation.
Oh yes – maybe a lot of the people in the area you’re considering moving to have guns, but what’s to say that they mightn’t turn those guns on you in a future adverse scenario? They might see you as the ‘Johnny Come Lately’ outsider who ‘owes’ them and who should be forced to share with them. An unstated ugly truth is that some people don’t exclusively have firearms to hunt with and for self-defense. Some people might have them to prepare for more aggressive reasons in any future emergency – some people have a very different meaning of what ‘hunting for food’ is all about. It is a sad truth that for some people, their prepping involves scouting out where the truly prepped people live, and planning ways to forcibly share their preps.
Then there may be small groups of people with extremely different views. White supremacists, bike gangs, other gangs, marijuana growers, and so on. There are even occasional rumors of discreet Muslim groups, existing beneath the radar for who knows what reason. Scratch the surface of these regions where privacy is respected and you’ll find all sorts of different people seeking privacy for all sorts of reasons, not all good.
Do yourself a favor. Before you move to the place that you think is full of like-minded fellow preppers, go and stay a week or two there. Spend time in the bars, restaurants and stores. Hang about and get a feeling for the area. Drive through the residential areas and get a feeling for the type of residences and resources each residence has, look on aerial maps to see how much cultivated land there is, and so on. Make some sort of assessment, as best you can, about the actual degree of prep-readiness that truly exists in the community. Separate the macho talk of ‘oh yes, I can look after myself’ from the reality of whether or not people truly are comprehensively prepared for a complete lack of all support and supplies.
Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about such regions is that there are higher than normal percentages of people able to withstand a Level 1 situation, and that some of the people are further towards surviving a Level 2 or 3 situation than is common in the rest of the country.
But when you carefully look at it, you have to accept that way more than half the population of any such region will be unable to last more than a week or two, and unlike the helpless population in a city, these people have guns and know where to find you. You can work out the implications of that….
Is this really the best and most secure place for you to locate? We believe not.