I should probably put Brian on my payroll, as he always thinks of critical discussion topics on the subject of preparedness. Seeing how I make precisely $0.00 a year with this blog, his paychecks would probably come in the form of coupons to Chik-fil-A I got in the mail for free.
He and I recently discussed the conventional wisdom on bugging out if and when things got bad in our area. My thoughts on this subject have evolved over the years, and I am in the minority view on this: the vast majority of us are best advised to shelter in place than to bug out.
Below, I will make the case for this.
- Bugging out means you have to have a place to bug out to. Simply saying, "I'm going to bug out to my family's place out in (insert rural part of the United States here)" greatly oversimplifies things. Do they know you're coming? Do they have supplies there for you and your family to use? Or will you just be another set of mouths to feed? Will things there actually be better than where you are now? Do they have infrastructure on their property to make them self sufficient?
- The actual "Get Out Of Dodge" (GOOD) run will be hellish. James Rawles has written on this subject a number of times. This will not be your typical drive to Grandma's. Think about those scenes where people in a major coastal inland flee a hurricane. The highways out of Houston clog up quickly - requiring the use of contraflow lanes - when just a portion of Houstonians decide to evacuate. Imagine that happening in every major city. The gas stations along those routes will quickly run out of fuel, and you and your family will be stuck in a vehicle or vehicles, crawling along trying to get to your destination.
- Setting up a bug out location that's workable can require a significant investment. If you're heading somewhere you plan to stay for an extended period of time to hide from bad things, the place you're going to needs to be ready to provide you with basic infrastructure (electricity, water, shelter, food storage room, etc.) You can justify much of this by calling it a real estate investment, but at the end of the day, it will require capital to make this happen.
- Essential services will return to the urban and suburban areas before rural areas. If a $20M investment in a location can help thousands of people in a population dense area, while that same amount of money would only help a few people in a rural area, guess where the $20M is going?
- It's easier to build the requisite community in your own community rather than establishing it at your retreat location. Going it alone in a long term crisis isn't really an option. If you're in a neighborhood or even a city where you can network with like minded people, it will be easier to build that community than if you've got a weekend place 800 miles away.
- Along the lines of item number 3 above, the money you are spending on a remote location could better be spent on supplies and training you could use at home. Unless money is not an issue, think about what it would really take to have a workable retreat...and then think about how far you could advance your efforts with just a tenth of the money if you planned on staying at home after an emergency.