Would Rural Areas Be Safer In A SHTF Situation?

This article was written by Tom Chatham and originally published at Project Chesapeake

In a situation where national infrastructure and life sustaining resources are suddenly cut off , population density will have a lot to do with how well you get by in the days following the crisis. When it happens, what you have on hand will likely be all you have to work with for an extended time. Those that lack supplies will seek out and take what they need in an increasingly hostile manner as time goes on. This is why being in a large city will likely be hazardous to your well being.

Very few will argue that being in a rural area when something catastrophic happens will greatly increase your chances of survival. A lower population density and more available natural resources to help you get by will make long term survival much easier. This is why so many people advocate heading for a rural area when something happens. The problem is unless you are already established in a rural area, survival will not necessarily be easier.

Leaving the city when supplies and infrastructure are shut down would work only up to a point. Rural areas are like anywhere else. They have infrastructure designed to service a certain number of people that normally live there. The housing, restaurants, roadways, water systems and grocery stores will only handle a small excess of people even in the best of times. When the city dwellers suddenly evacuate to the rural areas in mass, they will simply be taking many of their big city problems with them. They will likely find no housing, food supplies or other infrastructure they need to live.

Because of this many small towns will likely close their roads at some point and prevent entry to anyone who does not live there. They will suddenly realize their already finite resources will not be enough for themselves much less thousands of new people. This realization will likely come only after they have been inundated with strangers demanding supplies and housing. It is for this reason that rural dwellers should hope cities are locked down fairly quickly to prevent people from leaving.

When Henry Kaiser built a new shipyard in Richmond, Ca. in the 1940’s the town was suddenly overwhelmed with new workers. People lived in shoddy trailers they towed in, some slept in boarding houses in shifts and the schools ran three shifts a day. Eventually they built the new infrastructure they needed and life went on but this only happened because they were living in normal times when everything was working properly. Imagine an influx of people into a small town when supplies are already limited and likely to get worse as time goes on.

That is why it is essential that you establish yourself in a rural area before something happens. Simply hoping to show up following an event is no plan and will likely cause resentment by the locals when supplies run low.

Rural areas offer the opportunity to be much more self reliant than city spaces. This is the reason rural areas offer people a better chance to survive something like a grid down scenario. This is only true until the carrying capacity of the rural area is breached. That is when the city problems become rural problems. Simply moving a mass of unprepared people to another area with even less infrastructure will not solve the problem, it will only change the surroundings and create other problems.

There is an old saying that you never eat your seed stock. Self sufficient people know this because if they eat their seeds or butcher their breeding stock they will not have anything to raise the following year which will lead to eventual starvation or loss of future income. To an unprepared person that thinks food is produced in a factory, preserving seed stock makes no sense when they are hungry right now. They do not care about next year, they only care about today which is why they got into their situation in the first place. This is the type of situation that can doom a society if they lose the ability to produce future crops, even on a small scale.

Will rural areas be safer in a SHTF situation? Only if they can maintain order and protect the resources they have to insure long term sustainability of the community. Most communities are not prepared for this type of situation and will need a steep learning curve if they are to survive it. Many will likely not survive it.

Modern farming communities do not have the infrastructure to maintain themselves like many once did. Factory farming has moved much of the local production to central locations around the nation and few farmers produce their own seed locally. These and other modern systems will make it difficult for many farm communities to even care for their own much less thousands of new arrivals.

The only communities that are likely to survive in tact are the ones that are mostly self sufficient already and have a plan to maintain production and protect themselves from looters and overcrowding. Simply running to a rural area in a time of crisis is no cure all. Wherever you are, the key to survival will be advance preparation and a good plan.

 

 

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Fictional Perspective
written by Steve (olduvai.ca) , January 24, 2018

For an interesting perspective on how this might play out, I would recommend the television series Jericho featuring Skeet Urlich and Lennie James: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805663/?ref_=nv_sr_1
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More Fictional Perspective
written by EricC , January 24, 2018

Haven't seen Jericho, but i think i've read every TEOTWAWKI fiction that's worth reading. Two books everyone should read: One Second After by William Forstchen and Patriots by James Wesley Rawles, both with very plausible depictions of the decent into a SHTF scenario.
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Katrina anyone?
written by Dave D , January 25, 2018

I'll take the rural community everytime. People are the big reason. Just look at what happened in Katrina... the biggest danger was other people. In the rural community other people will be your best asset. Its still good to know urban survival no matter where you are though. http://essentialsurvivalskills...val_Course
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Re: Fictional Perspective
written by IntheWoods , January 26, 2018

One second after was readable, Patriots was one of the worst books I have ever tried to read. Imho totally unrealistic fairy tale. I'm sure if your starving to death , your not going to have any qualms about eating food left in a cabin because, " it's not yours". Or on the run from the law but take time out to go to church.
SHTF all bets, protocol and nice guys are off the table.

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Brandon Smith
...
written by Brandon Smith , January 26, 2018

@Inthewoods

I'm not really going to debate opinions over the logic of the fictional characters in a book, but I will say that moral relativism will in fact get you killed rather quickly in a SHTF scenario. The idea that "nice guys are off the table" during a crisis is usually proclaimed by people who have never actually lived through a crisis. During most modern catastrophes, the people who work with others survive, and the people who don't do not survive. If you don't have moral ground to stand on, then you have very little to live for anyway.

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Spoken like a true looter
written by EricC , February 01, 2018

@Inthewoods

Those ideas are also spoken by people who's idea of preparedness it to have weapons and nothing else. Something tells me it won't just be 'food left in a cabin' that you'd be taking.

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@eric
written by SONY1700 , February 02, 2018

Let me tell you something sport, I have a 72 acre working farm in a very rural area. I also have 22 yrs of military service. I have forgotten more about prepping, survival and growing/raising my own groceries than most folks are ever gonna know. I should have known better than to simply offer my opinoin on a book, that I paid 9$ for btw, and did not mean to engage the internet know it alls. Blanket statements like yours and also the shots from Brandon are short sighted and achieve nothing but to bolster your ego. Knock yourself out, From now on, if i ever visit here, I will refrain from posting. Good luck
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Re post
written by Inthewoods , February 02, 2018

Amended not sony1700,
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@Brandon
written by AlterNative , February 06, 2018

Oh, Brandon, you are such an intelligent guy and you write some of the best stuff available across alternative media.

However, moral relativism is how morality works across the spacial and time breadths of human existence. There is no absolute morality. If you would like to debate that, then let's start with thou shalt not kill.

You say, "people who work with others survive...". That's way too absolute, and it may be more fantasy than the opposite. I really doubt that good guys do any better in a grid down situation than they do today, which by all measures is fairly damn crappy compared to the ruling global elites who are anything but good guys.

And that statement about "if you don't have moral ground..." - Yikes!. First of all, what you are saying is not, "if you don't have moral ground". What you are in essence saying is "[if you don't subscribe to my morality]..." You really need to ratchet this type of rhetoric back. EVERYBODY HAS MORAL GROUND. Morality is not a universal set of righteous behaviors but rather an individual code of conduct unique to each person. Everybody has moral ground, a personal sense of right and wrong. So, really, back up with that tone there, OK? Your spirituality is your right but forget not that it is yours and yours alone; any sense that it is shared is little more than a happy illusion.

Of course, I could be wrong.

peace
love your stuff


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Rural Areas
written by AlterNative , February 06, 2018

I agree mostly with the author's proposition that rural areas would probably not be any safer than urban areas in a grid down situation for those not already residing in a rural area.

However, as one who dearly loves the goodies in the chicken back and as one in constant search of the lowest common denominator or essence of any concept or situation, the way I see this is that for those in the urban habitats when the grid goes down the odds of survival will probably be worse than imaginable or nearly zero. At some point there will be nothing left to consume. And unfortunately for the closest rural areas to the urban centers, any possibility for survival however low is probably better than the near zero offered in town.

So, YES, rural areas will be safer for the hordes in a SHTF situation, but that's probably splitting hairs if one could get an actual numeric on survival probabilities.

But slim margins is probably what survival will be about, eh?

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