Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Survival Retreat vs. Neighborhood Survival

Earlier this month, I posted Etienne's guest post Seeking/Starting a Survival Retreat in Virginia / Maryland / Pennsylvania / West Virginia. Today, I had lunch with Etienne de la Boetie and another prepper here in Loudoun County. We had a long discussion about survival retreats vs neighborhood survival. Etienne is a big fan of the survival retreat concept. He previously had a retreat where he did not own the land but where he was able to store a travel trailer recreational vehicle in which he pre-positioned various preps and supplies. Unfortunately, his friend moved and sold the property. There are four major flaws in the survival retreat separate from your home concept:
  1. There are significant liabilities and social problems with communal retreats where one does not own the property - you are vulnerable to the actions of the others, particularly the property owner.
  2. Property left at unattended retreats is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. This is going to be a growing problem as the economic depression gets worse, especially if we have economic collapse.
  3. Getting to the retreat would be problematic in the event that it is actually needed - particularly in martial law scenarios where the military and law enforecement block traffic at key intersections or in cases where there are fuel shortages.
  4. Relatively undeveloped retreats with a trailer and undeveloped land may not be sufficiently developed for long-term survival and offer insufficient space for storage of the various preps and other items you need. Many of these items would likely be at your day-to-day residence and you cannot assume that you can transport everything at the last minute
My view is that survival retreats only work if you live there full-time. Furthermore, although remote locations are further removed from the masses, they are also further removed from jobs, markets, customers, hospitals, and many other useful infrastructure and will be harder pressed to gather a sufficiently large group to cover all of the tasks needed in a true long-term survival scenario. Even the best special forces operator cannot defend his property 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, we are rapidly running out of time and it is probably already too late to relocate - especially if relocating means trying to sell your existing home in this real estate environment -- in my neighborhood we haven't had a sale in over eight months and anyone who bought in the last four years AND did the traditional 20% down payment fixed 30 year mortgage now has negative equity.

I am a big proponent of the concept that your family, friends, neighbors, and church are your survival group. Yes, I understand that many are unprepared and clueless about both the threats and what they need to do to prepare for them. However, your home is your survival retreat. Strengthen it to the extent you can, but your odds improve exponentially if you can organize your neighborhood and help everyone survive against the threat(s) you are facing in your survival situation. You and those in the group who are better prepared or who have the right skills are the cadre needed to get organized and do what is needed. The rest of the neighborhood are your foot soldiers and do'ers. My philosophy is to lead and organize but that charity starts with those who are willing to help themselves and help the group in the survival situation. In a survival situation, your first challenges are to assess the hazards/priorities/immediate needs, organize the group, secure the neighborhood, and scrounge/barter/trade for needed resources.

Be a leader. There are many things you can do to help develop your neighborhood group of family, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members and increase the odds of the neighborhood surviving:
  • Get to know them.
  • Have potluck dinners.
  • Help them wake up and prepare.
  • Start a garden club to help start victory gardens.
  • Start a community watch program for your neighborhood.
  • Give them a copy of Chris Martenson's Crash Course on the economy DVD. I bought a case of 30 and gave them as 2008 Christmas gifts.
  • Give copies of Holly Deyo's book Dare to Prepare as gifts. I bought a case of 8 and gave them as 2008 Christmas gifts to family and several neighbors who got it and were starting to prep.
  • Store extra preps for charity and be prepared to give when it is needed for survival.
  • Learn about their skills, backgrounds, and interests - on my street we have a former Navy Corpsman/LEO/M16 Instructor/master scrounger/contractor/award winning BBQ chef who gets it and is starting to prepare, 2 nurses, a master gardener, an agricultural engineer / head of the 800 home neighborhood HOA, a Mormon family that does food storage, and six members of the neighborhood garden club run by our master gardener.
  • Buy tools that would be useful that could be shared like tillers.
  • Buy extra seed such as a 7 year supply of Survival Seeds and be prepared to provide seeds for neighbors
  • Build a survival library of books and skills that you can use to train them when they need survival skills.
  • Buy several extra surplus rifles such as the Russian Mosin Nagant or SKS rifles and stock extra ammunition to equip your "community watch" patrols.
  • Invite them to go to a shooting range with you.
  • Be prepared to give honest evaluations of whether individuals should relocate once a survival situation begins to relative's homes or even public shelters if that is the best option for them.
You will be pleasantly surprised how many of your family, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members that are starting to wake up and realize the reality and danger of our current position. This number is increasing every week. Don't simply assume that they are all clueless sheep - many simply need some education and a leader to show them the way.

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  4. Thank you. I have always been put off by the survival retreat only mentality displayed by some. I live in a good neighborhood, and would definitely prefer surviving with in my home with the mutual support of my neighbors.

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