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Are you Prepared?

How Do People Really Behave When Disaster Strikes? July 7, 2017

There are a lot of reasons why people prep for disasters, but there’s one reason that’s far more popular than the others. What people fear most when they think about what would happen if society collapsed, isn’t hunger, disease, or exposure. They fear what other people might do to them when the chips are down.They worry that members of their community might hurt or kill them to survive.

And though most preppers won’t admit it, I think most of us fear what we might be capable of in a bad situation. We don’t have to find out if we have enough food stocked up in our pantries.

However, it should be noted that there is an alternate view on what most people will do if society collapses. For historians who study disasters and social collapse, there is hope that people won’t automatically turn into savages if the grid goes down. A writer for Slate recently interviewed several experts on this topic, and here’s what they had to say:

Can this ray of sunshine be trusted? I’d love to believe it can be. I asked Scott Knowles, a historian of disaster, what historians and sociologists who study collapses and disasters have to say. His answer: It depends. “We help, and also we don’t,” Knowles said in an email to me.

Over the years, academic researchers have gone back and forth on the question. “This whole area of work really got going in the Cold War when defense planners wanted to model post-[nuclear] attack scenarios,” Knowles wrote. The Disaster Research Center at Ohio State University (which has since moved to the University of Delaware) “did the work over years to model community response, and they pushed back strongly on the idea of social collapse—they found instead too much of the opposite—people converge on a disaster scene!”

And there are countless examples of people being altruistic and coming together during disasters; perhaps even more so than examples of people turning on each other.

In a 1961 paper (unpublished until 1996), sociologist Charles Fritz laid out the case for this “contrary perspective” that disasters and other majorly stressful events don’t necessarily result in social breakdown and trauma.

Fritz, who had begun his observations of disasters while stationed in Britain during the Blitz, reported that during that time he saw “a nation of gloriously happy people, enjoying life to the fullest, exhibiting a sense of gaiety and love of life that was truly remarkable,” with Britons reaching beyond class distinctions, sharing supplies, and talking to people they had never spoken with before.

Marshaling sociological and historical evidence, Fritz recounts example after example of people pulling together in the middle of tragedy: black and white police and militia members uniting to maintain order during the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1878; enemies forgetting old quarrels during the German bombing of Krakow in World War II; community members reporting strengthened personal relationships with neighbors after the White County, Arkansas, tornado of 1952.

In general, researchers agree that people will try to form alliances and help each other.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If humans didn’t have an inclination towards supporting each other, then we wouldn’t have a sophisticated society to begin with.

However, I think we all know that there is a dark side to our species as well, and many of the examples provided by the author don’t reflect that. It is true that we are a social species whose members would rather work together to build a society, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t disasters which could easily bring out the worst in us.

The best example that comes to my mind, is the Siege of Leningrad during World War Two. For more than two years, the city was encircled by German forces who cut off all supplies to the city. This lead to the deaths of more than a million civilians, mainly due to starvation. And during that time there were thousands of people who were arrested for murdering others for their ration cards, or killing strangers and family members before cannibalizing them. And in most cases, these people were found to have no criminal records when they were caught.

Point being, there are disasters that will drive ordinary people to commit heinous crimes, and there’s a big difference between those incidents, and the disasters that don’t lead to massive crime waves. In most cases, a destructive event only leads to temporary disruptions to the supply of food, medicine and fuel. People are happy to work together, knowing that everything will return to normal in short order.

But on the rare occasion that a disaster disrupts the flow of goods and energy for months or years at a time, a significant percentage of the population will turn on their neighbors to survive. There’s a direct relationship between how desperate people are, and how far they’re willing to abandon their morality to keep themselves and their family fed, and that’s something that preppers should never forget.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 7th, 2017
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These Are the Conditions That Make the Best Cities for Preppers May 24, 2017

The main thread that seems to run through the prepper community, is that most preppers really want to get out of the cities and live a rural life. It’s easy to understand why. Most preppers rightfully believe that the cities would be the most dangerous places to be if society collapsed. Rural areas are generally safer, have less burdensome governance, and provide the opportunity to gain some degree of self-sufficiency.

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Unfortunately, making that transition away from the city is difficult. There’s a reason why the vast majority of the population in America lives in urban and suburban areas. That’s where the jobs are, and that’s where most modern conveniences exist.

So if for whatever reason you can’t move away from the city, the next best thing you can do is find a city that will give you better odds of surviving a SHTF scenario. I know, it sounds like blasphemy. However, not all cities are created equal and believe it or not, there are certain conditions that make some urban areas better suited for preppers over others, such as:

City Size and Density

The best cities for preppers are on the smaller size, with a slightly lower population density. And obviously, I’m not talking about one of those cities that is part of a larger metropolitan area. There are plenty of cities that range in size from 50,000 to 250,000 people and aren’t subsumed by a wider urban sprawl. Instead, they are surrounded by a few suburbs, small towns, or even just wilderness. If you lived in one of these places, you’d have the benefit of job security while still being just a stone’s throw away from rural areas that you could flee to.

Conservative Values

I hate to sound biased. Though I don’t consider myself liberal or conservative, I have to confess that cities with populations that lean a bit more to the right are much better places for preppers. Aside from the fact that local governments and regulations would be less onerous, these cities are a lot more stable. The cost of living tends to be less in conservative cities, and there usually isn’t as much wealth inequality as there is in liberal cities.

That means there won’t be as many people dependent on the government and not as many people living on the streets. It means fewer people who are living at the end of their rope by the time catastrophe strikes. It means fewer people with a “kill the rich” attitude. So in short, living in a conservative city means that when the SHTF, there won’t be as much looting and rioting, and law and order won’t erode as quickly.

Logistics

When you’re prepping in a rural area, it’s important to consider how connected you are to the rest of the world. Since you’re probably trying to protect yourself from people fleeing the cities, you don’t want to be living down the road from an interstate. However, when a prepper is looking for a city to live in, the opposite strategy should be employed.

Since self-sufficiency isn’t an option, you have to think about what will allow a city to recover faster from a disaster. I’d wager that the more connected that city is with the rest of the country, the faster it will recover. If you’re in living a place that is landlocked in the mountains with only one major road running through it, you might be in trouble. It’s going to be so much easier for that city to be cut off, which will make it harder for aid to arrive. It will also make it harder for people to flee. If you’re stuck in a city during a disaster, you want people to leave, and you want it to be easier for you to leave if need be. If society collapses, a city can only support a very small population, so the fewer people there are the better your odds of surviving are.

So look for cities that have plenty of ways in and out. Better yet, pick a city that is at least near a railroad that carries freight. We all know that if there was a nationwide disaster, the freeways would be clogged for miles in every direction. But railroads won’t have that problem. And if they suffered any damage, then they’ll be a lot easier to fix.

Are You Downwind?

If the grid goes down for a long period of time, there is a serious risk that many of America’s nuclear power plants could meltdown, so it would be wise to live in a city that isn’t downwind from these facilities. You should also be wary of any major military bases or nuclear silos. They will be prime targets if there is a nuclear war, and you certainly don’t want to be downwind from that.

Water

You should also seriously consider what kinds of water resources are in or near your city. Throughout the 20th century, sprawling cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, have grown in areas where there is very little water. These populations are heavily reliant on water that is piped in from long distances. Should society collapse, these cities will die with it. So you should find a city that isn’t so reliant on the water that comes from hundreds of miles away.

Energy

And finally, consider how your city is powered. If the city you choose is near a flowing source of water, check to see if it’s near a hydroelectric dam too. In an urban area that is receiving at least some of its energy from a dam, it’s probably not going to take long to get the lights back on. Cities that are powered by natural gas aren’t such a bad choice either since gas pipelines are relatively stable. It may not take very long to make that infrastructure functional again. However, those pipelines could easily be destroyed during a war.

Cities that are powered by coal would probably be the worst choice because coal needs to be delivered by truck and train. This will be especially true for cities that reside further inland, where many miles of roads will need to be cleared before coal shipments can be delivered. In most cases in America, coal is delivered by train, so if you pick a city that is also near a railway then there are better odds that your city will receive power after the SHTF.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 24th, 2017
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