Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

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Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

 

I'd like to hear from people who live in areas (or who have lived in, or who have relatives who live in, such areas) with major corruption, strong organized crime, gangs, drug cartels, increasingly weaker police, lawlessness, etc. running rampant.

Examples of such places would be parts of Russia and the former Soviet republics; rural or border towns in Mexico; Cali or Medellin, Columbia; etc.

I want information on how ordinary people survive: what they need to do to stay out of trouble, what they have to do to run a business (restaurant, farm, store, etc.), store bulky things,  live safely, send their kids to school, whether they have to pay protection money, what kind of allies you need (fixers, the mayor or local police chief), etc.

(Note: I've posted a request about this as well, in Input on the "What Should I Do?" series., but felt initial discussions would best be handled here in a topic.)

Poet

 

 

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Poet,

Can't say that I've lived in any of those areas mentioned but I was born in Newark, NJ ("The Armpit of the East"), went to high school at a place that at times resembled "Blackboard Jungle", worked in trucking terminals and as a longshoreman in some bad areas to earn my way through college, associated with a friend in college whose uncle was a capo in the Mafia (and who did "jobs" for his uncle from time to time), lived in a ghetto area in Baltimore while attending a professional school, and lived for a year on the fringe of another ghetto area in NY when I first started working (where another capo was my landlord and had his "business") so I have some familiarity with the "rougher" side of life.

All I can say is that I can only offer one strategy for anyone in the situations you describe ... GET OUT!  In those high conflict areas there will be collateral damage and even if you're carrying, wearing body armor, and have the right connections, you're vulnerable.  And obviously, with a family, you're even more vulnerable.  And as far as raising a family without the psychology of the children being significantly impacted in an adverse way, I think it would be difficult to impossible regardless of how good the parents are. 

 

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
ao wrote:

Can't say that I've lived in any of those areas mentioned but I was born in Newark, NJ ("The Armpit of the East"), went to high school at a place that at times resembled "Blackboard Jungle", worked in trucking terminals and as a longshoreman in some bad areas to earn my way through college, associated with a friend in college whose uncle was a capo in the Mafia (and who did "jobs" for his uncle from time to time), lived in a ghetto area in Baltimore while attending a professional school, and lived for a year on the fringe of another ghetto area in NY when I first started working (where another capo was my landlord and had his "business") so I have some familiarity with the "rougher" side of life.

All I can say is that I can only offer one strategy for anyone in the situations you describe ... GET OUT!  In those high conflict areas there will be collateral damage and even if you're carrying, wearing body armor, and have the right connections, you're vulnerable.  And obviously, with a family, you're even more vulnerable.  And as far as raising a family without the psychology of the children being significantly impacted in an adverse way, I think it would be difficult to impossible regardless of how good the parents are. 

Ao

Great warnings. Of course that'd be my first strategy. I don't ever want to be in such an area!

However, what do you think will happen all around us as peak oil, scarcity issues, economic depression, massive unemployment, America-becoming-a-Third-World-country, etc. starts snowballing? The place we don't want to go, will come into being around us.

And those of us who have less resources (and few diamonds to ponder polishing) will not find it easy to "get out". It's very likely that wherever we may escape to, will have its own issues, anyway.

It seems you constantly found yourself in such "rougher" places anyway - at least in your youth - didn't you? So what were some of your survival strategies in dealing with the rougher elements and staying out of trouble? (Besides always paying your rent on time.)

Poet

 

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Good question, Poet, and useful insight, ao!   I'm wrestling with this whole thing now, too, and am very concerned about it.  One of my internal mottos is "the best way to solve a problem is to avoid it in the first place".  So as we watch things continue to degrade, and the potential for violence and social upheaval increase, my "gut" instinct is to get the heck out of Dodge before things (potentially) go to crap.  Unfortunately, I have roots where I am now, and next to no one in my immediate family or social circle even has a clue of what's going on.  In other words, short of ditching everyone I know and love, which I am not going to do, "getting out of Dodge" isn't a feasible option. 

About the best alternative idea I've been able to come up with is to add resilience to our "prep at home" strategy by coming up with some kind of a "Plan B" to fall back on.  My thought is to plan for that potential scenario when  trouble becomes so real and apparent that my circle of family and friends suddenly becomes aware that there is real danger.  At such a time "getting out" may  not only become an option they are finally willing to consider, but an imperative.  In such a situation, it would be nice to at least have the broad strokes of a back-up plan thought out and ready to implement. I guess that's a plate I need to step up to!

I'm curious to hear others' responses to Poet's question...

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

So as we watch things continue to degrade, and the potential for violence and social upheaval increase, my "gut" instinct is to get the heck out of Dodge before things (potentially) go to crap.

As a Kansan I would say you need to get the hell "into" Dodge. Its really a sleepy little town. Smile

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Well this is my wife's and her siblings' account, not my own, so this account is second-hand and as best as I can remember from our conversations.  But hopefully its of some help:

My wife's family lived in a former communist "Soviet satellite state" of sorts, which underwent a bad economic collapse in the 90's not long after communism fell and economic support from Russia dried up.  From her description, theirs was a situation best described as a steady deterioration followed by a sharp drop.  The sharp drop was a result of the government devaluing its currency by about 40%, at which time just about everyone took all their money and bought anything and everything at the stores (just fyi my wife's family didn't find out about the devaluation until the day after it was announced and as a result couldn't buy much of what they needed).  Most stores had empty shelves in a week or less and the government had to resort to rationing for some time afterwards.  The rations weren't really enough to live on, so black market trade thrived and crime was rampant.  Now from her description it seemed like the 'lawlessness' was predominantly stealing, black market trade and dealing in stolen goods, and heavy alcohol abuse.  There were crimes of the violent sort increasing too, but there was some implication that high alcohol abuse was probably the root of much of it.

Theft-  Snatch-and-grab and pick-pocketing was very common (and to a lesser degree still is), but one of the things that stuck out the most was her describing how the abandoned former USSR-run buildings and industrial operations were totally gutted and stripped by the locals once the Russian government abandoned them.  Pretty much the same thing we are starting to see in the US with opportunists tearing out the copper wire and piping from unsold or foreclosed homes/businesses, except on a more complete scale where the buildings became completely unusable.  Anything and everything, from wood to scrap metal.

Grey/Black Market-  Most would consider it a 'milder' form of lawlessness but black and grey market trade was apparently very big, and the biggest such market is still there today (the locals still refer to it as 'the black market' but to Western eyes it's somewhere between a flea market and a 'grey market' now).  At that time though she said much of it involved the purchase or trade of food & fuel & imported goods moreso than illegal items, so it kind of functioned as a backup of sorts where government and commercial stores failed.  Rations weren't really enough, so going to the black market at some point became a necessity.  My wife's family was highly educated and (relatively-speaking) well-off, but they had to go there just like everybody else to get some of the things they needed.  Some people made a living riding the trains to other countries, filling up their suitcases with whatever goods they could buy, and bringing them back to sell in the black market.  Maybe also worth mentioning, the distributed rations typically included bottles of vodka along with the food, and many, like my wife's family, traded some of their vodka rations for other things.  Despite this vodka remained one of the most precious commodities in the black market, which sadly enough brings us to...

Alcohol Abuse-  She said there were many, many people that just 'gave up' and started hitting the bottle, both leading up to and during/after the devaluation-driven collapse.  I think we can all imagine the various negative societal consequences that go along with this so there's little need to go into it.  All I think I can say is that this seems to be the thing my wife is least willing to discuss about those times, and I'm guessing this may have been the worst aspect of that period of collapse.

 

I often find myself wanting to ask her (and her siblings) so many more questions about this, but I find they all are usually reluctant to talk about it.  Usually they just say "It was very bad times" and leave it at that.  Usually I have had to push for more, and lately I have been taking it easy on that because I don't want to push too much.

- Nickbert

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
Poet wrote:

It seems you constantly found yourself in such "rougher" places anyway - at least in your youth - didn't you? So what were some of your survival strategies in dealing with the rougher elements and staying out of trouble? (Besides always paying your rent on time.)

Poet

LOL.  I did, indeed, ALWAYS pay my rent on time (and have a funny story about that very issue), especially when one of his imported Italian gunsels lived in the ground floor apartment of my apartment house. 

 

As to some of my strategies, off the top of my head, here goes:

Always stay alert and aware.

Avoid crowds, especially large, rowdy crowds.

Avoid places where bad things are more likely to happen; i.e. nightclubs, bars, public gatherings in iffy places, places where one faction is likely to conflict with an opposing faction, etc.

Avoid making yourself an easy target (either by appearance, apparel, location, time of day, etc.).

Be on good terms with others as much as is possible and especially, don't piss people off who can make your life miserable or worse.   

Keep your mouth shut and mind your own business.

Don't be conspicuous.

Don't flaunt money or material possessions.

Don't show fear but also, don't display bravado.

Never lose eye contact with, ignore, or turn away from a threat.

Keep yourself in top physical and combative shape.

Look, walk, and carry youself in such a manner that you look more like a predator than prey, or at least, don't look like an easy mark.

Avoid physical conflict but if you can't escape, have no alternative, and have to engage, hold absolutely NOTHING back and consider all possible weapons (from teeth to garbage can lids to firearms and everything in between).

On the latter subject, you may want to consult the excellent threads that Aaron started on firearms and self defense issues.  

 

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Crime in Russia 1991-1994 (the dark shift to the market)

Soviet Union collapse was mild:

  • Civil war did not happen
  • Almost every family owned home (small 2 room flat)
  • Electricity, water, heat and garbage service never shut down
  • Oil refineries continued to produce small amount of gasoline
  • Farmers continued to produce food
  • Cheap bread was always available

Crime has become the norm from the moment when the government infrastructure fell apart. 

Sample 1: Taxes and barter. With inflation around 50% a month barter trade has become the basis. Barter transactions was completely unaccountable and as result no taxes was payed. Everyone is guilty of tax evasion because everyone involved in the barter trade.

Sample 2: Scrap metal for cash. Aluminum, copper, nickel and stainless steel have become very valuable. First,copper dishes and household scrap wire and then wires and motors from factories have been converted to the rapidly depreciating money.

Sample 3: Teens crime. Teenagers became extremely dangerous. Initially crime mostly happen at schools but quickly became an epidemic problem of society. Teens gangs soon leaded by adult criminals and controlled every elements of small and very small business

Sample 4: Con-games became a new reality, new forms were discovered and polished everyday. New “hooks” were based on desire to help (the old “hooks” used greed).

Sample 5: New crime objects. A neighboring family (women and her small kid) was killed. Nothing was taken except for a gold ring and food from the kitchen.

Sample 6:  Serial dad. Respectable and honorable father and husband lost his job. An obligation to feed his family lead him to new evening time job. He robbed old people (mostly women) about grocery stores. Few of them died.

Sample 7:  From american movies kidnaping burst into life. The usual price is equivalent of home price (~$20000).

Sample 8: Police crime. Severely underpaid government militia (police) quickly found their place in new society. It became the most dangerous mob around. Armed and trained with court and jail infrastructures police became a supper system for squeezing money, goods and entire businesses from population.

Old rules of survival during the Soviet Union collapse:

  1. Do not own any valuable things. Especially gold and fine jewelry.
  2. Keep low profile. No one should suspect that you have something valuable
  3. Avoid strangers. Never help strangers. 
  4. Make friends in local gangs. Provide gang with service they will miss if something happen to you.
  5. Do not drink vodka. Vodka is the most valuable exchange media
  6. Protect your home. Reliable lock, steel door and barred windows are essential but must look cheap and ugly
  7. Big and vicious dog the best defender of the family
  8. Do not look happy. Life is miserable for everyone around. 
  9. Be ready to lose everything. Health is the only value

Only falling through to the bottom you can see the beauty of life..

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

(continued...)

As far as my wife's family and how they coped with their experience, most of what they mentioned involved dealing with shortages and finding ways around that.  But in coping with the 'lawlessness' aspect of it, here are some of the things they talked about and a couple of my own observations during my visit in her country (these parallel some of the things that ao or scott said in their above posts).

Home security-  Theft was/is a big problem, and even though things have improved greatly since then it's still extremely common to have heavy doors with multiple locks and bars on all windows. In my time over there I didn't see a single apartment or home without multiple locks on the doors, even out in the countryside.

Situational awareness-  Stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the people around you, and be extra careful in crowds.  During my own visit last summer this was emphasized by my wife, saying pickpockets are still common and will go after foreigners in particular.  We had no such problems, but there were a number of times I spotted people nearby paying a little too much attention to us.  I didn't take my attention off of them while they were around, and we had no problems.  Extra emphasis on this when it comes to drunks or junkies, and know how to spot them quickly.  Drunks and addicts aren't always trouble but they're more likely to be, and sometimes you have to go with the odds.  In fact the only times I encountered physical threats or trouble in her country was with a couple encounters with drunks demanding money.

Connections-  Having connections, both legitimate (government officials and law enforcement) and shady (grey/black market types), help a lot.  Still does in fact, which I got to see for myself over there when trying to get my son's paperwork sorted out there.  Getting around the beauracracy and the petty corruption of officials is a part of it, as knowing the right people sometimes can save you some money and/or time (from seeing my brother-in-law in action I could tell this was critically important when running a business).  The other part is knowing how and where to get things that are in short supply or high demand.  How far one is willing to bend the rules (like buying/selling things in the grey/black market) is up to the individual and I don't condone or condemn it, but at least in the case of my wife's family and most others in their country it was a matter of necessity and not optional. 

Don't 'Stand Out'-  This is my own observation being in her country, and something I found really hard to do anything about.  In my case it was being a blond, blue-eyed pale white guy where nearly everyone else is much shorter, darker, and Asian.  I kinda doubt I would have had the encounters with the aforementioned drunks if this wasn't the case.  The best I could do was to dress no different than most everyone around me (not hard since most wore American or Western style clothing) and not wear or carry obvious valuables.  The latter was stressed by my wife... I don't wear jewelry but she told me to just be careful where I take out my MP3 player or pocket camera.  Common sense to be sure, though I know the other reason for it.... if the merchants and vendors smell money on us she'd have that much more trouble getting a good bargain Tongue out

 

- Nickbert

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

 There has got to be a business Opportunity in here somewhere don't ya think ?    Installing Home security ?     At least the established business ought to be busy while people still have money . .

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

I live in in the centre of London which is safe ... for now. I love living here and have no desire to move ... for now.

But the government is cutting back on policing, letting more prisoners out of jail early and not sending convicted criminals to prison unless their crimes are particularly violent. Also unemployment is on the increase and benefits are being cut. I think it's only a matter of time before the streets become scary.

I have started thinking about survival skills, here are my actions so far ----

• I carry two wallets, one with cash and a credit card, the other one with £5 and all my redundant credit cards. If I was threatened, I would hand over the 2nd wallet immediately.

• I don't leave anything of value visible in my car. I also have a sign in the small windows (that's the one they break into) saying 'No valuables left    in this car'.

• I go for a walk every night with my partner, but avoid the rough areas and stick to affluent areas and well lit streets.

• If I sense any signs of aggression I remove myself from the area.

• I don't use a cash machine on the street, but use the one inside the bank.

• I don't count my cash on the street.

Anyone else with survival ideas greatly appreciated. 

 

 

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

I know this is probably a stupid question but after reading these responses my first impulse would be to leave that situation. Even if I didn't have money I would collect what I had, go as far as I could on what I had.

Go where? There is always some place that is not as bad as others especially when your life is being threatened. Walking several days through wilderness or doing without much food, or any, while traveling all seems preferably to staying in a place where it is only a matter of time before you are injured or killed. Even more so if you are married with children.

Short term risk seems like a better option than long term risk. Why don't more people in these situation just cross borders especially those who are young and unattached?

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Walking several days through wilderness or doing without much food, or any, while traveling all seems preferably to staying in a place where it is only a matter of time before you are injured or killed. Even more so if you are married with children

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migrant_deaths_along_the_Mexico_%E2%80%93_United_States_border

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/illegal.pdf

Happy New Year!

Aaron

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Can't Always Leave, More Questions, and Some Thoughts
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

I know this is probably a stupid question but after reading these responses my first impulse would be to leave that situation. Even if I didn't have money I would collect what I had, go as far as I could on what I had.

Go where? There is always some place that is not as bad as others especially when your life is being threatened. Walking several days through wilderness or doing without much food, or any, while traveling all seems preferably to staying in a place where it is only a matter of time before you are injured or killed. Even more so if you are married with children.

Short term risk seems like a better option than long term risk. Why don't more people in these situation just cross borders especially those who are young and unattached?

I would say that if it were war or genocide, risking life and familial separation would make sense to escape a country. Think Jews in Nazi Germany desperately seeking visas and exit papers (some even getting them from the Japanese embassy) as the situation worsened around them, Vietnamese boat people on the high seas encountering pirates, cannibalism, etc., Cambodian refugees fleeing Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, Palestinians leaving Israeli Occupied Territories, Afghan refugees flooding into neighboring Pakistan and settling in squalid and miserable refugee camps.

But is it always possible to get out? Is it possible to settle in the new place and live safely and prosper there? As Aaron Moyer points out, even Mexican and Central American illegal immigrants crossing the border into the United States for economic reasons (not to save their own lives) face a harrowing journey and separation from family. Once here, they receive hostile attention, endure exploitation and abuse they often are fearful of reporting to local authorities, etc. They also face deportation if caught and uprooting of their lives in the U.S. And the U.S. actually treats them rather decently compared to how other countries treat illegal immigrants - Mexico, for example, is much stricter about deporting their own Central American illegal immigrants. (Note: I'm not seeking comments on the whole issue of illegal immigration. I don't want this topic hijacked. Please let's keep on track on the very important topic of "Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society".)

Just imagine how much tigher borders might get, and how much stricter enforcement can get, and how much harsher immigrants can get treated by authorities and by ordinary citizens in a new country, when economies worsen and conditions deteriorate. Didn't France just deport Romas (Gypsies) who had been living there for years despite EU citizenship? (link) It is only going to get worse for migrants and refugees around the world.

Besides, as I have mentioned before , people have ties to families and friends; and to home, prep gear, stored food, gardens, support networks, specialized knowledge of local resources, and jobs. Also, in a post-peak-oil, post-peak-resources world, conditions will deteriorate all around and the place we don't want to be in, will come into being around us. Going somewhere else may just be more of the same, but with less resources and community around us. We have to be prepared for survival in increasingly deteriorating conditions no matter where we are.

As situations deteriorate, even Dr. Martenson and his neighbors - close and tight-knit as they may be - may have to consider putting bars on windows against burglaries, installing stronger fences against garden produce thieves, buying black-out film to cover windows, etc. - and implement security procedures, such as carrying concealed, not allowing their youngest kids out and about town on their own, etc. Because things may not get bad enough to leave, but they'll get bad enough that you have to start thinking and acting very differently.

More Questions To Ponder
How many of you live in homes that would be invulnerable to a Molotov cocktail or two, thrown onto the roof or into a window or against a siding - whether occupants are in the house or not - by a jealous homeless arsonist, a disgruntled neighbor, or a gang that didn't get their demand for protection money met?

How many live in homes that have strong (brick, concrete) defenses against bullets that can ordinarily puncture stucco and drywall?

How many have cars and car windows that are proof against most calibers of bullets - or even an axe or a rock dropped from a freeway overpass?

What are things that can be done to avoid such outcomes - both on a community level to foster a level of overall societal safety, and on a physical level to harden one's infrastructure?

Some Thoughts
I grew up in a Third World country. The homes of the middle class were all made of concrete block walls - though wood was cheaper and more abundant and the ordinary masses made use of wood, mud, thatch, and corrugated metal for their huts. The windows of the concrete homes were always barred. Doors were reinforced with steel. Walls surrounding homes were high and commonly made of concrete and topped with broken glass shards (from beer bottles) to deter thieves.

We lived in such a home. We also had a live-in domestic (dishes, laundry by hand, ironing, etc.) who stayed on premises at all times except for two days off per month. In essense the house was never left unattended. He would open and unlock the steel gate for us whenever we left the house by car or returned.

My father knew and was "friends with" the Minister of the Interior and knew a few security chiefs. He had contacts in government which allowed him to procure documents and passes, etc. such as for a business he started. I believe it was his contacts that allowed us to leave the country shortly before one coup d'état, returning when things were more stable, then leaving permanently shortly before another, more violent one that plunged the country into civil war.

Having connections can work both ways, however. I remember once, one such "chief" and a bunch of armed soldiers showed up at our house with a briefcase they wanted opened (but undamaged, apparently). They sat in our living room, drinking Coca Cola that I served them, and watched idly as my father painstakingly tried out every combination of a possible 1,000 in order to get it opened. I think it took an hour of repeated tries before he got it. At the end, they left, leaving us unharmed - but my father had very bruised thumbs for a week, from having repeatedly tried the latches with every turn of the dials.

Poet

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

I know this is probably a stupid question but after reading these responses my first impulse would be to leave that situation. Even if I didn't have money I would collect what I had, go as far as I could on what I had.

Go where? There is always some place that is not as bad as others especially when your life is being threatened. Walking several days through wilderness or doing without much food, or any, while traveling all seems preferably to staying in a place where it is only a matter of time before you are injured or killed. Even more so if you are married with children.

Short term risk seems like a better option than long term risk. Why don't more people in these situation just cross borders especially those who are young and unattached?

"When the s*** is about to hit the fan.... step to the side of the fan!"  - Christopher Titus

Good words to live by, at least when events are beyond our control.  Some of our preps seem to be along the lines of trying to shield ourselves with a tarp or umbrella before it all hits the proverbial fan... sure we may avoid the worst of it, but we'll still be stuck standing in a smelly room covered in crap.  We can proactively keep our money out of the bank before a bank holiday, but we'll still have to deal with most of the consequences of the nation's infrastructure having a seizure.  We can buy gold & silver to help protect the value of our wealth during devaluation, but that doesn't protect us from the other negative economic and social side effects of a currency collapse.  Sometimes leaving the scene may be the most practical move.

However... stepping to the side is not always an option for some.  Perhaps their options and long-term security would be even more endangered elsewhere (think illegal immigrants in the US), or perhaps the state restricts movement or the borders are closed shut (happens in many countries bordering failed or failing states), or perhaps there is a sense of duty to friends or family or country to be there to help in those hard times.  And then sometimes both the fan and the amount of excrement are so massive that there is no 'side' to step to where you won't get splattered (Peak Oil comes to mind).  Thus many of us, by either choice or circumstance, are stuck in place and have to pursue adaptation strategies instead. 

I do have to say that having a family now is making me more risk averse than I used to be and has reprioritized my obligations.  As much as I want to make my home here permanently, their well-being is a higher priority so I have to at least consider the 'step to the side' contingencies.  As it is our family will be investing much of our money and time doing business in my wife's country (which has seen a dramatic turnaround since the difficult years of the early 90's), so in a financial sense we'll be already be 'halfway out' I guess.

- Nickbert

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

I feel very strongly that a rural setting will be superior to a urban jungle.If money becomes increasingly worthless, what incentive do farmers have to keep sending food into these multi-million people population centers? Not to mention if city services like trash removal, sewage etc... suffer, it's easy to imagine chaos and violence at every streetcorner.

I got the hell out of southern California and into Montana. Despite the lack of peak oil awareness and the lack of interest in renewable energy, there are some tough-hombres out here. Probably a lot of survivors when the state gets back to its roots. Secondly, look around yourself and see if you have the kind of people who you can form a network with, a real community where you support each other rather than a bunch of thugs and hustlers.

 

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

 truly believe we will only be as safe as our neighbors are prepared .    This isn't  all about us anymore .

  FM

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
Full Moon wrote:

 truly believe we will only be as safe as our neighbors are prepared .    This isn't  all about us anymore .

  FM

Full Moon

I fully agree.

What happens when your neighbor down the road comes down to you asking for a hand-out night after night - and you either refuse night after night which builds resentment and hatred in them? Irrational as it may be because you DID warn them and they scoffed at you, they can't ignore their hunger pangs or the accusing looks on their children's faces. Or do you keep robbing your stores and provisions to help them out, putting you and your family at long-term risk? What happens when townspeople see you and your children still have full rosy cheeks and nice new clothes while everyone else is gaunt and constantly hungry and their clothes are going threadbare?

It's not gonna be pretty if your neighbors aren't prepared.

Poet

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pinecarr
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Posts: 2244
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Poet, this is a great thread!  I think it is a really important topic that needs more attention.  History has (I believe) shown that increasing lawlessness is a  valid concern in societies dealing with economic instability/collapse.  If true, then as a pragmatist, I think it only makes sense to open our eyes, assess the risk, and plan accordingly.  So learning from others who have been through similar situations before is good stuff.

Nickbert, thanks for sharing your personal experiences and insights, they are really valuable!  I had read about people using bars on windiws before, but having the house built out of cement or other materials that bullets can't easily pass through is something I never considered.  There is a lot to learn from people and societies who have already lived through increased lawlessness.

Ok, now for a "tech help" question if any of you can help me.  I tried to "subscribe" to this thread because I find the content really interesting.  But I am not sure how to do it correctly.  When I clicked on "subscribe" in Poet's original post, a number of choices came up.  I thought clicking on "Subscribe to this Page" (or something like that) would do it.  But I didn't get e-mail updates when people posted on the thread.  Next I tried selecting something else (Forum, maybe), but that was at too high of a level category; I started getting e-mails for other threads other than this one.  Can someone tell me what I should be selecting to only get notification of updates to this thread?  (I know I'm going to be embarrassed when I see how "duh!" easy it is!).  Thanks in advance.

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Poet
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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
pinecarr wrote:

Poet, this is a great thread!  I think it is a really important topic that needs more attention.  History has (I believe) shown that increasing lawlessness is a  valid concern in societies dealing with economic instability/collapse.  If true, then as a pragmatist, I think it only makes sense to open our eyes, assess the risk, and plan accordingly.  So learning from others who have been through similar situations before is good stuff.

Nickbert, thanks for sharing your personal experiences and insights, they are really valuable!  I had read about people using bars on windiws before, but having the house built out of cement or other materials that bullets can't easily pass through is something I never considered.  There is a lot to learn from people and societies who have already lived through increased lawlessness.

Ok, now for a "tech help" question if any of you can help me.  I tried to "subscribe" to this thread because I find the content really interesting.  But I am not sure how to do it correctly.  When I clicked on "subscribe" in Poet's original post, a number of choices came up.  I thought clicking on "Subscribe to this Page" (or something like that) would do it.  But I didn't get e-mail updates when people posted on the thread.  Next I tried selecting something else (Forum, maybe), but that was at too high of a level category; I started getting e-mails for other threads other than this one.  Can someone tell me what I should be selecting to only get notification of updates to this thread?  (I know I'm going to be embarrassed when I see how "duh!" easy it is!).  Thanks in advance.

Pinecarr

Thanks for the compliment! I really want to learn about survival strategies and "street smarts" - beyond  the idea of just prepping with material goods and productive skills. Most of us - especially those of us who are "book smart" - are woefully lacking in the art of survival when it comes to dealing with the lawless elements of society. I think we need to remedy that quickly.

Having a gun or knowing kung fu isn't going to be enough. We are all vulnerable at very many points throughout the day, stretching into weeks and months. Most of us can't cover even half of them. Trying to hold a job, run a business, keep a family safe - all that puts us civilians in greater danger when the social fabric unravels. (Just imagine if there wasn't enough government money for food stamps for the 43 million Americans who depend on them...)

A fully-prepped homesteader digging up potatoes is vulnerable to a bullet from a bolt-action rifle fired from beyond the tree line. His hard work in the form of harvestable crops or a fully-grown chicken are vulnerable to being taken in the middle of the night - and I'm not talking gophers or weasels here. His home is vulnerable to fire that can be used to drive his family out into the open, his teenaged kid is vulnerable - whether driving a car or hauling a wagonload of produce to town - while he's keeping watch at the homstead.

Even a city dweller is vulnerable to home invasion - especially if her kids or spouse are gullible or absent-minded or think all those security precautions are not necessary. Or vulnerable to the epidemics that come with close quarters living: just imagine non-existent or increasingly sporadic sanitation, garbage collection, sewage, electricity, lighting, etc. Or unchecked fires gutting apartment complexes because there is inadequate firefighting funding. Or roving gangs out to loot or demand protection money, where and even the police get in on the game.

As for your technical questions, I haven't tried subscribing, so hopefully someone else will show you how. I merely load up the page that tracks topics where I've commented, to see if any new comments have appeared. Like this:
https://www.PeakProsperity.com/user/420/track

Hope that helps.

Poet

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
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Posts: 3159
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

This is an article by a guy who lived through the Argentine nightmare that was posted here some time ago.  I thought it was quite informative at the time. 

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/10.08/tshtf1.html

Doug

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SteveW
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Posts: 490
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Poet, I think you've started an interesting and important thread but all the comments seem to fall within the confines your limiting title to the exclusion of other possible futures. Only the black market comments relating to other societies were at all different. An increasingly impoverished society need not necessarily be increasingly lawless.

I think the most important aspect will be the nature of government. Anarchy can be avoided if government maintains effective control, irrespective of whether it is democratic or a dictatorship. As a child I lived in wartime and post-war England and recall rationing of both food and clothing (gasoline also, but we had no need of that). A strong government could impose gas rationing, followed by food rationing should supplies start to fail. In this situation most people would be in the same situation and there would be no juicy targets ripe for picking, while the usual restraints of policing and justice would apply. In this society there would be expected to be a vigourous black market and the usual graft of using money to buy official favours but the society as a whole would not disintegrate into all out armed violence.

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Rojelio
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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Get out of the heart of the city and a bit into the countryside if possible. With the spectre of devalued money and price controls, who wants to deliver huge inventories of commodities to densepotentially violent population centers. Most of these concrete urban jungles don't have the kind of farmland needed to feed so many people. Think about the most basic needs first, like what's my clean water supply? Get rid of all your worthless non-survival possesions on ebay, at the pawn shop, whatever. Replace them with tools, PM, and other tangible assets like survival food with a long shelf life. Get a pistol you can carry around, a sawed off shotgun to answer the door with, and a hunting rifle. And a skinning knife. Bullets are now a form of currency. Teach yourself how to walk a decent distance. Bicycle also. Get plenty of light exercise, but try not to overexert yourself. Get lots of sleep. Meet your neighbors, try to form some kind of connection if you can stand them. If you do have good neighbors, set up complimentary tool libraries and neighborhood watch programs. Make your wife go to a Mormon class where they teach you how to can foods. What are the indigineous plants in your area that are edible and medicinal?.....

Back to the basics. Hurry up, there's only a few months to go...

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1891
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
SteveW wrote:

Poet, I think you've started an interesting and important thread but all the comments seem to fall within the confines your limiting title to the exclusion of other possible futures. Only the black market comments relating to other societies were at all different. An increasingly impoverished society need not necessarily be increasingly lawless.

I think the most important aspect will be the nature of government. Anarchy can be avoided if government maintains effective control, irrespective of whether it is democratic or a dictatorship. As a child I lived in wartime and post-war England and recall rationing of both food and clothing (gasoline also, but we had no need of that). A strong government could impose gas rationing, followed by food rationing should supplies start to fail. In this situation most people would be in the same situation and there would be no juicy targets ripe for picking, while the usual restraints of policing and justice would apply. In this society there would be expected to be a vigourous black market and the usual graft of using money to buy official favours but the society as a whole would not disintegrate into all out armed violence.

Steve

You have a good point. Please don't let the title limit your response. The more help we all have to help us survive various different scenarios, the better prepared we may be.

That said, I think wartime and post-war England was different. There, you had a mostly homogenous racial/religious make-up and a very strong social cohesiveness borne of years of shared hardships and sacrifices suffered during a desperate war against a ruthless enemy: Nazi Germany. George VI (with his queen, Elizabeth Bowe-Lyon, a.k.a. the Queen Mother) and Winston Churchill provided the nation with the kind of inspirational moral leadership and courage needed.

I don't know if we can have that kind of strong unity and shared purpose here in the United States. The last President who enjoyed widespread popular support was Reagan - and we had an enemy with a face back then: the Soviet Union. Neither of the last two presidents have been truly popular. The two wars we are embroiled in are unpopular and far away.

I think the Japanese - homogenous as they are - may be able to pull it off - but the experiences coming out of Mexico, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America tell us that things may be very different here in the United States.

Poet

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Posts: 1208
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Pinecarr-

Well the majority of these are actually my wife's and her family's experiences, but I'll pass it along Smile

SteveW-

I agree that increased lawlessness is not a foregone conclusion, or even if it does happen it may not be nearly as rough as Russia or Argentina.  My wife's country shared many similar 'starting conditions' with the former USSR (understandable since it was in many ways a Soviet vassal state), but apparently didn't experience the same scale of violent crime (or organized crime) that the USSR did. 

However.... I still have to assess the possibility of a more 'lawless' future as the most probable for the US.  Unlike wartime and post-war Britain, much of the US possesses in various combination 1) a huge entitlement mentality, 2) an aversion to sacrifice and facing problems, 3) a lack of confidence and a lot of distrust regarding the intentions and the competency of our government, and 4) no strong unifying social bond or ideal to rally behind.  Now, I do find it likely that individual communities will form stronger bonds, and this trend will grow and eventually become a major force for stability.  However this is likely to take time, which would leave an intervening period of "troubled times".  The duration and intensity of which is anybody's guess; it could last a month or 20 years.  I could be proven wrong about this in the future, but I feel I have to play the odds on this and prepare accordingly. 

Realistically I don't expect 'the worst', and I think most people will survive this, though many will do so much poorer.  The one thing I can think of that would make me assume the worst is civil war or some major war on US soil.  Hope it never comes to that.

- Nickbert

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xraymike79
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Posts: 2040
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
nickbert wrote:

 1) a huge entitlement mentality, 2) an aversion to sacrifice and facing problems, 3) a lack of confidence and a lot of distrust regarding the intentions and the competency of our government, and 4) no strong unifying social bond or ideal to rally behind. 

 

Concerning number one, I see a huge entitlement mentality in the entire human race in that they feel the Earth should continue to support their burgeoning numbers well past environmental overshoot.

Concerning number two, I see an aversion to sacrifice and facing problems most prevalent in 'developed countries' who feel it's OK to continue to rape and pillage the Earth and the third world  in order to continue their unsustainable lifestyles.

Concerning number three, this is becoming even more apparent to the man on the street who sees that our politicians are merely sock-puppets for corporations and their share holders and that the conventional wisdom manufactured by corporate news stations does not reflect the reality of common people's lives, or the world for that matter.

Concerning number four, this is a direct result of an economy that atomizes society.

 

Social collapse and anarchy? You betcha. Nothing else could otherwise result from the aforementioned list of conditions.

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Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
Rojelio wrote:

Get out of the heart of the city and a bit into the countryside if possible. With the spectre of devalued money and price controls, who wants to deliver huge inventories of commodities to densepotentially violent population centers. Most of these concrete urban jungles don't have the kind of farmland needed to feed so many people. Think about the most basic needs first, like what's my clean water supply? Get rid of all your worthless non-survival possesions on ebay, at the pawn shop, whatever. Replace them with tools, PM, and other tangible assets like survival food with a long shelf life. Get a pistol you can carry around, a sawed off shotgun to answer the door with, and a hunting rifle. And a skinning knife. Bullets are now a form of currency. Teach yourself how to walk a decent distance. Bicycle also. Get plenty of light exercise, but try not to overexert yourself. Get lots of sleep. Meet your neighbors, try to form some kind of connection if you can stand them. If you do have good neighbors, set up complimentary tool libraries and neighborhood watch programs. Make your wife go to a Mormon class where they teach you how to can foods. What are the indigineous plants in your area that are edible and medicinal?.....

Back to the basics. Hurry up, there's only a few months to go...

Rojelio,

All of what you are recommending here and much, much more has been discussed previously at lengthand can be found in the archives.  You may want to check them out.  Think about what you are recommending here.  For example, if you happen to answer your door with a sawed off shotgun and it's your local law enforcement authorities, you'll most likely be arrested.  Not good.   Also, light exercise isn't going to condition you or prepare you for handling suddenly arising threatening situations.  You'd want to do high intensity exercise instead.  And so on. 

As far as only having a few months to go, if you forgive me, I think you're at the Chicken Little stage.  Time to calm down and remember, as many others have said, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  This is a long haul event and there is an extremely low probability that things are going to suddenly, precipitously, and calamitously collapse into a Mad Max scenario.   There is a certain level of urgency but it's not extreme.  Relax and pace yourself.  

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SteveW
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Posts: 490
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
Poet wrote:
SteveW wrote:

An increasingly impoverished society need not necessarily be increasingly lawless.

I think wartime and post-war England was different. There, you had a mostly homogenous racial/religious make-up and a very strong social cohesiveness borne of years of shared hardships and sacrifices suffered during a desperate war against a ruthless enemy:

I think the Japanese - homogenous as they are - may be able to pull it off - but the experiences coming out of Mexico, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America tell us that things may be very different here in the United States.

Poet

Yes, I thought about that aspect and social cohesion with shared hardships would seem to be a most important aspect in mitigating violent reactions. The violence we currently see in Europe looks like the people against government imposed austerity but a charismatic leader could motivate the population to handle the forthcoming hardships.

So far as the US is concerned I think more and more of the population is aware of financial fraudsters supporting federal government and are likely to react against fat cats. The reaction need not be violent though since some states or geographic regions may decide to dissolve their union (by whatever means are possible; maybe a Declaration of Independence).

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dshields
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Posts: 599
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

If there is a financial collapse in America all hell with break loose.  Right now America has a higher percentage of people locked up than any other civilized country.  Ignoring pot smokers, we still have a very large number of people locked up as a ratio of the general population.  I believe one of the major reasons for this is a break down in the American culture.  When America was successful that culture was hard work, personal responsibility, and participation in a civil society.  Decades of transfer payments has caused that culture to disintegrate into the culture of dependency and victimization.  It is a disaster already.  It would not take much to tip it over the edge into madness.  If the transfer payments are cut much at all, violence will break out in cities and decent people will be forced to leave.  Where are they going to go ?  Who is going to pay for this ?

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports...

We have destroyed ourselves.  It has taken several generations to do it and it will take several more to fix, if we have the political will to fix this.  I doubt that we do.  To fix these problems will require some pretty serious medicine.  There are two major political parties.  The democrats tend to foster and increase transfer payments.  The republicans are often unwilling but never-the-less participants in this.  So there is no answer.  Neither party is willing to change it as it will create chaos.  So it continues.  If we were to actually decide to reverse this trend we would need to increase the size of the police forces nation wide and build a lot of jails because you are going to have to lock a lot of people up.  Plus, the military would be needed in many cases as the police would be overwhelmed by the numbers of people rioting and looting.  If some dude named Rodney King being arrested can cause the breakdown of society in cities across the nation, just imagine what would happen if transfer payments were cut by say 50%...

 

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Poet
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Posts: 1891
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society
Doug wrote:

This is an article by a guy who lived through the Argentine nightmare that was posted here some time ago.  I thought it was quite informative at the time. 

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/10.08/tshtf1.html

Doug

Doug

Thanks for posting that link. Fernando "Ferfal" Aguirre is "da man"! He's living the life we all want to avoid but know we will face.

Poet

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Rojelio
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Posts: 38
Re: Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society

Regarding trying to get your neighbors to prepare as well as yourself: That can be very difficult. Try to speak to most people about peak oil or tell them that we're not really in a recovery and they simply do not believe you. Many of them are stuck thinking that if they could just elect one political party or the other to a majority, then things will sort themselves out.

Authors who studied societal collapse (like Jared Diamond for example) have noted this phenomenon. Most people in an overly complex system that is about to collapse simply do not believe that the worst can happen until after it happens.

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