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That's a complicated question, but I'm more than happy to think it over with you.
So in responding, there are two ways I thought to approach the problem; Either I can rely on anecdote and you'll have to sort of believe that I have some frame of reference, or I can cite events and we can forecast how those events would manifest in a "collapse" or austere society, because this topic is huge.
So, here's a loose breakdown, and we can talk on these points going forward with anecdote and case studies (if you're intersted):
1. It won't be homogeneous. How it goes down will vary between places. Places that have naturally good rainfall, access to rivers and the ocean and fertile soil will be better off. Interior regions which rely on large scale agriculture are going to see some hard times. Urban areas with large populations and staggering wealth gradients (which means basically any city in the U.S.) will be hit hard.
Cohesive populations will be the key to maintaining security, and those rely on good leaders. This might be something as simple as an urban community watch that can provide security, or it might be a rural town. It's just impossible to tell who will come out on top, and why.
2. Urban cohesive populations will be more at risk than rural ones. I say this because of their proximity and probability of hostile contact. Being in close proximity to other people who are desperate and well within walking distance will make security a continual problem for urban dwellers, no matter how well organized.
In addition, the urban scene is anonymous in many regards, where the rural environment is not. One of the common threads I've seen in accounts of collapse is random violence. From Afghanistan to Syria, Detroit to Croatia, people who want to know murder will use the collapse as a vehicle to commit it. Sniper alleys, ambushes and gangs will emerge, and they'll be hard as hell to deal with.
Some of the will emerge in the countryside as well.
If people choose to rationalize with them, to engage them in dialog and try and convince them to relent, they'll die. Don't go out the the house. Put security measures into place immediately, and prepare to hold the line. With ego on the line, these characters will be far more dubious, as there's an unspoken language that gangs only tolerate the vicious. Plan accordingly.
3. The concept of Law Enforcement will be utterly gone in urban populations.
Police are people just like everyone else, and honor-bound as they may be, their first responsibility is their family. In collapses, we see time and again, that once LE can do nothing about the situation, they go someplace they can have an effect. In rural communities, where that anonymity doesn't exist, I think you'll be far more likely to encounter emergency deputizations and the formation of community militias as a 'mutual defense' co-op. These will be instrumental in keeping rural areas defensible, especially if they're close to a city.
4. The first "apex" wannabes will be thinned out rapidly.
This is another thing that collapses reveal; often times the ones who just want to commit violences lose their minds. Literally, they stop rationalizing. They steal cars, drink recklessly, shoot at anything that moves, dance around in ladies wigs and rape their way into an early grave. Liberia/Sierra Leone in the 90's, as well as Zimbabwe, ISIS, Croatia and even more recent events in Ukraine have shown that these proto-warlords show up, and shock people with their propensity for violence. In many cases, they're wiped out quickly, as learning humility under those circumstances is likely fatal.
5. Those who survive are going to be a handful. I'm lookin' at ISIS here. There's absolutely no reason that if we collapsed, the U.S. couldn't be turned into a series of Islamic republics. I'm not saying this as an Islamophobe, it's happened in history, and is happening right now.
We hear about Coptic Christians being murdered by the hundreds. What happens to those who renounce their faith and become Muslim? Any ideology that requires fealty or death will be wildfire in a post collapse society. We're not ready to deal with this as westerners, and I see several groups who are perfectly capable and willing of taking this opportunity if they had the opportunity; Marxists who have been consistently fomenting violence in places like Ferguson, and Right wing militants who use the the constitution to justify their agenda are both potential sources of this kind of trouble, if they amass power too quickly.
6. Those groups will establish legitimacy. Whichever powers emerge from the collapse, they won't be able to survive by violence alone. They're going to have to establish themselves as legitimate powers, and who knows what that might look like… Once it happens though, we may see ideological wars between regional factions.
I base this off what I know of criminal and violent types, some experience in a collapsed society, working around disasters and lots of case studies on the topic… but I'm perfectly willing to audit anything I've said for veracity and rigor. Please feel free to challenge anything you don't agree with.
I think that you're looking at the fringes of this issue as the 'most likely' outcomes. Chances are, the guys who think "har har, I don't have to prep…" will be starving, cold, miserable, and sick by the time they realize they have to raid people for supplies. We have seen a tremendous amount of romanticizing about raiding parties in media and literature, because it plays on our fears; those who act irresponsibly preying on those who are prudent. Sorta like our monetary system. But, like our monetary system, that model is horribly defective.
For one, we need to discuss tactics, which I don't think will ever take root here.
Tactically, a numerically inferior defender has major advantages over the external threat. Having a plan, being able to execute it, and continually adapting the battlespace to be disorienting and stealing initiative from your adversaries will be very effective in dealing with numerically superior hostiles.
Add in the fact that most people are unconsciously incompetent when it comes to handling weapons, and you've got this guy (who I partially blame for popularizing this fallacy), and this summary here is well worth consideration:
Let’s make one thing clear – Smith is not a prepper. He is not representative of what we do. He’s an embarrassment to the preparedness community. He is a thug, plain and simple. He’s an out-of-shape criminal who is afraid to get caught, so he’s waiting for the breakdown of law and order to commit the crimes he so clearly wishes to perpetrate, without fear of spending time in prison.
There are people like this out there. In an "all out" collapse, such as what happened in Croatia/Bosnia/Ukraine and across Africa, these people come out of the woodwork to do evil. No doubt.
But calling them Apex predators is a stretch. They are successful only so long as they don't run into opposition, and can retain mobility.
Rural communities, when hit by raiders, will probably be hit harder, but with less frequency and premeditation. FerFAL, while an interesting character with some good anecdotes, presents rural survival as a sort of fearful situation in which nightmares unfold, but there are never specific accounts that can be cross-referenced. Selco, of SHTFSchool, stated here:
In fact, relatives who survived in rural setting simply had much better time.
From what I know about emergencies, and preparedness, that lack of anonymity within the rural community is going to make it very hard for any sort of raiders to launch effective campaigns against small towns. Communication, proximity and readiness will all influence how well individual families do, but smaller towns will be far more defensible than densely populated urban centers which are "target rich environments".
The second charge I'd like to address is the countryside being overrun by desperate and well-armed groups. This is largely a question of mobility, and without functioning vehicles and ample fuel, it's just not going to happen. Without a doubt, if things get bad enough, this kinds of groups will emerge – but they will still be bounded by their fuel supply.
If we define Rural as 15 minutes from downtown, and populations of 25-50,000, well, yes, Rural areas are in for a hard ride. If we're talking about places that are a couple hours from major population centers, and have no obvious strategic advantages, then rural areas just aren't important enough to risk your neck over.
If you're thinking of established authority as Apex predators, well… I think you'll be sorely disappointed. Bad leaders don't last long in true emergencies. Bold and vicious ones come to power quickly, and that's a problem… but they realize quick that attrition will sink them if they are overly aggressive.
In short, I don't think your options are "run with the Apex predators or die". I think you've misjudged what/who the Apex are, and how effective the wannabes will be.
EDIT: I think this is worth reading: http://shtfschool.com/general/urban-vs-rural-in-case-of-shtf/
Runs one of the best websites on the topic out there. I find almost everything he posts is both useful and grounded in experience. It's well worth the time to check his writing out.
Yes, there are definitely lower weight alternatives. Depending on the gauge of wire you want cut, some multitools have a wire cutting portion on the pliers. I strongly recommend these types, and this is what I do personally. I've cut chain link fence with it, so I know it's good to go there, and I've also stripped wires from an industrial extension cord to swap out a damaged male connector, so they pull double duty. This is using a Leatherman WAVE, though I think that some of the Gerber tools are easier to use and more ergonomic.
Another alternative is carrying a field knife. The Soviets began the practice of including wire cutters on their bayonets years ago, and the U.S. has since followed suit. Both of these offer "dual (or more) purpose" alternatives. You won't be able to cut any locks, or anything, but there are other ways around that, anyway.
This is almost identical to what I consider my "bug out" kit.
A rough estimate of the distance between that car and the body is ~18'.
That's within Tueller's range, for legal defense. The conditions of the altercation not withstanding.
Both parties mishandled the situation. No martyrs or heroes here, just more fools in a comedy of errors…
These guys are literally the worst America has to offer. Take a shitty, unorganized street gang, clean them up, and give them a budget and you've got the ATF. I'm glad Eric Holder was so busy "championing civil rights" that he didn't have time to do his job and see that Federal Law Enforcement didn't become a reckless hobby for frat boys while Uncle Sugar foots the bill.
These agencies need to be dismantled before they turn into the SS…
There's some pretty compelling video evidence that he did.
Answers to Q 15 & 16 are extremely disturbing
Did I read it wrong?
Question 15 and 16 are were jaw-dropping victories in my mind… Is this not saying that 71% of the officers view statements by public officials that they WILL NOT enforce more gun laws view those officials favorably?
Another 12% are ambivalent. Only about 16% out of the polled officers want to enforce more restrictive laws, is what I'm seeing. That's not good, compared to zero, but it's great compared to what I bet you'd find if you cropped this sample to, say, just NYC…
16 states that about 45% would vocally oppose more gun control (Seattle's recent I594 brought a significant amount of LEO's out saying they did not support the legislation), while 7% said they'd shut up and color and 10% said they'd push the agenda. So again, we're seeing 1/10 or so of the LEO population who's all for supporting the elitist agenda.
The three areas in which officers supported changes, were Improved background checks (Again, like Seattle just passed), More aggressive institutionalization for the mentally ill and more permissive Concealed Carry.
More good news in Question 23, where 80% of the officers said a legally armed citizen would have dropped the number of casualties in Aurora and Newtown.
I think that the majority of officers are solidly on the side of the citizens. Sadly, discretion is being worked out of the officers toolkit, and we are inundated with negative images of police. I firmly believe this is a tool of people like Bloomberg to ensure that we are alienated against the "enforcers". If we view the LEO as the 'bad guy', it's easier for him to enforce laws against us, and we all know that people like Bloomberg are more equal than us.
We need to turn this anti-LEO sentiment into anti-Legislator/Senate/Billionaire sentiment. Those are the guy who are dirtying the pool for all of us.
So I 594 passed in Washington state. This law makes it a felony to hand a weapon to somebody who is not a spouse, or in a situation in which lethal force is not warranted in defense of innocent life.
$7 million from Bloomberg, Hanauer and, Bill and Melinda Gates saw that 60% of the population who have probably never seen a gun except on TV saw fit to vote for the initiative.
Any thoughts from folks around here?