I am guilty of falling into the “Wolverines!” mindset from time-to-time, that being the image of going toe-to-toe with the insidious foreign invasion force and setting up ambushes to destroy the evil occupiers or perhaps having to confront droves of hostiles, be they urban gang-bangers, local looters, or some other such group of less than savory individuals. The modern survivalist seems to be rather obsessed with the idea of a total collapse of all centralized authority to the point where society is little better than Somalia, although historical precedent doesn’t give much credibility to this theory. The idea of a “total collapse” has been covered to the point of ad nauseam but what of the idea of a “partial” or “limited” collapse? If you have prepared for a total collapse and your entire mindset, mentality, and preparations are focused on that, what if the collapse is less than total? What if instead of a nuclear war there is simply an increase in violent crime by 500 percent or even 1,000 percent due to a serious weakening of government power and authority, short of a total collapse of central authority. Are you prepared to live in an America that is incredibly more dangerous than it presently is but where you don’t have a green-light to don the tactical armor and take out your battle rifle to clean the streets?
There’s an essay, well-known in survivalist circles, titled Thoughts on Urban Survival. It was written by an Argentinean who detailed his experiences during the 1990s situation in Argentina and he makes it clear that there are many other sort of “collapses” that are possible, such as the partial collapse. This Argentinean had to survive in a major urban area with a massively depressed economy, issues of hyper-inflation, etc, in an area prone to danger and violence. He reported that simply avoiding being kidnapped, robbed, mugged, carjacked, or killed, on a daily basis, became something of a chore and was seen as an accomplishment. There were no armed gangs (with machine gun armed "technicals") cruising around the city openly looting stores and besieging foreign embassies. Instead there was a massive increase in street level crime against ordinary individuals, which much of the crime being perpetrated by seemingly ordinary individuals who had previously held respectable jobs.
He reported that those who were in the city were in a pretty bad way, but almost as worse, if not more so in some ways, were those who were 30-40 miles outside the city in remote/isolated country homes, as organized criminal gangs numbering anywhere from 5-20+ thugs/criminals would drive out of the cities, go into these isolated areas, case the most isolated and inviting target, and then do a nasty/violent home invasion/take-over, that would usually entail torture, rape, and murder. The people were too isolated to receive any help from neighbors, local/regional police/authorities/etc. They were just as doomed as though they were in the cities, only more so in some cases as the criminals operating in the cities seldom were able to spend hours in an apartment, torturing and raping, they would strike quick on the street, grab a purse, steal a car, and then flee, while in the countryside, with no neighbors, no police, nobody else to worry about, they spent hours on the farmsteads, taking their time to steal everything of value, torturing the residents if they felt they were was a hidden safe or that valuables were concealed somewhere, and raping any women they desired to rape.
The Argentine survivor declared that those who managed to avoid the bulk of the trouble due to the collapsed Argentine economy were those who lived in or fairly close to, close-knit small towns where residents looked out for each other and where the locals (be they basic residents or local authorities) knew who belonged in the town and who did not belong in the town. The people who were most vulnerable were the most isolated rural-dwelling individuals, with a close second being the urban dwellers. The typical American survivalist seems to believe that being in the middle of nowhere in Iowa or Kentucky will assure he is reasonably safe when the fact of the matter is that armed and organized gangs in South Africa routinely drive two to three hours from the cities (such as Johannesburg), into the countryside, to launch their farm invasions/attacks. The only true possibility of total isolation in the United States will be found in Alaska, so unless you are in Alaska you might consider that you’re better off with a nearby small town than you are being two hours away from even a small village of a few hundred people. One step you might take in the immediate future is to get to know your neighbors. A lot of survivalists seem to believe that their neighbors will just prey on them and try to take their supplies or leech off of their preparations and that may prove to be the case. However, it is almost guaranteed that if you have no rapport with your neighbors they probably won’t think twice about harming you. If you have a solid friendship built over multiple years you may be able to guide them into beginning their own preparations.
Preparations need to focus on our own immediate surroundings, our own communities, because when the trouble starts we will need our communities. One family alone can be weak, but a community (a collection of families) working together can be stronger than any single segment of the community trying to go it alone. It is very naïve and foolish for American survivalists to think that there will only be problems in the cities, that there will be a total collapse that will allow for open street-warfare, the wearing of tactical body armor, the daily carrying of rifles/shotguns (it may happen, it isn’t a bad thing to have those items), rather than simply a continuation of what we presently have… What we presently have is a move towards a society that is increasingly dangerous, on a daily basis, for the basic individual who going about his daily routine. People should be preparing to survive and avoid becoming a victim in a society that may soon resemble Brazil, South Africa, 1990s Russia, or late 1990s Argentina; that is to say, a society with a corrupt central government, decaying first world infrastructure, massive economic problems, and nightmarish levels of brutal crime against basic citizens/individuals.
The situation in South Africa proves that to live on a rural farm is not a guarantee of security. Just as in Argentina in the late 1990s, in South Africa the criminal gangs regularly travel 50-100 miles down the highway, get off in a farming/rural district, and attack an isolated farm in the most brutal manner possible. Obviously the Stuff hasn’t Hit The Fan but people are still dying in droves, even though there isn’t open street warfare and they aren’t able to employ all their neat battle rifles. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have those neat battle rifles because they may very well need them for open street fighting and in the meanwhile they are very useful for ranch/farm defense against criminal gangs.
However, it must be noted that in order to be able to openly wear tactical body armor and carry a rifle down the street, society has to pretty much fall to the point where there is no centralized authority and there are no local police, in order words, open warfare and street fighting become the norm. In a 1990s Argentine collapse or a present-day Brazil, unless you are a uniformed police officer, walking down the street in tactical body armor while carrying a rifle will most likely succeed in drawing gunfire from police or other internal security forces. Just because a tornado came through your town or a levee is breaking and flood waters are rising doesn’t mean you get to go to Wal-Mart loaded to bear as though you’re ready to head into Fallujah because all you will succeed in doing is attracting a massive amount of attention and flak from local law enforcement, National Guard, etc. However, there’s nothing to say you can’t wear a concealable vest and carry your pistol or AOW (depending on local/state law) wherever you go, while leaving your tactical vest and battle rifle for use when at home.
American survivalists who are serious about surviving the present situation in the United States, at least surviving until the Yugoslavian style street warfare begins (if it ever does- we should pray it does not) should place an emphasis on concealed carry, concealable body armor, martial arts training, home security systems, reaction drills for home invasions, defensive driving, personal defense in/around a vehicle, and above all, increasing their situational awareness skills. Again, to stress a point that can scarcely be overstated, get to know those who live around you and get on friendly terms with them so they are inclined to warn you if they see somebody following you, casing your property, etc. In South Africa much of the assistance the farmers receive comes from other farmers. When you know you cannot count on the police it helps to know you can count on at least some of your neighbors. Consider that you’re a lot more likely to wind up with American crime levels reaching those of South Africa or Brazil (and your having to live in an area with such crime levels) than you are to wind up in force-on-force battles in the streets of your county seat with gang-bangers from two towns over. Of course the latter is possible, just not particularly probable.
Not to mention, mowing down your neighbors over a can of tuna won’t solve the problems facing our society. Author and Yugoslavian War veteran Thomas Chittum and I have conducted a number of Internet talk radio programs and I stand what he and I discussed, we won’t solve America’s problems by killing our neighbors. It will be a very ugly day indeed when Americans turn on each other and rend the nation apart. The east-coast elites in DC and NYC would love nothing more than for the peasants in the interior of the country to grind themselves down killing each other, while they themselves remain safe on their New England estates or in their Manhattan penthouses, behind armies of hired guns. As the Argentinean survivor explained, in regards to regular commoners, those who made it safely through the 1990s with minimal difficulty, were those in small yet close-knit communities who had the support and trust of their neighbors. That point surfaces yet again, the support and trust of their neighbors. Now is the time to begin getting to know your neighbors and forming friendly ties with them, not the day after the hurricane or the day after the dirty bomb.
All of this talk about what to do when the UN arrives, how to handle the aliens landing, what to do when China invades, what to do when the cities collapse in total anarchy and the blood flows in the streets, it’s nice to think about in terms of, “even if that happens, I’m prepared!” or to chat about as a simple topic of conversation. But in terms of reality, it’s basically all pie in the sky. Most collapses in recent years have been along the lines of what happened in Zimbabwe, South Africa, late 1990s Argentina, mid-1990s Russia, etc. The countries like Yugoslavia and Rwanda have been the exception. Even in Yugoslavia, there wasn’t a total collapse of authority, there was a fragmenting of the nation along ethnic lines with each new territory having its own ethnic authorities and competing ethnic militias. Rwanda wasn’t a collapse of central authority; it was an abrogation of law and order in favor of government sanctioned genocide against one segment of the population.
If the government of the USA decides to pursue an active genocide against a portion of the population, if you’re in that portion of the population, you may be in some danger, it’s that simple. If the US fragments along ethnic/racial lines, you’d better hope the land you’re living on is included in the territory for your people, or you may be in some danger. Those situations are hard to plan for and the particulars of them are hard to anticipate until they begin to unfold. Anybody who wants to learn more about those situations should obtain a copy of Thomas Chittum’s book Civil War 2: The Coming Breakup of America. Hopefully the USA will be spared the sort of racial/ethnic violence that struck Rwanda and Yugoslavia, because it will absolutely gut the nation through and through. That sort of ethnically fueled violence could last for decades and leave the USA in the sort of situation Angola is presently in, a mostly ruined nation that is struggling to emerge from four decades of warfare.
But, even still, if America is going to breakup (it may, it may not, at this rate it possibly will at some point in the next several decades), it does no good to prepare for the breakup if in the meanwhile you become a crime statistic because you were unprepared to defend yourself from violent street crime. As I’ve tried to say, American survivalists should look at how daily life is in South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, etc, and prepare accordingly for safely navigating their daily routine in such conditions, because those conditions are fast taking hold in large and ever increasing regions of this nation, likely as a prelude to dominating the greater part of the country as a whole. Having all of the supplies you can afford crammed in a bunker does nothing for you if you wind up stabbed to death in the parking lot of the office building where you work. Survivalists must extend their survivalist mentality and preparations to their daily lives, training for any situation where they may have to rapidly react to some unexpected danger that suddenly presents itself.
I see a lot of writing about what to do if your nation is invaded, what to do in the event of nuclear warfare... I'm sure Red Dawn makes a better movie than would "A Day in the Life of a Boer Farmer in South Africa" but daily survival as a farmer is more realistic for the survivalist situation. It's more interesting to read about pie in the sky scenarios such as nuclear warfare, battalion level terrorist attacks against your county seat, etc, but it is much more realistic and practical to ponder on ways to survive, on a daily basis, in an increasingly dangerous America.
Along a similar theme, that being realistic and daily life preparations, I’ve noticed that a great deal of American survivalists seem to miss the mark in regards to physical fitness. In my own personal experience I have seen numerous instances of grossly obese people claiming to be survivalists or militia members. I am not talking about passing encounters but rather people I knew for several years. At no time during the several years that I knew them did I see them making any serious attempt to bring their weight down into a range proportionate with their height or at least something healthier than what it was. If somebody thinks stocking up on guns and food in anticipation of black helicopters arriving makes them a survivalist they will realize they are sorely mistaken. The importance of physical fitness cannot be overstated. If you cannot move and fight you will be combat ineffective and unable to defend yourself or your fellow team members. Now is the time to get any physical fitness issues squared away. Don’t anticipate losing weight only after the fast food joint has been taken out in a Chinese air raid and food in general has become increasingly scarce. Now is the time to make your body an asset rather than a liability. If you want to kill two birds with one stone then you should begin training some combat art such as boxing, wrestling, submission grappling, and actively sparring, you will see a rapid loss of any extra pounds in addition to a massive improvement in you overall physical condition, not to mention you will have useful skills that might just prevent you from being a crime statistic.
Speaking from personal experience of having trained several martial arts (each for multiple years), submission grappling, particularly Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most realistic systems of self-defense and it is immediately street applicable and it may very well save your life if you find yourself in a situation where you need to immediately defend yourself. Carrying a pistol is great, adn I recommend everybody carry who can legally do so. But note that criminals seldom wave pirate flags and announce their attacks from 200 yards away, thugs usually unleash their attack from a few yards away as they spring into action with little or no warning, necessitating some sort of grappling/wrestling skill to either deal with the situation by hand or create space/distance/time to draw and employ your weapon. Many police who are shot are shot with their own weapon, something that basic grappling/ground-fighting skills would likely have prevented from happening. As I’ve said, it doesn’t pay to have a bunker full of goodies and the best guns in the world if you get stabbed to death on the street two years before the bombs start falling.
If you have a fallout shelter, a BOB, a BOV, a retreat location, but you don't carry concealed on a daily basis and you have zero knowledge of martial arts, then you're missing the mark. If you're prepared for a nuclear war or the fallout resulting from such a war, but you're not prepared to deal with the knife-armed maniac at the corner store, or the two thugs who try to jump you at the ATM, or the gang member who tries to car-jack you at the red-light, you need to shift some of your energy/resources away from the pie in the sky Red Dawn stuff, to something more realistic and applicable on a daily basis... You need to focus on staying safe in an increasingly dangerous America. If you’re ready for a total collapse you need to make sure you are ready for the possibility of a partial collapse or some variation of a partial collapse. You might not be in a situation where you need to get out of Dodge and you may not be able to ride into dodge with your rifle and clean up the town, you may find yourself somewhere in-between. Make sure you remain focused on the possibility of the partial collapse. Be prepared to have to take increasing measures to stay safe in an increasingly dangerous nation.