Bugging Out versus Bugging In
For some reason, I think most people, who are beginning to wake up, are thinking about bugging out, which I really don't understand. I think most of the experts have developed plans for bugging out, but not for anything that will affect the US intensely at the city level.
Bugging out, has generally been a strategy for dealing with a situation at a LOCAL level. In that scenario, something happens, say a bad tornado, and what occurs is usually tied to critical infrastructure failure, that cascades with relief teams unable to arrive in time, and the necessity of extricating you and your family to safety.
This often happens at hurricane time. A bad one is predicted to make landfall. Some people realize they cannot ride it out. They decide to pack up and move into a hotel far from the strike zone. If you've watched any coverage, you know that the traffic snarls up for miles.
In a twist, some are thinking that the situation could occur in a city without rule of law like riots gone horribly wrong, and that they would exit the city to a new city or locale, most generally of a rural size.
Now, it makes sense to plan to bug out, as something could happen at anytime to anyone, but if the phenomena is occurring in the entire USA, then it can't work, and here's why.
You've heard the word carrying capacity a million times for a reason. When a tribe uses up supplies, they move and allow Nature to replenish itself. It's like a farmer letting fields lie fallow so they can recuperate. They'll move to different hunting grounds, something that they've tested since they tribe has done this through experience or history.
When you and your tribe are moving, you're relocating to a new area because the carrying capacity or the situation is untenable. The contents and available equipment of your bug out bag (BOB)are enough to get you away where things are more stable.
If everyone is moving from your city to the outskirts of it, and continue on the most likely paths, they will probably strip out supplies, hotel rooms, food from restaurants, and things from the outskirts like firewood, available camping space, water, and any animals they can catch. Why? Because the outskirts of a city do not have the supplies, businesses, and camping places in large enough amounts at all. For example, we cannot all go camping in Yellowstone, no matter that it is huge, it cannot all at one handle that many people.
What this means is that people must move on, and as they come further past the outskirts, they'll encounter a zone of less and less supplies, businesses, but more camping spaces (most without water, but many with firewood, and some animals). The water is around, it's just that the people will not know how to harvest it like the animals who depend upon it.
Okay, so you find a relatively safe zone. The rioting people are still looting, and more refugees are leaving. Towards you. They can push on past you, but at some point there is a limit to walking. If the cars are backed up and jammed, and if an accident occurs, or fights break out, then you're walking.
Let's say, there's no jam, no accident, and people can press on. People take on a herd mentality. Generally they'll drive as long as the herd does. Most will be unsure of their plans; their goal is “get away”. As people get further, especially if in areas of high population density, there's a good chance of encountering the next large city. That means, that progressing further might take them into yet another rioting area. See?
A 72 hour bug out bag was created for a reason. Since most people do not have hunter/gathering training, and minimal survival skills, the idea was to get them beyond the limits of the disaster radius and into a safe zone. That plan generally involves taking transportation from the disaster zone to the safety zone. You might have to walk a little way, but the general plan was to take planes, trains, boats, and automobiles to get away. In other words, use every available resource to get of out of Dodge. It was never intended for a scenario of a lot of issues going on in multiple cities at one time.
The issue with bugging in has always been the size of the city versus carrying capacity versus security. The larger the city, the lower the carrying capacity, and the worst the security could be. Even cities with populations less than 10,000 have poor carrying capacity, but they would ordinarily have pretty good security because there are not issues with high crime in low population areas....unless you look at the frontier and history. In the frontier, with a preponderance of guns, and a pretty low density of thousands, there could be times of high crime, mostly if the people were upset about a perceived injustice(lynch mobs) or if intruders came with their own criminal element and guns. Do you see a problem with a large hungry mob of city folks going to a rural community now?
No bugging out is not a good strategy, not at all, just a shade better than no strategy.
So what are city folks supposed to do? Stay in their large cities? Maybe. If things are degenerating, then the first thing that should happen is mobilizing the police and any military forces. Next, the things that should happen it organizing neighborhoods by block, since people who are like minded tend to live in certain areas. We segregate ourselves that way. That means at some level, that a potential exists for a community to rise up and REPEL the invading zombies who looting. They are not all powerful, undead, unkillable, zombies. They are ordinary people, vulnerable as anyone, just filled with a blood lust and anger.
If I'm living in my tiny rural town, and a riot is breaking out, I'm organizing my defense and most likely in my city, based on what people do here and their ethos, we'd rise up and definitely repel invaders. It's that or go to teeny tiny town or an uninhabited forest.
Don't give these rioters more power than they have. They probably are a little organized, if it's flash mob, or worse if it's a gang. But still, most likely it's not organized, just selfish isolated people randomly stealing.
Look at the London Riots. Did the whole of London elect to bug out? NO WAY. We saw some communities get together, buy baseball bats, do whatever it took, link up arms across races, and repel. Some died doing it, but most were unharmed.
It would have to get really bad before you bugged out, and left all your possession, for anyone to steal. Leaving all your supplies that you could not take makes little sense.
I can see people well in advance of a potentially hostile situation getting their families to safety. Generally this implies prescience, great analysis skills, and the will to motivate loved ones to leave, and a known place to go, and lots of money since travel is expensive.
I can imagine serious fires breaking out, such that it overwhelms the fire department, and if access to water is not available or in sufficient pressure, then you should bug out. The fire will scourge the city, and no one can make it without water.
If a seriously bad crisis happens in winter in a metro area, without electricity, and naturally few sources of wood, you could freeze to death. Of course bugging out could accelerate the process since most people do not have the survival skills to manage movement out of a hostile zone in winter and then build a shelter to keep themselves warm.
The problem of any global economic crisis is that the biggest cities will be hardest hit. I've elected not to live in such areas. Even the suburban areas of those places, with access to wooded areas and water will have problems. Good luck coping if you leave in a city of 100,000 or greater.