For years, the groupthink on urban survival was that, in a disaster situation where there’s a medium to long term breakdown in infrastructure and civil order, the ONLY way to survive was to flee the city.
You were supposed to run, like a dog with its tail between its legs, and hide out in the woods until things get back to normal.
The truth is, this is really dated thinking that ignores history.
To get to the bottom of this, we've got to dispel some of the myths about urban survival in a collapse.
I talked to my friend Ox to get his thoughts on this topic.
Here is a run-down of what he had to say to me.
Urban Survival Myths (And The TRUTH About How To Survive In A Collapse)
Besides the logistics of whether or not you’ve got a fully stocked rural retreat to flee to, or the fact that there’s a good chance that it will be difficult to travel with gridlock and roadblocks, there are several reasons why cities — or urban areas — make good places to STAY after a disaster.
There are three big urban survival lies that have convinced people this isn't so.
Let's talk about each one of them.
Urban Survival Lie #1: “With all those people, everything’s going to run out right away.”
While this is true, it’s just the first chapter of the story.
In the event of a medium- to long-term breakdown in order after a disaster, many people will abandon cities and others will die of shock, medical reasons or violence, leaving a remnant of people who were prepared and can continue/rebuild the economy.
Also, at some point, products like fuel, food and other supplies will start being distributed again.
If refiners, farmers and other distributors have the option to deliver to one city or 10 towns, they’ll pick the one city.
Their cost to deliver goods to only one location will be less AND they’ll probably be able to sell the goods at a premium because of higher demand.
The key here is to have enough supplies on hand to make it through the worst part of a civil breakdown situation until resupply begins.
Urban Survival Lie #2: “I’ll be a sitting duck in my house!”
After a disaster, if violence is particularly bad, you can rotate a watch without it being too much of a burden on any one family.
This concept has been around for generations.
Just to be clear, it doesn’t stop crime, it only changes the location where it happens.
If a crackhead needs to steal a TV to support his habit, it’ll just get them to go a block or two away to break into a house and steal someone else’s stuff.
Of course, in a disaster situation, many have scaled this up and have multiple roving people covering an entire neighborhood.
In the country, there’s just too much space between houses to make this practical.
Because in an urban area, one person can watch several houses at one time.
Urban Survival Lie #3: “Everyone in the city will turn on each other.”
Actually, this is partially true.
I hear people talk about their organized plans to kill, loot and steal from their neighbors way too often.
Just yesterday a friend told me how he overheard a group of otherwise rational people talking about how they have their neighborhood mapped out and the houses prioritized according to which ones they’re going to attack first.
This is no joke — the TRUTH about surviving in a collapse is that you have to be able to defend yourself against predators like these.
It's why we talk about “survival weapons” so much here.
I think these people should and will be “taken care of” quickly if they ever start acting on their sick plans.
They go against everything that America stands for, and they disgust me.
There is another side to this story… one which has a lot more historical evidence.
Think of barn raisings and the ability of a rural community to band together to get a big project done.
Now think about how many more people there are in a city than in a rural area and how much easier it would be for any one person to get a group of people together to get a big project done when there are so many more people to ask.
Stop laughing at the thought of city people helping each other: As we saw after September 11th, there are people who WILL come together to help in a crisis.
So what do you think?
Will YOU stay in the city after a disaster?