Tuesday, May 27, 2014

city slicker survivalist


If you’ll remember my passing comment on John Ringo’s first in a series on zombie-apocalypse books, it was a glorious science fiction action novel but had about zero post-apocalypse appeal. It could easily been an Alien Invasion genre. Now, when I first read it, the first chapter or two had a comment that stuck in my mind and was burrowing in like a parasitic spore. So I went back to re-read it and planned an article on it so as to purge it from my system. As the dad of the survivalism family was going about his business of day-to-day work, he gets a text from his brother that, in code, proclaimed a zombie apocalypse had erupted and immediate evasive action was required ( all the characters are either ex-special forces or high muckimucks in positions of power- you know, like the rest of us are so we can easily relate ). As he is scooping his daughter out of school is about the only part of the book survivalism related ( the rest strictly shoot-em-up ). Dad is reflecting on where they live, suburbia. In his mind, all those silly willies who move out to the boonies to their retreats are, well, to be chartable, just not right! Why, only here can you attain a decent income!


This harkens back to an interview with Jerry Pournelle, one of the co-authors of the best post-apocalypse novels of all time, Lucifer’s Hammer. He proclaimed his choice of domicile, Los Angeles, justified on the grounds of culture. Why, the provincials can’t live a decent life without museums and other high brow attractions such as opera! Now, I can relate to, say, a fellow fifteen years into a civil servant position gambling on staying in the city. With a pension ( just five more years! ), you can move anywhere, no nearby job required. It is worth taking the chance because if he makes it he gets to a much safer area. One unlikely to fill up due to the economy in the crapper. But to tie your wagon to high incomes or high brow doesn’t really justify the risk, does it? Because you have no plans to leave. It is just an excuse. The high income might justify the retreat, but it rarely leads to actually moving ( I’m speaking of the majority ). Because the income is both addicting, but it also usually attracts the kind of mate who will NEVER move with you. You are lucky if you get to buy the high income status symbols like the plastic carbines. So, my question becomes, why are you bothering? If I lived amidst a few million people with only a few roads leading away from them, no amount of freeze dried foods or souped up rimfires would allow me to sleep all that well at nights. I look back at my days living amongst the savage urban masses and smile at the thought I ever believed I had a snowflakes chance in hell of surviving.


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  1. Normalcy bias and herd mentality.

    On the homestead, I have raised lots of critters over the years. Animals in groups feel safe. Even if a coyote, raccoon or neighbor's dog is snagging and killing your flock mates. Animals will stay in a pack even if it means that larger numbers draw in predators. And you know what, most of the time it's true. There is safety in numbers. It works until it doesn't.

    Most survivalist folks that I know are more wolf personality. We like to stay on the fringes always leaving ourselves a way out. We warily look at every situation and person with caution. We may run in small packs but avoid large groups. We may even have loyalty to our pack but not for our whole species. Our group is strong because we as individuals are strong. If needed, we won't hesitate to strike out on our own.

    Then of course, there are the sheepdog. They hang out with the herd and try to warn and protect them from danger. They feel a sense of responsibility and will do everything including give up their life to save the herd. But think about when danger strikes -- the sheepdog is out there by himself. The herd runs away and does NOT help or back up the protector. When the sheepdog dies after years of service, the flock does not mourn. They just look for another patsy who will protect and watch over them so they can continue living the easy life.

    I think most folks are born with one of these 3 personalities. It takes a big event to move your base personality from one group to another -- though it can happen.

    Idaho Homesteader

    1. Only through trama does your basic wiring change. So, yep, most of the time it is too late.

  2. I had no idea how being up front about my desire to live in the boonies would affect my life. I happened to marry a woman who actually thought that would be a good life. It's paid off better than any other prep I could have made.

  3. My wiring got changed July 17, 1976 ....recieved line voltage and have never looked at the world the same again.
    Came to the conclusion that ain't none of us get out of this alive, but I'm agonna make it as nice as possible without pain.