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The 10 Things Every American Needs to Think About Before the SHTF
What you need to do before it gets bad
One of the big reasons I created this Substack was that America is on a glide path to destruction. No one needs to push the country over the side of the cliff, it’s just where we’re headed unless enough people like us can convince our fellow Americans to slam on the brakes. Do you know what’s at the bottom of that cliff, my friends? Horror, death, chaos, and despair. ANYONE who romanticizes that whole process or thinks it would be anything other than dirty, dangerous, and disastrous is either a clown, an idiot, or a sociopath. Still, it’s a distinct possibility and we should start thinking about how to handle it.
Before we begin, let me just note that NOBODY (me included) is really prepared for this. They can’t be because there are so many possible disaster scenarios, all of which would require different responses. On the more unlikely side, let’s hope, would be nuclear war or biological agents. We could also have a virus as lethal as Ebola that spreads like COVID. What if a nuke detonated in the upper atmosphere or solar flares fried all of the electronics in our country? It’s not even impossible that the Yellowstone super-volcano could erupt. If you’re talking about more likely scenarios, it no longer seems crazy that we could see an all-out civil war in America. Perhaps it wouldn’t be quite that bad. Maybe, states would be allowed to peacefully secede, but would you end up on the right side of the line? You could go on and on with these different disruptive STHF (sh*t hits the fan) scenarios, but for the sake of argument, let’s particularly think about the most likely scenario we’ll face in the next few decades. One that seems very likely to happen unless we make some significant, politically unpopular changes, is an economic collapse. Imagine that the dollar is no longer the reserve currency, no one wants to buy our debt, the government cranks up the printing presses even faster and we get Weimar Germany-style hyperinflation that essentially makes the dollar worthless. I’ve privately talked to a lot of smart people and ALL OF THEM seem to think that’s a distinct possibility.
So, before one of these worst-case scenarios happens, what should you be thinking about?
1) Should you have dual citizenship? If things really get out of control in America, one thing you can be sure of is that the rich and powerful won’t be here when it happens. Do you think Jeff Bezos, the Clintons, and Colin Kaepernick are going to be in America when millions are starving to death and people are being murdered by the hundreds every night? Not a chance in hell. They’ll be gone before it gets completely out of control. Should you think about doing the same thing if you can? Absolutely. Is getting citizenship in another nation a practical step for you? I don’t know, but if it is and it all fell apart, would you rather be there or in the middle of some nightmare scenario in the US with your family in tow?
2) Don’t mis-time the apocalypse. By the time most people realize that the cops and military aren’t coming to help, it’ll be too late. The gas tanks will be dry, the supermarkets will be looted, and their options will have rapidly dwindled. On the other hand, if you and some buddies open up on a truckload of ANTIFA looters rolling into your little town too early, even a sympathetic deputy may feel compelled to make sure you get locked up until you get a trial, even if that trial will never come in the chaos that follows. There’s not going to be a neon sign that switches from “civilized” to “anarchy,” so you better pay a lot of attention to what’s going on once things really start to fall apart.
3) Maybe you shouldn’t tell everyone what you’re doing. Do you have 1,000 rounds of ammo and a year’s supply of food in your basement? Does everyone in your neighborhood know you’re the local “prepper?” Have you considered how dangerous that could be say a month after the supply trucks have stopped running and the police have disappeared? Maybe it’s already too late on that front, but if it’s not, shhhhhh.
4) Do you have the things you need that won’t be available? Currently, if you need something in America, you order it online and it shows up anywhere from a half-hour later with food to two or three days later with orders from Amazon or Wal-Mart. We got a little taste of what the disruption of that “just in time” supply chain looked like during COVID. Now, imagine that same kind of thing, but ten times worse. If that happened, would you have everything you “needed” or would you be in a bind? Do you need some kind of medicine to function? Ammo? Dog food? Toilet paper? It’s up to you to decide how much you need on hand but do keep in mind that if things start to get hairy, a big demand jump can quickly lead to a product being unavailable for months.
5) How are you going to defend yourself? Should you have a gun and know to use it? Yes. Should you learn how to defend yourself hand-to-hand? Absolutely. Is that enough? Not even close. That’s because a trained individual beats an untrained individual, but tends to lose to an untrained group, which loses to a trained group. In other words, you and all your neighbors guarding your neighborhood will do a better job than you can do personally, but if you can get together to set up some kind of local militia that does a little training and planning under the tutelage of former soldiers, that’s going to be even better. Unfortunately, most of us just aren’t willing to go to those lengths, but those “crazy militia guys” that do will be better prepared than the rest of us.
6) How are you going to feed yourself and get water? The initial answer to that question may be, “store up food.” Of course, depending on what you’re eating, you may be talking about at least $500 for every 3 months worth of food per person, much of which could become useless if you have to leave your home. Water is even tougher. If you can get a well, test the water and make sure it’s good, or even use rain barrels (and boil the water), that may help, but again, it’s tough to move large amounts of water. If you need to go beyond that, you may have to rely on hunting or farming, both of which require a lot of land and require a level of skill that most Americans don’t currently possess.
7) How close are you to a city? These days, most cities in America can only exist because massive amounts of food and resources are shipped into them from all over the country. So, what happens when the power goes off, the gas tanks run dry, and resources stop flowing into those cities? People will get hungry, desperate, and violent in a hurry. They will also start to flow out of those cities into rural areas looking for food and resources that the locals won’t be interested in parting with. That’s not likely to lead to a happy outcome and if you live in a city or around one, that’s something you should be well aware of before some sort of American apocalypse.
8) Where are you at and where are you going? If the SHTF tomorrow, would you continue staying where you’re at? That could be a very complicated question because for one thing, would the roads be clear to travel and even if they were, could you get gas? Would the airports be working if you needed them? But let’s say you had the option to leave before things completely fell apart. Would you? If you’re in the city, the answer should probably be, “yes.” Everywhere else, the answer gets iffier. If you were going solo, it would probably be good to have a pre-stocked cabin in the woods somewhere near a water source, with some potential farmland that could be hidden from the road. On the other hand, getting some farmland in a defensible spot with a group of potential allies familiar with guns would be even better. Unfortunately, most of us will have difficulty with either option and by the time we get a sense of whether we need to run for the hills or not, it may already be too late.
9) Gold, silver, barter, and cryptocurrency? Just because a nation’s currency is worthless doesn’t mean there’s no money available. Gold and silver have been stores of value for thousands of years. Some things like coffee, heirloom seeds, medications, and batteries will be worth orders of magnitude more when they’re no longer easily available. If there’s power, cryptocurrency is likely to be more valuable than the dollar in the future. In nations like Nigeria and Venezuela, as volatile as crypto is, it can still already be more reliable than government currency. We could very easily (and sooner than we may expect) get to that same point in the United States.
10) What survival skills do you have? This is a tough one for a lot of us in the modern world. It’s great to be able to Google and code, but if it really gets bad, those skills are going to be useless. What skills won’t? Skills like being able to hunt, farm, and fish. Being able to survive in the wilderness. Shoot. Skin and dress an animal. Being able to make clothes, repair a car, or build a shelter. Computer programmers, columnists (gulp), and “influencers” will be out, and doctors, butchers, and carpenters will be in.