The Wave: Bugging Out? Some Things To Think About

This is going to be the first entry in sort of a parallel topic series I’ll be covering about people from outside the tribe moving into and through your area.  I had intended to do it separately later on however after having breakfast with some young’uns this morning I want to capture some of my thoughts before I forget them.   This isn’t necessarily intended for the rural folks but those urban types planning to hit the road when it gets bad.  Face it – over the last year or two prepping has become semi-mainstream.  With even big box stores like Wally-World and Costco selling premade kits and buckets of preps it’s a become kind of a legitimate thing to do.  Yeah the majority of the sleeping still scoff at it and spend their money on golf clubs and iPhones and other tchotckys but more and more people are waking up and that’s a good thing.  I had the pleasure this morning of sitting down with #3 son and a few of his friends over breakfast and the subject of prepping and bugging out came up.  And where it went really got me thinking.  Hopefully some of the points I’m going to make will get your gears turning as well if you prep or plan to bug out or know someone similar to the twenty-something’s I describe in this entry.

I’ll tell you straight up front:  If SHTF I already have a plan and the resources in place to support my immediate family returning with a little extra and they already have their bug out plan to get home.  The ranch is our rallying point.  My youngest son is pretty proud of his planning and his skills (He’s a kick ass kid for 21) and during the conversation one of his friends (we’ll call him Jeffy) asked if he could come along with him and his fiance.  I looked him in the eye and asked him if he was serious.  “Yeah – I got no other plans and my parents live overseas now” was what his answer boiled down to.  So I thought for a second and asked him a few questions.  I’ll present those questions and the basic answers I got:

Q: Do you own a rifle, know how to use it, and have any experience with it? A: No.

Q: Do you own any kind of weapons? A: A Samurai Katana (ohhh-kay).

Q: Any military experience at all?  Stand guard, etc..? A: No nothing beyond video games (more ohhh-kay).

Q: Do you have any kind of medical training? A: No.

Q: Have you ever had a garden or raised any kind of livestock or poultry? A: No.

Q: Can you run two miles nonstop? A: I don’t know (I take that as a no).

Q: What are you studying in college? A: Liberal Arts.

Q: Have you ever seen a dead person or torn up person really close – like within 3 feet? A: Yes (Finally!), at a funeral (welp so much for that).

So I had to break it down to one big question – “What do you have to offer?”  The answer I got was a rather roundabout explanation of how he has a funny personality, plays guitar, is a computer genius, etc.  It all boils down to this – he has absolutely jack in the way of skills or resources to contribute so he would be a burden.  And once I broke that news to him and told him he wouldn’t have a meal card at the ranch he was kind of shocked.  Keep reading.

One of the gals (call her Betty) in the group really seemed to have her stuff together.  She went in depth into what she has in a ready backpack along with some skills she’s picked up.  Her plan is to grab her gear and shag out of the dorms.  I was pretty impressed as she described her gear and the skills she was actually learning and practicing (real down and dirty survival skills like making fire, purifying water, foraging, etc).   What she wasn’t talking about was what happens when she gets where she’s going.  Here’s the gist of it:

Q: So without going into detail you’ve got a bug out location?  A: No just a direction – South.

Q: What’s South?  A: Farms and stuff.

Q: Do you have any of those skills I asked Jeffy about? A: No.

At that point I didn’t need to go into further detail as everyone sort of came to the same conclusion themselves of what she has to offer- and it wasn’t a pretty conclusion for her.

I asked one of my sons other friends (call him Fred) what he planned to do.  No plan.  No preps.  Any skills or experience?  Four years as a combat medic in the 101st  and now he’s going to school to study nursing on the GI Bill.  Bingo!  I told Fred he was more than welcome if he wanted but needed to figure it out and start getting his gear together and let me know ASAP.  And so the bitching, whining, crying, calls of “No Fair”, “You’re prejudiced because he was in the Army” began.  And once I got these twenty-something’s quiet I broke it down to them – nothing is fair when it comes to life and death and especially post SHTF.  If you have nothing to offer in the way of skills or materials you’re a burden until you can be taught something useful (and doing the laundry and cleaning the house isn’t all that useful when you’re scraping by).  The time for teaching may not be available.  If you show up at someone’s farm or ranch looking for a handout you may get some charity…or you may get a load of buckshot.

Now I’m not one to leave a problem without a solution.  I broke it down to these young people and left them thinking about what and how they could have an insurance policy.  The facts are based on some simple truths:

  • If you have no skills or resources you’ll be a burden on whoever you wind up staying with.  Get a skill.
  • You can get robbed of everything you have but if you have a critical skill that can’t be taken away unless they kill you.
  • Think about what skills you need to learn.  Some skills will be in serious demand in rural areas- medical skills, labor skills (welders, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, good mechanics) and anything dealing with agriculture or animal husbandry.  Others will be probably be utterly useless (things like X-Box champions, rappers, computer gurus, the assorted flavors of liberal artists, political science majors, and lawyers).
  • It’s a good idea to pre-stash stuff at wherever you’re going if you trust the people you’re going to stay with.  If you don’t trust them why are you going there in the first place?
  • If you plan to leave where you are you need to have a destination – and you don’t need to show up uninvited.  Failing to coordinate your arrival/return may buy you a one-way ticket down the road. If you’re a burden (see above) you’ll probably be asked then told to leave.
  • Fail to have a destination and you have planned to fail.  “I’m going to go hang out in the national forest” sounds good at first but hanging out in the woods for a couple of years like Bear Grilles isn’t a good insurance policy unless you plan on not getting seriously hurt, not freezing to death, or accidentally being shot by a hunter.  Which brings me to a final point.
  • If you plan on hanging out in somebody’s woods and stealing from gardens and poaching livestock plan on dying.  You may not even be doing those things but if it’s been going on and you’re there you’re guilty.  You’ll see signs that say things like “Posted”.  That means stay the hell out.

There were two young people in the group that kind of concerned me.  The first was a young girl who nonchalantly said she’d just screw for survival.  I’ll reserve my judgment of the effectiveness of that plan.  The other was a rather smart kid who said he’d go back to his parents.  His parents happen to live in an affluent neighborhood in Chicago.  IMHO he might ought to go ahead and just buy a bus ticket to Baghdad.  Hell less people are dying there than Chicago nowadays anyway.

Some people may wonder if the “Patriot movement folks” or the “III%” would be welcome.  They bring something very tangible to the table.  A lot like those “Brightstars” in Rhodesia they offer security when they are around and can even be helpful taking care of “problems”.  Think about a band of dirtbags coming in to raid your homestead and ending up facing a group of five or six guys trained and armed.  So before you tell them to take a hike consider the benefit of allowing them to lager, stage, cache, hide, or E&E in your area. With some careful thinking and basic steps you can minimize the physical evidence of their presence in your immediate area. IMHO it’s more of an advantage to have them around even if it’s just temporary.

Now I have no illusions that all of these young people I mentioned above will think and act.  Some will, some won’t.  And if STHF some will survive, and some will die.  But the old saying still applies:  Fail to plan plan to fail.  Or in this case fail to plan plan to die.

About Treaded

Semi-retired career and contract troop. I own and maintain my own small ranch out here in beautiful rural America.
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