(Note: I published an essay titled Bugout Dreams in my March 2016 book Putnam Liberty Notes. I had thought to republish it here on the blog, but decided to tweak it a bit, thus the “2.0” in the title).
This essay will be primarily devoted to the concept of “bugging out” in the event of two things: (1) societal collapse brought on by an EMP or economic collapse, or (2) tyrannical governmental takeover. There have been “prepper” and “bugout” type magazines for sale on the magazine racks at WalMart. There has even been a cable TV show called Doomsday Preppers in the last few years. Prepping fantasy has become mainstream among conservatives; now let us have some prepping reality.
When one surveys the perilous condition of our government and culture, and the apparent ignorance to it of mainstream Americans, one may certainly entertain fantasies of “Bugging Out” or “Getting Out of Dodge” when the chaos begins. I used to think of this, and I suppose that most patriots and survivalists have thought of this. However, I believe that most bugout plans are little more than fantasy, and could never work. I shall devote the rest of this essay as to why I believe this.
The primary problems are: where are you fleeing to and how? If there is a major event that brings some sort of chaos or tyranny to America, where would you be going to that was better than your present home (where all your food, weapons, ammunition, tools, and personal belongings presumably already are)?
If one is to flee with more than a backpack full of gear, than they must load up a vehicle. To flee in a vehicle implies that one can safely travel on government roads and purchase gasoline. This implies that the collapse has not yet happened and that one is leaving everything (including their job and most of their belongings) behind to head out while there is still time.
It is unlikely that most people will “check out” before they have to, and thus they will not check out before the collapse. If one plans to leave after the collapse, they will be on foot, bicycle, or horseback. Almost all of the food, vitamins, medical supplies, weapons, ammo, camping gear, and precious metals that one may own will be left behind for government troops or looters. Now, under great danger, you will attempt to move to somewhere (hopefully preplanned) where one will be safer than their (former) home -which may now be in ashes.
Unless one has the money to own and maintain multiple locations –a house and a retreat- (and keep both of them stocked with food, weapons, and ammo) you will have left behind your life’s supplies of life sustaining materials. I personally do not know any prepper inclined people who have the money to own a modern home and a retreat.
Now that one is on the run with a backpack of gear, where are they headed? Unless they have a retreat within a couple of dozen miles, they likely will never make it. Traveling hundreds of miles cross country in dangerous times (surrounded by government troops and/or desperate city dwellers with no personal means of survival) while one is on foot or bicycle is just a dream.
Trying to run to a wooded area will be a fantasy for most people. Unless one is a fit young male, and near a national park or huge national forest out west, there is nowhere sufficiently wooded and away from population centers that one could flee to.
The Smoky Mountains National Park is about a half a million acres; what if half a million desperate people try to walk there from Knoxville and other nearby towns? And even then, one would have to live a basically nomadic mountain man lifestyle, while being alone and coming into contact with other desperate people doing the same.
There are no sufficiently large wooded areas near my AO for many people to flee to. The Hoosier National Forest is in the southern third of Indiana, and much of it is in Orange County and the neighboring counties of Martin and Crawford. Orange County, per the 2010 federal census, has a population density of about 50 people per square mile. Very rural by east of the Mississippi River standards, but way too densely populated for everyone to go mountain man. That being said, there is almost 13 acres per resident, and even leaving the forests stand, Orange County properly cultivated could easily feed its population.
When one considers the amount of game in a fairly rural state such as Indiana, and the amount of people, it is clear that all the deer would be dead in a month if the corporate stores ran out of food. The unprepared urbanites (and small towners) would likely live long enough to destroy the wild game and loot any farmers unprepared to deal with them. I have stockpiled less than 100 rounds of hunting ammunition for my rifle, because I do not expect much hunting to be going on after the collapse. I have a decent supply of defense/combat ammo, but very little hunting ammo.
On a philosophical basis, what is the underlying assumption for bugging out? The motivation is personal survival -not group survival, the restoration of America, or the preservation of the White race. A man is not going to bug out on foot with his wife and five little children. A man and his neighbors are not all bugging out together into the unknown. In bugging out, there is no effort to form units to stop looters or resist tyrannical government troops. The “bugger outer” is concerned with nothing but escaping personal danger so that he may live another day, and presumably go back to a lifestyle of accumulation of money and things when the situation settles down. Bugging out is not so much a patriot or nationalist idea as it is a survivalist idea.
The whole concept of bugging out is based solely on personal survival, implies leaving behind one’s supplies, and is just a fantasy for 99% of the people who think of it. Bugging out is not the answer.
Food production is the basis of survival; reading Michael Bunker’s book Surviving Off Off-Grid helped me to understand that. Leaving the land makes on vulnerable to whatever may come. Long term survival –and the restoration of liberty- will require group cooperation.
I believe that the answer is to live on the land (where one can raise their own food), be with their stockpile of supplies, and be surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors who will (hopefully) help each other in the time of crisis. The United States of America is on thin ice, and is likely heading toward a period of economic collapse, racial crisis, and political tyranny. One had best prepare to weather the storm.
Does my answer guarantee survival? No, nothing can. Prudence and obedience are our responsibilities, results are up to God. However, if one does as they should, God may aid them. Likewise, if one does not do as they should, why should they expect aid from God?
© Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam of Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.