Hunkering Down – The Response

As I suspected, the response to last weekend’s Hunkering Down post was thoughtful, and in some cases dismissive.

Pretty much everyone dismissed the original thesis’s choice of Hinsdale County CO as unworkable, as did I.  And most regarded that choice as “confirmation bias”, i.e. getting the facts to support a preconceived conclusion, or close to thereof.

The most supportable argument came from Reader Mike S., who wrote in part:

Lived in Fairfax Co., VA, a contiguous suburban county of DC. Slowly turning into Southern Maryland.
After visiting 5 states (including Texas) and filling in spreadsheets (Wife does NOTHING w/o a spreadsheet) we settled in East Tennessee.
Her health issues preclude further movement but Southern Appalachia is well watered, (mostly) self-sufficient in food, HEAVILY armed (It’s not “Are you carrying?” but “What are you carrying?”), and compared to the DC metro area crime free*.

*Almost anywhere is going to be crime free compared to our Nation’s Capital/Capitol.

And from Comments:

“Most people will never get out of the planning phase of this, treating it as a thought exercise. The few that might, will likely undersell the effort necessary to make it happen. It’s an expensive proposition to set up a redoubt or bunker. A true survivable landing spot will not come ready-made–it needs to be lived in, the land farmed, the ponds and streams kept clean, neighbors known, that sort of thing. Fewer than 3% of the population can sustain two livable homes simultaneously, so most believe their primary choices are to flee (to what, they have no idea) or hunker down and wait for FedCo and the Military to rescue them.” — Topcat

“And while big game and hunting may play a role, here in WY if the S truly hits the F, you won’t be using any vehicles (short of a mountain bike) to get around since gasoline will at best be rationed, and at worst simply unavailable. After a couple of years whatever you have stored (regardless of treatment) will be essentially useless. If you can’t hike to your hunting area and then pack out your kill, it don’t mean nothin’.” –– Blackwing1

The general consensus seems to be that the time to “bug out” is either in the past, right now or very soon.  During or after the ‘Pocalypse isn’t going to work.  Almost everyone seems to be resigned to staying put (as am I).

In similar vein, given that the average age of my Readers is ummmm advanced, the most pressing, and pretty much insurmountable problem is that of Rx resupply, with some saying that after about 90 days they’re gonna die anyway.  I’m willing to bet that nobody has a year’s worth of critical prescription meds in the cache.  I have about two months’ worth, and I’m probably in the distinct minority even there.  (New Wife, despite my urging, has less than half that, to my great despair.  Her response to my warnings can be summed up quite simply as:  “I have no interest in living in such a world anyway.”)

Let’s face it:  nobody is going to survive for very long if our current civilization turns into the New Dark Age.  Sure, some may survive a little longer than others because they’re well-supplied or else already close to being hunter-gatherers (living in the boonies, hunting / growing their food needs etc.).  Or else they’ve prepared to be predators to get what they need, although even that is going to be transitory as things like food, medicines and other essentials slowly disappear altogether from any kind of supply chain.

But as SOTI pointed out not long ago:  human beings survived being hunter-gatherers for centuries, but the average life expectancy was about 25-35.

The optimists among you suggested that perhaps some kind of order would be restored after a few months or so — but given how our society recently responded to a simple lockdown (let alone a complete breakdown), I’m not that confident.

Me?  I’m not going anywhere except maybe to Doc Russia’s little Festung  a couple-three miles from here.  I’m reasonably well-armed (coff coff ) and have several large Wal-Mart / Sam’s Club-type outlets within walking distance, so I’ll probably just do some shopping (of the AK-47 variety)… until those giant stores are emptied of everything I need.  After that… que sera, sera.

I’ll go down fighting, if I can;  but go down I most certainly will, eventually.  We all will.

Range time?  I think so.  If I’m going to go down, I’m damn sure going to have some fun, and take a few assholes with me.


  1. You can visit post-apocalyptic countries all over the world right now without all the hassle of experiencing an apocalypse. Almost all of Africa, Venezuala and other parts of Latin America, Haiti, much of the Middle East Afghanistan etc etc.

    Warlords, gangs, rape, murder, poverty, stupidity, people shitting in the street, squalor etc.

    After TEOTWAWKI, we won’t be living in caves, we’ll be living like people in Burkina-Fasu. It’s not gonna be good.

    1. I disagree about your last paragraph, though it depends upon the extent of the disaster. Sure life will suck initially but I see us rapidly recovering. There’s too much latent knowledge laying around in books and older people. And just remember that 250 years ago the population of the UK was a tenth of what it is now.

      1. recovery depends on infrastructure and a LOT of technology that is extremely fragile.
        We may pretty rapidly recover to say Roman era levels of technology and society, or even early medieval.

        But anything beyond that requires time, the same time it took back then pretty much, not just to rediscover science and engineering but to implement it all.

        And as society will deteriorate to pre-Roman levels of ignorance and bigotry, expect large scale book burnings. Anything scientific or engineering related will be banned as “heresy” by the climate cultists and islamists who will be the ruling elite, anyone with an education killed outright.
        Think of what happened in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, but worldwide. THAT’s what we’re rushing along towards headlong, and I fear it’s pretty much inevitable by now that it’s going to happen.

  2. That average life expectancy of 25-35 was heavily skewed by infant mortality. And also men tended to die much earlier than women through warfare (damn that male privilege). Menopause stuck around because it was beneficial, which means that old women were normal.

    1. Yes, all life expectancy numbers have to take into account infant mortality. If 50% of babies die – which is quite possible without antibiotics and without nutritional supplements for expectant mothers – and the average life expectancy is 25 years, those that survive babyhood now have a life expectancy of 50.

      More realistically, the American Indians before white men inadvertently introduced smallpox, measles, etc., probably had a life expectancy of 25 at birth. But if they survived early childhood, death by war and accident, and the various diseases that only killed a few percent of those between 5 and 55, they’d probably live to over 70. Their elderly didn’t live quite as long as our elderly do, and the main cause of that seems not to be the harsh life, accumulated damage from poorly treated diseases and injuries, nor the annual period of near-starvation each winter, but merely the stone mortars they used to grind their corn. Grit from the stone went into in their food and wore down their teeth until after 70 years or so they could not chew and died of malnutrition – and they thought that was perfectly normal. But most tribes also had stories of grandparents who went out in the snow to die during an especially harsh winter, to save food for the rest.

  3. “I have no interest in living in such a world anyway.”
    Wait until the pain kicks in, that attitude will change instantly.
    Hand me a pistol.

  4. “The optimists among you suggested that perhaps some kind of order would be restored after a few months”

    It won’t be restored, it will be imposed, by a guy whose name will eventually become the word for “Emperor” – like Kaiser, or Czar.

    1. My opinion about any possible restoration is that it would occur initially in the mostly-“red”, mostly-productive states on a city-by-city basis, with very little breakdown in some areas (which is why we live in NW Wyoming). It could be as large as county-by-county, and you could even cross your fingers and hope that such restoration would be state-wide. I’m guessing it will more closely match the definition of “feudalism” than anything else.

      Anybody living in a “blue” city would be surrounded by dazzling urbanites and totally screwed. With the vast majority of people in major cities have essentially zero for supplies, as soon as the supplies stop coming in and the local stores/bodegas are emptied (not to mention the big-box stores in the ‘burbs), there will be massive food riots and arson, not to mention the accompanying rape and murder. Heck, we’ve seen the Dem-wing dress rehearsals for these riots already, where the powers-that-be not only do nothing to prevent or stop them (belt-feds in the streets, for example) but actually encourage that behavior Too late to toughen up now.

      If it’s a Carrington Event or EMP then everything on the grid will be toast, including the massive pumps needed to provide potable water to the majority of cities. The result would be “interesting” as people attempt to use non-potable water supplies (most major cities are on rivers) and the various water-borne diseases start to spread like wildfire.

      I’m guessing that the average American urban dweller could hike 20 miles a day at most, given current obesity levels. Figure 3 to 5 days without food and water and they’re done after 60 to 100 miles. Draw a circle that big around any significant concentration of people and the rural will be shooting on sight anybody they don’t recognize…but there probably won’t be that many of them. For us the nearest concentration is about a 100 miles away over two mountain passes with a lot of choke-points…some of the terrain is literally impassable on foot. Roadblocks on all the interstates and major highways, and let the leakers through until they become a problem.

      As I said, without life-sustaining medications we’ve probably got 3 to 6 months to live, and we’ve got ample food and water supplies until then. In the meantime I should probably buy a couple of cases of popcorn to have something to munch while listening to the societal breakdown on the shortwave.

  5. Jack Spirko on The Survival Podcast made some great observations about TEOTWAWKI over the past decade or so. You have to eat several times a day so anything you can do to produce your own food whether it is vegetables or small animals for protein would be a huge step towards self sufficiency. Chickens or rabbits in the yard can help with providing protein. Even having a garden can help to some degree if you know how to preserve your harvest.

    One big issue is going to keep the scavengers in the cities so they don’t prey on the suburbs and rural areas. Also, you cant go it alone. you’re going to need help from a neighborhood and such. You can stand watch 24/7 and you need rest after working on your small farm and procuring water and such. Also, a few more people bring other skills that will be needed.

    1. Maybe the readers of this site excepted, but you have to be willing to kill someone over a jar of pickles. I don’t think people have hardened themselves emotionally to that fact.

      The other thing of note as we have seen in Portland OR, Seattle, Kalifornia, during the “mostly peaceful” era, is that what authority remains, will be going after YOU as the defender of the abovementioned pickle jar, as opposed to those who would informally reallocate it.

      1. As we all know, that last would be because HOARDING one’s lucky, undeserved good fortune (acquired through earlier self-denial, of course) is wrong.

  6. Another Fairfax County resident here.

    As was so eloquently stated in the movie “A Bronx Tale”, I’m in a situation where “nowse you can’t leave.”
    My much younger wife has a practice here and she is early 50’s. I am 66. She will work til she drops. I had a great retirement (dream) home in Patagonia, AZ that was essentially destroyed by the border collapse after Biden was elected; I sold it in 2021 and the current owner has abandoned it and moved to Idaho. A couple of years ago, I bought my great Aunt’s home near Clinton, TN under the agreement that she and her great-nephew and his wife, who take care of her, could live there until she passes (she is now 92). Nice stone house (3/2.5), well built if not dead sexy, on 18 acres with river frontage, deep well, two creek-fed ponds and a detached 3-bay garage and workshop. The great-nephew is building his house about 700 yards away and he’s a swell fella. Sadly, I doubt if I ever spend a night in it because my wife won’t leave NoVa until her sons (29 and 27) are “settled.” They are complete and utter idiots, incapable of caring for themselves, let alone others.

    She, a descendant of a very wealthy Punjabi family, spent her formative years in boarding schools in Germany and Switzerland, undergrad and graduate schools in University College of London and Georgetown University, cannot abide living amongst the “hillybillies”. She is a genuinely nice person who loves fresh eggs, but expects someone else to pluck them from the nest, IYKWIMAITYD. I took her to meet my great-aunt in the fall of 2022 and my wife treated her like a queen, but said “I could never live here.”

    “So nowse you can’t leave.”

    Rest assured America, even though I remain inside the wire. Sleep safe knowing that my tired, aged ass will be your first line of defense. I may never be a good example, but I will be a horrible warning.

  7. I live where I’d bug out to. I can hunt and fish – the pond is stocked, and I’ve shot more venison than I can store within 200 yards of the house. I live on the edge of nowhere, with a ~300 yard sight radius in every direction and plenty of ammunition to reach out that far. As long as we have electricity, we can hold out indefinitely; power is needed for the well. Push comes to shove and the power goes, I have the pond or the creek for water, though boiling will of course become a thing.

    We’ll manage, as we always have. And frankly, there are far more likely and more pressing needs than the possibility of a TEOTWAWKI scenario. I am reasonably prepared for a week or so of no power or water (recently did that, BTW) without much serious muss or fuss. Keep water on hand, keep the shelves and freezer reasonably stocked, know and have a decent relationship with your neighbors. Don’t be an asshole – unless you absolutely have to. Then be a complete asshole. S-S-S.

    1. You need a wind mill for the water. Lots of farms had those before electricity showed up. That and out houses. Lived in places that had both. Course that was 60 years ago and I was a tadpole. Still, I think I could rig up something that would work.

      1. RE: outhouse. Been intending to build one of those. Will get around to it, eventually. Wife says we don’t need it, and I’m crazy. Where we live, the relatively small layer of dirt before you hit bedrock (Flint Hills) is a problem. But one that can be overcome.

        I will freely admit to the crazy part.

  8. from the press-release:
    “…SOTI pointed out not long ago: human beings survived being hunter-gatherers for centuries, but the average life expectancy was about 25-35…”
    Average is midway between two polars.
    Average cannot be a range.
    So, stop it.
    Unless you attended some inner-city school, then average is ‘about 70IQ’, with some shockingly slightly higher, and some laughably significantly lower.
    “Brawndo, The Thirst Mutilator!”
    According to my genome test results, I carry much more Neanderthal DNA than the standard for Northern European Heritage folk, about thirteen percent (13%).
    My people hunted and gathered going on a half-million (>450,000) years now.
    Enough of us will survive.
    That ’25-35yo then everybody is dead’ nonsense automatically implies the loss of all the accumulated knowledge of that stack-‘o-cadavers neatly tucked-away in the nextdoor mud-hut.
    That would explain the elusive evolution of black Afrikans and wakanda-Americans:
    * around 10yo, a fellow discovers two rocks can bang together
    * his rock-banging seduces all the local maidens
    * a rock falls on him*
    * his many off-spring are raised by those child-like girls
    * and they all eat soy.
    The End.
    *contrary to rumors, none of the parents of the maidens were involved in the demise of Rock Banger.
    Apparently, they either didn’t know about rocks, or their trusted boned-nose physician told them ‘rocks are magically delicious!’ and they all feasted mightily.
    Contrast them with Northern European Heritage folk.
    Our people lived twice and triple the lifespan of black Afrikans.
    And we did it during extreme weather.
    Enough of us will survive.
    Rune on!
    We operate a small organic teaching farm near the outskirts of Eugene, Oregon.
    We share the acreage with a couple-three dozen other workkampers in various versions of home-built HouseTrucks and RecreateVehicles.
    Pretty much nobody in our crew has any desire to return to nomadic.
    Pretty much everybody in our crew lived long enough to recognize certain economic/cultural/political indicators, and we all choose to hang around here.
    No bug-out.
    Upside — rain, springs, two rivers, an hour drive to the coast, unlimited tasty feral hogs, extensive grow-season.
    We regularly practice aggressive confrontation against trespassers.
    Downside — goofball politicians.
    Too bad about the shortness of their careers; unfortunately for ‘civilization’, a thousand more are always willing to take each place.
    Apparently, they are lining-up because their boned-nose physician told them to.
    That, and his prescribed diet high in solidified minerals.

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