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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Catastrophe do you want to be armed or would you hunker down?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) February 13th, 2010

If a catastrophe like Katrina or Haiti but 5 times worse happened and the government was basically out of commission, and seem like it would for days maybe more than a week would you want to be armed? What if you were prepared, you have supplies to last a couple of weeks until order and services was restored but many around you didn’t. If they should learn you have food and water etc when they are running out or have run out, would you want to be able to repel them if they came after the supplies that might ensure you and yours survive? And what if you were not as well prepared and what little you had you really needed to keep, would you want to know you can protect it incase there was no functioning government to do it or they were too far away and could not get to your area? Or would you rather try to barricade yourself in and hunker down hoping that you can make your home a fortress and just wait it out while keeping anyone else out?

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43 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

If I was confident I could effectively defend my home, I’d hunker down. Otherwise, I’d lock, load, and bug out.

Judi's avatar

I would want to be hunkered down and armed. I would never go out looking for trouble, but I would want to be prepared if it came looking for me.

Berserker's avatar

Both, preferably.

augustlan's avatar

This doesn’t really seem to be an ‘either/or’ proposition.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@augustlan There are some I know so against firearms if anarchy hit if they could not run they would just bunker up but they would not want to have a gun even if it meant saving their neck.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I’ll move to my relative’s house in another country. This will solve all that problem.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

With the sort of chaos you are suggesting? Unless I have a nuclear fallout bunker in the basement or 10 foot tall concrete walls around my house, I’m bugging out. With the government out of commission and general chaos the rule, what’s to stop a massive fire from burning down your entire neighborhood, or your entire town? This use to happen before modern fire control policies relatively often. Add some sort of disaster and possible rioting to the mix? I’m gone.

Rome, 64 – 132 houses and 4 blocks
London, 1666 – consumed the homes of 70,000 of the City’s 80,000 inhabitants
Manhattan, 1835 – estimated losses, $20 million, today that’d be hundreds of millions
Chicago, 1871 – destroyed four square miles
Seattle, 1889 – the majority of 25 city blocks – gone
Jacksonville, 1901 – 146 city blocks
San Francisco, 1906(more) – 28.000 buildings
Berkeley, 1923 – 584 homes

Get the point?


Cruiser's avatar

Locked, loaded bring it on…truth be told, I’d have enough to share with a few neighbors.

jrpowell's avatar

I have a log cabin in Klamath Falls that is lived in by a friend. It is in the middle of a forest. I would just head there after I pick up Allie.

OuterHaven's avatar

i have this cool friend that once fed a whole hillside of people with just some bread and fish. I wonder what happened to that guy?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I could not imagine killing another person in order to protect possessions, or that I, alone, could thwart a violent mob action.

A person with a gun does not stop a hungry, thirsty mob. Cowboy mentality only works in the movies.

I would leave. Nothing that I own is of that much importance to me that it would justify killing another other person, or endangering my family to keep.

knitfroggy's avatar

I don’t think I could kill anyone over some canned goods. Especially if in your scenario it’s going to be a couple weeks until order is restored.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would be armed…heh he he

laureth's avatar

Armed is good. Having supplies is good. That said, I’d rather have skills than supplies. Skills would not only help feed and water me and my loved ones, but they would make me too valuable to kill (if they took the time to realize that my valuables are in my head).

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’m always armed anyway, so the question is moot. : )

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I would be armed and then network with other armed friends/family to make a plan for a kind of hunkering down and watching over what we’ve got until something else happens.

davidbetterman's avatar

I am going to Klamath Falls to that log cabin mentioned above!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Both. Also the ability to use your weapon well. Food, fuel, ammunition and basic medical supplies.
@PandoraBoxx You would be surprised how effective a single or small number of armed people can be against a disorganized mob. There may be more of them than you have rounds in your weapon, but who wants to go first?

Having said that, I still refuse to live anywhere near an urban area. In a city, the power goes out and everyone goes insane. In a rural area, people just just get out the kerosene lamps and throw another stick of wood in the stove.

Judi's avatar

My husband and I were just saying that we might want to think about getting dirt bikes sob we could get out of Southern California in the event of a disaster.

galileogirl's avatar

Would I shoot people over canned soup? UH-NO. People have the best chance of survival when working together.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna A fire is deadly no matter how you cook it (no pun intended) so you always leave a fire if you are smart. I have yet see a fire so great as to knock out government and all basic utilities etc, maybe taking down parts of the electric grid but not the majority of it, or most of the fresh water. A big enough earth quake with a major flood from a hydroelectric plant might be of that magnitude.

@Doctor_D @johnpowell Can you hike there? If the major road and streets are blocked with debris, flooded or over run with bad people you can’t drive it, or would want to risk it. You might want to take a page from @Judi playbook and get some ATVs or dirt bikes and learn how to use them before hand.

@laureth @galileogirl All I can say is better start quick before the supplies run out and everyone starts panicking. Once hysteria and paranoia mix you might never get that genie back in the bottle.

@knitfroggy @PandoraBoxx Think of it this way, it is just a can of food now because everyone is fed, no one is scared, and there is a way to get more. When some calamity hits no one is sure how long it will last or how worse it would get, if they could have imagined how bad Katrina would be I am sure something would have been done different. What if it was before you went shopping? You might have 2 bags of rice, 4 cans of beans and 6 cans if soup etc. If you lost power and had no generator the 1st to go is what is in the fridge. What if families stagger to your home saying they escaped with just the clothes on their back and the kids are hungry, how many families can you assist like that? You maybe nice and help them all but if it drags on longer than you imagine and you get down to near nothing, the next family will want it if they leave you enough for yourself or not.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central: I was referring to the fires being secondary to the disaster. For example, imagine several high altitude nuclear explosions. The EMP would destroy our infrastructure. No power, most vehicles wouldn’t start, no radio or tv broadcasts, emergency or otherwise, and even if they found a way to broadcast, radios, tvs, and computers would all be fried. With the constant supply of food being fed by thousands of big rigs everyday being cut off and general hysteria setting in, rioting and looting, and thus fires, are the logical result. Without phones to report these fires in, and without working fire engines to respond to these urban fires, they would grow quickly out of control. Cities would be deathtraps.

Here’s the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack‘s Critical National Infrastructures Report.

Also, from wikipedia:

“It has long been known that there are many ways to protect against nuclear EMP (or to quickly begin repairs where protection is not practical); but the United States EMP Commission determined that such protections are almost completely absent in the civilian infrastructure of the United States, and that even large sectors of the United States military services were no longer protected against EMP to the level that they were during the Cold War. The public statements of the physicists and engineers working in the EMP field tend to emphasize the importance of making electronic equipment and electrical components resistant to EMP — and of keeping adequate spare parts on hand, and in the proper location, to enable prompt repairs to be made.”


Lights Out by Halffast paints a very vivid picture of what I am suggesting.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna In situations like that neither would work, you would get fried to bacon if you were in the cities with the way to escape blocked or un-passable. In fact being aemed to the hilt might be more dangerous as all that ammo starts to go off after getting too hot.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central You can shield yourself from EMP. It just takes time and effort.

Also, place one of these radios in a Faraday cage, and it should still fit in your glove box.
Here’s a discussion about how to make a small Faraday cage inexpensively.

(On a side note, can anyone imagine what the highways and intersections of this country would look like if hundreds of millions of vehicles suddenly stopped working with no warning?)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna “can anyone imagine what the highways and intersections of this country would look like if hundreds of millions of vehicles suddenly stopped working with no warning?” Yes, I have, and that is not taking into account lost bridges, flooded low lands, rock slides etc.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central horrifying, huh?
I really think you’d like Lights Out by Halffast. It does have an ideological bent, but if you can get past that, the imagery is worth it.

laureth's avatar

There’s another series of books that explores the idea of internal combustion and electricity failing massively, by S.M. Sterling, beginning with Dies the Fire. It’s one of my favorite series.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

As @Dan_DeColumna describes, it is fairly simple to protect your electronics from EMP. Our 1960s era diesel vehicles would be unaffected. The comment has reminded me to check over the ‘99 Unimog for electronic components that might need shielding.
In a scenario like that, civilian satellite communications will be knocked out also. I’m glad to still have shortwave equipment.

laureth's avatar

Any car without a computer chip would be unaffected, right?

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@laureth You need something with a point ignition and a carburetor. Even with this, it would be wise to keep a spare battery, plugs, condensers, and ignition switches in a Faraday cage. Also, an older mechanical diesel should hypothetically work as well. Again keep protected spares.

However, having a working car or truck would be next to almost useless. In the event of a Hydrogen Bomb being detonated about 250 to 300 miles above approximately the state of Kansas, about 85% of the vehicles in the US would be dead in the water. The highways and roads would be completely impassable. Even if you had a working car, what would you do? The only workable solution would be a motorcycle predating electronic fuel injection (again, keep protected spares). However, in that sort of scenario, highways and roads would become death traps and hunting grounds. There are plenty of motorcycles available right now that would survive the EMP (you can thank hobbyists for that), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see thin steel wire being stretched chest height across highways. I’m sure you can imagine what a motorcyclist running into a neck level taunt steel wire at 45mph, or even higher, would look like. Not that the people going through your saddle bags and yanking your survival boots off your corpse are going to care.

The short and cold of it is that if this happens, it will make Katrina look like a mildly boring book club meeting. Likely, millions will die, if not tens of millions would die, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a(several) completely different country(ies) emerge as a result. Even the most prepared individual in the world could be SOL. If it happens tomorrow when you’re at your daughter’s school play, and an American Airlines’ Boeing 737–800 goes dead in the air and falls right on you and your precious little girl’s head, you’re simply dead. Sadly, survival is mostly about preparation, taking calculated risks, and quite a bit of luck.

Read here, here, and here

laureth's avatar

Thanks. :)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna Most people here in the US cannot phantom anything like that. People are still shell shocked over 9/11 if we had to go through anything like the fire bombing of Dresden I feel many would fall totally apart.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

Every country eventually falls. Honestly, I think the above would be a more honorable and merciful ending for the US than slow-motion internal decay and corruption. That way the US can be remembered as a superpower, as an ideal, as a lost semi-utopia (especially if things tumble back into the dark ages socially and technologically). Almost like a postmodern Atlantis.

Seriously, though. Were does the US go from here? We’re a peak empire, a superpower. History shows there’s nothing in our future but stagnation, unrest, revolution, dictation, etc.

Sinking Atlantis all over again would be the most merciful thing to happen, in a way.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna I think that the more likely EMP scenario would be terrorist use of a non-nuclear EMP device. A high-altitude burst would be traceable back to nation of origin and immediate retaliation would result (all military electronics are shielded). Mutually-assured destruction concept. A non-nuclear device wouldn’t have the wide range that an 1–2 megaton airburst has; more likely to wreck electronics in a city.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I was thinking box launchers. Also, as evidenced in the Iraqi War and 9/11, many don’t care if they are destroyed as well.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna Interesting article. The PDRK doesn’t have warheads capable of continental scale EMP. Anything Iran might be likely to build would be similar. Only Russia, PRC, France, UK and US have those. Fusion weapons are an order of magnitude more complex than Nagasaki-type fission weapons such as PDRK,Pakistan, Israel (and previously South Africa) possess. A cargo ship used that way would probably scuttle itself after launching to make it more difficult to determine its origin.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Granted, but all it takes is the sale or theft of a single hydrogen bomb. That’s all this scenario takes. I don’t really care about the guy who wants a thousand nuclear bombs. The man who wants just one terrifies me.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna Just OME hydrogen bomb? A bloke with a suitcase nuke could do worlds of damage and the panic caused afterward would be equally as bad

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna @Hypocrisy_Central There’s not much that can be done about that kind of scenario other than a bit of window-dressing like radiation detectors in ports of entry. About all an individual can do is not live anywhere near an urban area. It’s likely that such an attack on the US by a rogue state or terrorist organization would trigger a genocidal retribution like Rome vs Carthage, while China contentedly sits back watching.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central: Yes, just one.

@stranger_in_a_strange_land: You’re completely right. We’re a nation fixated on retribution. We invaded two countries and killed how many tens of thousands and destroyed millions of lives for 9/11. If the above scenario did happen, all of those hardened nuclear silos that would survive the event would launch on someone. That’s a guarantee.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

FYI In Chili after the quake an tsunami people got strapped to combat looters and secure their neighborhoods, and that regional devastation was bad enough imagine of it were spread out to more than the costal towns? Lock and load…......

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Yes, the polizia and Guardia Civil were completely overloaded. The local officials are trying to organize armed civilians under official auspices to avoid total anararchy. Rifles and armbands.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land & @Hypocrisy_Central: And people are convinced we’d somehow avoid this if something similar were to happen here. Honestly, I think we are MORE likely to devolve to squabbling, rioting, looting, raping, murdering, and just plain pillaging than many other countries; more quickly to boot.

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