Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my new survival training course, “Fastest Way To Prepare”. This week, we’re going to talk about a slightly “dark” topic…the role I see walled neighborhoods playing after a breakdown in civil order. We’re also going to discuss why the gold roller coaster happened this week, so hang on and let’s get started!
To start with, take care if you’re on the Eastern seabord. My family and millions of others are praying for you. Hopefully, it will be a non-event and simply a wake-up call to millions of people about how unexpectedly disasters can happen.
If we do experience an end of the world (EOTW) scenario, end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) scenario, or even a severe economic collapse, one of the most practical security measures that homeowners, neighborhoods, and small towns can take is to find ways to increase security with minimal manpower.
And one of the simplest ways to do this is by using physical barriers. The TYPE of barrier is going to depend on your resources, budget, time-frame, and the threat that you are defending against. As an example, chain length fence topped with barbed wire will keep most 2 and 4 legged predators out of your garden, but won’t stop a truck, tank, or helicopter.
What we’re going to talk about here is one of the ways I see good people responding to long term breakdowns in civil order…not defending against tanks and helicopters, but defending against robbery, home invasions, and other violent attacks. In particular, creating small safe zones within cities.
Of course there’s a precedent for this. From the time that people started creating population centers to expand commerce and join together for common defense, people have used physical barriers to keep hostile invaders out.
Some historical physical barriers were purely functional. Others are beautiful after the fact, like old west forts, castles, and the Great Wall of China.
Fast forward to today, walls are used in 2nd and 3rd world countries around the globe to protect individual houses and neighborhoods from outsiders. My friends from Mexico City weren’t upper class, but they still lived in walled neighborhoods with guards armed with Uzi’s. One of them ran a daycare for wealthy families from their house and several of the pre-schoolers had their own armed guards who stayed outside the house during the day. Interestingly enough, these guns that the armed guards carried were “illegal.”
Regardless of what towns and cities will officially do in a TEOTWAWKI situation, people with the means to do so WILL protect themselves. And one of the best ways to insure that you live to a ripe old age is to make sure that you never look like the easiest target and physical barriers go a long way towards helping criminals decide to go after someone else’s stuff instead of yours.
Almost all houses in the US are vulnerable to attack. Flimsy interior doors, sliding glass doors, multiple BIG windows, insecure entry doors, and non-rock/brick/cement construction all add up to big vulnerability from determined attackers.
One thing in particular that I see happening is that wealthy urban US homeowners follow the example of wealthy homeowners from around the world and wall themselves in…with walls around both their individual properties and bigger walls around their neighborhoods.
It could be with Hesco barriers, prestressed concrete walls, silage walls, conex boxes (shipping containers), brick, stone, walls made of lumber, or whatever happens to work best in a particular area used alone or in conjunction with trenches and/or barbed wire.
If you’re not familiar with Hesco barriers, they are big stackable “boxes” of dirt. They come in several sizes, but are basically collapsible weaved fabric boxes measuring 1 meter tall by 1 meter deep by 10 meters long that you fill with sand/dirt with a front end loader. They’re effective against firearms, small bombs, and vehicle assaults. You can set them up single or double thick and stack them several layers high. Our troops have used them extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve saved countless lives and are MUCH more efficient than sandbags if you have the equipment necessary to load them.
If you’ve ever seen a cement commercial building go from nothing to all 4 walls being up in a few hours, you’ve seen prestressed concrete in action. Silage walls are also prestressed concrete, but they’re generally made with wider bases so they are self supporting…like highway barriers, only taller.
Why do I bring this up? Because I see opportunity here, and you can take advantage of it. First, if you are in a neighborhood/apartment/condo where it might be practical to pool money to build a common defensive wall, you might want to start looking for resources as you’re going about your daily life. Identify people who use heavy equipment, companies that own heavy equipment, concrete companies, independent truckers, etc. Also start thinking about where you would place the walls and openings/checkpoints. How would you alter it if you can’t raise enough money?
I would love to say that the need to build improvised walls around your neighborhood has little to no chance of happening, but we just don’t know. People probably thought protective walls weren’t necessary at some point in most of the places in the world where they’re in use today.
In any case, the sheer volume of low probability threats that we’re currently facing adds up to a significant risk. (Like this week’s East coast earthquake AND hurricane.) Even so, this is an idea that I’d let your mind chew on and start identifying solutions, but I wouldn’t dedicate money or a significant amount of time to it at this point unless it makes sense in light of your current level of preparedness. You’re MUCH more likely to benefit from taking the steps necessary to have 40 days of food on hand than you would be to benefit from spending the same amount of time and money on physical barriers. Even so, just introducing the concept will help you start identifying opportunities around you.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve seen and talked with officials from cities in the US where they either have concrete barriers pre-positioned near where they’re needed or have heavy equipment operators on standby to close off access to the town by outsiders in the event of a disaster.
Second, if you happen to have skills or assets that could be used to help secure semi-wealthy or wealthy neighborhoods, start thinking about how you would sell your services after a disaster. Would you sell your services for money? For a place to live within the wall? For a share of water? Maybe you don’t currently live somewhere where it would be practical to put up physical barriers, but you might be able to figure out how to provide enough value to people who DO live in areas that can afford to erect physical barriers to be able to move in.
Third, think about what skills you have that would be of value to people inside of communities that might put up walls. Are you a master hydroponic, aeroponic, or conventional gardener and are you wanting to expand your operation? Are you skilled and experienced at raising animals, but don’t have the secure space to do it? The answer to both of these questions MAY lead you to growing food or raising animals on someone else’s property within a walled neighborhood or property…especially if it’s more secure. Heck, I even see opportunities for armed house sitters to watch over people’s houses while the owners are on vacation or at other (rural) properties.
This brings to mind a conversation that I had last fall when I was visiting with a friend of mine 2,000 miles away from home. He asked me what I would do if a fictional “Jericho” type event happened that day where my family and home got wiped out by a nuclear bomb, shortly followed by an EMP that knocked out power across the country. My answer was that I’d find the wealthiest neighborhood I could find and figure out what their particular needs were and how I could make myself so valuable that they’d be eager to give me food, fire, water, shelter, and medication…even though I was a complete stranger visiting from out of town.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on walled neighborhoods after a breakdown in civil order. I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who have lived overseas in walled “compounds,” whether they were US enclaves or simple civilian neighborhoods. I know many of you have been DOD/State dependents stationed overseas and I would appreciate any insights you have to share.
What in the heck happened to gold?!?
On Tuesday, I was jolted but not really surprised during the day to see that gold had dropped over $50 per ounce. I knew it was coming, but it was still humbling to see that vertical line straight down and realize that it wasn’t simply a rogue trade messing with the charts. If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because it happened earlier this year to silver.
Back in May, silver margin requirements went up by 50% in roughly a week and silver prices dropped over 20%. What happened was that COMEX (commodities exchange) raised margin rates on silver so that investors had to have $16,200 in their account to control $235,000 of silver instead of $11,745.
The same thing happened this week (and 2 weeks ago) with Gold. With the run-up of gold prices, COMEX made the prudent decision to make investors pony up more money to back the gold they controlled.
Here’s what I mean. A gold futures contract consists of 100 ounces of gold. At $1,700 per ounce, one contract is worth $170,000. Since the contract controls 100 ounces of gold, every time the price of gold moves $1, you gain or lose $100 in your account. On the 11th of August, COMEX raised the amount of money you needed to have in your account to control this contract from $4,500 to $5,500.
With a $4,500 margin requirement and 100:1 leverage, if the price of gold goes up $45, you double your money. If it drops $45, you lose everything. Considering the big fluctuations that we’ve seen in the price of gold, $45 isn’t very much of a buffer. Frankly, $55 wasn’t much of a buffer either.
So, this week, the amount of money you needed to have in your account to control 100 ounces of gold got raised again from $5,500 to $7,000. Yes…you did read that correctly. For only the cost of a few ounces of gold, you could control 100 ounces of gold. Amazing leverage—and amazing potential for making or losing lots of money in a hurry.
Between when the reserve requirement increase was announced and Thursday, investors had to either add the additional $1,500 per contract to their account or sell their contracts.
This gets a little tricky, but it costs more to BUY a contract than to simply HOLD a contract and the requirements for buying contracts went up from $7,425 to $9,450…or 27%. All things being equal, this means that roughly 27% fewer (actually 21% fewer) contracts could be purchased with the same number of dollars flowing into gold.
As prices dropped, investors who were fully leveraged had to either put up money to cover their losses OR sell their contracts.
So, we had 3 things conspiring…investors had to put up additional reserves just to meet margin requirements or sell. As the price started dropping, investors had to either pony up money to cover their losses or sell. As these two groups of investors were selling, fewer contracts were being bought because investors were having to cover losses and new investors had to pay more for each contract.
The end result is that the price of paper gold contracts caused the price of real physical gold to drop in “value.” My guess is that once this settles out, gold will keep going up in value against fiat currencies…not so much because gold is MORE valuable, but because fiat currencies are dropping in value in comparison to gold.
Again, I’d love to get your comments, thoughts, and ideas on walled cities, as well as gold. The newsletters have been prompting some great exchanges of ideas recently and everyone wins when people share good, solid information.
And, if you haven’t checked out my new training course, “,” I want to encourage you to do so. It covers the vital core elements of survival, like SurviveInPlace.com, but does it from a completely different approach. To begin with, it’s condensed…6 modules instead of 12.
Next, instead of giving you several options and letting you decide which one to go with, it lays out the quickest and easiest ways to prepare your family for surviving for when shelves are empty and the situation is chaotic. There are still choices you will need to make, but none that will take very long.
is an audio/visual course instead of a written course. In it, I show a lot of the items that our family has, tell you why we have them, and where you can get the items if you want them. If I had to pay for all of the items I test on a monthly basis, it would be a few thousand dollars…money that you won’t have to spend because I share the items that I’ve proven to be worth trusting for my family.
is written with the thought in mind that you see the possibility of things collapsing (locally, as in a hurricane, or nationally) VERY quickly and you want to take IMMEDIATE action on getting the necessary items in place.
To learn more, go to:
Until next week, God bless and stay safe!