Last week, I touched on some of the ways that cities and towns
are actually better than rural locations for survival situations,
and today & tomorrow, I’m going to give you a more in-depth list
of the top 10 lies and half-truths about urban survival.
It’s ironic to note that survival is the very reason why many
cities were originally set up. They wanted to set up a common
defense, build a marketplace for their goods, and have access to
people with specialized skills.
What do I mean by urban? Well, by “urban” I mean a few thousand
people to a few million people. Basically any community that
shares water/sewer/electricity distribution. With that in mind,
here are the top 10 lies about Urban Survival and why it may be
better for you than a fully stocked rural retreat (in no
Lie #1. “I’ll be a sitting duck in my house!”: If you live on
a street with several houses, you can rotate a watch without it
being too much of a burdon on any one family. This has been
around for generations. Just to be clear, it doesn’t stop
crime,it only changes the location where it happens.
If a crack head needs to steal a TV to support their habit, it’ll
just get them to go a block or two away to break into a house and
steal someone else’s stuff. Of course, many scale this up and
have multiple roving people covering an entire neighborhood. In
the country, there’s just too much space between houses to make
this practical. Why? Because in an urban area, one person can
watch several houses at one time.
Lie #2. “With all those people, everything’s going to run out
right away”: True, but it’s just the first chapter of the story.
Many people will abandon cities and others will die of shock,
medical reasons, or violence, leaving a remnant of people who
were prepared who can continue/rebuild the economy.
Also, at some point, products like fuel will start being distributed
again. If refiners have the choice of trucking fuel to one city
or 10 towns, they’ll pick the one city. Their cost to deliver
the fuel to only one location will be less AND they’ll probably
be able to sell the fuel at a premium because of higher demand.
The key here is to have enough supplies on hand to make it
through the worst part of a civil breakdown situation until
Half-truth #3. “Everyone in the city will turn on each other”:
Partially true. I hear people talk about their organized plans
to kill, loot, and steal from their neighbors way too often.
Just yesterday a friend told me how he overheard a group of
otherwise rational people talking about how they have their
neighborhood mapped out and the houses prioritized according to
which ones they’re going to attack first.
This is no joke, and it’s why I cover operational security so much in the
SurviveInPlace course. I think these people should and will
be “taken care of” quickly if they ever start acting on their
sick plans. They go against everything that America stands for
and they disgust me.
There is another side to this story…one which has a lot more
historical evidence. Think of barn raisings and the ability of a
rural community to band together to get a big project done. Now
think about how many more people there are in a city than in a
rural area and how much easier it would be for any one person to
get a group of people together to get a big project done when
there are so many more people to ask. (stop laughing)
Really, stop laughing. The reality is that people don’t tend to help each
other like this in urban areas anymore. But one of the “good” things
about disasters and breakdowns in civil order is that while
idiots are running amok, good people band together to help each
other. It happened after the San Francisco earthquake, 9/11,
numerous floods & tornadoes in the Midwest, and even after
In fact, I’ve got a friend who has moved BACK to New Orleans
because of what he saw after Katrina. He happened to have
friends who lived in a neighborhood that was galvanized by the
event, pulled together, and became like a small town community in
the middle of all the chaos.
None of this was in place before Katrina to set this up,it just
happened that good people decided to take control of the
situation in front of them. They had armed checkpoints to get
into their neighborhood, they took care of each other, and when
things calmed down they realized that they had turned their
neighborhood of strangers into a family
Lie #4. Only jacks-of-all trades will survive. people with
specialized skills will have no use and quickly die: Famous
self-reliant author Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers) said that
“specialization is for insects” but that’s not entirely true.
A better view on life would be “Jack of all trades, master of ONE.”
In other words, if you happen to be a surgeon, it’s really not
worth your time to change your oil, build a deck, milk a cow, or
dress & butcher a kill, but you should still know how.
No matter what you do, there are going to be tasks that you’re
not efficient at. I recently read that the reason why people are
so busy in survival situations is because they’re spending all of
their time doing things they’re not efficient at.
In a city, you don’t HAVE to do everything?even if you know how
to do it all. There are a ready supply of skilled friends,
acquaintances, and experts for hire who can do specialized tasks
that you aren’t efficient at much quicker than you can.
The other benefit of specialization in urban areas is that it
allows for highly skilled people like the surgeon that I
mentioned. In a rural area, the surgeon may only get a chance to
practice his skill a few times a month. In an urban area, he’ll
have the opportunity to hone his skills every day and all of his
patients will benefit from his efficiency and expertise.
Half-truth #5. Sickness will spread like wildfire in cities
after a disaster: True, but history shows us that much of the
reasons why disease spreads so quickly in urban areas is not only
due to population density, but also due to a lack of sun exposure
due to spending all day indoors. This is something you have
control over. Throughout history, the benefits of efficient
distribution have outweighed the dangers of disease spread.
In fact, A HUGE advantage that urban areas have over rural areas
is how much more efficient product and information distribution
is. A kid on a bike can deliver a few hundred newspapers quickly
in a city. Mail can be delivered on foot. Bike messengers can
deliver packages and messages quickly. Food and produce can be
delivered QUICKLY by hand, foot, vehicle, cart, or animal to
hundreds of customers without adding much cost to the final buyer.
One of the big problems that we have, both in stable and unstable
times is urban sprawl. By urban sprawl, I’m specifically talking
about subdivisions of 1000-3000 houses with absolutely no
grocery, retail, or convenience stores except at the entrance
from the main road. These are very inefficient setups because
they require people to drive for small things like fresh produce,
a snack, a missing ingredient for a favorite recipe, or a
I have a very strong feeling that in a civil breakdown situation,
as others abandon their homes in search of greener pastures, many
houses in subdivisions like these will turn into
markets?regardless of zoning. In other words, if you’ve got a
main street through a subdivision that’s a couple miles long, I
can see 5-10 of them being changed into convenience stores and,
when the season is right, farmer’s markets.
Why do I say this? Because good people always have and always
will figure out a way to improvise, adapt, and overcome?and this
is a natural solution to a problem that we see in subdivisions in
every city in America.
I’ll be back with the next 5 tomorrow, and on Friday, I’m going
to talk about how Chicago is breaking down and tell you the
reason why gangs of “bad people” won’t be a long term problem in
most cities after civil breakdown.
In the meantime, I have a VERY special offer for
people who haven’t signed up for Survive In Place
yet. It’s my way of combating the socialist/communist
Mayday holiday this week.
If you have any interest at all in Urban Survival,
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In addition to showing you how to make yourself invisible
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Other people like you who’ve taken the course
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“In 23 years service in the Air Force, I completed
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under daily fire in Vietnam. I think I’m fairly
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Make sure to scroll down to see your special offer.
SurviveInPlace.com / UrbanSurvivalGuide.com.