Will You Be Collateral Damage?

by David Morris on May 19, 2011

We’ll continue our series on fun activities that you can do with friends and family to get better prepared next week, but this week there’s a timely series of events happening that caught my attention.

In the continual debate between whether you’re better off being in a populated area or an isolated rural area during a time when civil order has broken down and supply chains aren’t functioning properly, this month has been a textbook example of one of the major reasons why it can be valuable to be in or near a population center after a disaster.

In two major instances so far this month, the houses and land of the minority have been sacrificed under a wall of water to protect population centers. In reading that, you might think I think that it was wrong to sacrifice the land and homes of rural people to save the cities, but it’s not quite that simple.

Here are the two scenarios that happened so far this month.

In late April, it became evident that Cairo, Ill was going to flood. Cairo has a population of roughly 3,000 and could be saved if a levee in Missouri got blown up. Blowing up the levee would flood 130,000 acres of land and about 100 homes. Complicating the matter is the fact that the town is in Illionis, and the levee is in Missouri.

Long story short, the levee got blown up, everyone who got flooded is out of luck, but the town of Cairo was saved.

On the 14th of May, the Morganza spillway was opened along the Mississippi river, diverting water from Baton Rouge and New Orleans into farmland and rural communities. This time, it impacted 25,000 people, 11,000 structures, and 15,000 acres of farmland immediately with a worst case scenario being 3 MILLION acres of land getting flooded to save Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

As sad as this is for the people who got flooded, I understand the decision. Public servants and first responders are familiar with the idea of doing the most good for the greatest number of people. Medics are familiar with the concept from triage training. And even battlefield leaders are familiar with the concept when planning diversionary & main forces as well as strategic retreats.

This case is also complicated by the fact that the people who got flooded knew that they were downstream from levees and dams and that they were in low lying areas. In most areas like this, the price of the land reflects the increased risk of flooding and getting wiped out and people who buy there take advantage of the discounted prices while assuming that they’ll never be affected.

As I was talking with my wife about this, she brought up another parallel that has been a common topic of conversation in the US for almost 10 years now. If we had another situation in the US where a commercial airliner was taken over by terrorists, few would think twice about shooting it out of the sky. It would be horrible, but it would generally be seen as the “correct” decision. Sometimes it makes sense to sacrifice a few to save many. Of course, it makes more sense if you’re one of the many rather than one of the few.

In any case, when it comes time to decide whether to sacrifice rural areas or populated areas, populated areas usually win out. The sacrifices can come in the form of which land to flood, who gets food, water, and medicine, and who gets protection and help rebuilding.

It’s also why I predict that after a breakdown in supply chains, populated areas will get resupplied quicker and with a wider variety of goods than rural areas. People in rural areas will be able to walk out their back door to their garden or over to their neighbors for many things, but if they need something from outside of their little bubble, they’re probably out of luck.

The reason for this is simple. If a farmer or supplier has a choice of taking their goods to a small town where there are a few potential customers or to a large town where there many potential customers, most will choose to take their items to sell to the large town where the increased demand will cause competition and get the farmer or supplier higher prices for the fruits of their labor.

And if necessary, it’s likely that politicians will “kindly encourage” farmers and suppliers to send food and supplies to where the majority of likely voters are.

This is likely to be the case after a natural disaster, man-made disaster, banking disaster, or even an electromagnetic pulse. Even if you discount the role of politicians, the free market will get food and supplies to populated areas sooner than rural ones. The reason is that the method of transportation and type of currency used doesn’t change the fact that farmers and suppliers are going to want to receive the most compensation possible for the fruits of their labor.

Put another way, if you’re a farmer and have the choice of driving to 5 small towns to sell your crop at $4 per pound or driving to one city and selling your crop for $8 per pound, which would you do? You would not only get more per pound by going to where there is more demand, but there’s a chance that you’d travel fewer miles, be away from home for less time, use less gas, and be exposed to fewer chances of getting robbed.

Back to the whole levee situation and doing the greatest good for the most people, there’s another trend that’s been happening way more often than I’m comfortable with and that’s eminent domain. You probably already know, but eminent domain is when a government entity decides that you MUST sell them your property for whatever price they deem sufficient so that they can do something that will do more good for more people.

Many of our interstates and major highways are where they are because of eminent domain. I kind of like interstates and major highways. In a broad stroke scenario like this, I can agree that eminent domain is a good tool for governments to have.

But I also have friends and CLOSE relatives who have been seriously damaged by eminent domain and attorney friends who defend landowners in eminent domain cases. In one case, the state took possession of the land where a thriving business had been for decades, forced them to relocate, and then refused to pay because of a “budget shortfall”…for multiple years!

In some cases, city councils have used eminent domain to get large blocks of land for friends who are developers. If you’re on the wrong side of progress, you just get to go pound sand.

Not every government entity is interested in stealing land like this. In fact, just last week, Oklahoma Governer, Mary Fallin, signed a bill protecting landowners from windmill developers using eminent domain to take land for their windmills.

Why do I mention these situations? What do levees and eminent domain have to do with preparedness?

Because when you’re deciding whether you want to stay in a populated area or move to a rural area, you need to remember that, in a disaster, government representatives who have been given power by masses of people from urban areas can take your land, property, crops, or business if they think it’s in the best interest of the city folks, or if taking what you’ve worked for will do the most good for the greatest number of people.

Don’t get me wrong. I love rural areas and usually talk with one of my best friends about various ranches on the market a couple of times a week. In fact, my wife and I were just talking about land again last night. There is literally a laundry list of reasons why farm life is preferable to living in a city.

That being said, moving to a rural area won’t take away all of the problems associated with surviving short, medium, and long term breakdowns in civil order after a disaster. When you move from a populated area to a rural area, you simply exchange one set of challenges and problems for another set.

You’ll have people on both sides of the issue…one saying that farm life is too hard and another saying that city life is too complicated and fast paced…and they’re both right. Both populated and rural areas have benefits and drawbacks both in normal times and after disasters. You’ve just got to figure out what works best for your particular situation and go with it knowing that while there is a “best” solution for you, there’s not a “perfect” solution.

What are your thoughts on flooding small towns to save big ones? How about the fact that people in those small towns knew that this was a possibility? What about the increased use of eminent domain? The application of this mentality after a disaster? Let me know by commenting below:

And, if you want help figuring out how to create a survival plan designed to take the reality of your current situation into account (instead of an ideal situation that may not be in place by the time disaster strikes), I want to encourage you to check out the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course at http://SurviveInPlace.com as well as http://UrbanSurvivalPlayingCards.com.

Before I go this week, it needs to be said that we can’t ignore the impending financial disaster I’ve been warning you about.  The dollar is in grave peril, especially in the next 60 days, and your cost of living is at risk of going through the roof as the dollar loses value.

You know I believe that gold is one of the only super-safe assets in the world right now.  That’s why I was particularly interested in a recent report by a Florida geologist who says there’s a unique way you could significantly boost your gains in the gold market over the next few years (without touching options or using any risky leverage).

I’ve never seen this idea written about anywhere else.  Here’s a link to the full report, free of charge: Http://www.surviveinplace.com/chinagold/

Until next week, stay safe and God bless,

David

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Jane
May 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

The fact is that all those acres of farmland have been destroyed, and many people will never be able to recover. Crop prices are already sky-high, so this only increased the shortages already existing. So the decision affects not only the landowners, but ultimately anyone who buys food. This is a perfect example of “unintended consequences” and the short-sightedness of the government. Corps of Engineers often makes problems worse rather than resolving them. That’s because they never think through to the logical conclusions of their actions, and ask all the “What if” questions! The fact that it’s always the poorest among us who are the hardest hit is another factor that plays into this equation. As a nation we have to do better!

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Rocky Justice
May 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Actually the people who live on these flood plains do so because of the rich farming soil, and that soil has been deposited there by tens of thousands of years of that river flooding the area.
The current flood will destroy this year’s crop and screw with the people who live in those farm houses lives, but actually will improve the land for future years of farming. Next year’s crop, given no future disasters, will greatly benefit from this inconvenience.
Man’s insistence that the river follow that coarse and that course only has caused local farming to leach the natural nurturance from the soil and not be replaced by natural flooding, Hence the need for fertilizers. Sad that these people’s lives have to be interrupted, those who are not farmers will be paid off by insurance” If they have it” the farmers will receive the same plus benefit from nature taking it natural course.
All of this proves the important need to “Be Prepared”. This year may suck.
I’m not some greenie nut, I grew up on a farm.

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

You don’t sound like a greenie nut…that’s just practical. Along those lines, many think that if the Mississippi would be left to meander as it wanted, it probably wouldn’t go through Baton Rouge or New Orleans anymore and would actually follow the route that it’s flooding right now.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ron Wayright
May 20, 2011 at 10:15 am

Concerning the flooding of rural areas to save city folks homes and possesions; their ought to be a tax on folks living in the cities to help the folks who were harmed recover.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

That’s definitely an option, but do you think that the fact that the people in the flood zones knew that they were in flood zones and that the price of the land reflects the risk possibly removes responsibility from the people in the cities?

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Rocky Justice
May 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I agree, the people who live in flood plains know it is a flood plain, and exactly what that entails, “Great Farm Land”. There is no Reward without taking the Risk. You build your house on a high spot and hope it is high enough. If not build the mound higher before rebuilding the house.
I’m also not sure about calling folks that live on 600 acres of prime farming soil “Poor” or folks who have less land but choose to live in the country “Poor” just because they like the location. The folks living in the inter city sprawl in my opinion are the poor folks, no matter who has the most money. Money does not always equal wealth…

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Vote -1 Vote +1Trainman67
May 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm

While I agree that being in a flood zone does or should be considered, is Cairo not also in said flood zone? and all those crops and houses ruined to save three thousand does not seem to be either fair or right, maybe in the case of New Orleans and millions it does, but Cairo? also that one really bothers me because of the state line issue, just my thought, and in any event my heart and sympathy goes to all who have suffered in this! Chuck.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Celticwaryor
May 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Ron, you sound like a liberal Democrat…always wanting to place a tax on one thing or another.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Linda Perkins
May 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

Dave, I think one other situation that is just getting off the ground is very important to this decision. Thenew process of “fracking” the earth with water, chemicals, etc, to bring to the surface natural gas or oil. This is going to be a booming business from all the financial sites I read. I have also read of the horrible downside too. You may have read of the New Madrid Fault, and the related stories of companies fracking the rock beneath the ground and causing possible “earthquakes” in that area. Aside from that, I have also read an article recently about a rural land owner whose water has been contaminated with chemicals, and the company is now responsible for providing trucked in water for this family. Buying rural land is one thing, but knowing what is going to happen around you is another. We never know where these companies will land next. It’s not like buying land that may possibly flood once every hundred years. It is worth doing research on this process and types of land they look for to try to recover gas and oil.

Smiles,
Linda

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Vote -1 Vote +1Neal
May 20, 2011 at 10:37 am

Many of the folks who got flooded sold flooding rights to the government. If they blew the money instead of saving for a rainy day or buying flood insurance, that’s their own fault.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Jim McClarin
May 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

I wouldn’t want to be trucking foodstuffs to a city where rioting and pillaging had already broken out, not without a huge presence of armed troops to fend off the mob.

Re flood victims, I agree with Ron Paul. Federal disaster insurance poses a moral hazard, encouraging people to build where nature suggests they shouldn’t. If it’s too expensive to insure privately, it’s too risky.

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hey Jim, great comments.

Disaster insurance is a case of adverse selection gone completely out of control and, you’re right, it takes personal responsibility out of the equation when people are buying property.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Rocky Justice
May 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Again, I agree…

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Lee Tebbutt
May 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

I can understand sacrificing a few lives to save many. Like you said that is a decision that is made every day in combat, EMS and fire situations. However sacrificing anyone’s private property to save another’s is a complete different story.

In the Missouri case for instance, there was no life at stake. Residents on both sides of the river whether in town or in the country knew that the river was going up. They all had an equal amount of warning and time to prepare and evacuate. NO LIFE WAS AT RISK! Your comment that the farmers knew they were in a flood plain is correct but so did the people that purchased their homes in town. They had the same options to purchase flood insurance, the same knowledge of the rising water and the same expectation that the dikes were there to protect them as long as Mother Nature allowed.

This was not a case of sacrificing a few to save many. It was purely a matter of politics. I would have thought that you would not have fallen into the same mentality that “Oh Its Just Farm Ground”. Where do people think they eat from; farm ground and pasture ground. It does not dry up over night and become useable again. They did not just flood those people’s houses, they will not dry out collect insurance and move back in. They flooded their homes, there work, and the ground and people that provide them with the very food they eat. That ground does not recover over night and I’m quite sure when its over none of the farmers will be on their roofs crying and expecting FEMA to come take care of them. They will spend years trying to recover while the media and the government go down river to listen to anyone that will cry on camera for them.

Now with all of that said. Your write up on rural vs urban was right on the money. Government will cater to votes and money not personal rights or freedoms and we need to know that and prepare accordingly. Again this was not about the lives of a few for many, it was about the decay of our rights in this country and I am just a bit disappointed that you bought into it.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 20, 2011 at 11:18 am

Hey Lee,

Great comments, but you put words into my mouth that I didn’t say. I am not of the mentality that it’s “just farm ground.” I’m pragmatic and realize that in disaster or potential disaster situations, small voting blocks will get sacrificed for the benefit of larger voting blocks. It’s reality. Not necessarily a theory that you decide to buy into or not–it just happens. It disturbs me greatly, but it happens and this month we’ve seen two examples of it so far, and it’s a reality that people need to keep in mind when they’re preparing for disasters.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dan
May 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

Look out for serfdom if the rural areas are supporting the big cities. Since most major cities are predominately liberal and most rural areas are conservative I can see the CITIES demanding that the commoners support them first, if they do not, then the goods will be taken by thugs hired by the CITIES to take it.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
May 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I agree completely. In my rural area, we have been told that the city 40 miles to the north will send their citizens up to our county in the case of a major disaster. I don’t recall anyone asking me. I do have a couple of years worth of food storage for my family and will help those who may need it, but would like it to be my choice, not the governments. Also, my guess is our local farmers would gladly sell to me for silver or gold. As a matter of fact, the only item I may need is horse feed. I expect to barter silver for hay if we run short by the end of the season. As far as living along a river, ya gots to take your chances. Most rivers will flood at one time or another, it comes with the territory.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mel2L
May 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

The problem I have with flooding the farmland to save the homes of those without the sense to not build in a flood plain is that you’ve now damaged farmland that will be needed to produce food. Food that will be needed for other disasters.

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Vote -1 Vote +1LiberTea
May 20, 2011 at 11:54 am

While it may be true that the CROPS of those lands were wasted, the land itself was not destroyed. In fact, it was replenished with nutrients the way that flood plains generally work in nature–why they ware so fertile.
The damage to the farmer’s buildings/machinery should be recompensed from the many to the few who were sacrificed.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Catherine Haugh
May 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

Are you assuming that the recent land floodings by the Corps of Engineers was purchased after the dikes, levies or dams were already in placed? Forgetting the homes lost, the land itself may be unproduceable for years and who do you think will GET the land? Big farm corporations that do not have our best intrest at heart…!
I think it is about time any way that the city of New Orleans went back to the sea as this would help the Mississippi River do natures thing in draining floods, etc.
A lot of greedy people/companies will now take advantage to help you to survive.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Boetica
May 21, 2011 at 1:46 am

New Orleans should emulate the Dutch! I think it is likely there is too much corruption in New Orleans to take advantage of any efficiencies that the Dutch could instruct them on.

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Vote -1 Vote +1W2
May 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Isn’t the flooding of Miss. land and the ruin of all those people’ homes a bad use of Emminant Domain?
The property losses of a few for the betterment of the masses.

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Joe
May 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Reading this stuff has just given me the conspiracy theme for my next story. I’m filling in the story line as I type. Here goes:
1. Flooding in the mid-west with waters rising. More and more water coming all the time. The water is the immediate danger so this is the apparent protagonist. And even more predicted in the near future. (Hummm…if I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that someone should take a hard look at HAARP and see if they’re fiddling with the weather. Wouldn’t that be something?? An administration that can call up any type of weather to solve any problem? WOW! What a weapon.)
2. But back to how we can save the cities where the most property and manufacturing is located. (also let’s not forget the largest population of voters who will undoubtedly vote for the party that saves them. How’s that for a two for one!! It doesn’t get much better than that!)
(Hummm. Thinking of all the pros and cons, this gets better and better. What sure way to lose the next election than to have New Orleans wiped out…AGAIN… on your watch. Wouldn’t that be a …..)
3. We can’t let that happen so here’s the plan. We flood the farm land where a large majority of crops are grown. That will divert most of the water from the cities and we’ll be heroes to those folks.
4. What about food prices? Oh yeah, that could be a problem but that’s down the road.
5. The present ruling party knows they need to have a hard firm plan on how they’re going to win this next election. They need the inside track because otherwise……..the results could be not what they want. Can you guess what the plan is? (Must have something to do with feeding all those hungry folks. Remember the flooded farm land won’t be available to plant for years so since folks have to eat, who better to supply that food than the government.)
5. It’s election time in 2012 and who is given the kudos for ‘saving the cities and all those starving people’? The present administration of course. And naturally that translates into election votes.
6. But wait you say. Where will the government get the food to give to these folks?
Ahhhhh…the plot thickens. You see the present government has just purchased $1Billion dollars of dried foodstufs. (True and you can look it up if you don’t believe me.)
Oh my, now we have not only a fiction book but a historical fiction book. We’re combining a ‘fiction story line’ with reality.
Uh oh….unrest from some of the unwashed is now becoming apparent. Some people have the mists clearing from their eyes and now they can begin to see the real villain. The true protagonist is now revealed to all who will look and think. There is anger in the land but what to do about it??
Shucks, I can’t write this story. Just think of what happened to Jon Ross when he wrote ‘Untended Consequences.’
Oh Jon, where are you my friend?? Come write this story so it has a happy ending for the good guys. This could be a real blockbuster of a novel with plenty of sales and bucks for you.
(So sorry but if you’re going to buy this novel, then you need to understand that there won’t be a happy ending. Sad but true)
But what a great story it would be if you could stand all the crap that comes with doing something like this. In fact if you were in South America writing it you would definitely be better off.
I would but my passport’s expired.
Phooie!!

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

It can’t possibly play out like that since the world ends tomorrow at 6PM.

Thanks, Joe 🙂

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Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
June 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm

So was H. Camping among the 250M saved or is among the 6+B who are damned?

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
June 6, 2011 at 7:28 am

Well, all I know is that it’s not our place to judge someone’s eternal fate and I’d guess that he didn’t get any brownie points for his stunts.

It’s really very sad. If you judge all women based on the actions of a few, it’s called sexism. If you judge an entire race based on the actions of a few, it’s called racism, but countless millions judged Christians and Christianity on the basis of the actions of a nut.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Steve
May 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Just remember, the stuff that floods the land is not all water. There are various contaminants. I agree, the land doesn’t just come back into production in a short time. Man has manipulated his landscape to a degree that he must be aware of the prospective results. If you put in a parking lot, what do get but water running off to some already oversaturated spot. If you drain a pot hole to produce more crops, that water must go somewhere else. More thought needs to go into the way we use the land, so that we do not create the problems we are seeing. But, its too late for many situations. We’ve already put at great risk the lives and livelihood of millions of people.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Richard
May 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Excellent essay. This is precisely why I tell people to not waste their time stockpiling anything, be it gold or food, unless they have completely coopted the local government or militia. If you stockpile it will be discovered, and it will be taken from you, and anyone with whom you were not already sharing will cheer them for doing it. Having the foresight to prepare will be rightly viewed as an unwillingness to share the hardships with you neighbors and society, and the fact you thought you had a right to keep what you’d hoarded will be viewed as selfish and conceited. In fact you will certainly be punished and will possibly be killed for your trouble. I recommend owning a flashlight and a gun, then volunteering tobe part of the resource accounting and distribution service, a.k.a. the pillaging party, as the only sensible thing to do. Rather than sacrifice, save, or stockpile now, spend your money however you wish and be prepared to rob others who put aside something for a rainy day. Don’t worry that this will be dangerous because you’ll have many new friends and associates at your side to share the risk, while the survivalists will usually be alone or in small groups and easy to pick off. I’m not trying to be facetious, but this is how society works: the strong “have a right” to anything the weak cannot defend. After a disaster you will be the weaker, and the hoards that stream from the cities to devour what you’ve preserved won’t even feel guilty when they shoot you and your family, and take everything you ever had … for the good of the many.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Mark
May 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I can’t say that I agree 100%, but, mostly, WELL SAID.
It’s a sad state we live in this day and age.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1RJ
May 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

This isn’t really a matter of who is right or wrong in the flooding, but what would we do in a similar disaster, or any other type for that matter. When SHTF and there is no help coming, no place to go, we better be where we want to be with supplies at hand.
Being in the wrong place, can mean life or death, even with supplies for several years.
I read a study years ago,, and I agreed at the time, it was either 50 or 70 percent of survivalists will be dead after the first year if TEOTWAWKI happens. Not gonna be a pretty place to live,, no Rambos or Mad Max’s.. sorry.
I have probably been into survival longer than most of you have been alive. Survival takes a lot of thought and insight. Your brain is one of your best tools.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Otto
May 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I believe flood insurance has been changed so that people ALREADY living in flood plains can secure it but, after one flooding, they must either relocate or, if they rebuild in the flood plain, they will be unable to secure a new flood policy for that area. Also, any NEW building in a flood plain area cannot be covered. If this was either not enacted or if it was repealed, it should be reinstated. If & when this is the case, anyone choosing to build or rebuild in such an area does so at their own risk, and should save their own money to rebuild if flooded in the future. If they don’t save a disaster fund, no one else has any obligation to relieve them of their misfortune.

Someone else commented on the BENEFICIAL aspects of flooding of farmland. Prior to building of the Aswan Dam, it was the annual Nile floods, self-renewing the farming soil, which allowed Egyptian civilization to prosper for 4 millenia. The people may be displaced, and homes & equipment damaged or destroyed, but the land willl actually be renewed.

That’s my comments on the immediate issues of flooding. As for the main point, I agree with David that all areas- urban, suburban, and rural- have their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the disaster, the setting advantageous for one may be less so for another. For those of us unable to own two or more residences, or do not have strong family or friendship ties that permit live-in long-term relocation, choices must be made. This needs to not only include what area provides the risk/benefit ratio most comfortable to you in case of a disaster, but also whether or not you would be happy living in that area for the rest of your life if no such disaster ever occurs.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Brett
May 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

While I do agree with some of your points about urban living, I keep in mind that urban areas may well become war zones for some period of time regardless of what disaster takes place. In my area, the folks in the city tried destroying their own neighborhoods when a group of scumbag neo-nazis came to town to speak and march. Folks in the cities destroy parts of it when their sports teams win or lose championships. I can only imagine what urban areas would be like in a financial or soceital melt down when security forces would be slow to respond, most opting to stay home to protect their own families or actually become part of the problem, remember the N.O.P.D. during Katrina? Sure, in time, the government would want to/need to regain control but what would happen in the meantime could and would become quite ugly. Besides, does anyone really want to be in a city when the government comes to “help”?

Many of us here in the country moved here to get away from that insanity and the possibility of it. Here, we do not have the posiibility of being flooded out like what is happening along the Mississippi River either so that’s one worry we do not have. We’ll stay here in the country on our 2 and 1/2 acres, with our garden, our chickens, our rabbits, our goats, and our families. So, staying in urban areas may be a wiser move for some, but for those not in a “natural” disaster zone, in my opinion, country living is the smartest option.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1KenDawg
May 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Brett, I think you have the right idea. Just remember that David pointed out that “moving to a rural area won’t take away all of the problems associated with surviving short, medium, and long term breakdowns in civil order after a disaster. When you move from a populated area to a rural area, you simply exchange one set of challenges and problems for another set.”

I think part of being prepared is to have both options open and have a written and well thought out set of criteria that applies to where and when to retreat. Only then can we be truly prepared for any worst case scenario.

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Mark
May 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I have a couple of thoughts about this.

1) It sounds to me like all involved here (both the flooded and non-flooded) were, indeed, living in a flood plain of some sort. However, it also sounds reasonable that they each bought, or inhabited, their property with the understanding that there were ‘devices’ in place to help prevent or to minimize such flooding. *** What would make the rural land more discounted than the urban land due to the possibility of flooding? ***

It doesn’t sound to me that there is a big difference in between the rural land and the urban land other than the number of people living there. They all took the same risk and the little guys got sold up the river (or down the river in this case).

2) In this case, the few were essentially swindled out of their property, hard work, and possessions. I’m sure they were given some assurance that the land was safe. It also sounds like, although the land was “cheaper”, they most assuredly had much more of it than their urban counterparts since it was farm land. Thus, they had a greater capital investment in their property, etc. Farm land is cheap when you only buy a few acres of it. Try buying 100-5,000+ acres and see how much it costs you. Then come back & tell me it was “cheap”. *** The farmers were definitely out more money in property &, most likely, equipment than most any private party in the cities would have been. ***

3) The farmers were producing an incredibly valuable product for many people. I’m guessing that some of them chose to do that at great cost & financial risk to their families, on top of the flood potential of their land (which, as mentioned earlier, would not have been avoided by moving to town). They chose their vocation, took stock of the risks and benefits (including the alleged safety from the dikes) and made a decision on where to locate. I think the only thing they might not have anticipated was someone voluntarily destroying the dikes they knew were protecting them from flood waters. *** It will most likely take the farmer much longer to ‘bounce back’ from this than it would take anyone in the city. His livelyhood was bound up in the land that will no longer produce a crop this year. While farmers can sometimes prepare for low crop seasons, I doubt many could really survive too well with a zero crop year. ***

One last thought…
If I didn’t have much money or education but wanted to provide my family with some place of our own to grow in that was ‘safe’, wouldn’t it stand to reason that I would look for a place I could afford. If that place happened to be outside the city limits I might take it anyway. I don’t think that everyone who lives in ‘low lands’ thinks in terms of flooding trade-offs. Certainly not many would think “Gee, if the town 20 miles away is in danger of being flooded I bet they’ll sacrifice this rural area to protect the political interest of those in the other town. I guess we should live somewhere else.”

In reality do I agree or disagree with the decisions that were made? I don’t know that I have enough information at this point to make that call. Do I think those who made the decision considered every possible outcome and alternatives to these actions and made their decision based on the best possible outcome? While I certainly hope so, experience has taught me that particular possibility is really slim.

Lesson learned: no matter what you do, you may eventually be darned by circumstances beyond your control.

Cheers,
-Mark

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1JackalopeJosh
May 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I just remember a farmer being interviewed on the news, and talking about how his family had farmed this land since the 1920’s. The town they were trying to save, had been built in the 1960’s.

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1David
May 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm

The flood insurance program needs to be changed. The government should not be subsidizing insurance for people in flood zones unless they agree to move out of them if they get wiped out. New Orleans should have been abandoned and the people moved to higher ground. Why should I pay higher taxes so someone else can live 5 feet below sea level?

I realize that is not the politically correct answer, and it won’t be adopted unless something changes in Washington. From a survival point of view, don’t buy a house in a flood zone, no matter the population density. Farm it if you must, but make sure your house is on a hill.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
June 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Flood insurance is a goverment function since the losses are too great for the insurance industry to pay for. Fire, wind, earthquakes, crime, etc. are insurable risks, but due to the sheer level of losses flood is beyond the insurance industry’s ability to cover losses.

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+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Debt
May 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Interesting to see that the government decided to flood farm land as opposed to let the floodwaters take over the town of Cairo, IL. A bit of history on that town: Back in the late 1960’s during great civil unrest, Cairo was subjected to rioting and most buildings and businesses were burned to the ground. State Police were called in from all over Illinois to help try to quell the riots. At the end, there were no means to rebuild the town and it has sat for decades with a crumbling infrastructure. Poverty and crime run rampant through this historic place.
I visited Cairo in the late 90’s and the early 2000’s and saw the ruins and empty lots still standing from the riots 30-35 years earlier. It’s rather the town that time has forgotten.
(Look at some of the videos of Cairo on Youtube and you’ll see what I mean)
I don’t mean to sound off-topic, but I can’t help but believe it might have been better over all to let the town go under water, as there wasn’t much left there to start with.

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+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Esteban Cafe
May 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm

The way your American administration is suing some states (AZ comes to mind) while favoring others with large bailouts echoes your concerns of statist favortism. In the event of a massive EMP-type problem, the more resilient states will be left to their own devices and solutions while the more dependent AND dependable (Democrat voting) states will likely receive resources first. Your president has shown significant favoritism, in that inimitable Chicago way.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Jeff
May 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

#1. Don’t live on a flood plain. Farm there, the soil should be rich, but live on a hill.
#2. Driving to the city (and back) could cost more in fuel than the higher price might justify. Secondly, you may have a security problem in the city, or the government just might confiscate the food.
#3. What happens depends on the type, size & length (of time) of the disaster. If you have prepared, you will need to get out of Dodge before the government or the masses decide to take what is yours. If there is a breakdown in government or the disaster is widespread and long lasting, you will be better off in a rural area, off any main highways than in any population concentration.
#4. Have several bug out locations planned. Not every one will be accessible or suitable for every situation.
#5. Plan ahead, don’t wait until it is too late.

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Vote -1 Vote +1robert
May 20, 2011 at 4:17 pm

when it all starts to fall apart, I would rather be in the rural areas.
would not be near as much fighting for food and other supplies.

Also if most of the nonubran-areas are given up and most of the farmland is gone for a long period of time where is the “FOOD” comming from??

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+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Stan Litchfield
May 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm

If it was shortsighted for the more rural folks to buy individual homes and farmland on the flood plain, then how stupid is it for supposedly intelligent city folks to build big cities much below sea level and then expect to be bailed out time after time!!

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Evidently it wasn’t such a stupid decision since the Mississippi river has been diverted from it’s natural course so that it continues flowing through New Orleans and since we continually bail them out…so the joke is on everyone else in the country.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Suzanne
May 21, 2011 at 12:56 am

I decided against buying in my parents’ neighborhood near Clear Lake when my husband and I were shopping for a house 25 years ago. Having been there, I was already tired of playing U-boat commander during every good-sized storm. We selected a development in far NW Houston. While it is true that over the past 25 years that we have been stuck in our subdivision because of the flooding in the surrounding areas, we’ve never had to deal with any storm damage and few power outages. Being so far out from town has also served us well… close enough to major services, not close enough to worry about the “hood”.

I agree about the dollar collapse coming soon. A lot of sources, including Lindsey Williams’ elitist friends say so. All we can do is try to educate our friends and relatives… get them to store food and get their money out of the system before the govt gets it. They’ve already announced they’re going after federal pensions, and a bill has been introduced to keep people from accessing their 401Ks. Buckle up, it’s looking like a wild ride ahead.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bev
May 21, 2011 at 1:30 am

I live in Baton Rouge. The potential floods in New Orleans and Baton Rouge would have made Katrina look like a picnic. New Orleans would have been under something like 20 feet of water if I remember correctly. The lands that are flooded by the opening of the Morganza and Bonnet Carre Spillways were always intended to carry high water away from heavily populated areas. The people who buy, build and farm (or just have bayou-side hunting and fishing CAMPS) in these areas receive a letter every single year from the Corps of Engineers, warning them that the opening of the spillways and the flooding of their property is ALWAYS a possibility! People who buy in areas known to flood are supposed to buy flood insurance. I’m not sure these areas can be insured but if not, then you build there AT YOUR OWN RISK. Just like when I cracked my wrist at a local ice rink (even though I have been figure skating for about thirty years) because a SILLY little boy with a chair skated across the traffic with a chair, I PAID MY OWN MEDICAL BILLS. The sign at the rink says “Skate at Your Own Risk”. I didn’t sue the rink owner (and wouldn’t have even if they weren’t an old friend from my years of skating), and I didn’t run down the parents of the little brat that wasn’t obeying the rules at the rink. I didn’t grow up with an ENTITLEMENT COMPLEX!!! But when it comes to displacing 11,000 people/families rather than TWO BIG CITIES, and finding new homes for all of those who are displaced, I think displacing 11,000 is preferable!!! I am sorry for those people. Don’t get me wrong. BUT they moved there and/or continued living there, KNOWING full well that they were living in a SPILLWAY. And spillways are INTENDED for diverting floods from being far larger disasters than the one created by flooding the spillway. Hence the word SPILLway!!! I am sorry for those people. And I would be happy to help them as a Christian, of my own accord. But someone above said to tax the city dwellers to help the spillway dwellers. Got news for you buddy! Our tax dollars paid for those spillways to be built in the first place. AND the bridge that crosses the Bonnet Carre. So we paid our dues while the risk-takers got the cheap land they wanted. We are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Their help should come from the church. Which is where ALL charitable help SHOULD come from. But the entitlement crowd needs to pipe down!!! Just whatever you’re piping, don’t pipe it down to Louisiana!!! We’ve got enough of a mess and if you think we’re not STILL sweating bullets over the prospect of a possible broken levee and a flooded city or two, think again. It ain’t over yet!!!!

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bev
May 21, 2011 at 1:51 am

P.S. There is already a serious food shortage and prices are going UP no matter what happens in Louisiana!! Plant your own garden and grow your own food. Think SELF-SUFFICIENCY. That’s what I’m doing. And no, whoever said that above, big cities aren’t always liberal and rural people conservative. Louisiana is in the Bible belt and farmers are, after all blue collar. Blue collar usually means liberal… As for the comment about New Orleans being below sea level and it was stupid to build there…you’re right. But it was built there to PROTECT the mouth of the river. The port and city grew up around, as I recall, a fort. Unfortunately, it just kept growing. But opening a spillway does NOT a “bailout” make!

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Boetica
May 21, 2011 at 1:56 am

How about a house on stilts? ; ) You would have to be in good shape to traverse the stairs on a constant basis.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1W2
May 21, 2011 at 4:35 am

Question…. if the world will end today at 6:00 PM, which time zone?

Is it already happening?

Gotta know.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Cal
May 21, 2011 at 9:39 am

We need to remember that New Orleans and Baton Rouge populations also should assume the risk of living in cities that have the potential of flooding from the Mississippi. Granted the damage done in a city will affect more people and structures, but by ruining farmland won’t the costs of food go up for everyone due to farmland being unproductive? So is this solution really for the greatest good?

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+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Wayne Wright
May 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

First I have a message for Richard. Many of us who ARE stockpiling food, etc, have enough firepower at our disposal to remove HUNDREDS of pillagers from the face of the earth… Think about it. I was told by my grandparents of pillagers coming from the city into the rural communities on Sundays when they knew the faithful were at church. After a few families were robbed, they started leaving an armed man at home on Sundays. The pillagers stopped getting home with their loot, and began to fertilize the soil. Get my drift?

As far as the cities in LA are concerned, they TOO are in a floodplain. Hell, the Indians told the first builders NOT TO BUILD THERE cause it FLOODS!

I have a home in MO that was severely damaged due to flooding CAUSED BY THE CITY, who decided NOT to turn on the flood pumps in order to save a more affluent part of the city. Their plan failed, and BOTH parts of the city flooded. Had they turned on the pumps, I would have had water up to the top of the foundation, but not 3 1/2 feet up the walls! The POOR in my part of town suffered the most impact, by far.

Not everything should be tampered with, and once you start manipulating things, where do you stop? The gov’t builds levies to protect property, then blows them up to protect other property…. and again they decide who lives or dies…

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Celticwaryor
May 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I go out on Federal dispatch as a wildland firefighter and I see the similar scenarios in the wildland/urban interface. People are building homes in areas where the threat of wildfire is huge. Not nearly enough of those home owners take the necessary precautions to mitigate the possibility of losing their home. The typical “It can’t happen to me” attitude is a common theme among those that do lose their homes and then expect the government to help them rebuild.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
May 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm

I also am a wildland firefighter, and I live in the wildland urban interface. I choose to live here as I love the mountains. I have defensible space, but know if the really big one comes, even with defensible space, my house is toast. My problem, my responsibility, period. We love the solitude, low crime and no traffic. Only problem is the lack of growing capability. We have winter from October thru May, sometimes June, but it is our choice. Thats why we keep alot of food storage, lots of guns and ammo. Do I think I can protect myself and my family by myself with all my abilities against a swarm of criminals? Not a chance. I do have friends and family close by and we can put up one hell of a defense. I would rather die fighting in the mountains, than die a victim in the city. God save us all, with a little help from our food, guns, gold and silver.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1vickie
May 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm

sure , in the short term it would look better to flood the rural/farmlands, but there will be a high price to pay with the lost crops and ruined farmland. We already have serious food supply issues. Costs will rise even higher and supply has been compromised. In the long term this will probably prove to be a most unwise and far more costly choice.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bev
May 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Well obviously I stepped on some liberal toes, talking about entitlement complexes and what have you. Whatever. Let me tell you something else: most of that land in Louisiana is NOT farmland! There’s a lot of swampland down here around the mouth of the Mississippi… How many crops do you know of that like WET soil? Not many, I’ll wager. That “they flooded the farmland” crap is the usual liberal brainwashing. And another thing, you judgmental people who say we shouldn’t have built even Baton Rouge where it is. Like a lot of other big cities, Baton Rouge has been here a long time and WE didn’t pick the location. But I have family here now, so where ELSE would I go?! Actually, I live on the far side of the city away from the Mississippi. So I’m not as stupid as you think. I have an 87 year old widowed mother here and a 22 year old son. Neither of which wants to leave. So do I leave them? And how much bigger a jerk would I be then? And one MORE thing for the judgmental holier-than-thou types: in Louisiana (and the rest of the Gulf coast) there are floods and hurricanes. In California there are earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, AND hurricanes and floods. Look at all the LIBS who live THERE! In the Midwest there are killer tornadoes. In the north, the east, and Midwest there are blizzards. And the northeast has nor’easters. I could go on. But why bother? Point made. Where is this ideal, undoubtedly SOCIALIZED utopia that y’all would have us ALL move to, to live stacked on top of each other, in government-owned high-rise HOUSING PROJECTS/SLUMS?!!?

No thanks. I’ll take my risks with the hurricanes I’m familiar with and the possible floods. And when our CONSERVATIVE governor decides the spillway needs to be opened to save the property and homes of the MOST people, rather than the little pockets of farmland surrounded by low-lying WETLANDS and MARSH, I will BACK him, 100 percent!

P.S. People were warned ahead of time, door to door, and the bays in the spillway were opened SLOWLY to give people and animals time to get to higher ground. Lives were not lost! So forget that guilt trip!

Peace! And as the Cajuns (of which I am not one) who populated the Louisiana coast lands and swamps and bayous say, “Laissez le bon temps rouler!” Or, in English (my family is from Texas and Oklahoma, originally), “Let the good times roll.” The relocated French-Canadians (Acadians=’Cajuns) are the ones who first chose to populate this area after the Indians. They are also predominantly the ones who remain in the low-lying and coastal or marshy, swampy areas, riddled with bayous. They aren’t farmers. They are hunters and trappers and fishermen.

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Keith
May 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Do we flood the few to save the many? Kinda depends if the few are providing food for the rest of the country while the many provide us with Mardi Gras.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Angela
May 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

This flood has been a help so some folks to finally get their loved ones on board with prepping. I love my group friends but they homestead, and don’t pay rent. That scenario is not for everyone. it IS possible to lose a home you own (in the country) and start over in another town. I did, and my question is how are the prep needs for the city different? Kevlar anyone? LOL

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bev
May 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Keith, Baton Rouge doesn’t provide you with Mardi Gras. And neither do I. However, it IS our State Capital. I don’t even ATTEND Mardi Gras!!

All of you…what if it was YOUR city/town that was built near a river? Would you say, “Save the ‘farmland'” (read: swampland) THEN??!! Would you say, “Destroy my home and the homes of WELL OVER A MILLION other people (in the two cities y’all are so glibly suggesting flooding to spare two floodways/spillways) but whatever you do, don’t spill the water into the SPILLWAYS!!!!”

I SERIOUSLY doubt it!!!

And by the way, Baton Rouge took the brunt of Hurricane Gustave soon after New Orleans took the brunt of Katrina. We’ve already had our share of disasters in recent years. So maybe NEXT time the Mississippi floods y’all can just divert the water to the cesspools called Chicago, Washington DC, New York city, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those cities could USE a little washing up! And the muddy Mississippi is certainly cleaner than any ONE of those havens of INIQUITY!!!!

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bev
May 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm

http://stuffaboutstates.com/agriculture/farm_by_percent.htm

Oh, look! Only 28% of Louisiana is Farmland and since the northern part of the state is DRIER, and Ponchatoula (which isn’t in a spillway) is famous fir strawberries and has many strawberry farms, that REALLY bites into that 28%. So, gee, I wonder how much of that spillway floor is actually farmable…???

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110519/us_ac/8495315_oil_oysters_and_the_opening_of_the_morganza_spillway

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 24, 2011 at 10:16 am

Hey Bev,

I understand your frustration. I’ve got several ties to New Orleans and want to see it stay around. I know that some of the comments were pointed at Baton Rouge and New Orleans being big bullies, but my article was designed to highlight the fact that, in survival situations, if you find yourself in the minority in a debate over resources or who makes sacrifices, things probably won’t go in your favor.

For many, it’s simply a wake-up call that they might not be able to survive long term disasters on their own, that they may actually NEED other people, and that it might be smart to plug into local first-responder networks.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Shar
May 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

I would LOVE diverted water from the Great Mississippi; I live near the Rio Grande – and we are in serious drought for several years now! I’d loved to see a closed syphon system(s) pull overflow from a series of flood control reservoirs to the head waters of the Colorado R, Rio Grande, Red R and others here in the west. We have all the solar and wind power ya need for a syphon system to ‘suck’ and keep the water moving, yes even ‘up hill’. Sooo much good fresh water… sooo poorly managed. Aren’t we the best fresh watered continent on the planet? The Feds won’t/can’t do this. We need governors to hammer out interstate agreements. God’s speed, everybody.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Lee Tebbutt
May 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

This thread has showed us all one thing (if we didn’t already know it), right or wrong the few will end up paying the price to save the many. We each need to evaluate our own situation and prepare for the worst.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Cal
May 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Shar, I’ve had the same idea over the years: (I would LOVE diverted water from the Great Mississippi; I live near the Rio Grande – and we are in serious drought for several years now! I’d loved to see a closed syphon system(s) pull overflow from a series of flood control reservoirs to the head waters of the Colorado R, Rio Grande, Red R and others here in the west.)
When one part of the country has too much precipitation, we should have a piping system (not unlike gas pipelines) that could deliver need water to any part of the country in need. We need to take advantage of the extra water that flooding provides, and maybe have more reservoirs built.

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Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
May 30, 2011 at 1:14 am

I agree with Shar and Cal. We live in Texas. We have droughts, and sometimes, fires. We will be having dangerous heat the next few summers. Our ground is hard and some ground have solid rock just 6 inches under the top of the ground. We pay more for water than any electricity. We don’t want to flood, but we’ve been wondering when someone will start engineering the idea of transporting by pipes unneeded water down here to us. Recycling it to us would work out fine here.
David, any ideas for our droughts? I fear the return of the dust bowl.
Happy Birthday, David! Many more to come.
Thanks!
PS We weren’t born here but we came as soon as we could. Traded it for Indiana weather!

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Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
June 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm

A basic cost-benifit analysis works like this: If innundating Missouri farmers is such a good idea to protect Cairo, Il then there should be no problem with issuing general obligation bonds in the name of Cairo, Il and backed by the full faith and credit of the state of Illinois and its political subdivisions to pay for lost income and clean up of the innundated farms. If this would cost more than Cairo, Il is worth then just let them flood. I suspect that the more valuable property was flooded to protect the less valuable property in this case.

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-1 Vote -1 Vote +1Aaron
June 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

i honestly think that everyone is intitled to an opinion. I think that a majority of the problem is people who think that we whould be the ones to decide who lives or dies. Let god make that decision the damns and the levies accross the missisipi/missori/colorado need to be done away with. if the levies and damns weren’t there new orleans wouldn’t be under sea level. The natural silt that is brought done by river is no longer happening. Let the river run its course. Leave the wetlands alone they are there to act as a buffer for floods like this. i dont think that any person should have the power to make decisions that could damage personal property or life. And Cairo is a dump that place needed to be wiped off the map. Then maybe people would actually remeber that there was something there. There are ghost towns accross the US and Cairo needs to be another. As for pillagers and storing up. Most country folk aren’t afraid to bring out a .22 and defend themselves. We aren’t helpless.

My theory on the matter is that the people in the city will kill eachother off before even realize that there is food in the country. If it comes to feudalism there is too much land and too many people to control. teh small towns are more likely to succeed just on the plain fact that its a smaller population to support and allot of them operate that way anyways. its not hard to develope a small effective army. and with the proper training and defensive set up you would end up loosing too many soldiers to accomlish takeover of rural areas. and when you kill everyone who knows how to farm, who is going to farm?

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