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Should I Stay or Should I go? #179747
04/23/2023 09:22 AM
04/23/2023 09:22 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
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ConSigCor Online content OP
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ConSigCor  Online Content OP
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Should I Stay or Should I go?

byJD April 21, 2023

One of the biggest debates in preparedness is the bug out or bug in question. The question can’t be answered in a definite way because every situation is different, and everyone’s personal environment is specific to them. Where I have difficulty though are the absolutists on either end.

First, not every situation requires a full on, “head for the hills” response. It’s hard to know at the beginning of any incident or unrest how it will unfold, and there are so many variables that you can’t just say, “I’m bugging out no matter what.” Some factors to consider are: are you urban (then yes) or rural (then no), or somewhere in between (it depends). Your circumstances and living situation have to be considered, and it’s a decision only you can make. Gather the information and make an informed decision QUICKLY.

A lot of people think that bugging out means a grand adventure living out of your ruck. The truth is, it will SUCK, and you’ll always be struggling that way. You’ll be wet, uncomfortable, and cranky.

Second, the flip side is no better. These are the “I’m bugging in, no matter what happens crowd”. I get this, because my personal bug out location has been in our family for generations, and I wouldn’t want to leave.

An important note is one I make in my first book: You can only bug in as long as it is feasible. Remember our ultimate goal: SURVIVAL. You dying in a vain defense of your family home serves no purpose. Being completely inflexible does no one any good.

The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Proverbs 22:3

A middle of the road solution is best. Have a plan to bug out temporarily, even if you plan on coming back. Let me explain.

If your plan is to leave your urban home and go to your cabin in the woods, you generally plan on remaining there and defending it, right? You start getting reports of strange people around, walking the roads. A few small groups have been seen camping in the woods. They have maps and binoculars. You and a few others decide to launch a patrol to see what’s out there, and you find a camp where these groups are all meeting. There are armed folks there, and they look sketchy. A few days later, reports begin to come in of isolated farms and houses being attacked. Then, they are heading your way. It’s just you and 3 others, against 30-35.

What’s better: Hiding our supplies in pre-planned caches and bugging out to a pre-planned hidden camp nearby, or trying to fight off a well-armed and organized gang? When they get to your house and find a “stash” of limited supplies that you left for them to find (your near dated stuff), they are likely to leave almost immediately over fear of others coming along to do the same thing to them. These are ideas found in TW-03 Defensive Operations.

Because of normalcy bias, most people tend to wait too long to take action. If you live in an urban area, make no mistake, bugging out is the best option. If your area suffered a 2002 level power outage (1/4 the US), you have a choice. You can wait and see if the power comes back on in a day or two or leave immediately and go to a pre-planned place. For me, I would immediately leave and go to the cabin, or a friend’s place. If the power comes back on, no worries – you can just come back.

On the other side of that coin, if I stayed in town 3 days and the power outage simply spread with no hints of it coming back on, I may no longer be able to leave, because of unrest or traffic jams from others trying to leave. It’s best to leave early and come back if things improve. This is the same with things like hurricanes or floods.

I talk a lot about having outdoor skills, but that’s not because I want to live out of my backpack for the next 10 years. I do want to be able to move on foot from one place to another, carrying what I need. I do want to be able to conduct a 3- or 4-day local security patrol to help keep my neighbors and family secure. I do want to have the ability, like our pioneer ancestors, to grab my stuff and go live in the woods for a few days until the savages have moved on from their raids. (Note: savages refers to French-Canadien raiders like Ya Arctic Boi).

Some of the feedback I get on Amazon is people saying, “But I don’t need these skills, I plan on staying in my house and I’m not fighting”. Listen, if the folks 3 towns over decide you are having a fight, you had better have the ability to resist them and change their thinking. You also need the skills to leave quickly and live out of a ruck for a few days to AVOID having to fight when evil visits. In a WROL situation, there is no calling the Sheriff.

You have to ultimately devise your own plan, but don’t be so rigid in its implementation that you don’t have room to alter it. No plan survives contact, and the ultimate goal is survival.

The bugging in idea is particularly strong in rural areas and I agree completely. However, on day 36 of the Collapse or whatever you call it, someone is going look over a map. They are going to agree that your place has easy access to water, arable land for growing food, and good access to wildlife for fishing and hunting. Once they do that, they’re going to head your way.

Yes, I know. Every person who lives rural will tell you all about their plan to defend their land, and me & my people are the same way. But if 150 looters come, my 20-30 neighbors and I are better served hiding what we can of our supplies and taking to the hills than we are dying in a glorious firefight. Choosing to engage on your own terms isn’t cowardice – it’s how the Viet Cong and the Taliban fought off the US military.

Better yet, by learning good outdoor and scouting skills (read TW-04 Scouting and Patrolling), we can take the fight to those 150 looters. We can get on their approach route and conduct a few small ambushes and set up some obstacles before they arrive. Bad guys like easy targets. If they’ve lost 30-35 guys on the road to your place, they could be convinced to seek entertainment elsewhere.

If they don’t take the hint and end up taking your place, take some advice from my friend Clay Martin’s Wrath of the Wendigo and “Be the Reason the Forest is Haunted”. If that group of looters camped out on your property loses 2-3 people each night, they will quickly decide to move on. The important thing is that you train for this NOW. There is no ‘on the job’ training. Clay Martin, NC Scout, Von Steuben Training, and many others offer courses on this.

Another course to look for now: Wilderness First Aid. Most first aid courses are designed for urban or suburban areas where an ambulance arrives within 30 minutes or less. You need more advanced skills.

These things don’t just matter in a full collapse, as my buddy Don Shift pointed out on Twitter the other day. Know where you can go stay if a hurricane or flood is coming to your area. Knowing ahead of time which friend can take you in is helpful. No amount of bugging in will save you in a flood or a hurricane, nor will just bugging out to a tent. Have a solid and well-thought-out plan.

A side note to all this is for the people who insist on only using primitive gear. Listen, I know how to start a fire with flint and steel, but I assure you that if Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett had access to a Bic lighter, they’d have used a Bic. Know how to do things old school but use whatever force multipliers you have. Use lighters until there are no more lighters. Simple. Use a rifle until you run out of ammo, then fix bayonets. Okay, I may have gotten carried away there (or did I?).

So, to recap, there is no hard and fast rule on bugging out versus bugging in. You have to decide for you and your people but decide ahead of time on what your triggers are for your plan. Remain flexible. Learn the skills to do both, in the hope that you never have to use them.

Check out my Locals page: tacticalwisdom.locals.com.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Should I Stay or Should I go? [Re: ConSigCor] #179749
04/23/2023 01:57 PM
04/23/2023 01:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 24,032
Tulsa
airforce Online content
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airforce  Online Content
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Posts: 24,032
Tulsa
Good article. In fact, one of the best I've read on the subject. I always get a kick out of seeing "survivalists" buying half a dozen flint fire starters and the fanciest water purifiers. Ask them how many bic lighters they have in their gear, or how many gallons of water they have in their car, and they sort of get this confused look in their eyes.

And if you think you're going to feed yourself using figure-four deadfalls, good luck with that.

Onward and upward,
airforce


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