by Junebug Actual
A concern I have about the preparedness efforts of others is that there may be a disconnect between expectations and probable actuality in a grid down situation. Conversations with many others leads me to believe there is a fairly common misconception that TEOTWAWKI will be sort of like camping, admittedly for a long time, without lights and cars. I’d like to discuss my perspective on what I believe we’ll face, why that is, what it will mean if the worst actually materializes, and what can be done now to mitigate the effects.
After a true TEOTWAWKI event transpires, the remaining populations of Western countries will rapidly find themselves operating in an environment, at best, very like that of the earliest American pioneers – but without all the comforts of that historical period. My suspicion, at worst, is that it will be a lot closer to the Dark Ages – but with guns and ammo for a while. Folks will have to truly fight to get what they need, and to keep what they have from others that need scarce resources.
Why it will go dark so fast can be broken down thusly. Imagine our entire nation perched upon a three legged stool. The seat of this stool is our economy, which is the driving force for every aspect of our daily lives, from what we eat and drink, to our politics, our education, and our jobs. Everything is driven by our economy. Holding up this stool are three legs representing oil, electricity, and skilled workers. Oil, and the refined products we obtain from it, is essential to every aspect of modern life. Nothing in our society or economy can function without oil at some point in its operational life span, be it manufacturing, distribution, or application. The same can be said of electricity, and skilled workers. These three legs are mutually supportive of each other. This means that without both of the other two, one will fail. Break or remove any one of the legs from the stool and both of the others will effectively … disappear. In a TEOTWAWKI event, all three legs will be gone completely outside of small localized pockets or prepared individuals and groups.
Briefly, oil is required to make electricity and to feed the workers that deliver and process and distribute the oil that is used to generate and distribute the electricity that is used to feed the workers that build and maintain the equipment that keeps the cycle going, etc., etc., ad nauseum. If something happens to prevent the workforce from going to work, constantly, production will decline and eventually fail. Suppose a pandemic kills or sickens a critical percentage of the very few thousand technical workers throughout the oil refining industry. Regardless of how the pandemic affects the rest of the population directly, the impact on the economy will be sudden, extreme, and negative.
Without sufficient skilled workers to refine oil into fuel and other products, the system immediately begins to fail. Without sufficient skilled workers to produce electricity to power the critical devices we all rely on in modern society, the system immediately begins to fail. Without sufficient skilled workers to maintain the essential elements of the entire house of cards, the system immediately begins to fail. If major breakdown of critical infrastructure related to either production or distribution of either oil or electricity happens, the entire system immediately begins to fail. Once that point is reached, everything associated with the entire economy and our social structure will collapse shortly thereafter, probably less than two weeks is my best assessment.
Because the food supply for the vast majority of the country is absolutely and completely reliant on steady and unbroken access to fuel and electricity, the critical loss of these will mean zero food moving into cities, towns, and even villages. This is not the America of my grandparents’ or even parents’ time. Earlier in our history, most of our population either worked on or worked near farms. A substantial percentage of our people had friends or relatives who lived in rural areas upon whom they could rely to provide shelter from economic storms in desperate times. Family farms or ranches were common and unremarkable, and supplied the food to local communities. Now, most of our food is provided by large corporate farms through a supply chain that is tightly managed across the globe utilizing aircraft, ships, trains, trucks, computers, storage facilities, canneries, etc. All of which require fuel, electricity, and skilled workers.
Because our economy, and therefore our ability to eat food and drink water, is dependent now on the never ending supply of fuel, electricity, and skilled workers, a full disruption of any of these will have ripple effects that will take the entire system down. When the ball finally drops, however it happens, our economic system with all its disparate but interdependent parts will crater. Food will not be delivered to stores, water will not be pumped to homes, fuel will not be available for vehicles, garbage and sewage will not be moved and treated, homes will not be cooled or heated, hospitals will close, and medicines will disappear. Anything and everything that our society relies on for everyday survival, I mean live or die type stuff, will stop. Dead.
Consider the millions of people living in our large, medium, and smaller cities. What will they eat after a week or so after the immediately available supplies are gone, and the area governments’ quick response disaster supplies are consumed? Many, many millions of people will starve within a fairly brief window. Their corpses will lie untended and unburied, and the corruption of their decay will result in an explosion of diseases, insects, and wildlife. A few million others will survive, some will thrive.
There will be warlords and tribalism, with swaths of land that cannot be accessed without conflict. There will be starvation and disease, susceptibility to ecological and geological effects on crops and other food supplies. Really dry times will results in lost crops from drought and a decrease in readily available game. Heavy storms will result in floods and massive damage to broad regions. Crops will be devastated by diseases and insects. Dams will fail, washing entire areas clean of life. People will become less open, more wary of strangers, and the focus will be primarily on obtaining food and water.
The developed world’s economic system itself is unsustainable due to its total reliance on failure points that have high exposure to a broad variety of probable events. In other words, my assessment is that eventual total system failure is certain. The type of society that comes out of the other end will be determined by the level of readiness and preparedness by people of foresight, faith, honor, and courage. It is incumbent on us to seek out like minded people, to connect with them and work together to develop means to mutually support and assist each other in becoming more prepared.
Prepare for the most terrible circumstances you can imagine. It will most likely be worse than you thought, but your prudence now will reap great benefits then. Focus your purchases, after food supplies, weapons, ammunition, and shelter on the types of tools and resources found useful in the 19thcentury. Instructional books from that era will be better than from today that includes tools and techniques that will be useless in a grid-down scenario. As possible, we should develop associations among each other that will foster the development of comparatively self-sufficient micro-communities, with shared values and ideals. These micro-communities of a few families and friends each should pool resources for large or expensive high value items, while still ensuring adequacy in their individual supplies. These small groups should find relatively isolated locations with a steady supply of water, ponds for fishing, year-round strong flow river for microhydroelectric generation if possible, arable land for growing food, nearby timber for cooking, heating, and construction, and as far away from major metropolitan centers and their interconnecting highways as is reasonably possible.
As long as we maintain our faith, our hope, our courage, making prudent decisions now and facing whatever might come as small, yet strong, communities of honorable people, we will be in a position to bring light into whatever darkness the folly of others has brought forth. The pain of loss must be balanced with the joy of rebirth, recognizing that this dim time will be the twilight before night falls for most, or the dawn before a new day begins for others. We choose now whether we will giggle and gossip while in line for the guillotine, ignoring the rumble of approaching wagons and the rasp of the rising blade, or risk the scorn and laughter of those pitiable beings as we turn away from the fool’s path and place our shoulders to the stone of our duty to shield and protect our families and those entrusted to our care.