The term martial law is just as likely to elicit a sneer of disgust as it is a shiver of apprehension. All people who love freedom know that the implementation of martial law is a significant step towards the erosion and infringement of the rights of the free.
As we approach another historically momentous intersection and the annals of our nation, one that is so divisive conflicted and full of strife, it is no wonder that many people think it is only a matter of when, not if before martial law is implemented.
When that happens things in this country, or maybe just in your city, will change. The military and its ranking officer will be in charge of administering local government and law enforcement.
Even if you are emphatically pro-military it does not take much imagination, or delving too deeply into the history books, to see how that can go terribly wrong.
Most of us have at least considered the possibility that martial law can occur on a greater or smaller scale and that it can go badly for citizens.
Accordingly, plans should be made if one is not okay with simply going along under the new status quo while hoping for the best.
Remind yourself that hope is not a strategy: You must have a place in mind that you can retreat to, either to get out from under the oversight of martial law entirely, or simply reduce your profile enough that you will be just one more face in the crowd.
In this article we will share with you five safe or at least safer places to be during martial law.
Is Martial Law Really a Possibility?
Martial law is definitely a possibility in the United States, and elsewhere in Western countries. Even in the US where its implementation is rare it has already happened several times historically.
When this occurs, the military will be placed in charge of civilian law enforcement and civilian governance in the affected area.
Though the declaration of martial law can be lawful according to the laws of the land, all that you should concern yourself with is that when it happens things will not work quite the way they did before.
Martial law might be declared at a local, citywide level, a state level, regionally or even nationally. This will typically, though not always, indicate the scale of the problem as far as the government perceives it, with any nationwide declaration of martial law almost certainly coming as a result of massive unrest or some other calamitous event.
But let that inform you that some areas may be completely unaffected or otherwise not under martial law, allowing you to plan your movements accordingly.
It might sound bleak but it is only a matter of time before martial law is declared again in this country, at any level. You must be prepared for that eventuality.
What Will Happen to Citizenry Living Under Martial Law?
While it is true that you might not have any particular cause to flee from martial law you might well feel differently after learning what it entails!
Right up front most of your civil rights will be suspended in the area of effect for the duration. You will not have any right to assemble, you will not have any right to move about freely and you will not have any privacy from searches, confiscations, or detention without formal charges.
It is entirely possible you could be arrested and tossed into a holding cell indefinitely with no opportunity or mandate that you be presented in front of a courtroom or whatever presiding officer will hear your case.
One hallmark of martial law is strict implementation of checkpoints, searches and confiscations.
Now as in times past this will all be done under the thin veneer of providing “security, safety and the deterrence of subversive activities or insurgency”. Cue the eye-roll.
You likely will not be able to move around after a mandatory curfew and you should expect to be frisked, have your vehicle searched and your home and other properties inspected for any number of reasons at any time.
Your properties might also be seized for the housing of troops or other purposes that the military deems expedient.
Time and time again history has shown us that placing the military in an immediate oversight capacity over civilian affairs and administration of justice will, eventually, result in systematic abuses and tragedy.
The less interaction you have in any regards with controlling forces during a period of martial law the better your chances are of obtaining a good outcome.
For this reason, picking where you will weather this particular storm is important.
Safety and Security Considerations
Quickly, before we get to the list, I want to impress upon the readers if there is no one, true best place to be or shelter for escaping martial law and its pervasive influence over your life.
Unfortunately, nothing we do as preppers, at least no “big picture” things, can be said to be best; everything is a compromise and every choice has its trade-offs.
Also modern life complicates the plans of even the most evasive among us. Almost everyone has been on the “grid” for a lengthy part of their life.
Every, single thing about you has been collated, recorded, sorted, sifted, neatly packaged and then sold or transferred to commercial interests and government agencies alike.
You already have a profile and you should better believe it is already safely recorded waiting to be used against you.
Gone are the days where you could reasonably expect to move out of the state, assume a nom de guerre and then just start your life over with a fresh identity and a reasonable chance of success, success being your old life not catching up with you.
Now, a single swipe of an ID or a credit card, logging in on any network where having your face recorded by advanced sensors and detection algorithms is enough to pop you on a network and set authorities on your trail.
This can happen far, far easier and far faster than you might be thinking. Keep this in mind as you read through our choices below and know that this certainty has influenced some of them.
5 Safe Places to Be During Martial Law
#1. Large City
This has to be the most contradictory option on our list, but it is still a good one for certain preppers. Sometimes, it is easiest to hide in a herd where you are just one of many faces in the crowd.
When that “herd” numbers in the hundreds of thousands or even millions it is far easier to become effectively invisible then when you are standing among 10, 20 or 30.
But before you think you can just grab your coat or your hoodie and disappear into a sprawling metropolis you must understand that it is all but certain any city above a certain size is going to fall under the auspices of martial law and all but the most localized instances. Understand this up front, and get used to it.
Just because you’ll be able to effectively hide in plain sight does not necessarily mean you’ll be guaranteed from having to interact with military forces.
Instead, you are depending on the day in and day out drudgery of having to process hundreds upon hundreds and thousands upon thousands of people through checkpoints, turnstiles and other points of inspection will make you effectively invisible unless you are already flagged as a person of interest.
That means if you’re going to live and exist normally in the city you’ll be dealing with plenty of lines, showing of papers and all the other annoying things that go along with martial law.
But so long as the troops instituting it aren’t looking for you specifically you’ll pass right along with all the other effectively faceless citizens.
But, there are trade-offs. If you are within reach of the military you are quite simply within reach of the military, and if things go bad or you’re acting naughty you’ll be that much closer to their grasp compared to living further out on the fringes.
It is also worth considering that as major centers of commerce academia and much of the time political power cities will remain hotbeds of legal and illicit activity even while under martial law and innocent people have a way of getting swept up in such things.
#2. Small Community
Leaving a populated area for a small, remote community is sort of the standard response for many preppers when it comes to societal upheaval, and we could certainly chalk up martial law under that category.
Considering that it is unlikely martial law will be properly instituted on a nationwide level, because that is borderline impossible, chances are that a small, agrarian community or perhaps a remote vacation village could be completely unsullied by the presence of troops. That makes these an attractive option.
If you have the good fortune to have been raised or lived for any length of time in such a place you will have other built-in advantages. Small communities have an entirely different culture from large cities, where relationships and bonds really make a difference.
Your genuine social standing is everything in these places, and if you are fleeing into one of these communities from elsewhere it is highly likely that you’ll be treated with suspicion or even outright hostility under the circumstances.
It is also worth considering that local infrastructure for furnishing crucial survival provisions are likely to be far more durable and well understood than the usually highly dependent big cities.
Food, water and general expertise in trades and other blue collar skills is going to be proportionally higher in these places than elsewhere. That is always a major perk in times of trouble.
However, it will be disingenuous to say that the military will not be interested in these places depending on the circumstances.
As we have learned from bitter experience overseas these remote villages are often where insurgents can go for rest and recuperation, support or to facilitate black market dealings out from under the eye of big brother.
It stands to reason the military might keep an eye on these towns or at least the people coming and going to them if they are anywhere near the area of importance.
#3. Deep Wilderness
Probably the most stereotypically survivalist option on this list is simply to flee into the wilderness when martial law is declared in your area.
So long as you don’t set up camp near an area of interest to the military you probably will not be missed.
As you probably already know, having a bug-out location pre-selected in a nature setting is already part of most preppers’ plans for dealing with various eventualities.
This is certainly a viable approach, but it is one that has an equal share of drawbacks to go with the positives.
One of the pluses is it chances are high you will not have to interact with any troops or other military personnel in any capacity so long as you are staying out of trouble while in your wilderness retreat period.
When you really want to get away from society and its problems, this has always been and remains a viable option.
But the problem with retreating into deep wilderness to escape martial law as you still have to deal with all of the logistical and other survival issues inherent to existing in such a setting.
The notion that you will live off the land making use of nature’s pristine bounty of wild game, fruits, veggies and so forth is largely a myth at this point, even for an individual that are extremely skilled.
You’re going to need food and water, and lots of it, and this problem becomes exponentially more challenging if you have other people to take care of besides yourself.
Also you’ll need to be prepared to provide shelter no matter the weather and no matter the season.
Where exactly are you going and what are you going to stay in once you get there? If you’re going to build a fire, that’s great, but consider that a fire greatly increases your signature and is a surefire way to attract attention from aircraft both manned and unmanned.
Retreating to the wilderness is an option we should only be considered by those who are legitimately hardcore survivors with few true dependents.
#4. Foreign Nation
I know this option will sound like anathema to the deep-fried patriots in the audience who bleed red, white, and blue, but it must be considered especially in cases of harsh and widespread martial law or in case you are wanted as a particular person of interest by authorities.
Yes, it is true that there is nowhere left to run on earth for freedom-loving people, but consider that a tactical retreat might be necessary to ensure your values live on. It is tough to solve problems if you are dead or thrown in some dark, dank cell somewhere.
Despite the logistical difficulties attendant to such a choice this is an attractive option because it is unlikely that you will be pursued across the borders of the United States when there are so many other problems at home and all hands will be needed on-deck by the government and its many agencies.
If you already live near the Canadian or Mexican border you might be a hop, skip and a jump away from leaving all of this bull crap behind.
However, you would be wise to get all your advance work done well prior to any anticipated departure.
Being an expat is not easy, and is especially tough when countries that have friendly relations to the one you are fleeing might be incentivized to report on or even return citizens to their origin country.
It will be a blunder of epic magnitude to arrive at the airport or the seaport only to be turned away.
Also consider the other issues that arise from traveling to a foreign country. How will you work? How will you get paid? Do you even speak the language? Are there any vaccinations or other medical checkups you should consider, especially if you are traveling to any third world country?
It is also worth considering how you will return, assuming you are able to return.
Especially if you left your home country under cover of night and entered another country surreptitiously there might be major complications when it comes time for you to return. All of this must be accounted for ahead of time.
#5. Place Outside of Martial Law Declaration
Sometimes you don’t need to properly bug out: you just need to head elsewhere! As mentioned above, it is highly likely that any serious implementation of martial law will be of a smaller scale than the national level. Particular cities, perhaps even a few states or an entire region, could see martial law implemented.
If this occurs, it would probably be best for you to simply head somewhere that martial law is not in effect and is unlikely to be put into effect based on the current situation.
Depending on your life, family circumstances and other factors you might only have to move across your state, into a neighboring state or even potentially across the country.
It all depends, but you should not rule anything out, especially considering that life is likely to more or less go on per usual in areas that are unaffected by martial law.
This means you can very likely still obtain transportation, perhaps even moving assistance, and lodging in your new and hopefully temporary home.
It might even be worthwhile to look at a long-term vacation rental assuming you can afford it or negotiate a good price.
This eventuality more than any other is probably the best argument for making your life and career highly mobile and internet capable as this will create the least possible disruption under the circumstances.
But before you decide to plunk yourself down anywhere and wait out the situation back home consider that any place that has major industrial, political or transportation importance might soon be sucked under the martial law umbrella preemptively.
It would not do to move into a new, freer and safer place only to be forced to pick up and move once more as soon as you set your bags down.
It is hard to imagine life going on as normal under martial law and though this is distinctly possible most folks would prefer to not live under the threat instituted by it.
So long as you know where to go and what you should do when you get there you may find that you can wait for the situation to change or blow over entirely without being hassled, having your rights infringed or risking a negative outcome at the hands of troops instituting martial law.
Consider the potential locations on this list and see which one will work for you based on your lifestyle.