This is one of those recurrent topics and I receive email asking about this very often.
Where will I fare better? What’s the safest place to be in as everything goes down?
Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while know where I stand. I don’t think an isolated homestead or farm is the best place to be in, and it certainly isn’t when crime becomes a real problem all across the country. In people’s minds, in their novels and fantasies thing may always work out just the way they want. It also helps that none of the things speculated in these fictional scenarios have ever occurred, at least not yet. A person can be so easily fooled into thinking that his retreat or homestead in any given US state is safe from looters and criminals because this or that “expert” claims so, the real reason why it´s been working well for any given period of time is that you’ve never actually had it put to test by your environment. Argentina puts you to test and that’s where suppositions, theories and wishful thinking crash against the cold hard reality.
The reason I’m revising this topic is because a friend of mine suffered an attack to his farm in just a couple days ago. He’s smart, successful, experienced, and a true survivalist in my opinion. You might remember the home invasion attempt my dentist suffered a while back. This friend of mine wasn’t that lucky. During the afternoon five men approached the housekeeper’s home and took the family hostage. Dogs barked but they moved fast. They used ski masks and gloves, armed of course, communicated with radio and were very professional. Right after reducing the housekeepers they quickly moved to the main building and took control of the main house. My friend wasn’t there with his wife and kids, it was occupied by other family members that where visiting. Being the smart person he is, that’s not his main residence and prefers to live in a gated community. As found on Wikipedia:
Since Buenos Aires has been traditionally regarded as a socially integrated city, gated communities have been the object of research by sociologists. Gated communities are an important way through which people – particularly middle and upper classes – cope with the high levels of violent criminal activity in Greater Buenos Aires.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gated_community#United_States
The home invaders went after the usual, money and jewelry. They also took his guns, gear, Bug out Bag among other items. On the bright side no one was hurt and that’s at least some good news. He wasn’t there at the time this happened and given the level of professionalism, I’d say they studied his movements for some time and waited until he left.
Guys, we’re talking about a place that had people living in it, a family dedicated to keeping an eye on the place, and a dozen workers doing various jobs all across the estate. Unless you have dedicated security, all day long, all year long, its impossible to defend such a place. I’m not talking about your friend Joe coming over “when SHTF” or the guy next door pulling security. The guy next door will have to travel to Denver next week because of his job and uncle Joe will get bored of doing this after a couple weeks, or his wife will divorce him, moving to California with her new boyfriend and Joe following so as to at least be able to see his kids on weekends. That’s life. Counting on less than professional hired security for this on a long term basis is as serious as playing fort with your kid, shooting at each other with Nerf guns.
Please do your research. Moving your family to a retreat in the sticks because its safer than cities would be a huge mistake, especially if that decision if ever put to test by real widespread high crime or anarchy events. Its not only Argentina. Look at Mexican retreats in druglord land across the American border, look at most South American countries with high levels of violent crime. Study South Africa’s white farmers and how they fared, even with hardened homes and hiring round the clock armed guards. Look at Bosnian farms and isolated houses during the beginning of the war, there’s lessons to be learned in all these scenarios and its historic, so you’re not basing your family’s well being on someone’s suppositions or fantasies, but on experience. Whatever decision you make regarding where you live, at least be honest with yourself and do it for the right reasons.
A quick Pro and Con list for rural vs city would be:
*Healthier lifestyle, fresh air, contact with nature. The calm, low stress lifestyle is one of the greatest advantages in my opinion.
*More space for your projects, gardening and raising live stock.
*Less likely to suffer opportunistic theft or vandalism incidents.
*Having your own firearm shooting range in your back yard means you can practice more, though defensive training should be done with other people in a more competitive environment so as to increase the stress factor and be objective regarding your skills in comparison to others.
*In a pandemic scenario, you’re safer if the disease is spread by contact with humans.
*Unless you’re self-employed in a line of work that makes no difference where you’re located, you’ll have less job opportunities. In many cases, job offers may be non-existent.
*Greater distance from hospitals. When needing immediate medical attention every second counts. The further away you are from advanced medical assistance your chances of survival are likewise reduced. This is an important factor, especially as you grow older.
*You are further away from schools. While some people homeschool, during an economic down turn every family member will have to bring an income so as to sustain the family and homeschool may not be viable. Though some may not admit it to themselves, not all parents are skilled teachers either.
*In a pandemic scenario, you’re much more exposed to diseases transmitted by animals (dengue, for example) since the fumigation and pest control efforts will be concentrated on the most populated areas.
*If you have a job in a nearby city, chances are your commuting distance is now greater and you are more exposed to fluctuation of gas prices.
*In terms of security, while you avoid certain types of crime, your isolation and lack of neighbors also means criminals can be more bold, spend more time during home invasions without fear of being detected and help arriving any time soon. The homestead will also have more appealing loot than an average downtown or suburban home, and the risk of getting caught while perpetrating the crime is also less, with less witnesses and cameras compromising the operation.