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why the suburbs may be the most dangerous place

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posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 09:11 AM
There is tons of stuff that people need to be made aware of if society should fall. Ive had friends who talk about raiding abandoned houses to get what they want. Big problem in my book. For several reasons.
One in a complete break down people may run at first but then when they find out they have no place to go they will come back home. so odds are there wont be that many abandoned houses. And what of normal stuff we take for granted. stuff that will no longer happen in a collapse. stuff like gas pipe leaks fixed. house will start blowing up. Gas lines hold alot of gas for a very ling time.
Does anybody know the real danger of septic systems. Covers break. how long can you tread S(&%. what about trash disposal. all that rotten food. rotted stuff carries very nasty disease.
Those are just a few off the top of my head. I'm sure you all can think of more. lets post our ideas of why the suburbs may be the most dangerous place after the collapse.

posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 01:54 PM
What about the fact that when everyone is feeling an urban center, they go through the burbs on their way out? That's pretty bad in and of itself. Anywhere along major avenues might be stripped, or turned into impromptu battlegrounds ones the highways back up a la Hurricane Katrina.


posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 02:26 PM
It greatly depends on how long the water's off as to how dangerous the suburbs will become. If the water is permanently disabled, the 'burbs won't last 6 weeks. The biggest danger in the burbs once the water is off will be that of fire especially in places like SoCal and the other dry places. It would only take one accident/arson to destroy much of the Southwest. No more burbs, no more problems.

If the water infrastructure can be maintained, much of the burbs will likely become vegetable gardens to help stave off starvation as well as developing a local food supply. Many of today's large urban areas food supply comes from an incredibly long distance. Believe it or not, a transportation/fuel crisis might actually be a good thing for the world healthwise . Forcing us couch potatoes off our duffs to obtain our food through self sufficiency. Speaking of septic sanitation, few people realize how much of our effluence is used to actual fertilize our own food right now(even in the US). Both human and animal manure has been use for centuries around the world as fertilizer. With a crippled transportation infrastructure, artificial chemical fertilizers will in short supply and you can imagine the rest of the story.

Everyone seems to think that there's going to be some huge cataclysm that basically wipes out modern civilization but I kind of doubt it. We may be heading into a period of relatively slow technological and sociological progress but with both the intellectual and human resource that we have in the world right now, I've little doubt that several hundred years from now our biological and technological descendants will look back in dismay at us just as we look back at the 15th-16th century with a far more critical eye.

posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 02:33 PM
crgintx, I rather think they'll look at the time after the coming apocalypse as something like the way we look at the Dark Ages: going from the glory of the Roman Empire to...farming dirt. We're all too reliant on the network we've built up, that if we lose a piece of it with any sort of permenance, then we're screwed. If the internet were to vanish tomorrow, how would so many businesses get by? Or if crude got to be 900$ a barrel, how would the west get by? it wouldn't. There would be a rending, tearing sounds and it would all fall apart.


posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 03:03 PM
Suburbs will be an interesting study in the event of Situation X. I think they'll probably become a lot more like minature city-states than anything else.

Stage One, those that remain in their houses, rather than fleeing, attempt to wait it out till their supplies begin to be exhausted, then they go in search of neighbors to "help."

Stage Two, violence. Raids, misunderstandings, greed, and hunger will cause a lot more death than mere starvation. Entire neighborhoods may become decimated in the struggles.

Stage Three, people begin to band together. They start withdrawing into gated communities, as the existing walls would provide something of a protective barrier. The fancier ones, with high, brick walls, will probably be the most sought-after.

Stage Four, Scavenging, after the Gated Shantytown forms, small militias begin dismantling houses in a radius around the wall, both for construction materials and to free up line of sight. The creation of farmland is the result.

Stage Five, Castling. The Gated Shantytown eventually becomes a brick castle of sorts, a fortress capable of withstanding assaults. The inhabitants have created permanent structures, and start farming the lands around the walls previously occupied by houses.

Stage Six, Resettlement. As the Castle becomes too crowded, and society becomes more civil, people begin moving permanently onto their farmlands, returning to the castle only for civics, commerce, or protection.

Stage Seven, Exploration. Teams begin exploring the lands, re-mapping the new layout, discovering other "castles" and city-states. New lines of communication are set up between these entities.

Stage Eight. Wars, followed by eventual diplomacy or conquest.

Stage Nine. Nation Building, new nations formed. Life returns to normal once more.

Stage Ten. Situation X. Return to Stage One.

posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 05:24 PM
DE, the most common error modernist make is that their way of life is the vital one. Human civilization is not based on gadgetry like computers but 2 extremely simple commodities: fresh water and fertile soil for agriculture. Everything else is ancillary to those things.

Ask any Celt or Druid how great the Roman Empire was? You won't get an answer you'll like. IMHO current Western Culture needs some major modification if it's going to survive. I despise the word "civilization" as that through Roman eyes it always meant that they were culturally superior to other cultures that they conquered. There was a lot of things now considered wrong with the Roman culture like slavery and debauchery that still seems excessive by even our hedonistic standards. Even some of the most primitive tribes in the world had what is now considered democratic values and rule of law, so the Romans really didn't give them anything that they didn't already have and they took more than they gave in return.

posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 07:07 PM
Gadgetry sure is nice, I'll tell you. Let me put it other terms: the Celts and Druids and all that tended to be self-sufficient, or close to it. we haven't been like that in the west for at least a century. It's probably been quite a bit longer. The fact is that even if we go back to pastoral lifestyles, a lot of land has been paved over, and that's primo territory. Fresh water and land are in short supply, and only our beloved fossil fuels ensure we have so much food. Even then, it's the only reason it can be transported to people's mouthes.

The Romans has law and order, sanitation, and they had fertile land and water. Why did they consider themselves better? They had more and better food, more and cleaner water, and education. The Gauls were doing okay, but they wouldn't have reached the pinnacles of engineering, math, and literature that the Romans did.

Another point: How many people in downtown Chicago do you think can farm?


posted on Jul, 10 2007 @ 02:15 AM
I don't know how many Chicagoans know how to farm but I lay odds it's more than you think. Necessity is called the mother of invention and desperation may be called its birth coach. Alot of city dwellers will learn basic gardening fairly quickly if the need arises. Urban food gardening and backyard animal husbandry always surges during economic hard times.

I agree about with you about out modern gadgets are quite nice. If by some chance the Internet manages to stay up and running, it will be invaluable in putting local resources to good use and developing local economies.

posted on Jul, 10 2007 @ 11:18 AM
While it doessurge, backyard husbandry and victory gardens never were primary sources of food- always supplements. With parks and vacant lots commandeered, they made only 40% of the food supply. With less basic supplies and a larger population to feed, I doubt home agriculture will take off. definitely amongst survivors of the immediate six months after, but expect starvation and raid against food sources. Chow takes time to grow, and food in your belly while you're doing it.


posted on Jul, 10 2007 @ 03:57 PM
I've got 3 non-suburban bugout areas that I can retreat to if/when necessary. All are at least 90 miles from major urban centers. The Central Texas area is rich in both game and wild food. I'm getting ready to harvest some free food at the end of the month, mesquite bean pods. I'm surrounded by acorn bearing oaks. Acorn flour has long been a human food staple in past times.

One of the biggest threats to the current food supply is largely a man-made problem: hybridization of grain products. I always by non hybrid seeds for my gardening. Few people realize how much our ancestors still depended on what nature could provide even as close as the Great Depression era . Many of the foods that we take for granted have just recently domesticated within the last century or two.

Farmers(not agri-businessmen) have long been much more in tune with natural trends. Zero-till farming is growing practice in many areas. A recent study showed that the bain of the Texas farmer, the mighty mesquite, could produce more food/calorie per acre with zero irrigation than any known grain product(without irrigation). With careful trimming, it also produced wood as fuel without affecting beanpod production. It will grow in areas that would require intense human intervention to produce even a quarter the yeild. If we humans are going to survive the coming climate changes, we have to starting thinking out of the box. Nature is much better at producing food(biomass, really) than even the most intense of human efforts.

posted on Jul, 12 2007 @ 03:02 PM
Don’t forget dogs. Thousand of roaming dogs, released by their owners, will form packs, and hungrily look for food (read YOU).

posted on Jul, 12 2007 @ 11:49 PM
Given the amount of guns and archery equipment in the US, I seriously doubt that the fabled wild dog packs will be much trouble. Rover will look mighty tasty after while when food gets scarce.

posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 09:15 AM
I’ve run across two wild dog packs in my life. I was “hunting” one pack after my mom experienced a showdown early one morning on her way to her car. This was a rural farming area. I stayed up early into the morning waiting for them to come back. Without going into too much detail, if I hadn’t had the protection of an automobile, I would have been injured before I finished the task. The automobile I was sitting in was “injured.”

The other time, many years later, I heard dogs outside my house one night. I had a hunting dog that lived in the back yard most of the time, and opened the back door to find 12 wild dogs had my dog cornered near my house. They were going to kill her. The wild dogs turned on the first one that was wounded, and carried it off into the woods, and I never saw any of them again. Again, I am trying not to go into the gory details, but the viciousness of these animals was burned into my retinas.

My point is, that if you are caught outside, with only a pistol (or a bow), because you are cutting firewood or doing some other manual task with your hands, hungry dogs can, and most likely will be a real problem. I’ve had two scary/life threatening experiences with them.

One or two wild dogs are no problem. 15 or 20 definably is a problem for one or two individual people. I would imagine that if the world is bad enough for us to be considering these things, the dogs that survive will be just like the gangs. They will be the worst of the worst, and only the fittest and meanest will survive. You may walk around a corner and find 20 mean, hungry, wild animals, ready to take you down. They will have heard many gunshots by this time, so you can’t count on scaring them away like that.

I agree that Fido will look tasty after a few weeks/months of little or no food, and many dogs would be eaten. But the ones that survive the first few months will be nasty, crap covered, diseased animal. I’d probably eat bugs, worms, and tree bark before messing with one of the long term survivors.

The following links has some numbers on dogs in the US. There were 61 million dogs in the US in 2001, and a mean of 1.6 per household. Granted many of them are mops and couch potatoes, but even if a third are larger dogs, that is still 20 million potential hungry animals that could form packs to hunt for food. And many dogs haven’t forgotten their instincts when it comes to finding food and surviving.

2001 Dog Statistics including the US

IMHO, if the world (or even just the US) gets as bad as this thread is suggesting, there WILL be packs of dogs, and they will kill humans.

Consider even one pack of 20 wild/hungry dogs in your area of operation. You better make sure you have some razor wire around your outdoor latrine. Install some rifle ports just to be safe…

posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:07 AM

Originally posted by DeusEx
While it doessurge, backyard husbandry and victory gardens never were primary sources of food- always supplements. With parks and vacant lots commandeered, they made only 40% of the food supply. With less basic supplies and a larger population to feed, I doubt home agriculture will take off. definitely amongst survivors of the immediate six months after, but expect starvation and raid against food sources. Chow takes time to grow, and food in your belly while you're doing it.


Deus Ex, you can be sure from our previous exchanges that I'm not just ragging on you, and I agree with a lot of your "big picture" views.

That said, a lot of people on this thread are seriously underestimating human adaptability.

I have friends from moscow who talk about the collapse of the SU in 1991. They lost all access to fuel and food for a year. They did survive (although with drastic weight loss!) by living on backyard gardens. My friend says her father made money by collecting cigarette butts and re-rolling them and selling them to addicts. . . .

A lot of problems will even themselves out in the first 6 weeks. Gas leaks will be offset by the fact that the pipeline stations will quit pressuring the lines, and the gas will dissapate fairly quickly.

Within about 6 mo, people who don't have latrine discipline will host massive epidemics--first in the rainiest regions, just like Yugoslavia when it collapsed. That will ease a lot of the burden right there.

Look for a 2 week "adjustment" period, while the dialectic between armed bandits and neighborhood patrols works it out in favor of the local patrols, as warlords assert themselves (happened in suburban moscow---a lot of them have grown to national mafia syndicates in 15 years)

Trash will be less of the problem, because the suburbs will be producing less trash; right now, 90% of their garbage is lawn clippings and packaging. No more convenience foods means no more packaging; and without cheap water, no more lawn clippings. They will be taking a "crash course" in recycling.

Look for people to steal wooden fencing for fuel, and aluminum siding for rain shelters.

The thing about trade networks is, that while they appear to be incredibly complex and fragile, they actually contain multiple redundancies. Farmers may not have access to distant markets for their corn, but they can burn it as fuel. Grain stores indefinitely, and can be shipped by pack animal/human just as well as by tractor-trailer. As the price per bushel soars, people can make a living back-packing in to the cities.

Remember, patriotism may be a hobby, but people will always risk their lives to make a buck! And as long as there is money or barter to be made, networks will re-assert themselves, and begin building webs all over again.

Once again I recommend two books on the ends of civilizations: Through a Glass Darkly: the tumultuous 14th century, and The Great Wave: Price revolution and the rythmn of history

To quote T.S. Eliot:

"This is the way the world ends--not with a bang, but a whimper."

posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 01:35 PM
And most of the 20 million will be firmly attached to their owners as guard dogs. I've seen wild dog packs,too. There are a nuisance but nowhere near as dangerous as the fairy tales told about them. If you shoot one or two of them, they will flee. I've done it with a rimfire pistol. One of the poor beasts had flee collar still on it where the dog had likely been abandoned but its master. In the rural area of North Texas that I grew up in we had a lot of city folks who'd dump dogs and cats that they no longer wanted. I'm not a PETA person but I see abandoning any pet in rural or wilderness areas as extreme cruelty. Lone dogs usually don't survive very long without food. Most feral animals I've seen flee at the first sign of humans including feral dogs. A fresh stray dog sees most humans as their alphas and will try to gain acceptance into your pack. I seriously doubt that even 5 million dogs will be turned out because 90% of most dog owners view their dogs as family members not disposable pets. Many will kill them rather than let them starve to death. In most rural areas, they'll be hunted down as threats to livestock. The 2 most dangerous animals to go feral are pigs and cattle, not dogs.

posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 02:33 PM
While both of my feral/wild dog encounters also occurred in rural areas, that is not the subject of this thread.

The wide open farm lands with houses and livestock scattered about will be just as you state. The farmers will protect their animals and shoot anything within their fenceline.

But, since this is a “Situation X Suburbia” thread, I was trying to relate what it could be like in the outskirts of a city of one million or more. Here is a calculation using my assumptions along with the statistics I quoted above.

Population of metro area: 1.2 million people, roughly 2.4 people per household equals 500,000 households

0.5 million households times 1.6 dogs/household equals 800,000 dogs.

0.8 million dogs divided by 3 equals 266,666 large dogs.

Assume that 1 in 10 is released for whatever reason, and that is nearly 27 thousand large dogs roaming the streets,

or over 2000 packs of 10-15 dogs/each.

All of these dogs could be in the metro area of a city. They would move outward as the food supply diminished. People in buildings and semi-secure home will not be wasting ammo on dogs, when there are bigger (people) things to worry about.

Yes, there are several assumptions, one being that 1 in 10 large dogs would be released. I couldn’t find statistics on how many dogs were released in the Katrina disaster, but I found many reports on “unnumbered” and “untold numbers” of them were abandoned.

As for reasons to release the animals, city folk are much less likely to “put down” an animal that is using up too much food. No vets around for “humane” kills.

Jimmy and Hanna are crying that they can’t give Fido a little of their food, because Dad said the food is almost gone. Dad can’t take Fido out back, because the dog has been in the Family for three years, and this would make the miserable survival situation even worse. Heck, most people in NewYork don’t even own firearms. What are they gonna do, club Fido the family pet with a shovel while the kids look on, or just let him go to his own instinct.

My bet is that a bunch will be let go, like Katrina… people think that will be better than killing them. (I know most rural farm folk do not think this way.)

And most people (in the cities) think meat comes from the grocery store. Do you really think suburbia America knows how to kill and clean a 70-120 pound feral animal? Will Jimmy and Hanna eat it? Will Mom and Dad?

As for pigs and cows walking down the typical suburban residential street, bring it on.

In my experience, they don’t attack in packs. I’ve climbed more than a few trees trying to get away from wild/feral hogs. Don’t get me wrong; they are dangerous.

Just think about that hungry pack of 20 feral dogs you encounter while you are scrounging for food. Don’t you think there might be a little something to the “fairy tales told”? I do…

posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 04:29 PM
Dogs will be eaten. Sorry, but there it is.

Population densities will begin to slide below 200 ppl per square mile. Not over night, but over months. Remember that a lot of down town has NO ONE that lives there: the workers all drive out to the suburbs. You'll see a little population easement as people move IN to the downtown areas. In the US, that is where river access is, as well. rivers will go back to being the lifeblood of cities.

But most of the population will spread OUT. along major roads, because thy are shown on paper maps (no tomtom and gps after the crash . . .). They will be looking for food.

The good news for middle america is, there is room for them. Most farming relies on machinery and petro to produce. Right now, each farm worker feeds about 300 people. But without machinery and its oil, that number will slide back down in a hurry.

At the start of the middle ages, every farm worker fed 3. By the onset of the Black Death it was one worker feeding 7. by 1900, one american farm worker fed over 25 people. Look for that level of production, to fall back on.

Thing is, you can't harvest a thousand bushels of wheat by hand, unless you have 30 to 50 sets of hands. So there will be massive employment opportunities for those healthy enough to do hard labor. In case you have never used a scythe, (I have, 20 years ago), it ranks just above galley slave, and just below shoveling hot cow poop.

Also, it will take 5 years to get "up" to 1900-era technology. There aren't enough horses right now to power all the reapers, etc. Also, working as a horse ferrier (shoeing blacksmith) will pay more than doctors or lawyers. It did back then, too.

Most of the suburbs will go back to farms within 10 years or so of Econohell, which is what they were anyway. Some of the best bottomland in America is under parking lots.

Take a look at the "Great Depression" (1929-1934, not the REAL one of 763-890 AD). Most americans survived it. Less than 10,000 probably starved to death. It sucked, but people lived. They also legalized the most popular drug of the day. But that's another thread.


posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 11:25 PM
If&WTSHTF, everyone's main focus will be to get the farm-to-market system up and running again. Older farm equipment can run on biodiesel, wood gas or grain alcohol. Same with large tractor/trailers. A large segment of the population will likely being employed returning the civil infrastructure to good order.

The whole idea of this everyman for himself flies in the face of biology and 10,000 years of known history. Once human beings realized the power of large organized labor forces, we went from simple hunter-gatherers to a force only surpassed by Nature itself. It's a lesson that humans will not forget.

I don't believe the burbs will be any more dangerous than any other place if the worst happens. My biggest fear is that that certain religious and racist zealots will hold sway over large and armed groups of people. The zealots will try to convince their gullible followers that the 'others and outsiders' must submit to their will or die. They are the only thing I'd fear after a breakdown of civilization. I can't stop the weather or comet/meteor strikes, but armed goons I know how to deal with. Every thing else is small stuff and details.

posted on Jul, 14 2007 @ 12:23 AM
People seem to be mis understanding what I had in mind for this thread. Its not suppose to be about warlords or anything like that. Its suppose to be about all the left over junk that we leave behind that can and does become very dangerous. I already mentioned gas leaks and covers over septic tanks. What about black mold from wet walls because of leaking roofs. Garages and bathrooms and kitchens full of chemicals. These are the true dangers of the burbs. When a fully stocked home is abandoned things go down hill very fast.
What I was going for was a kind of running list of the dangers Like what I mentioned above that might be faced in a mostly abandoned burbs. not so much of a bad guy making the burbs dangerous, but bad things making them dangerous. What happens when chemical A accidentally mixes with chemical B.

posted on Jul, 14 2007 @ 01:55 AM
One man dangerous chemicals might be another man's treasure. Almost all household chemicals are extremely useful. Everything from simple table salt to pesticides will be worth their weight in silver at least. You'd better have a copy of Granddad's Book of Chemistry. It's worth it's weight in gold.

AA, ignorance and rigid thinking will likely kill as many people after TSHTF as disease or bullets. Almost every item in the average modern house can be reused or recycled . Scrounging through the wreckage of the 'burbs will probably be a very lucrative occupation.

I'm thinking about the millions of tons of construction material that was simply bulldozed and hauled off as garbage after Katrina. The copper/aluminum wiring alone in those houses would have easily offset the labor costs to recover them. Few people realize the actual human effort that goes into the products that we routinely discard. Once the supply train is gone then they realize it.

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