reply to post by Starwise
Excellent observations, and valid questions!
Small children present a quandary. They don't travel well, especially long distance and on foot (STAY AWAY from roads - they're natural "game
trails" for the human species). Most have a hard time being quiet, and absolutely NEED the psychological security of a fixed position. In those cases
it's better, in my opinion, to pre-position yourself away from urban areas, where they are less likely to draw unwanted attention - if that's even
possible. Everyone's situation at the starting gate is different. I'm not talking making camp in the wilderness with them, but rather relocating
ahead of time to a smaller, more rural community. Rural communities tend towards being closer knit. They tend to work together better, and the nearest
potential for trouble is farther away than in a city. Sure, some city neighborhoods are fairly tightly welded together, but in those cases trouble may
only be a few blocks away.
The reason one needs to re-locate as early as possible is to improve the chances of "bonding" into the community, making friends and integrating
into it. Otherwise, one runs a risk of still being an "outsider" when adversity hits. I moved from an urban area (Cleveland OH) to a rural area in
the Appalachians when I was a kid. It took a couple of months (on average) for us to get knit into the community. Some of us, being more gregarious,
integrated quicker than others. My sisters just melted right in to it, like fish to water. My parents were already from that sort of environment (my
mother was born there) so they didn't have too hard a time integrating in, either. I was "accepted", but didn't really get integrated in until a
good bit later than the rest. Paradoxically, it took a knock down, drag out fight to integrate me. After that, natives all knew where I stood, and
just what I'd put up with (and what I wouldn't), and we all got along famously.
One thing that struck me there, and I'll never forget it, was riding down the road, EVERYONE we encountered smiled and waved. I went so far as to ask
my folks what was wrong with those people, grinning and waving at people they didn't even know! It was an alien culture to me at the time - I'd
never seen that sort of behavior before. Now, it's second nature to me.
If your willing to help, and to work, and make that known, it helps a lot. I got a "job" my first day of school there. It didn't pay any cash, but
it sure had dividends, working in a tobacco field and helping a local farmer. It was a family farm, the kids asked me if I'd come over and help, and
I jumped in to tobacco gum up to my elbows, rolling "suckers" off of the plants. Like I said, it didn't pay cash, but I made friends and got fed.
That's worth more than gold, since I've said time after time that you can't eat gold. At the end of the day, I was tired, sweaty, and coated with
about a quarter inch of tobacco gum that I had to use gasoline to wash off of me, but it paid off all the same.
Bonus: the whole community will help look after your kids, Keep an eye on 'em and keep 'em safe.
Water is another problem, in some areas. In urban areas, most water is delivered via an infrastructure system. If that breaks down, it's game on
finding any. Some places have gone so far as to pass laws against private wells, in order to protect the government monopoly on water. I know for fact
that High Point, NC has such a law. I had a friend there who bought a house, and they found that there was a well (capped off but workable) right in
the basement. The city found out too, and forced them to fill it in with concrete, citing health reasons. I grew up drinking from wells and springs,
and am no worse for the wear. Matter of fact, I'm in generally better health than a lot of the natives in that area, so the "health concerns"
excuse doesn't wash with me. I believe, and always will, that it was just to protect the government monopoly on water distribution.
Look at a few maps of urban areas, anywhere on Earth, and compare them. You'll notice one thing that almost all of them have in common. At least one
river runs through them. Communities grow up around waterways. They have to have massive amounts of water to support a concentrated population, and
the rivers also provide avenues of ingress and egress for travel and trade. The first urban area ever was the Indus RIVER civilization.
Another thing to notice is that in nature animals tend to congregate at certain times at watering points, or "watering holes". A subtext to that is
that watering holes also draw predators, and they're not there just to get a drink. They know that meals are handy and concentrated at watering
points, making for less work in the hunt - dinner comes to THEM there.
From that, we can take it that most large sources of water will be guarded, either by "good guys" who may not be all that friendly when it comes to
their water, or by "bad guys" waiting on their next "meal". I wouldn't plan on parking, either permanently or temporarily, near a large water
source. In most areas, there are smaller water sources, like springs and creeks, which can be visited at unlikely spots and water carried away from,
back to base.
When I was a kid, our spring went dry for a few years during the summer months, and we had to find alternate water. We had a joke back then about
"running water", because we had to "run and git it". That was our "running water" in the summer months during those years. There was another
spring, about a mile away down on a hollow where water gushed straight out of a cleft in a rock, ice cold and year-round. I saved up gallon milk jugs
until I had 12 of them, and tied them together two and two at the handles with baling twine - leaving enough between them to grasp. I'd take all 12
of them down to that spring, fill 'em up, and cross 8 of them (two groups of 4) so that the strings made an "x", and pad my shoulders for the other
4. Two slung over the right shoulder, two over the left, and four carried in each hand by the "x" strings, I'd carry them home 12 gallons at a
time, and make sure we had water.
Bath time involved an oblong tin tub that usually hung on the side of the cabin when not in use. A lot more water was hauled up via vehicle for bath
times, heated on a wood stove, and good to go. During warm weather, I've been known to bathe in the river, about a mile and a half from the house, or
alternatively take a shower in a waterfall that was up a hollow a good bit closer.
My point here is, where there is a will, there IS a way. Seek, and ye shall find. It all depends on how bad you want something, and survival is right
up there near the top of the list for some who realize just how fragile it can be. Don't plan on parking at large watering holes, since they will
draw others as well, but there are smaller watering points around if you look for them that are less conspicuous.
It's survival, and might not involve just the exact style that folks have accustomed themselves to. Don't visit ANY water without backup if you can
avoid it. One to get water, one to guard, and alternate. A few seconds warning may be all you need to get away if it comes to it.
Pools for water: Ever seen one 3 months in to not being chemically treated? 'Nuff said.
I've never read that book "One Second After". Cannibalism will likely be a problem in some areas, but probably not as prevalent as some stories
make out. Another good reason to stay away from urban areas - high concentration of people, low concentration of food production facilities. Most will
be completely lost when the store shelves go bare, and the water works stop working. In spite of being lost, some will do whatever they think they
have to in order to survive, unprepared.
Social breakdown: The way these things usually shake out is a reversion, however temporary or permanent, to some form of tribalism. If it happens that
your "tribe" is sedentary, you're likely not to have to worry much about food and water - the group itself will secure that for it's membership in
some way, or it will fall apart. If your "tribe" is mobile, watch for signs that it's turning predatory, and slink quietly away in the night at the
first sign. However high on the hog they live for a time, it won't turn out well for them in the end, and you don't want to be there for that.
The main thing to realize is that humans are gregarious, social critters. Sooner or later, any social breakdown is going to re-coalesce into some form
of group structure. Best to have your community already around you (and already be integrated into it) when it hits, if that's at all possible.
Another plus for grouping together is the division of labor - some folks will be dedicated to security functions, and they'll be the ones to make
decisions about approaching stragglers, taking that worry off of your shoulders.
High population vs. hunting for food doesn't concern me much. Remember, as has already been observed in this thread, most of that population is
urbanized. Most of those will be stuck where they are, and most of the ones who make it out won't have a clue about how to hunt - they'll likely
turn to begging or predation. Even the ones who CAN hunt will probably use firearms, rather than any other methods of which they are unaware, and ammo
eventually runs out without a reliable method of resupply. I seriously doubt that they'll be able to put a very big dent in wild things, but farmers
with stock will have to watch their herds a bit closer for a time.
My apologies for the long, rambling reply.