If you’re reading this the chances are good you’ve given some thought to SHTF events and how you’ll get you and your family through a myriad of possible events. In my mind the biggest question is: “Are we prepping for nothing?”
Is there really a chance society could collapse and cause a SHTF event of biblical proportions with all the technology at our disposal in this modern day and age? We’ve come a long way since electricity was first discovered. We have a million miles of electric lines, advanced cable networks and amazing switching technology to keep the world in touch. Smart phones put the world at our finger tips. The automobile has given us the ability to live just about anywhere we want yet get to work in a major city in just an hour or two. Trains and planes have given us world travel. In the span of a single day we can fly to the other side of the world.
In the 1800’s it would take months to send a letter from England to America. Now that same communication can be accomplished in a split second. The Internet has been the biggest marvel of all in the last thirty years. We’ve gone from a few geeks looking at newsgroups to the entire world able to Snapchat, Tweet, or Facebook people around the world with the push of a button.
Is it really possible that some event so catastrophic could occur that it would knock us back to the 1800’s or earlier?
A Matter of Degree
There are different events out there that can cause regional damage such as a power storm like the one that clobbered Puerto Rico Earlier this year. There’s the potential for an earthquake in California that could knock out the state for awhile, or another Katrina could come along and cause major damage to the Gulf Coast again.
But is there really something that could happen that would cause the United States or the whole world to slip back a few hundred years socially, politically, economically, and technologically?
Let’s think about the smaller events for a moment. These seem to happen a few times a decade and fall into the categories above. A major storm or an earthquake, or even a big forest fire can cause considerable damage to parts of the country. Certainly not small to the people affected by the event of course, but in the grand scheme of things other states are available to rush in and provide assistance to those in need.
The next size up would be something like what happened to Puerto Rico in 2017 when Hurricane Maria came ashore and wiped out the island’s electric grid 100%. Months later they are still having a lot of problems and people have deserted the island looking for other places to live.
Other events on a massive scale happen less often, such as a power outages in the northeast caused by blackouts, CME, or ice storms. This year in Maine we had a big storm come through and wipe out power for people in just about the entire state. This becomes a great test for your preparations.
One of those large events we should talk about is war. In this day and age of nuclear weapons it’s a good idea to at least think about the ramifications of a nuclear war. Something like this could be a matter of degree. If only a few missiles are launched at each side we may only lose fifty-thousand people; however, if it’s a full-on nuclear strike on two or more fronts it would probably mean millions dead in the early days with many more succumbing to radiation sickness, starvation, disease, and people being stupid in the following months and years.
With North Korea, China, Russia, The United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, and Israel all holding nukes we are walking a tight rope. All it would take is one mad man to push the button and the whole world could be at war in a matter of minutes.
Even a conventional war could mean hundreds of thousands dead and depending on whether or not it’s fought in our country could mean many of those are civilian casualties. That plus the damage to the country’s infrastructure could set us back as well. The United States, China, Russia and North Korea all have modern state-of-the-art armies and the attitudes to go with it.
Some day diplomacy will fail and what that means is anybody’s guess.
Something relatively easy to pull off would be an EMP strike. Three or four nukes exploded 250 miles over our country and we would be back in the dark ages for years to come. The scary part about this is that they don’t even have to have pinpoint accuracy. As long as it’s somewhere overhead it’s gonna knock out power and bring us to our knees.
Not only do we have to worry about EMP or CME, but there’s also the very real possibility of hacker attacks on the our grid, which could bring it down for months or years as well.
Our technology makes us great; however, it’s also our weak link because without it we are deaf, dumb and blind and open to attack or invasion. Our grid is vulnerable to attack and as it ages it becomes more so. The same goes for the Internet, which largely helps us control traffic, communications, power, banking, and just about anything else attached to it. Even our refrigerators and lights are connected to the web today. We have little robots sitting on our counters that answer questions, shop for us, and play music at our request.
Let’s face it. All this technology that makes us so strong as an entity makes us weak individually. Most folks today have cell phones and all you have to do is walk downtown or to a mall somewhere and look around to see them bent over looking at them. Watch the people who came by car or cab or some other mode of transportation and as you look at them as yourself this question: “If there was an EMP strike right this second, how many of these people could get home without assistance?” Many couldn’t walk the distance to get home because in most cases we live ten, twenty or more miles from where we work or like to go shopping. Many people are disabled and depend on electricity in some form to get around or even survive. I’ve done this exercise many times and what I see is a lot of obese, sick, out of shape, and older folks who would have a hard time getting home.
We have become individually weak in spite of our continued dominance on the world front. The reason for this is our superior technology. We can build superior weapons, develop AI and robots, fly drones from a hundred miles away, and so forth, but I read in the news lately that in boot camp being a able to throw a hand grenade a certain distance is no longer a prerequisite for passing because many of the people going through training lack the strength to throw it! (If you ever meet me in person ask me about my first grenade toss in Marine Basic Training.)
Technology keeps many of us alive and if we were to lose the grid millions would die in the first year. Just how far down the rabbit hole we go depends on the event, but if you’ve ever read “One Second After” you’ll have an idea of just how bad things can go.
Could something happen that would knock us back to the 1800’s or worse? Sure. The problem is trying to determine just how likely it is to occur. No one has a crystal ball, but if you pay attention to what’s going on in the world you might be able to get a sense of when things might be getting ready to go bad. At that point you can implement your bug-out or bug-in plan, talk to family, friends and neighbors, or get things ready on the Doomstead.
Like the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.”