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Old November 9, 2000, 10:44 AM   #1
Joe Demko
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This actually got started at another board, but as many threads there do, it deteriorated. If you want to check it out, it is the "Urban Escape" thread under tactics over at AR15.com. Thought I'd come here where the manners are better and get some other opinions on one fragment of that discussion.
Let us assume TSHTF in the form of a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack on an NYC-sized population center. You do not live in the area directly affected by the strike, but you do live close enough to have the waves of those "bugging out" reach your area. Further, let us assume that you have done enough advance preparation and have enough stuff on hand to see to your own family's needs during a period of social chaos.
Now for the questions:
1. How do you react to those refugees who turn to you as a possible source of food, safety, and shelter? We all here would probably shoot "looters" without having to pause to think about it, but what about the women and little children who have fled the city? Can you turn them away? What about those who are marginally better trained or prepared and attempt to "forage" on your property?
2. Suppose the problem is a contagious biological and the affected area is quarantined. You are one of the police/military/militia personnel placed to enforce that quarantine. Would you shoot people for trying to escape the quarantined area if those were your orders?

For my own part, the answer to #1 depends on the degree of chaos. If emergency services are available to react the same way they would to a hurricane or other similar disaster by setting up camps to feed and shelter the refugees, then I would help them out till the emergency services arrived. If the fabric of society is too disrupted for their to be an organized relief effort, then the refugees (all of them) are SOL as far as getting any help from me. A society that badly disrupted is in such bad shape that there is no telling how long the chaos will continue. I have to look after my own. If the problem is an infectious biological, we won't be taking in any refugees from the hot zone under any circumstances.
As for #2, I would shoot. People can be infectious w/o actually feeling any illness. In a misguided moment of mercy, I might turn a localized problem into an epidemic by not shooting.

How about you all?
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Old November 9, 2000, 03:32 PM   #2
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Golgo-13,
I am in a densely populated urban sprawl.
I have bug out gear and vehicles to get me out into the mountains. My daughter and I have cached over 3 areas in the mountains with adequate supplies for about 2 weeks each site.(In preparation for Y2 who?) We have been backpacking to keep in shape.
If we can bugout fast enough, I might have a chance.
My wife wants to fort up...might have to leave the wife....get a dog instead (might eat less)...doesn't sleep as soundly either.
Doesn't cook as well, though. She smells better...hunh, guess I keep the wife. Just get her away from the house.
Been figuring that if China is going to try anything, it'll be the bio stuff. Iran seems to like that kind of s#%@, too....so far terrorists have been sticking to bombs, though.
Anyway, been working with HazMat guys for a bunch of years....they have to stay to help the public...I don't have that obligation...think the mountains are looking better and better.
The HazMat guys have told me that if they send out the signal to home, at least their wife and kids have a chance to make it out in the mountains, away from a heavy population.
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Old November 9, 2000, 06:02 PM   #3
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Best chance in this sorta situation is to get out far in advance. Second best is to ride the worst out, and then head for a secondary location. Worst is to try to bug out while everyone else is.

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Old November 9, 2000, 07:56 PM   #4
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In the clinch, training takes over. Make the hard decisions before the fighting.

Train well.
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Old November 9, 2000, 08:24 PM   #5
dragontooth73
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Actually, I have personal experience with this in a few ways.

(1) I got caught in the riots in Seoul, '88. Right before the Olympics, when the communist infiltrators were cranking up the student action groups against the military junta. Bad news. Citywide panic.

(2) I was in Japan for the Kobe Earthquake, '95. Thousands dead, most of the downtown area one flaming wreck. Lots of refugees. Five years later, several thousand still live in prefab.

(3) I had to think hard about an NBC strike from the NK's on Tokyo. By proximity they'd take out (a) Yokota AFB (b) Atsugi NAS (c) Yokosuka, and the 7th Fleet all in one sweep. Plus they'd take out all the Japanese governmental/military command structure worth anything. Even without modified Scud strike, a simple 7.0+ Richter Scale earthquake would take out so much of the damn city it'd have the same effect on the population of 25 million+.

---

I've had lots of nights to think about it ... Golgo-13, in response I'd have to say:

1. I can't and will not in good conscience stay for anyone except those I have pre-chosen for the circumstances. I will move as quickly as possible using back roads to the periphery of the crisis area, then attempt to reach a port or road hub with enough distance NOT to serve as an obvious refugee destination or resupply point for rescuers. If I take on just anyone, I am also taking on panic risks. If I can't ensure the uniformity of the group in one purpose - mutual survival - then I might as well take chances with the only person I can count on 100%: Myself. I've hiked to about 100 miles outside of Tokyo into the deep woods in the Japan Alps. Takes 2 days of serious marching with a preplanned route.

2. Yes. But in all honesty, the question is moot. With either a blood or nerve agent, death is pretty much instantaneous, so that rules out discussing chemical weapons here. I don't think blister agents would be much of a concern: If the Geneva Convention is broken, the incentive is to break it BIG. You're talking biological. If something like Cholera or Anthrax was dissipated, no one would know within the first few days if such was released, making a quarantine impossible. With all the urban chaos, it'd be a foregone conclusion: Forget it. Shooting people is stupid. You'd have to wipe out all dogs, cats, crows, rats, EVERY potential carrier in the hot zone too and YOU CANNOT DO THAT IN TIME. Remember, in the Black Death they lynched large numbers of "suspected" carriers while the rats went about their business. In essense, what I'm saying is: How would you know and how could you ever be sure? You cannot. Optimal solution is a fuel-air explosive detonated immediately in the wake of impact from the biological weapon (assuming warhead delivery.) If delivery of the pathogen is in the lower atmosphere, then what's the use. Foregone conclusion.

I say leg it fast out of the zone if you're a civvie, perform your duties if you're military/LEO/FEMA, and have the grace to meet the end whatever form it takes. With honor.

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Old November 10, 2000, 05:43 PM   #6
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Excellent post. Arigato.
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Old November 11, 2000, 04:40 AM   #7
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Dang Golgo-13 ... I just read http://forums.ar15.com/Forum7/HTML/000596.html

And all I can say is whoa ... it did degenerate. Let me explain my previous 1. and 2. better now:

1. I honestly think leaving is the best INDIVIDUAL choice that can be made. However, you made the point that this will result in millions of refugees on the roads. True. So staying is the best COLLECTIVE choice. True.

However I think there can be a balance. If I don't take a car and clog the road, if I pack as much rations for myself in order not to steal, and if I head to a destination that is far enough away for me not to serve as a drag on the rescue and recovery effort, then I believe my choice in legging it is valid. In this, my individual choice least impinges on the collective survival of everyone else.

2. I really do hate to risk sounding like a pedant, but pathogens are generally not species-specific. Shooting people is stupid. It encourages a further deterioration of the situation that is totally unwarranted: People are much less likely to cooperate with efforts at treatment if they're going to get shot. All those people staying put will IMMEDIATELY start to move out en masse in order to escape, aggravating the traffic control problem. In order to eliminate all the vectors - the rats, cats, dogs, crows, pigeons, people - only rapid delivery of napalm or fuel-air-explosives will do. Even if you DO shoot people, you're going to have to burn all those bodies ANYWAYS to prevent an epidemic. Taking them out one by one and hauling them in a bonfire exposes troops to pathogens and is slow, wasteful of resources, and unnecessarily cruel to the troops who will haul the bodies of mothers and children into incinerators.

Anyways, I hope I did prove my point with better manners than some of those folks. I do choose to live in a city, for now. With all due respect I will take from stores if necessary in order to equip myself; all the resources of a city in this case become necessary for survival of the whole, and the rules of a working economy are in suspension. Since I'm part of the whole, I will take what I need, not hoard the rest, and proceed with plan 1. Now as a result of my ad hoc preparations if I do wander across your property, I really don't intend to forage. I'm probably just avoiding the roads. We're talking about a localized disaster, I'm sure. Which means there are authority centers out there that are mobilizing aid, rescue efforts, and the like. I'll just take myself to a place where I can get such aid reasonably.

If I am a vector, I'll try to identify the symptoms as best I can. If my condition deteriorates within 24 hours to a point where I can no longer function, then I'll write a note, post it on a tree, and shoot myself.

I don't know if I've covered the bases ... what do you think?
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Old November 11, 2000, 02:16 PM   #8
Joe Demko
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Dragontooth73,
Thank you for your well thought out and well-spoken reply. In case you are interested, I made a concluding post to the original thread, I'll go back and read the replies n a day I am in a mood to be called names.
You are correct on a number of the things that you stated, especially about the non-species specificity of pathogens. Still, a cordon sanitaire is not necessarily a bad idea. When Yersinia pestis reaches the pneumonic phase, for example, there is no need of other vectors as it is spread from person to person directly. Shooting refugees was as extreme an example as I could come up with, as it is out there at the fringes where the hardest decisions are made. During a recent plague outbreak in India, the Indian government set up a quarantine of the area and managed to control the outbreak. Plague is endemic among rodents anyway, what matters is controlling an outbreak before it gets to the pneumonic stage. Likewise, when there are ebola outbreaks in parts of Africa, those governments quarantine the areas as best they can until the outbreak burns itself out. It helps that ebola is so lethal that it is self-limiting. you are correct that shooting the refugees would aggravate the already chaotic social conditions. The fuel-air or napalm option might in fact be the best. I am not the one who would have to make that decision and I am glad of that. (Incidentally, you aren't pedantic. I have a B.S. in Biology and I concentrated on entomology and zoonoses.)
For my part on the crossing property issue, I'll be happy to let you cross as long as you neither take no leave anything in your passage. I have three water sources on my property, two of them are springs that bubble out at the surface. The feces alone from any great number of refugees defecating on the ground is likely to contaminate one or more of my supplies. I also have a stream running through my property, shall I let them defecate in it and ruin the water for anyone downstream who may be depending on it?
You may help yourself to anything in the city you wish, as far as I am concerned. As you point out, a normal economy is no longer in effect. Use caution though, I understand some Korean shopkeepers in LA took a dim view of folks helping themselves a few years ago.
Finally, do you have someplace you are actually headed when you do this? At some point, your supplies will run out and then there will be a temptation to forage/steal. Have a destination in mind. One where you will be expected and wanted.
Always a pleasure to correspond with you, Dragontooth73.
Regards,
Golgo-13
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Old November 11, 2000, 02:41 PM   #9
dragontooth73
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Well, I hadn't realized that I was talking to a specialist. In all honesty, thank you for the courtesy of your reply.

The thing about ebola outbreaks, is that they occur in areas with relatively sparse population density, and minimal transport grids. We're talking small, isolated villages, and dirt roads. An urban sprawl, with millions of people, cars, and avenues of departure, is IMO a much greater scale of magnitude.

In terms of vectors, I think dogs pose the greatest threat. Being larger-sized mammals, they can incubate the pathogen better than say birds, transmit it through bites, and they have much greater survival capabilities. In Stalingrad, large numbers of dogs swam across the Volga away from the scene of the fighting. These additional vectors still matter. Just because a pathogen attains a state where it can jump from human to human, doesn't mean that all those parasites and family pets don't need to be contained. If you're talking about extreme examples, I think napalm or a FAE is much more extreme than asking national guardsmen to set up cordons and shoot people. Yet it's not a question of morality here, it's a question of a solution. I think the epidemic from decaying bodies in any event necessitates an incendiary solution. Not much sense in being treated for Anthrax if Cholera and Typhoid lurk the streets.

My destination would be any medium-sized city with a functional government. I'm sure the fire station would help out. We're not talking apocalypse, we're talking a localized epidemic or similar disaster on a population center. Banks and other vestiges of a normal economy (and morality, I might add) will still be functional outside of the zone. That's what the context of my replies are in. If it comes down to a total breakdown of the world as we know it, I'm going to steal everything I need from shops - not private homes - and head west. If I need to link up with some roving tribe, so be it.

I'm still keeping the suicide option open in case of critical exposure to pathogens. Like I said, decency is the least you can hold to as a human being.

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited November 11, 2000).]
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Old November 11, 2000, 02:45 PM   #10
ctdonath
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1. It's up to the individual, and such questions degenerate because reasonable people come to different reasonable yet irreconcileable conclusions.
Review what you have, who you are obligated to care for (i.e.: clear dependents), and how long the crisis will likely last. During the Y2K hype, I generally began with a generous heart, and quickly became irritated and cynical when a dozen separate friends commented that if there was a crisis, they'd "just go to Carl's house - he's ready" and drag their dependents with them; as a single person preparing to support only myself and maybe one other, it was distressing to consider that if TSHTF I could have two dozen people already planning to mooch off me, not to mention neighbors and stray desparate strangers.
Provide what you can without endangering your dependents. Stock up some extra stuff just as handouts. And recognize that you have limits.

2. If the orders are legal and moral, follow them. Think this stuff throught before signing up for it.
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Old November 11, 2000, 06:19 PM   #11
dragontooth73
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Golgo-13:
This will be my final post on this topic as there is little more to say. I have chosen where I live, in part, because there are many things about urban settings I don't like. The fact that they are target areas was one of those factors, although not the only or overwhelming one. I have lived in major cities before, so I chose deliberately to leave that setting. If you live in an urban area, you chose it. Don't tell me about jobs, being part of life, etc. You choose it and, therefore, choose the risks that go with it. Your choice in no way obligates me to provide anything for you at any time, regardless of the situation. If you think otherwise, then you must have voted for Al Gore and I suggest you read some of the works of Ayn Rand to help remediate your condition.
As much as you would like to paint me as the standard caricature camo-clad nutball survivalist hunkered in his bunker fantasizing about Armageddon, that simply isn't the case. I know the difference between a crisis and the collapse of civilization as well (or better, perhaps) as you. I'm as willing to help out as anyone during a crisis. That's why I am a member of the Sheriff's office and why I was a volunteer fireman for many years. I chose to help out, I didn't owe anybody that help.
Since you choose to live in the city and your emergency plans include fleeing that city in the event of a crisis, your welfare during and after that flight is entirely your problem. Why should I let you forage on my land? I won't let you hunt there now without permission. I have an investment of time, effort and money in my property. I practice forest management to maximize wildlife habitat, among other things. What have you done with a plot of land lately? Oh, right, you were in the city because you like the nightlife and the money and the toys and the excitement. You want to use mine. Guess again.
When you are bugging out, you like to think of yourselves as somehow different from everybody else who lives in that city and is now on the road to perceived safety elsewhere. In point of fact, you are not. Maybe you have a "bugout bag" and some MREs in your vehicle and an AR-15 you plan on packing along. So what. You are another refugee on roads clogged with them. You belong with relatives who are willing to take you in or in a refugee camp. In a crisis like a hurricane or flood, I'll even help you out until one of those options becomes available to you. But remember, you're one of possibly millions of refugees if we are talking about something like NYC after a terrorist nuclear strike. How many meals do you suppose the gangbangers are going to miss before they decide to start taking the things they need by force? They're going to be refugees just like you. How many meals do you have to miss before you decide to start taking things from people whom you "feel" have too much? Don't answer that until you've spent a few days with an empty belly and listened to your children cry because they are starving. I don't plan to listen to my children wail with hunger. That situation doesn't even require the end of the world as we know it. If you are a surgeon or something as was mentioned in another post, then you are earning way more money than I am right now. You can afford to prepare even better than I have. Why haven't you? Why are turning up at my door? Why, for heaven's sake, aren't you back at the center of the crisis tending to the ones who are sick or injured? If I take you in, I'll expect something in return. You'll work like the lowliest field hand in exchange for your food. I can't afford to feed the world. If I feed you, it won't be to have you around "just in case." I know, as well or better than you, that one person can't make it alone. That is why I have a circle of friends who are also preparedness minded and make it a point to get to know all my neighbors. These are the people who I will have to depend on. Not the stream of displaced city residents. You know what? My friends and neighbors and I have barbecues and drink beer and rent movies and go out to dances and we enjoy life and have a great time. We are already prepared and spend little time talking about Armageddon-type bullshytte. As I have posted elsewhere, I don't think Armageddon-type situations are very likely. But periods of chaos lasting weeks are a real possibility; and we are ready.
Make such plans and preparations as you feel necessary, all of you. Try not to include the Blanche DuBois factor (i.e. depending on the kindness of strangers) as too big a part of it.
[/quote]

The reason I choose to leg it out of a crisis area instead of staying to be a samaritan, is because I've seen firsthand the limitations of people in such situations. I don't want to singlehandedly try to stop the masses of looters and sort them out into soup kitchens. As an individual, I can't possibly do that. That's what FEMA is for.

It should be clarified exactly what kind of disaster we're talking about: nuclear, chemical, biological, sociopolitical, natural.

Nuclear: STAY. I'm probably exposed to too much radiation to survive for long anyways. I'll do what I can to help other people before I succumb myself.

Chemical: STAY. I missed the Sarin attack in the Tokyo subway system by that religious cult in '95 only because I decided to stay home an hour longer and have an extra cup of tea. That was a localized attack; in something much bigger I'm sure I'd have been hit too. I'd stay put. Most likely it's a localized attack; going outdoors without a full NBC suit anyways is suicidal. I'll just wait for whatever agent was used to dissipate so I don't become a casualty myself, and then move about, try to help if I can, if not then I'll stay put and follow orders from the government.

Biological: LEAVE. I'm legging it. Staying makes me risk becoming a casualty . I'll take steps to not increase the panic (no car, etc) and if my condition deteriorates I'll ask to be shot and burned, or I'll shoot myself. I honestly don't think a biological attack will be anything more than localized, because the outcome is so hard to control.

Sociopolitical: MIXED. If the military/police have the upper hand, I'm staying put. I'm not going out and risk getting dragged into a police/demonstrator clash (had that already in Seoul '88, ate lots of pepper gas, few rocks missed me, managed to not get batoned.) One of my ex gfs (yes I do have a number of them) is Chinese-Indonesian, and we all know what happened in '98 when Suharto fell. A good number of her relatives and friends (it's a small community) were raped and killed. If the military/police are likely to lose, then I WILL leg it. I'm not staying in my house so that I can be overrun by mobs, who will crack my residence like a walnut under a hammer.

Natural: MIXED. I went through countless earthquake drills in Tokyo. As much as I'd love to stay, if there's any sort of fire hazard I'm legging it. Without going into details, suffice to say all those high-rises, gas stations, chemical factories in proximity to each other will create one massive blast furnace and I do NOT wish to be incinerated. Tokyo in '23 (earthquake induced fire) and '45 (B-29 incendiary raids) lit up like tinder, killing thousands. The entire city became one massive fuel-air explosive. I'd love to help but like I said, survival IS paramount, speed is critical to survival, and I won't stay for anyone I can't trust, and certainly NOT for people who want to cart along the family piano. If it's a flood or something more benign, I'd stay. I'd rather not be exposed to the elements, and I have confidence in the authorities to handle it or give me instructions on evacuation.

That I think is enough from me. These are all localized disasters though. In all honesty, if we do have an apocalyptic situation, whatever led to it will have killed off so many people that we're probably going to be looking at a whole different situation entirely.
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Old November 11, 2000, 06:25 PM   #12
dragontooth73
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Of course, my natural desire to leg it first is based on the fact that both sides of my family were war refugees. My answers on when I'd stay are based on a lot of nights thinking it over. The natural instinct to flight is hard to overrule. Unlike some people - especially in the US mainland - members of my family don't give a damn about our houses should TSHTF. When that happens, you leg it fast or you risk being used for bayonet practice. My $.02 and some spare change.
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