At this stage of the crisis, I’m going to suggest we’re 1-8 weeks in.  One of my buddies who was in the military made mention that even during times of crisis in other countries, that their cash was good.  I would agree, to an extent.  Let me explain some different situations.

You have cousin Phil.  Hard worker his whole life.  Worked at the same job for 25 years and he has skills.  He has his house paid off.  Has his car paid off.  College degree.  Trustworthy.  He asks you to borrow $1000.  You know he’s good for it, and you are confident within a few weeks he will be back on his feet.  He writes you an IOU for $1000.

You have cousin Pete.  He’s a mess.  Can’t keep a job.  Rang up credit cards his whole life and stopped paying them.  His car is 23 years old and broken down every other week.  He’s owned 3 houses, and lost all of them due to being in way over his head.  Pete comes to you and asks to borrow $1000 to fund his new band.  You tell him to pound sand.  The IOU would have been worth as much as toilet paper.

In the above situations, both persons wanted to give you an IOU.  However, you know one had assets to back it up and was more trustworthy with debt over the span of his life.

All our money system is, is an IOU system backed by our trust in the government.

My suggestions here are that if a crisis does hit, it is possible that one of the causes of crisis could be the collapse of our dollar or government.  I feel that while the likelihood of this is low, it’s also growing.  For this reason, I’d advise anyone to stock silver or gold as well as dollars.

For example, maybe at home you have $500 per person of your household in cash, and maybe another $1,000 plus in silver.  Maybe you like the idea of taking $20k from your bank account and converting that to gold, and putting half in your safety deposit box and have half at home in your safe.

That all being said – this plays into what daily life would be like.

Weeks 1-8

At this stage, you’re probably hunkered down at your house.  Power is spotty.  Perhaps ISIS figured out a way to take out a power grid in the northeast, and power was re-routed so there’s sporadic power.  Summer is coming, and you are worried about further attacks on the grid.  People will want to run air conditioners.

You look at your stock.  You weren’t a serious prepper, but you did stock up on some essentials over the years:

  1. Food – canned meats, white rice, pastas, canned vegetables and fruits.  You feel pretty confident you have enough food for yourself and a small nation.  Honey, salt, and 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
  2. Medical supplies – not only do you have a first aid kit, but leftover antibiotics from your last strep throat and recent injuries gives you a nice stockpile.
  3. Batteries – you have tons of batteries on hand.  You’re good.  You use some for your radio and short wave radios to communicate with your wife when you venture out because cell phones are in and out all the time.
  4. Tarps/camping gear – you used to go camping back in your 20s, and you’re glad you still have all of it.  Tarps can be pretty important with creating shelter.
  5. Money – you have about $2000 in cash, mostly small bills.  With power being out a lot, local grocery store’s POS systems are down a lot.  Cash works.  For now.
  6. Silver – you inherited some of your grandfather’s silver dime stash and decided to get some more yourself.  Each dime is 90% silver and is worth about $1.20 in today’s money.  Each quarter about $3.20, and each half dollar about $6.50.  You once bought an ounce of gold, and that is worth $1500.  That isn’t practical for buying small goods, so you’re happy with your $100 in face value silver which has you at about $1800.
  7. Guns – you aren’t like your neighbor with the 59 guns and full basement of ammo, but you did ensure that if someone came to your house uninvited, that you had the appropriate means of disinviting them.
  8. toilet paper – no one thinks to stock up on this, but yeah.  Could be a problem.
  9. alcohol – vodka, whiskey – these types of things can be good to treat wounds, but also may be good for spirits and barter.

 

For the first few days, maybe you needed to buy a few supplies.  The stores would have been mobbed.  You had cash on you, and those without cash couldn’t buy due to power issues and the POS systems being flaky.  You went out and bought as much cheap vodka as you could get.  You also did the staples of milk, eggs, and bread – which they do here just before a storm.  You stopped by the sporting goods store and saw they had some cooking stoves and tanks on sale and scooped them up.  You didn’t have a good feeling.  You stopped by the bank and took out another $1000 and took the items you had in the safe deposit box out.

Danger level – think “Jingle all the way”.

For the second half of the week, the banks are no longer opened.  The president declared a “bank holiday”, but there’s no indication banking systems will be open anytime soon.  The stock market declined by 33% in 2 days, and they suspended trading.  There’s glitches in all computer systems at the moment, and you called off of work to be with your family.  It doesn’t matter, the door locks at work won’t work and no one can get in.  Your boss said to “take a few days until this all clears up”.

People can’t get cash from banks and ATMs are all empty.  Those who had no supplies are now looting stores for food and supplies.  The shelves are empty.  Gas stations are out of fuel and the trucks that deliver the fuel are run on computer systems that are down and payment hasn’t been made to deliver more. No gas is coming anytime soon.  Last I heard, ISIS had taken out some refineries.  Even if gas is delivered, the lines would be 3 blocks long and the price would be over $20 per gallon.

Danger level – “Black Friday hysteria for $5 big screen TVs”.

After the first week, there’s a calm.  Sort of.  In your suburbs, you can hear some gunshots from the city every few minutes.  You have the TV on, but you aren’t getting much lately.  Rumor has it the Chinese started shooting down our satellites.  Our GPS systems are now not working well.  When the phones do work, you invite some members of your family to your 5 BR home, and ask them to bring as many supplies as possible.  You now have 8 people in your house and tons of supplies.

You start to take shifts of who is on watch.  Power now has gone out and has not come back up.  Some people are on laundry detail.  Some on food.  Others are working the radios trying to get information.  Grandpa Chuck sits there on a couch and reads without a care in the world.

The gunshots become a little more frequent and a little louder.  A few minutes ago, you heard a gunshot in your development.  People are out more and more talking with their neighbors.  Rumors are rampant.  “It’s a computer virus”.  “ISIS attacked the internet”.  “The Chinese attacked the power grid”.  The government has come on the radio and TV when it worked to ensure us that everything was ok, but no one is buying it.

Danger level – “first few minutes of Red Dawn”.  There’s some form of attack going on, but no one knows who is attacking what.

From week 1-8, there’s breakdown in services.  Sewer systems stop working.  Water delivery stops.  Trash stops.  And worst of everything, emergency services stop.  You hadn’t heard sirens in days, and that’s mostly because those people are now at home caring for their families.  Besides, the banking system sort of seized up and no one was getting paid anymore.  Reality sets in that no one is coming if you try and call 911.

After the last hurricane, you kept your plywood laying around in the garage and now you and your family board up the windows for safety.  You’ve now seen large groups of people walking around, and many of your neighbors packed up their cars and drove away.  You heard glass breaking 4 doors down, and it was none of your business.  You remember seeing Earl leave yesterday 6 doors down.  You and some of your stronger relatives go and pay a visit to Earl’s house the next day and find a lot of canned goods.  Earl left in a hurry.  My guess is he was going to his brother’s house in the poconos.

By now, you know who in your development is still there, and who is gone.  During the days, you are now spending a decent amount of time outdoors.  You’re grilling on your barbecues all remaining food from your freezers and refrigerators and starting to get into the canned foods.  You and 6 of your neighbors are pretty tight and decide to have a neighborhood watch.  In your 6 houses, there’s roughly 70 people and enough firearms to take anyone out.

Danger level – “wild west”.

About 4-6 weeks in, you’re now running a little low on supplies.  While you thought you had a ton, there’s some things you are lacking.  You ask your neighbor for some laundry detergent and toilet paper – he’s got a ton, but asking you for rice.  This, you don’t have a ton of.  In the next development over, they have sort of a market set up.  You go over there and see a big bag of rice for sale for $20.  You use your cash.  While you’re there, you buy some veggies that they just took out of the garden.

You were a little sketchy about walking 2 miles with hundreds of dollars in your wallet, so you went with a group of armed people.  This maybe made people feel threatened, but you realize this is the only way you can travel these days.  You then realize the groups of people you saw walking through your development had the same idea.  Safety in numbers.  Do NOT travel alone.

Over the next few weeks, you are spending cash on goods at markets.  One thing you didn’t have which you bought were heirloom seeds.  Your group now starts planting tons of food in your backyard.

Your cash starts to get low, but you also know you had a good stash of silver and gold.  At this point, no one has much faith in our government, as no one has heard from them in weeks.  You did recall seeing some national guard vehicles, but they were mostly dispatched to the cities, as that is now a cluster fuck.  God help them.

Silver is now being traded.  People had silverware, silver heirlooms, and old coin collections.  We’re now about 2 months in and no one is really accepting paper dollars anymore because one of the major rumors now circulating is that our banking system completely collapsed and no other country is accepting our dollars.  This rumor has been going around for awhile, but this also explains why no one is accepting dollars anymore.

You’ve now been at your house for 16 weeks and harvested as much food as you can.  Winter is coming soon, and you don’t have a fireplace.  Your neighbors are now running very low on supplies and you’re hearing arguments down the block.  It might be a matter of time before one of your neighbors clans of 15 attacks your clan of 8.  No one hangs out during the day anymore, as you now start to worry about broadcasting your presence.  If you’re still here, it means you must have supplies.  You are now a legitimate target for those who have fled the city.

Danger level – “Rodney King riots”.  It’s a matter of time before you are looted by a group of 50-100 who are all armed.

You make the decision to head towards your rally point in the poconos.  Your clan is destined to meet up with your buddy’s groups.  You’re looking at maybe 5 clans of 10-20 at their compound.  It’s in the mountains and nowhere near civilization.  It’s great to stay away from the mobs.  It’s also good land to camp on and build semi-permanent structures around a command center.  You can build perimeter fences around the property and everyone is extremely armed.  The area is plentiful with deer, wild turkeys, bears, and fishing.  Before you left, you grabbed all of your fishing equipment, supplies, weapons, and anything else not nailed down.  Your brought tons of clothing.  You left to go up to the mountains in a caravan of 4 SUVs.

During the trip, there were abandoned cars everywhere.  With gas being scarce, you saw cars strewn about the highways, off to the side.  Traffic is non-existent, as it seems you and only a few others are now driving.  You have plenty of fuel and maps to get there.  No stopping.  Not for anyone.

As you pull up to the lot, you see your buddy Johan has already built out a small fort.  His aunt lived in the house next door, and there’s now a giant perimeter fence of barbed wire surrounding the two.  There are two deer hanging, and a big ass fire is going.  One thing they stocked up on was booze, and you’re glad to have one.  You see some of your other friends and their families.  You now have a group of almost 100 strong.

border-fence

Using your roles from part 1 here, you start offering up personnel to help with the cooking, security, workers, hunters, etc.  You’re about 1 mile from fresh water, which isn’t terrible.  It could be dangerous traveling this, but you look around and notice that some of the other people in the area also built up compounds.  This community now is a functional fort of 20 or so individual platoons.  Each community has a leadership counsel, and this is how trade is done.

Some communities have access to a lot more wood than others, so they stockpile it and now sell it for food or silver.  Those closer to the freshwater will make runs and deliver it to the other camps for food or silver.  Those who are better hunters now deliver food to other camps for silver or ammunition for their guns.  One camp has a crucible and are really good with sand casting – they have taken a lot of scrap metal and now are helping to build strong fences which will go all around the community.

During the winter, it is tranquil.  A sort of peace takes over.  There’s no bustle of the daily grind of work.  Life can be hard at times, but you are with loved ones.  There are two daily meals – usually a form of meat and potatoes.  Canned goods are used sparingly, as they will keep longer.  Your buddy’s aunt was really good at canning, and has now run workshops on how to can goods – for a fee, of course.  Food that was abundant during the summer was jarred/canned/fermented.  You have tons of pasta sauce now due to canning the tomato sauce.  All of the berries in the area were converted to jam and wines.

Some meat is now converted to jerkies for longer term storage.  Refrigeration is now a little easier to do in the mountains with a deep hole dug and a makeshift cave-like refrigerator now cooling some of your foods.

Your camps have now made contact with a local farm.  Some of your people are sent to work there daily, and in return, they bring milk, butter, eggs, chickens, pigs, and beef as payment.  Routes are secured with makeshift security/police.  While gasoline has been scarce, at best, horseback is now en vogue.  With almost everything you need within 3-5 miles, horses are now the main source of transportation.

Like most end of days movies, you need some runners and explorers to raid nearby locations for hard to get supplies.  Heart medications, antibiotics, insulin.  Also – sugars and salts are getting harder to come by, and need to be plundered.

People are now living off of the land in a throwback to our native American citizens used to live.  Our shelters are teepee-like surrounding houses.  We have modern farms – but no fuel, so we need a lot more manpower in the fields to feed everyone.  Hunting is a prized skill, and bullets are a little harder to come by.  Those who can fabricate with metal are now making arrow heads, hammers, knives, and other valuable metal items.  Shoes are now even a problem.  Clothing is starting to get frayed.  People are now using leathers to make clothing as the spring is coming.

As spring is coming – we are now starting to get leaflets from the UN.  About time.  It turns out, there were sunspots that fried a lot of satellites as well as the power grid.  This was poor timing, as a computer virus was hitting computer systems as this was going on.  Deep fake videos were being distributed by ISIS, so they were also giving us misinformation in order to divide us.  Our banking system was decimated during this time, and it was decided that derivative banking will no longer be legal as it destabilized the world’s banking system.  All new banking will need metals to back it, with a ratio of 15:1 silver to gold.

Danger level – Bambi

I think the worst dangers are at two periods:

  1. the end of the first week.  This is where a lot of information is hard to come by, and those without resources are desperate to take from those who do have resources.  I believe a lot of emergency services start to fail at this time where there isn’t enough police to cover all of the looting and violence.  A “controlled burn” happens at this point.
  2. About 2 months in.  This is where most of your makeshift homesteads who have plundered from nearby abandoned houses tend to run out of all goods and supplies.  Money might help during this span, but I feel people will be nearly out of all money/silver/gold at this point.

I do feel that there will be coalescence between people.  I don’t see community barbecues and bullshitting with smiles and beers.  But I do see smaller groups coming together, and then merging with other smaller groups.  I feel a platoon size might be as big as you can get without a lot of turmoil, politics, and infighting.  Maybe your 76 year old grandfather who was a Lt. Col and eagle scout is your clan’s leader.  Maybe it’s a 32 year old cop.  Any which way you go, the clans that may last are those who are:

  1. most tightly knit.  Families and friends that are close to the families
  2. in possession of lots of skills and resources
  3. in possession of military/law enforcement background
  4. in possession of emergency services experience
  5. in possession of survival skills, hunting, fishing

 

And there you have it folks.  Daily life.  Some days will be harder than others.  Some days will be more dangerous than others.  If you end up in a group of 50-100, I feel you can repel almost all security threats.  In addition, your long term camps can create a lot of defensive advantages – think of Rambo.  The spikes.  The pits.  Walls.  Snares.  Bear traps.  Your perimeter security can be really good and deter those who want to breach the community.