TEOTWAWKI: To Flee the Cities or Stay?

Posted on June 17, 2009. Filed under: The Christian Survivalist |

Here is a link to my effort at writing a story about what may lie in our future:


Here is a copy of my e-mail I sent to Mr. JW Rawles over at Survivalblog (see link below or on my blogroll).

Mr. Rawles,

First, Thank you for the wonderful book, Patriots. I could not put it down, I was emotionally involved in the story, and the raw information you provided was outstanding.

In regards to the posting today about escaping from your city and taking the back roads: this was very informative and practical. In my youth I worked for my county road department in Oklahoma and learned the value of back roads. The choke points at the rivers are a major problem that many have not been adequately examined, so this letter was of great benefit.



However, in your blog, in your book, and in most other survival writings I have read, the emphasis does seem to be on escaping from the cities to a well stocked retreat in the country somewhere, or going to grandfather’s house/farm in the country, etc.

For most of us, bugging out just isn’t an available option. I well remember my brother’s attempt to escape from Houston when Hurricane Rita came calling…he spent 21 hrs on the road and made it 17 miles from home, gave up, turned around and got home to ride out the hurricane in 15 minutes. I live in Fort Worth, have nowhere close to go in the countryside, my dad’s farm is 300 miles away in NE Oklahoma. The old farm would be an excellent place to escape to, but I am re-thinking the whole bug out mentality.

After reading “One Second After” by William Forstchen, an outstanding book dealing with one type of TEOTWAWKI scenario, the Very High Altitude Nuclear Burst with EMP effect, the problems of leaving the cities are stated pretty strongly. The story takes place in a small, college town in the mountains, thus the emphasis is on life in the small town after TEOTWAWKI.

What I have not seen much of in the survivalist writings (I am admittedly just a beginner in this field of study) is a thorough study of how to stay and survive in the cities/suburbs in a doomsday setting. Maybe you could write that book!

My thoughts on the subject are that living in the cities/suburbs through a disaster may be possible and even preferable for those of us unable to bug out early. Granted, there will very likely be a 90% casualty rate as Forstchen predicts, but I think there may be some advantages to staying over getting caught in the herd on the roads out of town. Most of the plans for gettin’ outta Dodge are based on getting an early start. Again, that is not practical for most of us.

In my particular place, our small suburban town is directly adjacent to a military base. I tend to think that would make for an excellent alliance in an end of the world scenario. (Of course if we have a general nuclear war…maybe not so good). Additionally, we have a river flowing through our town that can provide some water and fishing, along with a couple of ponds and 1 creek. We have some woods that have an abundance of squirrels, a few rabbits, and a lot of dove. There are a couple of large fields that could be plowed for grain, and our yards could all be turned to vegetable plots.

Security would be one of the largest issues as after a couple of days without electricity, and the sudden realization that it won’t come back on for months or years, civil disturbances, looting, riots, gangs and even roving small armies would develop. How can I assist in securing my small village is one of my primary interests. Here is a link to a news story about the great earthquake in Haiti,January 2010 and the wild fighting for food and water that followed:


While we have a water source, and plenty of wood available for fuel, food would be the biggest problem after security.  Food for the community would be a killer in the short-medium term. Long term, with the fields close by, might be better.

In conclusion, if you could direct me to some good resources for city/suburban survival and write another novel that includes some of that, it would be appreciated!

Keep up your good work; like you, I am a former Army officer (Infantry), a Baptist, Reformed in Theology.


Bryan E. Walker


And Mr. Rawles graciously replied with a very good article from his blog on the perils of staying in a big city apartment during TEOTWAWKI:


I absolutely agree here that living in an Apartment High Rise, or even an large apartment complex of only 3-4 stories here in Texas, would be a worse case scenario in the TEOTWAWKI situation. Apartment dwellers pretty much have to leave or face certain death.

My situation is different, however. We own our own home in a suburb of a big city. There is a water source nearby and lots of woods and some open fields close. Staying home rather than fleeing to who knows where, is much more achievable here.


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One Response to “TEOTWAWKI: To Flee the Cities or Stay?”

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Bryan – good questions you raise here. There are indeed some good advantages to managing in place w/o bugging out. Great podcast on the matter:http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/episode-215-advantages-for-the-suburban-survivalist

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