Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bugging in, bugging out, and why neither really works.

My ancestors escaped Russia in post-WWI, because they saw which way the wind was blowing. If they had followed the advice of "survivalists" and "emergency prep gurus", they would be dead.

The thing that no one talks about as a component of emergency preparedness is having infrastructure in another country to sustain you: bank accounts, storage lockers, businesses, and a second passport to get there. A storage locker in a foreign country can run as little as $20 a month, and a foot locker in a friend's garage there often is free. For as little as $2000 you can have an entirely separate life to get to in the event your current country goes psychotic - and yet no one does this.

"Bugging in" doesn't work if the local disaster is longer than 3 weeks in length as you become a target after local supplies are exhausted.

"Bugging out" to the countryside doesn't work either, as then you're more isolated and are a target as well.

When my ancestors saw the conscription and farm confiscations, they set up a base of operations in Chicago with distant relatives. They had a trunk pre-packed in the cellar. When the government came to town and started grabbing all the males for the army, they grabbed the trunk, hopped a boat, and were running a successful butcher shop in Chicago three months later. Everyone who stayed died or was enslaved - the "bugged in" ones had their houses burned down around them and the "bugged out" ones were rounded up and shot eventually.

Their successful business also allowed my great-grandfather's family to send money and supplies to anticommunist groups at virtually no risk to himself in the US, and they were proud when the USSR finally fell. Their old bug-out trunk is still in my basement, and I have the first money my family ever made in the US hung in a frame on the wall, it's a 1904 Morgan silver dollar.

In another part of my family, all their eggs were in one basket despite being wealthy. They didn't leave the country when the Nazis took power, and as a result half of them died in death camps.

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