URBAN SURVIVAL: TEOTWAWKI is a BS Scenario Made-Up to Sell You Crap

Sorry dude, the above is not going to happen, so you better keep paying your credit card bills

TEOTWAWKI = The End of the World as We Know It

The belief that some sort of ‘game changing’ event will turn the US and the rest of the 1st world into some sort of Mad Max country where people barter for food and water has been around since I first got into survivalism when I was a kid in the 80’s.

And it still seems to be a widely referred to scenario even to this day, probably even more so now due to the internet. When reading some blogs and forums you see TEOTWAWKI mentioned as one of the reasons why someone does something that inevitably ends up in some sort of purchase.

I have come to the conclusion that TEOTWAWKI is exactly like Halloween, they are both something invented by businesses, writers and corporations to convince people to part with money.

But unlike Halloween (something that will happen every year with 100% certainty) TEOTWAWKI will never happen in the US, especially to the post-apocalyptic level some people preach or believe.

The following are some typical popular TEOTWAWKI scenarios and why I believe they will never happen. Note: When I say “US” that is generally referring to any wealthy 1st world country.

Economic Collapse in the US will cause TEOTWAWKI

This is probably one of the more popular scenarios that would cause TEOTWAWKI these days, and considering the state of the US economy I can see why it is a convincing marketing ploy. The subprime mortgage crisis, massive US debt, extremely high unemployment and so on seems pretty scary from a financial prospective.

But would the US falling into economic ruin really cause TEOTWAWKI?

No

Do you want to know what the US will look like if it falls 20 spaces down from the top of the economic ladder? Just visit the UK or France because that’s what it will look like, they were both at the very top of the economic chain and now they have fallen about 20 levels.

No roving gangs of cannibals, no trading cans of peaches for clean water or any other TEOTWAWKI stuff on the streets of Paris or London. They are just not as wealthy anymore, that’s it, that’s all that happened when they fell head first down the economic ladder after major financial FUBAR’s.

Lets say the US financially collapses 40 levels down the economic ladder, then it will be like Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Malta (all popular vacation spots) – not horrible 3rd world hell-holes by any means.

How about if the US falls 100 levels down the economic ladder? Then it will be like China, Fiji and Thailand, I have been to 2 of those countries and they are quite nice, not quite 1st world but hardly post-apocalyptic.

For the US to turn into some sort of hell-hole post-apocalyptic 3rd world country it would have to drop about 160 levels down the economic staircase. And that wont happen.

The US simply has too many industries, an effective income and corporate tax collection service, powerful military, 1st world political allies and thousands of other reasons why it will never fall more than 20 levels down the economic ladder.

And thinking that the US will somehow fall 160 levels down the economic ladder turning the US into Sierra Leone is just silly.

So the absolute worst thing that will happen if the US economy takes a shit is we will have a day-to-day lifestyle similar to the Brits.

A CIVIL WAR will cause TEOTWAWKI

You know why civil war will never happen in the US?

Well, let’s first look at what you need to have a war:

1. Money
2. Money
3. Money

No war can be fought without aircraft carrier sized blocks of cash; lack of money is one of the reasons why the south lost during the American Civil war. It is also the reason why the US won the Cold War; we had more money to burn than the commies did.

Now answer this question:

Of all the socioeconomic groups in America who will suffer the most if civil war swept across the US?

Rich people

Why would the wealthiest 2% in the US finance a civil war that would make them poor people?

They won’t – because they are greedy

Done.

A PANDEMIC will cause TEOTWAWKI

I love this one; the chicken flu has probably made more millionaires and billionaires than the threat of nuclear war did in the 70’s and 80’s.

Some people have pointed out to me that global pandemics have already happened so they are a realistic scenario (that a billion people may die and economically and politically destroy the world). And during those pandemics the pharmaceutical companies were unable to find a cure or some other way to medically control the spread in a timely manor.

First of all, compared to other diseases the chicken/pig/tyrannosaurus rex flu really didn’t even kill many people. More people die of the clap every year than they do from a media hyped flu pandemic. The reason why people think some Asian flu was so devastating and unstoppable is because the news outlets have realized reporting on “scary” pandemics is the same as printing gold plated money.

But in reality they weren’t that bad and even with some countries covering up infections all of the flu pandemics were brought under control killing less people than diarrhea did in the same years.

What about the point that the pharmaceutical companies were unable to quickly find a cure or some other way to medically control the spread?

The pharmaceutical companies were all working in competition with each other to come up with a treatment or vaccination, buy doing that they kept research to themselves, therefore slowing down the process of finding some sort of pharmacological solution. They also had no financial incentive to make a ‘one pill’ cure when treating or vaccinating is substantially more profitable.

In a “real” pandemic where a flu like disease spreads across the globe threatening to wipe out the entire planet then the pharmaceutical companies would have no choice but to work together (or they would just be federalized) to find a treatment or cure.

The simple truth why pandemics like the bird flu spread, kill so many people and take such a long time to find a treatment for is simple greed.

When you take out the money factor in pharmaceutical science and have every top scientist at every major pharmaceutical corporation working together to find a cure or treatment you wont see 22 month waits before pharmaceutical solutions are found or vaccination shortages (to push up the price) anymore.

In Conclusion…

Economic Collapse, Civil War and Pandemics are probably the most talked about TEOTWAWKI causing events. There are a bunch more that I left out because I thought they were so ridiculous I didn’t even want to waist your valuable time debating them.

So that’s basically why I believe the TEOTWAWKI theory is just a ploy to get people to buy shit. None of the above scenarios for causing TEOTWAWKI are realistic so I cant think of any other reason to even mention them except to bring people to your website, survival business or to buy your books.

The whole TEOTWAWKI thing reminds me of the Commie Nuclear scare during the 80’s – most survivalist were completely convinced that there would be ether a land war in Europe, invasion in America or a nuclear war.

Because of those fears (when looked at now are just silly) a multi-billion dollar survivalist business was created. Hell, I even bought anti-radiation dugs to fend off radiation sickness after the ‘big one’ happened and my friends bought a shit-load of guns and ammo to fight the commies on their front porches.

And it turned out that the Russians weren’t hiding a plan to destroy America, they were just hiding extremely hot women.

And allot of people got rich off of marketing to our fears

So in my opinion if you are buying and storing grain in your basement, buying a ton of guns, years worth of long term storage food and covering your house in tinfoil you should sell all of that shit and pay down your credit cards or send your kid to a good private school.

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~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and grinding flour in his moms basement.

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81 thoughts on “URBAN SURVIVAL: TEOTWAWKI is a BS Scenario Made-Up to Sell You Crap”

  1. Bummer, I was really looking forward to starting a cannibal motorcycle gang

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  2. EXCELLENT WRITE UP! Just excellent. Probably one of the best I have read.

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  3. Do you ever post your rational arguments on forums that have theads on this topic? How much crazed hate mail do you receive in response?

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  4. “Gold plated money!” Requesting permission to use that one. Great rational article!

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  5. Good read. I’ll admit when I first got into the prep scene I wanted to believe that everything would basically end. Now I’m more of a middle of the road kind of guy. I still prep, but its only for things that have a higher probability of happening such as job loss, weather, and the related.

    Personally I just like being as self sufficient as possible (within reason).

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  6. When you work and live in Red Zones, third world shit holes where violence and desperation are just common terrain features, it put the TEOTWAWKI in perspective. Violent, bad shit happens every day.

    You don’t have to prepare for the end of anything; there’s enough suffering and human predation to go around.

    Prepare for today or you won’t get to tomorrow.

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  7. The most recent example of this was Y2K. How much money was cultivated by those that came up with little kits or some Y2K product. And then just the regular stuff like water filtration stuffs, containers, canned food, etc etc. I knew people that spent a lot of money on Y2K to no avail. It was kind of hilarious really.

    Or even the kits that were sold after 9/11 and other terror warnings in the 02 and 03. I swear there was a few weeks there that I couldn’t find duct tape in any store.

    People are naturally fearful of things that they don’t understand. And I think due to media and the film industry those fears are stoked. Mostly because they have never been out of the city or suburbs, let alone anywhere in the third world.

    But great article James, Also I think you missed the Zombie Apocalypse. There are hundreds of websites and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Romero’s fantasy.

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  8. James,

    “Tyrannosaurus Rex Flu”? Hilarious. Great piece.

    Just for the record, though, if you’re wrong you’re gonna end up in leather chaps and a dog collar … chained to the hood of somebody’s Mad Max’d ’69 Charger… heh heh heh

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  9. Voices of sanity are rare, good stuff.

    What gets me is that the TEOTWAWKI believers are actually expecting something *worse* than the US turning into a 3rd world shithole (as you say, because they’ve never been to one) — even 3rd world shitholes still use money for exchange.

    They really are expecting the cannibal gangs, Mad Max, zombies, and a whole pre-economic dark age.

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  10. You forgot foriegn invasion. You know, Red Dawn in real life. Actually that one has a tiny, microscopic sliver of possibility. But even if it did happen, said invaders would be wiped off the map in about 17 seconds.

    TEOTWAWKI makes for fun movies and books. But it’s probably never going to happen, on that scale anyway. I prepare because disasters happen…and when they do, stupid people act up and the government always has a plan to make things worse. (but I repeat myself)

    Big natural disasters, like Katrina. Big terror attacks. A bad chemical spill or explosion. These things don’t immediately kill off half the country and make the survivors put on assless chaps and go eat people…but they do happen.

    And lets be honest here. I, for one, like guns and gear. I would be stockpiling that stuff even if everything were peachy.

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  11. Excellent article. And on the subject of Y2K, a couple of “I was there” real life incidents that may amuse you.

    One. Several people in the hood, went together in a truck and bought a dozen blue poly 55 gallon drums to store their Cloroxed water. Nothing wrong there. Except – three of them lived in second or third story walkup apartments.

    I mentioned to them that it would not only be a thrill getting them up the stairways, but a thrill for their downstairs neighbors when around a ton of water came crashing through their ceilings. They thought it over and elected to store their water in a nearby offsite cache.

    Two. Several of the more city-dweller coworkers were talking about the kerosene heaters they had just purchased. One of them, a transplant from Los Angeles, asked,

    “If there isn’t any kerosene available, can I just run mine on gasoline?”

    And one of the local boys, without cracking a smile, said, “Sure. Once.”

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  12. Do you ever post your rational arguments on forums that have theads on this topic? How much crazed hate mail do you receive in response?

    LoL – no way dude, I might as well wear a “Kick Me” sign also if I am going to do that. I did post my argument against the BOB on a forum once and got flamed, that was the last time. These days I mostly browse forums or answer tactical gear questions

    Logical and rational debates challenging popular survival beliefs are blasphemy for some odd reason – that is why I think the survival community is stagnant in its thinking in general.

    But I do like the Survival Podcast guy, he is pretty much grounded in reality and I greatly enjoyed the podcasts of his I have heard

    “Gold plated money!” Requesting permission to use that one.

    Just send me .5 cents every time you use it

    James, Also I think you missed the Zombie Apocalypse. There are hundreds of websites and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Romero’s fantasy.

    I didn’t mention that one because I secretly wish it would happen, lol

    ~James G

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  13. .Just for the record, though, if you’re wrong you’re gonna end up in leather chaps and a dog collar … chained to the hood of somebody’s Mad Max’d ‘69 Charger… heh heh heh

    Sweet, I love the ’69 Charger and assless chaps

    even 3rd world shitholes still use money for exchange.

    Yep – They still use cash in Iraq and Africa

    And the so-called 3rd world is actually pretty nice

    And lets be honest here. I, for one, like guns and gear. I would be stockpiling that stuff even if everything were peachy

    Roget that dude, I have TONS of guns and gear – but not at the expense of my financial well being.

    Several of the more city-dweller coworkers were talking about the kerosene heaters they had just purchased. One of them, a transplant from Los Angeles, asked,
    “If there isn’t any kerosene available, can I just run mine on gasoline?”
    And one of the local boys, without cracking a smile, said, “Sure. Once.”

    LOL, good one

    Excellent article. And on the subject of Y2K

    I personally made money off of Y2K – got hired for a temp security gig with Bubba

    ~James G

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    1. I love it when people say assless chaps. Aren\’t chaps, by their very definition, assless? It\’s kind of like people referring to a “hot water heater,” lol. Why are we so fixated on heating hot water?

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  14. A QUICK NOTE:

    I do believe in being prepared for reasonable events like civil unrest, natural and man-made disasters, crime and vehicle trouble. And I do believe you should have the skills to deal with all of those situations.

    But I also believe that people should be reasonable with the above preps, a few guns, a month of food stored, a water filter and the survival mindset is more than enough. But things will never get so bad that you will have to grind your own flour

    I know people who have spent tons of money on a years worth of stored food, hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo and other TEOTWAWKI stuff. Wile at the same time their family suffers, their kid is in a shitty public school, they are up to their eyeballs in debt and they have no savings.

    And these survival businesses are making a killing telling people that they need to store grain and buy expensive caned whole armadillos. I have a good friend that owns an online survival store – he lives in a 5 bedroom mansion… with only a weeks worth of food. Even the guys selling that expensive crap don’t actually use it.

    I guess that officially ends my chances of getting a survival store sponsor, lol Well, I would rather have my integrity than money.

    ~James G

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  15. This made we laugh. Nice refreshing opinion.

    To surive you need no debt. That’s ultimate Survival preparness. I’m working on that.

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  16. You totally ruined my weekend plans, lol. Good article James G.

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  17. This was a great article and good solid common sense (something totally missing in today’s society).

    Having visited a few “3rd world” countries, it does give one a far better perspective on how bad things can get and still be relatively alright. For example, my wife and I went to Russia a couple of years ago to adopt our daughters and all I could think of was how sad it was that we were all so afraid of the “Godless Bolshivics”.

    I was totally convinced they were these three headed aliens from outer space running around putting Fluoride in the free world’s water supply and plotting our demise with every waking thought.

    What I saw in Russia was basically a fairly nice “3rd world” country run by very tall blond people that actually were very nice. Oh yea…and they also have a ton of really hot looking women. Once I met Russians and toured their country I wasn’t afraid.

    In fact, I was just sad that they weren’t ten foot tall monsters with three heads. It was a real eye opener.

    Since we can’t talk any sense to the survival community, let’s figure out a way to bilk them out of every dine they have…then we’ll be ready for the Zombie Hoards.

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  18. All chaps are ” ass less ” if not they would be called “pants”. Great article though. Great magazine glad i found it, keep up the good work.

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  19. hahahahaha me thinks TEOTWAWKI is just a lame reason for us to buy and stock up on too much tacticool gear sh!t.

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  20. Hey I think you forgot alien invasion. Shit there is probably a better chance of that then all the shit you mention.

    The real threats are the ones no one sees coming. Like Aliens.

    Hey you also forgot Super Valcanos and Ateroid Strikes.

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  21. The only way you could get me to grind my own flour and shit would be if I lived in the way-out-off-grid and had a bunch of livestock and garden space. And I may choose that life someday…to enjoy myself and live simply, not to sit in my trailer and wait for the government to collapse.

    But here, where a 24 hour grocery store is about 7 minutes of walking distance? I have better things to spend my money on than grain mills and overpriced cans of textured vegetable protein. (which is nasty, by the way.)
    I have noticed over the past few years that my hobbies tend to overlap with ‘survivalism’, so naturally I have picked up a bit on preparedness.

    Example, not long ago I decided to pick up a flintlock muzzleloader. I mentioned it to a freind who is hard-core into survivalism and he gave me a whole speil on how I can whip up my own gunpowder and cast bullets so I can go deer hunting in the post apocayliptc wasteland when all the regular ammo is gone.

    Me, I just wanted it because it’s $47 no-FFL needed, fun as hell to mess around with and extends my deer season by a month or two. I had no idea that it would be my main method of feeding my family when the whole world goes to shit…which it will in about 4 months you know, because Obama is president and we’re all gonna die a miserable socialist death…

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  22. A good dose of reason, as usual. One logical nit to pick, though:

    “it will be like Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Malta (all popular vacation spots)”

    Such places are only nice, popular vacation spots because 1st world countries are humming along keeping things running in a semi-sane way on a world macro-economic level. If the US slips down on the economic ladder, those former vacation spots won’t be so nice.

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    1. Ah St.Kitts, loved coconut beach and the guys sneaking around in town with Dark Glasses. We all knew who they were.

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  23. A good dose of reason, as usual.One logical nit to pick, though:
    “it will be like Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Malta (all popular vacation spots)”Such places are only nice, popular vacation spots because 1st world countries are humming along keeping things running in a semi-sane way on a world macro-economic level.If the US slips down on the economic ladder, those former vacation spots won’t be so nice

    I was referring to the current social and economic lifestyle in those countries – not if they fell farther down the economic ladder.

    you article was great,and it was along that mindset that made me and a friend start out website, bugoutwhale.com (delete the name if i broke any rules,sorry)

    No problem dude, I like your site – we are not competing with anyone here, we like to think that DVM is just another cog in the knowledge base. No one site has all the answers

    ~James G

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  24. yea were the same way,someone posted a link to one of your articles on the whale and I’ve been comeing here almost daily ever since.i really enjoy information with humor not fear mindset that yall have going on here.

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    1. Cool man, glad to have you here and glad you like DVM

      For the guys here that have not been to http://www.bugoutwhale.com you should check it out

      ~James G

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  25. James,

    Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head!

    Now, what am I going to do with all this, short shelf-life, expensive, anti-virals I have for the t-rex flu????

    Take care,

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    1. Start an online store and sell it to someone

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  26. you article was great,and it was along that mindset that made me and a friend start out website, bugoutwhale.com (delete the name if i broke any rules,sorry) we were making fun of people packing BOB’s with enough crap that it would take a truck to move.

    we try to post useful information without fear,things like maintaining and repairing your generator,useful supplies and preparation for emergency and of course tons of gun talk.now we do get some extreme members that think there are death camps and the end is near but on the whale they do not get handled with kid gloves.

    plus the honest truth you in a real TEOTWAWKI situation like people imagine you can plan and have 5yrs of supplies.. if you dont have a small army to protect it,someone will eventually loot and plunder all your hard work.

    and i also dont understand the mind set of the lone wolf survivor,i mean really how many people do you know that want their wife and kids tobe the only ppl they have contact with..not me i love them and all but sometimes i need a break.

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  27. i didnt read the article but, you are correct.

    i do wish it would happen tho.

    tomahawk

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  28. I’ve read practically this entire website and I check it frequently for updates and I think that you guys are very smart and funny people.

    I personally have not heard these three problems that you’ve listed here as commonly as:

    1. Peak oil
    2. Peak water
    3. Global climate change

    I’m not stating that any of these actually exist substantially enough to actually cause the end but if (if) they did what do you think the effect would be.

    I can’t see our current society remaining intact through one of those scenarios but I also have fairly limited knowledge concerning it.

    Just throwing some shit out there.

    -Bean

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    1. Thanks Bean for pointing those out – I will address them in a “Part 2” to this article

      I will also address food shortages

      Glad you like DVM

      ~James G

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  29. Thanks James and the rest of you guys, I will sleep well tonight.

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  30. Well, James, it appears by the responses you got on this one, I’m not the only one who has been rolling his eyes for years now. Great piece!

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  31. Thanks medicsixzero – just trying to be a level headed survivalist

    ~James G

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  32. What exactly is “The end of the world as we know it.”

    Profound change, which, when tied to things like economics and energy, is rarely comfortable and many times fatal.

    I was in Russia during the last days of the Soviet Union. I was back there in the early and mid 90s, and again in the early 2000s.

    For the average Russian in their late 20s to early 30s in 1986-7, “The world as they knew it” did indeed end. By the late 90s we saw the median life expectancy of the average Russian male plummet from 78yrs, down to around 47.

    During this time Russia was anything but a “friendly place run by attractive blonde people.”

    It was a savage land that ate it’s children…unless of course you were one of the remaining or emergent socio-economic elites (who’s lifestyles and physical well being was backed up by infusions of hard currency from outside the country).

    What didn’t happen was the “Mad Max” mass meltdown of the variety that you can point a TV camera at. Hence, from the outside it didn’t look like the oft portrayed TEOTWAWKI people in the west associate with that term.

    But you were just as dead or utterly ruined…unless you became a mass predator of the variety we saw emerge during that time.

    The world as they knew it ended, in many cases rather violently.

    To take the categorical stand that “It ain’t gonna happen” is to whistle past the graveyard of history.

    This world routinely ends the “as we knew it” all the time.

    The reality tends to play out in slow motion as opposed to the sudden collapse that the mainstream seems to have in it’s mind.

    The Black Death, which ushered in sweeping socio-economic change of an intensely violent variety, played out over a period of years. Even after the disease itself burned out, the aftershocks of it reverberated for another 100 years and cost millions of people their lives.

    And that played out across a social landscape that hosted a fraction of the modern population levels we have today, at a time when information and technology proceeded at the pace of a horse.

    Today we have social, economic and sustainment systems of infinite complexity. A quick study of biology will show that the more complex a system, the more susceptible it is to radical decay and death.

    Again, the Soviet Union is a good example. In a period of less than 3 years it went from a creaking, but more or less functional socio-economic bloc, into a death trap. The only reason it wasn’t worse is that the population was already accustomed to a more or less subsistence lifestyle and the neanderthal level infrastructure lent itself to being patched together and kept more or less functioning with coat hangers and spit.

    Not so in our so called developed world which requires 20 million gallons of refined petroleum product a day to maintain base functionality, never mind a complex and poorly maintained system of electrical distribution (where there is very little in the way of backup systems in place).

    Those two factor alone exposes itself to disruption and slo-mo decay. And what do we think the average American will do in the midst of that kind of social and economic disruption? Act the predatory ass is my guess.

    But again, it’s unlikely that this will play out in a rapid fashion as many in the survivalist community envision.

    Regardless of how fast it goes, however, the world as you knew it has ended.

    Will people be donning leather chaps and hopping on motor bikes? I suppose regional tastes would dictate that. Predatory gangs in areas where law enforcement is non-existent or severely debilitated due to economics? We’re already seeing the beginnings of it.

    The final point is…don’t underestimate the destructive powers of macro-economics gone bad, mother nature and energy depletion. They have proven themselves over the centuries to be the catalysts of change you’re going to believe in whether you like it or not.

    I’m with James when it comes to maintaining ones self in the world as it is at the present. At the same time I discount nothing and will continue to put as much insulation around myself as possible without checking completely out of society.

    For me, that means a reasonable amount of commodities on hand to take up any slack in the system (to include units of wealth that have traditionally maintained their value), basic complements of tools for various trades and a broad range of skill sets.

    J

    PS: I grind my own flour simply because the American agricultural food chain is pretty much poison. A stroll through Wal-Mart should be enough evidence of that for anyone who thinks about these things. (See, “Omnivores Dilema” by Mike Poullan)

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  33. Dude- Stay in your lane. Leave the wildly inaccurate history lessons to the mainstream media.

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  34. Wildly inaccurate? Beg to differ.

    For starters, I watched Russia implode in slo-mo first hand. From 1986 to 2001. That part of the world is still “in my lane.”

    Regards infectious disease and it’s impact on history, well, good read to start with might be, “The Great Mortality,” by John Kelly. Another, if you can find it, is “Disease and History,” by Frederick Cartwright.

    Who would of guessed that Napoleon’s army got savaged by Typhus it picked up coming through Poland, which rather dramatically effected his rate of march, or the Black Death largely unhinging feudalism in England and ushering in “The golden age of the yeoman” and the first seeds of what we today call “Rights.”

    Or who would have guessed that a general plague that ran for about 20yrs would have put wind in the sails of what was until then a small, fringe element chatting about a pleasant afterlife in return for a simple act of faith. The plague of Antonius, 164-180ad.

    By the time the plague of Cyprian in 250ad rolled around, the small communities of Christians had coalesced into a bona fide church and the cult of Christ as healer and church as primary care provider was locked in for the next millennium.

    Which the blowback from that was the uphill battle of scientific method against the theocrats that was finally broken only by the turn of the 20th century and sealed by the influenza epidemic of 1918.

    Like I said, these things happen in slow motion…but the world as people knew it changed irreversibly.

    So, perhaps crack a book, dude, before you arbitrarily tell someone you don’t know to stay in their lane.

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  35. Keep it civil guys

    ~James G

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  36. Acknowledged & wilco.

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  37. The thing is James,

    You have to be right every single day.

    People who prepare for disaster, unrest, wars, floods, fires, pandemics.. whatever.. only have to be right once.

    Is it sane to go off the deep end? No, but its also sane in this day and age to have some things set back just in case.

    Think the world cant go to crap in a heartbeat? Look how long it took during Katrina for the shooting and looting to start.

    Is it going to be TEOTWAWKI? Nope.. but while its going on its sure gonna feel like it if you are not somewhat prepared.

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  38. the thing about the looters and shooters in New Orleans after katrina,those people would and do loot and shoot on a good day.they were from some of the worst wards in new orleans.the storm was a opportunity for them not a tragedy.after the storm the impact was felt and thats when the real crimes started, after civil rest has been restored.

    those same shooters started turf wars with the influx of mexican workers who brought there own dealers and bangers.the other problem was the lack of response from louisiana’s leadership,and the over reaction of neighboring towns like gretna PD,who stopped people on the bridge trying to leave the city and made them turn around and go back,go back to a place with no food water or shelter.

    the citizens of louisiana as a whole did not collapse into lawlessness it responded by banding together helping your fellow neighbor,coonasses in bass boats came from all over to help get people off of roof tops,gangs of chainsaw wielding good ol boys clearing roads moments after the storm passed,waay before the state cleans up crew even started a truck.

    you got to remember katrina affected the entire gulf south,new orleans was only effected because the levees broke,but mississippi was leveled to the ground,texas was hit hard and florida was hit on katrinas way to the gulf,none of those states made the news for riots or mass crime waves. to me in times of tragedy,acts of kindness and team work happen more times then road warrior gang wars….

    after a major event criminals will be criminals living off the innocent and being predators and citizens will be the ones restoring order and rebuilding just like every other day.

    im not saying,people shouldnt take the steps to insure your family’s safety,but katrina has become the extreme survivalist’s example of choice on how bad things can get but they always leave seem to leave out the stories of compassion,hard work,and even at times humor the rest of the state,south,and country showed wile rebuilding.

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  39. As for criminals ‘after a major event’ living off the innocent, THAT is ont reason to remember a great lesson learned in that wretched scenario.

    The police are NOT on your side in such a case; they forcibly disarmed the legally armed citizens even in areas where there was no damage from Katrina. Armed SS looking men storming onto innocent citizens’ porches or beating on doors with rifle butts demanding their weapons.

    Most of which were returned only after massive legal actions, and most of which were rendered useless by being stored in leaky warehouses, etc., actions rusted shut, bolts frozen, slides frozen.

    Had friends living there and also in Gulfport MS… the ones in NOLA were left at the mercy of roving gangs carrying knives, machetes and ball bats demanding money, shoes, whatever, and thanks to the corrupt police of NOLA, had no defenses.

    Over in Gulfport / Ocean Springs MS, damage was bad but citizens remained armed and vigilant and predators were pretty much absent.

    Lesson: NEVER give up your weapons to anyone, no matter what.

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  40. I have noticed that as the rationale for survivalists has shifted from preparation for post-nuclear holocaust (80′s) to the less specific TEOTWAWKI/NWO (90′s) to Y2K to the current zombie apocalypse craze, the stuff that’s being sold remains the same. I glad that we finally made it to zombies, though, and acknowledged the absurdity of the enterprise.

    Now I can I can tell people I have a crap load of guns (and other tacticool tomfoolery/emergency preparation-type gear) because I’m preparing for the zombie apocalypse, and they immediately know: I’ve got a sense of humor, I’m into that stuff, and I obviously feel no need to justify it to anyone. Once you say “zombies” with a straight face, people either “get” you, or back away slowly and leave you alone.

    Until the dead rise from their graves, that is; then everyone wants to be your friend…

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  41. To be honest odds are, you are right.
    I mostly prep because I’m bored.
    It is also a great way to keep my camping gear up to date.
    I’ve got the job/investing/family thing dicked.
    Only Nemesis stands in my way.
    What should I cogitate about?
    Would it be better if I spent my money on a fashionable car or clothes?
    Maybe a vacation to some decadent resort in some shithole country.
    Then I can see all those less fortunate as I sip my Mai tai.
    Isn’t that the definition of happiness, having more than the people around you?

    FYI: USSR planned a nuclear attack on China in 1969, Nixon stopped them.

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  42. My opinion. Total destruction of America? No. America crippled to the point of being a non player on the world stage? Vary real possibility. Invaded ? (?).

    America is being weakened financialy from within. Ethical and moral decay. Disunity. A President appologising to the world for America and its involvment in that world. The world sees us as weak.

    At what point does America become that opportune target and our enemies sieze that opportunity? Can it get that bad? Yes!

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  43. I don’t really plan/prep for teotwawki but I do prep for shtf. I wasn’t old enough to really enjoy all the excitement of the L.A. riots but I remember my Dad was was setting up defensive measures at our house and setting up all his preps.

    Now that Im older and have my own preps I wouldn’t mind a good old fashion riot or something small to happen just to get a little taste and keep me on my toes.

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  44. ZombieHunter said it best. There’s no such thing as “the end of the world”. Depending upon your area there might be a SHTF event. I used to live in San Diego (I was there for the Baja earthquake) and in there, there is a real danger of a SHTF situation due to a natural disaster.

    If there was a massive (8+ on Richter) earthquake along the San Andreas, Elsinore or New Rose fault, there would be serious collateral damage. I can’t say for sure how things would turn out, but there would likely be a period of a lot of panic. Despite all the urgings for precautions, many people don’t even pack the basic necessities in an earthquake kit: water, batteries, and more.

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  45. Wow! You’re dead wrong about the possibility of economic collapse. Derivatives. Jobs. Housing. etc. None of these are TEOTWAWKI events in themselves, but when the rest of the world quits taking the dollar (which is after all, just an IOU), do you really think the gum chewing manicurist is still going to have work so she can support grandma on Social security? Is the bed and breakfast going to be operating full tilt when people can’t pay their electric bills?

    In an economic downturn, there’s a snowball effect. When that happens in a dependency society with millions on welfare, food stamps, retirement, disability, there aren’t enough producers left to carry the ball. People quit going to ball games, quit buying porn, quit doing all the silly useless things America is known for. Then what?

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  46. I’ve been preparing for the zombie uprising ever since I saw Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” in 1979. Pampered people in the First World think that the norm throughout history is a safe life……. just like their own. The “Greatest Generation” that won WWII knew better, but most of them are dead. A glimpse of the default position of human existence is nowadays best seen by looking at third world hellholes. The norm is probably closer to Somalia than to Switzerland. Civilizations do collapse, and dark ages do happen. And complex systems can fail catastrophically, and suddenly. The people in Somalia won’t suffer as much, relative to the West, because they are already living in a Mad Max world. There won’t be any more aid pouring in, however. Check out the Carrington Event for just one possible trigger for collapse, and read the Quran and Haditha for insight into an alternative ideology waiting eagerly to take over. I’m still guessing that zombies will be the last straw……

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  47. hiya
    great site and i do agree with almost everything on your site. im preped, 1 of my pieces is country land, not a lot of land but a nice parcel. the words of mark twain ‘buy land cuz they aint makin no more’ is true wisdom. common sense and balance should be the key word for the potential preppers.
    the only scenario i dont see mentioned and would probably justfy some coverage is an unknown country/rogue group were able to get a nuke into low orbit and and detonate it over kansas for instance. i think a lot could be written on how to deal with the resultant infrastructure collapse because we are pretty well tied in to our power structure. while the ’69 charger’ may be running if it ran on a points ignition most of our vehicles will be knocked out from the EMP.
    im a new visitor but you are on my favorites now and will be a regular until the zombies get to me lol

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  48. Can’t happen in a First World modern country? Two words:

    Nazi Germany.

    nuff said.

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  49. Where is part 2??? And whats the deal with dropping zombies by only using a shotty (ala every zombie movie, tv show made)

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  50. If you’ve ever lived on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, then you know what the US would look like if the economy fell by 200 levels.

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  51. Wow! You’re dead wrong about the possibility of economic collapse. Derivatives. Jobs. Housing. etc. None of these are TEOTWAWKI events in themselves, but when the rest of the world quits taking the dollar (which is after all, just an IOU), do you really think the gum chewing manicurist is still going to have work so she can support grandma on Social security? Is the bed and breakfast going to be operating full tilt when people can’t pay their electric bills?In an economic downturn, there’s a snowball effect. When that happens in a dependency society with millions on welfare, food stamps, retirement, disability, there aren’t enough producers left to carry the ball. People quit going to ball games, quit buying porn, quit doing all the silly useless things America is known for. Then what?  

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Yes, most of the websites screaming “gloom, doom, and the big boom” also have a financial stake in the business of “excretions striking the cyclically rotating air mover” news. I could name a host of them right now. Most start with “SHTF”. But, they also bring up news articles you won’t get from the mainstream media. They also bring documentation to back it up (sometimes from other gloom and doomers, but sometimes from sources that don’t “have a horse in the race.”

    The economy is tanking bad. When will it crash? Don’t know. QE and QE2 are making the problem worse despite the Fed’s insistence it’s the only thing that will work. When you print fake money willy-nilly (yea, I said it) to the tune of 4 billion a day, buy financial assets from banks, giving them liquid cash (which they usually sit on), you create a huge bubble that can’t stand very long. It’s legal counterfeiting. Any number of factors could bring it down, but, sadly, it seems the one that may do it is nothing more than the world powers deciding to use something other than the good ole U.S. greenback as a world currency because they realize it ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Several European countries have already proposed it. This all could happen tomorrow, or they could maybe stretch it out another ten years. Depends on how stretched the bubble already is.

    Gives a whole new meaning to the bumper sticker:
    “Don’t Steal. The Government Hates Competition.”

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  52. I have to disagree with your assumptions and I do so for several reasons.
    1: Our society has become very soft. We are used to the stuff and services that we expect every day. These people will not know what to do if goods and services stop and do not start back up in a reasonable amount of time. (their clock)
    2: We also have a subculture that has an entitlement mentality. These people do not like it when their freebies stop comming. These people tend to riot when they don’t get their stuff.
    3: We also have sub-groups within the country who would love to instigate riots and civil unrest and only need a valid excuse to rile up the populace.
    So to compare the US to these other coutries is a mistake. The people in these countries are already living at a lower standard of living than us here in the US. In point of fact, most “poor” people here in the US live better than the middle class of other nations.

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  53. So how do you KNOW it “can’t happen”, hmm? Somebody annoited you with the all seeing eye, or what? There’s PLENTY of wars in utterly poor areas, like Somalia, dude. So it’s obvious that your claim that wars take money is way off base. The US has plenty of “stuff” with which to fight, and to fight over, unlike most of the world. In 1910 or so, a $20 bill would buy a 1 oz gold coin. Today, you need 75 of those $20 bills to buy a 1 oz gold coin. So the dollar is worth 1.3 cents, really. There is not much room left to inflate the dollar, and when the rest of the world figures that out, look out.

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  54. we just got done THOROUGHLY poing a nuke power by invading their country and killing people there, and stupid Americans think that it’s aok. well, if Nyc gets nuked, the $100 bill will be toilet tissue and people will be looking to eat your flesh, within a month or so, dude. It could easily happen, really easily. nobody would have a clue what their stock was worth, whether or not to stay in biz, order more supplies, etc. The economy would crash to levels below the great Depression, because we no longer have 30% of our population living on farms and ranches, to support the rest. We have 3% living that way, and they are UTTERLY dependent upon oil.

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  55. 10 men, setting fires in California pine forests, assasinating key men, poisoning the food supply, derailing trains, blowing up oil refineries, supertankers, etc, could smash this economy in one month.

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  56. love the site and articles but i feel i must just point out as a brit that we are not 20 rungs down the economic ladder, and neither is france. britain has the 8th largest economy in the world and our financial district is still the global financial capital, and france has the 9th largest economy in the world. in addition general quality of life in most of europe is better as wealth is more evenly distributed; the US has the biggest division of wealth in the world, meaning although you have a lot of wealthy people, you also have a lot of very poor people who cant even get free healthcare. in addition you have legal firearms which obviously result in a higher numbers of serious crime. furthermore china is in fact the 2nd largest economy in the world, second to the US, but their quality of life is shit, because their government is a bunch of bastards, which goes to show the biggest threat to a citizen of a country is its own government and wealthy elite.

    this isnt a dig at the US though because if i could i would definitely choose to live in california.

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    1. Well, Jeff, certainly Marx and Lenin would be proud of you, for you certainly follow the communist pattern of speaking without knowledge, stating lies as if they were facts, and blaming everything on those who have more than others. And of course, guns must be attacked, as communists always want to see a defenseless populace who must bow to the whims of whatever corrupt government holds the power.
      You are consistent in that.
      It is sad, however, that even after the USA has bailed your asses out of a few major skirmishes – I think they were called ‘wars’ – your educational system seems to be on a downhill slide, if you represent the brilliant logic common to the pupils thereof.

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  57. I’m sorry but there are some things here that are just plain wrong…..
    1. A civil war doesn’t necessarily have to be a conventional war. Be realistic, there already is a civil war going on and its the ‘haves’ vs the ‘have nots.’ You’re blind if you don’t see the elites attempting to pitt the middle class against the very poor for the sole purpose of eliminating the middle class. It’s called sleight of hand, and if you think I’m wrong, then you’re f*cking blind, stupid, brainwashed, or any combination thereof. Wars can be fought without a single drop of blood being shed. Also, last I looked, I don’t see any rich people getting any poorer in this whole thing.
    2. Pandemics…. I agree with Jim. Someone should have paid attention in both history and biological science classes. REAL scientists are confirming that there are ‘superbugs’ (bacteria/viri) which have evolved to be highly resistant if not immune to our antiviral/antibacterial drugs. We also live in a society that places way too much value on sterilization. Combine these ‘superbugs’ with or weakened immune systems and you have the formula for a trainwreck. If you think I’m full of it, do some homework; everything I just typed has scientific proof and history backing it. Trying to prep for a pandemic is pretty much useless too. The only thing that’s going to sort that debacle out is nature. I do agree wholeheartedly that the media spins the chicken/cow/manbearpig flu into a fake sh*tstorm, and ‘zombies/walking dead’ is a crock of grade A cow sh*t, but a pandemic is a real possibility. There is a parasitic flatworm (dicrocoelium dendriticum) that takes control of ants in order to spread to grazing animals, I guess turning it into a zombie of sorts, but, walking dead = giant steaming load.

    3. Guns…. simple causality: you take the guns away from the law abiding masses, and you take the fear out of the criminals and add to the sheer stupidity of trying to invade a nation. A criminal is going to attempt to rape/murder/steal regardless of whether you are armed or not. A successful crime is a tragedy, a dead criminal is not. The real problem is that most people who own firearms are not properly trained maintain, handle and properly implement them as tools of defense.

    I do agree with your take on the whole survivalist industry statement, because most of the TEOTWAWKI scenarios people come up with do have some fact in their basis, but there isn’t a damn thing you can do to survive through them except maybe dumb luck. Polar shift… asteroid…. pandemic…. not much you can do on that one….. Nuclear war? Any country dumb enough to start a nuclear war with the US is dumb enough to get itself wiped off the face of the earth. I’m sorry but you’re not going to take on the largest, most powerful, best organized military, and most heavily armed civilian populace on earth in a full assault against its homeland…. unless you’re from Mars or something. However, I do believe that we should take a lesson from the Japan tsunami and the NUCLEAR power plant that was wrecked because of it. This proves that a natural disaster could just as easily create a nuclear fiasco in very short order. This generally translates to grab your bug out gear and head for the hills… maybe further. The incident in Japan proves that you could be staring down a SHTF situation for a VERY long time… and chances are in that situation, you’re buggin’ out on foot, and Japan falls under the category of first world country.

    I agree with the long term stash being over the top… a month or two worth of supplies should be plenty. If the situation is any worse than that, chances are you’re bailing out anyway and you’re stash is probably buried in the remains of what used to be your home.

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  58. Edit: “you take the guns away from the law abiding masses, and you take the fear out of the criminals and add to the sheer stupidity of trying to invade a nation”
    Should have said”
    “you take the guns away from the law abiding masses, and you take the fear out of the criminals. If the citizens are armed you also add to the sheer stupidity of trying to invade a nation.”

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  59. Well you realy bursted my dream of using all that stuff in my bomb shelter. I still hope something happens so that this world might have a chance to become more like 19th century society where they depended on them damn selves and not the semi trucks that fill the store shelf and fast food dives. What about if oil runs out or becomes unobtainable, do you think this would cause some major problems because the masses only survive because of petro fertalizers, pesticides, and transportation.

    Every thing else you mentioned made sense, I was going to make a night of looking up survival shit but now I think Im going to go watch storage wars.
    Thank allot

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  60. Earthquakes, floods, 5 year droughts, and drug ganges out of Mexico killing americans nothing bad ever happens so why worry.

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  61. Bummer! After reading this article I feel sorta sad. I was kinda looking forward to fighting it out with zombies and commies.

    Oh well, guess I’ll just have to join the real world now…

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  62. I find a number of flaws in this article, but I will focus on the most glaring one.

    Major events could have much greater implications than just to the economy. The issue is how people will react. Take for instance a long termshot down of the internet. Transit would be impacted, people would freak out, then they hunker down and cause th situation to get worse.

    Not saying I think that will happen, just that you have to more considder how people will react to a scenario rather than the direct impact.

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  63. I find it an entertaining joke, mostly. Since almost none of them can be troubled to get a black belt, or real speed and accuracy with a pistol, so as to be able to handle the attacks that DO happen to 1000′s of people in the USA, EVERY DAY, they can’t truly be serious about preparing for some remote disaster. It’s all just talk. I have been a world class IPSC competitor in rifle and pistol, and a black belt instructor for many years. I do agree that big trouble is unlikely, but it would not be all that hard to CAUSE big trouble. A very few men, who knew what to do and are ruthless enough to do it, can shake the US economy to its foundations. Many men have been mistreated enough to want to do so, too. If they ever learn what to do and especially if they see no point in living further, they could turn the US upside down. If the US falls,, ALL other countries fall, too, cause either they are dependent upon trade with us, or they are dependent upon other countries who are dependent upon trade with us. We are such a huge source of money for the rest of the world, that if the $100 bill ever becomes toilet paper, billions will die, the world over.

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  64. You say that if the US falls 40 places down the economic ladder we will look like Barbados. Really? Well, how much foreign aid does Barbados send to the rest of the world? Right… ZILCH. Now I am not making an argument that we should be sending foreign aid to other countries, but it is a fact that we do. Do you think that if we dropped 40 spots down the economic ladder we would be supporting these other countries? Not bloody likely. Our economic failure would affect the whole world. And do you think food stamps and welfare wouldn’t be affected? Unlikely. These programs, along with most others, would collapse. Do you think the starving masses would say, “well, it’s no worse than Barbados. Let’s go hang out at the beach.” Fat chance. Crime would rise dramatically. But that’s OK, right? The police would help us. Oh wait, since cities and counties are suffering financially since the collapse of the federal government, the police have not been paid for six weeks. They are home protecting their own families rather than risking their lives on the streets for no money!

    I am not saying that there will be a zombie uprising in case of an economic collapse, but there will be a drastic increase in crime and misery.

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  65. James,

    Your article was well reasoned and well written.

    Thank you!

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  66. This article was such a bummer. I was kinda looking forward to the Zombie Apocoly and roving cannibalistic motorcyle gangs. Dam, what the hell am I gonna do with my stockpiled freeze dried foods now???

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  67. The news media, some governments and many religions only have one product to sell: Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) TEOTWAWKI is a perfect catalyst for their sales pitch.

    Ever notice how no one gives a crap about mutant fish off the coast of Japan until we have a slow news day, then all the sudden, 3 eyed mutant pollack are a problem, that’s FUD.

    Happiness and Sunshine never compelled anyone to open their wallet like the fear of consuming radioactive Long John Silver’s. . .

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  68. I like the analysis of the “world as we know it.” I think it would be better to discuss what is the world as you and I know it. What are the things we overlook and take for granted as modern conveniences, that could be gone or obsolete in the blink of an eye. Things like your job, our transit systems, our food supply, etc. I find those things more terrifying than nuclear fallout or invading armies/zombies. How many people out there have the skills to grow their own food, hunt for food, preserve food, etc. I don’t see that scenario as an immediate danger, but certainly see the price of going to the supermarket for something simple like fruit and vegetables becoming prohibitively expensive. I see many peoples jobs becoming obsolete and none of them having the skills to survive. Self preservation for me is a scary driving force. I meet people all the time whose only skill set is the profession they went to college for. Their spare time is wrapped up in hobbies life running, going to the gym, playing golf. We are quickly losing people in our society who still have the knowledge of folk remedies, preserving and canning, agriculture, and hunting. Ironically, taking the time to learn any of those skills would save you money. We as a society are slowing turning it around.

    I take great joy in watching those “Prepper” shows and seeing people prep to prolong their reliance on modern conveniences. They would rather hoard Chef Boyardee cans instead of seed. They pack toilet paper? They “bug out” to the desert?

    Keep up the good work James G. This isn’t about you or any one person having all the answers. Its about giving people a place to rationalize their ideas and put life in perspective. Its about having the ability to step back and think about who we are as humans and where we are headed.

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  69. Reading this provided a welcomed sigh of relief. You run a top notch site here, and if I started to see a bunch of “prepper” shit, I’d 180 outta here. Most of em’ look like walking death and all that sodium loaded gut trash they stow away won’t help (whole heartily agree on the chef b comment). Especially the fuckheads living in a cul-de-sac. All that stock won’t be of much use after a jerry can of petrol and a match.

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  70. Living costs are constantly rising, and politicians don’t seem to know how to deal with all the problems arising from the economic crisis. Perhaps they need to turn to professional economic crisis specialists. For example, the Orlando Bisegna Index, specialists in the economic crisis, apart from measuring the intensity of the econonomic crisis in many countries, have helped various counties with debt problems, business failures and unemployment, thus improving the economic condition of many families.

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  71. anyone who can\’t see that the baby boomers are going to collapse Social security is blind. it has to happen. Younger people won\’t vote to increase taxes. Pols don\’t dare TOUCH SS. So all they CAN do is inflate the dollar until nobody will take it, for anything. If all you needed was a printing press, Bangladesh would be just as rich as the US. We\’ve got 10 years at most, and might well not have 5 years. The US market has been supporting the rest of the world for 100+ years, but it\’s soon going to be unable to do much of anything. We are looking at a die-off like the world\’s never seen before. Billions and billions of people.

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  72. Here\’s a few scenarios you didn\’t account for:

    First most likely: Irrational panic, in the 80s there was a regional toilet paper shortage caused by rumors of a toilet paper shortage. Insert famous quote “A person is smart, people are stupid”. Chaos can come from rumors, be prepared. Food, water, essentials (like toilet paper)

    Second: Katrina

    TEOTWAWKI is tongue in cheek around real preppers, just like zombies. If you wrote this article aimed at the Discovery Channel preppers then good job. Real preppers have things like fire extinguishers, and flood insurance, along side food, water and common sense.

    Carnyx

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  73. things can EASILY get MUCH worse than Katrina. All it will take is some splinter group stealing or buying a nuke from Pakistan or one of the muslim leftover countries from the Soviet block, and detonating it in NYC. You\’ll find out real QUICK how worthless paper money and debit/credit cards can be, and how many people will kill you on sight.

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