New Article -- "Serious Voluntary Relocation" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I have just finished this article which will eventually be on my website, but am posting it here now for those people who appreciate my writings.

Serious Voluntary Relocation

This essay gives a summary of my opinions on this subject, both as it relates to Minnesota in particular, and to Y2K-aware people concerned with this subject, regardless of where they live. It also includes links to and references of a number of what I consider to be important works on this topic.

I hear repeatedly that people do not see a need to relocate due to Y2K. My answer to them is to read these four books in my "Suggested Readings" list: "The Millennium Bug", "Time Bomb 2000", "Man and Society in Calamity", and "What Will Become of Us?". These books will do much to bring you to an understanding of why you can expect the worst when the things that keep civilization going stop working, but human need continues. About 40 hours spent reading Gary North's website ( wouldn't hurt, either. A quick thought that summarizes why you should consider relocation if you currently reside in a city of any size at all: in 1977, when New York City had a multi-day electrical blackout (but everything else worked), widespread looting began a short time after the lights went out. How short? TEN MINUTES. People who accept the reality of the possible cataclysm Y2K could become often say that they do not have the resources (usually financial) to move. My response to them is to read AND APPLY most of the ideas contained in my article "Finding Y2K Prep Time and $$". Even lower-middle class households could in most cases free up substantial resources (probably enough to move to a safer locale) if they did this.

It is not rare to encounter people on Internet forums who describe their situations as understanding Y2K, as not being financially resourceless, but who still say that they cannot move. My response to them is to sit down and make a comprehensive list of all the reasons why they cannot relocate. Be thorough and do a good job. When done, crumple the paper the reasons are on into a ball, toss the ball into the fireplace (trashcan will do, but isn't as final), and begin packing boxes in preparation for moving. The situation resembles that which the Jews in Germany faced in the early 1930's; many of them had numerous reasons for nonrelocation (business, family, etc.). In the end, all that mattered is whether or not they did move. The ones who left, mostly lived; the ones who stayed -- nearly 100% of them died. No one is holding a loaded firearm to your head, saying that they will pull the trigger if you move. Won't move -- very possibly. Can't move -- I doubt it.

If you have someone close to you who will not move, would you feel compelled to stay (and likely perish) if you knew that a natural disaster (tornado, tsunami, or whatever) was rapidly and certainly headed toward your location? It's the same situation; another adult's informed intransigence in the face of impending threat releases you from your bond with them, at least to the extent of having to commit possible suicide by staying with them. If married with children, and your spouse is sufficiently ignorant about Y2K that they do not understand how imperative it is to be in a safe place very soon, my advice would be as follows: say , "Honey, I'm going to Aunt Bertha's and Uncle Homer's farm (or wherever) in 2 weeks, staying until things settle down after the end of the year, and I'm taking both the kids with me. Hope you'll come, too." This will be relatively easy to say, but much harder to carry thru on. You must, though; depending on your situation, the very lives of your family may be at stake. How minor by comparison is the importance of avoiding unpleasant and constant arguments with your spouse, listening to your daughter wail about parting from her boyfriend, and your son incessantly gripe about not being able to play on the team anymore? Surely your family is important enough to deserve your unyielding strength in this matter.

Now that we have reached the point at which a person understands that they need to be in a safe location, and that nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of actually moving to one if they are not already in one, how does one select such area? Let us begin by stating the obvious; people generally want to be able to continue being alive, which means that (if rational) they would presumably choose to ensure availabilty of what they will need to accomplish this. They will also be very likely to prefer that other people will be unlikely to act in ways that run counter to their goal of remaining alive. (Whether other people do this by attempting to kill them outright, by stealing their stockpiles of critical supplies, or by simply interfering with their prospects for obtaining supplies elsewhere, is considered a detail here; the final effect is the same). The supply pipeline is too narrow at this late date for a significant proportion of people to adequately prepare now, since so few have done anything at all to protect their households against the cataclysm I believe Y2K will be. I will thus consider it a given that the vast majority of people will not have prepared in time when 2000 hits, and will generally be more of a potential threat than any kind of plus to a Y2K-prepared household.

The situation is then simple to describe; you will want as high a ratio of "Needed Supply Availability" (hereafter NSA) to people as possible. Also, remember the potential great improvement of stockpiling IF one's stockpiles are not looted (whether by uniformed or nonuniformed looters is irrelevant here; the result is the same, and I do not even believe there will be a great amount of difference in their inclination to kill Y2K-prepared families to obtain their supplies). For that reason, I believe that low NSA and low population is to be preferred to having theoretically high levels of both, as significant numbers of people can be expected to reduce the effective NSA of a locale from your family's point of view. Although IN A SINGLE INSTANCE uniformed looters are more likely to prevail against your household in a gunbattle than nonuniformed looters would be (due to on average better weapons/training/coordination), if you have to defend your family home with violence a sufficient number of times, the outcome is the same; everyone in your family will have been killed. I personally do not much care how many looters (from none to many; remember, these are moral zeroes) my household members kill in self-defense, compared with the issue of whether or not my family comes thru this event safe, healthy, and free. (If you ponder this at some length, I believe that you will agree with my point even if you consider it a great social good to end a looter's career).

Stating it again, I believe that low NSA and low population is to be preferred to a having theoretically high levels of both, as significant numbers of people can be expected to reduce the effective NSA of a locale from your family's point of view. A good source of data for making decisions on the population density issue is the "Population Density in Minnesota" map in the "Emergency Weather Maps/Tables" section elsewhere on my website. Within Minnesota, I would advise at least 100 miles distance from the edge of the red area of the Twin Cities (>1 million population), 50 miles from Duluth/Superior (>300,000 population), 20+ miles from any town with over 10,000 population such as Brainerd, and to be in an area that is represented by a a gray-colored square on the map that does not touch a higher-density colored square. If you think (as I do) that a nontrivial risk of food confiscation (called "looting" in nonpolitically correct language) by governments is a consideration, some distance from military bases such as Camp Ripley (just SW of Brainerd) would be a good idea as well. I would want to be at least 30+ miles away from them. Military bases heavy on ground troops are especially desirable to be a long distance from.

Now, what factors should go into making up an NSA rating for an area? Many things could go into this calculation, beginning with firewood (the only practicably renewable fuel for most people) and potable water availability (storing enough for years isn't practical), and going on to agricultural/other food procurement possibilities. Additional concerns to consider include the likelihood of natural disasters, risk from nuclear incidents (power plant meltdowns and intentional targeting with nuclear weapons by terrorists/foreign powers) animal attack, climate concerns, and disease risk. I will look at each of these in turn.

Firewood availability is mostly a function of how heavily forested land is. This in turn is mainly determined by the intensity of human deforestation activities and precipitation levels. As you are already selecting for low population density, this will take care of most of the deforestation activities. (Agricultural activities will be a partial potential exception to this rule). Precipitation levels are shown on the precipitation map on the "Emergency ...Maps" cover page. In general, over the precipitation range seen in Minnesota, the less precipitation, the more the vegetation will tend toward grasses rather than trees. Also, for equal precipitation, as elevation and/or latitude increase, the vegetation patterns can be expected to shift toward increased forestation up to a point. (This is due to reduced evaporation of water at lower temperatures). As far as U.S states farther west than Minnesota go, I understand that conifers are a common intermediate step between hardwood tree dominance and grassy plains; I do not yet know if this holds true for much of Minnesota as well. This question is important because of the far greater suitability of hardwoods for fuel in woodstoves/fireplaces, as they cause much less creosote-type chimney coating and thus reduce chimney fire risk/increase time between chimney cleanings. Overall, the NNE 40% of the state is heavily forested, and the rest is mostly unforested. The "Minnesota Atlas and Gazeteer" I recommend in the "Emergency...Maps" section is quite useful for sizing up the degree of forestation in particular areas of Minnesota. The arid U.S. Southwest will not have significant local firewood supplies in post-1999. The Colorado-Washington State-Montana triangle is dominated by conifers in most areas where there are trees. The Central Plains states (Dakotas, Nebraska, Eastern Colorado - that area) are grass-dominated rather than forested. Lastly, remember that wood is most easily split when it is cold, but seasons fastest where it is warm.

Water supply is not much of a problem in Minnesota, especially compared to many other regions of the U.S. We do not have significant problems with most aquifers being too deep for manual pumps (many deserts), saltwater intrusion into aquifers from historic overpumping (much of coastal Florida), highly polluted bodies of water making up a substantial proportion of those present here, etc. Also, most of the state receives enough rainfall that household water supply systems based for runoff from roofs (& captured in cisterns) will suffice for minimal needs, like most areas east of the Mississippi River (and unlike L.A., Phoenix, etc.). Streams/rivers will likely present more flood risk than lakes, but can cleanse themselves of pollution more rapidly than lakes and ponds. Lakes and ponds in densely populated areas in my opinion will quickly degrade in quality in 2000 once they deice (no sewage treatment, possible bodies, no environmental oversight) ; this degradation will be immediate for such lakes/ponds in the southern half of the U.S., where the lakes do not freeze. Remember that the order of preference of water supply (best to worst) is wells/springs, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds. People in deserts (L.A., Las Vegas) or urban islands in seawater (N.Y.C) will not have to worry about all this; they mostly won't have water access.

The vast majority of regions in Minnesota theoretically have at least some land usable for agriculture, especially corn/wheat/soybeans/potatos. Large amounts of basic grains are produced in this state. A number of vegetables and fruits are currently commercially successfully grown here as well (citrus fruits are not among them). The main limiting factor is water in the WNW part of the state, which is why wheat is a good planting choice there. The NE part of the state does grow crops as well, in spite of what a look at the climate maps might make you think. In the U.S. as a whole, the main limiting factors are water availability and space. The SW U.S. does have some soil quality problems (as does some of the South and mountainous/coastal regions), but agriculture in the SW mainly limited by water (availability and quality). Remember, deep wells dependent on electricity for pumping and interstate water projects will not be dependable water sources in 2000+. Space for agriculture is a function most of all of nondeveloped status, with terrain status (ruggedness, swampiness) second.

Natural disasters in Minnesota are relatively few. Hurricanes are mainly a risk in the Gulf Coast and Atlantic coastal states, so we don't get them. Earthquakes are primarily a risk in the Western fourth of the U.S., although the risk is not zero in the East (New Madrid Fault, etc.) The earthquake damage risk in Minnesota is almost the lowest in the country. We do get tornados/hail from severe thunderstorms, although fewer than the Southeast U.S., and far fewer than the "Tornado Alley" states in the Kansas/Oklahoma area. Flooding risk is mostly connected with being near rivers that have gotten large, or being where rainfall can be catastrophically high. This is not a negligible concern, but areas near the Central/Lower Mississippi River, the Gulf Coast, and certain semiarid regions all are more noted for this hazard than most of Minnesota. Remember that rivers/streams generally present more of a flood risk than do lakes/ponds.

Nuclear incident concerns stem from these possiblities: intentional or nonintentional nuclear weapon detonation/core scattering, or nuclear plant meltdowns ala Chernobyl. To have a weapon go off intentionally, either a foreign nuclear power or unusually well-equipped terrorists would have to be involved. (Intentional use of nuclear weapons on our own soil by our government without a foreign invasion can surely be disregarded as a possibility). I think that this is a rather low chance, but if you live away from cities and major military bases, this danger is dealt with. Nuclear weapons are actually ticklish things to make detonate; accidental nuclear explosions are in my judgement unlikely. However, if the conventional explosives in a nuclear weapon do go off, and the fissionable material in the warhead was plutonium, you could still kill thousands of people in the right location. If the ink in a period in type of fine font was composed of plutonium and you swallowed it, you would be guaranteed to die. The other fissionable in nuclear weapons, uranium-235, is not so dangerous. I think that warhead material scattering is not impossible in 2000, and is another reason to be away from military bases.

Nuclear power plants in Minnesota are found in Monticello and Red Wing. For the locations of others in the U.S., look at the appropriate map in my Maps section. I have it directly from a manager of NSP (local power company) that all 3 nuclear plants in Minnnesota WILL be on-line on 12/31/1999. Anyway, it appears that it takes 4-6 months to shut down nuclear power plants, and they cannot have done so or we would already have experienced serious brownouts nationally. (Nuke plants generate 20% of the electrical power in the U.S., 40% in the NE, and the surplus generating capacity in the grid is only 10-15%). As I do consider meltdowns to be a significant possibility, and having researched the Soviet experience with Chernobyl, I strongly advise these distances: at least 50 miles (100 is better) if you are going more N than E, OR more W than S. This is due to prevailing winds; think of the direction weather fronts usually seem to come from (NW, approximately). If you are going to be mostly downwind of a plant, then hundreds of miles of distance would be minimal. Note that nuclear power plants CANNOT detonate in a nuclear explosion; the fissionable material is too spread out for that. To make a nuclear detonation happen in a nuclear power plant, you would have to carry a nuclear bomb into the plant with you. However, a meltdown is still bad enough, so don't live near a nuke plant if you can possibly help it.

Animal attack is less of a risk in Minnesota than most more southern states. The U.S. contains 4 species of poisonous snakes, but Minnesota only has 2, and those only in the extreme south portion of the state. I do not yet know what our situation is with respect to the 2 species of poisonous spiders found in the U.S., but I will say this: when the temperature is below freezing, spiders and insects (bees, mosquitos, cockroaches, etc.) are nonfactors. I have lived much of my life south of Minnesota, and can tell you from personal experience that insects average much less of a problem here than in the southern half of the U.S. Yes, there are wolves and black bears here, but their numbers are few and they try to avoid humans. Deer on the highway are actually the largest danger here from animals of any size. Lyme Disease from ticks is found here, like rabies, but Minnesota is not unique in this. Yellow fever and malaria are not possibilities here in 2000 (unlike the south), and Minnesota is not endemic for bubonic plague or hantavirus as is the southwest.

Climate concerns are here mainly considered a function of temperature, given my having dealt with precipitation and natural disasters elsewhere. I consider the frigid temperatures and snow in winter a plus for safety for prepared households in 2000 for this reason: people intent on looting are unlikely to cross great distances on foot, or to wait patiently outside to ambush you, in such conditions. The warmer 5/6 of the country will not be as fortunate. Also, if cold, heat from a woodstove is a reliable, low-tech way to solve the problem. The warmer regions of the country may not have as critical of needs for heating in winter, but consider the summers... They are much longer and more intense in the U.S. South, Southwest, and much of the U.S. Atlantic coast, and air conditioning is much harder to replace by low-tech methods than heat is. Again, consider what a summer with no air conditioning will be like in most of the country...

Resources for Relocation Information

The book that comes up above all on this subject is Joel Skousen's "Strategic Relocation". Howard Ruff's "How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years" and Robert Ringer's "How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization" (I've read both) have a fair amount of information relevant to this topic as well. The best books on nuclear war survival also usefully touch on this subject. The best of these are probably those by Cresson Kearny, and Bruce Clayton's "Life After Doomsday".

Several essays on Gary North's website are in my opinion "must-reads" on this subject. His overall site address is Look in the "Martial Law" section, and read the ones written on 08/24/1998, 08/28/1999, and 08/29/1999. Their direct addresses are below.

This last one is a list of cities that sound like great places NOT to be living before the end of 1999, just based on what the government expects to do. Make sure to follow the link out; you need GN's summary AND the list of cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul are both on this list.

I would part from you on this topic with this rule: if you walk around your house, and can EITHER see more than 2 other houses OR you could conceivably hit more than one other house with a thrown stone, you almost certainly need to move. The main difference between living in the suburbs and the inner city in 2000 is that the people who come to loot your house will probably have come from bigger houses. Small comfort, yes? Please do not waste a single day fixing your location problem if you have one; I don't know how long you have to move, but it's less than four months at most.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, September 04, 1999


Jesus, I thought minnesotans did'nt have egos--->

"my writings on my web site"!!

Sincere Question: Do people frequent your site??

-- David Butts (, September 04, 1999.

Isn't he the turkey who got drummed off the Gary North food storage forum for spamming?

Yeah, I do believe he is.

-- Ron Schwarz (, September 04, 1999.

I won't bother with stylistic comments in depth but say that phrases like, "Let us begin . . ., " "I believe . . .," and "I think that . . ." are unnecessary and distracting from your main points.

Regarding form and the length of the article: (1) look for words to chop. Short is better than long. (2) in the beginning, say what you are going to say in your main points, then make them. At the end, rephrase or restate the points you have m

-- Magnolia (, September 04, 1999.

Since I am a hell of a nice guy I am going to give you a clue.

With less than 120 days to go, IT IS TOO FRICKIN LATE TO SELL YOUR HOUSE AND THEN MOVE INTO A NEW COMMUNITY AND SET DOWN ROOTS! Of course, if you're willing to walk away from any equity in your house and go live in a cave, you might still have enough time.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 04, 1999.

Appears well documented. just a year and a half late.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, September 04, 1999.


You cover all the ground except how to survive in the middle of winter with 2 months of prep. Not to mention the "culture shock" of such actions.

As a person that has done the extencive bush thing I would not recommend this course of action. It is a really tough topic and one that has not been floated around much lately (see Chuck above).

If one is thinking about transplanting, rent a comfey RV or trailer and do it in style :o). This building log cabins and drilling wells is for the lifers. At this time leave it to them.

By the way smoke from the fires will attract Deckers snipers from miles around.

-- Brian (, September 05, 1999.

Minnesota Smith is pretty much right, IMO.

If you're in a location where you could be in danger, the FIRST item on your agenda must be relocation!

You might not have as much food, water or heat as you would like, but you'd be safe. You may not have a good job prior to 1/1/00, but you'd be safe. You might lose almost all of your investments, but you'd be safe.

And if you're not safe, food, water, heat, a good job and investments are of no consequence.

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (, September 05, 1999.

What is it with you and your 1) head for the hills, 2) don't trust ANYTHING about the government, 3) people are basically animals just looking for an excuse to loot and maim, 4) bury your food? The entire country cannot relocate to MN as pleasant a state as it is. There are perverts and socialists in MN too. There are bad people in MN. Yes, and if the water is so safe--why is MN the state that is always mentioned that has so many deformed frogs?!!

There ARE SOME good folks in Government. I have met them. There are many more good folks in the military. I have met them. Just because you are on the end of a road 100 miles away from the city, doesn't necessarily mean you ARE safe. Just because there is some looting, doesn't mean it will be everywhere and it doesn't mean the general populace will sit still for it for long. I hope you aren't a Christian--because God rarely instructs us to head for the hills--he can protect us right where we are. And I am a big proponent of planning and of course, if you were in the heart of a city, you might want to consider alternate plans. You need something to do with your spare time. I can tell by the length of your posts.

-- tt (, September 05, 1999.


Thanks for the essay. I thought it well written and well thought out. I especially liked the links to Gary North's site.

I must agree, though, that the time is near for making any relocation decision. There are still some who might profit from your sane advice. It is not necessary to actually sell your home and purchase a new hove many miles from civilization. I myself plan to relocate to my rural parent's home. Even this simple effort requires advanced planning, so I hope many will read and take your advice to heart.

I appreciate your efforts to document conditions in and around Minnesota. I am sure those who live in Minnesota share my appreciation for your hard work. I live in Georgia and will consider using your essay as an outline for my own research.

As for those who denigrate your writing style, please remember that it is not necessary to write like Cory H. or Paul M. to have a persuasive writing style. Those who get most of their info from the clipped style of writing common on the Net will never enjoy the style preferred by those who read national news magazines and the occasional scholarly article or editorial. I and many others prefer your style.

Thanks again,

-- Uhmm.. (, September 05, 1999.

Mr. Smith,

I thought your article was well-written and well-considered, and it helped me to reevaluate my present location. I have read the other articles on your website and benfitted from them as well. Its nice to see an in-depth article on the subject of relocating, rather than just hearing another snippet about "if you're 5 miles from a 7-11, you're toast." Thanks.

-- waiting (waitingforthe@x2.fall), September 06, 1999.

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