So here it comes. The biggest crime wave and panic ever to hit this country. Police are swamped and can't keep up with the looters and arsonists. They decide to cordon off a four block square around City Hall. Fire fighters have refused to fight fires because of snipers. Troops and national guard have been called up but the personnel are just spread too thin. Gangs are starting to get into the suburbs and steal what they wish, food, weapons and ammo, women, etc. Homes are stormed and dwellers killed on the spot. Stores are emptied. Nothing is moving in the cities and towns. What the hell you gonna do? By the time this situation is created it will be too late to bug out. Every bridge out of a city will be a check point for either troops or gangs. If you have to cross a river you are screwed. I wonder if it will cross your mind that I told you to get the hell out BEFORE the shit hit the fan. There are too many people in the cities and towns who will steal from you, rat you out, murder you, etc. in the name of keeping their own miserable asses alive. AVOID THIS SCENARIO AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. And put yourselves in the shoes of those who are doing this crap. They are just dumb bastards who are trying to stay alive! Ignorant assholes who haven't had a clue and probably never will have a clue. Life has gotten too damned confusing for them and they are freaking out. Not that you shouldn't ventilate them at every opportunity, but you can at least try to fathom their mentality.
Have you scouted your way out of town? Do you know every back road and alley that will take you away from the bullshit? Can you avoid gangs and FEMA monsters? Can you break free of the melee and get out where the air is cleaner and the terrain is friendlier? Mighty important things to know. Your freedom and maybe your life depend on it. I still remember reading the stories of people fleeing the wrath of Katrina and having to show weapons to get away from rip-offs. Yessir! Your friends and neighbors can become complete assholes and rob, rape, and maim you. It does not matter if you are just trying to get to safety. Your meager resources mean safety to them! If you decide to stay in town you had better have your act together. Better than the forces opposing you. Chances are you will be out numbered and you had better be prepared to deal with that. A few REAL friends would not be a bad thing to have at this point. And just because you know people and talk to them occasionally does not make them a friend. Talk to people about current conditions and the economy and see how they react. See how they feel about the fedgov and Obama and the collapsing economy. DON'T TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR PREPS! Publius has a couple of horror stories about "friends" who freaked out on him over trivial bullshit. They are good Americans and don't like preppers. And there are a lot of people out there who don't like preppers. And it looks like there are a lot of them who feel that if you have preps and they don't, then you are obligated to share with them. Could be more ventilating work!
Food can become a very valuable commodity in the case of social breakdown. You can get your throat cut for some of it. Not a pretty thought but then again, social breakdown isn't pretty either. If you live at a retreat in the country you have a step up on the populace in the city. All you have to do is be prepared to defend it should you be approached by hostiles. And if you are fairly secluded then you won't have to worry about hostiles for a while. They will be occupied with more pertinent matters, such as avoiding jail and jail camps and getting shot by people like you who did not leave the city. But no matter what befalls you, you still need to eat. And a wife and kids need to eat also. If you are unfortunate to have to try to walk out of town you will be required to take your food with you. That can kick your ass. And the asses of those going with you. You will also need to carry some type of defense weapon. And that will add weight to your burden. It is so difficult to get OUT of a city when it is falling apart. Pray that you be found out of harms way and in the country when it all goes up.
I know, I know, there are plans to rebuild the collapsed cities and start trade back up and all that good stuff. That can take years! I am not saying that you should not be working toward this goal, but do not stay in the city with that in mind. Send a scouting party into the city to investigate their progress and help if you think it is advisable. But that is no excuse to be a "donor" for a system that is essentially broken by ignorance and greed. Enlightened self interest has to come into play here and your best self interest is to be away from those people. Build up your own trade and barter system and let the cities build theirs. When things calm down you can always trade with them, especially if you have food for trade. And don't forget to look for circling buzzards as you approach any settlement. It's a sign of something. Stay alive.