The first 3 factors for getting out of Dodge

By Pat McLene

Rural country farm (Pexels copyright-free image)

To start off this week’s column, I’ve posted three headlines above. It took me about a minute to find these on Google. They were surrounded by a bunch of similar headlines, and I expect if I bothered to take the time I could find one hundred more like them in a few more minutes’ worth of searching. Go ahead and read them if you’d like, but I doubt you’d find anything you didn’t expect to see.

These headlines, and the hundreds or thousands of others like them, show that things are getting worse and they simply aren’t going to get any better. The default position for any bureaucrat or politician when things are falling apart will be to double down on stupidity. If you’re a resident of one of those states, or live in or near a metroplex that is digging itself into a deeper and darker hole, it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing. It’s time to save yourself and your family by getting out of Dodge.

In finding a place to become more self-dependent, the very first thing to do is to make the decision that it’s really time to go. I know an awful lot of people have been spending years playing with the notion of migrating to a safer place, but randomly flipping through real estate websites and dreaming will get you nowhere. There’s an old saying: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” You’re never going to be able to ride unless you stop dreaming and acquire a horse.

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In the next few columns, I’m not going to address whether or not you’ve got the economic means to escape the failing cities or states in which you find yourself. Far too often, people use their economic situation as a crutch to avoid making that decision. But do you really think if you abide just a little while longer in a state that’s being run into the ground, that somehow, magically, your economic condition will improve? And if things get really bad quickly and you have to beat feet in a hurry with nowhere to go, your effective net worth will be zero.

So the very first thing that you must do to truly begin working on your escape plan is to establish a realistic deadline. You’re going to need to get a number of ducks in a row, and while you should move expeditiously, too much haste can be just as bad as too much procrastination. For most people who are just beginning the process of finding a better, safer place to live, a year of preparation should be sufficient. But of course, that year must be filled with a concerted effort. And the first part of that effort consists of making a short list of the appropriate places where you’ll locate your new home.

The first and most important metric you should consider in deciding where to move is state or regional population density. You can find a good list of the rankings of the states by population density on Wikipedia.

Population density doesn’t tell the whole story, of course. A single large city in an otherwise sparsely populated state can skew the ranking. But it’s a pretty good first cut, because overall population density is strongly correlated with a host of other factors, including governmental regulation. Personally I wouldn’t even bother to look for a future homestead within any state that made the top half of that list.

Your next selection criteria – regional climate – should be both personal and practical. Do you prefer a hot and dry climate? Or do you prefer to live somewhere with a few months of snow on the ground? It’s a big country, and you can find a lot of good places to live while still being able to enjoy the climate of your preference. Of course for the prepper, choosing a place where the weather enhances your quality of life isn’t enough. Unless you have skills that will keep you employed no matter the economic or societal conditions, you’re also going to be looking for a climate that will allow you to produce your own food abundantly. Personally, I happen to love the high desert, but having a home in this climate will be problematic unless it contains an independent, easily-accessed and consistent water supply for growing a garden large enough to support my family. On the other hand, high desert land can usually be picked up cheap; and with enough land for grazing, you can, if you prefer, raise livestock instead of tomatoes. But either way, you’ll need water. (More on that in future columns.)

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Crime statistics should be your final criterion for determining your initial-cut states. You can find a map that lists the relative rankings of the states by homicide here. Again, it should be noted that a state with a low population density can still present an overall relatively high crime rate based entirely on the presence of one or more high-density metropolitan areas. Nevertheless, an elevated crime rating for a state can be indicative of a number of other problems that are not just limited to a lack of morality or racial discord.

With just these three metrics, you should now have a limited number of states that would be suitable as first-cut potential home locations. The easiest way to visualize the interactions of the various metrics used above is to purchase a large map of the United States and start marking it out with the data you’ve collected. It will quickly become apparent which states best meet your hierarchy-of-needs requirements.

Next week we’ll start looking at how to integrate the other items on our hierarchy-of-needs list within the boundaries of a state or region. This will determine those intra-state locations that will best meet additional needs before we start hitting the ground. So before next week, your homework assignment is to get that U.S. map and start narrowing down the potential locations for your prepper dream home … because moving to your prepper retreat is really the ultimate way to get prepared.

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