Just In Case

In fair weather, prepare for foul.

    - Thomas Fuller - Gnomologia: Adagies & Proverbs (1732)

Back as the millenium came to a close, my friends and I had a lot of good humored conversations about the end of the world as we know it. We talked about what it would be like, all the great things, all the terrible things, and what we would do if we survived. It wasn’t uncommon then, or even now, to talk about these things, but most of the time it’s done with an air of jest while we hold firm to the belief that our society is impregnable, and that we cannot fall back to the dark times that came before.

But the fact is, our civilization can fall. History has proven this again and again, and we would be wise not to let our pride convince us otherwise. While most people take the path of blissful self-deception, fate favors the prepared.

The possible causes of such a future are numerous, diverse, and lead to different potential problems. While fifty years ago it may have seemed likely that a large scale nuclear war would be the end of us all, today the cause seems much more likely to be economic. Terrorism is still a potential, but a new depression would do the job just as thoroughly and leave the cities untouched. So how do you prepare for anything?

For me, the answer was to prepare for the worst physical destruction possible. The plan for an attack of that magnitude would be simple: get away from largely populated areas to an area of little strategic or political value, but one that would serve a small community well. My solution: “Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.”

United States Radioactive Fallout

In the worst possible situation, the majority of this country would be uninhabitable, but select pockets of land would manage to stay untouched. Devil’s Tower is one of these places. Located in north-eastern Wyoming, America’s first national monument is outside of the nuclear blast zones and sits comfortably out of the path of the fallout. Obviously, the remote location would also serve well as protection from biological attacks, or even from hording riots in an economic crisis. Most importantly, the land is fertile and accessible with plenty of publicly available maps, trails, and roads, but it is not a highly sought after resource.

Wyoming Target Map

Besides the location itself, the most important issue that would confront survival in a post-apocalyptic world is the ill-preparedness of the survivors. Most of us haven’t grown up in a world where we are responsible for our own basic needs. Food is easily accessible without knowing how to grow it, hunt it, or trap it. Shelters are built for us. How many people in 10 can honestly say they know how to build a fire in the woods without a lighter or a match? How many people in 10 can make rope from grass, weeds, or bark? How many people know what plants in their area are edible? The answers are fairly depressing. We’ve become incapable of maintaining our own basic survival.

So in that vein, I invite all of you, my few readers, to join me at the tower in this “just in case” situation. Together, with our skills and knowledge combined, we stand a much better chance of survival than we would alone.

Though it may seem unnecessary or silly right now, talk with your family and friends. Mention that there is a plan, just in case. Let everyone know, if things fall apart, you have a place to go. Don’t waste time trying to search around other cities for each other. Just grab your emergency supplies (you have these set aside, right?) and head to the tower.

Here’s a few resources to toss in your emergency kit to get it started. Good luck, and I hope I never have to see the monument in person.