By Kurt Saxon
Following a nuclear war or total socioeconomic collapse, surviving city
populations will panic. Every highway out of every sizable city and town
will be crowded with refugees. Most main highways will become clogged to
the point of disuse with wrecked vehicles.
With escape as the only alternative to death, drivers of wrecked, broken
down or hopelessly blocked vehicles will commandeer any available vehicle,
even if they have to kill the less aggressive drivers. Ruthless survivors
will siphon the fuel from stalled vehicles, taking also anything they can
use from their owners.
Between large cities and towns, homes will be looted by these desperate escapees,
moving usually singly until they reach smaller towns. You can well imagine
that any glut of such survivors reaching a small town will be a potentially
dangerous lot and will have to be prevented from entering unchecked.
Regardless of your town's officials' attitudes toward such probabilities
now, roadblocks will be set up after the first influx of refugees hit. Even
the most apathetic mayor will then order martial law concerning the townspeople
and especially the refugees.
All too many officials will be mentally and emotionally unprepared and so
will be likely to impose total roadblocks, forcing the refugees to turn back.
This will be a mistake, as the gathering of mobs of frustrated refugees will
only create the kind of Killer Caravans described in my last editorial. Such
caravans would endanger the towns, as they would destroy the counties' resources
the townsmen will need to survive.
Roadblocks can be set up which will benefit both the townsmen and the refugees.
Such roadblocks would be checkpoints and relocation centers, rather than
total barricades causing more chaos then they were meant to prevent.
Aside from a number of criminal types among the refugees, the majority would
be only desperate, shortsighted but otherwise decent people. There would
also be many who had relatives and refuges further on. Then, there would
be many among the refugees which the town would do well to accept, rather
than turn away.
A basic consideration would be that nearly all the manufactured goods used
by the townspeople are from the outside. Most of the processed foods are
also trucked in. Any town cut off from the outside would be in deep trouble
if total isolation were imposed.
Nearly every town is surrounded by large farms and tracts of range land.
The products from these would no longer have an outside market. Nor would
the monocultures, or one crop systems be practical after the crash. Truck
gardening would be the best system, with refugees growing vegetables and
small plots of grains, rather than, say, multi-acreages of wheat, corn, etc.
The heavy farm machinery would soon break down and hand labor would be in
great demand. The best course to follow would be to break up these large
holdings into nine acre plots and settle refugee farmers and manual laborers
on them. Of course, the owners would be recompensed by some barter system
or the refugees could work as sharecroppers.
Since the town system will have to be completely reorganized, with cottage
industries turning out everything from shoes to nails, any skills will be
in demand. Few small towns have the skilled workers to keep it going when
outside commerce is stopped.
Machinists, tool and die makers, chemists, plumbers and the whole caste of
skilled laborers will be needed in abundance. The local skilled workers simply
will not be able to handle all the work to keep the town from coming apart.
All through the various volumes of THE SURVIVOR are crafts and trades which
must be applied if a town is to continue. You cannot expect the locals to
be able to develop the skills to implement them in the time needed to make
life continue comfortably.
Alternative energy systems will have to be constructed to supply every household.
Steam engines will have to be built to power machinery. The machinery will
have to be built to turn out products no longer available.
Whereas a small town of 10,000 might seem crowded now, double and triple
the population will be needed to start over. More people will not be a crowd.
Properly dispersed over the unused land, a city-state can evolve where every
pair of hands and every mind will be usefully occupied.
Doctors and chemists can keep the hardy segment of the population healthy,
although, at first, many people will die simply because they cannot face
an unfamiliar future. So do not fear overpopulation by outsiders.
This does not mean that every refugee will be welcome or tolerated. But the
refugees will be a source of many of the skills and knowledge the locals
The roadblocks at every entrance around the town will be to screen the refugees
to determine which should be absorbed into the population. Those with practical
educations and those willing to do physical labor should be welcomed.
Those refugees who are obvious criminals, fags, whores, bums and sundry trash
should be hanged. No need to let them go on to ravage and pollute communities
outside your area. Whether you like it or not, the crash will force a culling
of the anti-social. Those parasites who live as predators will be doomed
anyway, as austerity forbids tolerance of the predatory and dissolute.
The refugees absorbed into the community would also be a source of supply
to the town. The crash will put people on foot and bicycles and horse carts,
unless individuals convert their engines to use methane. But most of the
cars would be a communal resource. The vehicles can be stripped of wiring,
electrical components, generators, batteries, glass, sheet metal, steel,
etc., all useful for building other things.
The best way to make a roadblock is to have junked autos blocking the roadsides.
Then line up about ten autos, five on each lane, staggered about fifty feet
apart. That way, a refugee would have to slow to about five miles an hour
and zigzag through.
Many good and worthwhile people would be distrustful of roadblocks of any
kind. You must make the roadblocks impenetrable to undesirables but as official
and businesslike as possible. Refugees who simply want a chance for life
will welcome authority. Uniformed officers manning a proper way station will
be comforting sight to refugees who would expect to get shot or robbed by
a mob of armed civilians manning a roadblock.
A proper sign for a roadblock would read something like this: "WAY STATION.
FIRST AID. FOOD. RELOCATION CENTER. STOP AND REGISTER." A park ranger type
and a couple of uniformed police and National Guardsmen would give the decent
refugees the confidence to cooperate.
Such a roadblock would have to be legitimate and fair. Only if a person who
stopped were an obvious anti-social type should his property be confiscated.
He would not care, since he would be hanged.
There would be cases where criminal types would see the roadblock ahead,
turn, and head back the other way. These would be the most dangerous people
in our decadent society. They must not live.
Chances are, they would be dopers and murderers who had looted pharmacies
to keep up their habits. They would probably have great supplies of drugs
best used to relieve suffering, of which there would be a good deal in the
town as supplies ran out. Also, they might have innocent captives, especially
girls. Such cars would also be likely to be full of guns and ammo.
Perhaps a half-mile below the roadblock should be a series of overturned
vehicles, seemingly wrecks, but placed there to force any returnees to slow
down. Hidden at the side of the road should be a couple of snipers. As the
creeps slow to get around the wrecks, the driver should be shot.
When the driver was shot, survivors should be commanded to leave the vehicle
with hands raised. If they should begin firing, a couple of shotgun blasts
should finish them off. Hopefully, the passengers would get out and surrender
and any captives could be released and taken forward and any criminals who
surrendered could be taken to town and hanged.
Anyone having a legitimate reason to return from the roadblock, especially
refugees coming from the opposite direction, should display an official pass
prominently on their windshield. Some might be locals with business in other
parts of the county. Others might just be decent refugees who did not care
to settle in the town and learned from the townsmen that their destinations
were impossible to reach and chose alternate destinations in the other direction.
Of course, no one should be permitted to go back at night, since the snipers
could not distinguish between legitimates and criminals.
Roadblocks could also serve as a compassionate measure for those who had
a distant destination but were uncertain of their chances of getting there.
They could leave their children in the town in the care of foster parents.
If they finally reached their destination, when travel became safer, they
could return for their children. If they did not live to return, their children
could be saved to become members of the community.
The proper use of the roadblock, supervised by the right kind of leader,
would not only save the town, but help rebuild civilization. Through it,
professional people such as teachers, doctors, scientists, military veterans,
etc., could be gleaned from the otherwise doomed.
Roadblocks must never be misused. Personal property, regardless of its nature,
must not be confiscated from any decent refugee, whether he is chosen to
become a citizen of the town or decides to move on. Only if he is an obvious
predator and is hanged, should his property be consigned to the common resource
It may be obvious that a refugee's property was looted from some store along
the way. Even so, he must be allowed to keep it, again, unless he is an obvious
criminal. Unless you know he killed its owner to get it, you must let him
During earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, looters are shot.
But with the collapse of our socioeconomic system or nuclear war, the condition
of ruin may, in most cases, be considered permanent. Therefore, if a store
is ownerless and the area is ruined, looting is simply preserving.
If a refugee has a carload of merchandise obviously taken from a store or
even a pharmacy in a blighted area, how do you know he killed the owner to
get it? Would you have passed it up? These are things you must consider before
passing judgment. If you hang a man for looting a city no longer habitable,
without proof of his using force, you may be wrong.
A good way to tell if he is a legitimate opportunist is to invite him to
settle and use the goods for barter. He may not care to stay. He may want
to move on to relatives ahead and barter there. That must be left up to him.
If you confiscate his goods and/or hang him as a criminal just because he
has goods you want, you will then be a criminal. However, if he has a car
loaded with narcotics, it might seem pretty obvious that he is a doper who
might well have killed to get the goods.
Furthermore, he would not be willing to barter them. If he were legitimate,
he would be willing to turn them over to the hospital or give a good reason
for trading them to a hospital in a town further away.
If he were suspect, he could be quarantined for 24 hours. If he were a doper
he would begin to get withdrawal symptoms soon. Then he could be hanged or
OD'ed and the drugs could be turned over to the hospital with no guilt on
the part of the leader.
However, if he showed no symptoms of drug withdrawal and gave a reasonable
explanation for wanting to keep them, let him go. Any doctor could tell if
his stock wee medicinal or chosen especially for the doper's trade. Let a
If all these rules are followed, they will provide several advantages to
the community and the culture. The town can give refuge to hundreds of doctors,
scientists, tradesmen, skilled workers, veterans and others who will be an
asset to society.
By giving refuge to the best people, you would have a city-state which could
leap centuries ahead of ours in a couple of generations. By giving safe passage
and some rations to the lesser able and refuge to the children, you would
be establishing a climate of humanity and compassion which could set an example
for harsher areas.
Another good thing about the roadblocks would be the culling out of some
of the worst people in today's society. Unfortunately, the worst among humans
are the most tenacious to life. While the more decent and docile will perish
through lack of aggressive spirit, the trashiest scum will bull their way
through situations you would not believe. Killing them off would be doing
future generations a favor.
So a proper system of roadblocks around your town would be far from repressive.
It could mean the difference between survival and the death or our culture.