I’m getting a lot of questions from folks on a great deal of topics, but one of the top among them is “when do we know its time to head to the bugout location?

That’s not an easy question to answer. Packing up and leaving the job behind to head to that retreat is the gut instinct thing to do, but the nagging question of ‘what if I’m wrong’ still lingers. And while a lot of people could be sitting on their high horse telling you things like ‘you shoulda left years ago!‘ and ‘pop smoke now!‘, reality is just not that simple.

While its very much an individual question for you to answer, its never an easy decision to make. For many, once they leave, there may be nothing to come back to. That’s a hard truth to set in, much the same way people feel when they leave their homes before a hurricane. Board it up, take off, and hope for the best.

But we see hurricanes coming. We’re given a timeline to get out and a relative location of the impacted area. Its all stuff that if you live on the east coast you know. This…pandemics, shortages in the supply chain, social disruptions, quarantines…this is a different animal. You can’t predict when to get out, and that uncertainty is leaving many scratching their heads and pacing with a serious worry. And that’s very understandable- this is the most serious and potentially volatile situation I’ve seen in my lifetime.

My suggestion, for the many who’ve asked me over the past two weeks, is that the fail-proof way to know its time to hit that BOL is when the first food riot starts. Not in your home town, but the first food riot in the US.

I remember my first deployment to Iraq and the culture shock I experienced on my first trip outside the wire. I had never been outside the relative comfort of western civilization, and seeing people sell gasoline from plastic jugs on the side of the road, open-air markets selling goats, chickens, and fish from ice-filled tires, people’s homes with little to nothing aside from a few blankets and a Koran…it was a level of poverty that I could not fathom.

A lot of people are now experiencing a similar shock when they see bare shelves in the usually bustling grocery stores. That shock is setting in en masse, with my fear being a whole generation of people unable to cope with this reality after never observing anything else. Sure, we can say that the stuff will come back, at some point, but it does little to alleviate the cracks in the foundation of trust in this so-called ‘just-in-time’ supply system. What will happen if and when the shelves don’t get re-filled?

I’ve said that the people ain’t hungry, yet. And they’re not. Most in the US cannot even fathom actual starvation. Sociologists have even studied this phenomena by labeling areas without access to fresh food, but reliant on fast food alone, as so-called food deserts. Imagine my revulsion (which I still have) at these first world problems. At least these people have food. What a more glaring product of the excesses of capitalism that the people can make an entire diet of nothing more than fast food. And what will happen when these people no longer have that option?

They’ll riot.

That first food riot is best thought of as another domino to fall. It is an exposure of the larger system’s inability to recoup its losses and like this virus, the loss of confidence will quickly spread to other cities. The larger disruption would have the potential to overwhelm whatever security establishment would be present. Hungry people are motivated people and its been said that the US is three days away from complete chaos. While I don’t know if that’s true, I’m not willing to stick around and find out.