If you’re thinking about riding out TEOTWAWKI in a quiet Mexican village, think again:

Travel and Leisure magazine has twice named (San Miguel, Mexico) the best city in the world, a ratification of how beloved it is with tourists and retirees from the U.S., Canada and beyond.

But lately, San Miguel has been attracting a very different sort of crowd: the drug cartels. And the moment they arrived and began pushing cocaine and imposing their brutal brand of property tax, the murders began…

That the drug violence has reached San Miguel de Allende “is a dark cloud on the horizon because it heralds that nowhere is safe anymore,” McCormick said. “The fact there is such an international presence in San Miguel de Allende guarantees that the fear felt inside the city will echo beyond Mexico.”

There is this idea floating about the prepper world that the USA is going to receive special negative attention from globalist forces. Americans will live in the worst of the worst places to be. But, they argue, when it all hits the fan in America, any American of middling means can live reasonably well elsewhere, far away from the Troubles. A few SHTF gold salesmen run profitable side businesses selling Central and South American properties to people who buy this line of reasoning.

I’ve always been of the opinion that the best place for Americans to ride out SHTF is in America. There are a few reasons for this:

Point 1: Americans are outsiders outside of America.

When you get noticed

Social upheaval is very hard on outsiders. Social trust is withdrawn into smaller and smaller groups, sometimes no larger than an extended family or clan. Outsiders who cannot defend themselves from such groups will have a very hard go of things.

Every American in Mexico is rich. It doesn’t matter if he’s only middle class by American standards, he’s hugely wealthy by Mexican, Guatemalan, or even Chilean standards. Or at least he is assumed to be by his neighbors.  How else could he retire to another country? That makes the American a prime target for robbery, embezzlement, and even kidnapping. And if he can’t pay, he still has value to the cartel – as a gruesome example to others who try not to pay up.

Americans stand out in Mexico, and unless they are within a heavily guarded* outpost, they live free only as long as a foreign government can protect them – which is not happening in SHTF.

Point 2: Americans cling to guns and religion.

We have lots of guns. Big guns, small guns, loud guns and quiet guns. People with guns can protect their group from others with guns. People without guns must rely on the government to protect them. In a time without rule of law – much like Mexico is today – Americans would do well to be embedded in vast swaths of other Americans with guns.

Combined with a healthy respect for the rule of law and Christianity in most places, lots of guns in the hands of regular men will shorten the Troubles considerably. At least if one considers balkanization preferable to centralization, as I do. It is easier to re-establish the West where the West already runs deep.

Point 3: America is huge and has no internal borders.

America will never be under an effective martial law. It has too few troops, and any troops brought in from elsewhere will come to appreciate Point 2 very quickly. America is too big, too open, and has too few internal barriers.

In contrast with Europe, which has centuries of barriers (physical, cultural, linguistic) built up, it’s easy for an American to escape to a nearby state. With sufficient gasoline, he can escape to a state a thousand miles away. He can fit in there, with no more than a few hundred in cash to rent a no-tell motel room in a small town.

We have good roads (for now) and solid bridges** Only a small percentage of them can be guarded even by 10 million troops. And most of those are in cities. Another good reason to get rural.

If SHTF results in a collapse of central authority (as 4GW theory posits), regular people are not going to be dealing with more government. They will deal with more governments, plural. They’ll be dealing with competing forces, each with its own interests and tactics. Unless you are under the protection of one, you are exposed to the first of the others that notices your presence.

Not being noticed is a huge advantage when anarchy reigns. And the best place for Americans not to be noticed is in America.

* by Americans
** and accurate, printed maps – a vastly underappreciated trove of social capital.