For most of humanity’s existence, entire countries were run by little more than glorified warlords. Although today we take the concept of individual rights for granted, the vast majority of people had never heard of such a thing until a few hundred years ago. As democracy began to shape the face of the Western world, power began shifting from the hands of the few to the hands of the many.
Today the United States, along with most modern nations, has a precarious balance of power between the people and those whom they elect. Just how precarious that balance is remains to be seen. Martial law has been enacted many times and in many places, and every time it’s been enacted, it has changed the nature of people’s rights.
As the world becomes increasingly unstable, the chance of martial law happening in your town becomes more and more likely. If one of the following scenarios unfolds where you live, martial law could be just around the corner.
Difference between Martial Law and a State of Emergency
First of all, there is a difference between true martial law and a state of emergency. True martial law is when the highest-ranking member of the military takes over leadership of the government, controlling all aspects of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. An excellent example of this can be seen in the cases of Germany and Japan after World War II, when the U.S. military dictated all actions of reconstruction.
A state of emergency, on the other hand, is when a state or federal government suspends certain constitutional freedoms to react to a disastrous situation. In the eyes of a prepper, both impose the government’s will on the people and suspend constitutional rights. Knowing who suspended your rights (a military or political leader) is less important than dealing with the loss of your rights in the first place.
Here are seven dangerous events that could cause this to happen.
1. Economic Disaster
The first dangerous event that could lead to martial law is an economic disaster such as a worldwide stock market crash. As of March 2017, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is seeing record highs. But whenever it hits record highs, you can be certain a crash isn’t far behind. In such an event, the public would scramble to withdraw cash, causing banks to collapse.
On the other hand, if the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates too low for too long, the economy could crash due to hyperinflation. The stock market would continue to soar, but it wouldn’t matter because people’s money would lose its value. In this type of event, people would have to resort to barter in order to buy and sell things.
Many economic situations today teeter on a delicate balance. Debt to foreign countries, increased defaults on student loans, and other unseen economic bubbles could cause a crash in the near future.
A cyberattack is a very real threat that could render useless anything dependent on the Internet. In October of 2016, East Coast Internet users found themselves unable to access sites such as Amazon, Twitter, PayPal, and Netflix for an entire morning because of a cyberattack. If a similar attack knocked out a large portion of the Internet for a day or longer, it would cause panic in the markets and for many businesses.
A full-blown government cyberattack with enough sophistication could knock out the entire country’s Internet. Any online data, from banking to transportation, would be knocked out and chaos would ensue. Enter martial law to save the day, for a while.
3. EMP Attack
An EMP attack would have even more severe consequences than a cyberattack, although probably more localized. An EMP—also known as an Electromagnetic Pulse—is a burst of electromagnetic energy that can knock out all forms of electricity in its vicinity. A city hit by an EMP could be sent back to the Dark Ages in a split second, ushering in all the rioting, scrambles for resources, and intensified violence associated with an extreme disaster. The government would most assuredly call for martial law until some semblance of normality returned.
4. Conventional Attack
Martial law could also be called into effect in the wake of a conventional attack from an enemy force. A great example of this is when Abraham Lincoln suspended certain constitutional rights during the Civil War. He closed courts, shut down newspapers that disagreed with him, and even imprisoned people without a trial. If the U.S. were to become involved in total war once more—which is certainly possible given her adversaries abroad today—you can be sure martial law would follow suit.
5. Disease Outbreak
One of the more likely scenarios that could lead to martial law is an infectious disease outbreak. While zombie apocalypse fiction and end-of-the-world scenarios are popular fantasies in the minds of preppers, a very real disease threat—whether by accident or biological warfare—exists, looming over the population. In fact, there are many diseases that could be a problem after the SHTF.
Entire civilizations have crumbled to the ground due to disease, and even though today’s population is living through the most technologically advanced time in history, a radical disease only needs a slight foothold to do some major damage. Should a deadly disease outbreak occur, you can rest assured the government will be there to try to lock it down.
6. Riotous Populations
Martial law can also be called into effect when the population gets out of hand. A mild example of this can be seen in the wake of Hurricane Katrina when, during a state of emergency, government agencies and private contractors working for the government confiscated weapons in New Orleans. In any crisis, the governor of a state usually calls in the National Guard as a backup, either for peacekeeping or for environmental rescue.
In the event of a riotous population, especially on a massive scale, martial law could be enacted to beef up the police force and to keep law and order. With political tensions as they are, this may be closer to a reality than you think.
7. Natural Disaster
As mentioned above in the example of Hurricane Katrina, natural disasters such as hurricanes often lead to the enacting of martial law. While Katrina may be seen as one of the worst possible natural disasters, there is certainly the possibility of something worse such as the eruption of a super-volcano in Yellowstone or a major earthquake along the San Andreas fault. Events such as these are completely unpreventable and have the potential to cause enough damage to push the federal government into enacting martial law.
Here are some things you should do before that happens.
The stock market has seen nearly perpetual success over the last eight years. The country is also carrying 20 trillion dollars in debt that will expand exponentially in the coming years. Worse than that, many Americans are so woefully unprepared for an economic downturn that if we see something like a derivatives bubble burst, most Americans will be thrust into a position of serious desperation.
There are eight very important things you must consider today in preparation for economic woes tomorrow. It is not too late to take advantage of the time before the next bubble bursts. Some of these recommendations are changes that will also improve your quality of life! Either way, you will be more prepared for the worst-case scenario.
1. Cache Some Cash
It’s truly astounding how little Americans are saving. We are at a point where nearly half of the nation could not survive 3 months without a steady paycheck. This puts many Americans in grave danger of becoming desperate in times of economic downturn. If we were to see a serious economic crash that rivaled 1929 or even 2008, most Americans would be out of options very quickly.
To this problem, I say cache some cash. We know that banks will always operate within their best interests. In the very best conditions, you can only take 300 dollars out of an ATM per day. Whether you realize it or not, that is a serious issue.
Not only do you need to save more money, you need to save more of it in cash. Of course, the next statement must be about how that cash is kept safe. Hide your money in plain sight. Ask your Grandmother where she used to hide cash.
These caches could also extend out of your home into more traditional caches buried or hidden away from the home. This will keep your cash safe if you are robbed or invaded by looters.
2. Food Storage
Food has never been more affordable and readily available. Take advantage of these sales and incredibly low prices now while they exist. Do not disregard the importance of having a very comfortable level of food. This should be enough that you can get through at least a month of hardship. I’m not saying you must eat like a king, but you should have at least three square meals for one full month.
Invest in freeze dried foods with very long shelf lives. These can be purchased all over the net today. The freeze-dried foods will offer you the most efficient storage capabilities for full entrees including meats. You won’t need a freezer full of meat if you have freeze dried food options. Make it easy and invest in dinner entrees first.
3. Diversify Income
You won’t hear a lot about this radical idea but it is something I am very passionate about. I believe we are quickly moving into a world that will require each of us to live off multiple income streams. When the next economic bubble bursts, it will take jobs with it. Could you survive without your job? The scary thing is the harder you worked to get a great job that pays well, the harder it will be to replace that income.
If you want to fool proof your income, it should be coming to you in many ways. Investigate the internet and how it can make money for you. There are so many ways to generate income like freelancing, blogging, YouTube, flipping products around your house, writing eBooks, or even consulting.
I recommend picking on a few of these options and learning about them ASAP. See what makes sense for you and get involved.
4. Precious Metals
When you talk about an economy collapsing or a multiple bubbles bursting, people will quickly turn to things that carry value in times of economic stress. In the foreseeable future, gold and silver will still hold their value. In fact, as the dollar struggles the price of precious metals always goes up. It’s just how these things work.
Begin gathering junk silver and bullion across the web. Build a little precious metal spending into your monthly budget today to have a backdoor for tomorrow.
5. Guns, Ammo, and Proficiency
If you look back on the Great Depression, you find desperation like never before in American history. Skyrocketing suicide, failing Fathers leaving home, and women left alone to face the cold world with hungry children. It was a terrifying time.
When dealing with the desperate, you must mitigate their spontaneity. At any time, a desperate person can become a threat. I mean the type that will break your door in to take what’s yours.
To protect yourself and your family, there is no substitute for the firearm. If you do not have a firearm today, you should get your hands on one ASAP. Beyond that, you should buy plenty of ammo for it along with a kit to clean it. Also, one part many people leave out: you must practice and become proficient with your firearms.
6. Grow Food
For all we know about the food industry, about pesticides and the frailty of our food systems, it’s hard to believe more Americans aren’t already growing their own food. If you are not part of the raised bed community who is planting each year and harvesting food for your family, I say start now!
Whether we are affected by the scarcity of food in certain areas or hyperinflation that makes food much more expensive, you will need another option to feed your loved ones and yourself. There are tons of options to grow food these days. If you don’t have the dirt, invest in grow lights and grow indoors. If you have no other options, join a CSA with a local farm and get your food from other more local sources.
7. Meet Neighbors
Through much of this article, we have mentioned the desperate. This is the group we worry about. The desperate will kill and hurt to get the things they need in dark times. Start meeting your neighbors and building cohesion in the community today! Say hi to everyone and start talking to the people in your neighborhood.
Plan gatherings and create a small family inside your neighborhood. When things get ugly, you will have less desperate people to fight off and more people who look at you as a person. As people get comfortable, you can begin telling them about the economy and the power of preparedness.
8. Evaluate Your 401K
I know we opened the article about saving money and the woefully unprepared American population. Many Americans laugh at the idea of saving money because of the debts they carry. The best way to save money is to make more money than you need! Simple idea, right? Well, if you cannot magically increase your salary 20%, use some money from your 401K to eliminate debt. Don’t build it up again!
You may also consider buying land or something else of value with that 401K money. If nothing else, you should certainly diversify your savings and investments. The less debt you carry and the smaller your monthly budget is, the better off you will be when troubled times come.
There simply cannot be perpetual growth. This ship will correct and when it does, people will lose money, jobs, and hope. Be prepared to stand up for what’s yours and to help those around you.
There are many different scenarios which could lead to martial law. Your job is to be aware of them and aware of what to do if such an event occurs. There may be a time in the future when the government can no longer uphold its end of the bargain to serve the people. When this happens, you need to be prepared to help yourself and others.