There are conventional buzzwords that many preppers know and spout off about more often than other terms in the course of our conversations about the reasons for certain plans and preparations. “SHTF”, is probably the most commonly used and widely known of these terms even outside the world of prepping. The “Grid going down”, is likely a close second due in no small part to its use in many areas of society, most commonly when we are talking about the electric grid; as in If the electric “grid goes down” you are screwed. The Golden Horde theory is much less known I think than many of the other terms, but its application or maybe the ramifications of this theory could affect your prepping plans just as severely in the right circumstances.

I have written about the Golden Horde theory before but the latest chapter in our ongoing migrant crisis has brought this to the forefront again for me. As I wrote last year, the golden horde is a concept that as far as I can tell was introduced by James Wesley Rawles. I do respect Mr. Rawles – have several of his books in my prepper library and I have been going to his website for years. Mr. Rawles is the writer of several prepper fiction novels (Patriots, Survivors), and probably the first survival book I ever read How to Survive the End of the World As We Know it . He is also the owner of the popular survivalblog.com website and we were even fortunate enough to have an interview with James Wesley Rawles on the Prepper Journal almost a year ago exactly.

Mr. Rawles’ golden horde theory has been the subject of many conversations and some fierce debate as well. I know of a few prepping bloggers who simply do not agree with Mr. Rawles on this subject. I tried to state my own rationale behind my beliefs in that previous article just to weigh in and add my own two cents to the argument. In case you were wondering, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Rawles’ Golden Horde theory and believe we are actually witnessing the proof right now on a level that many didn’t expect when they were busy knocking a “prepper fiction writer” for promoting it.

The golden horde theory (in my paraphrased version) says that if we have a TEOTWAKI type of event, the major population centers will soon see a mass exodus of people out of the cities and into the surrounding countryside because the cities will be unlivable. The thinking will be to head to the countryside where there is more room, less violence, more food and a safer existence than in the cities. This means that many of us could face a huge influx of people into our towns and neighborhoods who are walking through who might be looking for assistance, an opportunity to work, barter, steal or acting in desperation to protect their own families.

The Golden Horde Theory is happening right now

There are detractors who say that people won’t flee cities for various reasons. They will either be too lazy or trapped by congested roads so they will stay put, but you only have to look at the news to see how utterly wrong that assumption is. We don’t even have TEOTWAWKI as many have imagined it and yet hundreds of thousands of people are streaming out of cities right now. They are leaving countries and boarding boats, hopping on freight trains and walking (who knew that was possible) away from areas that are dangerous or decaying and heading into new territories. If thousands of people moving around the world seeking a better, safer place aren’t a horde, I don’t know what is.

I will concede that you could say they are leaving one city for another city, but the ramifications are the same regardless of their final destination. The news is filled with images of migrants swarming train stations, walking along highways and crossing border fences lined with razor wire. There are reports of fights breaking out with police and thefts of vehicles by people desperate to get to a final destination far away from where their journey originated. There have been deaths of people crossing treacherous waters in boats that are grossly overloaded and all of this is happening right now in other parts of the world from us. Do you really believe that given drastic circumstances here, that the same type of thing would not happen?

Since the dawn of time, people have migrated for various reasons. We specifically talk about having a bug out bag ready at all times in the off-chance you need to grab your family and walk out the door in an emergency. When that happens, you will be a migrant too. You might have a place to go and there might not be hundreds of thousands of others with you amassed in a train station, but the golden horde theory isn’t prepper fiction. It’s not only possible; it is a reality that right now may be limited to Africa and Europe but could affect you before you know it.

What does the potential for the Golden Horde mean to me?

We routinely talk about the Golden Horde theory as it relates to people migrating into your area. This has been addressed in fictional books such as One Second After when the town of Asheville, NC disgorged thousands into nearby Black Mountain to relieve the strain on their food supply. The small town in this novel had to implement a plan to keep people from flooding into town that created another crisis at the highway and led to the inevitable surge of people rushing the check point, evading the law enforcement and moving through the woods to gain access to what they saw as safety within the confines of the overburdened city.

I can easily see this happening in my neighborhood under the right conditions. People could be migrating through after some disaster on their way to other locations. They might walk past or they might try to get in through any barricades or neighborhood defensive positions we are manning. At some point, just like the border of Hungary a large enough group of people will get past you. If that happens you may be forced to leave your home or defend whatever you have for as long as you can. You may be able to run everyone off, but have you considered the different avenues into your neighborhood? Have you considered what you would do if your family was starving and you saw undefended homes in a town along your way?

The flip side of this that I haven’t heard anyone talking about really is that you could be the migrants affected by some crisis. If you are forced to bug out for your family’s safety, you will likely be walking on the roads or through woods to get to safety. Will you have the supplies you need to deal with the weather conditions at the time? Will you be able to find shelter in the woods? Will you have paperwork needed to cross borders potentially? I know you think we would never need to leave the US, but just imagine something happened where you were forced to leave. Would you have the necessary paperwork? Does everyone in your family have a passport and is it up to date?

The migrant crisis for me is very tragic on many levels. I don’t know the reasons or motivations for all of the people who we see in the media, but I know that what they are doing now is the closest I have seen in my life to people living in a way we say we are prepared for. They have bugged out and they carry their meager possessions on their backs. This could be us or we could be the people watching as a crowd rambles down our street. This isn’t fiction. Are you prepared to be the migrant? Are you prepared for migrants going through your city or neighborhood? Something to think about.