Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Collapse CVIII: Troubling News

02 June 20XX +1

My Dear Lucilius:

Bothersome news from the Near Abroad.

As you may recall, one of the realized benefits last year from what has become the loose association of communities that surrounds us is that a ham radio network established – or re-established – itself (to be fair, I never really understood how such things work). While I am certainly not “in the know” on anything, Young Xerxes apparently is. He has occasionally mentioned news which has I have noted and let pass out of my brain as it really had no impact on my own small world.

This afternoon, he brought a different set of news.

Nothing truly focused of course: rumors of trouble in outlying homesteads, of homes burned and available supplies taken. No crops are bothered, but apparently livestock is slaughtered, sometimes for food and sometimes for the sheer waste of life. To date, anyone located at any of these locations has not been heard from.

It is all quite ominous of course, and even he discussed it in somber tones.

I have always known such things were possibilities, Lucilius. I have even imagined what life in the urban centers must look like now – and one of those urban centers is only 1.5 hours from here, so it is not as if this the sort of thing that is vapid fantasy on my part. And logically of course things would run out in the cities at some point and start to radiate outward. The question, of course, was how long it would take.

There are a number of factors that would control and mitigate it, I imagine. One is simply survival of the sort of element that would do that. Another is the availability of fuel to enable wider ranging activities – travel by foot takes a long time, and I cannot imagine more fuel is being refined as we speak.

Perhaps in my hopefulness I had not hoped that such things would happen so soon. But it appears that they are, whether I theorize them as unlikely or not.

It is not the event itself that distresses me, upsetting as the thought of violence is. It is fact that in the space of less than a year we have apparently entered a more barbaric era so quickly.

I fear that once such collapses as civilizations occur, it will be rather hard if not impossible to resurrect civilizations so quickly. The Dark Ages were not only dark – they were long.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca


  1. Eek. This is a worrisome turn of events for our hero and his world.

    1. It is, Leigh. Although even I, in my greatest hopes and dreams for reason, rationality, and peaceful coexistence, cannot deny that these are the sorts of things that actually happen. The only "good" news is that Seneca has been remote enough that this has not been a concern - until now.

  2. Nylon124:19 AM

    Surprised it took this long for violence to be reported TB.

    1. Nylon12, this is something I have debated bringing into the narrative for well over a year. There are a number of reasons for doing so. One is simply I have never remotely been involved in anything like what I am writing about (banditry/military action), so this is all new to me. Another is the series of reasons listed below in my response to Michael (which I think are all reasonable assumptions). I suppose the third is that given the population density of this locale, it is possible this had been occurring for far longer than it has been reported.

      Outside of writing any sort of romance (see last week), this is probably going to be the most challenging. Which is good, I suppose: important to challenge ourselves.

  3. Very Surprised that man's base behaviors were suppressed this long.

    But then again for the storyline waiting until gasoline supplies was nearly gone (due to ageing out of fuel over the year plus and lack of grid power to make more) the violent visitors would be on foot or maybe bicycles?

    1. Michael, I think one can know understand that man has base behavior and still be surprised that it happens so quickly. I like to believe the best of people, knowing too often this is not the case.

      Arguably, the timing is due to a number of factors which is based on the actual location I am using as a basis: population density, actual timing of the collapse (Early/Mid Autumn), weather (snow can last into April/May), the fact that pickings for that locale were likely sufficient for 6 to 9 months, and the fact that there are no major refineries in the local area (nearest one is a minimum 7 hours away).

  4. Anonymous6:30 AM

    Need a small squad ten miles out. Woody

    1. Woody, that is sound advice. I am curious what the next moves will be. I am sure Seneca has already started revisiting his Von Clauswitz and von Dach - like me, his first reaction is to read up.

  5. Pity all those storm damaged trees fell across the only way into our area.

    I suppose someday we need to find a working chainsaw and crew to clean it up.

    Odd how they fell that vehicles cannot get through but on foot or bicycle they could find a path.

    That and a observation point hidden nearby with a bicycle to notify the village.

    1. Great for places where trees exist, or at least trees of a sufficient quantity. Alas, Seneca lacks mighty giants (or even spindly ones) to work with. I expect the larger group will have to be more innovative.

    2. Got guardrails to tear up and use as obstacles? Even a burned-out vehicle can block a two-lane bridge pretty well.

      A couple of bullet holes kind of makes a point out of the wreck.

      All actions in a without rule of law (or Mis-rule of law) runs on Risk-Reward ratio. As a retired soldier I can assure you that "Reasons" will show up not to do massive effort just to go into probable harms way.

      And only the most motivated will leave their armored (even just unarmored with a Machine gun on a pintle motorized) support vehicles to go on foot for miles just to "See" what's up there.

      The human factor is important. That's why Vlad the Impaler is STILL Spoken with some fear in his native Transylvania (Romania) for his graphic handling of enemies.

    3. Thanks Michael.

      One of the best explanations of risk/reward I ever read was Gene Logsdon on why high fences tend to deter deer. Given the potential chance to break a leg (and thus, effectively die) most deer will elect to find a less risky meal.


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