Some posts/comments over on TSLRF inspired me to write out some thoughts on the oft-misunderstood survival tactic of bugging out.
Folks very often say some variety of "I'd never leave my home to become a refugee. I've got food, water, tools and guns here--why would I leave that all behind? If push comes to shove, I'll fight it out here."
Sure, in some situations, sheltering in place is the best bet. But in other instances, it isn't. Having "bugging in" as your one an only crap-hit-the-fan response plan is not particularly prudent.
Let's consider a few examples of when you'd need to bug out--not an exhaustive list, but a few to get the point across.
Clip above is from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, but there are countless examples from recent memory--Typhoon Haiyan just ravaged the Philipines.
Wind, water, fire and moving earth can smash your home and belongings to pieces in a matter of seconds...you versus the fury of Mother Nature isn't much of a fight. Good luck staying put.
You might have plenty of advanced warning or you might get only a few seconds to grab and run.
Wars, coups, mass civil unrest...these happen often in other parts of the world. If you're caught in the middle of something like this, your options are to try and keep your family alive amidst the fighting--gunfire, explosions, bored/angry/hungry fighters and opportunists--or leave for safer territory.
Plenty of examples from current events and history of this happening--pick a war and you'll find smart folks packing up their families and fleeing.
The clip above is about a massive refugee camp in Jordan, just across the border from war-torn Syria. While these people are refugees and living in lousy conditions, they are alive, which is better than they would likely be if they tried to stay in the middle of the fighting.
Surprise! You're on a government hit list.
If your government forces decide...for whatever reason...that they'd want your dead or locked up and shipped off to the Gulags, "sheltering in place" isn't much of an option. SWAT teams, armored vehicles, explosives and all of that.
Governments go bad all of the time and start persecuting,
imprisoning and killing people they don't like or who don't fit in with
their vision for what their society should be like.
These days in the USA, law abiding citizens don't usually find themselves in that situation. But, there could come a time when people who believe a certain way or say certain things find themselves on something more serious than an NSA watch list.
One man or even a small group against government forces is not a winning proposition. If you get wind that the men in black are coming for you, your only smart move is to run.
Gauge your threat level...
As with all things, you need to gauge the likelihood of something like the above happening that will force you on the run. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to come up with more potential threats. After the assessment, plan accordingly.
Sure, ditching your home may not be all that likely, but one doesn't need to look very far to find examples of a great many people have had to grab their belongings and flee in order to stay alive.
If hitting the road for safety is your best option...it's your best option.