Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Once More, Harder

Modern city, late 20th century: dozens killed, mobs in the street, hundreds of fires, widespread looting, and troops called out after a week to restore order, all because some career perp thug got thumped on. And you're going to deal with that x1,000? Sh'yeah right. Best wishes with that plan. Send me a postcard.

In response to today's previous post, this comment:
"I think you over-estimate the desire of private security to be BMoC. So long as the person they're paying/protecting isn't being a complete yahoo and/or doing things to put them in jeopardy, I would question the need/desire for a coup. Especially if the families of the private security were able to attend and a general comfort with following orders.

Some good reads in the survival genre discussing this leadership, or lack thereof, dynamic are the American Apocalypse series (terrible editing but good story); EMP: Equipping Modern Patriots series; Lights Out; One Second After series; and I think one these ended at Raven Rock near Gettysburg where a fairly developed character with an interest in history was killed (IRRC) I don't recall the exact book however -- The Remaining series, Max Velocity's series, Brushfire Plague series, Angry American's Home series, or possibly one of Matt Bracken's Enemies series or one of the Rawles books.
Point being, that people always look for leaders, concepts of honor don't disappear just b/c money is worthless, and hope for a return to "normal" will likely keep folks on the straight and narrow, especially if not starving and relatively comfortable, longer than if they know that the current situation was forever. How it plays is very situationally-dependent.

Lights out in particular has a good chapter or two on what can happen when wealthy and prepared folks sit behind their fences rather than extending patrols beyond them. Resonates as terrain aligns with own in central tx."

Au contraire.
I think some folks underestimate the desire of other people to eat, what happens when they perceive anyone is in the way of that, and the urge to be what they are when completely unconstrained:

Let's be clear about a few things.

1) In any situation where a billionaire is decamping to their retreat bunker, and depending for their continued existence on their little mercenary band,
The "rules" as you understand them no longer apply.

In short, in such a situation, "private security" is neither.
People in charge beforehand, by virtue of money, laws, and stuff, won't be so when the nature of all those things changes fundamentally.
This is like trying to fly in space, when there's no more air for lift or maneuvering: it isn't going to go well when using wings and propellers is your whole plan, because it used to work ten minutes ago.

2) History is replete with lessons. One of them is that "leaders" earned those positions. By feats of arms. When warfare is a constant, as it has been for most of human history and at most times, those who win, lead. Someone thrust into the position who knows how to wave his arms, but not take a hill, is going to last leading people who know the latter for about as long as it takes anybody hungrier and less genteel to decide to pull off a coup. As several hundred former dictators can attest worldwide, going back to at least Julius Caesar.

Billionaires who became so without ever getting their nails dirty are going to be cupcakes in a box in front of grizzly bears, come "The Event." Kings and conquerors were the most brutal, bloodthirsty bastards in the pack, and the most brutal packs begat the commensurately most brutal practitioners, who literally cleaved people's skulls with swords at bad-breath distance to achieve and maintain their positions. Boardroom battles and hostile takeovers by people who've never hefted anything more ferocious than a pen or a cell phone are like watching Chihuahuas fight stuffed animals by contrast.

What does it look like when one world meets the other? It looks like terrorists taking over an OPEC meeting, and shooting the first guy in the face in front of everyone, just to establish who's in charge now, and as casually as brushing a fleck of lint off their cuff.

Scene I: heavily-armed terrorists burst into the room:
"Who's in charge here?"
"I am," said billionaire CEO Scrooge McDick, somewhat upset by the interruption. "So, what's all this about?"
BLAM!BLAM!BLAM! McDick's torso crumples, as pieces of his face fly about the room and decorate the nearby walls and adjacent attendees.
"Wrong answer. Once again, who's in charge here...?"
"YOU ARE!" in unison from the terrified survivors. 
That's all of recorded human history, every single time.

3) When people are hungry, "honor" goes right out the window. And "hope" ain't a plan. People in the Soviet gulags, educated, civilized men, routinely sold each other out for a blanket or a crust of bread, in about a heartbeat, as recounted by pretty much everyone who survived and wrote about the experience. Hiding Jews and other "undesireables" in droves were outted by their own former neighbors for an extra ration coupon or the tiniest increase in prestige, from 1938-1945, inclusive, all over Europe.

Honor doesn't fill your belly. And whatever leanings or moral compass you might think you'll obey will exert not a whit of pull on the moral compass of others, and that's vastly truer when all societal underpinings go out the window in a hurry, which is the exact sort of situation under discussion.

Try reading some reality, rather than fiction, from Solzhenitsyn, FerFal, Selco, and others who've passed through actual fire, not fictional works of same by people who've never missed so much as a meal in their entire lives.

Most dystopian fiction is just bad prepper porn, not least of which because it's so unlike any experience in human history for most of the writers, and their imagination is rather more attuned to sales than reality. Hobbes' "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" description of man in a state of Nature was based on a far closer acquaintance with it than that possessed by a convention full of popular authors currently, and conveys more stark reality in those five words than you'll get from five conex boxes full of pulp fiction doom porn.

As Louis L'Amour wrote frequently in his westerns, the problem with being an outlaw is that it means living completely outside the law: no protection by it, no rules, no security, no common civilization, and definitely no honor among thieves, cutthroats, and robbers. They exited civilization of their own accord, and seldom retired to die quietly in their beds. Now imagine entire societies who have the protection and trappings of civilization, society, and law suddenly ripped from them like a blanket on a cold morning.

Nuclear families and small tribal groups will fare somewhat better, because they'll carry most if not all of the trappings of civilization-that-was with them, as much as they can.

Most people don't even have that much, and no one will have anything much between themselves and their nominal neighbors, and it will become a race to the bottom.

How does that look? Watch food distribution scenes at the beginning of Blackhawk Down or anywhere else worldwide in newsreels from the Trashcanistans and Shitholias of the Turd World. This isn't fiction, for them it's called every day, forever, for their entire miserable lives, and as long as anyone of them can remember.

What restrains it here is some scraps of parchment, common assent to it, the prosperity it's brought, and the knowledge that without it, everywhere, throughout all of recorded human history is Trashcanistan, or Shitholia.

In about a month.

Mogadischu. Beirut. Baghdad. Belgrade. Buenos Aires. Acapulco. Rio. Mumbai. Berlin. Rome. Beijing. Saigon. Atlanta. Chicongo. Baltimore. Los Angeles. San Francisco.

Big cities. First-world cities and international destinations. Capitals, even, in some cases. They've all had blood in the streets when times got tough.

It's a different world when the only symphony in town is the staccato of gunfire, not-so-distant, and the only light at night that given off by nearby buildings, gloriously aflame.

Avoid crowds.
Be someplace else.
Don't confuse proximity with alliance or allegiance.

Some people get this without being hit over the head with it, and understand that whistling past the graveyard to the tune of "Normalcy Bias Rag" isn't going to cut the mustard when mobs rule, bullets fly, and the former rules go away like early foggy mist on a hot summer morning.

Little problems - tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, a job loss, personal injury, or divorce - are vastly likelier to happen, in fact almost a certainty, several times in any person's lifetime, and you should be ready for ten or twenty of them for every major meltdown you'll ever see.

Which was exactly what people in Pompeii thought right until the mountain rumbled that last time. What stockbrokers thought until one fateful day in October. And what Louis and Marie figured, until the mob showed up outside the gates.

You only have to get it wrong once, and then you hear the last lifeguard's whistle:


modsquad said...

Aesop said...

That was a Depression, not a meltdown of civilization.

No one marched on the homes of robber barons with torches and pitchforks, and the courts and prisons were open 24/7/365.

Also, most homes had a father, and weren't dependent for sustenance on government handouts. To go on the dole was seen as disgusting.
Divorce was so rare as to be noteworthy.

They were also primarily rural and agricultural, not urban and completely disconnected from the ways and means of getting food.

Apple, meet orange.

Anonymous said...

One of the other things I remember reading from Mr. L'Amour was "...The problem with being an outlaw is the company you keep..." or words to that effect.
Family/Tribe, AYE.
Boat Guy

T-Rav said...

At the risk of, as the good author says, stepping on my own d*ck, and with the caveat that I have zero experience in the military or law enforcement:

I think part of the problem here is that we're talking about a total, across-the-board collapse of society on even a basic level--which hasn't happened in U.S. history. Not in the Civil War, not in the Great Depression. There's been cases of social breakdown and anarchy on a very local level--Detroit, Watts et al.--but those were contained, and temporary.

"The Event" has never happened here before. That's not to say it won't happen (it probably will, for obvious reasons), but there's no telling if it will take the form of total collapse (Detroit 1967 x 1000000), or major but gradual social degradation.

Personally, I think it's more likely to be the latter. No reason the former *can't* happen, of course, but if it is the latter, I would see RSR's argument as a bit more plausible. People will fight like animals for a can of beans if they have to, but they'd rather not. Human nature has a lot of inertia built into it, and if the slide towards dystopia doesn't hit all at once, I think it would be more common to see people taking orders from billionaires and other contemporary social elites: for a time, as long as there's a baseline amount of food, other necessities, and some basic utilities getting to them.

That situation would not last forever, but there would be a certain transitional period taking place, during which both the elites and the non-elites would continue in their current roles. (Until they don't, obviously.)

Long story short, I agree with you if we get thrown into the apocalypse like *that*, but if the collapse is more gradual, I think it becomes a different story.

waepnedmann said...

"Any society is but three meals from revolution."
-Thomas Jefferson

Anonymous said...

As a traveling medic for nearly 30 years now (jeez I'm old, how / when did that happen :-) ) I've worked in a few places before and again after their ruin. In Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

While I am careful to maintain home stores and do my best with personal fitness... I'm doubtful that doing both will necessarily buy me and mine much more time if it all really does turn tits-up.

But, I do hope to be able to buy some time for my kids, and to not face the shitstorm with a "WTF was THAT and where did it come from???" look on my face...

I'd rather hope to go out thinking "Yeah I expected this, but not so soon...".

Probably, something different will happen :-)

Aesop said...

Like I said T-Rav, about a month.

If nothing has happened to induce the billionaires to head for their bolt holes, it's academic.

But if it's really not that hard to posit what happens when things slide from 20XX AD to 1800. Or 800.

What they themselves were talking about - seriously, with major personal investments behind their own personal life rafts - was a situation within their own lifetimes where their money, or even money itself, was no longer a thing.

1929 was harsh, but not that harsh.
No one in Manhattan was eating the animals in the zoo. (Unlike, say, in Venezuela, this year! Still think that isn't likely here?) In a country with 600m-1B private firearms, what happens when people start getting hungry enough to riot?

In 1929, people that had borrowed against them lost farms, and a few margin speculators were financially ruined. And a lot of guys were unemployed, for a looooong time. About 1942, in fact. But in the meantime, a dollar was still a dollar, and an ounce of gold or silver was still an ounce of silver. And food was still on the shelves. people just couldn't afford as much of it, so they raised or grew what they could. That assumes months of cushion for crops to mature, and backyard chickens to fatten up.

So, how many chickens are there in urban backyards today?
How many does the average family own right now?

Average people today are thinking 1929 is as bad as it gets.
(This foolishness despite America in 2018 and beyond being nothing like it was economically, demographically, ethically, or morally, in 1928.)
Whereas the guys with the most to lose are thinking, right now, that's the best it gets, and likely far worse.

Put it another way: If things are so bad those former billionaires would need a private army, what could they possibly offer, and lay claim to ownership of, under those circumstances, to keep one? The short answer is nothing. It's like trying to make a bank deal with a hungry shark. Your only collateral is what you can't afford to give up: your own @$$.

Billionaires are living like cartel drug lords now, and their entire outlook based on their own understanding of economics is that that the conditions that currently allow that will no longer continue to operate.

When pallets of cash are useful only as toilet paper and kindling, what makes the world go around, and who serves a pauper who can't even defend his own castle?

No one, ever, any time in recorded history.

Moving the goalposts to reframe the argument into something not-so-bad as all that merely avoids the question, in a rather ham-fisted attempt to pretend that of course the Titanic cannot sink.

To quote Mr. Ismay, the builder of same, "I assure you that she can; and she most certainly will."

To think that only something lesser will happen ever brings to mind the words of Lt. Gen. Honoré, when he told the half-assed "planners" in MI and LA that they hadn't really ever practiced for a disaster, they'd "only practiced for an inconvenience."

Anonymous said...

" they'd "only practiced for an inconvenience.""

This is a universal constant in training. The training event MUST be scaled down so the participants can succeed. NONE of them start by decimating the office staff. NONE of them start with "all of you died from CO poisoning when your unmaintained generator started running", NONE of them start with "all of your hospitals are full with flu patients and someone just dumped a pound of fentanyl out a window over Times Square."

There isn't any training value for the head office staff if you declare them all dead at the start.

So how do you balance the need to do SOME training, with the reality that reality will be much worse? You do what you can to identify some of the most basic issues and deal with them. Because even SOME problems identified and fixed are better than NO problems identified and fixed.

The reality is that in TEOTWAWKI, 90% or more die. Get past the initial die off and you have a chance. I prep to get past that initial die off. I prep to have something to re-start from after that point. (and for all the normal disasters in the Gulf Coast region.)


Anonymous said...

To segue from anon @09:21

For our respected host's "half a century" on the planet, I can add an additional 20 to that and some additional perspective.

As a prior active participant in the '92 Rodney Games, and then nostril-deep in public-safety emergency planning in L. A.(CA) post 9/11, Honore's "inconvenience" is right on the mark.

The REMF's, with very few notable exceptions, actively do not want any realism injected into their planning models. The first thing that they do is determine how much Federal money is available for the approved and tastefully designed disaster du jour (DDJ). They then structure the response planning accordingly so as to position their respective agencies under the spout where the money comes out.

Any divergence, any suggestion of "but have you considered the potential of..." makes that particular "team member" as popular as the famous dual-taper in the punch bowl.
It is important to remember that the planning I was involved in was based upon intentional actions designed to "Do Bad Things®", not just ad hoc mouth-breathing skells and their neighbors grabbing shoes and flat screens before torching the store.

Getting past the crowd/die-off and the first panic wave fleeing is not a bad thought. Living far, far away from the crowd is better.

Anonymous said...

The article's premise of who's in charge reminds of a line from a movie extrapolated what one or more of those CEO's or .gov officials might say and the response from some heavily armed leader of an insurgent group about to take over the bunker "but I'm CEO so and so or Senator or Congressman or Mayor or City Council member (or any number of "titles"), response: "and just exactly WHAT is that worth in these times?"


RandyGC said...

+ 1 to anon @11:20. Been living that "dream" for the past few years.

.mil was somewhat better in that once you have your core team trained up, it was not out of the ordinary to start an exercise by saying "you, you and you are dead in the first attack. Go sit in the corner. The rest of you, continue the mission"

Standard .gov or even .com types don't get it, and don't want go get.

RSR said...

FWIW, 90% of what I read for pleasure/not for work is non-fiction. And I read the entire L'Amour catalog prior to graduating high school... Started reading military manuals when I was ~10. Boy Scout, 4-H, etc, skillsets since a child as well -- in addition to growing up on hobby/small scale farm in rural agricultural America. SF (pre-john wayne movie) and more recent SOF and Air Force Security Service relatives and perspectives have informed a lot of my beliefs... Family military service dating back to Revolutionary War, including one in that conflict spending over a decade as a POW/captive w/ British-allied Ohio Valley Native Americans (was wounded in an ambush and one of few to survive captivity)... So I like to think I have a fair bit of book, practical, and second-hand knowledge, and definitely have an atypical interests.

The point I was making that your scenario in which private security decides to kill/overthrow their employer/protectee is just as much fantasy and conjecture. Multiple perspectives on how folks might behave is a good one.

I think you're ignoring the important and existing chain of command within private security teams.
I also think you're ignoring that many folks like the simplicity of merely following orders. I gather that you're fiercely independent; I'm the same -- it's a hard concept for folks like us to understand.
Further, the anarchists/those wanting to be completely unrestrained/picking fights at every turn will be quickly killed. Frankly, that's what already happens in inner-city ganglands and why the assault and homicide rate there is what it is.

Leaders may have earned their positions, but brains have always mattered at least as much as brawn. As much as you discuss skills, I don't understand why this would be in dispute.

Don't know how much time you've spend among the boardroom/C-suite class -- but narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths dominate. IRRC, something like at least 3x the rate of general population -- and I'd argue that's too low if you look at spectrum rather than absolute. Don't underestimate their ruthlessness.

Billionaire's private security forces won't be hungry. Almost certainly, the private security forces' families also won't be hungry. The folks outside the gates/compound/blast door will be.

If the civil war does occur, it will be in cities and suburbs, not rural America. Where billionaires are investing in retreat compounds is not within locations. They're buying land in rural America that has other productive uses and also building secure housing on that land as well. It's about diversification of assets and hedging -- for most the security costs as a percentage of income are likely equivalent to what an average family spends on fast food.

In sum, your original post and argument therein struck me as a dog that won't hunt, at least in 90%+ of foreseeable scenarios. I come here for the perspective and

RSR said...

*I come here for other's perspectives and thought-provoking posts -- in my posts, I was only attempting to do the same.

Aesop said...

Chihuahuas are ruthless and aggressive, too. The problem is, at the end of the day, they're not rottweilers or malinois, despite how big they are in their own brains. That is the ruthlessness of corporate types, at the end of the day.

Private armies not overthrowing their masters? 90% unheard of?
My heavens, man, it's happened with professional paid armies a hundred times in the last hundred years, worldwide, and for a lot less impetus that the sort of disaster that would cause a billionaire to flee to a hideout redoubt.

Tell me who Pinochet was, and how he came to be there. How about Perón? Qadaffi? Hussein? Amin?
There have been 23 successful military coups against the entire governments of countries worldwide since just 1996, and 3-4X that many attempts,

and you think private security is going to act like British grenadiers defending the Crown heir, in a society-shaping "Event", where even their erstwhile paymasters aren't sure how to control them??

And those same people are overwhelmingly "narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths"?

People don't follow orders, they follow leaders. I've given orders and taken them, from people whom I'd follow into incoming fire, and from people I'd frag proactively, given the slightest opportunity. I've had good, sound trustworthy COs, and I've had COs that made Captain Queeg or Captain Ahab look like a better exemplar or command. Men, in or out of fire, will eliminate threats to themselves, and it won't be a matter of intestinal delicacy how fast or how ruthlessly they take those actions when weapons are hot, of necessity.

Aesop said...

Look no further than yesterday's newspaper.
We can't even depend upon the unquestioned fidelity and loyalty of the CIA, FBI, or Department of Justice right this minute, during relative peace, over a relatively minor difference of political outlook between the right and left wings inside the premier democratic republic in all of world history. The Army just cashiered an avowed communist officer in their very ranks, despite the entire chain of command up to and including the commandant of cadets and superintendent of West Point being well aware of his openly-known proclivities. For comparison, past leadership of West Point have included five recipients of the Medal of Honor, at least five men who went on to rise to head of the entire Army, one who chaired the Joint Chiefs of all the services, as well as governors, congressmen, and US ambassadors, so for such a level of institutional rot to have taken root there is no small matter to the republic.

And you're going to tell me that, in a world of people, amidst a scenario far more likely than not, in the specific estimation of those very same billionaires, you can expect better from Fred, and Jack, and Steve, and Julio, and Chang, with a chain of command short enough to count on one's thumbs, with no prospect of court martial, in a world where honor, duty, obedience, loyalty and pay itself will in all likelihood slip into utter inconsequence, and pale compared to everything other than the possession of food, a modicum of safety, and the overwhelming need for self-preservation?

Those billionaires will be defenestrated from the ramparts in the time it takes to swat a fly, and with about as much hesitation beforehand or remorse afterwards as you see from sharks or piranha feeding once blood is in the water.

People die everyday, as they have since time began.
When food is life, and due process is naught but a bullet, former billionaires will become as endangered as rhinos are now, if not as passenger pigeons, and in about as long as it took to read this reply. Anybody who thinks that the natives in those private compounds won't eat the missionaries or the great white providers had better have another look at the size of the stew pot in the village common.

No one's impugning your intelligence, nor are your comments anything but welcome, and my responses to no one in this series of posts was intended at a personal level, but it takes no flights of imagination or supernatural prescience on anyone's part to conclude that in sporty and uncertain times, let alone the sort of civil and societal breakdown contemplated, people will behave exactly as people have, and do, every day since the dawn of time, and that the bonds of loyalty or allegiance are at best tenuous, even given the rosiest possible outlook under those circumstances. Bear well in mind the words of Auda abu Tayi to Col. Brighton in Lawrence of Arabia about why men fight, and when they go.

A billionaire who keeps private security at that point ought to regard himself as a child with a full-grown Siberian tiger or Alaskan Kodiak bear for a pet on the end of a chain, and exactly as safe, come feeding time, every single moment of every day.

George Washington's commentary in regards to fire and government come to mind as well, and at that point, those in nominal "control" are wearing tissue-paper suits, soaked in gasoline.

TFA303 said...

Thank you a thousand times for pointing out that fiction proves absolutely nothing in an argument, especially this one.

Show me historical precedent, or show me a rational argument derived from factual premises.

Aesop said...

Fiction can serve to illustrate truth, and underline it, but it seldom reveals it, and can never prove it.

Proof is the providence of evidence, and one doesn't call Santa Claus nor the Easter Bunny as witnesses in court, even if written by Dickens or Shakespeare, or played by one of these guys:

TrT said...

The boss is very much correct.
If you show up at a bunker and start giving orders, the trained killers who's day you interrupt will either just leave you locked out, kill you, or enslave you.

The only way to alter that is to create a scenario in which they are already used to following your orders, and a little thing like TEOTWAWKI isnt going to change that.

That means building a semi sustainable community you annoint yourself mayor of in advance and you dont give anyone reason to change anything.

Ryan said...

Saw that thread elsewhere. I wasn’t impressed.

Building loyalty takes time. If that was my goal I would make the guys protecting me like family. As an aside it might be easier to make the people you already have trust bonds with into halfway decent fighters than try to rely on some guys.

I am generally very sceptical about these (mosty fictional) survivalist groups of random people who met on the internet.

Ryan said...

Also I liked ‘Trashcanistan.’

RSR said...

The billionaire's security team will be their normal detail, effectively like family, and if not entirely, largely of the same... Modus operandi at least since vietnam has been layered perimeters in which there's degree of separation between more trusted and less trusted security elements. This will apply here. Billionaires, utilizing the same construction techniques of dot gov foreign installations, results in secure facilities with relatively small security detail needs.

Their team, and likely team's family, will have both food and safety. The billionaire's agent-in-charge, effectively top ranking NCO to their CO role, will serve as a buffer between billionaire and grunt troopers -- increasing protection and reducing gripes. The AIC is the leader being followed, not the CO/billionaire.

Perhaps the narcissists lack in social intelligence, but the sociopaths and psychopaths are master manipulators, unlikely to cut off their nose to spite their face, which is what is required for them to be toppled immediately. I see very few scenarios where the deck is stacked in a manner that your scenario plays out. It certainly will happen in certain situations but is also very unlikely to be commonplace. If you have resources to build a compound, then food, water, power, and armament resources to support it for a couple years are no problem. And if you're smart enough to pick your fights including bunkering down for the first few violent and unpredictable months, survivability rises considerably...

The FBI, CIA, and Justice Dept aren't cut from the same cloth as the more honor-bound American soldier.

Killing at short range w/ bullets is easy, and there's zero reason a billionaire couldn't pull the trigger just as fast as one of his mercenaries.

I'm making no argument against people generally behaving as they always had. But give folks shelter, food, safety (at least when off-duty) and perhaps even a measure comfort, the math doesn't add up for overthrowing the person who made it all possible. Also, most private security is former military well-trained in embracing the suck, and given any sort of competent AIC/NCO, I just can't get your scenario to reach a level of high plausibility. Completely possible, I'm missing something, but I've read both all related posts and comments multiple times, and I just can't make the pieces fit. Regardless, appreciate the response.

Just to note: I am not a billionaire, do not have a private security force, nor am I employed by either.

My only point regarding fiction, was that fiction and conjecture are effectively the same. Consider the multiple points of view and realize that any can be valid given the right set of circumstances. Having your mind open to all possibilities is always a good thing.

As always YMMV.

Aesop said...

That's farcical.

Their security details aren't "almost like family", as their sleeping arrangements will demonstrate in about 0.2 seconds.

They may treat them more pleasantly that Shrillary does her Secret Service detail, and better than Simon Legree treated Uncle Tom, but the fundamental relationship is the latter, not "familial" for any common value of that term, unless one's sociological model is the Manson Family.

The only facilities with small security team needs are known as "castles" and AFAIK, no billionaires nor anyone else have built any of those for several centuries. Being locked inside a bunker complex with the hired retainers will put one, in short order, as the vassal of those holding the swords, unless one invests more than a paycheck in their retainers (true of no billionaires since ever), and depends on more than deep pockets to command their respect and loyalty (true of no billionaires since ever).

We know this, because they still pay them, and if they stopped paying them, they would all leave.

Ergo when money itself has no value, they will be unpaid, and free agents, and gravity works at that point.

As new-made ronin in command of the armory and a facility requiring, by your own description, but a small security force, the need at that point, for the billionaire and his family goes away entirely. The billionaire will be enslaved or slain, after torture to reveal the whereabouts of anything useful (one less whiny mouth to feed, more food and resources for the rest), and his womenfolk will be party favors.

And Scrooge McDick won't be pulling any triggers, because he has to sleep sometime, whereas his security force, of necessity, has to be awake 24/7. Coups don't happen at 9AM after breakfast, that happen at 2AM, after El Presidente has been wined, dined, and fondled into Morpheus' arms. Ask Czar Nicholas or countless other examples how that plays out for them in the long run.


Humanity has been ever thus. Gainsaying that reality overlooks about a billion counter-examples, not from fiction or naked supposition, but from all of written human history.
The minute you have nothing to offer, you're superfluous, and under such a situation, the likelihood of judicial retribution approaches nil.

Witness a paltry few millions "shot while attempting escape", "fragged under enemy attack", or Arkancided - in full public view, mind you, during the so-called "rule of law" - in the last 25 years by Lord and Lady MacBeth in the Clinton Crime Syndicate.

Aesop said...

In any scenario where fleeing to one's private bunker, with a hired private security force to guard it, is justified (and was the entire baseline scenario that started this chain of posts), the survival of the former owner is a dubious proposition in all cases, in the extreme, for any scenario other than a false alarm.

A billionaire incapable of doing his own killing won't survive the year under those circumstances, and he won't prevail against his nominal own people, unless that group factionalizes as well, at which point the retreat itself isn't likely to survive the resultant internecine civil war.

There is simply no argument from reality using actual humans that can overcome those facts.

If one prefers fictional scenarios for illustration, the greatest reality wasn't the scene in The Accountant, where the corporate mercenaries obligingly trot outside and die to protect their corporate overlord, it was the scene in First Blood, where the WA Notional Guard officer orders his troops to go into the mine and get Rambo, and they tell him point blank, "Fuck you, Clinton, I ain't going in there!"

Pushed beyond that, as demonstrated numerous times during the Vietnam War, they'd have shot Clinton, and told people afterwards Rambo did it. And just about that fast.

And that's with no civilizational collapse on tap, and no deaths by starvation at stake.

You want kamikazes, you've got to train to get them for 500 years, and starting inculcating those values into their minds in their childhoods. You're not going to hire them, whether from Craigslist, nor by shopping at Blackwater.


The one guarantee with mercenaries, plain or fancy, since time immemorial, is that the minute the Goose can no longer lay Golden Eggs, they'll cook it and eat it.

Game over.

TrT said...

"This will apply here. Billionaires, utilizing the same construction techniques of dot gov foreign installations, results in secure facilities with relatively small security detail needs. "

Zuckerburg has a team of roided rentacops.
There are frequent complaints about their behavior made by his neighbors
Unless they are the decoy team and he has a real security team.

You are still missing the point though.
They arent building these bunkers for three weeks without electricity in a small area, they would just move to another city that still has power.
They are building bunkers because they expect to lock themselves in them for ten years and then found the New California Republic in the ashes.
The problem is, it doesnt matter how loyal your guards are on day one, if you, your wife, your two daughters and your ten male guards lock yourselves in a bunker for ten years, its not going to end well, no matter how loyal they are on day one.

"I'm making no argument against people generally behaving as they always had. But give folks shelter, food, safety (at least when off-duty) and perhaps even a measure comfort, the math doesn't add up for overthrowing the person who made it all possible."
And that might last for a few weeks, but at some point, your staff are going to get bored of cooking your meals and cleaning your toilet and decide not to, and you have no way of challenging that.
You cant withhold pay, there is none, you cant exile them, *you* physically cant remove them, and once they realise that, bad, bad times.

TrT said...

**If anyone wants me to put this together for them, feel free to track me down with your pocket book and I'll do a proper job, but in brief**

You're looking at minimum staff of 100 right off the bat,
So your room in a bunker, just became a bunker in full, and the surrounding land, 64,000 acres is a 10x10 mile square, but hey, you're rich
2/3rds female 1/3rd male, which should keep "lets kill the boss and rape his daughters" off the itinerary.
You dont need 100 staff, but whoever wants to overthrow you needs 50 supporters to do so, a VERY high bar, (or 17 if you discount the women), still an easy number to segregate against

You actually dont want any dedicated trigger pullers, "Head of Security" is an obvious candidate for Negan, he'll have no trouble getting that majority, and that you dont want. Every man a rifleman, but no man "just" a rifleman, there are plenty of ex engineering, medical, logistics ect to recruit from, all of whom will be familiar with firearms, but not just firearms.
A trusted Padre might be nice, but could be a threat too

Depending on your time frame, you might want to consider recruiting homeless former forces, homeless former combat medics, vehicle, electrical, water engineers, cooks and logisticians are rare, but you arent paying me for my good looks and jovial temperament.
Luckily pretty girls who wanted to be an actress and ended up junkies turning tricks in Glendale are ten a penny. You can pull off a religious/saviour vibe pretty easily in both cases.

You wanna split your teams, 11x 9's or 3x 33's
If one your 33's rebels, your still have 66 on side,
But you still have to be top dog.
That means dailyish meetings with your 11 section heads, plus meeting with their seconds and thirds, and one to ones with everyone, frequently. You cant just set them running and turn up 5 years later.

Quick draft numbers
An active human needs 1kg of wheat per day, 100 staff x 1kg x 365 days 36,500kg per year.
Meat, fruit and vegetables, would increase that dramatically
Water, 100 gallons per person per day, 3.65million gallons per year, some reuse available.
Electricity, solar/wind is the normal answer, but both are visible and interruptible, you want to tap an underground river for hydro, or make one, I use 10kwh per day, 1000kwh per day for 100 people or 42kw constant,
Gas, 35kwh per day, 1.3mn kwh per year for our compound, or 145 kw constant replaced with hydro elec.
Some amount of load sharing, balancing, and just plain efficiency will lower that, but its a vast amount if water and height all the same.

10 years of baby clothes, condoms, birth control pills, paracetamol, coffee, 3 cups a day, 100 people, 110,000 cups per year, 2,200 jars per year. Grain mill, maltery, brewery, distillery

Aesop said...

Math is bitch. Recalculate.

One hundred people couldn't manage and secure 1 square mile, let alone 100.
For 100 mi², you'd need 100,000 people, or effectively, exactly half of the current US Marine Corps, whose annual budget for FY2010 was $40.6B. So unless you're Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet, you're going to come up a bit short, and even their pocketbooks would run dry after 4-5 years of waiting.

And BTW, good luck finding 64,000 acres of anywhere, south of the Arctic Circle.
Let alone arable, well-watered, and defensible. That ship sailed for this continent about 1492. Those places are called "cities" now.

If you try this on the cheap, and go with one square mile, you'd need about 1000 people, and you'd have difficulty producing enough to be self-sustaining.

As far as the concept of making an internal coup more difficult, I repeat:
This is something 26 nations have proven unable to do in just the last twenty years, with vastly more resources, money, people, and planning than your napkin math would allow.

The entire exercise is a fool's errand.
You cannot BUY a tribe. Ever!

You can try to breed one (cf. the last 10 minutes of Dr. Strangelove).
Or you can assemble one through voluntarily, shared, and well-forged bonds of worldview, values, morality, deep spiritual similarities, and common interests.

Note that even having all that, Roanoke colony disappeared without a trace, and both Plymouth and Jamestown nearly starved to death, with far less vigorous opposition than anything we currently contemplate.

Bunkers are for fuhrers, and they all always end up in the same shallow grave.

Cut to the chase: watch The Undefeated (It's John Wayne, this shouldn't be much of a chore.). Learn the lesson driven home by the entire movie. Follow up with The Outlaw Josey Wales, and how that ended. This stuff has been figured out since before we were born.

Man is a social animal.

Unless you want to end up like that Rip Van Hirohito Japanese soldier finally talked off that island in the Philippines in the 1970s, living on stolen pigs and goats and coconuts, learn to form bonds with people here and now, and get along in the world that is, not the dystopian fantasies of pulp fiction.

There may be wars, but there are also periods of peace afterwards, and no one survives in bunkers, long-term. Even the Swiss approach loses its success factor once people can start slinging nukes around. But building the community no one wants to fuck with in the first place is always the way to go.