Martial law is one of those concepts that is once again clinging to people’s thoughts. It is not hard to see why, with levels of social division, political strife, rioting and other forms of civil strife becoming so commonplace and so intense it stands to reason that, eventually, the authorities are going to put their foot down in a big way. That means martial law will be declared to restore order.
It is frightening to consider that your comings and goings as well as all local law enforcement duties and procedure could soon be under the military’s umbrella of responsibility.
I know that many patriots have nothing but the very best opinion about our nation’s armed forces and the members that populate it, but almost never in recorded history has placing the military in charge of policing civilians ended well.
Instead of risking their survival efforts being hampered by curfews, travel restrictions, confiscations and other activities that are so often attendant with martial law, many preppers plan to hit the road, and hide somewhere else until things get back to normal, assuming they do.
In today’s article we will share with you five places you can hide when martial law is declared.
Martial Law? Really?
Yes, really. Martial law can be declared for any number of reasons, but no matter why it is declared your life could very well change as your various rights, so precious and guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States, will be effectively suspended.
Under martial law, the ranking of military leader in charge of the deployment and the overall situation will now be the acting head of the civilian government in the area.
You can expect martial law to be declared at a national level when things in this country get too bad, but it can also be potentially declared at the city, state or regional level. This means that some areas might be under martial law while others are not.
Martial law is far more common in other parts of the world than the U.S., but make no mistake it can be declared here in the future for any number of reasons; it has already happened several times before.
What You Should Expect Under Martial Law?
Before we get to the places where you should try and hide during martial law it is probably beneficial to understand what you are hiding from.
As noted above many of your civil rights will be suspended under the duration of martial law. This will, very likely, change how you go about your life and even what you are allowed to do on a daily basis.
You should definitely expect to have your freedom to assemble curtailed, as large gatherings of people are never good for the regime. Freedom of movement both around the local area or in or out of the area in question are likely to be curtailed sharply.
There are likely to be searches and inspections of your person, your vehicle, your home and any other property you own under the auspices of “curbing terror”, “searching for contraband” and “maintaining order”.
It is not out of the question that your property will be confiscated for any reason with no recourse.
Also keep in mind that the military will, for the duration, be in charge of administering justice to civilians. You won’t be dealing with civilian law enforcement, or heading to a civilian court any longer if you are detained, arrested or charged under martial law.
In fact, it is entirely possible that you will be detained and held indefinitely under martial law without any chance to plead your case in court or to a greater authority.
Other potential outcomes could be even worse. Is any of the above going to be a problem for you if martial law is declared?
Maybe, maybe not, but no matter who you are, where you live and what your specific personal context is it is in your best interest to have options to lay low. We will look at some in the very next section.
5 Safe Places to Hide During Martial Law
Before we get to the list itself I want readers to consider a few things about our recommendations. Keep in mind that I am recommending the places I do under a strict survival context, the notion being that you have to be alive in order to be able to solve any other problems.
These are not necessarily places where life will be easy, or places where you will want to be. Keep in mind: there is no universally “best” place to be. Everything is a trade-off.
Also keep in mind that our modern way of life has changed certain “escape and evasion” paradigms. Especially living in the information age, you should understand that everything you have ever done electronically has “stuck”.
You can no longer expect to move to some far away, small town on the other side of the country, and just assume a new identity in order to distance yourself from past deeds and outcomes, criminal or not.
There are too many databases, too many networks and too many organizations and agencies that talk, sharing data. It is hard to get people off your scent once they have it.
For that reason, sometimes the best places to “hide” are the places you would instinctively think are some of the worst. Sometimes the best place to hide is right out in the open, or right behind the people who are looking for you.
With that said, on to the list.
Option 1: Rural Town
Heading to a rural town as often seen as the best option for dealing with martial law. It is true that rural towns have much to recommend them…
Depending on the scope and breadth of martial law that has been declared, they might even be completely untouched and relatively unwatched compared to larger, more important settlements.
If you already live in a small town, your best bet might be to simply stay put. Chances are you will know many of the residents and they will know you.
Rural towns are often nominally more self-sufficient when it comes to survival essentials like food, water and meaningful shelter than larger cities.
Many of the people living in rural communities live a lifestyle that is more in line with self-sufficiency and personal preparedness, and all that adds up to a more survivable community when times get tough. It also helps there are usually many ways in and out of rural communities, both on the map and not.
But consider this. If you don’t already live in one of these places and think you are just going to head into one and set up camp during times of trouble consider that you might rightly be viewed as an outsider and with considerable suspicion.
It is also worth mentioning that serious military forces taking action to reduce insurgent and subversive efforts may still be watching these small watering holes and taking notes accordingly, at least along major thoroughfares in and out.
But, even in the event that a rural town itself is directly under martial law it is unlikely to see heavy deployments of troops and vehicles. Especially if the town is simply trying to get along as it always has it is unlikely to fall under a heavy boot.
However, this can also work against people trying to go incognito because it will be far, far harder to blend into the wider populace because it is so small.
As mentioned, everybody already knows everybody else and it never fails that certain opportunists will try to get a leg up for them and theirs by narcing on neighbors and strangers.
Option 2: Remote Wilderness
When you really need to get away, you simply have to get away, and I mean way, way out there.
For preppers, there is no notion more quintessential for dealing with times of trouble, including martial law, than grabbing your bug-out bag before loading up the family vehicle and heading for a remote and untouched patch of wilderness to wait for the whole thing to blow over.
It is certainly romantic, and it can be done, but is it the best solution for dealing with martial law?
Well, in the positive column it is highly unlikely you will run into any military forces trying to enforce the new law of the land so long as you don’t mistakenly camp in an area where operations are currently underway or immediately adjacent to a location or installation of tactical or strategic import.
If all you want is to be left alone or you have reason to believe that you might be sought for questioning this is one way to do it.
On the other hand, life is going to be far harder living in the remote wilderness, especially if you are part of a large group or just have a family of your own to take care of. Living off the land is not easy in the best of times, and chances are you won’t be living in the best of times.
What will you do for shelter? What will you do for food? How will the seasons and weather affect your plans? Just how long are you prepared to stay out there? All of these questions and more must have answers before you embark on such an arduous journey.
You must also consider that you might not be as well hidden as you think. Modern militaries have all sorts of tools and toys for monitoring wide tracks of land, and doing so with considerably more efficiency than the average civilian.
Manned and unmanned aircraft, night vision, thermal sensors, and more tools besides could all potentially locate you or catch you as you move around. There are many variables to consider.
Your own personal skill set as well as material preparation must be high and the risks must justify the attendant risks of fleeing into the wilderness if you plan on doing so to escape martial law.
Option 3: Big City
This might seem completely counterintuitive under the circumstances, but you might best be served to ride out martial law in a place where there is very likely to already be martial law in effect, the big city.
How? Why? “Am I daft?” you’re probably thinking. No, and I promise there is a rhyme and reason to this perceived madness.
First, consider that large cities are typically hubs of commerce and power regionally, and their extremely large populations all but mandate a significant military presence if order and control is to be maintained.
Nominally, you want to get out from under that control and power. Yes, that is one way to achieve our objective, but the objective itself is to simply go unmolested by that power, i.e. martial law and all it entails.
This is one way you can “hide in plain sight” since the populations of cities are so enormous, and there is so much hustle and bustle attendant with life in these places that it is a simple trick to simply blend into the background.
Now, this will come with certain assumptions that you must be prepared for dealing with. Assume that you will have to furnish ID regularly to go anywhere and get anything done.
There will be inspections, checkpoints and interminable waits and lockdowns for any reason, or no reason at all.
These are things you will likely have to endure, but assuming you’re not a wanted man or otherwise sought by the authorities you’ll be just one of numberless and generally faceless millions moving through the filters of the great machine.
If you already live in such a place and have connections throughout the city, this might be the most viable option.
This is not without its perils, however, not the least of which is that you will be within the grasp of whatever forces are responsible for implementing martial law. This ingenious plan to hide in plain sight could backfire under any number of circumstances.
Also, it is worth mentioning that large cities are typically the first places that see heavy fighting whenever it does break out, for any reason.
You must weigh your desire to be free of such intrusions and transgressions against your rights against the practical problems of trying to flee from it.
Options 4: Anywhere But the Affected Area
There is a lot to be said for “anywhere but here” when things go pear-shaped. Many preppers operate under the assumption that martial law will be a nationwide event, coast to coast, with every single village, town, city and metropolis locked down by uniformed, camouflaged troops operating out of military vehicles.
The reality and indeed the likelihood is that martial law will probably be far more limited in scope even if it is supposed to be nationwide.
Chances are you will see areas with major economic, political, industrial, commercial or other strategic importance controlled. Additionally, any area that is host to subversion, insurgencies or general rabble rousing will have the boot put to them until they settle down.
If you aren’t part of that life or otherwise not tied to any such place under martial law there is no reason why you cannot depart for a place not currently under martial law.
This could be as simple as a move a few towns over, or as massive a life-change as moving across the country. Assuming that martial law is limited in scope a correspondingly measured, limited reaction to its implementation is probably best.
Especially if your career or lifestyle allows you to work remotely or is not otherwise tied to an installation or fixed location this might be the best possible choice.
It is also worth considering that not every facet of life will completely grind to a halt elsewhere just because martial law is implemented in a dozen or half-dozen places.
You might very well be able to still rent an intermediate- or long-term vacation property somewhere else and stay there until such time as you feel comfortable returning home.
Option 5: Flee the Country
Things are getting serious now! You have to consider that if martial law has become so pervasive or you have – through deed, propaganda, or just a checkered past on social media- “promoted” yourself to a person of interest or even a menace to peace and unity it is time to think about flying the coop.
This is likely an attractive option for people who already live near our northern or southern border or those who have the means or enough accumulated favors to get themselves surreptitiously into another country.
This will not be as easy as it sounds much of the time, and sustaining yourself in a country that you may or may not be trying to enter discreetly can be extremely challenging.
So long as you are not a legitimately sworn enemy of the nation, it is unlikely that you will be pursued with any enthusiasm, but you will still have a laundry list of concerns you’ll have to deal with:
Do you speak the language or is there a language barrier? What will you do for a living? Where will you live and how long will you stay?
Does the country you are fleeing to have warm, neutral or chilly relations with the United States? That might affect your prospects for being let in or turned away.
Also consider that if you’re trying to depart your country discreetly passport issues upon return, if you return, could be problematic.
This is the “nuclear option” for escaping from martial law for a reason, and you should take pains to have all of your ducks in a row well prior to departure if possible.
Martial law is a very scary thing to consider for most folks, and the attendant loss of rights, invasion of privacy and looming possibility that you might be detained indefinitely for trespasses real or imagined is enough to scare anyone into heading for the hills.
You might not need to flee into the wilderness to evade martial law, but knowing where to go and how best to hide when you get there can keep you out of trouble and out of lockup until things get back to normal. Assuming they do…
P.S. if you want something you can print out, here’s a small PDF checklist to help you better prepare for this event.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.