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Fortress Appalachia

My travels took me to Fleming County, Kentucky yesterday for an Amish wedding. We left at 2 AM and got back home at 10:30 PM so it was a long, long day.

To get to Fleming County from where we started, you go through Cincinnati and then down the AA Highway. We used to live in Northern Kentucky and I worked in downtown Cinci, so that basic route is plenty familiar but it doesn’t take very long at all before you are out of the big city and into banjo country. As one drives along the AA, up and down the hills, following the Ohio River, you are struck by the beauty of the hills and valleys covered in trees. It is pretty to look at but it also made me wonder about trying to find someone out in the hills that doesn’t want to be found. The Cincinnati area is home to over 2 million people but in 30 minutes you can be out in relatively untamed wilderness.

Fleming County itself is a border county between “official Appalachia” and the rest of Kentucky.

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I was on a road yesterday that doesn’t appear as a road on my GPS. There is no street level view on Google maps. You can barely get a cell signal, and as recently as a few years ago you couldn’t at all (there are still lots of dead spots in the area). It is a place you would never find unless you had a specific reason to find it and some directions. There are tons of places like this all across the Appalachian region.

While I am pretty happy with where we live for a lot of reasons, including being a pretty decent place if when the SHTF, and I find a lot of Appalachia to be entirely too hot, I can see why many people see it as a stronghold for resistance against an oppressive government.

Appalachia is around 205,000 square miles of hills, hollers, forests and swamps. The people down there tend to be a little more rough and tumble. Most of the men look like they can fight and have been in fights. Compared to most suburban men, they are like a different species. Spend time in public around suburban men and it is startling how soft they are. They talk softly and meekly, the look like their mom dressed them for the first day of school, they look like they would die of fright if you startled them. It is the result of decades of conditioning that seeks to stamp out any overt masculinity. When they are with their family, they look helpless. They defer to their wives and have no palpable authority over their children. The guys in Appalachia? They look like they would pop you in the mouth if it were called for.

Something else interesting about Appalachia is that is forms a natural barrier between the East Coast urban centers and the heartland. You know the heartland, where food is raised, stuff is made, gasoline is refined, coal is dug, etc.


The stuff people in New York, Boston, Phillie, D.C. etc. need has to come by ship or come across the Appalachian region by road or rail. Get those people stirred up and that could become very difficult. A similar although less populous situation appears in the Rockies, especially when it comes to water for L.A

For comparison, Vietnam is only around 128,000 square miles, or about 60% of the size of Appalachia. Afghanistan is around 251,000 square miles, and while much of Afghanistan is hilly or mountainous, it is a pretty barren, arid country in terms of vegetation. We are still seeing how easy it is to subdue places like that.

There are over 25 million people across Appalachia. It would only take a small percentage of them to wreak havoc on railways and roads crossing Appalachia. Pipelines, rail lines, highways, all bring necessary materials to those big cities. How long would it take before gas started running out or shelves in stores sat empty?

Hopefully it won’t come to that and I am in no way advocating anyone engage in illegal and/or violent acts. Just know that it will take more to bring the American people under control than locking down the big cities.

1 Comment

  1. Bobsuruncle

    My family came from Appalachia coal mines, they even named a town after them in WV. Some of my family and friends are talking about moving back there on a large family estate and helping each other out as many age and need assistance, and large 100+ acre tracks are Relatively cheap. The area in WV is over 98% white. Ive often said in a WW3, CW2 situation, Appalachia will be a hold out for just about any SHTF.

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