Yesterday I ended up driving some distance through rural Germany. To quote a co worker everything is so beautiful I just want to take pictures of it all. Anyway more importantly I want to talk about how they live. Rural Germans live in little villages.
Village is a term I will use in the future because it is to me more descriptive than the ubiquitous phrase "town". There is a church, a couple little bars, a Gasthaus or two, a small market, maybe a couple random shops and then a few dozen houses. Between a village and the next it might be as little as 5k or more like 10+ in any given direction. In the middle are fields of all types and woodlots.
People pretty much everywhere have traditionally clustered together for collective security. In wild and crazy days that are generally past an isolated family farm was easy pickings for some brigands or bandits. However 5-30 families clustered together could put up a defense and make the juice not worth the squeeze. In Germany the local villages control who can and can't build outside of the village area. Not saying it is right or wrong but well, German. Seeing a farmer driving a tractor with a trailer from his house in town to his fields a couple kilometers away is common place. Basically they live in town and go out to work their fields.
Rural Americans have for a variety of reasons (lower population densities, high gun ownership, sense of community, etc) gotten a pass from the violence that strikes elsewhere. Rural farmers in Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe and South Africa have had a horrible time. Most of them lived in large family compounds, were quite well armed and often had combat veterans in the family. These folks were driven from the land their ancestors farmed because they were killed or legitimately feared being killed. A steady nerve and an FN-FAL did nothing to protect them. There was a rather unique situation in both South Africa and Zimbabwe where what essentially amounted to gangs of armed thugs got a get out of jail free card for anything they did to rich white people who somewhat justifiably (though short sight idly since they fed everybody) fell out of political favor. This is a stark reminder that how much law enforcement helps or hinders you is at least loosely related to the political favor of whatever group (s) you are identified with. It isn't nice to say and I hope it never gets that bad in America but it is something to consider.
One could say this situation is somewhat like that in the American Southwest near the Mexican border. I really wouldn't want to be a rancher within 2 gas tanks drive of the Mexican border. In Argentina living rurally is a bad idea, a very bad idea. Will America every get like this? I certainly hope not. If our economy gets much worse and folks who believe violent criminals are innocent disadvantaged youths get/ stay in power things could get worse.
The idea of a reinforced family compound out in the hinder boonies is nice. However realistically in any place isolated enough to be a good family compound candidate jobs are a real issue. If Pa can figure out how to earn a living that is great. However the odds that sons John and Tim and sister Jills husband can find jobs at livable wages which they can commute to are not good. The idea that everybody will just show up if S hits TF is great for a couple of very limited and unlikely scenarios. The odds that 6 armed like minded individuals will be hanging around your house on a random Wednesday when 6 meth heads decide to pull a home invasion on the couple with the nice house and all the guns/ stuff who live alone way outside of town are slim. You are going to be alone watching TV with the Mrs and there will be 6 guys coming to your house.
We have talked about living rurally vs in a small town before 1, 2. There are potential advantages to both. However just maybe a modest house in a small town on a big lot and a field with a shed/ barn a little bit out of town is an option to consider. I just think it is worthwhile to consider history and how peoples who actually lived through centuries of very rough times live. Furthermore it is naive to think that all villages/ small towns will turn into tyrannical little fiefdoms but rural people will be entirely unaffected by said fiefdoms AND not see a major increase in crime of things go truly crazy. The real answer is that rural people could well have most of the same problems as those in town AND face a real security problem.