border fence

If you asked a prepper to describe the most devastating disaster they could think of, they’ll probably mention a global cataclysm, like nuclear war or economic collapse. In truth, the apocalypse doesn’t have to be epic or global in nature. For people living in certain parts of the world, the collapse of civilization has already occurred.

As we speak, there are plenty of regions around the world that are living with tyrannical gangs, resource shortages, and a failing infrastructure; where trying to survive disease, starvation, and violence is a daily occurrence. If you’re a refugee in Syria, or a child growing up in the slums of Haiti, or someone struggling to survive in the ruins of Donbass, it might as well be the end of the world for you.

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But none of these places can compare to the Juarez Valley. Nestled on the Mexican side of the Texas border, roughly 30 miles Southeast of El Paso, the Juarez Valley has become notorious as one of the most dangerous places in North America. At the height of Mexico’s drug war in 2009, the murder rate in this region peaked to about 1,600 victims per 100,000 people. To put that in perspective, the most violent city in the world is currently San Pedro Sula, Honduras, at 187 homicide victims per 100,000 people. Or to put it another way, if you lived in this valley your chances of being murdered are 1 in 62, every year.

And I say those numbers peaked, because it’s hard to tell exactly what the murder rate is now. That may be due to the fact that there are no longer any police officers in certain parts of the valley, after the Sinaloa Cartel executed all of the officers from the Praxedis-Guadalupe police department in 2009. They have yet to be replaced.

Adding to the apocalyptic state of the region, is the massive exodus of terrified residents that has been seen in recent years. Of the original 60,000 residents, only 5,000 still remain. Not even Detroit can lay claim to that rate of depopulation.

If there are any preppers reading this, pay close attention. There are many very good reasons why you shouldn’t bug out from your home during an emergency. It should always be considered a measure of last resort. But the situation in the Juarez Valley is the perfect of example of when you should definitely get out of dodge. Trust me, you don’t want to end up like the last holdouts of the Juarez Valley.

Recently the Daily Mail sent some reporters to the valley to catch a glimpse of what life is like for the people living there. What they discovered was absolutely horrifying. Here’s a quick glimpse of what these impoverished farmers and shopkeepers are dealing with on a daily basis.

‘You get used to seeing dead bodies in the streets’, Alejandro Montes, an employee at the only petrol station in the town of Praxedis Guadalupe, told MailOnline.

‘If you’re away from your home and you hear gunshots then you could end up dead’, he said. ‘I’ve lost a lot of friends who were either caught in the crossfire or worse – they had spoken out against the criminals’…

…’I can’t talk about the terrible things they’ve done to me’, one old woman with tears in her eyes told MailOnline. ‘My husband and two sons are dead because of them. If I’m seen talking to a journalist I’ll be dead within the hour.

‘If I’m required to leave my office to visit another station in the valley’, said Mario Fernandez, who runs the Mexican immigration checkpoint in Guadalupe, ‘then I will cross into the United States and re-enter at the border I need to visit.

‘If the narcos smell even the slightest hint of government forces or authority along the main road, there will be death…’

You might be wondering how it all came to this? Part of it started when the Mexican government sent troops to retake the city of Juarez. They really only succeeded in pushing the cartels into the countryside along the border. And that stretch of land is heavily barricaded with a border fence on the American side, making it very difficult for them to run their traditional smuggling operations.

So they decided to turn on the local population instead. Granted, every gang extorts the locals for money, but they’ve moved way past the point the shaking down villagers and bribing police. They just kidnap anyone they can get a hold of. In most countries, kidnapping typically involves the wealthiest members of society for obvious reasons, but here, those people don’t really exist. So they’re snatching up people of very modest means.

…The 17-year-old daughter of a pharmacy owner in the valley had been kidnapped on the day before MailOnline arrived in his town. He asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions.

‘They came in the night to our house and took her from her bed,’ he said, speaking with tears in his eyes of his awful experience. ‘We were held at gunpoint in our own room while they took her.

‘This morning we had a phone call from her captors. They made us listen to her being raped down the telephone, before demanding four thousand dollars by the end of the week…’

…’If you agree to a ransom price too quickly then the kidnappers will raise it,’ said one man, whose father was the victim of kidnapping from which he never returned.

His father was found decapitated three weeks after he disappeared from a restaurant where he had flashed too much money under the noses of a group of cartel members.

‘They send you pictures of the person being mutilated, and tell you the more you delay the worse they will be’, said his son…

It doesn’t look like the situation is going to change anytime soon. Most of the federal authorities in the area have been thoroughly corrupted, and any chance of rebellion on the part of the locals was quashed several years ago after they tried to form a vigilante group. They fell apart after their leader was captured, tortured, and beheaded. In the real world, sometimes the good guys just can’t win.

And so, the residents of the Juarez Valley live quietly amongst the numerous ghost towns that litter the countryside. Unemployment is rampant, and what jobs remain pay a pittance even by Mexican standards. The only jobs that pay well are the ones that are offered by the drug cartels, which many people are desperate enough to take.

The few who remain here live purely at the whims of vicious thugs as they endure a barren landscape littered with abandoned stores, burned out homes, bullet ridden signs, and graffiti pocked walls that mark the locations of those slain by their captors. Only the few who happen to have jobs take their chances on the streets. Most stay indoors, and don’t dare leave the modicum of safety they find in their homes.

In short, they are living in the apocalypse and don’t see any way out. Like anyone who lives in the ghetto or comes from a broken home, they’re too poor to find somewhere else to live. They probably lack the means to find work somewhere else, or lack the skills required for jobs outside of their community. And as the situation in that region worsens, they’ll only slip further into poverty. Otherwise, I can’t imagine any good reason why these people are staying in that hell hole.

Still, sometimes it’s better to take your chances and bug out with your family. Being hungry and homeless in unfamiliar terrain is better than being kidnapped and murdered at home.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.

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