Thanks to Dragon for giving me the inspiration for this post. I can't say we agree entirely on the topic but I've got something good to write about this morning. Thanks again.
I have noticed a real hypocrisy among survivalists when it comes to roadblocks and the free travel of roads. Every survivalist seems to think it is perfectly acceptable for them and their friends to put up roadblocks or ambushes in order to detain, restrain, search and interrogate anyone who has the guts to attempt to travel a road within a couple square mile of their "retreat". At the same time they would be damned if they would let anyone detain, restrain, search and interrogate THEM because THEY have the right to TRAVEL THE ROADS FREELY.
I think the subject of roadblocks has both moral and functional components. SHOULD you block a road and CAN you block a road, if you CAN block the road the HOW would you do so. I will look at the moral side of the SHOULD first.
On the moral side I guess the first question would be what sort of road are you talking about. The most clear cut situation is a GROUP of neighbors on a dead end road deciding that they want to know who is coming up the road. They put up some sort of a roadblock/ checkpoint where their road intersects with the main road or at a good defensible position near there. Their whole purpose is to know who is coming in. If someone comes they would ask "what are you coming here for?" and the person would say something like "I am here to see our cousins the Johnsons". Tim Smith who is working the roadblock/ checkpoint with his younger brother Bobby would send him to the Johnsons to say their cousins X, Y and Z are there to see them. If they say great I am glad they are here then all those folks head up to the checkpoint and pick up the cousins. If they do not have any cousins (or don't want to see them) then those folks (Bobby and the Johnsons) head back down with rifles to tell them to take a hike and not to come back. This sort of a situation would work very well for a dead end road with a realtively small amount of families that are realtively close by (a few miles to the end of the road). Since almost any situation that would lead to having a roadblock would mean supplies are not normally available fuel would not be wisely used driving twelve miles up to the Johnsons if someone comes to see them.
I do not think a family or even a couple families have the right to restrict travel upon a road they do not own. In other words if there is a road traveling parallel to your property line you do not have the inherant right to messs with people traveling down it. Now watching them would be very prudent (LO/OP) but unless they are attempting to squat on the abandoned place next to yours or obviously doing something sketchy (prowling, casing, etc) leave them be. That being said there is no harm in having someone with a rifle and a radio watching them. Got LP/OP?
I think the situation is a lot murkier if a small intact group wants to know who is coming or going but does not live on a dead end road. It isn't like people will be using the freeways if things get real bad. Folks could be traveling long distances on small roads (maybe on foot or pushing a shopping cart The Road style) and I do not think anyone has the right to tell them they can't go to Grandma's place in the next county using that road. It is easy to just tell one guy to go fuck himself and find another route but what if it was 6 guys with rifles? What about 12 guys with rifles and a Somali style Technical. They get out and take cover behind their vehicles except the drivers and the dude on that .50 cal which will turn whatever you think is "cover" to shreads. (Note that cover is a very relative term based on what is shooting at you.)
Aside from getting into unnecessary gunfights I do not think it is morally right to block (or restrict to only locals) through roads. If you have the communications gear I have a simple solution to help ensure your local security. Put up checkpoints on both ends with commo to each other and a third party (to start the alert plan). A family in a car or whatever comes up to the southern checkpoint. The fellow(s) there tell the folks in the car that they are free to travel along the road. They are however not free to leave the main road, camp, etc. Oh yeah and if they are not at the checkpoint on the north end five miles away in a half hour lots of folks with guns are going to start looking for them. It would be nice to help these folks out by engaging them in conversation and helping them with intel about the next leg of their route which you have info on. For example "you can top off on water at Johnson Creek and camp in the state park (it is safe for the most part). Route 12 is washed out at mile marker 15 but you can get around it by X. Oh yeah also don't go into Cutthroatville if you can avoid it." You could also gather intel from these folks about where they were and have been. Knowing that Backstabberville is also pretty dangerous and the 19th ave bridge is down could be essential. If nothing else you could pass that info on to people headed the other way. Beware of acting rashly based upon single source intelligence, stuff that one person told you but if you hear the same realistic thing a couple times then it is probably true. (Disconcerning rumors, confusions and intentional falcities from good information is a topic in and of itself.)
IMHO the least moral situation is a town that is on a through road refusing to let people travel that road. Out in the sticks amost all towns are built upon the old two lane highways which preceeded freeways. Having checkpoints would be prudent. In some cases the answer could be having folks take an easy bypass of a left and two right turns to get back to the highway would be reasonable if it wasn't a huge adddition to the length of the trip. Having folks travel an extra mile or two would not be nuts but a generic "fuck you go find another way" when the alternate route is 30 miles back would cause all sorts or problems. I am not sure how I even feel about that.
*Pause for 20 minutes to make breakfast in bed for Wifey*
Maybe leaving the roads and by default the town open but making it very clear that camping of any sort or vagrancy are not allowed (will result in a big lump on the head and an immediate escourt out of town) and theft/ burglary/ robbery will result in spending some time on a work crew (restitution) or a long time with a short rope.
Much more could be said about good ways to deal with people coming through a town in a real bad situation. I do want to add a couple random thoughts on the matter though. Having people come into the town to trade would be a good thing but having lots of random folks all around your town would not be. What about having a secure place near town to conduct trade. Think Blackjack Fairgrounds a la Jericho. The town could provide security and ban people who intentionally trade in a false or otherwise unethical manner in exchange for selling space to venders. That would give the town some income that could be used for whatever and keep tons of strangers out. Also having a rule where people without a place to stay must be out by dark could be wise. Kind of like a sundown rule but without the racism.
That pretty much covers my thoughts on the moral component of roadblocks. Since it ended up being much longer then I thought the functional component is going to wait for tommarow. We have a busy day ahead of us: grocery shopping, getting a Christmas Tree, Christmas shopping and dinner out. I might write some more stuff later today.
Edited immediately after publishing to include: Regardless of the morality of roadblocks and your decisions about them do not extort people. You do not have the right to "charge a fee" or "toll" for traveling on the road. Doing so is strait up third world style thuggery and brands you a bandit by any reasonable definition. If you want to be a highwaymen or robber then go ahead and take your chances (in this life and the next) but do not for a second pretend you are in a morally defensible position when you do so.
Even from a pragmatic position this tactic is just not worth it. Even if just a couple (groups of) travelers out of ten would rather shoot it out then submit to your highway robbery it will be a fairly bloody business. To add to that if you have enough muscle (people with guns) to scare most (groups of) travelers into submitting to your thuggery then the amount of goods or whatever stolen will be divided so many times that it will not be particularly profitable. This semi fixed nature of such enterprises would make it too easy for you "victims" some of whom will surely be mean and well armed to retaliate by throwing a fire bomb at night or popping off a few well aimed rifle shots before or after the fact. Any way this proposition is looked at you would almost surely be better spent growing food or doing something less dangerous.
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