For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? -Ezekiel 14:21 KJV translation
I want to pause here for a minute and explain one of my basic beliefs about how societal collapse unfolds. That way, there will not be data-dumps in the Remnant story and the action can move along more quickly.
The Four Horsemen ride together
I think it is a common belief that the four horsemen (war, famine, pestilence and death) are an "or" proposition. I disagree. Historically they have have ridden together: War and famine and pestilence and death. The occurrence of one horsemen brings the others.
Let me paint a quick word picture of how this could happen. Since weaknesses are easier to see in others, I will make this story happen somewhere other than the USA.
Achmed is a simple farmer in the Tigris-Euphrates valley like his father and grandfathers before him. He has enough land to feed his family with some left over to sell to the market for necessities and a few luxuries.
One of those luxuries is to go to the local village once a week and share a water-pipe and gossip with the locals.
War, which is never far from the land, breaks out.
Achmed hears about it at the hooka lounge and he buries the family silver and jewels.
The battles come closer to Achmed's farm. He locks up his animals rather than letting them graze on crop-waste and forage for their own needs. That means that some of the grain he would have taken to market for city-dwellers to eat is now going to his animals.
Achmed's next door neighbor is shot in his field and his family ravaged. Bullets whistle by Achmed but he is able to get to the house, shutter the windows and send a few rounds from the family, heirloom SKS back in the direction of the attackers.
After that, Achmed spends the absolute, bare-ass minimum amount of time in his field. The crops do not get irrigated and the crops wither. At harvest, Achmed only goes out to his fields when rumors confirm the rebels are not in the area. Achmed's crop will be 20% of what he usually harvests. There will be nothing to sell. There is not enough to last for the year.
Prices are high and Achmed decides to sell his entire crop and move his family to the city. He heard there were "programs" in the city where food was handed out.
Achmed's family soon learns that those programs either don't exist or are controlled by a religious faction that hates Achmed's preferred expression of religion. The little food they find is moldy and of very low calorie content.
Achmed deeply regretted leaving the land. Prices in the city were astronomical. He had no way to get back to the farm where he could have foraged for greens and gleaned for grain, where he had neighbors who were of his sect. Rumors were that the rebel army had taken over his village
Crammed in a refugee camp, there is no water for washing or sewage. With no water to flush toilets, people relieve themselves outside. The feces dries and is ground to dust as people walk over it. The dust blows everywhere.
Achmed's oldest son gets a scratch on his leg which becomes infected. He first loses his leg and then his life.
Then Achmed's youngest son dies of dysentery from the terrible food and his wife dies in child-birth. Achmed and Achmed's middle son join a group of rebels who attack the richest enclaves in the city.
They have nothing to lose.
The story is cyclic
The story cycles. You can start telling this story at famine or pestilence or any stage and complete the cycle. Once started it can be endless. It is cyclic and self-perpetuating.
One horsemen calls the other three.