Living in Times of Partial Law and Order, by FerFAL

Many people tend to think about survival as if it where an on/off switch, black or white reality. You have a relatively nice, normal life, such as the world most first world citizens live in these days, and suddenly you have a SHTF event and you go into Post-SHTF mode all of a sudden, meaning people start carrying their load bearing vests full of mags, with their SHTF rifle of choice, scavenging around the ruins of the city, shooting trespassers and burying them in the back yard.
This is all very cool to talk about, its fascinating in a Hollywood kind of way, and I love to discuss possible scenarios until 4 AM but it bothers me to think that people are actually losing perspective of what may occur, others scenarios that are much more likely than what people fantasize about.
I’m a moderator over at the survival forums at, and I can tell you, If only I had a dime for every time I’ve read people writing stuff like “Now you can’t get away with it, but post-SHTF, I’ll put up “Trespassers will be Shot! “ signs and I’ll shoot trespassers as soon as I see them setting foot on my property.”
I simply have to ask: What on Earth makes you believe that you can get away with that?
The usual reply is that there will be no law or government to bring you to justice and judge you, every man for himself.
Now, I don’t want to urinate on anyone’s barbeque, but didn’t anyone consider that the government and police won’t disappear as if by magic after TSHTF?
Instead of just disappearing as so many people hope, what if they just go corrupt and/or inefficient? Meaning, they wont be there to protect you, but they will be there to take you away if you shoot someone 100 yards away without a clear threat to your life, or even take away your guns, as seen after Hurricane Katrina.
My personal situation doesn’t apply to all possible scenarios, but it’s a text book economical collapse, pretty much typical and it applies to many type of medium-to-long term crises. From the great Depression to Russia after the fall of communism, there are many parallels.
I kept contact through a survival forum with a guy that moved to USA from Africa, and the parallelisms and similarities between my own country in South America and South Africa where more than I would have thought, specially concerning street smarts and crime. You can go into some of the worst parts of the country, where most people don’t have potable water or sewers and hook illegally to the main power line, and there are just a few business that are pretty much standard in most poor neighborhoods.
There’s the evangelist church or sometimes catholic church depending on where you are, some kind of school/community kitchen where most kids get they one and only meal, where maybe a small primitive emergency room operates nearby. There’s entertainment, meaning a Bingo or small casino and a brothel, an then you have the local commercial road or street, where a gray/black market operates in a warehouse or empty lot nearby, a Third World version of the upper neighborhood’s mall and shopping centers that can be found in the same country.
None of this goes on on the wealthier neighborhoods, but its pretty standard along the poorest parts of the country.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me, is that no matter how poor the neighborhood is, there’s always a “Lawyer” sign, hanging in a house near the market or commercial part of town, sometimes simply written by hand with paint.
No matter how Third Worldly the country gets, there’s always place for judges, cops, and lawyers. Those guys are like cockroaches after a nuke, they still survive.
Just think for a second, and consider the huge justice and government apparatus. Think about the millions of people that work there.
I’m not trying to preach to the choir here, just help people understand that in the huge spectrum of SHTF possibilities, from an isolated incident where to you just have to spend a day or two without water or power, to a full scale nuclear war, Armageddon-like earthquake or invasion from China, their favorite scenario where society goes down but governmental institutions, police force and justice system simply vanish in thin air, allowing you to step up and take charge of things in you area as you see fit.
Hope I provided a bit of food for thought. Take care, everyone.