As a veteran cop and blog subscriber, I read FerFAL’s posting with interest. He makes solid points but forgets some basics about the response of “law enforcement” in a SHTF time. Additionally, US law enforcement is a different culture than say, Argentina.
What kind of peace officers a particular jurisdiction has is based upon where there are. Rural towns and regions usually have a more dedicated cop that will stick around when things go bad (ala your Iowa example in [your novel] “Patriots”). They live in the area and are often either born and/or raised there. Even when the pay falters and the supplies to operate go, they will often still be available to assist their locale. Switch to a more urbanized region or to a larger city. Imagine the NYPD: what happens when the pay stops and the fuels to drive the patrol cars goes away? Will the cops be there? Some yes, most no. When the pay stops (like any other industry), cops will move to other things. Since many cops come from the trades (construction, electrical, etc), military or other businesses, they will gravitate there. [The aftermath of Hurricane] Katrina and the various agencies are an excellent example of this: a sizeable portion of New Orleans, Louisiana cops took off, either out of shirking duty or simply to care for family members. Most stayed on and did both good and very bad. Now, contrast that with cops from Mississippi. Most, if not all stayed there, even when their stations were devastated and their equipment drowned. As soon as the weather passed, they remained there. In the case of Katrina, there was a light at the end of a short tunnel: the knowledge of the feds being there to back the locals. No so true when you see your governments in long term collapse.
Let’s go long term and the pay is gone. What will cops do when there is no pay or support structure? As previously mentioned, some will go back to what they did before that will earn them money or goods. Some will probably stay on in some sort of capacity. Some will become armed security for enclaves that can pay and feed them and their families. Some will go feral become hired guns for thugs (it’s a reality of human nature in general).
In a “Patriots” type scenario, most cops will be gone, taking care of their needs and/or the needs of the family and neighborhood. When the time comes for a stand-up, many will return to do the bidding of the bosses (politicos, not the citizens, sadly). Many will not return to a job unless they feel like there is some sort of constitutional order (again, often seen in small town or rural cops and deputies). Many will likely just be done with cop work once and for all.
In reading things like “Patriots,” I asked myself what would be my response. I have to confess that once there is no hope of my career coming back or a complete breakdown of constitutional order, I would fall back to care for my family and neighborhood full-time. If I saw a return to a true constitutional system, then I would entertain the idea of coming back. I love being a cop and have been doing it for nearly 12 years. But I also see troubles coming quickly both in a practical/survivalist sense as well as serious constitutional crisis and agree with FerFAL that there will be “cockroaches” that remain, to prey on the weak and the sheep. Will we see a complete SHTF situation? I don’t think so. I do see something like the situation in Argentina, perhaps a bit worse as our economy is so entwined worldwide. – MP in Seattle
Dear Jim and Family,
Regarding the article written by FerFAL “Living in Times of Partial Law and Order” I agree with his statements. Post Peak may be abrupt enough to cause a temporary lapse in law and order, resulting in panic, hoarding, and riots, but things will settle down again. You really can’t go around shooting people in the open, even if you’re defending yourself. In the real world, you have to wait for the police and deal with the courts, most likely. If you have a very realistic and responsible sheriff in a pro-gun state, you’ll still need to make a statement and be clearly in the right, and they might let you keep your guns. We’ve all read of cases like this in Texas and Florida where the police thanked the victim for defending themselves. From what I can tell, those are the exception, not the rule. In the real world, you’ll have your life threatened frequently, especially if you aren’t reasonably careful about exposing yourself to crime. And an act of self defense gets your gun seized for evidence in your trial, leaving you vulnerable for revenge by the criminal’s friends.
1) Don’t live in areas with rampant crime. If you can go somewhere safer, do so. Get another job. Even if you survive being shot, odds are good you’ll lose something important, like your spleen or a kidney or feet of intestine, or use of a limb. You really don’t want that. You’ll need that stuff to survive the plagues already brewing for a comeback. Its always better to live somewhere safe than somewhere dangerous, regardless of pay rate.
2) Make friends with the sheriff and police. Make donations, go to the banquets and socialize with the cops so they know who you are. You’re much more likely to be allowed a CCW in a non-CCW state. Make sure you come across as a good but not helpless citizen. You may want to help out with some community stuff first, so you can cite that as a sign of your stable good civic mindedness. And don’t ever cheat people or lie about speeding etc. They track that. The first time you’re caught lying to a cop is the last time you get any favors from them. Its better to be on the inside of the system when things get weird than the outside where you’re expendable trash.
3) Consider carrying two concealed firearms. One legal for open-and-shut self defense. The other one should be considered carefully based on the state of the law’s enforcement and conditions you face for self defense. Remember that in many states its illegal to shoot or even to threaten with a gun to protect your property. Yes, that’s retarded. Police in those states say the risk for accidental shooting, as well as ambush by professional thieves’ partners result in a lot of dead people that didn’t have to happen over a simple car. You should decide this in advance whether you should call the police when you see someone messing with your vehicle or confront them directly with your firearm, knowing you’ll almost certainly have to defend your actions in court and may lose everything (financially). This leads to the next point.
4) Shoot and scoot. This patently illegal option has been suggested by some survival authors as the appropriate direction in times of uncertain law enforcement. If you’ve been done wrong you can take them to court or you can let them get away with it or you can kill them illegally and run away, leaving no trace. If you’re in the country the tried and true “shoot, bury deep, and silence” is the method preferred by ranchers and farmers everywhere. This is a grim and terrible option and should only be used if you’re ready for the full consequences of the mess.
5) And remember: burglars are often heroin and meth addicted junkies so may be connected to the Mexican Mafia and Aryan Brotherhood (famous for drug dealing, organized crime, and extortion), not simply independent and operating alone as they appear. If you kill one, that may not be the end of it after all. Someone from those organizations may know they were at your place, and come after you. The paranoia involved in these cases makes bugout a good idea. You may end up going to the FBI for witness protection, for what little good that does.
6) In the real world, getting targeted by organized crime can be death sentence. Fighting against corruption, and general evil, will get your life ruined in a hurry if you get caught. In the collapse, the police may lose funding and officers and may start to get into and Us vs Them mindset, or become more open about their corruption. I have witnessed police ignore neighborhood drug dealers, presumably because they’ve taken a bribe to let them operate. A little “tax” if you like. No cop would ever admit to that, but its common as dirt. Be prepared to pay bribes and deal with corruption. If that’s not to your taste, move somewhere there are no people because where there are people, there are taxes and corruption and death: the three eternals of life in the real world.
So: riots are temporary, the law is a cockroach that won’t die, and oppression increases forever. We’ve had our 200 years of freedom. It was nice while it lasted. Best, – InyoKern