Letter Re: Hardening Gates for Retreat Security

Since I had some spare time over winter break I re-read “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”. It is an awesome book, I really like the “survival manual wrapped in a fiction novel” format. It left me with a few thoughts on physical retreat security. I am talking about locks, fences, gates, and so forth –not people. When the gate lock was cut [in the novel] you mentioned the characters welding a 3 inch pipe [section to the gate post] to protect the [new] lock. That is a great idea, except many who live in timber country are aware of a tool made of a 2 inch piece of square pipe with a hole in it to fit a 3 foot piece of [hardened] bar [such as a digging bar] that takes care of that quite easily. The only way I could think to counter that is to extend the pipe 6 or 8 inches past the bottom of the lock to foil those who had a “breaker” which would work for standard timber gates.

I had two thoughts for gate hardening, post-SHTF. My idea is to keep the same gate until the balloon goes up and to do some mods to it later. The first is the heavy Weyerhauser-type gate which is made of a lot of metal and has the aforementioned lock protection device. This could draw attention pre- and post-SHTF and be impossible to put up without some equipment and a lot of cement later. The second idea is a heavy 2 or 3 inch[-diameter] piece of cable which is about 50 or 60 feet long. This would run from an anchor (big rock/tree/cement block in the ground with an O ring in it) around the gate posts to another anchor on the other side of the gate.You could run through O-rings on the gate posts at bumper level. People who roll up with a pair of bolt cutters are going to have a disappointing day. Even if one end of the cable is just a loop and the other is a lock provided they are not immediately on the gate somebody would have to take a look at the setup, hop the gate and then cut another lock to unhook the heavy cable. Assuming you are prudent enough to have the gate covered by at least one riflemen at all times, then the unsavory characters are likely to decide that at least immediately the juice is not worth the squeeze. Remember: The longer you can keep them under fire, fighting your fight before they can attempt theirs, then the higher your odds of success.

If you have done some hardening on the gate the next logical step is improving the roadside portion of your property. There are few 4×4 vehicles which can quickly negotiate a “drainage ditch” which is 4 feet wide and 4 feet deep. This might be worth renting a backhoe for. (Again money versus time.) If any curious neighbors ask just say you are really worried about drainage and do not want to have the road flood. Those two modifications for somewhere between free if you scrounge the cable and dig the trench with a shovel or a couple hundred dollars if you buy a cable and rent a backhoe will make your place much safer from small groups of vehicle-based looters or [one-percenter] bikers.

I am going to leave the house out of this, since it is discussed very specifically and at great length in “Patriots” so I will not rehash it. Buy the book. It is some of the best money I have spent in a while! For the price of dinner for two at Applebee’s or another mediocre restaurant (without drinks) you can get a great piece of entertainment which is very useful. It has refocused and shaped a lot of my planning and has given me useful background to many of the posts on SurvivalBlog. – RL