Dear Mr. Rawles,
This letter is in reference to the reader who had the idea of squatting in abandoned homes. I would advise he seriously rethink that idea. If law has broken down enough that he could acquire someone else’s dwelling without raising any eyebrows then there is enough of a breakdown for the owners to show up and use lethal force whether warranted or not. In that type of TEOTWAWKI, we may see a return to the days of: Horse theft = shot or hung, accosting a lady in the street = shot or hung, Claim (Homestead) jumping = shot or hung, etc.
Since he mentioned Western Maryland, he is most likely referring to the vacation homes and cabins such as those surrounding Deep Creek Lake in Garret County. It’s a beautiful area, my wife’s Aunt has a vacation house on the lake and we vacation there as often as possible – who needs a time share or resort hotel when you have the perfect cabin in the woods on the shore of a huge lake (Sadly, there are less and less homes on the lake and more and more condos). The cabin was originally built by my wife’s great-grandfather and grandfather when the lake was first created by the Army Corps [of Engineers] and has stayed in the family ever since. The surrounding homes have much the same story. Friends routinely bought land and built next to friends. This cabin is our third line bug out location and would be 1st except for its distance. If we arrived, we know who is supposed to be there, we know all the neighbors along that street, and if they aren’t there and some stranger is living there, than something reaaalllly bad happened to my wife’s aunt or the neighbors, so he better do some fast talking. We’re a close knit bunch as are most of the “neighborhoods” in that area. We will all defend each other and each other’s property as if it were our own life and property. He would be a stranger who committed a felony (breaking and entering) and there is clearly a lack of law enforcement. I hope his foolishness doesn’t result in a widow raising children on her own. There is a difference between asking for aid and theft. After effectively claim jumping he would have no credibility and would receive no charity. The same could be said if we bugged out and later returned home to help rebuild our home and community.
The notion that a man would “claim” someone else’s property, vacant or not, gets me a little riled. Unless he’s referring to vacant condos (why??) a lot of work, love and memories are tied up in those “vacant properties.” In a TEOTWAWKI scenario, honesty and integrity will be the most valuable assets. I prepare to provide for my family, and provide for those in need. However, people who lack honor will be turned away.
In closing, what he suggests is stealing. The rightful owners, their family and friends would be likely to assume the worst and could end up shooting first and throwing his body in the middle of a very large and very deep lake. If this argument doesn’t dissuade him, then let me just say that I would be one to shoot first and ask questions later. And since I hike those mountains and boat/swim the lake regularly, I know all the nooks and crannies and deep sections of the lake. I’m also originally from Chicagoland, so I know to stuff the body in a body bag and place the cinder blocks inside the body bag. (LOL). Thanks, – D.O.