Letter Re: Arming Your Neighborhood in a World Gone Feral


While I agree with a lot of what was written, I strongly object to the writer’s defensive philosophy. He’s taking a modern strategic approach and applying it to SHTF firefight scenarios. In my opinion they are not similar.

In small unit combat, the attacker has the advantage. The attacker can choose the time, the place, and if the defenders are dug-in and cannot pursue (counterattack), the attacker can choose when and under what circumstances to withdraw. If it’s going poorly they can withdraw and regroup for the next try. In short, the only scenario in which the defender wins is if they wipe out an attacker that either chooses to not withdraw or cannot do so for some reason. This is usually because the defender counterattacks or maneuvers to cut off withdraw (an envelopment). Both involve the defender turning into an attacker.

That 3-1 ratio is what’s needed against a layered, strategic defense. A QRF (quick reaction force) on radio standby along with a few people walking around with rifles and shotguns for security is hardly a layered defense. A determined force that’s done some intelligence gathering, is armed to the teeth, and attacking at the break of dawn can easily overwhelm a numerically superior defender on a tactical (small) scale. On a strategic scale, the element of surprise is very difficult, and it’s simply who can punch the hardest, the longest, and the farthest. – J.S.

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In “Arming Your Neighborhood in a World Gone Feral” by E.M., we get treated to another “arm your neighbors” point of view for an extraordinarily unlikely “end of the world” contingency.

E.M. says if you can’t trust your neighbors with the guns you provide them, he suggests that you should move. However, people who aren’t gun owners generally aren’t gun people. Even “gun people”, untrained, aren’t the most effective when it comes to defensive rifle- or pistol- craft.

At Appleseed shoots, for instance, we do an initial skills assessment and a majority of shooters aren’t even effective out to 100 yards. Many aren’t even “on paper” and excuses for a lack of competence with their rifles come freely and abundantly, sometimes muttered quietly, others not so much.

In fact, giving acquaintances who aren’t gun owners their first gun for self-defense may prove a liability to everyone’s health and well-being. Think negligent discharges or firing off rounds inappropriately and inadvertently shooting a friendly before properly identifying a potential threat.

I can’t help but find myself asking, “What is he thinking?”

Don’t get me wrong. May God bless E.M.’s plan to repel hordes of smelly, unshaven, mutant, biker mauraders with crooked teeth alongside of his neighbors, but I’d like to offer an alternative scenario and still yet another more likely scenario.

The first rule of winning a gunfight I teach in my gun classes is simply not to show up. You live every time that way. If something bad happens suddenly, you make the best of what you’ve got, of course.

However, 99 and 44/100ths percent of the time, you will have an opportunity to make yourself scarce before things go so badly that you find yourself in a position to be lawfully pointing a gun at other people.

As an example, if you’re at Denny’s while two groups engage in a fight over maple syrup or some woman’s honor, this is a time when you should make yourself scarce, instead of ordering up some popcorn and videotaping it on your iPhone.

Your car is your escape pod, and it’s usually always nearby. Keep your car fueled, and keep basic supplies in your trunk. Keep things like an MRE or three (or Heater Meals, if you want to blend in with the sheep), water, flashlight & batteries, work boots, and gloves, warm clothes, a hat, and winter gloves, some basic tools, and so forth.

You should already have an emergency evacuation plan in place. (Google “Listening to Katrina” for a great, albeit not yet finished, guide) to leave your home in short order in case of fire or other emergency.) That plan will help you protect your health, wealth, and ability to earn an income, while not losing all of the aforementioned, defending the indefensible.

I live in a pretty decent neighborhood today, and in a stroke of luck, live within a block of one of my team of instructors (which happened by accident, not by design) and also a former student.

I recognize that neither my home nor my neighborhood is defensible, if there are more than a few desperate or violence-prone individuals prowling nearby. I’m not going to pull a Don Alejo Garza Tamez True Grit suicide mission defending my home. No, I’m getting me and mine the heck out of dodge, if things are getting that bad, and you should too.

And because of relationships I’ve developed, I’m lucky enough to have the right sort of friends who will come move us out if it’s really getting bad, as I’d do for them.

Most of my neighbors in that unlikely apocalyptic mayhem scenario are on their own. Life’s full of choices. Those who chose to take golf lessons instead of shooting lessons? Let them accept the consequences of going up against violent predators with a five iron or a putter.

All of that aside, the localized emergency is more likely such as a tornado, earthquake, or massive winter storm or maybe a hurricane for those readers within a couple hours of the coast.

You’re probably not going to need your guns or your tactical skills, if you have those emergencies, certainly not right away. Instead, you’re gonna need a pair of work gloves and boots, a decent flashlight, and the willingness to help close friends, if they need you. If they are fine, then you’ll look out for your immediate neighbors.

In my case, this might mean shoveling some snow, so the frail old woman who had a bypass last year doesn’t have to. Or making sure my neighbors have a working flashlight or two and anything else they might need if the power goes off or perhaps a warm place to stay for a time if the power is out in the wintertime. Tip: Offering a Thermos of hot chocolate or hot soup to the old couple next door unsolicited will further cement your reputation as a great neighbor, and they’ll go out of their way to look out for you in the future.

No, most of the SHTF we’re likely to encounter is not going to involve guns, marauders, or thugs preying on sheep. It’s not going to involve a crash course in teaching non-gunowners to use that double-barrel coach gun for home defense. It is, though, going to involve being a good neighbor for those less fortunate or prepared.

Don’t get me wrong: My family comes first. However, because I’ve planned ahead and prepared, most emergencies that are commonly encountered won’t be for my family, and we’ll have the luxury of being able to help our friends first, then our neighbors.

Hopefully, readers of this will also have made preparations for emergency scenarios and built relationships with like-minded folks, so they can work together to overcome adversity as a group and assist those less fortunate.

That’s the American way. – J.B.