Letter: A Problem Today That is Only Going to Get Worse When SHTF


About ten years ago my wife and I made the decision it was time to get out of the city and move to a more sustainable rural environment. We discovered a place with great climate, reasonable land prices, good neighbors, good job opportunities. You know, it had all the right stuff. We moved and began and continue to put our “prep” plans into effect at our new location.

Over the years we have had numerous family members come to visit, and they also have fallen in love with the area. Although they are not involved in any type of “prep” plans, we have had six groups of our extended family move to the area. While my individual family is very low key about our plans for the future, it was obvious to our family members what was going on. That is where the problem comes in.

Because my family is trying to move toward being as self sufficient as possible, we have accumulated a lot of “stuff” to make this happen. Various family members have now moved to a attitude that my family is their supplier for a variety of things. This attitude is usually that they need to “borrow” from our supplies to take care of some need or problem they are having. Right now, we have a chain saw, 22 rifle, a set of predator traps, a utility trailer, lawn mower, logging chains, garden tractor, and a log chipper out on loan. Some of these items have been away from home for over a year. I guess today is what really brought this to a head when someone came to “borrow” 24 quart canning jars. This person has a great job, probably the best paid individual of all the family members. I asked them why they didn’t go buy their own jars, only to be met with a tirade that was basically “you stingy *——*, you have cases and cases of jars you are not using.”

Yes, it is my family and I need to deal with it. But the alarming thing is that if those who know your supply situation act this way during the good times, what is going to happen when SHTF and they are potentially in a life or death need position. This problem easily expands to cover neighbors and anyone else living in your immediate area.

It’s just something to think about. – Bison Billy at the end of the dirt road

HJL Responds: I think anyone who has “stuff” has had to deal with this problem and “family” can be some of the worst freeloaders there are. Because you have to balance Christian charity with the stewardship of your stuff, and the fact that some people are really good at “guilting”, you have to grow a thick skin. My breaking point was reached when our family decided to make our old and tired van last another five years so we could afford a diesel tractor with a front end loader and assorted attachments. I purchased from a friend who was a dealer, and he delivered it to the property on a flatbed trailer. Within an hour, I had three requests from neighbors to “borrow” the tractor. Before the week was out, that number had nearly tripled. Because the investment was so costly to us, it was easy for me to refuse any and all requests though. I adopted a policy of allowing friends, family, and neighbors to “borrow” both me and the tractor, if my schedule permitted it and I had the available resources. I never straight out loaned the tractor to anyone. Now, six years later, the newness has worn off of the tractor and it is just another work tool, but the policy remains in place. In fact, the policy has worked so well, that I use it for anything that gets a request for usage. Either I come with it, or it doesn’t go at all. I’ve actually made some pretty good friends with that policy too. It’s always better to work with someone when the work is hard.