Letter: Love Thy Neighbor…Trust No One.


First let me say that I am a Christian and have followed JWR for many years and appreciate his Christian values when dealing with survival/WROL/collapse scenarios. Today, my faith was tested and I felt compelled to share my experience with you and your readers.

My back story: Five years ago in 2010, I moved to eastern Tennessee to work. I lived in employer provided housing, but purchased a remote property along the Cumberland Plateau for camping, exercise, and hunting. Being of the prepper mindset, I built a small cabin, cleared some of the wooded property and began to assemble my cache of items. The property is located on a side road, of a side road, of a side road per JWR, but I did have two neighbors about one mile away. I came to know my neighbors and extended a friendly Christian hand by helping with their home projects and such, but never revealed my preps or feelings about world events. During this time, I also built food plots on my property to attract wildlife with the plan of being able to provide food for my family during a time of crisis. Also, watching the birds, squirrels, and deer forage is relaxing and something I did to respect the animals I harvested for food and to become more familiar with my retreat location. Prior to my purchase of the property, locals, including my neighbors, had hunted there without regard for property boundaries or fear of trespassing charges because the previous owner hadn’t visited since his purchase at auction in 1962. At the start of every deer season, I offered a day or two that they could hunt the power line on my property, providing I was there, and only mature bucks be taken.

Flash forward to today: I started the morning by spreading some shelled corn at my property food plot. A young doe had been visiting my site with yearlings, and I thought it would be a good treat for them. After a day at the flea market searching for a few “Tools For Survival” recommendations, I drove back to my retreat property for some R&R. I noticed ATV tracks leading up my driveway and through the woods. Following the tracks led me to a large pool of blood less than six feet away from a mineral lick I had placed for the deer in the spring. My first thoughts went to the young doe and her fawns, and then my blood began to boil at the thought of such a blatant act of poaching and trespassing. Who would do such a thing? Who would take such a risk for so little reward? As you may have guessed, it was one of my neighbors; the doe was dead, and he was the one that I consider a close friend. “Call the Game Warden!!” my wife yelled, but risking retribution on a cabin full of preps when I’m out of town was not worth burning that bridge. So without calling, texting, or smoke signals, my neighbor brought an eleven year old relative to hunt (this weekend is Youth hunting weekend) and taught him to ignore property lines and baiting laws while testing my faith and belief in “Love thy neighbor…”

It gets worse; my neighbor/trespasser tells me they were in the woods and saw me when I visited earlier this morning. Now I must admit, I was pretty upset about the deer and the trespassing and my neighbor explaining that he “didn’t think I would mind”, but what made all of that seem meaningless was the fact that I had been under surveillance and never would have heard the shot that just blew my brains out at a location that my family will depend on in a WROL setting by two hunters in camo with basic hunting skills. I am not a Navy Seal, but I do have a routine of checking my surroundings and perimeter, and I was unable to detect an eleven year old and an adult in a semi-cleared wooded area that I visit on a daily basis.

I have heard JWR and other experts comment on the “siege” scenario where the bad guys wait you out or snipe you when you come out of your bug out location, but I think it is somewhat of a disservice to simply say they will run after you or “fire some rounds in their direction”. What I would like is more discussion of proven and affordable means of retreat security from this type of threat. lf there is no practical way for the middle class to defend ourselves in a nation full of hunters and stores stocked with Mossy Oak, we are all lying to ourselves about surviving any thing more extreme than weather disasters. I know we should “team up with like-minded friends and neighbors”, but after today, my faith in anyone other than my direct family unit doing the right thing under the extreme duress of a societal collapse has been shattered. It is my opinion that no one outside of your shelter should ever be trusted during such times.

HJL Responds: Sadly, many today (including Christians) have not been taught to respect that which belongs to another person. They have also been well conditioned to believe that the end justifies the means. With that said, having surveillance on you (potentially through rifle glass) is disturbing indeed. There are measures that can be taken, but you run into the old conflict of usability vs security. It is possible to create a completely secure location, but at the same time, you make it practically unusable. Only you can decide where the comfort zone between usability ands security are for your location. It is near impossible to survive on your own in a hostile situation, but trusting others to be with you means that you will have to deal with issues like this at times. When it comes to property, I still believe the old age is spot on: Good fences make for good neighbors. Those fences don’t necessarily have to be physical either; they can be mental and emotional. As uncomfortable as the thought is, you probably need to have a heart-to-heart talk with your neighbor about respecting boundaries.