Don’t Be Prey, by L.H.

Nobody wants to be prey when things go wrong. I don’t have a cabin in the woods stocked with ammo and dried food with a well out back. I don’t have a pickup and trailer loaded with extra fuel waiting for the great escape.

Where I Live

I live in a city of a million. Here, we have street people living under bridges and dope shops on every other city block. (It’s legal here.) It’s also freezing cold in the Rockies and dry. All in all, it’s not the perfect place to weather TEOTWAWKI. But it’s what we have.

The Plan

Here’s the plan. These are the first three things I’m concerned about: drinking water, sanitation, and self defense. Self defense is on the list because even in good times street people wander into back yards in the middle of the day seeing what they can steal.

Roving Lawless Men

In the bad times, those living under the bridges won’t have any restraint on their need to pillage. When their food stamps, welfare, and the social security checks aren’t coming, they are going after whoever has more than they do. That means you. For them the choice is steal and loot or freeze, starve, and die. The theoretical risk of arrest or jail just won’t stop them. You owe it to your family and inner circle to be prepared to defend against them.

Drinking Water

Water to drink is critical. The average person can’t go three days without water and not be severely dehydrated. That makes them dead weight in a team sport and good for no one.

Do you have five gallons or more of water per person in your family to get you through the first week? This is just basic hydration and cooking with nothing for cleaning or washing of the body or hands or hair. (Are you women prepared to deal with your monthly cycles without a shower? Are your men?)

Those of us in the desert have to think about what it means to collect and purify water. Clean your tub with bleach and fill it with water. Go to each toilet, cover it with a garbage back and tape it off. (This is done because someone will have to go real bad, dump in it, and leave you with no way of cleaning it.)

Think Sanitation

Ever had the runs? And that low grade fever? And you’re messing all over yourself? Imagine all that without a working toilet, no shower, and no washing machine. That’s what you get get if you can’t sanitize your food, your cooking utensils, and your hands every day all day. So forget that extra sack of beans. Rather, how are you going to store and acquire water for sanitation? Where are you going to dig that latrine? Can you really stack firewood or fight off an intruder while you have this kind of illness?

Ever had food poisoning from a restaurant (where presumably they have running water)? Even in good times, disease is waiting for you. When the sewer and water aren’t running, your biggest risk is disease (not hunger). Have you thought about digging a latrine in the back yard? (For apartment dwellers, a 5-gallon bucket with some very strong garbage bags may have to suffice until you and your gang can dig a latrine.) People have lived with out-houses for thousands of years. They work just fine. When full, they make a great place to plant an apple tree.

Shovel and Tools

Do you have a shovel? Get one along with a mattock. (You do know what a mattock is, right?) Buy one when you buy some extra buckets and garbage bags at your local Ace Hardware.

Physical Strength and Survivability

Do you have the physical strength to use a shovel and dig a deep hole? There is a direct and positive correlation between strength and survivability.

Thinking What Your Latrine Looks Like

What will your latrine look like? Will it be a squatting affair, or will it have a seat? What are you going to wipe with? Do you have a lot of that? Should you put walls around it or a roof? Maybe even a door? We all can live for weeks without food but not if we get the enduring runs from food poisoning or cholera. A man with the runs is a disease vector for your family. Once one is sick, you all will get sick.

Not Insurmountable Challenge

Sanitation is by no means an insurmountable challenge. The world developed over the thousands of years without toilets or hot and cold running water, but you need to think about it before you find your trousers around your ankles with something that has to come out right now!

The strength to use a shovel is as important as a shovel itself. If you are my age (mid 50s), then you better be hitting the gym. If you are obese, I don’t really have any advice for you. Good luck, and don’t come to my house.

During the wet season I can get rainwater from the gutters if I have a tub, buckets, and a 55-gallon barrel. Raw water can be used for bathing and general cleaning. Purify it before drinking with a Big Berkey water filter, some chlorine, or boiling the water.

Gas BBQ and Coleman Stove

You’re a suburbanite, so you already have a gas BBQ in the garage. Buy an extra twenty gallon propane tank and keep it full. Get a hose to connect your Coleman stove (which you already have) to those propane tanks. You can cook and boil water for months if you do this right. Preparation is mostly thinking things through.

Preparing For the Cold Winter

Is it going to be cold this winter? What’s it like in January? It might be a good idea to have a wood stove set up in your living area. When the power and natural gas lines are down, that furnace won’t kick on for momma in the morning. Wood is good. It grows almost everywhere. Are you strong enough to cut, split, and move wood? You better start thinking about this.

Importance of Being Strong

It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of being strong. The weak and infirm die first; they always have and always will, whether from disease, the inability to care for themselves or the inability to mount a defense of your home. (Can you carry five gallons of water a mile if you have get it from the creek?)

Help is not coming. If you realize one thing, realize this: Help is not coming. You are it.

In TEOTWAWKI you are the police force, the fire department, and the doctor. (You do have some fire-extinguishers, right? And you’ve got a robust first aid kit and know how to use it, right?) If you get an infection, you’ll probably die. If you get in a gun fight, you’ll probably die, because a wound is almost always fatal without modern surgery, drugs, and sanitary conditions. Gangrene is not a nice way to go. We’ve lost the art of amputations with a bullet between the teeth, whiskey in our gullet, and an ax in the hand of your smiling buddy.

The Neighbors

You should be thinking now about who you can trust and who you can’t, what neighbors can take care of themselves and who cannot. Who can mount a credible defense of their homes and who, like sheep, think the wolves just aren’t coming?

The police aren’t coming; they are their own gang. They will take care of themselves first, then their families, and then each other. If they have bandwidth left over, they’ll work for whoever pays them. (Do you have gold or food to pay them? I didn’t think so.)


Network now. Even if it’s over a glass of wine and a casual conversation, figure out who gets it and who doesn’t. Those storing extra water and a bag of beans are people who get it. Don’t look for a Billy Bad with a Bug-out Bag and a cabin the mountains. If you know him, then you probably already have a hide-out in the hills, too, and this article isn’t for you.


You shoot, right? No? Start shooting. Buy a .22 rifle, and teach everyone in your family how to use it. It’s a matter of safety and plain common sense.

I did not teach my children to swim because I wanted them to be “beach people”. Rather, I taught them to swim because one day it might save their life. I did not teach my boys and girl how to build a fire because I want them to take up camping; fire-building is just a basic life skill. I did not teach my teenage cheerleader daughter how to shoot because I want her to be like me. Rather, my daughter will, absolutely positively, be around weapons at some point in here life. I owe it to her to give her the knowledge of how to be safe, just like swimming. She will carry this knowledge with her when she marries a man (a man!) and raises sons. And that’s all before any consideration is given of using firearms for hunting or defense or in a TEOTWAWKI event.

I don’t know any mothers who wouldn’t kill to save their children. So let’s stop pretending here. Everyone can kill, given the proper motivation. It’s your job to be ready for what may come.

Getting Strong

Are you strong? Don’t join a gym if you haven’t jogged in years. Walking is a great start. Then air squats and push-ups. Do that consistently before you start going to a gym. If you do join a gym, squat every time you show up.

Not Standing Alone

No man can stand alone. No family can stand alone. You’ve got to develop that network of neighbors (not your cousin two states over no matter how good his plan is). No one person can stay awake 24/7 to keep watch for the walking dead.

Conversation With Neighbors

At some point you’re going to have to get the neighbors together and have a conversation that goes something like this: “Hey folks, we’re in a situation. If you are here now, you’re probably not leaving. Help isn’t coming. We are blocking off the streets into our neighborhood and the alley. No one comes in unless they are your blood relatives. If they look suspicious, they’ll be shot. With all the murders in the last two months, there isn’t the luxury of having a fair fight. We’ve got a couple combat vets here that are in charge of security.

Remember the parable of the ten virgins? Five were ready and five weren’t? Well, the five that were unprepared were out of luck. The prepared virgins aren’t going to share. (Don’t remember that story? Read it in Matthew 25. It might be good to have a Bible when the Internet and TV are down, like, forever. And get some back issues of Mother Earth magazine and some classic English literature. You may actually learn to read again and like it.)

Pack Leader

Nobody in junior high school voted on who your pack leader was. That’s not how the real world works. They just were the leader, and that was the end of the story. It’s all the more so in dangerous times. If you can’t stomach that leader, then either be the big dog yourself or find another pack to run with.

There will be no safe spaces. There will be no time to decide or get ready when this happens. If you are weak, whining, and unprepared, you’ll be prey.

Don’t be prey.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).

Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Amen. I’ll point out that a mid-fifty year old can sling a 30# propane tank as easily as a 20#. Stating the obvious, 50% more fuel.

    You remind me that I need to redouble my effort on water storage and handling.

  2. Most police officers will probably stay at home and put family first, not fellow officers. Look what happened during New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. Not a lot of police were in the streets. At the end of the day, most police will put their families first to make sure they are safe.

    1. ….the tipping point in New Orleans was gunfire in the streets…when the gunfire broke out many police officers headed home to protect their own loved ones…I made a mental note of that as I believe it could universally apply in any urban SHTF scenario….gunfire in the streets means we up our home defense game.

  3. Finding that your network of family and friends are the weak link – when you are the person that always seems to have the right tools, parts or can fix something, and you’ve got a plan, you wonder if they will have the right stuff – your not alone.

    Definitely need to be able to muster a group of 20-50 like minded neighbors or a community in the worst case scenario. Get in shape by walking the neighborhood, you’ll meet folks, get to see who’s usually home, retired, or otherwise – be seen and known, you may need to become the pack leader because you can’t stand alone.

    Agree – got me thinking about how good is my sanitation plan.
    How sustainable is your plan to clean pots and pans, plates and eating utensils – you’ll run out of paper plates at some time. Get some knowledge (and resources) for treating some of the common GI ailments – these conditions can be depilitating and spread quickly if not addressed quickly – rotavirus is bad and will be common, but survivable with rehydration (get bulk powdered Gatorade) and know when to use anti diarrhea medications that are readily available over the counter. Understanding transmission of food and water borne disease may be as important as good water filtration and sanitation practices – some are common sense while others are not so.

  4. Never ever run out of Colloidal silver, dish washing liquid soap, and garbage bags. The dopers and gangbangers will self destruct within the first few weeks due to overconsumption of freely available “stuff”, the drunks will do the same, and the sick and slow and stupid soon after. If you can last out about a month many of the threats will be neutralized by mother nature.

  5. “Roving Lawless Men”
    You need to develop an attitude of “MY life first”. Too many people purchase a gun, and don’t develop the necessary attitude to be able to pull the trigger and take a life in self-defense in order to protect and save their own life (and by extension, save the lives of family, friends, and neighbors).
    Harden your hearts and minds against those that would take yours. Even if that outlaw is wearing a uniform. ESPECIALLY if that “Roving Lawless” person is wearing a uniform.

  6. Good straight forward no BS article. Even for those of us living in a “town” of 200. For the most part my neighbors seem to be of a survivalist mind set, but the folks 2 doors down scare me.

    I would like to add that having a couple of the 300 gallon water tubs hooked to the gutters is a good idea if you can swing it.

  7. GREAT, great article. I was advised by two members of the EMP Commission and an engineer at my city water works that the cities will die. Water will be the weakest link for anyone staying there. We go for several months without a drop of rain in Utah. Relying on rain catchment may not work out. Sanitation, as highlighted, will be the next biggest hurdle, assuming one has all the other items on the list. Flies crawl all over your neighbor’s waste and then fly over the fence to YOUR house. Teach your neighbors good hygiene, too, or you’ll go down with them.
    And then, there is the fact that cities are packed with millions of gun owners without food or water. Don’t be there.
    Boiling water for drinking and hygiene takes a LOT of fuel. Doesn’t get rid of harmful chemicals likely to be found in city ditches. Oil and fuel dripping on roads washes into these ditches and streams not to mention industrial polluters.
    Plan for years, not weeks.

  8. Great article. Well thought out and well written. Even kids could understand it. In the end it will be about mindset and training and it is obvious L.H. has gone thru the training and developed the mindset. One of the best articles of this type I have seen in a while. Please keep it up.

  9. may I suggest a long handle ( 48″) drain spade for your latrine pit digging or tree transplanting or post hole digging needs I prefer the fiberglass handle model around here we call them hole shooters.

  10. I have never seen the level of hate and despicable acts like we are seeing nowadays. My son is a new police officer. The vile crap directed at these men and women is overwhelming. We are truly seeing battles of good against evil. Sooner or later its gonna be in YOUR face. Decide now. God help us…

  11. Good reminder of how quickly things can get worse… With your location in a northern, very cold and snowy winter climate, you would have to do some water and sanitation preps during warmer months. Digging an outhouse hole by hand in frozen ground would be very difficult, but possible in the warmer months,,, just put a small rubbermaid storage shed over the hole until you need it. Bury a 350 gal liquid storage tote (get it used from the coke plant for $60) in the ground during the summer time, insulate it with sufficient styrofoam and straw and put an access pipe near the surface. Keep empty sandbags on hand; they are good for many purposes.
    Prep on!

  12. Kitty litter, particularly the non-clay varieties, will do wonders for indoor sanitation. After all, that’s what is was designed for.

    A dry potty of whatever description, lines with a plastic bag, with a scoop of kitty litter on the bottom, and an open bag of litter next to it. Poop. Scoop. Done. No stink, no flies, no mess.

    In winter, take the full bag outside and let it freeze. In warm weather, dig a hole/trench, empty the bags into it, and plant trees on top.

    This works even better if you have a separate pee potty next to the poo potty, as the pee will use up much more of the litter than the poop. Urine can just be poured out outdoors, away from the house. It’s the poop that’s the dangerous-to-your-heath stuff.

  13. Good article, but let me add two things. One: a luggable loo portable toilet is a good deal at $20. With CONTRACTORS BAGS-not garbage bags-and lots of kitty litter, life will be okay. Two: sincerely think about a composting toilet. You can buy one for about $980, and coco coir is cheap and easily stored. These things will make your life easier, cleaner, and safer. You can stick a composting toilet in any empty room for the new privacy. Please remember to deep stack toilet paper as it is cheap now and a clean simple alternative to life’s calling. Also-buy those rubber gloves by the gross. Life is messy and they are very worth the investment.

  14. most people in the modern world wont be able to function without the services they rely on for everyday life.
    they will be dead within a month without supermarkets, sewers, running water and the internet.
    dead bodies are going to be your worst problem.

  15. If you live in a city of a million, chances are very slim that you will survive. Your best option is to relocate away from the city as best you can.

    We moved from Chicago to a small community 75 miles away…and I drove to the city for work every day for two years. It sucked, but I was content in the knowledge that my family was pretty safe in a small village away from the madness.

    Planning to gut it out in the city is foolhardy in my opinion.

  16. there was a survey done in the US a few years ago, some of the replies were as follows:
    55% of people said they have less than 3 DAYS worth of food in the house.
    21% said they would survive for less than 1 WEEK.
    28% said they would survive for less than 2 WEEKS.
    75% said they would be DEAD within 2 MONTHS.

    1. I wouldn’t call myself a full on prepper, but… Have wood stove to keep warm and cook and boil water. Have a sump pump and hole is always full of water and have multiple filter sytems. Plenty of guns and ammo. About a month of food, maybe close to two. So I am confident I could last at least a couple of months in the northeast no matter what time of year. I definitely need to do more though.

  17. I searched for GI diseases. This seems to be very helpful, if you can wade through the medical parlance. Note esp. the first part and chart regarding heat to make food safe. With no refrigeration, like our ancestors, heating will save your bacon (joke here). I have reheated a pot of food many times and eaten safely and nutritiously.

    The link:

    As on comment noted, using fire to make food or water safe is problematic. Consider solar:

    Note esp. the entries under health and cooking. Safe food and safe water prevents most GI infectious diseases.

  18. Great article, mixing dead lifts with squats can greatly increase testosterone the next day so follow those days up with an upper body part your lacking strenght in.

    While i have alot of advice for people with land and animals i know very little about city living. Thank you for the insight, i lived outside of Baltimore for a few years and never liked that city, the blue lights at night on the inner harbor which basically said its not safe here your on your own. Agressive beggers and fake Veterans were rampant.

    Theres also alot of parables on storing choice foods and avoiding danger . Not going to list them though, open your Bible and read. 🙂

  19. Look to medieval times. Monolithic buildings with out central air or heat. Just big fireplaces. Look to Colonial America. No central heat just fireplaces and rooms with low ceilings and small dimensions to conserve heat.

  20. get a water-bob for the tub 200 gal’s of clean water. this will keep the water safe and clean to drink. also it will not leak down the drain.

    as for leaning to shoot do not buy a cheep 22 rifle. I would also by a high quality spring-air rifle and quality pellets. this is a very good learning tool and is quiet when you shoot. I have killed a lot of squirrels with mine. and no this is not your Daisy BB gun.

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