Avoiding Prepping Tunnel Vision – Part 2, by T.Z.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

One of these consequences was the earthquake igniting several fires all throughout the city. These fires destroyed over 500 blocks; firefighters and first responders struggled to deal with the hundreds of emergencies placed before them. Extinguishing the fires took three days, and it destroyed the faith the people had in the emergency services. The fires destroyed homes and belongings, including important documents. As emergency services moved in, it was difficult – sometimes nearly impossible – for people to prove who they were. They were unable to prove that property, businesses, and capital were theirs, and it left people vulnerable to financial ruin in the future. San Francisco residents never expected to have their homes and documents burned, so they were not prepared for such a catastrophe.

Hundreds massed at the Ferry Building, attempting to leave San Francisco as soon as possible.[8] Few were able to escape the city, causing the rest of the now-homeless San Francisco residents to be trapped in the city. Looters quickly emerged from the rubble, gathering anything that may be of use to them. With 250,000 of the 400,000 San Francisco residents homeless, looting quickly spread throughout the whole city. Chaos ensued, and violence was a natural consequence. Neighbors turned against each other, and those who had nothing turned to the government for help. When looters came across saloons, they got drunk and fought further among themselves and attacked others more frequently. Riots soon followed, and alcohol seemed to be a catalyst for more violence. The majority of San Francisco’s residents were relatively unarmed and untrained, as they did not expect to have to fight for food, water, or shelter in their lifetimes.

Shoot To Kill Order

Because the emergency services were unable to cope with the catastrophes all around them, national and state military units formed a response as disarray overwhelmed the city and police force. Mayor Eugene Schmitz stated, “The Federal Troops, the members of the Regular Police Force and all Special Police Officers have been authorized by me to kill any and all persons found engaged in Looting or in the Commission of Any Other Crime.”[9] As the military regained control of San Francisco, it was joined by police forces and armed civilians in an attempt to maintain law and order. Now the violence of neighbor against neighbor was replaced by violence of military forces, police, and vigilantes towards unruly civilians. Because they operated without centralized authority and under different rules of engagement, the use of force greatly varied, and in some cases quickly escalated, causing civilians to be shot and killed. The civilians in San Francisco did not expect to have to deal with escalation of force by different groups of armed people.

The large displaced homeless population needed to sleep somewhere, and as the military came through the ruins of San Francisco, they designated city parks as new living sites for the homeless to live in. When tents were brought in, these became small tent cities. With thousands of people living in cramped and unsanitary living conditions, diseases quickly spread. As the number of sick people increased, so did the probability of death in the camps. Hospitals were also damaged and destroyed in the earthquake and fires, so the hospitals that remained were unable to handle all the sick patients. Forced to triage and prioritize who got medical care, many doctors turned sick patients away. Many of these patients died, unable to get medical care in time before infecting others and ultimately perishing themselves. Those who survived to this point had few practical ways of hygienic living and preventing the spread of illness.

Be Ready to Bug Out

The San Francisco Earthquake was a great example of a TEOTWAWKI situation. While the earthquake and fires are the most well-known crises that occurred, there are many more unanticipated consequences of the earthquake that preppers can learn from. The earthquake was sudden, igniting fires all throughout the city so quickly that few people had time to grab anything before their home collapsed or burned. This shows that preppers, even those that prefer to bug in and wait until danger passes, must be prepared to bug out at a moment’s notice. Most preppers believe that they will have a relatively large amount of time to pack and bug out; the San Francisco Earthquake showed otherwise. The earthquake was over in less than a minute; the fires spread so quickly that people did not have time to pack, only to flee with what they had on hand. The loss and destruction of important documents show that immediate survival is not the only aspect of preparation for when SHTF. How many preppers think about documentation? While they prepare for survival, most do not prepare for their financial state after the immediate threats are over.

While many preppers stockpile weapons and ammunition to protect themselves from attackers and looters, many will not protect themselves from drugs and alcohol. Rioting and further violence was compounded by alcohol, which shows that preppers must avoid partaking in mind-altering substances in a TEOTWAWKI situation. This is why police and military forces, under orders from civilian authorities, burned large quantities of alcohol from saloons when they cleared through the city. The saloons reopened only when the soldiers withdrew. While police and military forces were present to protect civilians and reestablish law and order, violence initially escalated when civilians were killed by escalation of force. How many preppers think to train for police and military engagements? It is quite possible that, when SHTF, preppers will have to interact, and potentially deescalate situations, with vigilantes, police, and military forces that are clearing through a disaster zone.

This type of disaster, in which you have such a short amount of time to escape, may also seem daunting. However there are simple and easy ways to prepare for such a catastrophe. First, prepare a kit where you can grab what you need and go. I recommend a 72-hour kit or some other portable supply system stashed in a backpack. Hold drills regularly where you and your family can grab your initial food and water supply, a weapon, important documents, and anything else you need, and get out as fast as possible. With practice, each member of the family can successfully bug out in less than five minutes.

Key Documents

Another unanticipated consequence was the destruction of important documents. A fireproof safe can help protect, or at least delay the destruction of, these documents. This also necessitates that they are organized and in a standardized location, meaning that preppers can more quickly grab them and put them in their go bag before leaving. This can help preppers and their family safeguard against identity theft and possible financial ruin after the disaster is over. The violence in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake was compounded by alcohol. Many people who had already survived the earthquake and the fires were subject to violence after drinking. This was due to them either becoming more aggressive or becoming vulnerable while drunk. While alcohol can be extremely useful for bartering, cleaning, or other important functions in a TEOTWAWKI, it can also be extremely dangerous. If preppers decide to stockpile alcohol, it is important that they do not become complacent and drink to the point of getting drunk.

Yet another unanticipated consequence is the armed groups that will be clearing through the disaster zone when SHTF. De-escalation skills need to be trained and maintained. This can help protect preppers and their families from violence as they will often be outgunned and outnumbered. I recommend the FBI Crisis Negotiation techniques and military civil-military engagement techniques, some of which can be found on the internet. They are primarily focused on active listening skills and short-term conflict resolution, which can effectively de-escalate a situation when SHTF. Having personally taken the FBI Crisis Negotiation Course and trained in civil-military engagement techniques, I can vouch for their effectiveness. By training often for these contingencies, especially bugging out quickly, and maintaining the skills learned while training, preppers can effectively safeguard themselves during a TEOTWAWKI situation.

Preparing for emergencies is an all-encompassing task. It demands preparation for every contingency possible, yet preppers have a limited amount of time and money available. Therefore preparation must be balanced and prioritized. While vital life-saving measures must be prepared for, problems that we do not currently face every day can overwhelm even the most dedicated preppers. Becoming a refugee in one’s own land, for example, or not having the use of flushing toilets, can become just as life-threatening – certainly as demoralizing – as not having enough food preps.

Phases of the Operation

In the military, we use multiple phases when planning operations. Phase 1, planning and preparation, is the phase in which leaders analyze the possible threat (in this case, whatever makes SHTF), analyze known and/or anticipated weather conditions and time of event, evaluate the physical and human terrain, and consider the situations of civilians who may be affected. Most preppers are currently in this phase, preparing for TEOTWAWKI. It would, therefore, behoove preppers everywhere to follow this pattern to prepare for a catastrophic event.

Phase 2, movement, describes what may occur when moving to the objective. Backups, casualties, organization of personnel, contingencies if discovered or attacked, and other considerations are planned for. Preppers can best apply this to bugging out after an emergency. Is there a plan in place? Are there multiple backup routes or ways of moving? What happens if someone gets hurt? How would you react if you are attacked as you bug out? How would you organize your personnel and weapons to mitigate the risk of attack? Is it possible to move under cover of night? What is the expected visibility at that time? How will you avoid getting lost from each other? These questions must be answered before considering any such plan complete.

Phase 3, actions on the objective, includes what will happen when undertaking a task. In the case of prepping, phase 3 can best apply to initial actions when a disaster strikes. Where will everyone meet? Who will organize everyone together? What if someone cannot be accounted for? Who will be in charge if you are not there? Where will casualties go, and for how long? How will you communicate? Are there backups for communication? How will you keep everyone calm enough to react effectively and quickly?

Phase 4, reconsolidation, consists of follow-on actions. Preppers can best apply this to after an immediate crisis is complete. How will you maintain safe shelter? When and how can you resupply on food, water, and other essential needs? How will you safeguard your home or other shelter from attack? Who will be on watch? When can you go out and establish relationships with other survivors in order to pool resources and increase your chance of living safely? Once you can answer these questions and plan for any other contingencies, then it is time to rehearse and refine. All of these contingencies must be planned out, to the most minute detail, and trained under a variety of circumstances.

With a limited amount of time, money, and energy, this can become quite difficult. However, with balance and some creativity, this can be quite fun. Involve family and friends, challenge the kids to a race to see who can properly apply a tourniquet the fastest. Practice assembling for a tornado drill. Get a board game in case you need to stay inside for long periods of time, then play the game during a family night. Get a fireproof safe and determine which documents are most important to protect, then have a race against the clock. See how fast you and your family can grab the documents, necessary supplies, and get out. Go to social events to build relationships outside of the prepping network in case you need to leave the city or state you live in. Take your spouse to the range to practice shooting, then go for ice cream afterwards. Put on costumes and pretend to be hostile looters in a Nerf gun war. Take inventory of your N95 mask supply. None of this is terribly expensive, and it can include others in a way that bonds them together. The trick is to think situations through, train and rehearse for contingencies, and make it fun for anyone involved.

Preparing for unanticipated consequences is a vital part of our preparation for disasters and emergencies. Food, water, and ammunition is not enough to properly prepare for the second and third order effects. Instead, contingencies must be mapped out, thoughtfully prepared for, and rehearsed in a way that brings families and other prepping groups together. Tunnel vision is dangerous in any task, and this is especially true when preparing for disasters and emergencies. Therefore it is so important to focus on the second and third order effects of these emergencies. While no one can predict the future, preppers can prepare for the unanticipated consequences of TEOTWAWKI, allowing for their successful survival through dangerous situations.


“1906 Earthquake: Law Enforcement.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior.

Accessed March 31, 2020. https://www.nps.gov/prsf/learn/historyculture/1906-



Aldridge, Bailey. “’Super Spreaders’ of Coronavirus May Be Among Us, Experts Say. What

Does That Mean?” Newsobserver. Raleigh News & Observer, March 15, 2020.



“Chinese Police Force Family Into Quarantine.” YouTube. Associated Press, February 8, 2020.



History.com Editors. “San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.” History.com. A&E Television

Networks, November 9, 2009. https://www.history.com/topics/natural-disasters-and-



Li, Jane. “‘I Have Seen Bodies’: A Chinese Citizen Journalist Reports on the Coronavirus from

Wuhan.” Quartz. Quartz, February 7, 2020. https://qz.com/1798077/wuhan-virus-



“SARS.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention, December 6, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/sars.


Walker, Molly. “COVID-19 Vertical Transmission: Evidence Grows in China.” Medical News

and Free CME Online. MedpageToday, March 26, 2020.



Zhou, Viola. “Needs of Female Medical Workers Overlooked in Coronavirus Fight, Advocates

Say.” Inkstone. Inkstone, February 15, 2020.




[1] “SARS,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 6, 2017), https://www.cdc.gov/sars).

[2] Molly Walker, “COVID-19 Vertical Transmission: Evidence Grows in China,” Medical News and Free CME Online (MedpageToday, March 26, 2020), https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/85619).

[3] Jane Li, “‘I Have Seen Bodies’: A Chinese Citizen Journalist Reports on the Coronavirus from Wuhan,” Quartz (Quartz, February 7, 2020), https://qz.com/1798077/wuhan-virus-chinese-citizen-journalist-reports-from-quarantine-zone).

[4] Bailey Aldridge, “’Super Spreaders’ of Coronavirus May Be Among Us, Experts Say. What Does That Mean?,” Newsobserver (Raleigh News & Observer, March 15, 2020), https://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article241209786.html).

[5] Viola Zhou, “Needs of Female Medical Workers Overlooked in Coronavirus Fight, Advocates Say,” Inkstone (Inkstone, February 15, 2020), https://www.inkstonenews.com/health/coronavirus-womens-advocates-ship-period-products-center-outbreak/article/3050653).

[6] “Chinese Police Force Family Into Quarantine,” YouTube (Associated Press, February 8, 2020), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJi2D-iADH0).

[7] History.com Editors, “San Francisco Earthquake of 1906,” History.com (A&E Television Networks, November 9, 2009), https://www.history.com/topics/natural-disasters-and-environment/1906-san-francisco-earthquake).

[8] “1906 Earthquake: Law Enforcement,” National Parks Service (U.S. Department of the Interior), accessed March 31, 2020, https://www.nps.gov/prsf/learn/historyculture/1906-earthquake-law-enforcement.htm).

[9] Ibid.




  1. I enjoyed this article. I agree that too many get tunnel vision and do not think through all the ramifications of what will happen when the SHTF. It is similar to a comment I heard from a twenty-something at a prepping seminar when the recommendation was made to learn and practice skills now before everything goes down. This young man’s response was “Why, when I need it I’ll just Google it.”

        1. The worst part is really that you don’t want someone Googling how to stop an arterial hemorrhage or insert a chest decompression needle when you’re bleeding out or sucking wind.
          That’s why people need to learn skills now, while it’s easy and inconsequential to be slow or make mistakes.

    1. Mama Bear,

      Thank you for your comment. I am sorry that he relied too much on technology. Like BinWY said, people need to learn skills now so they do not rely on Google when seconds matter, or when they cannot rely on technology.

  2. “The Federal Troops, the members of the Regular Police Force and all Special Police Officers have been authorized by me to kill any and all persons found engaged in Looting or in the Commission of Any Other Crime.”[9] As the military regained control of San Francisco, it was joined by police forces and armed civilians in an attempt to maintain law and order. Now the violence of neighbor against neighbor was replaced by violence of military forces”

    The question is, who’s violence was better for the normal good citizen?

    1. While one can certainly imagine situations in which military efforts to suppress a population (there are book shelves filled with such scenarios in the fiction section of libraries), in situations where a natural disaster has occurred, I would rather have violence rendered by the military against the population replace violence of neighbor against neighbor.

      I am much more confident that military personnel will be restrained in their use of violence. If left to their personal inclinations, however, a significant portion of the public will in no way be restrained. Such individuals are part of the human condition and, when the fear of reprisal, both physical and legal, is removed, they will take advantage of their fellow man as often as they can and in whatever way they can. I think that most preparedness types agree with this notion, otherwise, we would be guided by a different mantra than “Beans, Bullets, and Band-Aids.”

      If, after Katrina, local authorities had come down on the looters in the 9th Ward, the looting would have stopped much more quickly, if not immediately.

      I do not consider taking a jug of milk or a loaf of bread (hat tip to Jean Valjean) to be looting under those circumstances. On the other hand, it is hard to explain why serious force should not be used against those making off with big screen TVs and against those using inflatable rubber boats filled with Budweiser and Jack Daniels to bring their loot home.

      Given all of the evil in this vale of tears, I generally have to fight a gag reflex when I hear someone say, “Every life is precious.” Sorry. Every death is not a tragedy.

      1. Survivorman99,

        Thank you for your comment. I agree with you, I would rather have violence inflicted by the military than by neighbors. As a current Army Officer, I can tell you that times have definitely changed since civilian atrocities in past years. Soldiers now have to include civilian considerations in their operations planning. Platoons and companies train in civilian engagements and have strict rules of engagement that assist in dealing with civilians.

        I almost included looting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in my article, but ultimately decided against it because the article was getting too long. In my research I found that, while the looting was bad, what was worse was the local authority’s response. There have been a number of murders by someone who was accused of looting, and an even greater number of accusations (although no proof has been found for some of these cases) of local authorities going past their bounds. When the National Guard was clearing through New Orleans and distributing food and water, many soldiers said that local authorities were the most difficult to deal with.

        One of the key considerations is how to deal with local authorities’ use of violence, as many times they are given much more responsibility and less manpower or capabilities to be successful – they are overwhelmed and just as scared as the regular population is.

    2. Tom,

      I, too, picked up on what you copied. This is from the National Parks site T.Z. cited: In anticipation of the looting, violence, and disorder that would come, Brigadier General Frederick Funston, acting commander of the of the Pacific Division, immediately ordered Presidio troops into San Francisco. With this military presence came a bold proclamation from Mayor Eugene Schmitz:

      “The Federal Troops, the members of the Regular Police Force and all Special Police Officers have been authorized by me to KILL any and all persons found engaged in Looting or in the Commission of Any Other Crime.”

      Note the first few words: In anticipation of the looting, violence, and disorder that would come…

      I wasn’t able to find any sources to verify what T.Z. claimed about looting. Perhaps you, T.Z. could offer us citations.

      I have read other claims of “looting” after natural disasters that later were debunked.

      In the meantime, I offer this account that I read sometime ago: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/books/excerpt-paradise-built-in-hell.html

      Please note the story of Mrs. Anna Amelia Holshouser just a few paragraphs in. She gathered allies and fed hundreds of hungry homeless people.

      I hope you read the account, truly beautiful.

      Now that I have spoken of the earthquake aftermath as I understand it, I offer kudos to T.Z. for good advice. I am copying and pasting that advice to implement.

      Carry on in grace

      1. Tom,

        Thank you for your comment. Please see the primary accounts found at http://www.sfmuseum.net/1906.2/wolfe.html. They detail accusations of and sworn statements of looting in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Regulations and accountability in military units was drastically increased after soldiers were found to be among the looters.

        The first recorded case of looters being shot under the authority of Mayor Schmitz’s order is described at https://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/The-dark-days-after-the-1906-earthquake-New-2569826.php (secondary source). It states: “The first looter was shot while trying to break into Shreve’s Jewelry Store at Post and Grant streets at 10 a.m. on April 18.”

        Pictures of the aftermath, including looters and “souvenir hunters,” of the SF Earthquake can be found here: https://www.businessinsider.com/chilling-photos-of-1906-earthquake-in-san-francisco-2016-5#the-earthquake-of-1906-remains-the-most-devastating-disaster-san-francisco-has-ever-seen-for-now-18.

        I hope this helps. Thank you for your comment, I appreciate the chance to give more citations to help any further study.

        I loved reading the account you shared, and especially how the author describes Mrs. Holshouser as “not a victim of the disaster but a victor over it and the hostess of a popular social center — her brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.” May we all become as she was in the face of ruin and disaster. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Good thought provoking article.
    One reminder you gave me is to go through our ” important documents”.
    If you have a fire box or small fire safe that thing could be filled with old car registrations, outdated banking documents and other stuff put away in different times.
    It is a good time to purge the old documents and make sure stuff like your last pay stub, medical cards, birth certificates and relevant stuff from today is ready to go.
    I have time to do stuff like that now.

    1. Lee,

      Thank you for your comment. Something I forgot to add in that section of my article was also to upload important documents to the cloud. While we cannot always rely on technology, it offers a useful redundancy to hard copies.

  4. Hey T.Z. an excellent two-part article. Too many good points to respond individually to.

    My grandpa said something once that has been the main philosophy behind my self-reliant lifestyle. Talking about the Great Depression he said, “We were so poor when the Depression hit, we couldn’t tell the difference.”

    I kept thinking of that over and over again as I read your article. If we are already living a self-reliant lifestyle, if we are already prepping, and not just putting things on a shelf for “some day” but knowing how to use them already as part of our everyday self-reliant lifestyle, then we’ll be so far ahead of the curve that when the SHTF in many ways we won’t even notice too many inconveniences.

    If we can learn to give up many of the “conveniences” in our lives, once we get used to it, we’ll soon discover that it isn’t so inconvenient after all, we’ll be living much more inexpensively, and we’ll be so much better prepared for unforeseen events. If we look at them as challenges instead of hardships, and find the positives, it will make it much more doable.

    You really drove home the point that in many SHTF situations, a lot of people in the cities are going to die in the cities. There’s gonna be a lot of “woulda, coulda, shoulda” moaning and groaning going on in those situations. Hopefully for those preppers we’ll have a slow-motion TEOTWAWKI, not something rapid. But I’d hate to bank on it.

    As you pointed out, leadership will be sorely lacking and the more we can have a plan in place ahead of time to rely on ourselves instead of standing there looking like a deer in the headlights waiting for some government official to tell us what to do, the better off we’re going to be.

    Again, great article.

    1. St. Funogas,

      Thank you for your comment! You make a great point; living a self-reliant lifestyle before a disaster strikes allows us to be far ahead of the curve – and that means we won’t have to play catch up. By seizing the initiative, we can better protect ourselves and our families.

      Also, congratulations on winning the writing contest! I found your article on rocket water heaters interesting and very practical.

  5. Nothing has changed:

    “The majority of San Francisco’s residents were relatively unarmed and untrained, as they did not expect to have to fight for food, water, or shelter in their lifetimes.”

  6. Here’s one thought about having a fireproof safe.

    When fires swept through much of Southern California in November 2018, I had the luxury of having two fire department pumpers sitting directly in front of my driveway as the fire approached. Fortunately, the advance of the flames stopped short, although flames got to a point a little over 100 feet from my driveway. Had I been living in Paradise a few hundred miles to the north, I would likely have been completely out of luck as far as getting two fire units to protect my home and street.

    In normal times, I can expect a fire engine to be at my house in about 10 minutes. It is my understanding that a “fireproof” safe is not actually fireproof. It is rated to preserve its contents for a specific period of time. I expect that most fireproof safes are sold with a rapid response by a local fire department in mind and, for most purposes, they will do just fine.

    In a conflagration like the San Francisco Earthquake, however, and in situations where massive fires are taking place in a community (e.g., post-EMP attack where emergency vehicles might not be able to respond to numerous fires that result, or in places like Paradise where the scale of the natural disaster is off the chart), taking every important document should be a high priority when you leave the house, rather than depending on the fireproof safe to preserve them until you return.

    These documents will take up very little space in a bug out bag, and preserving them will cause you far less trouble in the aftermath of a disaster.

    1. When choosing a location for a “fire resistant” safe, avoid the central areas of a home, and consider a (hidden) spot closer to the edge of a home just inside an exterior load-bearing wall. If the house becomes completely consumed, the conflagration will likely be hottest – and for the longest length of time – near the center as the structure’s materials collapse inward. Much like how a well-built campfire will collapse due to the increasing heat at its center. A safe (as you correctly stated) is typically rated for how high a temperature it can withstand for one hour, arguably giving it a better chance of survival the further away from it is the fire’s center. Just a thought.

  7. While military force CAN have a positive effect in calming a disaster, I can’t say that government force is always preferred. Katrina (seizures of firearms by Ray Nagan), Waco, Ruby Ridge, Warsaw Ghetto, come to mind. Let’s be careful when issuing blanket assumptions. A badge or olive drab uniform doesn’t always confer responsible, ethical behavior in such situations.
    The article was extremely well written and thought provoking. It’s in my archive, to be sent around to family and friends.
    While I can’t have originals of documents in multiple places, I suppose copies of originals in other safe places might be preferred, since we won’t always have the luxury of being at home when emergencies commence.

    1. Whoa! Warsaw Ghetto? Instead of olive drab uniforms, the military in that situation was wearing a shade of gray as I recall. You are lumping the U.S. Military in with Nazi Storm Troopers? Seriously?

      As for Waco and Ruby Ridge, according to recollection, that was the FBI and BATF, not the U.S. military.

      While the military is hardly perfect and bad choices have been made by individual soldiers in the past, if 20 people are going to be shot dead in my town after a major calamity, I would rather have the shooters doing it be wearing multi-cam BDUs and combat boots than people whose EBT cards had stopped working and who have decided to engage in a little “self help” at others’ expense. I am much more confident that if the military was doing the shooting, the shooting victims would have deserved what they got.

      1. Survivormann99,

        Another well stated post. I would also add that at Ruby Ridge and Waco those government agencies were under the direction of the Clintons, Reno and other lefty, liberty hating hacks.

      2. I seem to recall an incident involving a Lt. James Calley, who supervised, with upper echelon instructions, the ruthless murder of over 400 Vietnamese women, old men, and children, thrown in a ditch. It happened while I attended a military academy and we spent no small amount of time digesting this disgusting incident. The Army’s determination to sweep the whole incident under the carpet was almost more disgusting than the murders themselves.
        Calley was released only a short time after his conviction.
        Then, there was Wounded Knee, where US soldiers disarmed Native Americans and went wholesale crazy when one resisted. (kind if like you resisting Ray Nagan’s confiscation order)
        If you live in an area where you feel comfortable with a rifle company moving through on a skirmish line shooting anything they didn’t like, I’d move. As for me, I’d sooner trust my neighbors to know what to do. There are probably 3 million rifles in Salt Lake County, and looters wouldn’t last three minutes here. This isn’t Baltimore.
        As I remember, Delta Force attended the festivities at Waco and National Guard flew choppers for the Feds at Ruby Ridge, and prepared to drop jet fuel on the offending family who took exception to government intrusion.
        So far, our governor has resisted Draconian and ridiculous measures during this annoying situation. We haven’t arrested anyone jogging on a beach, or walking down their street. The major tantrums have all seemed to be in states run by people with Ds after their names.
        For now, we seem to have level heads in DC that aren’t prone to Chi-Com damage control. But you never know who is going to be driving the bus, and we’ve got an election coming up soon. I prefer local control. And that goes for looters as well.

    2. Paul,

      Thank you for your comment. I agree that a badge or uniform does not always confer responsible, ethical behavior, however I must state that the military and police have lately been working together and training specifically for civilian engagements. This, in conjunction with strict rules of engagement, allow for more accountability of police/military action and more safety for civilians.

      That being said, there are plenty of examples of military and police going past their bounds in local disasters. I recommend training in de-escalation and understanding how to work with these groups. They inevitably will be clearing through areas after a disaster, and it would be good to learn to work with them – preferably blend in and be ‘the gray man’ – before disaster strikes.

      I also agree that it really depends on your neighbors – some communities are prone to looting, while others wouldn’t dream of it. It varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, and even from house to house.

      Did you go to West Point?

      1. TZ,
        I thank you for your recent comment and thank you for your military service. You are correct in pointing out new rules of engagement and the improving of operations in civilian environments.
        While police and military are, in the main, trustworthy, I am keenly aware that both of these organizations recruit from the general population, which includes people I’d rather not be armed in any capacity. The Utah Highway Patrol arrested and removed a rapist who had concealed his criminal history right up until one day before becoming a state trooper. Got him right out of class. The monster that shot up the church in Texas with an AR-15 was former Air Force. You and I could go on with similar examples.
        As ole’ Remus says at Woodpile Report, stay away from crowds…and cities are just crowds, with streets.
        While efforts to improve the integrity of government agencies are laudable, there are many in the FBI, CIA, DEA, ad nauseam- who are a law unto themselves. We can interview General Flynn and a few others about that.
        I live in a county where there is no local SWAT team. I think it’s great! If we do need one, a county 40 miles away will loan us one. SWAT teams are widely used for everything from warrant service to school emergency drills, terrifying the students with all of their hardware. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Many sensible police officers consider sending a SWAT team to serve warrants to be a gross misuse of resources. These teams are very expensive, and it seems that management wants to use these commandos for as many things as possible to justify their high cost. Dallas PD has had several citizens murdered by SWAT actions, the last one shot dead in his sleep through a window. Right here, in the United States of America. No one will be arrested from this, no one will be held accountable for his death. Did any Federal agents at Waco or Ruby Ridge face a single charge (that stuck)? The man who shot a mother holding her infant child in her arms, in the face with a .308 rifle is walking around free.
        So you can perhaps see why I am not playing Stars and Stripes Forever when I see a massive armed government response at home. New Orleans definitely needed cleaning out, and eventually was by thousands of LE flown in from all over. A story that has yet to be written about by any reporter. “Government help” is an oxymoron. Think if it like taking a powerful antibiotic. It may help you overcome a dreadful illness, or you may contract Stevens Johnson Syndrome and die a horrible death. Risk attaches to anything we do. Including nothing.
        I attended Missouri Military Academy and New Mexico Military Institute. MMA retains its status as a very good school, but NMMI has greatly deteriorated into a mob of pampered kids with plastic rifles and cell phones. It was hard core in the 1970s. It was in 1971 that I was introduced to the M14 rifle, a love affair that continues to this day.

        1. Paul,

          I thank you as well for your military service.

          I completely agree with your statement: “While police and military are, in the main, trustworthy, I am keenly aware that both of these organizations recruit from the general population, which includes people I’d rather not be armed in any capacity.” It is so important to remember that, while these organizations are getting better as the years go on, there are still individuals who cannot be trusted.

          I think your likening of government help to a powerful antibiotic is a great point, one I will be quoting in discussions with friends from now on.

          Perhaps it depends on the situation – government intervention after disasters should be carefully measured and only used when necessary to prevent the risk of worsening the situation. Just like with antibiotics.

          Very cool, I’ve heard great things about MMA, although never having the chance to visit. It sounds like you got some great training opportunities at both MMA and NMMI. I went to basic in the last class to use the M16, I am in love with the M4A1 rifle.

  8. 26 years ago we experienced a house fire. Because we had propane tanks next to the house( we didn’t know any better then and no they didn’t explode) the first responders were limited in what they could do so everything burned up. We weren’t home. Anyway, we had most of our important documents in one of those suitcase type fire safes (12″×15″×6″ aprox.) Only the top sheet was scorched. The rest were fine. It would be easy to grab one of these and go. Plus they aren’t very expensive.

  9. On sanitation in a small town, we have a seat for a 5-gal bucket, to use. As time goes on, if water supply is unlimited, we’ll just pour water into our toilets to flush (assuming sewer system is not flooded or backed up). If water supply is limited, then w/ neighbors’ cooperation, dig & build an outhouse, to be shared by neighbors (assuming that zoning laws are not enforced). Building an outhouse would require people having extra supplies (or salvage them) & being willing to share them. But an outhouse is a relatively small project that could be done by 2-5 people.

  10. During fire season here in MT, my most treasured items (my Grandmother’s olivewood Bible from Israel, which I carried when I married my husband, and my family photos) sit in a box near the front door with a sign taped onto it that reads “In case of fire, take this box!”. If for some reason we aren’t home,
    I want it to be easy for neighbors or first responders (many of whom are personal friends) to grab our most cherished items quickly without placing themselves in harm’s way. Important papers are scanned and sitting on a flash drive in that box too. If we are home, a checklist is also located inside the box to remind us of all the things we need to do before we vacate our property (ex: unlock all gates, close all windows, etc.).

    In the event of a large damaging earthquake, the earthquake rider of our insurance policy sits in a location outside the house, along with another checklist of things to do (turn off gas, etc). My insurance agent’s office is at even greater risk of earthquake damage than my home is (based on location and known faults), and I can’t rely on my agent to be able to retrieve my policy information in the event of a large regional quake.

    Having lived through hurricane damage to my home when I lived down South, I can’t stress enough that you should keep photos and/or a video of your home, including close up shots showing contents of closets, garage, and outbuildings. Having a video and photos of my home prior to a hurricane and then having another video immediately after a hurricane resulted in me getting a settlement from my insurance company that was about $70k more than my neighbors who failed to provide this documentation. With videos and photos, I could clearly prove my losses. Your camping equipment, tools, books, kitchen appliances, preps… it all adds up and often represents a lifetime of investments. It only takes a few minutes. Please, please do this. Your insurance agent probably won’t mention this to you. Mine never did.

    And remember, send that video to a secure location then remove it from your phone because you can’t lock videos. However, you CAN lock photos on your phone by following this quick guide:


    Or what I do is simply select photo, send to notes, save to new note. Then I hold my finger on each new note and wait for the pop up to appear down below which offers the “lock note” feature. I select this and lock the note using the fingerprint option. In almost all situations, I will have my phone with me, which means my important papers and photos will be available should I need them. If my phone is lost or stolen, those documents and photos are in a secured format requiring my fingerprint (not a code) to unlock them. The added benefit is that my info isn’t sitting out there on a cloud server somewhere.

    1. GritsInMontana,

      Thank you for your comment. Your point on hurricane damage is especially thought-provoking. My wife and I will be taking pictures of our home and property next week and locking them on our phone. Thank you!

  11. A fire safe should be at the lowest possible point in your house. There is much less heat at ground level. Also, as far as your computer goes, store a backup external drive somewhere away from the house, even in a vehicle. You’ll be thankful when the house goes up in smoke.

    1. Most fire safes aren’t water resistant,design for fire resistance and waterproof is very different and expensive. A fire/security safe mounted in a ground floor or basement should be raised to protect from water(fire hoses/burst pipes/local flood)

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