Mutual Assistance Group Planning – Part 2, by Survivormann99

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

Post-SHTF, a survival group will be dealing with issues that are certainly more important than occasional potholes. What happens if individuals within the group begin dragging their feet and refuse to help with group projects or refuse to spend time on security and common defense? From a pure expediency perspective, what can actually be done about people in a group who don’t help with projects or participate in security and defense efforts? Should a group sit idly by and allow a gang of marauders to loot the recalcitrant member’s home nestled in the center of the MAG? That simply won’t work.

It is likely that refugees will be coming from outside the community and that they will try to join. If so, what will the requirements be? Who will make the final determination of whether or not they will be allowed admission? If there are leaders who will be making these decisions, will these leaders be elected? Or will they simply be those individuals with “the most toys” and the greatest assets on which others depend?

If these leaders will be elected, who will determine the eligibility of members to vote? Will the electorate include the original resident property owners only? Will it include every adult living in the group? If so, will this include even the newest arrivals who brought only what their vehicles could carry, or perhaps only what they could carry on their backs? If factions begin to develop, what conflicts might arise between a flood of “newbies” and the original members?

After society has fallen apart, assume that wherever this survival group is located, among the group’s members their adult sons and daughters, or their brothers and sister who were living elsewhere, straggle in after a tortuous and dangerous journey from great distances. Are they automatically entitled to join the group? If the answer is, “Obviously, yes,” then what about their spouses and children? If the answer is, again, “Obviously, yes,” then what about their son-in-law or daughter-in-law’s parents, siblings, etc.? Where does it stop?

What would be happening with all of this would be a micro-level example of “chain migration,” an immigration issue that exists in our country today. For every immigrant admitted, seven more will try to immigrate because families “should be allowed to stay together.” The question becomes, “Who will feed them and with what assets? Their own? The group’s?

As a point of reference, see: Amazing Photographs of Prospectors Carrying Supplies Ascending the Chilkoot Pass.

As an example of the problem here with less than fully-prepared group members, and with new arrivals after the calamity has begun, take a look at those photographs. It shows a long line of miners during the Alaskan Gold Rush carrying huge packs while climbing a snow-covered mountain. These men were on the Chilkoot Trail that began in Skagway, Alaska. They were headed to the Klondike gold fields. Canadian Mounties waited at the top. Each miner was required to bring a year’s supply of food with him before proceeding further. This required each man to make several trips up and down the mountain in order to meet the requirement. The reason was logical: Without a year’s supply of food, the miners would risk starvation. The prospects of starvation meant desperation, and desperation meant involvement in acts that led to theft, violence, and death.

What is the practical solution for this problem with slackers in a MAG or with new and unprepared arrivals? If the answer is that the line will have to be drawn at some point, and that new members will be denied entry into the group, the harsh feelings of those who find their late-arriving loved ones excluded from entry into the group will become a cancer. This intense resentment will eat at the core of the bonds that unite the members. A drive for outright revenge, not simply severe disappointment, will likely permeate future group interactions.

Some members of the community will likely have months of food stored. Others nearby may have three days of food in the refrigerator and pantry. This will be especially so for the young hipsters who “like to eat fresh.” They may have three days of food on hand, but only if ketchup and mustard are considered to be a food group. The survival group will experience first-hand Aesop’s, “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” at this point.

Will everyone in the group pool their food resources so that, say, each person will have, say, three weeks of food on which to survive? Will the Ant be required to share with the Grasshopper? If not, how will the group maintain cohesion after some members have tightened their belts three notches, and others appear to be well-fed and robust? When the same range of health and physical condition is exhibited in the group’s children, how does the group maintain its cohesion? “You’re just going to stand there and watch my kids starve? Oh, hell no!”

Apply every question/concern in the preceding paragraph in spades to firearms and ammunition. If a conservative family has expended considerable effort and expense to acquire an arsenal is told to distribute its firearms and ammunition to five families of liberals who barely know a rifle from a shotgun, is the conservative family expected to go along with this in the hope that these people will actually be able to help defend the group? What if that family refuses?

Numerical strength is one thing but, particularly in a survival group, the “wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs” classification should be applied in order to determine just how much strength it actually has. If members of the group are merely expected to use firearms to shoot “wolves” trying to break through their own door at 3:00 a.m., most people, even the sheep, could be expected to “point, shoot, repeat” across the distance of the average bedroom when their own family is threatened. (Note that “most people” is a relative term. Quakers, other pacifists, and a considerable number of other sheep are excluded from this group.)

What would be highly desirable is that members have some measure of proper training, e.g., ex-military combat arms veterans (not desk jockeys, keyboard commandos, or other rear echelon types), law enforcement, or perhaps products of private professional tactical training organizations. It would be very important to know how many of the group would have enough fire in the belly so that they could be expected to react like “sheepdogs” and respond to an alarm outside their own home at 3:00 a.m. And then, it would be important to determine if they would turn out “Minuteman-at-Lexington-Green-style” while leaving their families at home, even if they did have the skills to actually contribute to a group’s defense. (As a point of reference, consider how many New Orleans police officers stayed with their families and did not report for duty, post-Hurricane Katrina.)

If some could be expected to answer the call to defend the group, but only as a result of considerable peer pressure, just how many would do anything more than go through the motions? What would happen to the group if they participated, but acted more like the hapless, useless soldier in the fight at the climax of Saving Private Ryan? How many who answered the call would hunker down and simply try not to draw fire? False assumptions about a group’s self-defense capabilities could lead to disaster. Would they act like the militia in “The Patriot” who had to be begged, cajoled, and beseeched in order to get them to fire at least two rounds before retreating when the British attacked?

In assessing individuals’ strength and weaknesses, the wisdom of Heraclitus should be kept in mind, “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” Construction, gardening, security duty, and such are important for a MAG, but just how many actual warriors will there be in the group if fighting becomes necessary?

Last of all, any group larger than four or five families is likely to have someone who is of limited physical capabilities, whether it is simply advanced age, a “bad” back or shoulder, or a readily apparent physical infirmity. As the group gets larger, the number of those claiming disabilities and exemptions from work and other duties will likely get disproportionately larger. Included in those who will claiming to be in one of these categories will be the actual shirkers.

Exactly who will act as a de facto or ad hoc Social Security Disability Board to determine the legitimacy of a person’s physical limitation or infirmity? Today, in what passes for normal times, the Social Security disability system is badly abused. Does anyone really think that malingering will not exist, or that some family members will not play along with the malingerer so as to protect one of their own? Every day now, playing along with (or even enabling) some friend or family member’s fraud is common when it comes to welfare, EBT (food stamps), Social Security disability, and unemployment benefits. Why would anyone expect that to be any different in a large survival group after SHTF? The human condition does not change.

As an alternative to going “Lone Wolf” after TEOTWAWKI, participation in a MAG is an excellent alternative for the average person who is trying to weather a societal storm. In reality, it is important to keep in mind that it is an aspirational ideal. The human factor will be at work, and that is when the problems will begin.

Put another way, to loosely paraphrase a line spoken by King Edward I concerning the Scots and Scotland in Braveheart:  “The problem with a MAG is that it has too many humans in it.”