Most people don’t see the need to prepare. To them, these funny stories about the end of the world (in one form or another) are nothing but a passing amusement, at best, or the ravings of paranoid doomsayers, at worst. Still, though, they have a backup, fool-proof plan, just in case they are wrong. This plan, of course, is to come to your house.
As soon as they hear of any of your preparations, they casually invite themselves over:
“If anything does happen, I know where I’m going…”
They speak as if you’re preparing to carry their burden, too, and as if you’re dedicating your finances and time to taking care of a bunch of people who will show up with empty hands and empty minds.
You remind them. You offer to assist them. You give them lists, ideas, or invite them to courses or to teach them a few skills. This of course is received with polite smiles and nods. Then they go about their happy little lives just as they did before. After all, why should they prepare when you are doing it for them?
Think of all that you have done and everything you have gone without. The frugal living, the cost of stocking, and the endless research and training. You buy property, raise crops, and livestock, or at least learn to do so. To them, you’ve done all of this to make yourself an asset for these people, of course. Your preparations are your peace of mind. Your preparations are their peace of mind, too.
When everything goes south, they will act like the rest of the sheep. They will first attempt to stock up on supplies at the last minute, and then they’ll hide in their houses bleating for help. Once the water and power go out, or their VERY limited supplies dwindle, they will remember their “friends”– the ones with rooms full of food and weapons. Looking down at the tear- and worry-filled eyes of their family members, who are pleading with them to just do something, they will assuage their fears with stories of the promised land– their good friends who will take them in and save them all.
They will come knocking. Oh how happy they’ll be to see you, parading their poor deprived and helpless children in front of you. Their faces will absolutely glow with the relief of having “made it”. The word “friend” will be used quite often. Their eyes may start casting about for a likely place to sleep and a bite to eat.
Of course they’ll admit that they were wrong and that they should have listened to you. They’ll even promise to never let this happen again. They say that once it’s all over they’ll pay you back and you’ll never have to worry about them showing up. I’m sure they’ll talk about how useful they’ll be. Most won’t be able to build a fire, and they’ve already proven they don’t have mentality to survive or ration. You can’t house them, especially if you’re on the move. You can’t equip them. Do you want to arm them? Do you have the extra guns to arm them? Do they know anything about marksmanship or ammo conservation? Once they have a gun, they’ll not likely give it back, and they are going to be in a much stronger position to argue your distribution of food and such.
Now they’ll want to be taught. Do you have the time and supplies to teach them to shoot, hunt, build a fire, and so forth? Be my guest, if you do. Teach his whole family, too. I, for one, know that I won’t, as things are now. Maybe he has selfish, undisciplined, noisy brats, who are picky eaters and throw tantrums all of the time. Maybe you can help raise his kids real fast now that there’s an emergency.
They don’t understand rationing or your planning. They just know that you have what they need, and in their eyes you have plenty of it. If you’ve planned for enough food and water for your family to last until the crops start producing, you can’t afford to double your numbers. Of course they won’t want to hear that. They want to eat and drink now, not later. They need it. You’ll hear stories of how this is all going to blow over soon, so rationing like that won’t be necessary. They thought they could read the future and didn’t prepare, because nothing was ever going to happen, and now they’re reading the future by telling you when the emergency will be over. It’ll be pretty much the same kind of thinking that got them into the situation they are in now, and subsequently, that kind of thinking got you into their situation seeing as how they are standing at your door. Even if you can get them to understand the math, it won’t matter; without it, they are going to die.
Even if you take them in, then what? You’ve taken on a group of people that have no skills and no supplies. Even worse, they are most likely not mentally prepared. These people are now reduced to a labor class. His grateful and thankful demeanor will probably not last once his belly is full and his foreseeable future is secure. Maybe he’s got a gun in his hands now. What are they going to think when you won’t give a gun to them? They’ll be animosity when you’re sleeping in the tent that was a part of your preparations and he’s sleeping on the ground. Women and children need special care, of course. He’ll expect it for HIS women and children. You don’t want them to be cold, do you? There’s going to be talk of fairness, democracy, and his “share”.
His interests and priorities will not change if things get tight. Who do you think he’s going to make sure is fed? He’s going to look out for himself and his family first, just like you would.
These problems will be multiplied, if he shows up with anyone else. He might have an extended family, his neighbors in tow, and anyone else he’s met along the way. He’s led a crowd to your front door. Now you’re dealing with an army or multiple families that come complete with their own priorities and dynamics.
Some people may think they can just take them in temporarily, help them form a plan, and so forth. Do you really think they’re going to leave? The terror and helplessness they felt while listening to their family cry is a powerful motivator. Do you really think they are going to go back to that situation where they have no food, no water, and hordes of lawless criminals roving the countryside? Even if they do go, they won’t make it far, and they will be back shortly with their hands out.
Are you capable of turning them away? If they show up at the door tired and hungry, you may be their last resort. He’s forced you to choose between your family and his. You may have to put a gun in his face to get him moving.
Some people are righteous in calling you selfish in a situation like this. They abhor people that “plan only for themselves”. This is an unrealistic view for most of us. If I’m putting away as much supplies as I can and it still isn’t enough, what am I supposed to do when cutting them in half is going to kill my wife and kids? This is not the old world, it is a new harsher world where people are forced to make hard decisions. (Believe you me, they will be very ready to make hard decisions if you know what I mean.) My family can live for two weeks or all of us can live for two days. Some people think you should commit suicide like this by giving away and sharing everything they can, in hopes that it will all work out and that your combined knowledge and work will just somehow provide for you all.
The conversation may go something like this:
You: You can’t stay here. I don’t have enough food, space, or water to take care of my family and all of you.
Them: You just can’t let us die!
You: You did this to yourself. You’re just going to kill all of us a little slower.
Them: How can you do this to us? I thought we were friends?
You: As a friend, you’re asking me to starve my children?
Them: I never thought you’d could be so cruel and selfish. You have plenty. We just need your help until this blows over.
You: I warned you. I told you so. You refused to prepare. You did nothing. Don’t blame me.
Them: I thought we were friends?!
You: Did I shoot you in the face as soon as you showed up?
You: Then start walking, friend.
If a fight doesn’t break out right there, it’s going to be far from over. They will be back one way or the other. A day later when the criminals are raping his wife while they beat the crap out of him, what bargaining chip do you think he’s going to use hoping for a little mercy? He’ll be spinning tales of the promised land full of food and shelter. He knows just where to go and can lead them right to it. Maybe it won’t even be criminals of that sort. Maybe he’ll mass his own army with those same tales, whipping them into a righteous fury about the rich and selfish bastards that would rather see them all die instead of sharing a little of their wealth. Of course, a little of your wealth actually means all of your wealth.
Even if they don’t kill you, they will descend on your stores of food and supplies like a plague of locusts. You’re as good as dead.
All of us have friends that we think we know. Very few of us have seen them when they are pushed to the extreme and their very survival is on the line. People are just not the same when they are looking towards the end of their life. Gone will be the smiles and good nature. Morals and civility will be replaced with a desperation that has no boundaries and a new-found murderous inclination. When pressed, people will quickly become dangerous. We had all better be prepared to see a very dark side of humanity. People tend to be a lot happier with a full stomach and no worries as to where they are going to sleep. As soon as those things are gone, they become something else entirely. Once they feel that kind of fear and worry, they’ll be far more violent and defensive when you suggest they might end up back in that position.
Let me give you a real world example that happened during the first gulf war:
This involved soldiers, buddies that had trained together, disciplined military fighting men, members of a platoon that were enjoying some “off” time. During this time there was a constant fear of attack with chemical weapons and everyone was supposed to have their gas mask close by, at all times. In an underground bunker with about 150 soldiers in (at the moment) a non-combat situation, someone ran down the stairs and yelled “GAS! GAS! GAS!” This being the military verbal signal for an imminent or occurring chemical attack and the signal to immediately stop breathing and don your mask and other protective gear. This is trained, this is drilled, and this is planned for. Most immediately fell back on their training and initiated this process. As with all large groups of people, you will have someone that isn’t ready, panics, or foolishly thought a threat wasn’t real. (One man couldn’t get the snaps on the mask holder to open.) There were people who couldn’t find, or had strayed too far from, their mask; they didn’t lay down and die. They turned on their “brothers”. Those without masks began ripping them off of the those with masks. Real fights broke out. These were fights that, to the individuals, were considered life and death, and serious injuries were taken on both sides. The fights erupted from willingness to take a life to save their own, a choice of preferring their life over the lives of others. It was a true showing of who and what they were when threatened. What was basically said was, “You have something I need to live. I’m going to take it from you, and I don’t care if it kills you.” If military men, who train to go into battle and risk life and limb, will act like this against the men they call “brother”, what do you think the average person is going to do to you? This is not some isolated incidence with these particular people. I’m fairly certain that if you reversed the people with and without masks at the beginning, the outcome would have been the same. On a side note, there wasn’t a gas attack; it was a false alarm.
Do you think that your prepper buddies or “friends” are above instinct and survival? They may actually be more dangerous than the average person. Anyone that knows you have supplies is going to come for them. If they were well-prepared and for some reason lost everything they had, they’ll come knocking, before they lay down and die. When the hunger sets in and the cold bite of winter is descending on them and their family, you’re the first person they’re going to think of. You can even discuss this very article, and sure enough when the time comes they’ll choose themselves over you, and they won’t be alone when they come.
Everyone is the hero of their own story. Everyone is special and an exception in their own minds as to why you should give, loan, help, and save them. All of them think that because you’re their “friend” that you’re going to take food out of the mouths of your children and give it to them. They all think they are worth something. It is in our nature to think of ourselves in the best light. They will list all of the things they can do. They will honestly not understand why you’re turning down such an asset, and they will be offended. They’ll think that a few supplies (if any) in their backpack equals months of upkeep. They think that their status with you, when all is well, is going to add weight to their begging and pleading. They’ll think that you seeing them crying and starving on your door step is going to earn them some mercy. For some of us, it will. I’m not one of those people. I have a feeling that when I explain this to people, they just don’t get it. They think it won’t apply to them, because they “know where they’re going if it hits the fan…”
The point is to show the desperation of people who are watching their families die.
I’m trying to address the problem of desperate people showing up at our doors, whether friends or otherwise, by picturing myself in their shoes. I’m trying to imagine my “friends” with the true desperation that only comes when they see death as being just a matter of a few hours away. I’m trying to think of my state of mind if I were watching my children dying and the means to save them is behind someone else’s locked door.
“You come trying to take my stuff and you’ll have a fight on your hands.” Yes, I know. Saying this doesn’t prepare us for it. It offers no reflection on the situation. Believe it, that anyone attempting to take what you have isn’t going to be thinking that they’ll waltz in and make a sandwich. It won’t be just a matter of you killing someone or you making hard decisions about survival; they, too, will be just as willing to kill and make hard decisions. Of course, this is the case with me, as well. It goes without saying that we’ll defend our property and families, but it does nothing to help us with what and who we’re going to deal with.
So if I step over to the other side for a second:
I’m a thinking man with military experience. I wouldn’t just knock and then attack when told “no”. My desperation would only cause me to use a tactical mind in that situation, and then stack the deck in my favor to increase my chance of winning. I’d leave and come back after dark. I’d shoot a few people from a distance, first, perhaps. I wouldn’t wait until the last minute when my kids were at death’s door; I might have been scoping your place out for a week. A defensive position can be a horrible thing. I’m a VERY good shot at long range. Can you patrol and protect your acreage? How many sentries can you lose? Even if you had enough sentries, how many would be shot on post without even seeing the shooter before the next guy would refuse to go? Are you going to harvest crops or pump well water with a sniper out there? Have you got a fire team or squad that’s willing to sally forth and flush a sniper? Good luck.
If you could pinpoint my position with reasonable accuracy, and if I didn’t move as soon as I fired, I would just run away as you made much slower progress, taking cover with some kind of advance by fire and maneuver. Hopefully, there’s only one sniper out there, too. He may not have ever taken a shot and is just sitting in a cross position waiting for just such an attempt. Maybe we’ll be doing our own withdraw with covering fire. Hopefully, I don’t have an ambush prepared and I’m not leading you right into it. If you’ve got the ability to button up and never come out, in hopes that I will go away, fine.
I know many ways of making Molotov cocktails, and I know how to make them so that they fire from a shotgun so they will travel far and hit what I want them to hit. Let’s face it though, to know that you had to button up in full lock-down mode, you probably lost at least one person already. Someone dying would have been the notice that it was time to lock down. I wouldn’t have shot the first person that came out; I would have waited until there were a few targets spread out and available. After whoever was left was locked up inside, I’d first see if wreaking havoc on your solar panels, windmill, crops, well, water supply, et cetera would bring out a few more targets. I’d consider raids for livestock, if it were safe, or destroying their feed, if it wasn’t. Then I’d consider setting the building on fire; something edible could probably be salvaged, and if not, there would be no loss on my part. Using hit and move tactics, I could keep several households buttoned up for a long time. Just a quick “knock” on the door with a long range shot would keep heads down for a week. Depending on supplies and position, I might be willing to let a month go by without a sound, just waiting for someone to test the waters.
Imagine that situation: Someone dies, so you all bunch up. A month then goes by without a sound, and the first person to stick their head out gets it taken off. How much time would have to pass before the next person tried it? Hopefully you are prepped to withstand a siege and your preps contain some manner of dealing with a month of human waste and garbage build up, not to mention the high stress.
Once the shooting started, any talk of peace or negotiation would be met with extreme suspicion and likely treachery from my side.
All of that is a little overt. I wouldn’t necessarily go head to head with you. What is more likely is lots trips to scoping it out and then very subtle thefts, which might not go noticed for a long time. I’d disable a piece of equipment, like a well or generator, in some subtle way again and again, randomly, over a long period of time, until it became common place and thought nothing of. “Dang it! The well isn’t working again! I got it this time, I’ll be right back.” What was thought to be a quick fix for a common problem becomes a kidnapping and hostage situation. After the search party is met with gun fire, the negotiations over your loved one can begin. You’d button up safe and sound listening to the torture night after night. See how long it takes you to work out some kind of deal. If it doesn’t, we eat him and start over.
Even without training, people aren’t stupid. All but the most desperate won’t engage in a fight that they have no chance of winning. They’ll think at least a little about it. You’re mostly likely not going to face a charging horde of “Madmax”-style raiders, waving around sharpened stop signs. They probably won’t go charging up your driveway screaming a war cry. They’re going to ambush you or use deception or trickery.
I wouldn’t be alone; I’d recruit people as desperate as myself and promise them food. They would take heart in the security they’d feel from hearing the same things their sheep heads have been filled with all of their lives. I will have learned from our government and politicians. I will know them for what they are: helpless, starving, tired, and scared sheep who are willing to sacrifice their morals, freedoms, and values for the mere promise of food and security. Their fragile unprepared minds will be reeling from the shock of IT hitting the fan, in whatever manner IT hit it. Not only will their minds be blank little slates, they will have been prepared all of their lives to already believe that they should be given anything they think they need, regardless of whether they earned it. I will give speeches about what they DESERVE. I will talk about the greed of those (you) who have while they have not. I will label you RICH and SELFISH. I will hammer their little minds with words like PLENTY and phrases like DOING THE RIGHT THING. I will explain and they will understand that you evil people are willing to let their children die instead of doing just a little sharing. I’ll take the insanely desperate parents with small children– the ones at death’s door– and promise them food, now, for suicidal risky raids and/or attacks. In short, I’d whip them into a righteous murderous fury focused straight at you.
These are the people you will face, and they will be lead by someone with a tactical mind. They will be people willing to throw their lives away for the sake of their own children. They’ll be covered, taught, guided, and backed up by select few that do the long-range shooting and tactical decision making. You will never see my face. I know that mobs like this often turn on themselves, and as long as everyone is fed they’ll stay in line. I’ll forever be ready to fade away. After all, I only need some of what you’ve got before I do it all again. I can be the strong leader full of empty promises they need (and are used to having) in the short term. I’m also perfectly willing to throw them at you as cannon fodder.
Now, how to fix or stop it? It’s either going to be very hard or very easy.
First and foremost, keep your mouth shut. The fewer people that know your preparations the better. No one will forget a bullet-proof house full of food and guns. If you’re like most preppers, you’re a planner and thinker. You’re the kind of person that people are going to come running to, anyway. This, combined with trying to get your friends to prepare, is going to get you a bunch of door knockers, once it hits the fan. Even if everyone you know had no clue you were preparing, you’re the kind of person they’re going to try to team up with to get through it all. Still, silence is golden.
Imagine how many new friends you’d have, if you were to win the lottery. Think of the people that would all of the sudden be a much closer friend if you did; those are the easily identified leeches and problem children. Decide now who your real friends are, not the ones that are fun to have a beer with, but the ones that will never make you chose between them and your family. Decide now if you’ll support them. If the answer is “no”, tell them flat out right now; when the time comes turn them away with stern warnings not to come back. Then, they won’t be as surprised or hearing it for the first time.
A good friend of mine has a 30 day Auguson farm food bucket at my house with a backpack of other things. I store the same at his house. We both consider the supplies at our house as belonging to other person; it is their property. I consider him a true friend and a valuable asset, post SHTF. I wouldn’t turn him away, even if he showed up empty handed. This method ensures that he never will. If for some reason he couldn’t stay at my place, I’d hand him his supplies and wish him luck. Of course, people like this are not ones you have to worry about.
- Develop true friendships, and be the person that can be relied on.
- Be so secret that no one comes knocking.
- Be so remote that no one comes knocking.
- Be such a hard target (or appear to be) that there are easier pickings elsewhere.
- Think about what you would do in their shoes.
Many think that people will lose their humanity in extremely stressful situations. Personally, I think it’s just a darker side of humanity that we had better be prepared to see. In the end, it’s not just going to be the grim and hard decision of shooting someone that will not go away. It’s going to be a fight with another human being who is as interested in surviving as you are.
I know the comments are about to roll about looters and thieves and about how we’re prepared for it. The point of this isn’t to show you how your preps won’t work or how you’ll be overcome. The point is to think of this from another angle– it won’t be a gunfight in a classic movie sense. Those lines like, “Over my dead body”, “I”m prepared for thieves”, “Let them come”, and others like them are words that prepare us for nothing.