Risky people to have around in a crisis


I’m obliged to Herschel Smith for embedding this video on his blog a couple of days ago.  I’ll put it up first (it’s less than 5 minutes long), then talk a little about it.

Herschel comments:

I wouldn’t embed this video except that I have actually talked to people like this.  Yes, to someone who told me he was arming himself (and even minimizing ammunition purchases) but planned to take what ammunition he had and steal ammo and food from other people.

Like him, I’ve also met people who openly talk in such terms.  They’ve spent thousands of dollars on their guns, accessories, ammo and the like, but very little on everyday necessities that will be in short supply if (when) trouble comes.  They consider themselves well prepared for emergencies, but in reality they’re only prepared to rob those who have prepared well for emergencies.

Bear in mind, too, that this is a very likely official response in an emergency.  I’ve seen it time and time again in real life in the Third World, and there’s plenty of history of it in the First World too.  In a crisis, the authorities mostly won’t have reserve supplies to feed people, but they’ll be under pressure by a huge number of folks demanding that they “do something!”  There’s not much they can do, except take whatever supplies they can find from those who have them, under cover of a proclamation of a state of emergency.  If you check your state’s and town’s laws and statutes, you’ll almost certainly find legal authorization for such proclamations, including the right for the authorities to take whatever they need from anywhere or anyone to deal with the emergency.  It’s standard legal boilerplate, and it’s ubiquitous.  (Look at the official seizure of firearms in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and how the authorities confiscated whatever they needed from those who had it – including cops looting stores right alongside “regular” looters.  Learn from that example.  If it happened there, it can happen where you are, too.)

If things go to hell in a handbasket, expect official proclamations forbidding “hoarding”, and demanding that those who have, share with those who have not.  When the nice policemen come door to door, demanding to search your property (without a warrant) and confiscate half or more of your supplies to feed those who don’t have them, they won’t take “No” for an answer.  They’ll have their orders.  They’ll also have their own families that need food;  and their bosses (political and/or law enforcement) will have made it clear to them that if they don’t produce the goods from the community, they and their families won’t eat either.  If you try to stop them, you’ll be lucky to escape with an arrest and a beating.  In a Third World nation, you’ll likely eat a bullet or three if you’re so stupid.

That’s why it’s best not to tell strangers or casual acquaintances that you have an emergency reserve stash of food and other necessities.  That’s also why it’s best to break up your stash into an “on hand” supply, and another somewhere else, that you can access if your primary stash is raided by the authorities or stolen by those who haven’t prepared themselves.  I wouldn’t keep large quantities in a storage unit, though – that’s going to be on the authorities’ list of places to raid, and a primary target for looters.  Rather find a friend who lives some distance away, and leave some supplies with them.  Work together to help each other, and conceal what you have.  If you can’t find a suitable remote location, conceal some of your supplies in a different location in your home or yard.

At the very least, pack some emergency supplies in boxes or totes that don’t have any indication what’s inside.  If the supplies are heavy – e.g. canned food – use smaller boxes or totes, so you can still lift them when they’re full.  Number them, and have a list (kept well away from prying eyes) that tells you what’s in Box 3 or Tote 7.  If they’re underneath other boxes filled with regular stuff, or stuck on a garage shelf behind a half-used can or two of motor oil, those searching in a hurry likely won’t waste too much time on them, particularly if they’ve already taken some of your stash from your ready-use pantry.  Be willing to lose some to keep some, if you follow me.  (I caution against storing heavy boxes on the rafters in your attic, where they might crack or even fall through the [usually not very strong] ceiling if they’re dislodged or dropped.  Others have learned this the hard way.)

There are those who say you should bury a cache outside town, where only you will find it.  That’ll work, if you can bury (and later retrieve) it without being seen.  If others see you burying something, those with curious minds might just dig it up to see what it is.  Also, remember you’ll need fuel and transport to get there and back in an emergency.  If a curfew is declared, or you can’t find gas for your car, or the roads are blocked with rubble and wreckage (e.g. after a tornado), fuggetaboutit.  Also, while driving back with your vehicle visibly filled with interesting-looking supplies, those who don’t have any are likely to take an unhealthy interest in you, and possibly the authorities too.  Just sayin’…

Don’t let that deter you from preparing;  but keep it discreet, be prepared to defend what you have in an emergency, and give some thought to how you’re going to use it when things go pear-shaped.  Running a (noisy) generator to power lights and air-conditioning in your home when everyone else is in the dark and sweating or freezing, or grilling steaks over coals in your yard when everyone else is hungry and can smell the cooking meat . . . that’s not a real good idea.

If grasshoppers think that an ant has food, they’ll come a-running.  If some of those grasshoppers are well-armed individuals who think they can take what they need from you, as discussed in the video above, you’d best have some means on hand to deter them – or stop them the hard way.



  1. Not easily searchable places, like behind the fireplace (often in modern houses, there's a huge space around and behind the actual firebox) or back in crawlspaces are good locations to stash a stash or two.

    And… sorry for you neatnicks out there, but a messy hoarderish room or two will stop a searcher or searchers.

    Then there's the inside of box springs.

    Time to think like a criminal.

  2. tl;dr Practice deception not secret security.

    Remaining silent is a tell. Staying mum can be construed as a desire to hide something of great value. A lack of communication or avoidance of behaviors which would normally be expected creates a void of information. So too does being vague or semi-secretive.

    Therefore, specific positive communications and behavior can be purposed to deceive.

    I rather put it all on the table. Not actively but passively secretive in the art of deception. We see this in the natural world; the coloration of a butterfly's wings to mimic a larger animal or the defensive posturing of small animals. It is 'hiding in plain sight'.

    Rather than leave a void of information which creates unwanted interest, positively act to control the flow of information. This is a method purposefully designed to satisfy others in their desire for information.

    A characteristic of human behavior is constant inquiry. Having chosen to be secretive, you'll have to always be on guard.
    Choosing deceit, you may relax (reduce your effoets) from time to time.

  3. I used to know a guy who said this was exactly what he planned to do and had no issue with the morality or legality of it. He's long since deceased not but knowing him completely reshaped my levels of information shared with anyone. Not even with my extended family. All I'll do now is suggest people keep extra food, water, batteries, first aid, and medicines on hand. If asked I'll suggest a pump shotgun and handgun. If they're a rifle shooter I do the same. But everyone who asks what I have gets the same reply… I sold everything to pay off bills. Bottom line. Don't post pics of your gear and firearms, don't show them off to friends, and never tell anyone if you've purchased anything recently. It kind of sucks because you might be proud of that new… whatever but bragging gets the word out.

  4. I think it was Edgar Allen Poe who wrote of the barking dogs in a town.

    The theives thought they would be undiscovered; after all, there was the incessant barking of the dogs. They were wrong.

    One by one by one, until every dog became silent. In this way were the townspeople alerted and the thieves caught. Talk about deception!

    What is, what look like, not same.

  5. Eaton Rapids Joe wrote a short story which featured this subject. I believe it is his most recent serialized short story.

  6. There are three ways to lose some, or all, of your stored goods.

    One would be theft, either by direct robbery, or burglary while you are away from your place.
    Second would be confiscation by the local, county, state, or federal officials.
    Third would be pressure by family or neighbors to share, since they weren't able to, or couldn't be bothered, to stock up.

    Which would be more likely may vary by the day, depending on how long the disaster lasts, and how widespread it is, and where you are, and other factors.

    Basically don't talk about it, hide as much as is feasible, and try to set up a location away from big cities.

    I would expect the most likely problem is some level of government deciding to steal everything "for the common good", which means the bureaucrats get first choice of your stash. Frankly, I think that if you don't have enough people involved to make them stay away for their own continued ability to consume oxygen, you have a major problem. If the .gov remains cohesive to any real extent, you're toast. "might makes right" is what it devolves to. Not a happy thought. The more remote you are, the better.

    For those who think that you can just give them 'some" of your stores, guess again. They will take it ALL, and tell you to get in line every day to maybe get back a small portion of what you had stored. Bear in mind that if they find ANY unusual amount of stored goods, you will be noted as a hoarder, and they will come back to look for more after grabbing everyone's ready pantry goods. You do NOT want them to find ANY store of goods, beyond the typical kitchen pantry amount.

    One of the things that people overlook is that .gov has a history of "temporarily" borrowing useful vehicles during emergencies. Got a 4×4 truck, or other somewhat rare items, like generators, or fuel? Think they won't bother you if you are driving it/using it? Guess again. Remember the mantra: for the common good.

  7. If you have a garage, clean it out enough that you can pull in and close the door before unloading.

    Otherwise, use bins or boxes that hold your supplies. Faceless bins are much less suspicious than bags from Walmart or Bass-Pro or Cabelas.

    As to how to keep the government from seizing your 4×4, disable it. Same with the generator and other stuff that is visible. Disable them in a way you can easily fix (like dead battery and a hidden kill switch) and isn't easy to find by mechanically inept people.

    And go find the article about how to survive that was written by a Bosnian War survivor. And then go hug your binky. Because very few of us are ready for that level of poopness.

  8. I'm not bragging about my prep on social media anymore. As a natural empath, it's going to be tough telling my family and friends that they should've planned ahead.

  9. If you have a smartphone, it is an ear of the Stasi.

    If you have a computer, it's at serious risk of being an ear of the Stasi, and if you're logging onto the internet with that computer, that can be detected unless you're seriously adroit.

    What does this mean for keeping your stash secret? It means that, after things hit the fan and the authorities are searching for people to loot, you probably shouldn't have conversations about your stash unless your smartphone is both turned off and in some kind of Faraday cage. Nor should you have conversations about your stash if you computer is turned on. Nor should you *log* onto the internet unless you feel very confident that your logging into the internet won't be used to track you down as a kulak. This probably doesn't matter as long as your neighborhood has maintained generally available electric power and internet connections; but if it hasn't, and you use power from your home generator to go websurfing, you may be marking yourselves to the authorities as somebody worth looting.

    If you want to stay out of the clutches of the State, remember that this is no longer 1997, when "information wants to be free". The State uses computers and smartphones as ways to spy on its enemies. Act accordingly.

  10. Hiding one's stuff is one path, but there is a simpler solution to this:

    Kill them.

    I am in complete agreement with the First Rule of Prep Club, but should conditions deteriorate sufficiently being in or not being in Prep Club will be of little consequence, the unprepared and desperate will seek relief from anyone and everyone, anywhere and everywhere.

    Those who deliberately plan to take violent advantage to rectify their lack of preparedness constitute a direct and immediate threat to life and safety, be they unprepared individual or armed government agents.

    They may, or may not, impose lethal violence upon you at the moment of confiscation but their confiscation poses no less a lethal threat; death will just happen more slowly, over a longer period as the supplies you carefully, and expensively, accumulated to prevent your, and your family's, demise are denied to you.

  11. Scrivener, in declared war or 'military action' there exist rules. When it becomes a free for all, the only rule is might makes right.

    A stack of bodies, besides becoming disease vectors, in proximity your compound indicates there is something of value and people with means to protect. This piques interest like nothing else.

    Either you send teams to 'redistribute' the bodies or you implement hunter/killer teams to eliminate the threat elsewhere. Now you're a warlord. As such you have become a threat to others especially those who aspire to be bigger and badder.

    Secrecy and deception are your only real weapons. And where are your replenishments? You dontd have enough bullets and layers of defense need to be patrolled.

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