There is a collective thought in the minds of Preppers everywhere that goes something like this. We are preparing for disaster by storing up food, water and supplies because we realize that we need to be able to take care of ourselves. We have talked to family and friends to try to illustrate the wisdom in doing this in their own lives, but if SHTF and someone who should have prepped long before now shows up on my door; I will turn them away. I can’t tell you how many prepper blogs have devoted reams of articles to this topic – if not in articles themselves, but the actual comments from readers who all have opinions of their own. I have similar articles on the Prepper Journal as well and to be honest, I have written posts that suggest the necessity of making hard decisions just like this if we are truly faced with some disaster.
We always assume that since we are preparing for the end of the world that our home or our hidden retreat in the woods is going to be the first place our friends and extended family thinks of in times of crisis. If your level of preparedness is common knowledge, we draw the fairly reasonable conclusion that with our full pantry’s and redundant sources of backup power, water filtration capacity, lush gardens, survival weapons and livestock that our preppers paradise will be like a beacon shining brightly in the fog of our worst TEOTWAWKI nightmares.
The logical side of prepping can argue that your supplies aren’t infinite and should be guarded at all cost. We talk about OPSEC so that others do not discover the lengths we have gone to in order to protect our family and realistically, when your first goal is to protect your loved ones, any reduction in that capacity would cause a normal person to object. It is the threat of someone consuming those resources that you didn’t plan for that occupies so much of our mind. We make plans for securing our homes from invasion of the in-laws and outlaws who descend on our homes at the first sign of disaster. We talk about protecting against anyone getting in, but I rarely hear anyone talking about the possibility that some of these people on your side of the door might want to leave.
What if someone wants to get out?
Why would anyone want to leave a home that is stocked with food and water presumably, containing all of the items that people might be scratching to find outside? Who would ever do something like that in a SHTF scenario?
I could think of a couple of reasons. What if your children were older teenagers who had someone they cared about outside? Your 18-year old son’s girlfriend and her injured mother are on your front porch and they are hungry, but you won’t let her in because you don’t have enough food for them. I can see a scenario where your son would leave the safety of your home to be with his girlfriend and ride to her rescue. Is it so hard to believe a naturally rebellious age, facing dark days of TEOTWAWKI alone, would do something rash? Screw you Dad! In their minds, you are the bad guy and they are the hero.
What if your daughter was engaged and the grid collapsed while she was visiting from another state? Do you think it is possible she might not want to stay barricaded in your suburban fortress for possibly forever? Do think there is a chance she would want to try and make her way back to her fiance?What about your spouse? Do you really believe that people will stop leaving one another in a collapse scenario? What if the stress of your leadership style and incessant barking of orders drives them to want to do anything to get away from you? What if your actions in their eyes cause the death of a family member? What if you wake up in the morning and your wife of 20 years has left with a small bag of supplies and the children because they simply couldn’t take living with you anymore? What if they simply give up and would rather face death than what you have warned them is ahead? Do you think marriage will be less stressful after the SHTF?
Your friends who you started this MAG with have known how horrible life could be after SHTF, but tensions have escalated due to the highly stressful environment and cramped living quarters. One day after a shouting match, you get into a fist fight with your old buddy. Maybe they have decided to join another family across town. You don’t kill them, do you? You would have to let them go.
How realistic is any of this?
I know that some of you are already getting ready to type up comments to the effect of: Once they are in our group, they can’t leave because they would compromise the security for everyone else. That sounds all well and good, but how many of you are seriously going to be killing your friends and family members? How many of you will run your survival home like a prison barring any access to outside? Do you seriously believe that you will be able to stop anyone and everyone from leaving if they had set their mind to it? Do you not think that in a worst case scenario, you could be killed just as easily if you came between a desperate person and their will to leave – to live life on their terms?
As a prepper, I have an ideal scenario in my head and yes I know that sounds absurd. I believe that I will be able to protect and defend my family against most threats and even though life will be hard, it will be survivable in most cases. I do have to face reality though and understand that my personal wishes may have to change sometimes. At the very least, my ideal scenario might not work out the way I want it to. I may have some incredibly tactical prepper plan I am ready to implement and my wife might refuse for any one of hundreds of reasons. Would I shoot her for disrespecting my authority? Would I threaten to leave her? Would I lock her in the house if she was determined to leave? Would I tie her up for failing to obey my orders? Absolutely not. The point is; I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t believe any of us do.
We might have ideas and plans and schemes, but you will have to bend. Flexibility is going to be just as important as skill, luck and grace I think. The better you are able to roll with the punches and adapt to situations, the more prepared you will be and by extension, the better your chances of survival. Now, I do seriously advocate having a plan and a framework for what you intend to do, but this shouldn’t be set in concrete. Setting out to be inflexible in all things could lead to your death more quickly than planning for changes you might not want or expect.
Your turn. Have any of you thought about the chance of someone leaving during a SHTF event?
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Contributed by Pat Henry of The Prepper Journal.