Scene from Mad Max II (courtesy cinemasquid.com)

Over on TTAG’s ever-popular Facebook page, reader Paul Goodman Heinrich [not shown] wants to know how The People of the Gun will ming in the event of a societal collapse. “In the event of an anarchy, post apocalyptic, or most probable zombie world; do you believe that the gun owner community would really fight each other? Do you think you would really have to defend yourself against the guy that goes to the same range you do? The law abiding citizen that shares your same values? Or do you believe that gun owners and families would more than likely team-up and create their own little government? Who do you have to be afraid of another fellow gun owner? Or the person that has none?”

168 Responses to Question of the Day: Fellow Gun Owners – Friend or Foe When the S Hits the F?

  1. In a case such as this, a la “The Walking Dead” or whatever, I would rather keep my friends much closer than my enemies. And in a post-apocalyptic world, I’d imagine it’s pretty darn difficult to make new friends.

    I would be wary of just about everyone I don’t already consider a close family or close friend (i.e. about 0.1% of my Facebook friend list).

    • Trustworthy close friends and trustworthy close relatives (being very specific here) would team-up and stay close. Others would be kept at a distance, and/or encouraged to “move on” to other areas. You’d have to assume all other folks (passerby as well as residents of the area) had access to firearms, even if the guns were not visible, which makes a long standoff distance absolutely critical, along with basic cover/concealment protections for normal outside movement. I’d also think that warning signs would be important, and immediate action for violations of boundaries would be required to maintain these boundaries. If you let folks get in too close, the bad guys can just burn you out. Distance is time, and time allows for decisions and/or action/reaction.

      Standoff distance is King, in these scenarios; lots of accurate rifles available, and not everyone will want to move along…

      • “Standoff distance is King” is a VERY important truth. I see many people buying retreat homes located within 100 feet or less of a busy road. A quarter mile private driveway with the house not visible to the main thoroughfare is the ideal situation. Our retreat property has metal targets at the outside edges of our yard and open field areas, clearly marked as being 500 and 1000 yards respectively. The targets are well fired upon by us for practice and as a warning to trespassers. They get across the point of, “Standoff” or else. Even our UPS guy phones us as he comes in the lower gates. Brum

        • Love the idea of well-used steel targets hanging near avenues of approach. Sends a special message all by itself. If I can ever afford a rural hideaway, I’ll be borrowing that idea, thank you very much…

    • Either Way…

      Perfect reason to have a gun. Keep your gun for the end of America so that you have a vote (as the founders of this great Nation intended) in what comes next.

      There is only one precious metal, and it comes bored and chambered in your favorite caliber. Gold takes a poor edge and makes a lousy shovel.

      As long as we agree to follow the 4 safety rules – ARM-UP!!!

    • +1.
      Same answer we have to patiently explain to fearful FakeBook Mommies.
      Its not about the tool, its about the user.

      After the 9+ richter scale earthquakes in Chile, residents in semi-affluent suburbs blocked off cul-de-sacs to keep roving looters out. In Katrina, some folks helped their neighbors, some did not, or took their guns.

      Its all about your network…me, I’d be looking for watchstanders already equipped, trained, w/ ammo.

    • +2

      Owning guns or not owning guns says nothing about a person’s character. It’s the same as owning just about anything that that has high rates of ownership.

      And let’s face it – shooting isn’t rocket science. I could train a kid to shoot better in a couple weeks than most people I see at the range.

  2. An armed society would continue to be a polite society, in my opinion.

    The only people desperate enough to not want the rule of law would already be all out of ammo. I do love the mad max franchise.

    • I would agree that a WELL armed society would be polite to each other. Its the poorly armed society that I would be worried about. The unarmed people or the people that only have grandpas revolver would quickly turn hostile and do anything to increase their chances of survival.

    • Matt, that may apply in Idaho, but Chicagoland has a well armed society of a–hole intercity scumbags that are never polite. There are major differences in an armed man who chooses to live in rural Idaho verses an armed street thug who chooses Chicago, or Detroit… or the New Detroit called Atlanta. By conscious choice those two men are worlds apart in character, and that is where the issue lies. Brum

  3. I think it would mostly boil down to groups of lawful gun owners(most who post here, ex leo and mil) vs. “Thugs”(street gangs, nation of Islam, cultists etc). Kinda like the stand the good will gravitate one way and the bad another.

      • They will gather together for moral support, and speak in nasty tones about those evil gun owners.

        And die waiting for the .GOV to bring food and restore order.

        In places where functioning law enforcement or military remain active (some cities and suburbs, perhaps), these groups might be dangerous, as they could possibly convince authorities that food/water/weapon resources stored in advance by forward-thinking preppers should be impounded “for the good of the people”.

        • “……. for the good of the children.” would probably be more likely the speech given.

        • Absolutely. In a post-whatever world, people will form communities. In the communities that survive, every member will be thrown into the work according to their skills. If they do not have the skills important to the survival of the group, they will become laborers. Me personally, I would arrest those who had a part in creating this post-whatever or propped the tyranny that preceded it, for I think it is immoral for society to let these bastards get away with what they did.

        • NO thank you. My ancestors brought slaves over here and look where it has gotten us. I’ll do my own plowing, thank you. Brum

      • How long will Bloomburg’s security detail stick around when his billions are worth nothing?

        Can’t eat gold.

    • Mentioning “nation of Islam” as Thugs is a well preconceived thinking. What would happen if one would say “Nation of Christians”, or “Nation of Jews”… does it sound right to you? Often the real enemy is not who we think it is. So instead, I’d rather put in the “Thugs” category all kind of Extremists (so that includes Islamic Extremists).

      Having been in the military for 7 years, I’ve been with all type of person, from any race, religion, genre, ideology, etc… with no distinction at all. I think this is something that will stick with me.

      My 2¢

      • Phil-
        Just FYI, the comment about “Nation of Islam” likely referred to the small Black-Muslim nationalist sect led by Louis Farrakhan in the US. It is a rigid, cult-like outfit that believes that whites are “devils.” At least that ‘s what they have believed in the past. I don’t believe the comment was a blanket statement about all who practice Islam.

        • Oh OK… My bad, I apologise then!

          I wasn’t aware of this extremist group name so I wrongly read it as a general statement (since we can’t deny it’s also a common trend of thinking since 9/11). But here, it’s just a proof that sometimes words, even well formulated, could be tricky and source of misunderstanding. And in that case, I’m the stupid dumb one!

          Again, my apologises to JSIII

  4. Funny, was having this same conversation yesterday.

    Answer: it depends. Some will go ‘every man for themselves’ and some will band together with their fellow firearm owners.

    The trick is to develop those strong relationships before-hand and have some incentive for folks to follow through on their commitments, if and when it actually does HTF. (ie – you retain something to ‘offer’ to the ‘community’ )

    The conversation I was having was in regards to the mountains in PA. They already fight each other now (for who ‘owns’ what is actually public land), so the assumption is that they would continue to do so, and if any city folk or suburban-ites think they are going to just ‘flee to the mountains’ with their Eddie Bauer Camo and their Tavor, they best re-think that notion.

    • Read the book “One Second After”.
      Seems like some well thought out assumptions, and a logical story line based on them.

      • Think we’re in the same crew, rlc2. I’ve read excerpts, but am going to buy the book. I’m working on building my ‘network’ now, just in case. Because if it ever does actually hit it, then it’s too late – if you don’t already have friends. Wandering around lone wolf is a quick way to get dead, and is a fool’s vision. The question then becomes, are your friends still your friends after the SHTF. Probably best to hedge your bet and make sure you have something to offer….

        • I definitely agree with the “Lone wolf=suicide” thing. An old friend of mine said his plan was to “go it alone” through the woods for about 30 miles, until he gets to a meeting location. I asked him what he would do if he (for example) were to break his ankle. His response was “Nothing” and yet he still ardently sticks to his “stratagey”. He said I couldn’t tag along even if I brought several month’s supplies, several guns, and ammo… His loss really

      • Good book. Very probable story line that gets a guy thinking.
        I’m glad I don’t live in a big city. Or too near one. I don’t have neighbors like me, so it wight be odd.
        I’d worry more about the chubby people down the street who always have pizza delivered.

        • Ok, I just broke down and ordered it from Amazon. thanks for the reminder, gents.

          and yeah, wouldn’t be too long before those pizza folks got hungry….. and people get real crazy when they get real hungry.

        • Good book but only partially true. One of the many issues I worked in the final years of my career was EMP. The effects of EMP on specific devices depends on a lot things. Cars are made up of metal and non-conductive glass, if the windows are up then EMP will zero effect. It also depends on polarity. I have test resutls of two vehicles postions perpendicular to each other and one had its ignition fried and the other didn’t If your vehicle is in a steel framed structure EMP will have no effect. Small electronic devies that are on battery will not be effected because wavelength of pulse is to long. Some transformers will blow, some will shut down and other will be uneffected. The biggest threat is to the electrical grid from very long wave pulses. So, while One Second After is an interesting apocolypse story it is not what would happen if someone lobbed a generic nuke up at the right altitude. Now, a Carrington event is something else.

        • tdiinva, one of the problems with EMP is the level of unknowns. What has been studied, has only been studied at certain levels of EMP power, and in many cases, only with old technology.

          The biggest danger with EMP it twofold, IMO; first, that we think we “know” what it will affect, and how bad, based on these old tests and observations. New tech has not been tested under real-world conditions, and most of the info in this area is just projections and assumptions. EMP-producing weapons can be upgraded to enhance EMP effects, and we really have no idea how more energetic EMP weapons will affect most of our stuff.

          Second, the response/repair time to a major EMP attack is simply not realistic, in my opinion. You constantly see references to how long it took to come back from a nasty hurricane or other localized natural disaster, without any acknowledgement that much of the help came from unaffected or little-affected areas. In a nationwide or world-wide EMP/solar-flare-CME event, there won’t BE any unaffected areas to help the affected areas. Repair personnel won’t leave their families to go fix the problems without knowing that their families are protected, and no one will be in any position to guarantee protection for those families. So, either the repairs will not take place at all (initially), or will take much, MUCH longer.

        • Only certain advanced nuclear nations can produce specialized EMP weapons. No such nation would employ such a weapon independent from a coordinated nuclear attack so the EMP would be the least of our worries. EMP may bring down the civilian infrastructure but the missiles and bombers are still going to launch.

          There are more recent tests on EMP phenomena then you think. Most results are classified. I have seen the results of some of these tests. As I said EMP is not all hype and is not the end of the world as we know it either.

        • “Only certain advanced nuclear nations can produce specialized EMP weapons right now.” There, I fixed it for you.

          The list will get longer; it always does. Once the Genie is known to exist, there is no stuffing it back into the bottle.

          The missiles and bombers matter not one whit to non-state actors, or those who are beyond reason due to desperation or religious motives.

          And a nuclear blast on the edge of space leaves little evidence to track back to the supplier of the device, opening up options for a state to provide a non-state group with an advanced-yet-nearly-untraceable-post-detonation device.

        • tdiinva,

          What wavelengths/frequencies do we expect an EMP to produce with significant energy levels?

        • My only sources are classifed beyond the level of this blog. There may be some open source material available but I am not famiiar with it.

    • No kidding about the PA mountains thing. If some EOTWAWKI scenario happens you can bet there will be guys with guns holding places like Wagner’s Gap and Swatara Gap. Let the city folks sort things out for themselves.

      • You nailed it, Buzzy. The joke amongst the ‘pineswampers’ is that the suburban-ites and city folk will be their ‘supply train’. I’m actually in the far suburbs right now, for full disclosure, but have peeps who are prepared in Lancaster – and a network all the way out to central PA. I also have no illusions, so would not be blind-sided or naive to what that new reality would really mean.

        • Oh, central PA. I laugh when people talk about the “over populated” North East…

          I wish I still lived there, but I’m stuck in the Midwest for now.

    • got a camp near ohioplye, no way i’m going there if shtf. heck I walked on to the game lands near my camp and got yelled at by the neighbor like he owned it. even once he knew I had a camp 200 yrds away, that my family built before he even bought his property, he still was a grouch. “well, there’s been a bunch of vandalism around here” “really, nobody touched my camp are you sure your not just an ahole” lol yeah, im going to the other family’s camp to hunker down with close family and friends.

      • Yep, pretty much the same experience here. Amazing how territorial people get over ‘public’ land that they really deem is theirs. Especially over hunting (which was what started the conversation).

  5. based on the kind of people who own guns and the common values we hold , friends.

    hopefully we will never have to find out.

  6. Sticking to civilized behavior is the way to go- defend yourself, don’t go looking for trouble, keep your word. Eventually, the neighbors will be glad you’re around instead of someone else.

    If you go raider, what will eventually happen is the neighbors will decide you’re a threat (because you are) and hunt you down.

    • ^That’s the best answer I think I’ve seen so far.

      Nothing about owning a gun implies that you are a good person. I know a lot of people that own Bibles that I wouldn’t trust. It’s all about who the person is and what they do. In a post-apocalyptic/fall of civilization, world I’d be wary of anyone, more so if they have a firearm. I’d hope for the best, but prepare for the worst when dealing with anyone I don’t know.

      I’d do as you said, keep my nose clean, defend my self if necessary, deal kindly with strangers (as kindly as I can be in a given situation), and hopefully prove me and mine are trustworthy to what ever neighbors I have.

      In an TEotWAWKI scenario, Trust is the most valuable form of currency.

  7. There seems to be a fundamental difference between gun owners and non gun owners. Gunnies are generally good at actually doing stuff – building, maintaining, changing the oil in the car, gardening, using tools, and generally being good scouts.

    The aggressively non gun owning folks seem to be clueless. They’re the people you see at the convenience store trying to buy toilet paper when the hurricane starts… and trusting to the good nature of criminals not to do them harm.

    Best example is New Orleans after Katrina. Neighborhoods where the gunnies banded together seemed to do fine – they evacuated in time: or, if they stayed, kept looters out; kept homes safe; and rode out the worst when civilization broke down. Non gun owners stayed too long with no plan in place, evacuated to the Superdome, and tried to float out their last six pack on broken pieces of Styrofoam.

    I’ll stick with my gun owning friends!

  8. I suspect that you wold find serious gun owners tend to be prepared. They own guns for protection, not because they are scared, but because they are a part of being prepared, like having some emergency cash, food, and water on hand.
    I would be curious as to what percentage of gun owners also have a fire extinguisher compared to the general population.
    Legal gun owners of course.

  9. Well once the politicians and lawyers are gone…..and the party winds done…..I guess we have to fix what the first two groups destroyed.

  10. Owning a gun makes you neither good nor bad, friend nor foe. If someone decides to be my foe I’d prefer they not have a gun. Way better than that would be if they turned one block earlier or one block later.

    As a whole I believe people are good, so the more people that are armed the more likely it is that the bad guys will be dealt with before they get to me.

  11. The problem with the question as asked is that it’s making a monumentally flawed assumption: that all gun owners are one big monolithic block of Good Guys.

    There are lots of people who happen to own a gun that I wouldn’t want to run into today, much less after a society-killing apocalypse.

    • +1 A “bad guy” with a gun is a gun owner (maybe even a legal one), too. A tool doesn’t determine your ethics or morals.

    • Totally agree. In an emergency scenario, a pretty Noveske rifle isn’t going to be proof of your good intentions. The only people I’m trusting with guns are me, my family, and my close friends.

  12. Question makes about as much sense as asking if fellow toaster oven owners would band together. Certain values may be shared across much of the gun owning community, but as has been pointed out here many, many times, gun owners come from all sorts of backgrounds, with all sorts of belief systems, and aren’t much more likely to get along than any other random collection of people.

    • Check six….you will be the easy burgers…self-delivered to my door…;)

      WHAT!!! Eww, no not for ME!!!

      The dogs all gotta eat, ya know, and the kibble is for later when the raw meat runs out…

  13. I’d stay close with my friends, Most of whom ARE gun owners. But that doesn’t mean I’d be more or less likely to be friends or enemies with other gun owners. Individuals are just that; “individuals”.

  14. People in the cities where gun ownership is fairly rare but multi culturalism ie multi-tribalism is the norm will be the worst. In the country where gun ownership is more common and where a sense of community is greater will pull together more and work together as they do after a natural disaster.

    • I can see rural areas pulling together much better than the multi-cultural big cities. Look at the Palm Sunday tornado that hit Berne versus the black out the hit NYC. Berne remained orderly with people helping each other while mass riots occurred in the Big Apple.

    • I like Bill’s book, and have been thinking about how to translate the lessons for my suburb. I have a number of neighbors who are ex-military and seem like good people, but are not currenly firearms owners. I think the chances of survival are better with a group of 5 or 6 families cooperating – if nothing else child-minding duties can be pooled to spare folks for piquet duty. Also, because of the water table, my house can’t have a basement, but the houses on the other side of the road can, which could be useful.

      So is it up to me to arm these folks? I certainly could, at least some of them – I mean, the wife and I can only carry so much at one time. But how much to you really trust folks? We’ve only lived here 3 years – these are not lifelong friends.

  15. “Or do you believe that gun owners and families would more than likely team-up and create their own little government?” Yep. Me and the neighbors and the rest of the folks here in small-town Idaho are not going to go all mutant zombie biker. For a really good take on what will happen in a societal crash (everywhere except Democrat-run large cities) go to this blog: http://www.raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2014/07/mutant-zombie-bikers.html

    A few pertinent excerpts that I agree with:
    “… for those who choose the mutant zombie biker route under those circumstances. … A convoy of them coming down the road like some sci-fi Hell’s Angels is far more likely to fare about as well as the British march from Concord Bridge back to Boston than it is to openly ride roughshod over the plains like the riders of Genghis Khan. If you want to know how that tactic works, look up the James Gang’s raid on Northfield MN. Note the box score.”

    “The people on Flight 93 are a typical guide to the reaction – and the OODA loop timeframe – once the average American realizes the rules are changed. About an hour, on average. With butter knives and kitchen implements, if necessary. As the new normal is where our nation lived for nearly 300 years, it won’t be a particularly difficult or strange transition to make, except for the people on the wrong side of “Let’s Roll”, and who are almost universally completely and utterly ignorant of both history and human nature.”

    “My counsel is to stop looking at examples from Bosnia or Mogadischu, let alone Road Warrior or The Walking Dead unless you want to know how Bosnians, Somalis, or Hollywood screenwriters react to societal disruption. If you dropped Topeka or Spokane into any of those places, there would be a militia, posses, a big wave of hangings, and shortly afterwards a thriving city-state, probably inclined to start conquering the savages nearby and exerting their influence in ever-widening ripples, because that’s how we roll, going back to at least 1603. We can count the number of times savages have gotten the better of this society on our fingers, and if we knock out the Lost Roanoke Colony and Custer at the Little Bighorn, you could probably do it on your thumbs.”

    And we rural/small town conservatives will have a very abrupt approach to dealing with any survivors from the big leftist cities who think they will be able to “take over” small towns. My county has a population that is 30% military veterans. My state has an active and effective Army and Air Force National Guard, who are our neighbors and fellow veterans. Don’t tread on us.

      • Not too bad – we’ve gotten a few T-storms, and the snowpack runoff wasn’t too bad this spring. So far, none of the local wells are having issues. The local alfalfa farmers just finished their 3rd cutting, and it looks like they may get a 4th. (Unless we get a September snowstorm.)

    • Ha! Spokane! We’d kick ass. We will gladly feed every frickin’ Seattleite their Birkenstocks when they step onto the Columbia Plateau. Appropriating Douglas Adams: “A bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.”

    • Yo, Pete. This is my third read of this thread and I finally got around to your post. Thanks for the link. Red-necks rule!

  16. What will you bring to the table? Willing to give, share, trade to those who were good neighbors, prior to the Apocalypse? With my neighbors, would tear down my south fence, to reinforce my north fence.

    Aside from your occupation, what skill-set/s can you bring to the new world order? Have enough tools, steel and welding equipment to make my own “Mad-Max Mobile” if necessary, to get those I care about (some neighbors included) the hell outta Dodge. Never less than 3/4ths full, and a short drive away from the rabble. In this case, it is FOR THE CHILDREN.

  17. In MA, we don’t have cataclysmic weather events or major earthquakes, all the zombies are in the state legislature and the Ebola patients seem incapable of launching well-coordinated offensive operations. So, I don’t expect to see a SHTF situation where people will have to band together to survive. But if I’m wrong about that, I note that I have enough guns and ammo for all my neighbors and I will share.

    • Any region of America or the world can have shtf situations occur in an instant. Some of the situations can even be man made. Anyone lived in Korea town during the Rodney King riots experienced a major man made shtf situation.

    • You folks didn’t get hit with hurricane Sandy? I thought the whole northeast from North Carolina to Maine got a healthy dose of “Holy Crap” from that storm.

      • Loved the book.

        “The story details a comet impacting on Earth, an end to civilization, and the battle for the future. It encompasses the discovery of the comet, the Los Angeles social scene, and a cast of diverse characters whom fate seems to smile upon and allow to survive the massive cataclysm and the resulting tsunamis, plagues, famines, and battles among scavengers and cannibals”

  18. I often contemplate this.

    I see two reasons why: yes, previously ‘friendly’ gun owners will end up on other sides of this theoretical post-apocalyptic world.

    Regional/territorial alignment. I’ll reference CBS nuclear apocalypse drama, Jericho here. Your town/county verses the town/county down the way. When push comes to shove and both sides decide they are right (in a debate over land, food, water, etc), the ‘good old days’ are long gone. It’s not one side is right or wrong, or that one side are ‘bad guys’; this is the nature of conflict. You stick with who you know and I doubt there will be many gun toting humanitarians throwing themselves like a Disney Pocahontas between the sides asking for civility.

    Ideological/tribal differences. One of the major concerns I have seen, is how quickly people tend to band together with ‘their own kind’ when the chips are down. Racial, ideological, and religious differences get exaggerated and tolerance goes out the window. If you can blame (in your own mind or on paper) another group for the woes you are experiencing, this can go from jingoism to ‘ethnic cleansing’ rapidly. This has been demonstrated time and again, when the chips go down, people fragment, band with their own kind and blame the ‘others’ for their plight, regardless if it is a modern Western country or a fragmented post-colonial African nation-state.

    This is a human reaction to suffering. People tend to be peaceful when the bottom tiers of their Maslow’s hierarchy is met. People, of every race, religion, and creed have the potential to be violent when these are in danger. Often, no one side is better or worse than the other. There is often a justification of “this is what we have to do”, or “’they’ started it”.

    Being a person of the gun doesn’t make one holy or righteous, any more than the inverse. Is these doomsday scenarios, many people that would have been fine on the range, or sharing a cup of overpriced coffee the day before, will be meting out violence on each other and will feel justified doing so. Some of them may be right, some of them may be wrong. That’s largely irrelevant.

  19. It all boils down to what the other gun owners DON’T have. If all they have are guns and ammunition, they’re no better than the average progressive / liberal idiot with a walking stick for a weapon. After three days he’s coming for YOUR food. It’s as simple as that.

    The problem isn’t who owns guns. The problem is WHO DOESN’T OWN FOOD (lots of it.)

    • Hmm, pretty socially progressive here myself. My polyamorous household (full of ‘liberal’, alt. sexuality types who like sushi and lattes) has firearms+ammo+food+water for an extended time. We’re not the only ones. Save us your partisanship.

      • Mark was pretty clear when he used the term “average progressive / liberal idiot” and specified he was taking about folks who didn’t have stocks of food and water. You do, so he obviously wasn’t referring to you. Unless you want to try and make the case that you and your preps are “average” in the lefty/far-lefty world.

        Good luck with that…

        • Fair enough. To be fair, your average right-wing gun owner doesn’t have that either.

          Even the one’s supposedly ready for the ‘zombie apocalypse’ (which for at least one person I have known, was code for ‘start shooting Democrats’), tend to neglect food+water outside of a couple weeks.

        • I agree; after a couple of weeks, there will be far fewer folks to deal with, period.

          In the far northern states/areas, the thinning might take place nearly overnight, if something were to happen to electrical power in February. Mother Nature can be cruel, and does not negotiate with the unprepared.

          The longer a situation goes on, however, the more desperate the less-prepared folks will get. I don’t know if any of us can say for sure what an average person would do to stop his family/kids from staving or freezing to death right in front of their own eyes.

  20. Armed or unarmed, every human being is subject to scrutiny and decisive action. In the SHTF scenario you pose, you would only get to make a/that mistake once.

  21. Other gun owners, friend or foe? Depends on the situation. If the government decided to declare war, and try to confiscate ALL guns, or if an alien force descended upon the earth, then probably all POTG would unite.
    But, in a national disaster, such as the Yellowstone crater erupting, then eventually, when the food and water run low, it will probably be every man for themselves. It’s sad, but that’s human nature, the survival instinct is very strong.

  22. Do I know you? If so, do I know you well enough to trust you? Whether you’re armed or unarmed, if I don’t know you, I’m not welcoming you with open arms. I have close friends & family that I trust & we’ll take care of each other. Otherwise, if I don’t think I can trust you & you have nothing to add to the group, you’re better off just moving along.

  23. forgive the cynicism but look around at any gunblog or gun forum on the internet whenever the topic of ammo shortages or disaster preparation comes up. The opinions and responses are overwhelmingly tilted towards something along the lines of “I bought x-thousands of rounds back when ammo was cheap so don’t come crying to me when you cant find anymore and don’t expect to get any from me” or “you’re gonna have to kill me to get any of my ammo/food/shelter etc.” Whats funny is these are the same people who post video after video of their ammo/supply stockpiles on the internet. Sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy waiting to happen.

    Lots of selfishness/ self centered-ness is far too common among POTG. You see it in so many iterations not just related to disaster prep. Look at discussions about gun control, its the bird hunters/ gun club types who throw all of us non smooth-bore guys under the bus. Its the revolver toting bolt action carrying hunters who throw the semi-auto handgun modern sporting rifle guys under the bus. Its the concealed carriers who throw the OC crowd under the bus. Its the gun shop clerk who makes fun of the first time gun owner who doesn’t know what they want. Seeing a trend here? People of the gun are by and large very cliquish, self centered people. I want to be optimistic, but I predict these to be the types who end up causing pretty serious problems if a SHTF/TEOFTWAWKI moment ever comes to pass.

    For me, I will echo what others have said though, family and close friends good to go. As far as avoiding problems with but still trying to help others, don’t go around bragging that you have guns/ammo/prep supplies and you can at least mitigate the number of people coming to steal/mooch vs helping people who are legitimately hard up. Always be willing to help but be prepared for them to try and betray you. Keep a low profile and don’t cause problems for your neighbors is another good thing. The moment you become a liability to them they will sell you down the road faster than you can blink no matter how much you have helped them in the past.

  24. For me, if you aren’t family or a long time friend, I probably won’t be letting my guard down around you. Not to say I’d be actively hostile, or that I would refuse to help you out, but you’d certainly have my attention.

  25. We’ve agreed to join into a ten person group.

    two physicians
    one engineer
    3 labor/do-all
    3 riflemen
    one pastry chef.

    I shit you not

    500 acres, three ponds and a river at the bottom of the hill. Fish, cows, turkey, deer, and a 2 acre garden the landowners do for hobby. One of the riflemen competed in the NRA VFW competition and won last year.

    FERFAL says it all: http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2008/10/thoughts-on-urban-survival-2005.html

    Then there’s the ?Bosnian?: http://www.silverdoctors.com/one-year-in-hellsurviving-a-full-shtf-collapse-in-bosnia/

    There’s elaborate PDF’s for both of those author’s experience and suggestions.

  26. “Or do you believe that gun owners and families would more than likely team-up and create their own little government?”

    With an MRAP for extra irony please.

  27. Your neighbors become your friends during a disaster. The farther you get from your neighbors the more likely they are to become enemies. This is the world favored by faux Libertairans. They will quickly find out what anarchy reall means.

    • Neighbors mostly share a common interest and I agree that out of fear of the unknown they will mutually aid each other in many cases. I am at least acquainted with all of my local neighbors and they include many long term original home buyers like me. I would not have any reservations hooking up with any of them; most know each other well enough to immediately interact. All are capable in different ways.

      The challenge may be to return to home base should the SHTF while away at work or elsewhere which encompasses a third to half of most people’s time, including mine. Mobility may be an issue for various reasons including panic gridlock, and I wouldn’t rely much on communication being useful.

      Government will probably say shelter in place, but if I can get home to resources that’s what I’ll do. Once there, it’ll be set up to hunker down, hook up and coordinate with nearby neighbors, break out, allocate and stage resources for last resort evacuation, and see what develops. Group defense and pooling of resources is better than operating alone…until it’s not.

  28. This, I think, is why ” The Thinking Man’s Survivalist”, Mel Tappan, recommended farming in a small community. Neighborly bonds are already made and reliability is proven, while resources are nearby and plentiful. Faith groups, like church congregations, should also be nucleus to form around.
    In any case, strangers with guns are just that, until their reliability is proven.
    Remember Polonius’ advice to Laertes, from “Hamlet”:
    “Those friends thou hast an(if) their adoption tried,
    grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel…”

  29. It is going to depend on how hungry and thirsty people get. Those that have no food and water are going to go after those who planned ahead. The grocery stores in every city and town will be completely emptied in 24 to 72 hours. After 72 hours there will be MASSIVE crowds of people traveling out looking for food and water. I imagine that there will be many small groups of folks that planned ahead together that will stay together for their own mutual defense. I’m not sure how each group would treat a loner traveling thru their area. Overall, there is going to be a LOT of mistrust towards strangers and their motives. And after the events after hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, police officers in uniform are going to be high on the list of people not to trust. I say that because the police illegally disarmed homeowners in New Orleans and then left them defenseless, and police in New York City, and shore towns of NJ did much the same. If the situation is so bad that there is absolutely no working government above what is actively working in your neighborhood, then the police become just another armed gang, and they will behave that way, using their armored trucks and automatic weapons to take what they need/want, from whoever they can, because they have been trained since day one that in every situation, it is “them” against “us”, and they are more important than “us”. You will see this especially with the larger urban forces and state police units. Hopefully the small town locals that grew up with and know the folks they “serve and protect” will band together with their local folks against outside forces.

    It will be the worst during the first few weeks, after that, the old, the weak, the stupid and the folks that just can’t mentally deal with the situation will mostly be dead from starvation, injuries, dehydration, or illness from eating and drinking bad stuff. That is when things will start to settle into the long grind towards rebuilding society (I hesitate to use the word “civilization”).

    • Excellent post, In a major disaster only the strong will survive. Sorry to say, but the weak will perish. At my age, I might be one of the first to go, BUT, I’m gonna take a few with me, courtesy of, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Taurus. and anything else I can hang onto!

  30. Gun owners are not some monolithic group. While the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens while society is in affect i’d trust them. There are however some that if society where to break down, they may just go all genocidal. I don’t care how much they support gun rights, I’d have no issue putting a bullet into such people. For example on another gun forum there is a guy calling for the extermination of all Muslim men women and children, because even the peaceful ones might suddenly just flip and become blood crazed terrorists. He also expects the next war is going to be all Muslims Vs. the rest of the world,and he can’t wait. I can very easily see guys like that just going around committing genocide to “save us” from those evil Muslims if society collapsed.

  31. No. These people are by and large defensive minded people. They won’t need to take what’s mine, because they’ll already have their own. Just like me.

  32. Where I live, I’d have to bug out before I could band together with anyone.

    Of my neighbors with whom I’m familiar: there are a bunch of IT guys from India, a handful of cops, the fire dept. chief, a couple of households that hunt (I’ve run into them geared up at 0 dark 30 during deer season), some older people and a musician.

    The IT guys almost all have kids and wives and none of them seem like roughing it is their cup of tea. Ditto the guitar player and the retirees.

    The hunters might be great folks (or not), but they’re either all related or close friends, which means my wife and I would be the outsiders among 2-3 other families, with at least 5 adult males.
    No thanks.

    The cops, etc…
    I wouldn’t worry about them turning on me, but I’m not about to let them take the lead- “I know what I’m doing, I’m cop”. Plus, depending on what the SHTF event is, they’re likely to be caught in the middle of it anyway.

    Now, this being the Citizen Disarmament Republic of NJ, only 1 out of 8 or 9 people have any sort of gun in the first place. So already, the wife and I are ahaed of the game for both defense and taking wild game.

    And unlike PA, a lot of our mountains are uninhabited.

    So if it’s something that may pass (ebola outbreak in the cities), I’m setting up shop in one of a handful of predetermined locations; maybe advising certain people of when/where to meet; waiting it out.

    If it’s TEOTWAWKI, then it’s time to hit the road and look for a community. Both of us being young, able bodied, armed and variously skilled for survival scenarios, we’d be worth more as part of the team than we would be dead, eaten or turned away.

    • Just remember in a crisis scenario, people will not think logically. They may see your gear or the nutritional value of your bones as way more important than the Merit Badges you may have.

      • Yeah, I’m def. not just walking into someone’s camp cheerily proclaiming that I want to join up.

        But if normalcy is gone for good, there’s only so long you go it alone before your world turns into one of those castle defense games.

      • That’s your interpretation. I’ll stick to mine which includes the motto “Be Prepared”. You want to be elitist and pretend humans won’t become a bunch of savage animals (especially the unprepared ones) when SHTF, can enjoy that naivety while it lasts.

        • yeah keep telling your kids that… they’ll appreciate it when they find out you hocked their college education to buy ammo and canned food for some supposed apocalypse.

          People like you will probably be the first to go because in the minutes post disaster you roll up to the party in your chest rig and ballistic helmet talking about killing zombies before most people have even eaten all the food that was left in their fridges.

          You’re probably that a-hole who blocks an entire lane of traffic with their pickup by trying to leave the parking lot when it isnt your turn after a large social event.

        • Umm yeah, OK. It’s kind of ridiculous when people try to take some kind of moral high ground over a hypothetical scenario/argument. I’m not a prepper. I don’t think there is an apocalypse coming anytime soon. And if people don’t think that humans can be worse than wild animals, clearly you haven’t watched the news anytime in the last 20 years or so. I’d never go out of my way looking for trouble, but you can be damn sure I’d be prepared for it when it comes looking for me. You don’t know me, so don’t pretend your holier than thou.

        • BTW this line:

          “You’re probably that a-hole who blocks an entire lane of traffic with their pickup by trying to leave the parking lot when it isnt your turn after a large social event.”

          Tells me all I need to know about you and your Prius. Mommie, he cut in line… Good god, grow a set.

        • Oh please, people call you out for saying absurd things like killing “zombies” and you resort to penis/testicle jokes and making fun of a car that plenty of people who have “a set” drive as if that is relevant.

          I spent the better part of 2 years living in a 3rd world country with very little rule of law and you know what, people lived and acted like normal people. Yeah you give someone an opportuity and they will rob you blind, so you be careful, avoid the kinds of places where those people hang out, keep a low profile, and don’t be a dick to perfect strangers. Plenty has been written about the supposed collapse of society and likening it to post revolutionary countries in Latin America, and yeah it isn’t convenient and often times isnt “safe” but you just plan ahead, allow extra time to accomplish what you want, be a little less selective, don’t go to the wrong parts of the country, don’t do any unnecessary driving after dark and especially don’t walk around alone at night. Take a modest level of protection with you if you do need to be out at inopportune times but otherwise live a normal life. At home, lock your doors, you might want to install burglar bars, walls with broken glass along the top are good too or at least a fence with gates. If wealthy enough hire a guard or two but again, buy normal things, live a normal life and dont go looking for trouble… that is being prepared for 99% of “collapse of society” situations.

          But by all means, go ahead, when the “SHTF” start stacking bodies of “zombies” in your front yard and see how long it takes for your neighbors to come lynch you for causing a disturbance. All you will be doing is calling attention to yourself at a time when that isn’t desirable.

        • Dude get a life and take a chill pill. It was a ridiculous answer to a ridiculous hypothetical situation, not unlike all of the zombie TV shows, movies, and video games. I wasn’t suggesting public policy. Geez.

      • They stop being my “fellow humans” when they want to take the food and water out of my family’s mouth, steal my shelter, loot my supplies. They become “enemy combatants” to be dealt with in the quickest and most efficient manor possible.

        • You said “when they want to take the food and water out of my family’s mouth, steal my shelter, loot my supplies.” Ha! That’s already happening in America and our government is supporting it 100%. It’s called EBT – Electronic Benefit Transfer (welfare), SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), and GHA – Gov Housing Assistance (rent-free housing projects). Oh, I almost forgot… Obama phones, free internet access, free cable tv, and free medical care. Am I missing something here? Brum

        • welfare to “help” the poor is like feeding pigeons and then wondering why they don’t go away and find their own food.

        • Aaron said: “welfare to “help” the poor is like feeding pigeons and then wondering why they don’t go away and find their own food.” I’ll add… and they shit on you and everyone else there to feed them…

        • I dont have a problem with helping people and being charitable, but

          your point is a good one

          Especially in regards to the stupid who never had the wisdom to store at least a months supply of accomodations and who will take it upon themselves to come kicking and screaming at my door.

  33. One of our strongest statements to counter the guns=bad mantras from Antigunners is that guns are simply a tool. There is nothing inherently good or bad about it. Likewise, it would be a dangerous mistake to assume that gun ownership= good guy in a post apocalyptic scenario.

    Personally, I think it will be a lot like Mad Max or any of the Fallout series… it will bring out a lot of the worst in people since everything that was normal is gone. Logic, civility, and ethics will be the first victims of the event, what ever it is. Those who try to cling to the old ways without first handling the realities of this new landscape will be wiped away. Those that can face the new realities and keep their humanity intact may be the seeds of the refounding of the Republic to follow. Those that can face the new realities and don’t care about morality will have the upperhand initially in blazing a new Empire out of the ashes.

  34. While POTG share some common ground…I don’t think that simple factor can draw a conclusion.

    The LDS preparedness manual is free. A number of stories from people that expereinced different situations…katrina, bosnia, etc….the bosnia link above sounds familiar to the book.

    http://thesurvivalmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/LDS-Preparedness-Manual.pdf

    The Katrina stories were “unsettling”…furthering my distrust of LEO’s. A climactic or economic event is the focus of my families self reliance. This ebola thing isn’t keeping me up at night, yet.

    I am not much of a collectivist. Even taking care of family can get out of hand…thankfully, most of the immediate family is of the same mind set. I also think many of my neighbors are “closet prepper’s”. In my case, I suspect a “neighborhood watch” would quickly form up, as would some sort of barter system. I was impressed last year when the entire town worked together after a series of devastating tornadoes came through….such things bolster my faith in humanity.

    • “Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we’ve learned, by the dust of them all…Bartertown learned. Now, when men get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two men enter; one man leaves.”

  35. I’m from a very rural part of America and have many well armed family and close friends nearby. I can only speak for what I think may happen here and I believe we would return to a tribal type of living. Those of us most proficient with weapons would provide security. The others would be tasked with some other job. The seniors, small children and the severely disabled wouldn’t be counted on to work but everyone else must. We have tremendous natural resources and a lot of woodsmen and farmers in our family so food and water would not be a major factor. There are a few peppers amongst us as well. I think our concern would be marauders coming from the urban areas. We are well off the beaten path but eventually they would work their way up to us. I hope to God this never happens but if it did I wouldn’t hesitate to do what’s necessary to protect my families lives and our resources.

  36. All governments like order. In any scenario the “authorities” want control and will direct. We’re in the south, a subdivision, not conducive to an Alamo type situation so we plan differently. Got the BOB.

    Our neighbors are nice but they don’t know we have firearms. Using common sense, since we’re in the south, 70% of our neighbors are armed.

    In any scenario, injury and death will be random. We are planning, hope it works but I can’t treat Ebola and my wife won’t shoot, looks on firearms as a mans tool. She is quite comfortable with planning and working on different issues but she won’t pick up a gun, not out of fear or religion. . . . . . . she just doesn’t give a damn, let’s me buy whatever I want though.

    For any of you with a few bucks, go to the CMP, buy a Garand and some Greek military ammo (which they sell). They are a hoot to shoot and my guess is one shot from a 30-06 equals how many from a 5.56? The Garand is surprisingly easy to shoot.

    Don’t wait years to get prepared, move preparedness up on the list of priorities.

  37. When the s hits the f, I fear the person who right now equates “legal” with “moral” because once the former goes away, so does the latter.

    What tools they use to fuel their amorality is inconsequential.

  38. A lot of people are saying to judge people based on their character rather than whether or not they bear arms. I agree with this, our armed neighbors may help form a polite society, however, our armed neighbors that have hungry children and or are hungry themselves are potentially dangerous. Don’t worry just because the rule of law is gone doesn’t mean people are gonna go into a blood frenzy, worry about when the food is all gone. Moral of this comment: store extra food and water anywhere you can. Who knows, maybe you can save some lives by being able to keep starvation at bay.

  39. Im almost certain that there would be MANY old scores to settle..so being picky about who your allies are would be pretty important.. I wouldnt want to align myself with anyone who held a previous position of say.. process serving, prosecutor, judge, or divorce lawyers.. what would look like random acts of isolated violence, would probably be someone looking to settle old business.. Keeping my current circle of friends would almost certainly be a priority.

    and if you were a cop?.. I would say avoid the rush and get sized for the casket early

  40. The idea of societal collapse, resulting in SHTF popular narratives, is pretty unlikely and has more to do with people’s anxiety about contemporary society: in times of rapid and unexpected change it’s only natural for people to start imagining that The End is near. But, if we did find ourselves in a real SHTF apocalypse what then? For starters there would almost immediately be a sizable die-off of the very young, the old, and infirm. While most apocalypse novels tend to focus on urban gangs and warlords even those wouldn’t last long once the old world’s supplies started getting scarce.

    Personally, I think the kind of social organization that would be most survivable is one of humanitie’s oldest: pastoral nomads. The plains Indian tribes of the 1800’s (think Cheyenne dog soldiers or Quanah Parker’s Comanches), the contemporary Pastuns in Afghanistan and the Tuareg in north Africa are all pastoral nomadic people. They are special because they have a self-contained society that travels with them. They are herdsmen, horse-mounted warriors, traders, thieves, and craftsmen. Their bands are large enough to take care of themselves. If the SHTF I wanna be a Tuareg.

  41. Society won’t collapse. There may be civil war or revolution, famine or pestilence, but society always reassembles itself quickly if not orderly. If the government disappeared our communities would revert to the militia system so I guess I’d join up and help restore order. But the odds of the federal government not resurrecting itself (probably in a form much worse than the one we’ve got today) are pretty low. Still if there’s ever a nuclear strike on American soil I hope it’s Washington that gets it.

  42. Not prepared. My friends in the Christian community would be the ones to count on. Close relatives but they don’t live nearby. Right now I’m basically screwed…

  43. The word friend is thrown around too easily!!!!!! For all your sakes, I hope your “friends” don’t disappoint you…….

  44. What will happen is after all the unarmed dopes are shot and their stuff taken, we’ll start on each other right up until there is a surplus of resources for the number of people still standing. This answer is older than history.

  45. Tex300BLK: If you want to know how people will react in a SHTF mode, look at your extended family and other’s extended family. When someone died it became all about a souvenir, money, the house, the car, the antiques, the family rings, etc. It’s not pretty unless it’s ironclad and it’s not in a SHTF situation.

    My extended family is like that and so are most. If yours isn’t, then they must be deeply religious. Another: Put meth in front of a meth addict and enjoy their reaction.

    All rules disappear when things get tough. You’re either prepared or not. The average cycle for food in this country is 49 days from harvest to you’re house. This is a real aggregate number but it says the Mormons, who prepare for at least one year of food have it right. Take a look at how quickly the government reacts. FEMA says they’ll be around in a week or two.

    Worst is I’d make a terrible farmer and I need to shave and shower each day. Wonder how those folks in the dome in NO handled it? I’m amazed the government didn’t get there quicker but then again I’m not.

    Who can you count on?……….YOU.

    • man has been able to count on man for eons. Man has always traded/bought/sold for mutual profit. A small percentage has always been lawless, and dealt with harshly when caught.

      You can count on the fact that most men will cooperate when there is something to gain. Call it self interest. It (mostly) works.

  46. Sorry preppers. The S ain’t gonna hit the F. America will go out with a long, slow decline, not a cataclysm. More like the S just slowly piling up around you, instead of hitting the F. Commerce will go on. Civilization will go on, it will just be a little less civilized. Government of some sort will go on. The guns will be of use the same way they are of use today: defending yourself and family against common crime.

    Remember this: as long as there is money to be made (or at least profitable barter), people will still farm, manufacture, repair, sell, etc.

  47. There would be some fighting between certain groups of gun owners, I imagine. But I hope for the most part that decent citizens with guns will unite and help each other out during EOTW.

    I know most of my friends who are gun owners will band together if needed, as many of them are military or police. The civilizians will probably stick with the good cops and Veterans.

  48. In a post apocalyptic world, I would be more interested in making everyone a friend. As hippy dippy, drum circle lovin’ as it may sound, I suspect cooperation would be a better means of survival than conflict, even if it means compromising. What would be the most vital things to survival is food, water, shelter, and order. Lots of people would need to work together and agree to cooperate in order for this to work. It would essentially be recreating society from the ground up. Guns will most likely be required in order to keep order. Unfortunately, there will always be people who only respond to physical force. However conflict will eventually arise, not from the gun owners, or anti-gunners, but from people who hold different moral/ethical codes. Guns will not be an option, but will become a necessity, just as they have been in the past. I really sincerely hope it never comes to this day. The end of the world will be rough as hell.

  49. Stop and think of how many men you know, but… now consider how many of them would you trust to watch your back, or remain behind at you retreat location to protect your family. I have hundreds of friends and acquaintances, but I only know three men that I trust, and one of them is my 25-year-old son. They are all three above average IQ, manly, fearless, reject foolishness, and have families. All three have a solid moral compass to guide them. I for one will not have an open door policy at my retreat/home when the collapse comes. Those who are not preparing now, and are failures in society today while all is well, will certainly be a detriment to any group when everything falls part. Choose wisely whom you associate with today. There are few trustworthy people left on this earth. Most of society today will claw right up your back to get what they want. When they and their children get hungry they will become a very formidable enemy. Brum

  50. I think it would be more like Revolution. Local communities would stick together. If the federal gov’t couldn’t handle the situation then smaller countries would form. There would be bandits and such and it would probably feel like the Old West part 2. That’s what I think.

  51. Watching the news about the spreading of Ebola and how infected people are hopping on airplanes, it isn’t all that hard to visualize a “Walking Dead” scenario becoming real. The hospitals in the hot zone have already shut down, causing infected people to travel out to find alternative care, faith healers, etc. The quarantine ain’t working very well. Right now there is roughly 1000 dead and 2000 infected. Multiply those numbers by 10 and we will soon see panic begin. Multiply those numbers by 10 again ((100,000 dead and 200,000 infected) and I imagine that the big cheeses in gubmint will start making plans to bunker down, and leave the rest of us to fend for ourselves. When we get to a million dead, most of the urban world is gonna look like the Rodney King (God rest his soul) LA riots with no order of law or government, as local and state politicians and police will be hiding or killed by angry citizens for not fixing/preventing/stopping the spread of ebola. There is a huge segment of the American population that looks to and believes that the gubmint will fix all their problems, and boy oh boy are they gonna be surprised.

      • When the CDC says that 60% to 80% of all Ebola victims die, despite any and all medical care, that makes the victims really close to being the walking dead, AKA zombies. Hopefully this new treatment that was used on the 2 American missionaries will work and lead to better survival rates, but should it come to pass that millions get infected, I see nothing but bad things happening. It may seem cold and uncaring, but I’d be MUCH happier to see extremely strict quarantines set up right now, with absolutely no one allowed out. To quote Mr. Spock, “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few or the one.”

        • Agreed. We may do well to go ahead and bunker down now, or at least stay away from the cities. We’ve known this was coming for some time now… so we shouldn’t be too surprised if it goes pandemic. Brum

        • Hey, Joe, I forgot to mention… did you know that the drug being credited with potentially saving the lives of those two American missionaries infected with the Ebola virus was produced at a facility in Owensboro, Kentucky? The serum was GROWN, in a greenhouse of genetically modified tobacco plants. Kentucky BioProcessing, (which was acquired by Reynolds American Tobacco Company in January), conducts contract research and development for San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

          So here’s one possible scenario… Got a “NEW” cure for Ebola to sell globally for billions of dollars? Why, just create a market for the serum, by spreading some Ebola around. What have we come to be, He was right, the desire for money is the true root of all evil? God help us.

        • I’m not sure I want to bunker down today, but I am ABSOLUTELY sure I’m not going to any airport and give “Welcome to America” hugs and kisses to folks arriving from overseas. Since I live about 2 hours drive from downtown NYC and Philly, and less than an hour from the Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton metro area with several major interstates traversing the area, by the time I hear ebola is spreading in the USA on the 6 o’clock news, it will already be too late for me.

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