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In More Thoughts About Buildings and Food. And Guns, Mr. Farago continues his “end of the world” contingency planning. Once again, RF states that he’d give his neighbors a crash course in defensive firearm skills—this time to secure the seventeen entry points to his manor. Assuming he can find enough neighbors willing to abandon their own homes and the contents therein to pull off his plan (not to mention feeding them), I find myself asking, “What are you thinking?”

Don’t get me wrong. May God bless his plan to repel hordes of smelly, unshaven mutant biker zombies with crooked teeth. But I’d like to offer an alternative scenario and still yet another more likely scenario.

The first rule of winning a gunfight I teach in my gun classes is simply not to show up. You live every time that way. If something bad happens suddenly, you make the best of what you’ve got, of course.

However, 99 and 44/100ths percent of the time, you will have an opportunity to make yourself scarce before things go so badly that you find yourself in a position to be lawfully pointing a gun at other people.

As an example, if you’re at Denny’s while two groups engage in a fight over maple syrup or some woman’s honor, this is a time when you should make yourself scarce instead of ordering up some popcorn and videotaping it on your iphone.

Your car is your escape pod and it’s usually always nearby. Keep your car fueled and keep basic supplies in your trunk – things like an MRE or three (or “Heater Meals” if you want to blend in with the sheep), water, flashlight & batteries, work boots and gloves, warm clothes, a hat and winter gloves, some basic tools and so forth.

You should already have an emergency evacuation plan in place (Google “Listening to Katrina” for a great, albeit not yet finished, guide) to leave your home in short order in case of fire or other emergency. That plan will help you protect your health, wealth and ability to earn an income while not losing all of the aforementioned defending the indefensible.

I live in a fortress compared to Robert with only three entrances (without explosives, that is), but I recognize that my home is not defensible if there are more than a few desperate or violence-prone individuals prowling my neighborhood. I’m not going to pull a Don Alejo Garza Tamez “True Grit” suicide mission defending my home. No, I’m getting me and mine the heck out of dodge if things are getting that bad and you should too.

And because of relationships I’ve developed, I’m lucky enough to have the right sort of friends who will come move us out if it’s really getting bad, as I’d do for them.

My neighbors in that unlikely apocalyptic mayhem scenario are on their own. Life’s full of choices. They chose to take golf lessons instead of shooting lessons. Let them accept the consequences of going up against violent predators with a five iron or a putter.

All of that aside, the localized emergency is more likely – such as a tornado, earthquake or massive winter storm – or maybe a hurricane for those readers within a couple hours of the coast.

You’re probably not going to need your guns or your tactical skills if you have those emergencies – certainly not right away. Instead, you’re gonna need a pair of work gloves and boots, a decent flashlight and the willingness to help close friends if they need you. If they are fine, then you’ll look out for your immediate neighbors.

In my case, this might mean shoveling some snow so the frail old woman who had a bypass last year doesn’t have to. Or making sure my neighbors have a working flashlight or two and anything else they might need if the power goes off – or perhaps a warm place to stay for a time if the power is out in the wintertime. Tip: Offering a Thermos of hot chocolate or hot soup to the old couple next door unsolicited will further cement your reputation as a great neighbor and they’ll go out of their way to look out for you in the future.

No, most of the “SHTF” we’re likely to encounter is not going to involve guns, zombies or thugs preying on sheep. It’s not going to involve a crash course in teaching non-gunowners to use that double-barrel coach gun for home defense. It is, though, going to involve being a good neighbor for those less fortunate or prepared.

Don’t get me wrong: My family comes first. However, because I’ve planned ahead and prepared, most emergencies that are commonly encountered won’t be for my family and we’ll have the luxury of being able to help our friends first, then our neighbors.

Hopefully, TTAG readers will also have made preparations for emergency scenarios and built relationships with like-minded folks so they can work together to overcome adversity as a group and assist those less fortunate.

That’s the American way.




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  1. The best way to win a gunfight is to show up prepared and with a GUN. You don’t always have the option of running away if someone comes after you, so you better be ready to defend your life or you can lay down like a scared little sheep and die. When the SHTF, you won’t be battling “hordes of smelly, unshaven mutant biker zombies with crooked teeth”, you will be trying to defend yourself from regular everyday people who are desperate and want to take your supplies or life by any means possible. RF is just pointing out a few scenarios that might or might not happen and there are other endless scenarios that people can come up with.

  2. I agree. In times of limited resources one needs to prepare according to probabilities of occurrence. Which is more likely? A fire, a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or an armed insurrection, societal breakdown? For me, my SHTF scenario is having lost my job and not being able to find another one for 3 months now. However our pantry was stocked enough so that we aren’t hurting for food. We plan on moving (bugging out) to a locale with a lower cost of living to make dollars stretch with the assistance of extended family. For all the fear of break down of society, we have yet to see rioting in the streets and cities burning, like in the 1960’s. I am not a Pollyanna, I am aware that things can go south quickly, and prepare as much as I can for “Black Swan” events (not the stupid recent movie but rather an unexpected event with major impact). But community is key. Whether it be family, neighborhood, church, etc. But now is the time to prepare, not when you are facing your SHTF scenario.

  3. In a localized emergency you are right on target John. An evac plan, if needed, a good emergency kit with food and H2O for the family, and a willingness to help your less fortunate neighbors are going to be your best tools in that situation.

    That being said, I don’t consider that SHTF. You may think that everyone should fend for themselves in a serious all out end of the world, but we’re aren’t wired that way. Humans tend to be social and since the beginning of time we have formed tribes in order to create working societies, not a society where every day is like a round of free for all on Black Ops. Thus the reason the term “lone wolf” is used in a derogatory manner.

    I think it’s just smart to recognize your own limitations and realize there may be those around you that have useful skills you don’t. Skills that could keep you and yours alive when lone wolfing it would have ended up tragically. And if these neighbors have a willingless to help you out in one area, why deny them the chance to learn about and help in your area of expertise, whether that be firearms of farming. It’s how society evolves, we teach each other to do things. If everybody guarded their skills like the nuclear launch codes, then society would never get anywhere.

  4. John,

    I agree with your emergency preparedness strategy (though I can’t recognize what you term “SHTF” as meeting my personal definition of “SHTF”), and recognize its definite usefulness. Everyone should have emergency plans; you’re absolutely correct.

    I also agree with Robert’s strategy (which I believe is for a completely different type of situation). There is a large disconnect between the scenarios you and he are preparing for, and absolutely a difference in how you and he define “SHTF.” My definition of SHTF is more on par with Robert’s. That said; it’s clear to me why there is the resultant huge difference in opinion between you and he. I think that largely you’re arguing different issues.

    One note on the neighbors issue. In a Robert-Farago-style “be all end all” scenario (not your hurricane / snowstorm type situation, but a legitimate toppling of society), I cannot see how you would be able to thrive alone. Notice I said “thrive;” I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the rest of my life just “surviving” a SHTF situation. What’s the point of living if it’s just to survive? In order to thrive in your post-crumble world, you’re going to require a vast range of skills and know-how. Unless you are a combination hunter-chef-scientist-doctor-surgeon-handyman-basketweaver-badass, there are going to be things you simply aren’t 100% competent at doing. Conversely, there will also be things you’re very good at. Contribute your strengths; supplement your weakness. If that means you ride shotgun fending off the hordes with your perfected marksmanship ability while neighbor-Joe the NASCAR driver deftly gets you and yours the hell out of dodge .. why not?

    We’re social creatures, as has been mentioned. We all bring something to the table (well, most people… ).

    Rely on your fellow man a little; it’s not a free-for-all.

  5. Real life and death emergencies bring out the best and worst in people. Think of Katrina, where some people risked their lives to save those of strangers, while others stole strangers’ guns, shot them in the head and threw their bodies off a bridge. Until I can figure out a way to tell good people from bad people at 100 yards, I’ll keep my distance if I can. YMMV.

  6. I would submit that both John and Robert are correct. John’s advice is very good advice, for a localized SHTF event (blizzard, hurricane, tornado, etc). Robert’s advice is very good for a more widespread SHTF event like serious social unrest, civilization collapse, or even sudden lack of available essential items.

    The one thing both have touched on but neither emphasized, is that if you wait until the SHTF event to get to know your neighbors, it is already too late. Don’t wait until then, do it now!

    I am fortunate to have my brother who is also an avid shooter living just right across the street. When building the house I picked a wooded dead end street in a rural neighborhood. The first thing I did (brother built his house few years later) was get to know the few neighbors we had. As more houses got built we made sure we got to know the new move-ins ASAP. One great way was going over and volunteering to help them move in, talk about a great way to start of good with your neighbors (though in the 46 part my brother killed two guys soap opera going on here, I am learning that I may want to come CC next time I offer to help a move-in, I usually opt for the back brace instead but no more). We also held outdoor “block parties” and had backyard BBQs and invited everyone.

    At first it seemed like a lot of work, but it did not take long for magical things to happen. Other neighbors realized the get-togethers were actually fun, so they started hosting them from time to time, thus making it much easier on us. Eventually we found out that almost everyone in our neighborhood was conservative or libertarian but leaning conservative, and most not only owned guns but enjoyed shooting. Eventually one neighbor who had a deep valley on his property offered that we should clear it of trees and make a range, so we all pitched in and that is what we did. Now our get-togethers often involve shooting, we are having one this afternoon in fact, followed by a lasagna potluck. And, as we sit around a fire after a good meal, the conversation often drifts towards the apocalyptic. We actually have a neighborhood plan in place that includes such things as how we will restrict access to the hood at first and long term, who is capable of doing what, how we will limit access to the county at large thus making the job of keeping our community safe easier, and who has what supplies and what would be nice for everyone and/or someone to obtain when able.

    Has it been all smooth and easy? Sadly, no. We have one small house in the hood that is a rental home (even though our HOA forbids this). We had one family renting once that was recklessly liberal, and as is sadly often the case with liberals they were rabidly pro-guncontrol. Their kids were a menace, to say the least. But every time we would use the range, they would call the cops. And even though we were doing nothing illegal the cops always came out and “observed” the shooting, though honestly they were usually very nice (one I swear wanted to throw some rounds downrange with us). The cops usually just explained the neighbor had called, and asked that we respect them and limit the noise (we never shoot before 11am or after 6pm except on 4th of July). Well, when the family wasn’t getting the desired effects they decided to up the ante and called 911 saying we were shooting at their house and kids. This of course brought swarms of state and local police and even a helicopter. But they quickly realized we were doing no such thing, and were instead practicing legal shooting on our safe range. Still it was not the fun afternoon of shooting we had planned because of it. Turned out one neighborhood mom decided it was a perfect opportunity to show the cops how the family who had called 911 was actually extremely negligent with video, pictorial, and documented evidence. The family made the kids sleep out in a tent without adequate blankets even when the temperatures were below freezing, and a multitude of other things apparently. The kids ended up leaving with a social services agent that night (they got them back like a week later). And things got much worse. They were no longer invited to the neighborhood socials, no one was hospitable towards them, and they even got their own spot on the neighborhood SHTF plan which involved them leaving and not coming back ever (it was determined they would sabotage from within as that was exactly what they were doing now). Fortunately they felt the lack of love (neighbors calling the cops on them every time they did anything wrong probably helped), and decided to move on to a different hood. But I ramble on.

    I have two firemen (from different firedepartments), a paramedic, several teachers, tons of shooters, two policemen (both in counties on the other side of the state line, go figure), a mechanic, a retired marine, two retired army, a retired pilot, and a dentist/orthodontist living in my neighborhood. Knowing this is a boon in itself.

    The biggest benefit of having gotten in good with my neighbors is they are watching my property while I am away, and vice versa. Nothing out of the ordinary goes unnoticed and undiscussed in our small neighborhood.

    Yes, I have to maintain the friendships by GASP being a friend, this means occasionally spending Saturday helping build a shed, fence, deck, or finish a basement. But it also means occasionally I get to hang out and shoot at a really nice private range with a bunch of friends, for free. Oh, and trying out the different guns in the vast arsenal that is our neighborhood is fun too.

    Try it, it seems awkward at first, but once you start building friendships it is worth it for the peace of mind as well as the friendships, and if you are really lucky like me you won’t have to wait until the SHTF event to start seeing if your neighbors can shoot, you will know already.

  7. I am socially bonded and active in my community. whatever happens my default will be to support ,help, and organize . I have things that will be useful to myself and others and will share them . I think and hope we will help as many people as we can. In the unlikely event that things Really go down hill, i have things that could be helpful there too.

  8. Some of my bias against arming my neighbors may come from the fact that here in IL, only one in ten persons have a Firearm Owners ID card, and as such legally able to own, use and possess guns and ammo.

    One in ten.

    And a majority of these are held in rural areas.

    In the cities, it’s more like one in fifty or more who have a FOID card.


  9. Holy crap, Illinois sounds like some sort of commie controlled nightmare state that controls it’s citizens like mindless puppets.

    • “Holy crap, Illinois sounds like some sort of commie controlled nightmare state that controls it’s citizens like mindless puppets.”
      Joe, the term is “Blue State”



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