The Truth About Neighbors, Coworkers, & Friends in Survival Situations

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Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

It would be nice if the success or failure of our preparedness group was able to be chalked up only to those within our inner circles. The people by whom you’re surrounded can strongly affect the outcome of an event, as many of us have discovered during the COVID-19 lockdowns taking place all over the world.

And now, many of us are realizing that there’s also a lot to learn about the folks just outside our inner circles: our neighbors, our co-workers, our extended families, and other communities in which we’re involved like churches or schools.

Behavior outside of the group.

While our connections with these people aren’t as intimate as those within our groups,  in some cases they can still threaten an otherwise solid survival plan. Some of the people described below may sound familiar after weeks of movement restriction.

  • The people you warned for months if not years that they needed to put some food aside, make arrangements for their prescriptions, and buy some extra toilet paper and soap.
  • Folks who know more than you now wish they did about your pantry and who’ve made it clear that they think it’s “greedy” that your family has so much while others have so little
  • People we used to really like boasting on Facebook how they snitched on somebody for some innocuous thing they felt flouted the “rules”
  • Neighbors taking a sudden and noticeable interest in your garden or your chickens
  • People in the neighborhood who are no longer working and now just sit on their porch all day and closely watch what everyone else is doing – including people unloading supplies from their cars into their homes
  • The nosy neighbor who demands that everything be “fair” and wants to take a tally of anything – people, water, supplies, guns, you name it.
  • That guy down the street you never liked in the first place who is becoming even more unlikeable by promoting himself as some kind of neighborhood watch king, handing out unsolicited advice and warnings, or maybe trying to set up “rules” by which he expects everyone else to abide
  • The people who are moving closer and closer to overstepping the boundaries of civil behavior – they’re doing small things dropping their trash in your yard or blatantly looking inside the windows of your car – but it’s an escalation
  • The co-worker who asks way more questions about your preparedness level than is really appropriate
  • The community group (church, social club, volunteer organization) that wants donations or participation in a way that is likely to threaten your OPSEC (operational security – more on that later)

You know the ones. They’re trying to get just a little too close for comfort. We’ve probably all seen somebody over this period of time and thought, “Yeah, I’m going to have to watch that guy.”

If the situation were to worsen, you would indeed have to watch that guy.

Identify “who” your neighbors and coworkers are

The people around you can be beneficial, neutral, or a threat. It’s best to determine which one they are as early as possible in an emergency.

A beneficial person will have supplies or skills or just plain manual labor to trade for any assistance. These are the folks who don’t feel entitled to a handout and most of the time, they’d prefer not to owe other people a favor. Remember that “beneficial” can mean different things at different times. Right now, things aren’t too crazy so making a deal with a well-armed neighbor to help you with security may seem unrealistic. But later on, that well-armed neighbor may be just the person you want on your side. Think ahead.

A neutral person is just about as gray as you are. They may not be of much assistance but they’re also not a direct threat. This might be the elderly woman across the street, the coworker who keeps to himself and minds his own business, or a member of your church community with whom you simply have little in common. It doesn’t mean they’re bad and it doesn’t mean they’re good. It could go either way but they may be harmless. Keep an eye on neutral people and stay gray yourself.

A threat is exactly what it sounds like. A threat can range from a belligerent drunk to a group of teen thugs to a neighborhood busybody who is involving herself in everyone’s business. A threat might also be more low-key – it might be the guy down the road who watches your daughter a little too closely or the snitch who peeks through the curtains right before the cops roll up every single time. Avoid the threat, but watch them. Watch them carefully. If you’re good at reading people, you’ll often be able to catch some hints before they escalate.

Don’t get too comfortable with the original classification – if someone who you thought was beneficial begins to behave like a threat, believe what you’re seeing. Don’t stick stubbornly to your initial impression.

Some people are just scared.

Some of the folks described above aren’t deliberately malicious. They’re realizing too late that they should have been better prepared, so they want to get closer to those who got ready ahead of time.

Most of their actions are ruled by fear.

They may become inadvertent threats if they become more desperate as time goes on. They may outright ask for some eggs, some toilet paper, a cup of sugar for whatever they’re baking. And your response is like a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. If you help them out, they may expect you to continue doing so. If you do not help them out, they may get angry and talk to others about your “selfishness.” The next thing you know, you have an assortment of angry people pounding on your door.

It’s up to you how you handle this, but I strongly suggest you do it in a manner that discourages future requests.

  • “Yeah, I can spare a couple of eggs now, but pretty soon, we’re going to be eating omelets morning, noon, and night. I can’t believe how the store is out of everything. I haven’t had a full grocery cart during my last three trips.”
  • Another option is to offer a trade – “You know, I am out of flour. I’d be happy to trade some eggs for some flour.”
  • And finally, you could say, “I’m sorry, we are nearly out of TP ourselves. But I’d be happy to pick some up for you the next time I’m at the store if I can find any.”

Those are just a few possibilities. If you can offer help in a way that doesn’t put you at risk, it won’t hurt to do so.  Building rapport among neighbors is always a good idea.

How to help others without putting yourself at risk

If you’re like me, helping others is something that is ingrained. It feels wrong not to help when people are struggling and we’re doing okay thanks to an emergency fund and a stockpile. Here are a few ways you can help without putting yourself at risk.

Shop for others.  If you can safely go out and about to hit the grocery store or pharmacy, considering picking up supplies for somebody who can’t. You can shop for a neighbor with immune system issues more than once during this outbreak.

Pick up something at the store to donate. Our local grocery stores have donation bins that go right to the local food bank. You can buy some extra items for the donation bin without pulling from your own stockpile.

Check on other people. If you have a neighbor or coworker who lives alone, give them a call or send an email to see how they’re doing. They may appreciate the contact during this lonely time.

Donate to a charity. If your church is helping others, make arrangements to quietly donate some supplies. Stress that you want your donation to be anonymous. Some foodbanks are taking cash or online financial donations. Stay distant and anonymous when you make donations.

Prepare a meal for someone. If there’s a family in your neighborhood who is going through a rough time, consider taking over a pot of chili or a casserole to provide them with a warm meal, letting them know you made too much. Keep in mind, some people may not be comfortable taking food during a pandemic while others will welcome it.

Cut the grass. While you’re out mowing your lawn, if you notice your neighbor’s grass hasn’t been mowed in ages, take the time to pop over and take care of it for them. They may be ill or scared to come out and do it for themselves.

These are just a few ways you may be able to help people out without putting your own family at risk.

Understand that some folks are legitimately bad people.

Some people just aren’t good. In fact, you could run into people who are bad simply because they enjoy it. In his book, SHTF Survival Stories, Selco wrote:

When the SHTF, a whole bunch of weird and sick folks emerged. The point is that you never know what kind of people are living around you, or even with you.

And to make things worse, as I said, this guy was something like “normal” guy before SHTF.

Besides those normal guys who turned bad, there is a whole army of scum and criminals who are just waiting for the SHTF to happen, so they can go out and be something like small dictators.

You can be sure that they are perfectly prepared for that. They already live in their own version of criminal SHTF, with their rules. When real SHTF they gonna be ready for it, they just gonna jump out fully organized and ready to take over. They are gonna go open and be very mean.

I was surprised, though. I was like, “Why are there so many mean and bad folks suddenly?”

The answer is actually simple. Bad people are all around us. Some of them are aware of the fact that they are bad like organized crime members, gangs etc. Others are gonna see SHTF like their chance to fulfill their secret wishes and indulge in power over others.

So, no doubt once the SHTF you’ll run into a bad man from time to time, too. (source)

It’s even worse if that bad man is your neighbor or co-worker.

How to deal with trouble from outside the group

It’s a totally different ball of wax when you’re dealing with people outside of your preparedness group. These may be people you’re friendly with but not necessarily people you love. This changes the rules. Still, keep the motivators I mentioned in the article about people in your preparedness group in mind when dealing with others. Someone who is normally kind but now behaving terribly may be scared, grieving, or depressed. If you can help them safely without exposing your family to trouble, this may be something you’ll want to do.

Here are some of the people to look out for during a crisis.

The busybodies

There’s nearly always someone who wants to take upon themselves the mantle of neighborhood leader. If they want that mantle then it’s quite possible that they won’t be the best leader. They aren’t necessarily bad people but they can make your life a living hell. Today, they’re calling to snitch on someone walking their dog for not social distancing properly. Tomorrow, they’re riling up the neighbors because they saw another family setting up a barbecue in the backyard while everybody else is going hungry.

Try not to share too much information with the busybodies, as they often want to dole things (your things) out fairly among the neighborhood. Be careful not to provide them with any knowledge that might make your house the target of a hungry, angry neighborhood mob with the busybody in the lead, holding the biggest pitchfork.

The busybodies are to be avoided as much as possible, but some of them are darned determined. There are two ways to handle that. You can be gray and act as though you’re as destitute and hungry as everyone else, or you may have to be a bit more harsh with a person who is overly pushy.

Young offenders

Kids right now are bored stiff and boredom can lead to unbecoming behavior – even in our own kids. If there is a group of young people in your neighborhood rebelling against the rules, it may be a simple matter of them feeling constrained. They may be content to just ignore social distancing rules.

Alternatively, they may push things further. You could wake up to find your garden vandalized, your car windows smashed in, and empty beer bottles all over your yard. Your options are few – you can talk to their parents if you are certain of who did it, or you can sit outside on your porch, waiting to shine a big spotlight at them.

The young offenders may be harmless or they may destroy important property. Identify them early on. If you can afford it and do so without letting them see the extent of your preparations, offer them some work like cutting your grass in the front yard. If they’re destructive, you may have to take turns standing watch to scare them off before they damage something.

The bad people

Other people, as described above, are just not nice people. They’re the ones who may already be criminals or the ones who would be criminals if they weren’t worried about getting caught. These are the people you really have to keep an eye on. They may be out to get your supplies or out to get your family members for all sorts of illicit purposes.

Contrary to popular belief not all criminal types are stupid. They may be sizing you up exactly like you’re sizing them up. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security due to familiarity. Be prepared should they arrive at your door unexpectedly.  Pay attention so that you recognize all the folks who come and go from that person’s place – including spouses and children. Often these are the folks who are the first to act out when things go sideways. Other times, they seem to be teaming up with the busybodies.

Take a few precautions.

Make your home as secure as possible and have a plan for securing it further if things get worse. Prevention is better than defense every single time. Consider some of the following precautions.

Keep your blinds shut. Make sure people walking past can’t peek into your house at night. Keep your blinds closed and curtains drawn. Nobody needs to see what you’ve got in your house.

Hide your supplies. We try not to tempt fate so our supplies are well hidden away even inside our home. We keep normal things in the kitchen and have our big stash elsewhere in the apartment.

Don’t let people watch you bring in purchases. We pull our car around to the back of the house at night to unload purchases. If you’re obvious about the fact that you’re well-stocked, even the nicest neighbor will come sniffing around when they’re desperate.

Don’t answer the door. Remember, lockdown gives you the perfect excuse not to open your door to anyone. If you respond to someone knocking you can let them know there could be a sick person in your home so you can’t open the door. Most home invasions start with a knock at the door. Then the invaders overpower the person and burst inside.

Harden your home. Have some plywood on hand for ground floor windows and be ready to use it if things get bad. A bar across the door can make it very difficult to break into. Spotlights can be pointed to entrances for convenience now and then directed away from your home to light up potential intruders while keeping you in the dark later. Lock your doors and lock your gates. People may still get through but every second you slow them down is a second for you to grab your weapon and get vulnerable family members to safety.

It’s almost always better to avoid the fight than to engage in it.

No, this isn’t me being cowardly. Remember, criminals often have criminal friends or relatives, so you may not be done after dealing with the main offender. Others may follow for payback.  (This is something Selco discusses in this book and that Jose wrote about in this article.) Treat an altercation as the beginning, not the ending, of your trouble with the criminal. A firearm is incredibly important during times like this.

Make sure that all your family members know what to do in the event of a home invasion. Some family members may be ready and willing to engage, while others may need to get to a safe room to get out of the way. This article has detailed instructions on how to create a safe room in your home or apartment.

We aren’t currently in a situation in which the police are not responding to violent crimes, although in some larger cities police responses are extremely slow or non-existent as more and more first responders become ill. If we reach the point when the justice system is no longer operating, it will be up to use to keep our families safe from the people who want to do them harm.

Have you noticed anyone who seems like trouble?

We’ve got some neighbors across the street I have my eye on. They have older teens who were caught trying to break into another neighbor’s car and the entire family is generally disrespectful of others, honking horns and playing loud music late at night. Hopefully, they’re just boisterous, but it pays to be watchful.

During the COVID-19 response period, have you experienced anyone who makes you uncomfortable? Were they merely unprepared or were they aggressive? Are there any people you plan to keep a close eye on while times are difficult? Share your insights in the comments below.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • A sadly accurate article. Someone wiser than I said 90% of your troubles will come from with in 20 miles of your home.

    Trade is the only way I share that “Cup of Sugar” as the bible says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” There is scripture about helping the old and widowed and those are helped through my church as not to make myself a “Wal-Mart”. I can find useful work for anybody willing to work. Even a grandma can sew masks for others.

    Even the early church had problems with the lazy trying to live on others efforts.

    If you’ve not already measured, cut, and have ready to use hardening materials for your home along with a charged cordless drill your behind the 8 ball. When this “Social Hurricane” hits it’s too late to go to Home Depot for a shopping run.

    A Taker will not trade and should be avoided. Those willing to trade or work have potential for being a decent person. Encourage decent people.

  • Thanx for the info.We are in a rural area, not heavily impacted by known cases of the virus. Yet still, I have noticed several of the types you mention. Be assured, we are keeping our eyes open!

  • Every day can be a learning experience when you keep an open mind. For example, once upon a time, I came home one night to find my wife running into the house saying “There’s a prowler in our backyard!”. Which was alarming, since we have 7 foot tall fences on either side of that backyard, and a 6 foot tall chain link at the back, which overlooks a swamp infested drainage area about 150 yards deep. My friends, there was about to be an EX-prowler, but the little skunk had vanished by the time I went out back, gun in hand.
    But you see, I kept an open mind, and LEARNED from this experience and the very next day, I set up an order to get shatter resistant film put on every damned window in our house, starting with the big sliding glass door at the back. I found a bar that would fit quite neatly into the track of that sliding glass door, with maybe an inch to spare. I built up that back fence and inter weaved it with barbed wire, replaced the front door with a 25 gauge steel door — with peep hole of course — inside a steel frame that’s bolted into the house, got a 2 inch thick length of welding steel to serve as a bar behind that door, and got me an indestructible plastic “brick” that inserts into a base that’s bolted into the floor just in front of the front door. (That’s when I learned how to sue a hammer drill, since regular drills don’t work on cement slabs.)

    Now look, I’m not saying that anyone here MUST do any of these things, or that they are all necessary steps. I’m just saying, don’t wait for things to go sideways (again); start taking steps now. Will it be harder to get a tradesman out to your house to do an installation? Probably. If you order something online will it take longer for it to show up these days> Oh most definitely! But a prudent person shouldn’t put things off just because they are harder. And when we come out the other side of this mess, remember what happened, and take steps to make your life safer is all I am saying

  • Make no mistake, when this happens you have NO friends. Fortunately, we live out in the country where it is sparsely populated with no real close neighbors. We talk to nobody and those who we know in the less than 500 population town we only have very rare conversation. Don’t tell anybody anything and do the best to hide what you have. Do hidden walls and other secretive types of ways to hide what you have. Probably some of the best advice is know how to fight and protect what you have without any hesitation because you very well may have to do so.

  • A most excellent and really relevant article Daisy! Thanks!!!
    I totally agree with your analyses of the different types of people in a neighborhood that could become big problems in SHTF situations. The COVID-19 crisis is actually a “Laboratory” for us to observe, review and “fine tune” our preps, behavior, and security knowledge and capabilities.

    I have just finished re-reading volumes 1 and 2 “Going Home” and “Surviving Home” of A. American’s Survivalist Series, and note many mistakes made by people therein. The situation early on where the local “mini-mob” was confronting the deputy’s wife over newly arrived food, and how it was handled is particularly interesting. Also the fact that the protagonist and his family don’t seem to be losing any weight when others are out of food clearly isn’t very smart behavior. I plan for myself and my dog to get obviously thinner when food gets scarce. Also the incident in Book 1 where the family baited the protagonists and then came back armed and with friends at 3:00 AM, planning to take their food and likely the young woman, and probably kill the men is enlightening.

    What you cover in this article are REALLY IMPORTANT topics that we all likely need to get even more ready for.

    I live alone, with my very alert, large dog, but have a blind side at the far end of my house where the garage is. The garage also has windows which are of no strategic use except for letting light in. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get plywood cut and ready to cover them. I also am seriously thinking of having some security cameras installed at that end, especially since it faces the street. I also bought a number of those little Keychain Alarms on Amazon, and with some fishing line plan to set up perimeter trip wire alarms if ever needed.

    Thanks again, and please keep all yours and Selco’s great advice coming!

      • Agreed. It wouldn’t hurt to let your hair look a bit ratty and a few smudges on the face and hands… blend in…

    • Just a thought. If you feel that it’s necessary to board up vulnerable windows, think about making it somewhat decorative by painting it to match the house or current window dressing. When security looks scared, bad guys notice it even more. Bare boards without a hurricane or tornado coming says, Scared of losing all my stuff. Utilitarian sticks out like a sore thumb.

      My two cents of sense.

  • There is a former intel guy who runs a web site.
    He is that guy who is the busybody.
    He uses some app to monitor his neighbors. Tries to get himself integrated into others lives.
    Tries to get a “feel” for them by asking leading questions to see what kind of prepper they are.
    Suggests being out and about the yard when people are returning home from work to talk to them.

    I am sure he thinks he is being helpful, but my OPSEC would go into overdrive, knowing that kind of person is trying to “collect’ on me.

  • My dad always said “The less people know about you, the better” and “Keep it civil but strange.” He was 100% right especially when it came to neighbors.

  • Daisy, I’ve been trying to figure out how to harden my defenses. Would you put plywood up on the inside of your windows? Seems like bad guys could remove it if it’s on the outside, plus it might draw unwanted attention. Any resources you could point me to for DIY home security? Thanks!

    • Joy, my personal suggestion would be to mount plywood to the inside of the window rather than the outside – let me explain why.
      Since I don’t know your skill level, please don’t take offense if I over-simplify / over explain the steps.
      First, I would carefully remove the trim from around the window on the interior wall and plan on reapplying it after SHTF is over. This way, you’re not damaging the trim with screw holes, and you’re allowing a firm flat surface to apply the plywood to.
      Make sure the plywood has been cut wide enough to cover both the window and the studs you’ll be screwing the plywood to.
      DO NOT screw the plywood to any part of the window itself – the wood or plastic framing of the window is not very strong you’ll likely end up breaking the glass and damaging with frame of the window beyond repair.
      Cover the glass of the window itself with any kind of material that will make the window look as if it’s just a regular window shade from the outside – you want the window to appear normal from the outside – you don’t want anyone to see the plywood – that will be like a neon light flashing telling everyone outside “… hey, there’s someone inside and they obviously have stuff they’re trying to protect… let’s break in!”
      Once you have the glass covered, mount the plywood over the window and screw the plywood to the studs that are on both sides of the window. Depending on the age and construction of the home, those studs may be directly next to the window frame, or as far as several inches away from the window frame with shims between the fame and studs….
      Use actual plywood instead of particle board / OSB…. Plywood is far stronger and not as subject to moisture .
      One of the biggest reasons as to mounting the plywood on the inside is you’re allowing yourself an alternative exit route should your standard exits become compromised. If you had the plywood securely mounted on the outside, you’ll draw attention to yourself attempting to “break-out” through that window because of all the noise you’ll be making, not to mention you’ll likely be wearing yourself out trying to break out that way.
      Anyway, something to think about…

      • Joy, I forgot to add that spacing the screws approximately 12 to 18 apart should be more than enough and you’ll want to use sheet rock screws that are long enough to go through the plywood, sheet rock / lath & plaster, and about 2 inches into the studs. To keep from splitting the 2 X 4 studs, (and everything else for that matter) it’s always best to pre-drill everything…. it’ll make everything go so much smoother when stress is a factor.

        • Very well explained, Jerry c. When we bought our cottage from a retired cop he explained the OPSEC of the green garbage bags he had stapled over the inside of the garage windows. If people can’t see in, they can’t “inventory” what you have. In the late 90s I was in cape cod the Day before a hurricane was to hit. People were drywall-screwing plywood panels over their windows on the outside. Very much a rush job. When i got home I precut panels, 3/8 or 1/2 inch roofing underlay plywood is inexpensive and strong enough. For outside. If I did it today I’d size for the inside as you detailed. If I was in a ground or 2nd floor apt I’d do it here,but I’m on a higher floor so dont bother.

  • I have two of my old roommates that moved to my city shortly after I moved. Neither of them are preppers and after years of talking to them and encouraging them to get prepared, they both made fun of me for thinking COVID was an issue up until one of our students became symptomatic and one of them got put into a mandatory quarantine until we found out the test results for that student. That one is finally taking things seriously and stayed with us for a while (until the one room apartment I live in with my wife became not enough for the 3 of us and he went back to his place). The other one won’t take this seriously no matter what happens. He just flew across the country to stay with his wife’s family for a week, then flew back and is now ignoring the mandatory quarantine required by our state and is still going to work (his roommate is high risk too and is making him stay somewhere else until the 2 weeks is up). We had originally planned to invite the one who had stayed with us to join our group if things got really bad since he at least is stocked on defensive stuff and has some training that would help, but in the 10 days he stayed with us, we learned that he wouldn’t pull his weight if it came to it and the other one was already not invited to join us and especially so now.

      • It will become easier, come SHTF. Many will get smart real fast, the rest will start to die off.
        The Covid pandemic was enough to get some to recognize the need to prep, But it was not enough for a lot of people. For some, nothing will ever move them to prep.

  • Once again excellent article. You may have to come to grips with the possibility that you at some point will have to Kill 1 or More of your “Neighbors” just to Survive. If you Haven’t considered it or Don’t think you can Do it if Necessary then You Will NOT SURVIVE. Pray for Divine Intervention, Prep & get ready to Kill Demons. Enjoy Life TODAY!

    • No, no, no, no…. NO TheTruthBurns, you never ‘kill’. The reality of the word ‘kill’ is very hard on the psyche and the spirit – unless you’re just one of those natural born killers …. When I was an instructor for the Hawk missile system back in the early 80’s, I always taught my fire control operators that when you press the launch button, you’re “neutralizing the threat”, or you’re “eliminating the threat, or the “target has been eliminated” – NEVER humanize the threat.
      In time of war, that ‘person’ that’s wanting to take your life or someone you love is no longer a human – it’s now a: target – an opposing force – a threat – an enemy combatant.
      DO NOT HUMANIZE the threat.

      • Might work with a missile battery or from 30K feet altitude to play mind games and use some euphemisms for what the purpose of the launch really is – to kill an enemy and destroy his ability to hurt you. Kind of impossible when you are looking someone in the face after possibly speaking to them one second and pulling the trigger the next. It could be someone you have known for a long time, and you may also know their family.

        • Les, you broke two rules with what you just said…. First, you don’t strike up a conversation with someone who is pointing a gun at you… second… never look at the face – make you shots center mass… Personally, if I were on the desperate end of the situation, I truly hope I would run into someone like you… why? Because you’ll hesitate… I WON’T….

  • Daisy,could you please send info on Selco’s books? I would prefer the soft cover rather than PDF. Thank you , and I hope he is well and safe. Also yourself and daughters.

    • Here are links to Selco’s paperbacks:

      The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival:

      SHTF Survival Stories:

      I spoke with Selco about a week ago. Things are difficult in the Balkans as their economy is faring poorly also. He’s as well as can be expected under the circumstances and hopes to be able to write for us again soon.

      Thank you for your purchases!

  • YOUR NEIGHBORS are going to be the least of your problems here shortly,THE GOVERNMENT HAS TOTALY SOLD THE PEOPLE OUT,there are Russians and Chinese MIlITARY here in colorado,and they LOVE to brag about why their here,YOUR POLICE GANGS AND US MILITARY will be with them when they come down the street,I SUGGEST you buy a good deer rifle with a BIG scope on it,when you run for the mountains ,YOUR GOING TO NEED A SNIPPER RIFLE,and a LOT of ammo for all your weapons,good camo gear,water filter,and a book on things you can eat in the forest,and FOREST SERVICE MAPS OF THE COUNTRY your in,and WARM GEAR when it gets cold,this won’t be an overnight camping trip,a set of good field glasses would be handy,a way to start a fire would be nice to,a couple bottles of lighter fluid,fast fire in the rain,try to be underground when your sleeping,Dig a hole or find a cave,Remember they will have DOGS searching for you,HAVE A NICE SHARP KNIFE(no noise)IF you have to run,Drop your back pack,and come back later for it..WAR IS COMING,get ready DO NOT WAIT ANY LONGER,its about to begin,YOU ARE OUT OF TIME…

    • Really??? Go to the mountains and hide in a cave? Sorry but if it cane to that I would just go defending my home and supplies. I am way to old to try some prepper fantasy of playing Red Dawn in the mountains and trying to snipe people as they walk by. 99.9999 % of people would die in the first month trying to do what you suggest and it would be a much worse death than just getting shot defending your home.

    • Arizona, I could not agree more… we’re pretty much toast. I’m too old old to physically run – 20 yards is about my limit. I can still walk just fine and my trigger finger is excellent. I’m resolved to stay put and go out with my wife – Christ is our all in all. Psalm 27:1-3 is well worth putting to memory.
      Guerrilla warfare will be our battle plan…. our forefathers used it well in our war for independence. Wikipedia says: Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which small groups of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility, to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. Guerrilla groups are a type of violent non-state actor.
      It was used very well against our boys in Nam… many times, it didn’t work out so well for the individual using it, but it sure puts a damper on the attitudes of the opposing forces….

  • Excellent article! I wish I could make my husband understand this. He’s very friendly and without evaluation, willing to be buddies with anyone. Discernment is a good thing. A well crafted plan for dealing with people is even more important than in “th good old days”.

  • Use great wisdom and remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Understand that we now live in perilous times. Natural repellants such as skunks, bright lights, loud noises and scary things are far more effective defenses than direct combat. If you get to the point of having to use direct combat, the repercussions won’t be much fun.

  • Rule Number 1…. Stop Talking! If and when something happens and those around you were not listening earlier then it’s simply too bad. Play dumb and ignorant. It’s not your job to save them nor “prove” how right you were. It’s your job to save yourself and your immediate ones first and worry about them last.

  • Lots of good advice in that article. We really don’t have neighbors close enough to infringe on our business, which we are thankful for. Still, I am very leery of anyone we must call to provide some sort of service as to what they are allowed to see while here. They are probably OK, but you never know about those they may talk to about the older couple living out in the middle of nowhere where they made the service call that day. Staying gray for all those outside your trusted group is being smart. I don’t even shoot on a weekend when most within hearing are home. I wait until a workday and then I never blast through a mag that might call attention to us.

  • Excellent article. I have found Selco to be a good source of information. With respect to what he and others have been through with their real life experiences, here’s a little humor with a years of experience behind each gun rule or phrase that support their stories and maybe apply a few to your own life.

    Gun Rules

    1. You are not Superman or John Wayne.
    2. Suppressive gun fire – doesn’t.
    3. If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.
    4. Don’t look conspicuous — it draws fire.
    5. When in doubt, empty the magazine.
    6. Never share a fighting hole with anyone braver than you are.
    7. The most important rule in a gunfight is: Always win / cheat if necessary.
    8. If your attack is going really well, it’s an ambush. 9. Shoot what’s available, as long as it’s available, until something else is available.
    10. Try to look unimportant, because the bad guys may be low on ammo.
    11. Don’t shoot fast, shoot good.
    12. The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.
    13. The important things are always simple.
    14. The simple things are always hard.
    15. The easy way is always mined.
    16. If you are running short of everything except the enemy, you’re in combat.
    17. The purpose of fighting is to win.
    18. There is no possible victory in defense only.
    19. Incoming fire has the right-of-way.
    20. The only thing as accurate as incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
    21. Friendly fire – isn’t.
    22. Radios will fail as soon as you desperately need fire support.
    23. Anything you do can get you shot — including doing nothing.
    24. If you make it too tough for the enemy to get in, you can’t get out.
    25. Tracers work BOTH ways.
    26. If the enemy is in range, so are you.
    27. When both sides are convinced they are about to lose, they’re both right.
    28. Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.
    29. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.
    30. Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
    31. Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
    32. Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just shoot you.
    33. If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.
    34. An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.
    35. ‘The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. G. K. Chesterton
    36. People that value their privileges above their principles will soon lose both.
    37. “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not….”
    38. Never let someone that threatens you get within ‘arms length’ of your position
    39. Concerning guns: 1 is none, 2 is one, 3 is better
    40. Shoot it once, then twice. Ammo is cheap compared to your life.
    41. Only hits count.
    42. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend.
    43. Ten years from now, no one will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
    44. Accuracy is relative. Most combat engagements are dependent on the “pucker factor” rather than the inherent accuracy of the gun.
    45. Use a weapon that works every time. [All skill is in vain when an angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket.]
    46. Someday someone may kill you with your own weapon. Make sure it’s because it was empty and you were outnumbered.
    47. Always cheat; always win. If you walk away, it was a good day.
    48. Always have a plan.
    49. Always have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work.
    50. Experience shows that even back-up plans can become worthless 10 seconds into a combat engagement.
    51. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The visible target should be in FRONT of your gun.
    52. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
    53. Don’t drop your guard.
    54. Watch their hands. Hands kill. [In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them].
    55. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH for as long as it takes.
    56. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
    57. Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
    58. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
    59. Your best option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

      • Morning Daisy…. I only wrote bits and pieces…. most of it comes from others I know who have been through engagements and lived to tell about it… including my own drill instructors, a couple of former rangers who I consider good friends and a lot of postings I’ve found elsewhere on the web… I left out a lot of meme type comments just to try and keep things brief… glad you enjoyed…
        My two favorites are: If you find yourself in a fair fight – your tactics suck, and when the pin is pulled Mr Grenade is not your friend.

  • Seems that a SHTF situation will almost immediately make people more toxic. Normally, we give people the benefit of the doubt because most all of us want to live peaceably next to each other. That’s because doubt can make you feel toxic. Toxins are stressors.

    So, in order to keep toxic people from affecting you more than you want them to, you have to get them out of your life. A toxic person is someone who lies to you, uses you, disrespects you and/or puts you down. Any one or a combination of those is enough to help you resolve where your boundaries are.

    If we’ve done our prepper homework, we should be pretty certain about our neighbors. Personally, I like to hope that most people are decent even when they are challenged beyond normal. But, being practical in SHTF, I don’t want to have any illusions either. I like the comment about being civil but strange. Being a lunatic is a good disguise.

  • Aesop knew the difference between the ant and the grasshopper before 550 B.C. But morons never learn.

  • Another great article. Thanks so very much for putting all this together. (The whole thing, website, email list, etc.) A truly fine resource.

  • I always love the “Go Gray” concept , it is such a joke.
    Quoting the post: “A neutral person is just about as gray as you are.” “Keep an eye on neutral people and stay gray yourself.”
    The object of “Going Gray” is not to be noticed, yet somehow all that “being Gray” or being “neutral”, is very noticeable!

    Now, we need to watching out for “gray people”. Which will generate even more interest in them and make them more noticeable ( because others will notice that you are watching the “gray people”, so they will start watching both you and them). This is basic, human social behavior.

    The best way to be “gray”, is not to be “gray”.
    Just be a good ol’ boy ( or girl). One of the average people.
    Many non preppers stock pile commercially made products. No shame in that. Nothing to hide.
    Or if you have a large garden, doing a lot of canning is common practice.
    Maybe you have lots of friends and family over, as an ” reasonable excuse” for needing all of it.

    The same goes for camping equipment or hunting stuff. ( you might go “gray” on displaying obvious “survival “gear” though, ( bulletproof vests, non hunting weapons, etc.).
    Most neighborhoods have several hunting or camping families in them, so you just make yourself, one more of them.
    Talk to others about hunting and camping.( just not survival or prepping) and people will think you are just “one of those type of people”. Nothing to see here. You will find like minded people and be ignored by the rest.

    Trying to hide who you are, just makes you suspicious and attracts unwanted attention. Basically, “hide in plain sight , by being seen.”
    Don’t change who you are, as that makes you a phony and people spot those quite quickly,, then they want to know what you are hiding.

    You want to be seen a lot, (not unseen, no one is truly unseen or “gray”). The less you are seen, the more people want to know what you are hiding.
    Just be deceptive in what you are showing them. They will decide they know what you are all about and move on.
    This is the true Art of going “Gray”; is the Art of camouflage, or Hiding in plain sight. They see you as something, that you are not. Hunters should understand this concept, very well.

    While you are following this post’s, categorization of people, or profiling them, keep in mind that some of them may be doing as I have suggested, and are actually deceiving you, by hiding in plain sight.

  • Thank you, Daisy: this has been an aspect of prepping that has been on my mind ever since we started. Husband and I, at our age, would have little chance of surviving without our good neighbors, so we decided to look after others as much as we can. I’ve prepped extra for them, including first aid and home treatments. When something in the pantry hits its ‘best before’ date or we don’t really like it anymore, we put it in a “handout” box to give away in a SHTF situation. It’s still edible and nutritious: someone might need it one day. We know there is no guarantee of survival, but we are blessed to be in a friendly and peaceful community and together we may survive.

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