Having been a longtime prepper, a survivalist if you will, I long ago determined that being a lone wolf/solo survivor was a sure road to a quick death or interment in any situation greater than a winter storm. In a grid down/SHTF scenario, being part of a group will be imperative, and the more low key and inconspicuous the better. In the early stages of my “journey,” I allied myself with family and relatives. I made the acquaintance of other like minded individuals, usually through casual conversations followed up by in depth discussions of politics and philosophies. I was asked by leaders of local “groups” to become a member, but I declined as I had designs on forming a group of my own choosing, but it was obvious that some people knew about me. Some of these contacts became close friends and confidants, others nothing more than “good to know people” who thought as I did. At the time, I never gave much thought to the security issues associated with being a prepper/survivalist.
On returning to law enforcement in the mid 90’s, I was required to take a battery of psychological tests to determine if I had any traits that would disqualify me as a peace officer. I did not, but the profiler identified me as an extremely conservative, very right wing individual who would be likely to have a bunker and as someone who would store food, water and guns for the coming revolution! I was shocked, but not as shocked as when the Sheriff asked me if my bunker was above or below ground! I was also dumbfounded when I found that it was illegal for people to get together to train as a militia, whatever that was construed to be! Remember, this is California! Big brother was obviously afraid of the fringe element.
As a full time deputy, I was frequently described by my co workers as a rabid survivalist, a doom and gloomer, and the go to guy in the event of a collapse. Most of it was good natured humor, but it was obvious that they knew something about me. This “ribbing” continued until I left law enforcement. What I came away from law enforcement with, other than my pension, was the undying belief that the Emergency Services operation in this area, and most notably law enforcement, were woefully unprepared to deal with any mass catastrophe situation that would affect them, much less one that affected the local area and precluded massive assistance arriving from elsewhere in the state or other states. A mass catastrophe, such as a major earthquake, would defy description. To the best of my knowledge, the preps by officials in the county where I live consist of 5 gallon survival buckets placed in each county office. The buckets double as portable toilets, seriously! This underscores the dependence of the powers that be on the government, and again underscores the need for the individual to get ready on their own, to be a prepper, but be quiet about it.
It was within the last 5 years that I became very cautious and suspicious about my prepping activities. My good friends and confidants, who knew much about me, my preps and views, had faded into the background, ostensibly giving up on the “cause.” One had come out as a dyed in the wool racist, and as I did not subscribe to his views, we parted ways. Another very close prepper decided that preparedness was much ado about nothing, and sold or gave everything away. None of his stuff was made available to me or any other prepper, for sale or as a gift. We did not part ways, but I truly wondered how much information he shared with his new friends. This was a man that loved the late William Cooper, to the point that he donated $10,000.00 to him! Eternally, or so I thought, suspicious of officialdom! I never figured out what changed his views, but he recently professed, due to the current political/financial climate of the U.S. and the world, that he was again entering the preparedness arena. He will be on his own if this happens.
The point of this article is to, hopefully, alert other preppers to the possibility of being too open with people they think they know and trust. In a truly grid down/SHTF scenario, those that knew about you will remember, and will probably “come a callin.” What may be worse, in a truly catastrophic situation, where everything has gone to hell in a handbag, your former friends might offer you up to secure a better deal or place for themselves and their families. Desperate times lead to desperate measures.
Another thing, not new but now glaring, has made me somewhat apprehensive: Reading government publications relating to crisis relocation and Homeland Security, and more ominously, FEMA, I find that in times of crisis, the responsibility for managing a “situation” can and will be, initially, handed to almost any local elected official or any official designated, including a fire chief, a community service manager, almost anyone, depending on the need and availability. One of my former “confidants/partners” is a community service manager, and works with if not for our local fire chief. Fire chiefs are designated by the government as interim crisis managers, until FEMA/military/homeland security can arrive on scene. Our community service manager was big into prepping and grouping for the common good, but he has since decided that it was too expensive and took too much time, and he backed out. I will stake everything, no pun intended, on the belief that he remembers me and mine. Our local law enforcement, I feel, will not be much of a factor in a catastrophe, as they are so undermanned that they are barely effective now. This may be a good/bad thing, depending on whether or not they are supplemented by “law enforcement” from other agencies, possibly agencies from other countries.
Living in a very small, rural area, and being former law enforcement, I am critically aware of the lack of preparations that are in place to handle anything other than a very minor, local crisis. If “something big this way comes,” the people in this area are going to be on their own for a very long time. There is no infra structure in place to assist the local population, much less any outsiders that might arrive through their own initiative or crisis relocation. Everything we use in this area arrives by truck, on two or three roads frequently closed by winter storms, (What will happen if they are wiped by an earthquake) and they must pass through much larger cities to get here, even if someone sees the need for supplies in a rural area. It will be complete and utter chaos and dog eat dog.
Back to FEMA, in the event of a widespread disaster, such as a California quake, they, the military or one of their designated groups, yes state militias and other recognized groups can come under their control, will eventually arrive on scene to take charge. And they will arrive and take over, and they will take whatever is available for redistribution to the masses, making full use of the executive orders that allow them to seize food supplies. You can bet they will want more than food supplies!
While I am not particularly paranoid, I certainly see the need to keep my preps somewhat secure and secret. As the “cat” may already be out of the bag, my I am in a damage control mode, and I am definitely going as much “low profile” as is possible at this stage of the game. The gist of this article: “Loose lips sink ships,” “A secret is something told to one person at a time,” and “keep your friends close, and your preps closer.” Without knowing what is ahead and what might happen, preparing is a good thing, but being prepared brings with it the possibility of becoming a target. Operational security is the word of the day.