“Sorry, Bob. Go Die Somewhere Else.”

knocking-at-the-doorby D.B.

As I write this, I stare out my window at the minor destruction caused by the recent thunderstorms that ripped through the Midwest over the past few days. It always amazes me what Mother Nature is capable of. At the same time I find it a shame we can’t avoid the rain while the southwest can’t get a drop. But, my problem isn’t with Mother Nature, it’s with human nature.


The problem is what to do with those unprepared family and friends that have willfully or ignorantly choose not to prepare themselves who WILL show up on my doorstep with their hands out begging for me to let them in. Unfortunately, this is a problem I haven’t found a solution for and, frankly, don’t know how to solve. And it’s bothering me… a lot.


It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have and I’m trying harder. But to no avail. I keep finding that people don’t seem to care or steadfastly believe that things can’t get bad enough to warrant my level of preps. Honestly, I’m shocked at this mentality given the state of our economy. I firmly believe it can only get worse. Of course, it’s not helping that I read too many doom-and-gloom books and blog posts. J


Maybe I am a bit paranoid; I guess that’s just part of being a prepper. But that still doesn’t alter the fact that if I’m even remotely correct that I will be the ONLY person in my circle of friends that is remotely prepared. It stands to follow, therefore, that since my friends and family (with the exception of my in-laws) are unprepared, they will be looking for me to care for them. It’s a foregone conclusion in my book.


Now, in the past I’ve read how others suggest dealing with this problem, from clearly stating that others are not welcome if they’re not prepared up to and including physically shooting anyone who isn’t expected to be a part of your preparedness plan. While I can understand this mentality (to a point) with strangers, acquaintances, and even neighbors—I’m sure there’s a few of them I wouldn’t mind shooting at if given the opportunity—but I have to believe that when it comes to family and close friends, this philosophy falls apart.


Take a moment and think about people you truly care about. In addition, consider only those who you know are unprepared and could likely show up TEOTWAWKI + 1. These are people you’ve likely known for many years, even a lifetime. You’ve made many memories with them and care for them deeply. Maybe you’ve helped them move their belongings more than once. Perhaps you go to baseball or football games with them, even vacation with them and certainly hang out with them on weekends. And now all of a sudden they’re unwelcome? I don’t think so.


As an example, I’ve recently broached the subject of preparedness with my soon-to-be brother-in-law, somebody who I respect, have become good friends with, and expect to be one of those “extra” mouths to feed (along with my sister-in-law and niece). Long story short, when pressed as to what he would do if it came down to it, his answer would be to cut back on services he didn’t need (i.e., cable tv, phones, etc) and sell equipment such as his computer. But, what if nobody wants to buy his computer or anything else he has to sell?


So, I pressed him further. I ask, “What if money becomes worthless and you can’t even buy a loaf of bread?” His answer is “I’ll just blow my brains out. After all, who wants to live in a world like that?” Of course, I’m sure this is just a knee-jerk reaction to not having an answer. He is awfully stubborn, after all.


Anyway, that answer bothers me on multiple levels. In fact, the more I think about it the more upset it makes me. Soon he’ll be a family man with a responsibility I imagine he doesn’t truly “feel” yet. That is, the absolute need to care for one’s family no matter what it takes. It also means that he’s choosing to remain ignorant, which means they WILL be looking to me (and my in-laws) to care for them. So, what does he say to me post SHTF? “Oops. I was wrong. Can I come in now? I’m hungry.”


The question is quite simply what to do with this group of people? I don’t know how many there might be for you but it could easily be a dozen or more for me. Considering that I have a family of four, a dozen additional people will effectively quadruple the drain on my already sparse food and supplies. After all, we have one small income and literally no “extra” money to spare. If I thought I could afford to prepare for everyone I would. But I can’t even properly prepare for my family let alone another a few more families. This is my dilemma. And I think it will be yours too.


To be honest, it’s not like I wouldn’t let any of these people inside. Perhaps I’m just a softie at heart. For sure, I’m going to be downright steamed about it. I’m also not naive enough to believe that I will be the sole decision maker in such situations. Even if I did choose to stand my ground and deny their entry I’m sure my wife (and in-laws) would overrule and/or outnumber me. How about you? What would you do in this situation?


Here’s your homework: The next time you’re visiting with good friends (or family) that you know are unprepared, take a good long look at them—make it a bit creepy while you’re at it—and think about what you would do with them in this very situation.


So, which is it? “Come on in, Bob. You’re welcome.” Or “Sorry, Bob. Go Die Somewhere Else.”

20 survival items ebook cover

Like what you read?

Then you're gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That's 400 total uses for these innocent little items!

Just enter your primary e-mail below to get your link. This will also subscribe you to my newsletter so you stay up-to-date with everything: new articles, ebooks, products and more!

By entering your email, you agree to subscribe to the Modern Survival Online newsletter. We will not spam you.


  1. DB, very thought provoking post…We too are on a limited income, and recently had a ‘hitch’ which hit our stores…We are prepared for our household, and potentially one or two others, but only short term…While trying to build our stores, we had a financial situation which we were able to get through due to our stores! So I have that deficit to deal with, as well as our longer term storage plans..AND I am facing potential job loss…bottom line, I am as prepared as I am, and I would have to say no…Unless you bring something of value to the equation, such as a skill I don’t have that could be bartered…

  2. this is something that i, my son and daughter have sat and discussed. in one way we are lucky in a way. we have no family in the same state that we live in. they are over 600mls north. we have discussed where we would go and why. the son’s girlfriend and her family live in a rural area and they are big on canning. between what i have set aside and what they have canned i think we would be in a good position for at least 6 months. they garden extensively and i have a can of heirloom seeds. enough for a nice varied garden.

    but as to let a bunch in and join? no i don’t think so. what we might have set aside will do us good if we are careful. if we were to let others in that would make it hard on all of us. i for one am not going to choose to let my kids, even tho they are adults live on less or do without.

    if it comes down to brass tacks and the choice is us sharing and starving, maybe to much so. or turning away the blind, ignorant and just don’t want to bother people? there is no question about the outcome….

  3. As in all major life decisions, it depends. If there s a total long term collapse like (but not limited to) an EMP strike then the majority of people will not survive no matter what you do. No one has enough preps to feed the unprepared for years, your own group may not survive on your stores long enough to see the other side. Taking others in in those circumstances would be suicide, the exact opposite of prepping.
    Due to dietary considerations, our preps consist of canned and dried meats and vegetables and canned prepared meals such as chili and stews. We do have a pretty good supply of rice and beans that we do not intend to eat, but is just for others. In a less that total long term collapse, our plan is to hand out these along with other basics to those in need. Under no circumstances would we let others live with us and get a complete share of what we have sacrificed to acquire.

  4. Twilight Zone made an episode of this topic.

    I have already educated my neighbors about prepping, including the lesson about NOT begging me for anything after a crisis begins because they should have gathered their own stuff already. Any food or water that I give away is taken from my family, and I won’t do that. My friends and neighbors already know that they are supposed to prep for their families while I prep for mine, and don’t come to my door begging. I don’t mean to sound demonic, but I don’t want my wife and children to cry themselves to sleep because they are hungry after I gave their food away to neighbors who never prepped at all. It might scar me forever to turn away friends and neighbors, but it is better than hearing my children curse me because I gave away their dinner to people who laughed at me for prepping.

  5. Read this whe it originally posted. I printed several copies and gave them to the people that have already approached me about staying at my place. Just as an eye opener. It got their attention as intended. Good to see it again.

  6. Rourke,
    Like usual you are “on target” with this article. I have Never seen so many potential “Threats” to our country as in the times we are living now.
    Being trained in survival in the USAF I am blessed and have been preparing since the early 90’s. Came in real handy during Katrina, but also confirmed the real threats faced by neighbors and families during a real crises.
    I have the added responsibility of a 23 yr. old son who is disabled, so after Katrina we bought our current property and I built the “Alamo” now several years later after losing my 2nd job in as many years I am facing even more pressure to maintain my “readiness”
    I have also come to understand that in certain situations that we could very well face in the very near future, all my training, experience and preps are nothing without “Faith in GOD” and if I truly do believe in My Lord and Savior Jesus, I will be bound by His Word and Laws.
    I imagine that it will be very difficult to face the decisions that you pose with your article. There WILL BE the point and time where those decisions will have to be made.
    I can only pray that The Lord guide me during those times.
    God Bless and Keep you Brother!

  7. While I too pray that the Lord will guide me in such a time, not once has He told me to be stupid and give away what He has guided me to store.
    Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for good reason, God cleansed the earth with floods, and such places will be destroyed again in whatever catastrophe is coming. It is not up to us to counter His ways.
    I too have friends who might show up, but the point with friends is that there is no absolute way of knowing how they’d treat you if the situation was turned the other way. Likely, most would shut the door on your face.
    The remaining would have to show up with whatever food and useful items they have (empty-handed people will be sent away), they MUST do their share of all work that I designate, and since it is my house and supplies, I am the leader (no elections, whatever). If they don’t like it, they will be kicked out. Sounds tough, but these will be tough times and God never told us to feed/save the world. It is up to Him.

  8. This has been a concern of mine as well, so good to hear it addressed. I recently listened to a talk by a guy at solar1234.com (loads of great info. There) He teaches a technique of basically storing flour, oil and salt to make tortillas to feed people. You can add peanut butter, sugar, etc. I made some at home, and I’m convinced. I am also motivated to talk to people in my community but always stop at exactly how to go about it. I’m thinking this might be a cheap way to get people started. It doesn’t cost much at all to have a months supply. Here is the site you can find his talk if you’re interested: http://www.beforethestormhits.com/
    I am not affiliated with his site.

  9. i’ve thought often about this. i’m certain that some people won’t be difficult to turn away. this group will likely include some family. at the same time, i’m hoping that others will come along that will enhance my own survival and will contribute to the mutual support type-thingy that i envision.

    hopefully, i’ll have the good judgement to know who to turn away and whom to let stay.

  10. GREAT ARTICLE! This very topic is the one area that is always on the forefront of my mind. I have neighbors who talk the talk of preparation, but I have been in their homes, and don’t see their preps. I am always on the lookout for other peoples preps, so that I know they will not be a threat to my family when the inevitable finally hits. I too have family who refuse to prepare and say they will just “head to mom’s”, and even one who says she would rather just die than live like that. I remind her that she has two children who, though older, still need her. We are prepared more than many, but still working towards being fully prepared. So have we come to a place and time in our country where we teach our young teenagers how to defend our families and our homes using deadly force? Do we return to a Darwinian form of life where those capable and prepared to survive will, and the rest will be eliminated through natural selection? Do we quit our jobs and cash out our retirements so that we can complete our preparations for what is to come? Will lead become the most precious of metals, since it will be what ensures our ability to feed our families? Should I get out my tin foil hat now? So many questions and the answers escape me due of the unpredictability of man, and the inability to control this government of the people, by the people.

  11. Rourke, Stir the damned pot again! Making me think about stuff I hate thinking about, that HAS to be addressed – pay me now, pay me later. I barely have enough to get spousal unit and I thru an extended ‘bad time’, what will I do with 10 more? My BIL is ‘semi prepared’ (more bullets, no beans) and can be an asset, but the rest of them? Some in their 70’s, some just clueless, a couple of them wanna be high maintenance whiners – boy, do they have a surprise coming! Of course, thats assuming they can even GET here! What if they have to bug in with almost nothing? Do I try to stage a rescue to bring them here? That would leave mine unprotected – can’t happen. The more you analyze the worse it gets! Anyhow, thanks. I need to sort this out.


  12. FIRST Keep in mind that after TSHTF occurs, all former relationships are moot. Only the folks with the food will be around a month from now. Without food & water, they will either die or move on. So don’t feel bad about being nasty to them – they will soon be gone.

    SECOND if you let them in, or feed them even once, or feed them once on condition that they move on and never come back – they WILL come back, because are the only sucker who was moved by their appeal. They will DIE if they cannot pursuade you to feed and shelter them.

    THIRD if you let them in, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EVICT THEM and they are now heir to all you own. Who knows whether they have made a pact to rob and kill you once you have allowed them entry!

    FOURTH if you let them in, you must at some time, go to sleep. When you are asleep you can be disarmed and killed, or disarmed and ejected out into the world that they once lived in. And then, YOU WILL BE THE ONE BEGGING SHELTER. It can happen in a moment.

  13. Here’s an idea. When these beggers show up, just tell them that men with guns showed up and stole all your preps. Tell them that you now have nothing and you are starving just like they are. Just make sure you have your food is well hidden in case the knives come out. Plus I expect the government to send teams around to all the people they suspect of prepping to steal their preps. Just blame it on them.

  14. that is a good topicand one must think long and hard about.i for one am not helping anyone i dont know and know well, as for strangers they must have something worth trading or skills worth the food they will be eating or noway will i help them. as for people who did not prep or are the young kids who are not at fault for their parents, one must thing about why . did thy not have money or are thy just lazy? it will be a very hard decision, and who can turn away kids you know can help when it is time to work in the garden or carrie wood in every day to cook with and heat with, as a father i for one will be hard pressed to do that. but it must and will be done all over if the shit ever does hit. and as for the one that dont go when told to thay will be shot and put about six feet deep sorry but there is no room for anything else there is no way i will let my family suffer when we worked hard to save and prep on a very small budget. and if i can so can everyone else to some level. i will add this to, the ones that are left after a shtf event will be the ones who did what they could and wont be out to get something for nothing those ones will be gone all ready. prep when you can and try to keep it fun when possible but dont ever forget shit happens all the time and just seams to get worst, be it big or small weather close or far away it will happen, and it might be a big life changing event, preps are the only way to have the time to adjust for whatever is called for to carrie on. good luck to all and prep prep prep. hillbilly out

  15. Sorry – no sack lunch. The presence of a sack lunch tells this man/woman that you really do HAVE FOOD INSIDE! To get it, he needs only to conjure up the proper words, and then you will fold. (Have you never dealt with a real salesman?) If given the face-to-face time with you, a motivated salesman can talk his way into your house – if only so his wife can use the bathroom! A dialog has now begun, and soon this silver-tongued orator and his family will be inside with your precious family and the legacy of food and comforts that you have stored for them. Not content to live under your leadership, he will within a day or two,take your gun when you are asleep some night and either kill you and your family – or, as the new owner, do even worse to your wife and kids – or, he will throw you and yours out on the street, and now YOU can starve like he was. Believe me, there will be no sack lunch for your family! You will find yourself kneeling in prayer outside your (former) front door, begging for a scrap of food – and he will ignore you, like you should have ignored him! BECAUSE THERE IS NO FOOD ANYWHERE ELSE! Wakeup, people! This is war, my friends, and anything goes! Pleading, offers of sex, gold coins, grabbing one of your kids and ransoming him for your food – the desperate will try ANYTHING FOR FOOD! learn these two words: ANYTHING GOES!

  16. Some very good thoughts on this subject, and Joan, that’s a very good answer. I also have a disabled son and a wife who is not in the best of health and both of us are on social security, but we manage to put something away each month. We do not have the supplies to feed a dozen or more family members who live a few hours away. the family has been told along with some of their friends that they should at least follow FEMA recommendations as to supplies, they all have the money and have gone through hurricanes here in FL. but still will not do any thing to prepare. They all think they are coming here and have said as much. My neighbors are probably even worse as they live in a rural area as I do, I guess beer is more important.

  17. In my experience and in the experience of five generations of our family the most likely SHTF and TEOTWAWKI starts out as a personal problem. One person needs expensive medical treatment that bankrupts the family. One family loses one of the two wages and can no longer pay the mortgage and the house goes into foreclosure. Then the second job goes. One person and one family at a time. Its easy to judge them for not being prepared but even if they are prepared 12 months goes very quickly and resources disappear at an alarming rate.

    Consider what you will do if the onset is slow and steady – one job, one community at a time, as seems to be happening already. This is much more likely than for all the power to go off, the banking system crash etc all at once.

    So it comes that brother-in-law who was never quick on the uptake is the first to go, the cousin with a psychiatric problem comes next. Oops then Dad loses his job when his whole section at work becomes redundant. There might be months and years in between each step. So how do you deal with the son who doesn’t make an effort, the daughter who spends her money on drugs because she deserves her weekend relaxation times and who then cannot cope without them when she loses her job? And what about parents and in-laws who believe that money is already so tight they can’t afford to prep (well not when they have to keep up payments on that car they just had to have – or they may really not have much at all).

    It becomes very personal and from a relationship perspective very fraught. And the point I’m making is that it happens over months and years. And it can happen to any of us.

  18. I remember when this was first posted and it caused considerable soul searching… as it does now. I tend to follow Harriet’s thoughts…. but regardless… I myself am not depending on just “me” to fulfill all my survival needs, but I am depending on family and some select friends for help. When the needy come “they” will help me decide who deserves a helping hand or a boot to the ass. Humanity is an asset one would be loath to shed, after all you have to be able to live with the life you’ve created. Each circumstance will be measured on it’s merits and I will have help with the measurement, and there’s comfort in that. It’s a good idea to realize that if your not careful you’ll become the thing your trying to save yourself from…..

  19. Here may be a potential solution, I studied on it all afternoon-If you have loved ones or friends who do not prepare, try and get them onboard by having them go in with you to purchase emergency foods, water, etc., which will be stored at your residence. Make them sign off on it, and give a copy to each party. That way, it’s a win-win situation for you both. If they contributed, they get to come to you for help, and they have to help you also. If they don’t want to contribute, get them to sign off that they do not want help, now or in the future, just so you both know where you stand. Let them know that there will be no backing down on your part if push comes to shove. And those who did prepare will, hopefully, stand with you. Make this a part of the agreement also. This is akin to asking someone what to do with their body when they are found dead from no preparing for or escaping from disaster when they could have done so. You could even put that clause in the agreement, if they are close to you.

  20. The best way to avoid this problem is OPSEC. Don’t tell a damn soul what you are doing. Then they won’t think to come to you.

  21. Tex, this is the real world-as big and bad as you think you are, you stand very little chance of making it alone. People are by nature gregarious, and relationships are essential to your mental and physical health. Although I am a former member of the military (think “loose lips sink ships”), and I agree with some aspects of OPSEC, you really should have those you can trust onboard with your plans, as long as they agree to your terms.

  22. I don’t disagree, but telling every tom dick and harry that your a prepper, you have food water and supplies is just nutz. Sure tell your close group of friends and trusted family, but don’t tell the world.

  23. Let’s be clear what we are talking about here; I am talking pure “SHTF” “end of the world”, NOT “storm”, “hurricane”, “power out for three days”. In such a case you know that things will go back to normal again, but in “SHTF” they will never be “normal” again. That said, we are talking true life-and-death; a situation for which you have prepared and now are being challenged to share it with friends, family, neighbors or strangers – all of who are DESPERATE for food, water and shelter. To avoid being convinced by a silver-tongued unprepared someone (either known or unknown), it will be much easier to turn him away if you AVOID EYE CONTACT! To do so, simply talk through the door! If the door has a window, cover the window! Avoiding eye contact does two things in your favor: (1.)You cannot see his misery, which if you are soft-hearted, will cause you to open the door. (2.)He cannot see you; cannot know your age, race, your visual circumstances (beard/clear shaven; clean/dirty clothing; health status, etc.); therefore, he is unable to craft an argument by which to convince you to open the door. If you are clean-shaven, and he can see that, he now knows that you have water to waste on shaving, so he can begin to speak to that. If you have a cane, he knows that you are weak on one leg, etc.

    In a SHTF situation, YOU MUST NEVER OPEN THAT DOOR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! Treat neighbors, family and friends as complete strangers, they now have no relationship to you at all, anymore. They had their chance to prepare and now will pay the price – life is cruel. But remember! Once that doorlock clicks “off”, a desperate starving stranger (or a cousin or friend or neighbor!) will be able to muster up superhuman strength to slam your door open against your body and come in and take all that you have! Once the doorlock has been unlocked, all the safety and security of your house has been torn away! You have squandered your family’s security and now you will pay the price! The only thing between you and your death is a movable sheet of wood or steel that need only be pushed open just a foot so as to allow a starving child to slip through and – taught by his desperate father on the other side of your door – will tackle you while you try to keep the door closed!
    Now his father on the other side of the door can push it open – with his child embracing your legs – and it’s “GAME OVER!”

  24. Hi Karen – about getting folks to “sign an agreement that they don’t need help…” would never work in a true “SHTF” situation. Imagine them outside your door, three days without food, drinking dirty water from puddles after walking three days and nights to get to your house – perhaps having lost several friends/relatives along the way. They knock and identify themselves and ask for entry; you hold out the signed agreement and deny entry based on that signed agreement; can you imagine such a ridiculous situation? Can you imagine for a minute, those outside honoring that agreement? How about yourself – could you keep them out on the strength of such a “signed agreement”.
    Karen – get serious! This is life or death, not the laws or more’s of a lost civilization!

  25. Wiseman, read my entire post, instead of indulging in name-calling. The “agreement” is only a tool to manipulate certain loved ones and very close friends into thinking about disaster prep.

  26. I have had the ‘discussion’ with those that I know. Some have surprised me with their level of preps. But most choose to ignore or dismiss the very real ‘possibilities’ presented to them.

    Now, we live in the country. We garden, can our harvest, put food by using several methods, and know what it takes to grow and store enough for our own family needs. We have measures in place to expand on that quickly should the need arise.

    We also know who will be here, who won’t, and what each who will come will bring to the table. We know we will make it through to the ‘other side’ of a long term event.

    The post, more than making you wonder how you would handle people at the door at the START OF A LONG TERM EVENT, should also make you think about how YOU WILL HANDLE IT. A ‘can of garden seeds’ is great – when they are fresh, but as it ages the production quickly drops, so you need a new can to supplement every two or three years. Better yet, buy a new can and use the existing one to see if it really performs. Raising a garden is more than throwing seeds on the ground with a little water and then picking dinner in a week or two.

    If you cannot make it on your own, without going to the store, today, how will you do it when the store is closed for the duration?

    Our grandparents did it, and they worked at it around the year. This is what it takes. Get ready NOW. Raise your garden, can your food, live off what you grow or catch or hunt for during the year. When you have done that, you will also know if your situation could support other mouths to feed, if you have enough land to cultivate, or if you are engaged in serious ‘wishful thinking’ and need to re-evaluate YOUR status.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Good luck to all who look to the future. And . . .

    Happy New Year.

  27. In an all- out shtf scenario, your family still comes first. You will not be able to help those twelve people without sacrificing your wife and kids to their complacency and foolishness. Stop warning them, it’s too late. Look, they can’t be bothered. If you plan on helping them when the shtf, just stop prepping now, because you have only wasted your time, money, and concern for your wife and children, because your hard earned props will be consumed by those people.

  28. As much as I agree with you, you would still have to crawl onto bed with your wife at night after throwing her sister/brother to the wolves. You sure you could live with that?

  29. as to friends that you have talked to? family members that you have talked to?

    make sure that they know up front that it will do them no good to come to your door to beg. you can say it how ever nicely you want. tell them that if something does happen that you wont be able to help them because it’s all you can do to put some stuff aside for yourself and family. stress that even a little could really help them out. if they simply don’t care and can’t be bothered to save themselves??? then oh well, don’t feel that you have to be bothered to save them from themselves.

    make sure that your own household members knows this!!!!! tell your kids, your wife, girlfriend, s/o that this is not open for negotiation. that you don’t care who it is that comes knocking. that they will be given nothing and that they will not be taken in and cared for.

    sorry, but i am not willing to see my kids, my grandson go hungry and without necessities because someone else was to freaking stupid, willfully ignorant and or blind to see to their own care and future….

  30. An interesting quote I found on http://www.survivalblog.com would fit for those who would consider taking someone in based upon what their skill set is.

    “I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.” – H.L. Mencken, 1927

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.