Security of Information: Or how not to blow your OPSEC (operational security)

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by E. Evans

Introduction

One way to help protect yourself, your plans, and your survival goods is to avoid letting others know you have them. This is called security of information, which is a fancy way of saying “Keep your mouth shut and tell only those that need to know.”

The information about your preparations (what you have, how much, and where) is often just as important as the items themselves. Once others know you have something of value, then they will want it too, and this makes you a target.

People usually want to help each other, but good intentions can often lead to bad results. By all means, preserve your humanity by helping others, but assess the risks first. Here is a scenario based on real-life events witnessed firsthand that illustrates the problems of telling others what you have – even people you trust.

The Scenario

It’s winter, and the electricity is out. The ice storm has wrecked its frigid havoc across most of the state leaving many homes – including yours – without power. You are left to survive in sub-freezing temperatures until power is restored, which could take weeks.

But you are prepared! You possess a trusty generator capable of restoring the comforts of modern living, so you trek across the icy walkway to the storage shed and retrieve it for use. Just as you begin to fire it up, you hear the rattle of an old pickup truck skidding into the yard.

It’s Cousin Moochie.

“Nice weather we’re havin’, huh?” Cousin Moochie mutters with a forced smile as he pries the truck door open and extricates himself from his old rattletrap. You have not seen or heard from Cousin Moochie in years, but you quickly sense a hint of desperation behind his feigned friendliness. You can tell he wants something…badly, and you can guess what.

“I’ve been talking to others to see how they’ve been making out and they appear to be doin’ okay. Ol’ Jedd, my neighbor, has a propane stove and a pantry to last him another eight months,” Cousin Moochie blurts out loud. His jabber echoes through the eerily silent neighborhood. He has one of those voices.

Cousin Moochie continues. “I’m okay, but I don’t reckon I’ll last much longer without electricity. I remember you sayin’ you had a ‘ginny rater’ a while back, so I was wonderin’…”

That was fast. The ice storm hit only two days ago, and already somebody wants your generator. What a minute. How did he know you had a generator? Oh, that’s right. At the family reunion three years ago, you bragged about the new generator you bought and how comfortable you were during the ice storm that struck earlier that year. You had lights and running water while your neighbors didn’t. You felt superior, and it was your moment to shine.

After hearing his sob story and his promise to return it after two days, you finally agree to loan Cousin Moochie your generator. You don’t really want to, but you do anyway to avoid any feelings of ill-will. After all, he’s family.

Two days come and go, but no word from Cousin Moochie. You try to call him, but the phone lines are out. You need a bath, and you need your generator to get running water.

Just then, a beat-up jeep roars into your yard. Its driver disembarks, and someone you have never seen before struts across your icy yard like a bull with authority. He pounds his fists so hard on your front door that icicles shake loose from the gutters.

“Open up!” he bellows.

Common sense says run to the bedroom and hide under the covers, but not you. You open the door.

“I’m Orgus Fargluk. Moochie’s neighbor. I want food!” he shouts. Another icicle falls from the gutter due to the reverberation from his boisterous voice. His countenance is a combination of anger and desperation. You can tell right away that this could turn ugly.

“I saw that you loaned Moochie your generator, so we got to talking. My family is starving, the stores are sold out, and Moochie says you have plenty of food stockpiled away,” he continues. “I’ll even pay,” he says as he rolls out a dollar bill. “I want three cases. Get it. Now!” He thrusts the dollar into your face.

That Moochie. You recall the passing comment you made about how important it was to have enough food stored ahead of time in case of emergencies. You cannot help but wonder how many others he told.

Of course, you have no intention of giving this uninvited, rude bully anything. You are not running a store, and if you start feeding him now, he will only be back for more when he runs out. He might brings his friends, and…you shudder at the thought of the company he keeps. You do not know how long the blackout will last, so you are reluctant to sell or give anything away. Besides, this man had the same amount of time to prepare that you did. Why should you jeopardize your well-being for his lack of foresight?

You decline, politely at first, but politeness means nothing to brutes like Orgus Fargluk. You hold your ground. After giving you many shouts, threats, and obscenities of intensifying ferocity, Orgus eyes you with looks that could kill and leaves. His final words are “You’ll regret this.”

That was nasty. You hope no one else shows up. More importantly, you want your generator back. Unable to reach Cousin Moochie by phone, you decide to risk your life on the icy roads and drive to his place. Miraculously, you hear the familiar rattle of his old truck.

“Sorry, I couldn’t return yer ‘ginny rater’ sooner,” Cousin Moochie says as he gives every excuse in the book to hide the real reason: he did not want to return it.

The two of you carry the generator to your garage and set it down. You see right away that there is a huge dent in its side and oil is leaking out. That was not there before. Cousin Moochie hops back into his pickup and says, “Oh, it doesn’t work anymore. Just quit this mornin’. No idea why. Thanks!” He drives away as fast as his tires can spin on ice.

Great. You perform a good deed by loaning your generator, but you receive it back inoperable in addition to a madman showing up on your doorstep.

Lessons Learned

Even though an ice storm and generator are the topics, the principles are applicable to any emergency scenario. So, what can we learn from this?

1. You Will Be Remembered

When you tell others about your stockpile, they will remember you when times are bad. Sure, your generator might be collecting dust in the storage shed during 100+ degree weather in the summer. Nobody cares then, so what’s the harm in telling?

The harm comes from hungry people who become surprisingly creative during an emergency. Their survival is at stake. Somehow, they will recall the conversation they had with you last summer when you tried to tell them to prepare for the future. You mentioned how you always kept a three month’s supply of food on hand. You urged them to buy a generator while they were still available. Big mistake. Not many people discuss preparations, so you stand out, and thus, you are quickly remembered.

Most people will never prepare ahead. According to their reasoning, why should they prepare for themselves when they know you have it? The real life character on whom Orgus Fargluk is based summed it up, “Why should I prepare for myself when I can just take it from you?”

If people do not know you have something, then they cannot make plans to take it from you.

2. Word Spreads

—-”I’ve been talking to others to see how they’ve been making out and they appear to be doin’ okay.”

When the disaster first hits, people are friendly. They call everyone they know and compare stories. They spread the word about they are doing, how their neighbors are faring, and – you get the idea. This is where information is leaked. Resist the temptation to brag about how you saw this coming months ago, and give the impression that you are just as forlorn as everyone else. Blend in. Avoid telling about your stockpile, spare cash, gasoline reserves, bottled water, and whatnot that you spent months preparing for. If others do not know what you have, then they cannot tell others.

3. Strangers Might Know What You Have

—-”Ol’ Jedd, my neighbor, has a propane stove and a pantry to last him another eight months”

Guess what? You have never met Ol’ Jedd, but now you know he has heat and plenty of food. If your supplies deplete and you become desperate, whose place will come to mind first? You know where Cousin Moochie lives, so Ol’ Jedd shouldn’t be hard to find.

There will always be someone with greater desperation, so you had better get to Jedd before someone else does. Oh, wait. What are you thinking? You would never harm Ol’ Jedd, but how many other hungry strangers would? The temptation is there, and Jedd’s supply is known. If Moochie told you, who else has he told? Who will those people tell? Word gets around.

Ol’ Jedd could be you.

This point cannot be overemphasized. Your friends have friends you have never met. Your relatives have neighbors you know nothing about. Even though you might trust your friends and your lone neighbor living six miles away, they, on the other hand, might tell people they trust who you have never met. Can you risk complete strangers knowing your secrets?

4. Eavesdropping

—-At the family reunion three years ago, you bragged about the new generator you bought…

You never know who might overhear your conversations. Sure, you trust Cousin Moochie, but what about nutty Uncle Orwell who believes in big government and hates people like you? He attended the reunion too and overheard your conversation. What about the stranger in the next aisle in the supermarket? How about that little old lady sitting in the church pew behind you?

People pick up quickly on things that interest them, and they will remember your information and relay it to others. Maybe not intentionally, but they do eventually during casual conversations.

The little old church lady might tell her rebellious grandson who is on parole. Nutty Uncle Orwell might report you to the State. Crazy people exist, and you do not want to risk a desperate lunatic following you home for a can of beans just because he heard you tell someone else you had some food stored away. If a lunatic does not know you have food in the first place, then you reduce your chances of being a target.

5. Relatives Can Be Problematic

—-”After all, he’s family.”

Family and relatives can be an area of weakness partly because of a sense of obligation. Do you turn away your own kin? It’s an awkward situation. Relatives can be a blessing or a curse, and family grudges stemming from a refusal to help can last a lifetime.

There are nuts on every family tree, and often, relatives can be worse than belligerent strangers. While some relatives will have your best interests at heart, there are always those relatives who feel entitled to take advantage of you and your hospitality because they are related. They will drive in unannounced and expect you to feed them. If they
borrow something from you, they may return it broken and leave you holding the bill.

This poses a threat to your survival during an emergency because these kinds of people act as leeches who gradually deplete your resources. They will always remember how well-prepared you are, inform others, and…here they come! If you turn them away, then they’ll bear a grudge against you for eternity. When it comes to most relatives, it’s usually better if they have no knowledge of your preparations just to keep the peace.

Relatives are a personal decision, so decide in advance how you will deal with them. It’s too late if they show up on your doorstep during a calamity. Somehow, they expect you to help them, and when you don’t…

6. People Are Reluctant To Give Up Necessities During an Emergency

—-”Sorry, I couldn’t return your ‘ginny rater’ sooner”

Once people acquire a comfort zone, they will be reluctant to give it up – both in good times and bad times. Can you risk loaning an essential piece of your survival gear if doing so causes you discomfort and threatens your long-term plans? If you loan something important, how easily can you get it back when you need it?

7. You Lose Control Over Your Loaned Items

—-You see right away that there is a huge dent in its side and oil is leaking out. Cousin Moochie hops back into his pickup and says, “Oh, it doesn’t work anymore.”

Keep in mind that when you loan something out to Cousin Moochie, you lose your control over your valuables. He now has the power and the bargaining advantage. You are at Cousin Moochie’s mercy.

You have no guarantee that Cousin Moochie will return your generator (or whatever you loaned to him) in good condition. Why should he? It’s not his, and he has no investment in it. When you need to use your own generator, will it still be in working condition? Do you trust Cousin Moochie to take care of it?

Also, you have no idea who he, in turn, might loan it out to. Even if Cousin Moochie cares for your generator like a cute, fluffy kitten, he might loan it out to some cantankerous old cuss who treats it like an old mule and breaks it in the process. Worse, someone else in Cousin Moochie’s neighborhood might hear the sound of the generator and steal it during the night. Can you live with the loss?

Of course, if Cousin Moochie doesn’t know you have a generator, then he probably won’t show up to borrow it in the first place.

8. Unexpected Guests

—-”someone you have never seen before struts across your icy yard like a bull with authority and pounds hard on your front door.”

When others know you have something of value, then they will want it too. Whether it be a generator, a can of beans, bottled water, or money. If you are not a target, then others will not likely aim for you.

Do you notice that Orgus did not go to some other neighbor in your area? He went straight for you. Why? Because Cousin Moochie told him. Who told Cousin Moochie? You did. By telling Cousin Moochie, you indirectly told others. The conversation does not end when you stop talking.

Be careful who you tell since you never know who might learn about your secrets. You do not want an uninvited stranger asking for a handout because he heard from “a friend of a friend” that you had food stored away.

9. Mounting Tensions

—-”I’m Orgus Fargluk. Moochie’s neighbor. I want food!” he shouts. His countenance is a combination of anger and desperation. You can tell right away that this could turn ugly.

The longer an emergency drags on, the less civil people become. At first, there is a spirit of camaraderie as people converse with each other and offer help. They have the “we’re all in this together” attitude, and treat the emergency like an adventure.

After a few weeks or even a month or two of harsh conditions with no relief in sight, people are no longer cheery, and they try to avoid others. Why? Because their own resources are running low, and they wish to avoid confrontations with others seeking relief.

This actually happened during a real ice storm lasting a little over a month. Many went without electricity, running water, and heat for several weeks. At first, neighbors and relatives were calling one another and offering help. People are surprisingly chatty during a power outage, and strangers will talk to others they would normally ignore during good conditions. Confined to their homes with plenty of free time, people were eager to talk to anyone.

Some contact is warranted, such as checking on an elderly relative, but most of the time, people are excited and they just want to swap stories for fun. “Are you doing better than I am?” “You know that big tree around the block? It’s gone.” “We have enough drinking water to last a month.” “We’re just sitting near a window making puzzles. How ’bout ya’ll?”

But the merriment dissipates. A few weeks later, the only phone calls were cries of help. “Could I borrow your generator? The one you told me about?” “My pantry is bare, and I can’t get to the store. Will you lend me some of your food?” “You have drinking water, right? I need enough for a family of six. I’m coming over to your place now. Have it ready.”

The problem was those who had supplies needed them too. The well-prepared folks stocked up in the first place to feed their own families, not to feed the neighborhood. Ice storms tend to last. Their supplies were running low, so they had no choice but to refuse aid to others. The result? Grudges were created as some neighbors refused to help. Others felt slighted. Some had the entitlement mentality: “If you have it, then you owe it to me! How dare you refuse!” Threats were made, and feelings of animosity were nurtured. These feelings were not forgotten when the storm passed, and those who made no effort to keep their preparations secret became the biggest targets for handouts.

There is a saying that goes, “If the bomb doesn’t get you, your neighbors will.” This is why.

Conclusion

Preparing for an emergency includes protecting the outflow of information regarding your supplies in addition to the supplies themselves. What you say – or do not say – is just as important as your possessions. To an extent, words and secrecy while blending in with others can protect your valuables just as much as weapons and security systems.

Even when times are good, remain silent and avoid revealing what you have except to those close to you who have proven their trustworthiness and who absolutely need to know, and even then, reveal only what is necessary. That way, during a future emergency, you can reduce your chances of becoming a target who Cousin Moochie remembers.

People generally want to aid others in distress, so it is a shame that we must learn to be this secretive and distrusting of people. However, a little caution is better than great regret. While not all people may mutate into savage marauders, one is too many – especially if that one knows about your stockpile. Better safe than sorry.

While keeping quiet about your activities might not eliminate all threats, it is one added strategy that will help put the odds in your favor.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com  and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of  Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

Comments

  1. I have been aware of prying eyes and big ears.
    And you don’t even know that they are even aware of what you are talking about.
    Glad I am the hermit type.
    Wish I had not told some that I had supplies.
    My OPSEC from neighbors prying eyes is I try to make my shopping appear as regular shopping and with that they will think that mine will be gone as soon as theirs is. And I tend to make my trips out match when the grocery ads come out even if some of the purchases are large like 25lbs of flour etc.
    One always has to think faster than we talk.

    • Ellen. My wife will sometimes make a wedding cake for someone.I guess that could be a excuse for a large purchase of flower or sugar or something. She only does it for friends or relatives so we do not have a commercial building.

      • I think I would go to the door armed if someone is banging on it after a ice storm or earthquake in my area.That tends to humble even the loudmouth.It would be hard to intimadate someone wile looking down the barrel of a shotgun or a 45 or even a 22 rifle.

        • Yes, but this changes the narative a fair bit as well.
          Once a firearm has been deployed, even if not discharged, the story stops being “So and So have food and we don’t”, and becomes “So and So are dangerious, and they have food that they are refusing to share with those of us who are so much more in need”
          In otherwords, once you have brought a firearm into that evrionment, you have lost. All you can do at that point is limit the damage to yourself.
          And even a minor disaster, if it drags on past a few weeks, will have people forming organised raiding parties.

  2. Great post. Well thought out and prepared. Biggest problem at our place is my 13 year old, heck, even my 22 year old telling their friends. They are excited about a gun purcahse, a new skill set learned, in amazement at some amount of food, or just excited about the art of preperation…then, they tell their friends.
    It’s a great teaching time and I don’t want to quash their enthusiasm, but you can’t untell what has been told.
    Thanks.

    • Boadiceaw71 says:

      I’m having the same problem. My kids are excited and like to tease me about being crazy (as they help me prep with smiles on their faces). They tell their friends, who have since told their neighbors. I made the mistake of asking one of my classmates and she blurts out to class (every five weeks because that’s when a new class starts) that I’m prepping for the end of the world if you want food come to her house (pointing to me). My neighbors have said the same thing. Now, my response has become, “No, I’ll help you learn how to prep and can, etc, but if you come over thinking you’re getting anyting I have, you’re going to have a facefull of lead” (which I was advised not to tell people as well).
      I don’t think there is a happy anwer. You want to hook up and mingle with like minded people to share recipes, plans, ideas, etc. and you end up with ding dong neighbor who scopes out your house every time you open the garage. I’m at the point I don’t know how to secure it, and I’m a renter.

      Great article. Wish I would have read it sooner.

      • Boadiceaw71,

        Well, it’s a good thing you are a renter because when you lease is up you can find a better place to live. If you must remain in that neighborhood, wait until after the Mayan calendar ends and then admit to everyone how foolish you were and let it be known that you have sold all your preps. Say things like, “I can’t believe how dumb I was thinking the world was going to end.”

        • Hunker-Down says:

          Gayle,

          Most of the prepping tasks I need to do or to learn make me feel like a boy scout with no merit badges.

          My memory has a room temperature IQ but the easiest thing for me to remember is all the stupid Bubba type answers we need to use when accosted with prying questions.

          I’ll put an entry in my PC calendar to post your idea in this blog on 1-15-13 as fodder for the feds data scraping software.

      • My son was so excited about my 10-22 that I gave it to him.

  3. CountryGirl says:

    I am an honest law abiding person who is morally opposed to looting or otherwise taking anyone else’s property abandoned or not. However I would be a liar and a fool if I were to claim I would quietly starve to death and watch my family starve to death while my nieghbor had food and was broiling steaks on the Barbie. So I have to assume everyone else would feel same and in fact those who are not incumbered by morals and honesty would do something sooner then I would and with more violence. I am also unfamiliar with robbing someone at gunpoint but even I realize that I need a good plan with 2 or 3 backup positions in the event that the target is prepared to defend himself and his goods. I would likely have one chance to pull it off and I would need to use subtrafuge, suprise and overwhelming force to succeed. I also recognize what probably every “bad guy” in history has recognized, i.e. that I cannot leave any witnesses/survivors. Either they will turn me in if there is any law and order left or if there is no law they will come after me personally. All of this is to say that if you have food, goods and/or a warm home that anyone coming to your door must be treated like an armed criminal/murderer. You cannot trust anything they say or do and you must assume their intent is to get you into the open so a sniper can shoot you. There is no way you can afford to trust anyone once our system breaks down.

    At the least you need a fence and a locked gate. You need a landscape that offers no place to hide and the willingness to protect your property. Anyone on the wrong side of the fence is not there to sell you girl scout cookies. You also need so much more then can be discussed in a single comment to this post…

  4. In addition to operation security, people need to consider security through obscurity. Do not draw attention to yourself, especially during a crisis. I’d recommend exercising noise and light discipline. If your place looks warm and fuzzy during the emergency compared to everyone else’s misery, you will be seeing plenty of unwanted visitors.

    So you kept your mouth shut about the generator. Great! The moment you start that generator everyone in the neighborhood now knows you have that generator. People will wonder what else you have. Create a sound baffle system to reduce the noise of the generator.

    • Dean in Michigan says:

      Good point Cain….

      Noise and light for sure, and lets add smell to the mix. We will all want a nice warm meal at some point, and will have to cook our preps. Think of all the times we are minding our own business, and all of a sudden we smell something tasty. I would imagine our perceptiveness to that would double if we hadn’t eaten in a week.

      Just something to keep in mind, probably couldn’t completely eliminate it.

      • Since right now I live in town with VERY close neighbors, part of our plan is to stay warm and fed with very little noise/smoke that would attract others. We have a fair stock of items that can either be eaten cold or with very little heat. A backup heater that emits no smoke. Propane camping equipment that leaves little signature.
        The next problem is to keep it from smelling like food. Think I’ll move that rank cat box out to the porch! The smell of that cat box will kill the smell of fresh bread and grilled steaks!

        • 2nd good reason I heard to have a cat – Number one is rodent control.. #3 is to make a pair of warm gloves ( i hope wife does not read this) ;>)

      • I completely forgot about that. Ever notice how your nose kicks up a notch when you are hungry?

        • Rob in Ontario says:

          during the ice storm in the north east and eastern canada people that had genny’s lost them to others that needed them too– I have a book of stored from the ice storm — whole section in there of stolen genny’s one power worker up a pole working and someone took the one he was using — there are now very quiet ones that would help and I have built a wooden box for mine to lessen the noise there are also invertors that would help some people

    • Encourager says:

      Cain, we have a noisy generator. During power loss, neighbors 3000 feet from our house comment on hearing it, especially at night. We cannot afford to replace it, it is a whole house generator and cost us a fortune. What can we do to create a sound baffle system? What is involved? Thanks!

      • Encourager, I have a three method system to assist and sure others can put suggestions.
        1. I have a car muffler on mine that I had to reduce the noise and it helped.
        2. I created a box of 1″ plywood that is lined with a tin sheeting to avoid potential fire and reduce a heat signature. It has one side open to direct noise and reduce noise.
        3. You can dig a hole to where the generator is below ground level so that the dirt along sides absorbs sound and you can create a tarp or wood setup that works like a stadium with a partial dome to further absorb and deflect sound.

        • Digital_Angel_316 says:

          Right concept — here is a link to a continuation of your idea:
          http://soundproofing.org/infopages/generator.htm

          They recommend a two or three stage box approach, with 2″ foam insulation inside and outside of the inner box. they also state:
          “Plywood is not recommended because wood transmits sound so readily. “MDF” – Medium Density Fiberboard is best.”

          D.A.316

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Encourager,

        There is a guy, ‘bctruck’ who has a Youtube video; add a car muffler to your generator to quiet the noise.

      • Encourager…..
        Can your neighbor, 3000 feet away, hear your car running? Maybe I don’t understand just what your “set up” is but isn’t a good muffler a possible answer?

        • Encourager says:

          Hawkeye, when a storm came through a few years ago and we were without power, we had neighbors commenting on hearing our genny when they were outside cleaning up the mess. It is louder than a car running, for sure. Hubby does not want to put a muffler on it, worried it will mess up the generator. He is a retired engineer and worked in the auto industry so knows what he is talking about. He did say he was going to put a stainless steel pipe on it and direct the exhaust downwards…right now it is directed straight to the front of the property at the neighbors. The genny is mounted on a concrete slab with pipes going directly to the propane tank, so can’t move it.

        • sounds like he has a deisle genny.

  5. Just read this on Yahoo news
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/in-demand.html
    I believe it is the billions of population, oil prices, and agriculture controls. Well control period over everything.
    But who am I to interject my opnion?

    • This reminds me of the movie ” Aliens”. ” That’s just great man, we’re all dead man!”

  6. This is a very interesting read, I am a fairly open between my personal blog, and in regards to family and friends.

    As for family, they may know about some things I talk about, but given that the closest ones on the hubbies side are six plus hours driving away, and that they are all prepped up in cottage country, on a short term issue, they are not likely to get here, and as sad as it is to say, on a longer term issue, they are all on meds that without them, they would not be here for long.

    My own family all lives in alberta and I’m in ontario, so the odds of any of my cousins dropping by are pretty nil.. Which leaves my small group of friends in the local area..

    I am very private in regards to my farm and who is allowed on it.. its a running joke at this point with the local farmers that no one has been in for coffee in my house since I moved in, I will stop you at the gate or the yard to have a visit.

    Having said that, I am aware that we are the “green hippie couple” that grows their own food etc. Out of my limited friends cicle, which includes four main couples, all are preppers-some better then others, but all far ahead of the general population, three of them have their own land/critters/wood heat, personal wells/gardens etc.

    The fourth is a family that would be heading my way, if push come to shove and they have a number of skills, plus a very good line up of protection value.

    I guess that like everyone else, you have to deal with the folks that drive in the yard case by case.

  7. This goes double if you’re ever thinking about answering one of those Tv news groups advertising for people who are ‘prepping’. Re: the most recent fiasco that went on with the ‘prepared TN prepper’ who lost it all right after NatGeo aired his story.
    Another OpSec proposal is to not let anyone know where you live. Even your neighbors. (Mom might be OK, if she’s in the nursing home for senility, since no one will believe she’s if being factual or dreaming.)

    • Actually, he was institutionalized several days before the show actually aired. It is unknown at this time if his willingness to be on the show played a part or not but it does make one at least a little cautious.
      For that doctor to gave had him committed against his will then several steps and precautions had to be taken. The doctor opens himself up to huge liability otherwise.
      unfortunately through my job I am very familiar with this process. But I ha e to agree that everyone featured on the show ultimately sacrificed their OPSEC.
      But I have to agree that m.at people featured on this program did ultimately sacrifice their POSED.COPSE

      • I just realized how bad my last post looks, especially the last two lines. Oh well, guess I shouldn’t try posting from my cell phone! I will rewrite it here: I have to agree that most of the people featured on the show did ultimately sacrifice their personal OPSEC.

        I also want to say that I think that this is a very good article, as well as a very timely one.

    • I have a p.o. box so I almost never give my address to anyone.

  8. MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

    WOW. Wow. This gives me so much to think about. First, thank you. Some of the points you have made are very important.

    The one that stands out the most for me is the “relatives” one. Just the other day, it occurred to me that my father’s other 3 children and their families (and pets) will feel ‘entitled’ to come HERE if TSHTF where they are; they all live within a few block area of each other in a very bad neighborhood in a big city a couple hours away. They already come and go at will (and at convenience), with no notification or contribution, and I am sure they will be that way when/if TSHTF. They have never shown any respect or consideration for the fact that I LIVE here with Dad and this is my HOME as well. They have not bothered ONCE to ask how it’s going with OUR father or if I need help…in almost 4 years! I do not have a good relationship with them and they will NOT be prepared in any way at all. They all have pretty decent jobs and make good money, but spend it readily and have NO preps. Notice the caps? I’m getting anxious writing this. It’s a new thought and one that makes me really uneasy. I have not discussed my prepping with them…asked one of them once if they kept a food stash (a family of 4 with multiple pets) and I was told “No.” However, my food stash boxes are in the laundry room, and I am sure it has been noticed. I need to think of someplace else to put it. I think this next check, I will invest in a metal cabinet I can lock and put in the hangar behind my boxes of other stuff. And I need to give some serious thought as to how I will handle it if/when they show up out here. Two of the three are quite “dense” and pay no attention to world affairs, other than to complain about it. I will have little or no control over the situation here if/when they showed up. Yikes.

    The other consideration for me is neighbors. This is a community of a combination of grounded intelligent people and a bunch of armed, doped-up, mouth-breathing bottom-feeders. There WILL be trouble with the second group if/when TSHTF. There is also a large % of aging folks here. They will be hard-put to deal with things in a SHTF scenario, as this is isolated here. I am giving a talk here to the women’s auxiliary in a week about Emergency Preparedness. This is exactly where info could be passed to others. I WILL keep my mouth shut about my preps and lie if asked direct. It will be good for me to do both: talk about being prepared, while keeping my info to myself. I’ll have to generalize.

    You have given me LOTS to think about!!

    • MtWoman,
      A good friend and I also present a lecture/seminar on preparedness basics, an when asked about our own prep, we answer truthfully, “We’re both working on preps as time and money allow, but still have a long way to go”. Generally satisfies the question and at least leads one to believe we’re just getting started also. Remember that perception IS reality.

  9. Enjoyed this thought provoking piece.
    Cousin Moochie could also be just about any” brain dead, mouth breather welfare weenie” who expects others to do it all for them.

    The adage, loose lips sink ships is still true. Those who prepare for future should remember DSYI (Don’t signal your intentions).

  10. Great story, really brings the importance of OPSEC to the forefront. I would like to hear suggestions on how to “Undo” any unwitting verbal or “look what I’ve got” info damage you may have already leaked out in the past.

    • Hi Mid-west Mrs-
      A convenient flood would work, if you are using your basement or root cellar. Unfortunately, these things can and do happen, especially with the unpredictable storm patterns of the last few years. In my case, it was not flood but a well-meaning spouse who decided to clean out the basement of ‘old stuff that is just taking up space’ while I was away with the kids for a week that undid almost a decade of preps masquerading as camping supplies… and I’m still not speaking to him about it – but these kinds of things do happen. Just after the story, keep what you do to yourself in the future! I certainly have learned my lesson…

      • alikaat,
        I love the “well-meaning spouse” statement!
        If I remember correctly, back when that happened, your description of the incident certainly didn’t include any statements like well-meaning! Glad everything worked out for you.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Mid-west Mrs,

      Oh, those guns? The kids got into them and we lost a bunch of sleep over it so we sold ALL of them.

      Yeah, we used to have some food put back but some of it spoiled and ants got into it so we trashed it. Or we got tired of stumbling over it and gave it to the soup kitchen.

      The generator? I think it broke. It wouldn’t start the last time we tried.

      Are these lies? Yes.
      You need to decide if not lying has a higher priority than the safety of your family in a SHTF situation. Set your priorities and live by them.

      • HD,
        “The generator? I think it broke. It wouldn’t start the last time we tried” is not a lie. I just failed to tell them I hadn’t put any fuel in the tank before trying to start it.

    • Schatzie Ohio says:

      I heard so much talk about me being crazy that I thought maybe everyone was right so I gave it all to charity. By any chance you have something to help us out?

    • Good question. I wish there was a magical “memory loss” pill for other people since this is comparable to restoring toothpaste after squeezing it out of the tube.

      As for myself, I adopted two strategies: Change my reputation, and Security Through Obscurity.

      I gradually worked on changing my reputation during good times by lettings others know that I was no longer loaning my items. Most people understood the hint and kept the peace. Sometimes, this meant a plain, “No.” Politely, of course.

      When others needed help, I no longer dashed to the phone booth to change into my Superman costume. I took my time or not at all. (Nothing was life-threatening.)

      Slowly, people got the message, and word began to spread. “Oh, no! We have to fend for ourselves now!” A few people did feel offended, and that was unavoidable. However, news travels. Even Cousin Moochie (not his real name) got the message, and word spread among the relatives (at least the distant ones). People contacted me less and less over the years.

      I would still be friendly and polite if we crossed paths, but never again did I discuss preparations except with the few that I knew were discreet. If the topic was broached, I dropped casual hints that I could no longer help. “That last ice storm took it out of me. Almost had to eat the cat because I loaned so much food out to everyone else. Please don’t make me eat Mittens!”

      Most people eventually got the message, but it took time. The problem is that these people still have their memories, which I cannot erase. This is where security through obscurity and mind tricks come in. After reflecting upon what I knew that people knew, I changed the locations of my preps with junk so people would think “There used to be a tank of water here. Now, there’s a broken lawnmower.”

      I cannot erase people’s memories, but I can alter the reality their memories remember. Maybe not foolproof, but this was the best I could do.

      Snoopers who previously knew about the pallet of beans would find old tires in their place. “Where’d the beans go?” “I helped out too many people, and now I’m wondering if I can eat.” (Both are true statements.) “Have you seen my cat, by the way?” This news spreads because people like to gossip.

      The Orgus Fargluks of the world are another matter. Out of sight, out of mind is my strategy with him. Hopefully, word will get around to him that I am no longer the “go-to prepper.”

      So far, there has not been a major calamity to test how well these strategies have worked, but I notice that the longer time elapses, the less people remember about me. I use this to my advantage and still plan ahead for myself, but I am more discreet now than ever. I do my best to blend in with the surroundings to avoid drawing suspicion and reviving fuzzy memories.

      My goal is to appear to be just as vulnerable as everybody else while sitting on a gold mine.

      Now, I just need a way to make the cat appear absent during a calamity so others will think that I ate it out of sheer desperation. That should deliver the message.

    • Harold Dean says:

      Move to another location immediately and don’t make any new friends or bring any relatives along. My personal experience is once the secret is divulged, it will never be secret again and once you give in to the spongers, it is a never ending deal. Harold

    • Maybe relocating the preps?Have a yard sale and say that you sold off those silly preps that were taking up space.Tell people that you got rid of your preps since that is what fema is for. you sold the preps to pay for that tattoo that you always wanted.Garth brooks tickets were really expensive this year. Mooshell is advising healthier eating habits.

  11. Overkill750 says:

    A long time ago, I would tell my friends what I was doing and why. And just about everyone of them would say “when shit goes bad, I’m coming to your house”. I would alway say “come on”, but as I got older, I would say ” why are you not doing the same thing that I’m doing”. Now I don’t say anything to anyone that is not already doing their own prepping and even then I don’t tell them what I have , how much I have, or where I have it. I have sence moved out of that state and away from those friends. Also remember, if yours is the only house in town that has lights on in a
    black-out, people will be drawn to it like moths to a flame.

    • Encourager says:

      Overkill750, good point about the lights. We are on a hill, with the entire south side windows (passive solar). So EVERYONE would see our lights! I am going to have to make some blackout covers, but don’t know what to use. Would fleece be a good idea? Any ideas out there?

      • I’ve had a great blackout effect with a down blanket. Fleece stretched tight to the window frame might give you a good starting point, a couple more layers for safety.

        I think a friend used to have foil to block out the lights, but drafts made it load.

        Ooooh, check out articles on “How to build a darkroom” in old photography magazines. (Wayback machine might work too since the internet was around for a few decades before digital was good enough to compete with film.) I suspect that blue dense foam insulation and a can of “great stuff” might be involved.

        • I wonder if instead of using a heavy fabric, which would be expensive, if you could duct tape some brown paper grocery bags, and form a curtain that way. You could glue the felt to the paper bag curtain for added light blockage and appearance.

          • Thanks, Kelekona and Gayle. The problem? Think 60′ of windows… that is a lot of paper bags! And we have no air conditioning, not that we would be using it WSHTF, but would need to be able to open windows for ventilation during hot weather. I guess the danger time is dusk and before bed. During the day there would be no problem. I need something like a drape that could be opened and closed.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Encourager,

        I haven’t done this yet because we don’t have a place to store it.

        The idea is to use white foam insulation board with paper backed fiberglass insulation stapled to it. Cut the board to tightly fit the window.
        The white board should face the outside to appear to be curtains. The insulation (the winters are long where we live) should be stapled to the white board with the paper on the outside, facing the room. Tape the paper to the window frame with duct tape.
        This is our plan to keep the light inside and the cold (or heat) outside.

        • Hunker-Down, we used to have panels like that. But in cold weather the condensation started to rot the wood on the windows. The ice would build up, even with energy efficient windows like we have. It became a real problem and we got rid of the panels. It worked really well, though! On the south side of the house, in the living room and greenhouse (solar collection area), there is nothing on the windows. They go from floor to just below the ceiling. I know we lose heat through them at night. I have never been able to figure out what we could use economically. We do have shades that are backed with mylar up on the windows in the roof of the greenhouse to block cold/heat. They work well but cost $$$$ as those windows are about 4×8 feet and there are six of them.

      • encourager, if my memory serves me correctly…I recall someone on this blog mentioning thick black plastic sheeting – with normal thick curtains in front/view – or possibly have the plastic sheeting in the middle – that way – the inside and outside view just looks like normal curtaining – then it is just a matter of taping the edges of the black plastic to the walls – all 4 sides. cheers.

        • Thanks, Chloe – That is not a bad idea. Even sounds feasible financially! I think I would have the black plastic cut for each set of windows and have them handy when they need to be placed once SHTF. I would skip the curtains, as I don’t think the deer care what they look at. Black plastic is good enough.

      • Encourager, I have thick insulation foam that has the mylar secured to thin sheet metal that I had drilled holed and installed handled to. The insulation foam has vertical blinds permanently attached so you can’t tell I installed them.
        The panels are secured by a drop in bracket at the bottom and anchor sliding locks at the top.

        You can do this with the insulation only or even light plywood. I was looking at the potential of objects thrown and reducing the impact of an EMP is why I went with sheet metal.

        • somebody mentioned earlier to use cardboard painted black. thats gonna be my solution.

        • Good ideas, Jarhead. Have you thought about that film you can place on the inside of the windows that would keep them from breaking or pieces of glass falling all over the place if they are hit with something? Don’t know how good it is.

  12. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Very timely post, the old WWII line “Loose lips sink ships” comes to mind.

  13. Out of all the possible SHTF scenerios, this is a problem that has kept me up many nights. Mainly because we are already out there as preppers because of our business and public farm. We have had to take extra care in covering our butts (COB). Ack, there it is again. The word cob and butt in the same sentence. Note to self: Go buy more tp today.

    I feel like I am as visable as The Lewis family at Rural Revolution, Paratus Familia, or any other blogger, only without a blog. MD’s OPSEC, I am sure he has that covered. Can folks get a general idea of where a person lives, research it online, assessors records, USDA ArcMaps? Ask the laundrymat lady if a guy has been in to collect the lint? Alot of resources out there to find us. Even if the property was listed under a trust or fictional business name. IF someone wanted to find us, they possibly could if they tried hard enough.

    Because I teach, my neighbors and friends are on board. The ones that I would care for anyway, if they didn’t prep. We have decided to prep on a small community basis because of our visibility.

    My husband took pity on me by removing some of ways uninvited folks can get to us. He (we) have visably blocked the farm from sight from the nearest road with dense plantings of trees and shrubs. A heavy gate with removable cattle guard at the end of the 1/8 mile private road. And 8 ft wildlife fence (going up now) with partial solar electric. Even if someone was stupid enough try on foot over 6 fences and face security. They wouldn’t get very far. Most neighbors are part of our group with their own stockpiles and security posts. The only one that doesn’t prep is a very elderly couple on our road that I plan to care for to the best of my ability. The husband is already under hospice care. We have first dibs to purchase that property if they sell.
    Someone close to us, after ten years, felt comfortable enough with all of our preps and work to share with us how many firearms he had, including ammo. Holy Smokes Batman! That was such a relief to me. A huge weight lifted from my shoulders. He shared the info willingly as an offer of goodwill and shared OPSEC. Even though we have more than he does, we didn’t tell him. But, I am comfortable that what he has will last him a good long time. He is knowledgable and on the same page.

    Our family lives so far from us that they would not make it here. I wish I had a box of ammo for everytime I have heard. “Oh, when SHTF, I am coming to your house.” Big Sigh…… Even my cop sister still says it and she is 2300 miles away. I ask her why she refuses to buy some food to put in the garage, but would be willing to drag her two young kids across two thousand miles of hostile territory with a taser, a can of pepper spray, a Glock with very little ammo, and a bad attitiude. PLU-eeese!

    They (family) have been told hundreds of times to prep for themselves. Get a plan and a back up plan, because our house is not it. Would I turn my family down, if they made it that far? No. I don’t want them to even try it. But, the stories would be interesting.

    We have one quarter of our food preps for charity and extra retreat members. Keep in mind that we have been doing this for a very long time. SO new preppers, your OPSEC is VITAL to your survival. I am supposed to say?…..Do not try this at home.

    One more important message. Antibiotic and meds stores MUST MUST always be kept under wraps at all time from everyone. Period. Most of the people in my own house do not know what I have stored for meds. Some people will risk getting shot, electrified, bitten by dogs. Large flailing attempts of false pathetic bravado and feeble trickery to get to your med stores. To our disappointment, one of our very own, a 12 year member of our group has developed a nasty pain killer addiction from an injury. HE IS AN OPSEC PROBLEM. We have cut all ties from him, and he has moved away. He will continue to be problem, unfortunately, until one of us dies.
    We all share information on this blog. We are sharing ideas, good bargains, skills,and advise. We are not sharing everything about what we have or where it is. Hopefully, some of us are making lasting friendships. We are all of like mind to understanding that anyone attempting to learn about our locations or OPSEC to take from us in a bad situation would be ventilated in the most grievous fashion. I depend on that knowledge here for our OPSEC also.

    So, for any reason that we become overrun by Mutant Cartel Zombies and have to bug out, please don’t ventilate me at the gate, when I tell you Mama J is calling. I am good for moral, and I have skills and barter.

    • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

      Mama J…I would SO want to be at your place… for SHTF or even now!! You have the BEST attitude and give me much peace about dealing with it all. Thank you for that. You ARE good for moral!!

      “COB”…cracks me up. Oops…did I say Cracks? :)

      And “ventilated”? Hadn’t heard that before. Good one.

      • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

        Oh…and please take what I said as just a statement of appreciation, not that I’d TRY to come to your place. I’m making a stand where I am.

      • Mt. Woman,
        You are very welcome in every way! Moral boosting and ego stroking are always freely given around here. I live to turn the frowns upside down and tease my family without mercy when they start to take themselves too seriously or forget to have fun. Tickles for everyone! I believe that bubble machines are mind control devices and everyone should wake up in a room packed floor to ceiling in balloons. At least once.

        I should have said that we would welcome folks who are skilled and part of our preps are set aside for that. Wolfpack members that stumble on too our place will always sent to the front of the line!
        You “crack” me up too! I have bad dreams about not having enough toilet paper, and all I see around me are thousands of cobs. I always wake up sweaty and afraid to look at my hand.

        • mama j…you are just too funny…and just so you know, the corn plantings here are growing fast…and I just have a little chuckle…cheers.

    • Mother Earth says:

      Mama J, I believe I would be more likely to welcome one of the wolfpack as opposed to most of my family (who live for today and not worry about tomorrow). Not to be harsh but at least the wolfpack would have usefull skills.

      • Mother Earth,
        I think I wrote that in a away that may have sounded insulting to the Wolfpack. I didn’t mean to. And I sincerely apologize. I find great comfort in the wisdom and experience of the folks here.
        I meant that if someone used our information on a blog to find us “Us” meaning MD or people like myself, who put themselves out there for the benefit of others. Those people would met resistance.

        • Mother Earth says:

          Mama J, I took no insult from what you said. I would welcome any of the Wolfpack if they had to leave their location.

    • Mama J,
      “would be ventilated in the most grievous fashion”? This is one of the most eliquent ways I’ve ever seen this stated.

      • OP,
        Thanks! I am glad you liked it. I didn’t get to mention it and wanted to thank you about the advise about corn pollination. I am going to try it this year. It was one of those forehead smacking moments. “Why didn’t I think of that?”. LOL.

        • If you’re talking about planting the sweet corn while planting the field corn, I can’t see a better way to do it (assuming you regularly plant whole fields of corn). You get a lot of sweet corn for a lot less work.
          Good luck.

    • Mama J:
      One thing to consider with that older couple: If you have the finances you might offer to buy the property now and give them the legal right to live there as long as they want. I’ve seen this work in families where there may later be issues on who owns what. It’s definitely better than a will, especially when it comes to real property. This can also be done with any other titled property.

      Just a thought.

      • JP,
        That is a good thought. A great idea actually. We asked them years ago and they politely declined. But, told us they would promise to give us the first option. I believe they will.
        Mr. is so bad, I think it would be too much for the Mrs. right now. I may ask her if that is something she would want after, you know.

        • There is aprocess called a life estate(at least in Komradfornia) where you can buy real estate and let the seller stay the remainder of there life.

  14. I know that this is off topic: BUT
    I need information on prepping magazines with good solid information on living anywhere, anytime, anyhow. And that includes’s household hints, canning, recipes. With some building ideas for garden projects and off grid ideas etc. But absolutely prepper oriented.
    Am I asking to much, hope not.
    If you know of any would sure appreciate the information. I would like to have some hard copy around.

    • Ellen, try going to scribd.com, make a login, upload one .pdf file or just type a little poem in the text box, and you can then download e-books all day long for free. A lot of them are scanned-in and there are TONS of prepping books. It’s a bit heavy on the gun books and army manuals but there’s homesteading stuff there too.

    • Ellen,
      I don’t know any single magazine that fits the bill, but you might look at the following, all of which have websites that can be easily found.
      The Mother Earth News.
      Home Power Magazine.
      Countryside Small Stock Journal.
      The first two have sample editions, and stories you can read. Not sure about the last one.

      • Ellen,
        To add to the list….
        Backwoods Home Magazine

      • Schatzie Ohio says:

        I use to take Mother Earth News – but no more.
        I use to take Farmstead Magazine – but they went out of business.
        I take Countryside Small Stock Journal and have for 30 plus years.
        I now take Backwoods Home magazine and have for the last couple of years.
        Countryside and Backwood Home fill the bill for homesteading and sometimes prepping too. Although I find that Backwoods Home probably fits the prepper style more.

    • ellen…this site has good info…many links. hope this helps. cheers.

      http://www.grandpappy.info/indexhar.htm

  15. Want to see what giving up too much information will do for you?

    A man on the TV show Doomsday Prepper had the govt show up at his door 2 days after the show and take his guns.

    You’d have to be an idiot to go on a show like that…..4 million people, your family, your neighbors, plus our intrusive government are watching….

    http://offgridsurvival.com/doomsdayprepperdeclaredmentaldefective/

    • Yeah I posted that the other day.
      I couldn’t get the timeline straight but it had a lot to do with his going to his doctor and the doctor determining he was suicidal.
      Bunch of Bull if you ask me.
      So I say don’t trust anyone with any information.
      And don’t even tell your dog anything.
      Getting pretty bad when your doctor decides to play the devil.

      • Ellen,
        One needs to be careful answering any questionaire the doctors office gives you to fill out. Here in Florida, the State passed a law prohibiting doctors asking if there were guns in the home. Before being released from the hospital, the discharge nurse asked if there were any guns in our house and I said yes, caulking guns, grease guns, a glue gun, a soldering gun and a really nifty spray paint gun. That ended that question.

        Other questions I have seen: are you afraid of being at home?and if so why? (Like that one as I always put down yes and say the place is haunted), Are you or have you been recently depressed? (If you answer yes that is another red flag should you be known as a firearm owner or in a household with them) . When completing questionaires we try to be as private and non committal as possible about anything not related to the doctor visit.

        • Harold Dean says:

          I get a lot of static when I leave questions unanswered or otherwise blank. I used to respond with a question as to why this information unrelated to my visit or application was requested. I usually got the answer that it is our policy. I would respond with your policy is intruding on my privacy and I intend to file a formal complaint about this occassion. That usually stopped it cold in its tracks. Now I just say, hell I am seventy three, and you expect me to not only remember who I am and where I live but to remember that too. I really like the part about fearing your home because it is haunted and wish I would have thought of that. Harold

        • OMgosh! I took my son for a sports physical (last year) and the Dr. asked him if we had guns in the house. I told him I had one in my purse and thats all he needed to know about! He also asked if my son wore his seatbelt in the car and asked if he was having unprotected sex. What a weirdo. I told my son to leave the room immediately.
          I snatched our medical information out of his hand and walked out with a impolite hand gesture that could be confused with him thinking that I thought he was number one.
          I am surprised I didn’t get a visit from the police. Who btw, don’t like to come to my house unless it is for beer and brats.

    • I watched the video and found his description to be a bit disturbing. So, I thought I’d share a few points that came to mind.

      Dealing with Doctors,

      When visiting your regular family physician, they may sometimes ask you questions of a psychiatric nature. There isn’t some sort of nefarious intent behind this. It is many times required or encouraged by medicare/medicaid and various state agencies. This can be especially true when taking your kids to their pediatrician. Almost always they have no bearing on the reason for your visit, such as a routine check-up for your blood pressure, diabetes, etc. However, they have become incorporated into the screening exam to help identify health issues that the physician may be able to help address. Here are 2 examples of what I’m talking about.

      Example 1;
      Your wife or husband has just been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Your family doc asks how you are handling the news. You reply that the situation is kinda depressing and you occasionally get sad thinking about going on without your spouse.

      Option 1:
      Your family doc gives you information about support groups for people with spouses diagnosed with terminal diseases. You may or may not attend.

      Option 2:
      Your family doc refers you to a psychiatrist to further discuss your feelings and how you are ‘holding up.’ The psychiatrist asks you how you feel about your life after the death of your spouse. You give the sappy reply that, “I don’t know if I can’t go on without my wife/husband.”

      A good psychiatrist will realize that this is part of the grieving process and dealing with difficult life changing situations. A less interested psychiatrist will try to narrow this discussion down to whether you may have thoughts of suicide. They won’t ask you straight out, but couch it in terms of; ‘ending your grief’ or ‘looking forward to seeing your loved one soon.’

      The psychiatrist is leading you into incriminate yourself and raise red flags. Do NOT let any physician lead this discussion by asking you loaded questions. The answers you give to these questions may have a bearing on your ability to continue to exist as a free person. If shortly after the death of your spouse, you are grieving and answer, “Yeah, I’d like to see my wife again,” next thing you know you are being temporarily put in a psychiatric hospital, your children may be taken into state custody, and your other freedoms (2nd amendment) may be curtailed.

      In reality, you are going through the normal grieving process, as defined in psychiatry, as denial… anger… bargaining… depression… acceptance.

      If you do visit a psychiatrist for something like this, request to have a trusted friend or family member present. If/when a judge reviews your case, he/she is going to put a lot more credibility into the written notes and testimony of the psychiatrist than in your word. It may help to have a witness available to support your testimony.

      When you answer questions, be very clear and preface your responses with concrete statements. “I do not want to harm myself in any way. However, I am sad that my wife/husband was diagnosed with cancer.” You may sound silly to yourself, but you are presenting clear intentions and rational insight into your situation.

      Example 2;
      The American Academy of Pediatrics has pushed towards including in their routine checkups of your kids, questions regarding home life and situations. Notably, these include inquiring about firearms in the home and the security of these firearms. Many pediatricians who are fond of the 2nd amendment and/or personal liberty have balked at this trend. However, the legal folks are still arguing in the courts as to whether these questions and any action based on your response, violates your legal rights.

      If I found myself in this situation, I would outright lie. A pediatrician has no need nor right to know that I have a firearm in the closet when I come in to get immunizations for my child.

      I don’t want to portray your family doc or pediatrician as an adversary. Just know that the legal folks have forcefully intruded into the relationship between your doc and you. It can sometimes be easier for your doc to let the legal folks sort things out in your situation, as their decision is more binding and mostly absolves the doc from legal liability.

      • riverrider says:

        just wait til obamacare gets in full force in 2014. have you had your mugshot taken for your health records yet? its in the law. i tried to refuse, they said i’d have to leave then. some health “care” law:(

        • riverrider says:

          example 1, option 3. you live thru the cancer, manage to keep your house thanks to insurance, until you get a tax bill from uncle sugar for the “benefits” you received. now you have to sell the house to pay it and you can tell the doc to go ahead and put you away so you’ll have a place to stay. didn’t know they slipped that in there did ya? heres another: when you sell your house or buy another, you will have to pay taxes to uncle sugar, sales tax. i’m still finding juicy little nuggets in there like that. fun times ahead.

      • Jay in LA…some interesting points in there. I myself have noticed some unusual questions when going to the doctor. I believe there’s a new generation of them that have had HS ‘thinking’ incorporated into their training, just like all LE, etc. It brings up the idea of a “prepper” doc….something to look into.

  16. I made the mistake of telling a trusted neighbor about our prepping a few years back. After that, everytime I saw the guy he asked me about my guns and where I kept stuff. Finally one night my spouse and I caught him trying to break into our home thru the basement window. We phoned the Police, but because he never got inside, there was no crime, they said.
    Since then we’ve allowed the rumor to spread around the neighorhood that we’ve sold off most of our stuff and moved the rest to a ficional retreat in another state.

  17. E. Evans,
    Very nicely done post, thank you for it.
    It did give me pause when I read it, thinking that if things ever get really, really bad, I am no doubt going to have problems. For a long time now, since I grow more than I can consume (I live alone), I’ve given away lots and lots of produce, meat, milk products and eggs so I’m pretty well know as having “extras”.
    Add to that, the fact that I have folks house sit for me every winter while I travel all equates to scores of people knowing most everything there is to know about me.
    But on the plus side, I don’t have any relatives to worry about so maybe it won’t be so bad.

  18. My rule is simple, a half days food for a full days work and bring your own water. For those that dream they can just take, it’ll be a nightmare.

  19. I’ve been thinking about how many preps are really necessary for survival and how uncomfortable one could get without breaking out ones own supplies.

    What do you really need a generator for besides keeping the cold storage cold? Do you even need to light the oil lamps at night, or are you lucky enough to content yourself with your own thoughts during the dark hours that sleep does not fill? (Bonus points if you can do anything useful by moonlight.)

    How few calories do you really need to keep yourself going? For me, 1,200 is what I should be getting to keep me out of fat conservation mode. How much food will keep you doing your chores while making it effortless to cultivate the proper bewildered expression of expecting the store to open again?

    Even if you have an invisible system to keep your hot-tub warm, should you be keeping your hair clean? By all means, keep a rotation of clean socks and underwear, maintain the health of your sweaty areas, but pay attention to how your neighbors smell.

    I guess that is one advantage of being so small-scale. Maintenance knows that I have 50 pounds of canned goods, they can see another 20 pounds of dry goods, they have a good chance of finding everything else except some of the beer. I’m not worried because I doubt it would occur to them that there is more than two weeks worth of stuff that is shelf-stable.

    If it does occur to them, I’ll either die or join the zombie hordes a month or two earlier than planned and then die.

    • Kelekona,
      Unless you’re 80 pounds soaking wet, 1200 calories is only going to work if you lay around pretty much doing nothing but sleeping and reading. If you have animals to take care of, or wood to haul in for the stove, you may burn a lot more calories than you realize.

      • No, I’m 230 when slightly dehydrated and the diet site expects me to be moderately active. The maximum I’m supposed to eat daily is 1500. In a situation where more food is uncertain, I actually might want my metabolism to drop.

        With the situation right now, I can’t have livestock or a fireplace. Even with the drafty house, it stays warm enough here that having the heat go out isn’t going to kill me. It did occur to me that I need a back-up plan for no gas. Three chafing candles and a bag of charcoal is not going to cut it very long.

        —–

        Sure, someone who has a proper farm will be burning more calories and probably won’t have 80 pounds of excess fat to draw on. That’s why I made it into a question.

  20. The greatest pity is that this level of secrecy is a learned behavior. Many people naturally want to help others during a time of need, but all it takes is one bad experience, one dangerous neighbor, or one broken generator to change a good Samaritan’s helping heart into one of caution.

    I, too, wanted to help others, but I was in danger of becoming a crutch that others were leaning on in times of need instead of preparing for themselves. People who knew depended upon “Evans the Prepper” to take care of the them – and the word was spreading. Dangerously. And to people I had never met.

    After thinking, “I wish nobody knew I was prepared,” I finally drew the line and formulated a Security of Information strategy that I have been living for the past few years. Bottom line: If others do not know that you have something, then you greatly reduce the chances that they will show up asking for it.

    Helping out someone truly destitute in a time of need is noble, but that is how others knew what I had. That information snowballed quickly. Sadly, just one helpful instance can lead to expected handouts. The welfare/entitlement mentality is too prevalent these days.

    Thank you for the comments. Hopefully, this information helps others to avoid becoming a target. Not to instill paranoia and xenophobia, but to remind us to think about what our helpful intentions and our conversations can lead to in the future.

  21. Mother Earth says:

    Good post! My weakness are my kids. They tell everyone they are coming home if something bad happens…at the same time joking at me for prepping. Ugh!

    • Mother Earth,
      I have the same weakness for my kids. My problem is everytime one of the older ones get a new girlfriend, I pray she doesn’t already have three little kids. I love kids (obviously) and don’t mind how many anyone has, but am I supposed to prep for them? The first thing I want to know is how big her family is and where do they live?
      I tell the boys not to bring girls over until they have been dating for along time and are getting serious. Really serious.

      • Mother Earth says:

        Mama J, I would have a hard time turning away kids. What really worries me is my dil’s family. I know she would expect me to feed them too and that’s not going to happen. I cannot afford to take care of them. Im sure they make fun of me now, but that would change quickly. I’ve worked hard at growing a bigger orchard and garden to store food but it’s for my immediate family.

        • Mother Earth,
          I am with you all the way. I would not turn away kids, but I don’t want the girlfriends whole family to come knocking. Then say the son breaks up with her and I have another OPSEC problem! Urg. My oldest is 30 and never married. Thats alot fo girlfriends! I have 4 older boys and none are married, so lots of girlfriends times four, and we are in some serious hurt! Oh boy.

          • Mother Earth says:

            Mama J, wow you will have your hands full. I don’t have quite that bad of opsec and we do own farmland down in the hills of Virginia, but that would be hard living and I’m not a spring chicken…or summer anymore.

  22. Nuttbush54 says:

    Really appreciate this article. The worry over OPSEC is what keeps me so reticent about trying to get other family members to prep for themselves. I love my family but my DH and I subscribe to the theory of not creating a problem by involving family with borrowing or lending money. It will always turn into a problem. Same thing with our food. Sharing info of what we have would become the same kind of problem.

  23. Case in point is The Walking Dead. The two strangers that showed up were asking a lot of questions. One even asked if there were any women back at their camp because he hadn’t been laid in weeks. Then he proceeded to urinate on the floor. Was the deputy justified in shooting the men? I can’t say that he was morally justified but I can say that I would have done the same thing. Protecting my group is paramount. The desperate will attempt to take by force.

    What did you all think about the show last night?

    • Gayle,
      Rick finally crossed over to the dark side. In a good way. It was time for him to stop thinking like a cop with laws that could be inforced. But, still honor the strong intuition that made him want to be a cop in the first place. They were very bad guys who made his decision easy. They knew he was going to make it difficult for them. They were going to try to take him out, and force the old man or Glen to take them to the farm. Not killing them would have been irresponsible and his family would have suffered. Probably very badly.
      In the same situation, I would have done the same. Except not so cool. Loved it.
      Don’t forget to take your dog everywhere in the Zombie Apocalypse.. Remember, he has great intuition! LOL. You could train him so send tail or paw signals. One thump on the floor means, “Terminate those morons!” Three or four or ten thumps means “He has treats in his pockets.”

    • I thought the guy behind the bar was reaching for his gun when Rick shot him. Those two were scum, but Daryl seemed like scum to begin with, then he turned out to be an asset.
      I think the writing is interesting as the characters do things that we all know are wrong, but in the situation we might do the exact same thing – like shoot the walkers in the barn. But all that noise – yikes – maybe they should have used arrows, baseball bats and garden tools. And Lori driving off – my DH said “what is she thinking?” But as a previously pregnant person, yes, I have done very emotional things because of my pregnant brain.
      I wish there was more about how they manage their food, etc. We have to just assume they eat eggs or chicken and carrots from the garden, but are they canning/dehydrating anything? I haven’t seen any cows, do they have goats, etc. How do they plan to make it through the winter?
      I can’t wait for next Sunday!

      • Garden Mom,
        I don’t think that food would be hard to come by with most of the undead population not eating what is left in the grocery stores.

        • Dang, I didn’t even think about that. They can just walk into Sams or Cosco and get whatever they want. Or is it more reasonable to suppose that most of the shelf stable foods were wiped out by the living, and that it was running out of food in their homes which prompted folks to head to town? And that’s why they got bit.

      • Garden Mom,

        Me too. I like the interesting twists and turns. The writing for this show is so intelligent. My dh hates all the male-to-male dialogue. He rolls his eyes and says, “I guess we need more male bonding time.”

  24. Harold Dean says:

    This goes back to the 0ld WWII warning, “loose lips, sink ships”. In my case, it was grandsons talking to some of their worthless friends that caused me to have problems. After an unsuccessful break in attempt, the cops finally stirred off their duffs and ran some fingerprints. When the collared the culprit, he readily admitted trying to break in and steal my guns that my grandson had told him all about because he wanted to pull off an armed robbery and get a lot more money than his burglaries were obtaining. I had previously warned them about letting their friends in the basement and showing them everything I had. When one of them made the comment that my basement windows would be easy to break into, when I remodeled, I blocked up all but three of them and they were changed to mortared in glass blocks, a single row which only a snake could come through if they were broken out. So no matter what you do unless you live as a complete hermit, if you have an extended family, someone sooner or later is going to spill the beans on you. I got my generator back from a son in law just like in the story, with a rod hanging through the side of the engine when their power was cut off due to non payment of their utility bill. He said he did not know you were supposed to check the oil in it. My replacement generator is non portable and natural gas fueled with a pressure regulator that I can burn propane if necessary. Harold

  25. Famed actor, NRA V.P., and gun owner Charlton Hesston told a story that happened back during the L.A. riots, where he had numerous calls from panicky (mostly anti-gun) friends, asking to borrow a gun. It seems that many had attempted to purchase one, only to be amazed when they were told that there is a 10 day waiting period. His response to them all was, with no training you would be a danger to yourself AND besides, my guns are already in use. Good lesson about good attitude. The ant MAY help the grasshopper, but should never be forced to do so.

    When uncle Mooch shows up I, and maybe most of you, will tell him that his lack of planning does not constitute your emergency, and that will simply end it. What if however, he shows up with his three pre-teen kids in tow, all looking cold and hungry? My plan is to take in the kids and ensure uncle that they will be warm and fed, and I’ll expect him to pick them up when the crisis is finally over. That ends that without tugging too hard on my heartstrings. OTOH, if the kids are used to fast food, pizza, and Coke or Pepsi, then they are likely to be disappointed.

    When you make bulk purchases, like the cases I bring home from LDS, or the many bags from Aldi or GFS, and you have an attached garage, drive the vehicle in the garage, close the door and then unload. No one can covet what they can’t see, but even this tactic can blow your OPSEC if you unload that new genset and place the empty boxes out in the trash in plain sight. The same goes for the new flat screen TV or the other large prep items you bring home. Cut up the boxes to dispose of them, and if you want to keep them for use, disassemble them, turn them inside out, and reassemble them.

    And finally, when uncle Mooches neighbor bounds onto the property, answer the door with the chain or other security devise intact, and be quite obviously armed at the door with someone in the background obviously holding the shotgun. You need to nip this kind of crap in the bud with obvious superior firepower. First make sure however that it’s not local law enforcement, and if it is, you can probably still be obvious, just not as belligerently so.

  26. I think the only way I’d head to another prepper’s location is if my living space was torched/forced out by the moochies.

    Thinking about it, I probably should look at another location in Kansas that I can bug out to in event the liberal zombies in my neighborhood get stupid. Preferably some place that has a fresh water supply that is not bracketed by highways.

  27. My biggest OPSEC concern right now is the termite inspector. Each year a stranger comes onto my property and thoroughly inspects my home and garage. I try my best to hide or disguise my food preps; but, comments are still made about how much “stuff” I have. Hiding hundreds of canning jars is particularly challenging.
    In a post-SHTF event, the only food that anyone will smell cooking at my home will be cabbage. That is the one smell that can mask the odor of a skunk or an outhouse (or the food that I will be preparing for my own family). As they are leaving I will gladly provide a container of cooked cabbage, for the road, so to speak. This is why I keep old plastic containers from whipped toppings and buy after Christmas clearance containers for future use.

  28. “The greatest pity is that this level of secrecy is a learned behavoiur”.
    Well said.

    Thank you for a very interesting, well written article. My suggestion though – I wish I could write that I’d thought of it myself – is to tell casual beggars that you’ve given your excess to the local church and that they should ask there. Not necessarily a lie! You COULD have contributed some to the church…and what constitutes “your excess”, well, you determine that.

  29. Good article and it sounds all too familiar! I used to have those friends and family members around Y2K. For the friends I’ve kept know not to come knocking on my door.

    The wind storm we had months ago I had a few friends call asking for help because trees had fell on their property or the road blocking traffic. After I made sure my place was secured I assisted them with directions of where to buy a generator, what areas had power so they could get gas or groceries and one friend I did help with cutting the downed tree and for some it was helping them buy their first propane stove.

    Power was out in some areas up to 4-7 days and some people. Had a sense of entitlement that the electric company and the cities weren’t doing enough fast enough.

    It helped people wake up but since it was a few months ago, for most I doubt the continues but a few did wake up. I give pointers when asked but not exposing my preps.

  30. riverrider says:

    let me share a story too. back in the day it was known by my friends that i prepped. they made a joke of it, but harmless and in good nature. they however tended to talk too much when they drink. i have no idea how the subject came up but one buddy told a third party jokingly that i had a “whole bunker complex full of guns and food.” about two months later i stop into a local watering hole. guy sits down beside me, conversation eventually ensues. by the end of the evening he’s telling me about this guy he “knows” that has a bunker complex full of guns and food. i asked this bunker guys name and he says my name. i’d never seen this man in my life. i used this grapevine to spread the rumor that ” bunker guy” was nuts and had mines and boobytraps everywhere. later at a party, that rumor came back to me, the teller unknown to me. i moved at the first opportunity, telling only select trusted friends my new location. here, i tell no one what i have or what i’m doing. problem is my dw has a good for nothing son, she tells him too much. now he thinks he’s entitled to come here in whatever hard times come, and the way he likes to yap i’m sure he’s told any number of unsavory character about us and probably where we are. now i’m afraid to leave on vacation or even extended time in town. he will have an unfortunate accident if he comes here, and i told him if one goon shows up here i’ll put a slug in his head first. family will do you in every time. so now i’m back to spreading rumors about how the crazy guy on the hill has mines and boobytraps all around. won’t be far from the truth once things get just a little worse:)

    • RR,
      OMGosh, that is a mess! How does dw feel about the son being such an asshat?

      • mama j, she gets depressed even thinking about it, and hates to hear him on the answering machine because she knows he’ll either be calling to complain or wants something. i/we don’t know how he turned out this way, she was a very good mother. her daughter is a bit of a sponge too, but she at least is working toward something. she’s married in canada to another like her brother. they all think MOM is supposed to take care of them for life. they are 30/31 now. the son even got mad because mom quit a job that was killing her. mom can’t take care of herself right now, so they are about to get some tough love. i’m trying to think of a place to put the preps, then show him that we “donated them to charity”. like i said, i think he will have an unfortunate accident while out on patrol. sounds harsh i know, but he would be the number one threat to our survival.

        • Riverider,
          I am so sorry to hear this story. My oldest is 30 and has hard a damn hard road. His own fault and choosing. Some of my adopted kids have had it worse. Tough love is better than none. I have had to push them away sometimes to get them to pull their heads out of their butts.
          I guess I have a gift with hard core kids and they are drawn to me because I tell them like it is, love them with all my heart, and expect the best from them at all times. I am not afraid of my 6′ 2′ 250 lb. solid tattoo covered (tattoo’s for a living) artist son and he knows it. Last time he made me so mad I saw red, he ran like a little girl when I chased him with a pitchfork. I seriously was gonna stick it him with it. Bury that bad boy all the way up to the handle right in his right ass cheek. I wanted to with all my heart. I almost did! He moves like a panther for being so big. I move slow with overalls and irrigation boots on.

          I can only tell you what I would do with the brat child, and it usually works.

          ~Tell him that when he calls, you don’t want to answer because he acts like a needy whiny parasite. Phone calls for for good news only. If you need money, send it in writing.
          ~Son, I love you, you know I do. You are the result of millions of years of evolution. Freaking act like it.
          ~What I do, is my business. Unless you have something constructive or helpful to say, shut it.
          ~Everytime you speak to me. Find three nice things to say. Or don’t speak at all.
          ~Hand him a note asking for $50.00. And don’t promise to pay it back.
          ~Give him pamplets for group therapy.
          ~ Act generally as obnoxious as he is until he figures it out.
          He will have hissy fits, periods of pouting, silence (thank you!), and might slam a few doors, or punch a wall. Ya, who cares right?
          I project that this should take 3-12 months depending on how deeply commited he is to a life of douche baggery.

          I wish I could help you find the magic potion to fix the stupid kid problem. You know better than anyone what needs ot be done. Even though I hope that he surprises you with a life change soon. You never know, he might become an asset.

          • mama j…don’t know how I am going to get that picture out of my head now…you know the one…

            you running with a pitchfork…while big son runs straight for the corn fields…where corn cobs are ready for picking…and you pull up fast in your boots at the sight of the cobs…and son then saunters away…safe in the knowledge that the corn fields are his safe place….hahaha…

            • Chloe,
              Haahaaa! You are so silly. Children of the Corn are safe from me! I can see him standing in the corn saying ” Nana na na! “You can’t get me!”. “What’s the matter Ma, afraid of a little corn?” Hahahaaa!

    • River, I’ve told people “you know what I’d hate to mistake someone asking for an ill prepared hand out for someone trying to break in. Get prepared now”

      One of my older nieces doesn’t have the money to prep like I do but since her and her fiancé breed pit bulls I’ve made an agreement, bring my 3 favorite dogs for added security and they can stay lol. I don’t have dogs due to my schedule but have a tote with two 50 pound bags (for barter) along with what they will bring.

      • j, yeah if they have a skill or something other than an empty hand to bring to the festivities i don’t mind letting them in. my sis and her bf are in. they prep, he’s FBI. several of my buds are welcome for the same reason and they are real gunners. i know i need more trigger pullers to defend the hill. the SIL brings nothing to the table. after the gate closes, anything outside the perimeter will stay outside the perimeter.

    • Listen to Yourselves. You pretend you can hide.

      Let’s talk some harsh realities. In a SHTF situation (all utilities down for months), mass starvation will drive ‘moral people’ to do anything. Whether they know you have supplies OR NOT, they will go ‘door-to-door’ looking for food.

      Quit pretending you can hide & no one knows. I see you at the Self-Sufficency shows, at the gun ranges, and ‘Outdoor” shows and businesses. You order food, buy survival gear and & register guns. All of that leaves a trail. IF “They” want you, they will find you.

      Cities will run out of food within three days – IF not overnight. The ‘average person’s 3-7 days’ worth of food – too little water – will run out. Dehydration will set in along with desperation and panic. HUNDREDs of MILLIONS of people will fan out across the landscape. Where Are You hiding?

      I’m a 66 year old, ex-marine, Emmy-nominated photojournalist. I live in a suburb. There’s no place to run and the highways would be jammed anyway. Get real. Your plans Won’t go as planned. (Yes – I have BOBs if I ‘have to’ run like Wildfires, Chemical Spills but they are temporary).

      After talking about this seriously, my wife and I decide to ‘go public’. We will be on NatGeo’s “Doomsday Preppers” around the end of March 2012.

      WHY? I’d rather educate my friends, neighbors and total strangers than to kill them when they come. And, They Will Come and you can’t stop Zombies. Be Frightened or be bold. Let’s encourage America and the world to Be Prepared. The more people I teach Now, the less I’ll fight later.

      Be Honest, Be Excellent & Walk About Prepared™

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Jack Jobe,

        If a wolf retreats he is not frightened, he is executing his strategy.

        Goliath was bold, got thunked in the head with a single rock.

        I will be frightened and bold. When they walk down my hallway they will be greeted with #4 or OO, whichever is next up.

        I consider OPSEC to be important.

      • Jack no one is pretending to hide. Some people have to play with the cards they have. Some can bug out and some can’t.

        I see you said “ex-Marine”, were you dishonorabley discharged? Once a Marine always a Marine.

      • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

        Oh my! No wonder that program seems weird. Jack…you seem immensely frightened to me, and fame grabbing. I hope I never meet you nor you me. How in the world will your “going public” benefit anyone…besides yourself? How can showing being prepared through the lens that NatGeo has put on it help anyone? Good luck to you. I am watching the program for pointers, so will probably see you. But really, for you to come on here and berate what all these good people are doing shows me already that I don’t want what you have to offer. And as for “the more people you teach now, the less you’ll fight later”….I think you will be mistaken in that. Are you trying to control people?

        Well….good luck with all that, and please don’t come on here and insult us.

      • Pineslayer says:

        JJ,
        I for one have been walking the line between trying to get my friends on board and prepping under the local radar. Unfortunately due to where I live and what I do for a living, most people know me. Most people are unwilling to spend the time or $ to prep, so life will be hard for all. I understand your words, but when things get ugly I will be keeping a low profile, because I can’t help many more than who will be here. What then? Harsh choices for all, guaranteed. Good luck with your ” Coming out of the closet party”, you might need it.

        When does hiding to protect your family become a bad thing?

  31. I just finnished a really good book entitled “Holding your ground” In it the author shows you how to paint your house to make it look as if you’ve had a fire. This painting and a couple of boxes of junk thrown around the yard, we hope will cause any large group to pass us by in a TEOTWAWKI type situation.

  32. Dean in Michigan says:

    I have only my mother who lives anywhere near me, and I can’t turn her out.

    However,unfortunately being near a large city, all the OPSEC in the world will not stop me from getting unwanted guests. I’ve just convinced myself that it’s going to happen, and it’s become part of my plan.

    The only good thing is, I won’t know any of them. So they will not be offered the gesture of politeness.

  33. Great post. This is why opsec is so important. If they don’t know you have it then they can ask to borrow it. In WW2 they had a saying”Loose lips sink ships” and that goes double for your prep’s. I do believe in charity and have planned out my prep’s with that in mind but the less others know the better.

  34. Evans, this is an excellent post…well written and thought out..made me pause. Thank you for taking the time – cheers.

  35. Great subject….well written and a necessary subject that reminds us all that constant vigilence and thought to possible situations is, in many ways, as important as “action”.

    I recently had a new hot water heater installed. Unfortunately my hot wate heater is in my store room. I felt uncomfortable all the time the installer was here. Guess I can hope he “just didn’t notice anything”…fat chance!

  36. E Evans – Thanks, very thought-provoking article. I appreciated your additional post on reputation/security too. I have some preps that are visible to others, so I tell them “I just love Sam’s Club” so they don’t think there is anything hiding in the cabinets right behind them. The stuff that people can see is fairly incomplete – ex. 12 pack of tomato paste – so hopefully nobody will think we have a great stash.
    Our son has an autism disorder and he says interesting things to everybody, so we call our preps “pantry”. If he tells someone “my mom put the tuna in the pantry” they will take it at that and not realize that I bought 20 cans of tuna and the pantry is our storage cabinets. He can’t not tell, so DH and I had to plan what to call it. Maybe this will work for others with children so they don’t blab it around the neighborhood.

  37. Hmmm… why do I even want to write this comment…

    I’m going to try swimming upstream again here.

    In a tough time I am planning on sharing some of my preps with two families I have come to know. They are honest, hard working, moral, capable people. I’ve never asked them about prepping, but I’m pretty sure they don’t do any. But both husbands grew up on farms – I’m a clueless city boy. They know how to do things I don’t, they have tools and skills and a lifetime of experience at things I don’t. Both wives are good mothers and natural born helpers. They both have more roots in this area (the family farms), so I don’t know if they would even need any help.

    Why would I plan on giving away some of my preps? Right now, I most fear going it totally alone with just my wife and two little ones in a place where we know almost no one and probably no one would be watching our back. We try to develop a relationship with our neighbors, but nothing I’d ever want to rely on. I think banding together in small groups is a better plan for a young family in a semi-urban area. If you live in the boonies then sure take aim at every trespasser who comes 500 yards from your home, but when there are 1,000 families an hours walk from my front door thats not a survival plan its a death warrant.

    If you read Selco’s accounts (that ring true to my ears) or this that I found on SHTFPLAN

    http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/shtf-planning-20-lessons-from-the-streets-of-cairo_02012012

    It sounds like people who band together can do pretty well. That means you have to let some info out. I brings a question to mind, do we never hear the armed loaners tales because they do fine, stay loaners, and keep quiet, or is it because they don’t actually live to tell them.

    Right now I’m about 100% fine with OPSEC, I’m naturally a quiet person and let the other person steer just about every conversation, so prepping has never come up with anyone ever. In a hundred mile radius from my house probably only 200 or so people know my name. Nobody knows I prep. A couple of delivery guys have brought a few boxes to my door, but nothing notable. I buy some big bags of stuff at Sam’s club, but no where near as much as the restaurant owner in front of me. OPSEC isn’t my worry, going it totally alone is.

    What do you think?

    • Mike M,
      I read Selco’s Cairo link and what a story. Thank you for sharing it. A huge amount of great advise. I went further to read the post from the man from Bosnia. I got very emotional, listening to it first hand. I can easily put myself there. The fear, hunger, sounds, terrible smells, stress.

      I have always thought as Americans we tend to pull in and want to bug in alone. To keep our individuality is important to our culture. Our private spaces are sacred to us.
      I know for my family, that is not practical or possible. We MUST have others in our group for security.
      Many of them actually. With a large group, neighbors working together, we can thrive, not just survive. I know it takes a special person to get different families and folks to work together as a unit. But, survival is great motivator.
      Alot to ponder.

      • I’m glad to pass them on, Just to be clear (which I rarely am) Selco was the guy from Bosnia. It sounds like he was just in his early 20s when the SHTF for nearly a year. I first read through all of his postings on:

        http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=189395

        Where he was in conversation with the posters there.

        It looks Like this site did a good job of collecting these and putting them in an easier to read format:

        http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/blog/shtf-survival-qa-a-first-hand-account.htm

        Now Selco has his own blog which I’ve only looked at in passing.

        If you don’t think its all a hoax (which some do, but like I said it rings true to my ears) He was in a particularly hard time in a besieged urban area in the middle of a civil war. So its just one situation. But the human, personal, side to his posts open ones eyes and makes you think about more than just rational planning. It makes our endeavors much more real. Reality is something we should be striving for, and something human minds are incredibly good at ignoring.

    • You don’t have to put yourself forward as a prepper at the first, come forward as an equal to your neighborhood. Be calm with enough trepidation that they don’t suspect how well you’d do without them. (Walking Dead reference, where they actually managed to walk through a pack of zombies by covering themselves in zombie guts.)

      Do have a small portion of your preps away from the others and well-hidden, I’m thinking “buried in the crawlspace” level of inaccessibility. That way, if you share a little and they mob you for holding out on them, you have enough to get away from the area.

  38. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version for those in a hurry.

    “First rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club.”

    Might want to write that on your hand, there will be a test later.

  39. critical thinking is a national deficit says:

    I caught something from Intel Hub: That the Germans did not have a huge number of government spies all around, but that the German PEOPLE themselves spied on each other and turned them in for little petty reasons. My German first cousin just does not talk about the War because it is “too hard for him to do so.” Our own DHS is trying to get us all to spy on one another and turn us in. I like the excuses / deflections about not having anything. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have taken some fellow Church members to a Food Storage center over the past year. They themselves are ok, but if they tell others, others will find me. I just do not buy anything very much while they are there, just a few things that will last maybe 30 years or so. NRA says that if the present regime is re-elected, then the 2nd Amendment will be abolished. Again, the pattern of Germany with gun registration then confiscation is repeating itself, and most sheeple are too darned fluoridated and prozaced over to think clearly. I think to form friends and community of like minded people. Thanks for the rant.

    • Critical, you are right. I have not seen you post before so if you are new, welcome to the Wolf Pack.

      Most intel has always been by the people that report on their neighbors and congregation because of envy, spite and the occasional good reason.

    • Garden Mom says:

      Critical, My DH just sent me this article from “The Daily Reckoning” that fits exactly with your post – very scary stuff.
      Here’s the link, you don’t have to enter your email to read it, just close the window when it asks for your email or read the copied portion below.

      http://dailyreckoning.com/why-personal-privacy-is-now-public-enemy-1/

      Why Personal Privacy is Now Public Enemy #1
      By Joel Bowman

      Reporting from Buenos Aires, Argentina…

      Yes…he’s probably listening…

      We’d prefer to invite you to a quieter place, Fellow Reckoner…somewhere we could talk in private. A speakeasy, perhaps. Somewhere off the radar. Alas, that’s becoming increasingly difficult.

      In fact, according to recruitment propaganda handed out by the FBI and the Department of Justice to Internet cafe owners across the country, a person may be considered “suspicious” if they “are overly concerned about privacy” or if he/she “attempts to shield the screen from view of others.”

      Other “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Internet Café,” according to this particular flyer, include, “paying with cash,” traveling an “illogical distance to use [the] Internet Café,” acting “nervous” or exhibiting “suspicious behaviour inconsistent with activities.”

      What constitutes an “illogical distance,” we wonder? Two miles? Five? Twenty? What about visiting a cafe while on vacation? Is that an “illogical distance” from a person’s home? Come to think of it, what does an “illogical distance” even mean? Negative three miles? Minus six miles? Moreover, how would one even know the distance a person travelled to email grandma or fill out online job applications? Should we be spying on them?

      Well… Yes, say the Feds.

      If a fellow citizen arouses your suspicion – based on what must surely be the vaguest criterion imaginable – the federal agencies encourage you to “be part of the solution.” How? Well, they’d like you to…

      “Gather information about individuals without drawing attention to yourself. Identify license plates, vehicle description, names used, languages spoken, ethnicity, etc.”

      They’d like to recruit you, in other words. Just imagine, a whole community of spooks, moles, informants, sleuths and…

      Wait…who WOULDN’T be nervous in an Internet Café in the USA these days?

      And that’s not all. The Fed’s cheerfully-titled “Communities Against Terrorism” flyer series identifies 25 “threat areas” where you might encounter suspicious persons. These include such notorious ne’er-do- well hangouts as:
      • Dive/boat shops
      • Martial arts centres/Paintball
      • Hobby shops
      • Farm supply stores
      • Financial institutions
      • Electronics stores
      • Shopping malls
      • Hotels/Motels and, just to be on the safe side,
      • The General Public
      In each of these “threat areas,” the Feds helpfully outline a suggested course of action for those who wish to be part of their “solution.” Again, snitching, spying and behaviour generally bordering on paranoia and harassment seem to capture the general gist of it.

      For example, if you are out and about in the “General Public” one weekend and you happen to notice “people over dressed for the weather,” the Feds would like you to embark on a snooping mission, maybe even involving following “Mr. Tight-Knit-Cashmere-Cardigan-on- a-Late-Summer-Day” to his car. And don’t be scant on the details. Explains the flyer:

      “Providing a detailed description of persons or vehicles is imperative for a successful follow up by law enforcement personnel.”

      We’ll come back to exactly what a “successful follow up” means in just a second, but before we get to that…

      What to do if your suspected, inappropriate fibre for the season-wearing, possible perp-to-be notices that you are on their tail? And what if, after being stalked through a public place by someone they don’t know, this sketchy individual becomes nervous and departs quickly when you approach them?

      Well, they’re only digging themselves deeper. According to the Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to the General Public flyer, “departing quickly when seen or approached” could be grounds for further suspicion. It says so right there, in the section helpfully titled, “What Should I Consider Suspicious?”

      Also in this section: “Questions regarding sensitive information such as security procedures or systems,” “Vehicles that appear to be overloaded,” and, again, just to be safe, “People acting suspiciously.”

      But back to the “successful follow up” for a second. What, exactly, would that look like? What sinister plots and stratagems might all this covert invigilation and spying on each other help foil?

      Well, now there’s the case of telecommunications sales manager Saad Allami, a man who knows a thing or two about living in a…eh…”watchful” community.

      Mr Allami was arrested last month while picking up his 7 year-old son from school in Quebec. During the next 24 hours, while he was being detained, a team of police officers (heroes/patriots/national treasures) stormed Mr. Allami’s home, telling his wife she was “married to a terrorist.” Meanwhile, Mr. Allami’s colleagues, who were on their way to a conference in the Big Apple were also detained at the US border for hours due to their “connection” with Mr. Allami.

      And what had Mr. Allami done to deserve this, the swift hand of justice? The Canadian Press provides the shocking details of his master plan:

      On Jan. 21, 2011, Allami sent a text message to colleagues urging them to “blow away” the competition at a trade show in New York City.

      According to Mr. Allami’s lawsuit, “The treatment of the plaintiff and his wife was cavalier, illegal, aggressive, accusatory, and in violation of their most fundamental rights.”

      Exactly as you’d expect, in other words.

      Like we said, we’d love to have spoken to you in private, away from the prying eyes and ears of Big Brother…and his thousands of officious little goose-stepping generals on the ground.

      But, as you can see, we can’t. He is everywhere. He is everyone and anyone. We know he is listening. And now, so do you.

      Act accordingly.

      Regards,
      Joel Bowman
      for The Daily Reckoning Australia

      Joel Bowman is the Managing Editor of The Daily Reckoning USA.

      This article first appeared in The Daily Reckoning USA.

  40. A very good piece on COMSEC (Communication Security). This is simply keeping your mouth (including a “virtual” mouth) shut. COMSEC goes hand in hand with OPSEC, which is Operational Security.

    OPSEC is how you actually do things, how you operate and/or plan to operate. Everything from your ongoing prioritized preperations, your planned Bug Out route, How well armed you are, and how you will prepare your meals and dispose of your waste with minimal risk of discovery, and so much more, is OPSEC.

    Part of OPSEC is CCD or Camoflauge, Concealment, and Deception. Making yourself, your BOV, and/or your location (bug in or out) blend in, to go un-noticed. If everyone is standing in a government handout line for free cheese, and another line for free bread, and another line for a cup of free rice, then you had better be there too. If not it will be noticed. If the crowd is unwashed, hungry, and scared, then you had better look the same. If not, it will be noticed.
    If the crowd gets noisy and looks like it might riot, you had better be doing the same as you carefully back away and get the hell out.

    Be careful and think it thru.

  41. Good article and a lot to think about in the comments as well…with our recent unplanned re-location(temporary, we hope and pray) those that have depended on us are getting the chance to depend on themselves and others..Neither of us have the ability to work, and we are feeling the urgency to get prepared as much as possible for all the crisis’ that are building. End of the World? ..we don’t worry about that one, it’s covered already…but it’s the other things we try to prepare for. Hubby thought I’d gone coo-coo on him until I started showing him things.about a year ago. I regress…… some of these “excuses to not help others” can be told truthfully and with a clear conscience. (I am just not a good liar, so anything I say, has to be in a way I can say or just not say things that will help me cover for any breaches so far.) I liked the one about the gene rator…that wouldn’t work…nevermind it didn’t have fuel…I can apply that one to a lot of things!

  42. Encourager says:

    Great article! I am making a few lists from all the comments. I wish I could find a drapery store going out of business so that I could buy up enough draperies for OPSEC. I can sew them, but even the cost of the material is prohibitive, even if I use my 40% off weekly coupon. Not to mention whatever I need to hang them from. It is getting depressing! (And NO! I am NOT suicidal!) Well, we don’t know what the future will bring and all we can do is keep on doing as much as we can afford with what limited funds and strength we have.

    I have not spoken to any of our neighbors about prepping. Our closest neighbor is a fruitcake. The ex-cons that she allows to live with her are a real threat already, never mind WSHTF. The other nearby neighbor walked up behind my son one day when son was target shooting…son had ear protection and complete concentration on job at hand…the guy tapped him on the shoulder. My son said he nearly had to go change his undershorts. The neighbor was upset because of all the ‘noise’ son was making. Neighbor is a Vietnam vet and should have known better! ID10T for sure.

    I am so thankful my kids are on board with prepping. And they know to keep their mouths shut about it…youngest son has a girlfriend, don’t know how much she knows, I guess I better find out.

    Thanks for the great article.

    • encourager…do you have any spare sheets – or can get some from thrift stores…and use this – just get some black plastic from the hardware store – and sew them all together…with plastic in middle…i said something similar in another post – hope this helps.

      • Encourager says:

        That is a great idea, Chloe. Thanks. I am still thinking polar fleece as it is pretty thick and extra wide. I can use my 40% off coupon on one cut at a time.

    • Encourager,
      I am sorry to hear about your crappy neighbors. There is always a chance they will have somewhere else to go SHTF.
      As to the curtains. I buy LOTs of fabric, curtains, sheets, sewing notions and fabric dyes at thrift stores and garage sales. For next to nothing. And garage sale season is coming up! Happy Hunting.

      • Encourager says:

        The V. vet makes me nervous. He was hospitalized quite a few times with PTSS (post traumatic stress syndrome). He is in his 70′s now and I am wondering if he has beginning Alzheimer ‘s.

        The other neighbor is a piece of work. She used to raise wolf-hybrids and controlled them with cattle prods. Yeah. They were all taken away from her by the County and destroyed, they were so dangerous they attacked a woman at the Animal Shelter when she bent down to put the food through the slot – one grabbed her hair and another her hand. Her horses were in bad shape, their hooves curled up like Moroccan slippers; they, too, were taken. Her kids were taken away after she repeatedly left them at home alone to go to the bar where she then was away the entire night (they were 4 and 2) and given to her mother to raise. Her ex moved in with her mother after their divorce. A real mess. We’ve had to go to court a few times about personal property being destroyed by her or her ‘guests’. We leave her alone as best we can. Not someone I want next door when TSHTF. I wish I could just buy her out and move her on!

        • Ug! I loath people like that. They are selfish, dirty, irresponsible, uncaring, filthy, discusting wastes of oxygen. A danger to themselves and everything around them. I am so sorry. If SHTF, first priority, run her off!

  43. Will Brenner says:

    OPSEC from Dr. Seuss
    ——————————————————————————–
    I am Sam.
    Sam I am.
    Do you like OPSEC and ham?
    I do not get it, Sam I am.
    I do not get OPSEC and ham.
    We must use it here and there.
    We must use it everywhere.
    You CAN share it in a car.
    But you CANNOT in a bar. <—————
    You CANNOT share it in a text.
    You CANNOT share it at the NEX.
    You CAN say it in your house.
    But should NOT tell a random spouse.
    You CAN say it in the shower.
    But do NOT go sharing at happy hour.
    DON'T make the Ombudsman sweat.
    DON'T post it on the internet.
    You CANNOT share it in a tweet.
    That would not be very sweet.
    Beware of Facebook and Myspace too.
    It's tempting to let your feelings through.
    You Cannot tell it to a friend.
    NOT even at the very end.
    It is a privilege to know a date.
    DON'T tell ANYONE or they may be late!
    Oh, I get it, Sam I am.
    Now I get OPSEC and ham!
    I will not tell anyone. I will keep hushed until they're done!
    I will not tell him or her. I will not tell my dog with fur.
    I will not tell my child's teacher. I will not tell any creature.
    Thank you, THANK YOU, Sam I am.
    Thank you for clearing up OPSEC and Ham!!!

  44. What does one do when your OPSEC concern is your spouse? I have been prepping for about 10 years, while being the butt of DH’s jokes. He occasionally helps (just in case I’m right), but doesn’t attempt to hide anything from his family members or friends when they visit. He has said he doesn’t care if they see our stash. I’ve no doubt he would throw me to the wolves to take in his family members when TSHTF. DH also has a son, with whom he shares everything. Son has shown up on a several occasions with his friends in tow, wanting to do some plinking, and bringing them right into our home.
    I feel there is a real need to re-locate some of the preps I’ve accumulated, but so far, have no safe place to move them to, with the exception of underground. DH doesn’t share my concerns, so I’m on my own here. Any suggestions?

    • Cruzette,

      If I were in that situation, I would rent a small storage unit and slowly move some preps over there. I say “slowly” because you don’t want to attract attention or evoke suspicion. Once I had a backup plan, I would express my concerns with my spouse. If expressing doesn’t work, I would talk about respect and how marriage is based on mutual respect. I wouldn’t make any veiled threats. But I would sure let it be known that that I will not tolerate disrespect in my own home.

    • Cruzette⁠, have you considered a storage facility near by to put the majority of your prep items? Don’t know the extent of your prepping but you can rent the size by need and if you shop around some will beat the competitor down the road.

      With this if its within short distance you can grab what you need as needed. If you want to keep it hush hush from the family you could get a prepaid credit card to hide a paper trail.

      • Gayle and Jarhead,
        Thanks so much for your input. There is one storage facility in my area, and I have considered that. My concern with that is, if TSHTF, will my preps be stuck behind the locked gates? It is also on the main road in my small town and in a residential area. If nothing else, hopefully a storage unit would suffice until I can come up with something else. At least, if I were unable to get to the storage unit, my car and BOB each have a few days supplies.

        Thanks too, Gayle, for the advice on the other issue. We have had the “respect talk” a number of times. I will continue my preps and hope the for best.

  45. SurvivorDan says:

    This hits home.
    Someone at work today came up and asked me how much food I had in my house. I asked him why he asked. He said that my buddy at work had said that I likely had years of food stored at home as I was a survivalist/prepper. I looked surprised and told the gentleman that I was not a survivalist but taught combatives and wilderness survival skills and gave him my business card. I explained that I had a week or so of food at home (Honeyville’s and Mountain House records to the contrary) as I had the skills to live off the land in the event of a SHTF emergency. I then went to my ‘friend’ ( a fellow prepper) and asked him why he would say such a thing. He replied that he and the other fellow had a few beers the other night and he had slipped up. He knows better. His ‘slip’ may come back to haunt us both.
    Be careful folks. Silence is golden. And a little misinformation now may help undo previous security lapses. Laugh off most inquiries. Most folks would rather believe that you are not ‘crazy’ enough to put up 3 years of food, supplies and 10,000 rounds of centerfire. Or are you……..? Of course not.