When Does Looting Become Scavenging?

by Ron G

Note: This article is not written with a local emergency or disaster in mind. Not even a Katrina size fiasco. This is written for a national, the big schumer hitting the big fan, TEOTWAWKI, situation. Situations where local government collapses and cannot restore law and order, for a long, long time. It also is based on one big assumption, that you are bugging in and your plans, preparations, and providence are in your favor.

We all know that as soon as the masses, the takers not the makers in our society, figure out that the trucks have stopped running, that the government check is not in the mail, and that the food and fuel supply is drying up, we all know the last place a sane person wants to be is anywhere near a grocery or liquor store, a gas station, or a gun shop. Those are the first place the goblins are going to think to go. They will loot and rob but they won’t be clearing off all the shelves. They won’t be thinking that far ahead. Thinking long-term has been bred out of them over the last five generations.

Months later, after the mass die off, presuming that your plans, preparations, OPSEC, and Divine Providence have been in your favor, it may be necessary to go visit those grocery and other stores that the goblins looted earlier.

If you are like JoJo, my beautiful bride, and I, we don’t have the room to store a year’s supply of every thing we would need to have. So we have to prioritize and that means food, fuel, and the ability to defend it. While we do have soap, toilet paper, and an enhanced first aid kit, we will need to re-supply at some point.

Non-edible items like sanitation and medical supplies will for the most part have been left behind by the shortsighted, hungry goblins. Drug stores will still have vitamins, OTC drugs, antibiotics, bandages, and such. The goblins will have taken all the painkillers and the “fixin’s” for crack and any other feel good drug. Clothing, automotive, and hardware stores will be mostly untouched.

While large screen TV’s, fancy running shoes, and bling bling, might be hard to find the dollar store will still have bottles of bleach, shampoo and toilet paper available, for a while. Hardware stores will still have nails, screws, sheets of plywood, and a garden shop, etc, for a while. Pet food might be hard to find, as the goblins will have eaten that all up before they started on each other.

The key here is of course to get in and out without being seen and I will leave that to someone else to write about. There are several here that have more experience then I at recon and stealth ops.

What I am saying is this, if you are limited on funds and/or storage space, do address your sanitation, clothing, and other needs but prioritize them accordingly and for the short-term. Given a choice between 6 months of food and a lifetime of jeans and boots? I will take the food. The jeans and boots will be sitting there, on the shelf or in boxes in the back room, when we need them.

Scavenging is not looting, nor is it stealing. It is using items that were abandoned by the previous owners.

Post Script: While writing this it occurred to me that there might be a time that I would consider what some might consider “looting.” But really the difference between looting and scavenging is just a matter of time. Minutes really.

Please note that I am asking you to only consider this. If someday your situation exists like what I am going to outline, then press on as you see best. If not… then get the hell out and don’t look back. If it makes you feel better you can also leave a few pre 65 coins or 4 pounds of pennies on the counter on your way out.

If you are in the city or a town when the goblins are looting and killing in the parking lots outside the grocery store, and you decide you are not where you need to be in your preps, here is what you do. Consider going to a restaurant.

I am not talking “fast food” places here. I am talking the sit down, order from a menu, and tip the waitress kind of place More and more places are relying of dried; freeze-dried, and precooked foods. Last week I learned that Subways buys packages of 300 slices of precooked bacon. You can always use any extra canned, bagged or boxed you can get. I wouldn’t take anything frozen without the means to keep it that way or if I can eat it within a few days.

So you go to the back door of your local Dead Lobster or Outback. If people are carrying stuff out then move on, you are too late. Don’t waste the time or take the risk. If the owner and employees are gone then it is abandoned. If the back door is not locked then the employees have probably already cleaned it out. If the back door is locked, get in; hit the storeroom, the bar if there is one, then get the hell out.

It will be awhile before the smartest of the slower thinking goblins start to think of restaurants as a place to find more food then just a single meal. Remember, these people do not think in terms of tomorrow, just the now.

Bottom line, we need to think like the African Lion. It makes its kill, eats it’s fill and goes off to the shade. It is not concerned with the activity of the carrion. You and I do not want anything to do with the fighting that is going to occur over the remains. Our safety, pre or post schumer hitting the fan, involves being able to get in and get out without confrontation. Being ready to strike is key.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below…


  1. I have a question that I would be interested to hear what you guys have to say. (This one has nothing to do with politics.) Why is it that in Western countries like the U.S. and England, young people act like pigs at the drop of a hat but that in Japan the entire population (old and young alike) are civil even in the face of overwhelming adversity?

    Having thought through the notions of self-sufficiency and honor, I have reached the conclusion that I want to be more Mormon-like (self-sufficient) and more Japanese-like (honorable).

    • It’s a matter of your culture and how you’re raised. Take a martial art, where honor is still valued. Better yet, take ninjitsu, where self-sufficiency is important, too.

      • Southern Girl says:

        It is how you are raised. As a “Mormon” we are raised to be self-sufficient, but not all are. Being part of a long line of a Military family we were/are raised with honor and pride, also how to shot a gun. At 52 I still say “Yes Sir, No Sir “and please and thank you, so do my children and grandchildren. The old values are not old or lost if you teach your children right. But this being said my son who looks like a “skin-head” still gets stares when he holds the door open for someone (male or female) or gets something off the top shelves for someone. People still ask he why he is helping them, he says “because I was raised right”.

    • Sense of self is a good reason for the way the children behave. Not to mention, the Asian nations are not multi-cultural countries with a hodge-podge of customs and ideas of what constitutes ‘proper behavior’. Rather, they’re homogenous with a cultural identity the same as the person next to them and know how that person was reared and taught to behave in society.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Gayle, I lived much of my 20’s and 30’s all over the Far East. Dont be fooled into thinking that they dont have “pigs” there too, they do. There are some bad people there, just like there are in western countries. I’ve seen some aweful behavior on the part of teenage and 20+ year old asians. In South Korea, the “right of passage” into adulthood for many college kids during the 1970’s and 1980’s was to hit a policeman with a molotov cocktail during a protest. In Japan, some young people LIVE to “be the nail that sticks out”, looking for the “hammer” that nails them down just to get into a fight. China’s “one child policy” has led to some downright spoiled rotten people with the expectation that they can demand anything of their family and deserve to get it and will take violent action if they do not get it. So all is not completely what it appears….

  2. I hope I am not hearing what I think I’m hearing – that even among us preppers, who agree so thoroughly on the necessity to prepare, that we could be facing severe rifts even among ourselves when the SHTF on issues of morality. I sincerely hope not. We need to stick together and work out any differences, compromising when needed.

  3. With all of the comments (pushing toward 150) everyone is thinking about food. After the two or three week time period the author was focusing on there won’t be crumbs left. One thing I’m surprised about is no one suggested scrounging the local town landfill, maybe not for food but for pieces of lumber, metal, intact bottles and what have you. People will need to build or repair things for the long haul and the local hardware store isn’t going to be available.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      HB, that is certainly an option that not many people think of. A movie I saw many years ago when I lived in the Far East was called something like “The 5th Level Scrounger”. It showed people who made their living digging through the scraps at the city dump to re-sell items they found. This is actually a profession (if you will) in India and some other 3d world countries.

    • Anyone who can find food in our local landfill is going to be better than the bears and seagulls and crows that inhabit them. Reason being, with the enviro laws now being used, landfills are layered… debris/food stuffs/etc covered with a layer of topsoil/dirt… then another layer of debris… another layer of topsoil… etc.
      So finding something under all that will take some heavy equipment and no one, no matter how hungry, will be able to stomach what they find. (It’d probably be akin to eating babysh..)
      I do think there could be some useful materiel found in the confines, though. Freezer carcasses, fridges, stoves, hot water tanks, etc.

      • I can not imagine a more diseased filled environment. Any scratch or prick can end up fatal. And talk about labor intensive…

        MONTHS or YEARS after the Great Die Off that WILL be part of TEOTWAWKI… if I needed a freezer carcass, fridge, stove, or hot water tanks I’d just go to a place that USE to sell them and SALVAGE one. Actually, I am sure I can find one in one of the ABANDONED homes near my place and save the time, labor, and minimize the danger of trying to get it to my place.
        Now before anyone accuses me of looting, stealing or improper planning answer this question, How many freezers, fridges, stoves, and hot water tanks have you stockpilled?

        • HeyMickey59 says:

          I have been saying for years now that within my leftime (I am 51) we will see the mining of landfills. I think it will be mainly for recycleables like steel, aluminum and glass. Just think how much copper might be in older landfills. My DH thinks that the older landfills will be hard to identify and/or mine because parks, houses, etc. have been built on top of them. However, we all know of the hills of refuse that are just covered in grass. So…

  4. Plant Lady says:

    Wow, I am so very disappointed. I thought most folks here were about intelligently preparing for bad times – so we wouldn’t end in the position of “having” to steal to survive. I just shook my head in total dismay when I read folks proudly proclaiming that they are “preparing” by scouting out the neighbors’ belongings or a “country place” to steal at some future point. Gee, I really need to buy more ammo – lots more ammo!
    If you were truly preparing, you would be spending your time thinking about what you will need to survive and acquiring it now rather than planning thefts. And stockpiling equipment and raw materials and learning skills you will be able to use later to produce products to barter. There really is no excuse for stealing – if you had made the effort to properly prepare, there would be no need. Being too stupid/lazy/complacent to properly prepare is not a justifiable excuse. If you think you couldn’t possibly prepare for everything on your own, band together with like-minded folks and work together. In our area, we planted the big orchard, grapes and berries and are keeping small livestock, making cider, beer and wine, cheese, etc. to use as trade goods. One neighbor has large fields, large equipment and a huge barn and will continue growing grains and hay. Another has draft horses and all the equipment for them to be used to work ground and provide transportation for people and goods. Another raises beef, two have dairies. You don’t have to have everything yourself if you can learn how to share or to barter with others in your immediate area. God has gifted us with the awareness of the need and the time needed to prepare…so there is no excuse for theft.
    So many folks want to hang onto the convenient modern life until they “have to” make a change to a whole different self-sufficient lifestyle. If you wait until that “have to” moment, it is already too late. If you are planning on bugging out to the countryside at the last minute – be aware that those of us already living here will have a lot to say about those plans of yours…and most all of us grew up with guns in hand. There is no free land for the taking – we already bought it and have been paying the taxes on it. There will be no “sneaking in”…our families have lived here for generations and we know who owns what land and which folks belong where. The people who have only lived here 30-40 years are considered newcomers…and strangers are cause to call around, just in case. I always know at least 10 minutes ahead of time when the door-to-door religious folks or salesmen will be here, and I call others to let them know. We watch out for each other, so if you are planning on stealing from an “empty” place around here, you better be sure all the places for miles around are empty. We have lots of bored old folks with really good binoculars…and the rest of us are getting real twitchy on the trigger reading about other folks “plans” to take our stuff.

    • Hi Plantlady-
      You are right that ’empty’ does not necessarily apply when you are talking about the country. But the majority of people in the US (and most of the western world) live in urban or suburban environments. I live on a half acre in the suburbs and am busy making what I have as incredibly super productive and self-sufficient as a half acre and the local zoning laws allow it to be. But most occupants of the suburbs… and the city only just a stone’s throw across the river – will not have the knowledge or ability to survive on their own for more than a few weeks, if that. And there are far more people per square mile than there are in the countryside that will need to support. With my fruit and nut trees, berry patch, perennial garden, rabbits, and vegetable garden (with the potential to produce year-round in the very near future, thank you!) supplementing what I’ve managed to ‘lay by’ in my pantry and basement, my family won’t starve for a long time. Water is supplied by a well in the back corner of my lot, and combined with my rain barrels will suffice for water needs for my family, livestock, and garden. In short, we’re not going to be suffering if and or when things go to heck in a handbasket. But there are many, many around me who will not make it. If I know neighbors have left for camps or other safe refuge with family in the country, like you, I would consider it my responsibility to help defend what they have left behind. But death is another matter, and there will most likely be plenty of it. Dead men don’t need to eat, nor do they care who is using what used to be their tidy fenced-in back yard for an auxiliary garden space or duck pond. I don’t think they would mind us using it, either.
      Let us dearly hope this is all just a purely theoretical exercise and never comes to pass… but for those of us who are self-sufficient and have acquired adequate skills to survive, it may be possible to do so even in the more urban settings. But it will definitely take a bit more creativity, and plenty more provisions for security.

    • Perhaps I am really missing something here. It seems to me that the folks out in the country will be able to work with one another for a common purpose; they will defend each others homes and trade for mutual benefit. I do not see this happening in the city or the suburbs, primarily because we don’t know our neighbors like folks do in the country (and Plant Lady has explained) and the vast majority of our neighbors would be useless in a SHTF scenario. Now I don’t think anyone is talking about forcing their way into homes in the country to steal possessions (since they would get shot).

      In the city or suburbs things would be different. There would be an initial phase of looting which would presumably spread to homes in the suburbs. Poorly defended homes will be ransacked. Ultimately the thugs will die of dehydration. Now I think there is a difference between confiscating stolen property and re-purposing it and stealing from someone. Consider, for example, what happens when big-time drug dealers are arrested and ultimately convicted. The state confiscates the property that they purchased with drug profits, and re-purposes it for law enforcement. Drug dealers are thugs, and their possessions are not their property. The same applies to looters. They are thugs and their possessions (or, more accurately, the things they have in their possession) are not their property. In a total SHTF scenario, looting thugs should be shot and deprived of the goods they have stolen.

      The question arises: can we tell the difference between a looting thug and a property owner? Yes, the looting thugs are the one’s who are trying to break into your home and steal your property. If they are caught red handed and there truly is no law enforcement, then let’s string them up to a tall tree and let them swing. Failure to administer justice swiftly and decisively, is essentially condoning thievery, rape and murder. Let them hang.

    • Ms Plant Lady,
      Ones situations and ones decisions as to how we deal with those circumstances are based upon our resources available to us at the time, and that puts us where we are at any exact moment in time.
      While I am glad that you are clearly in the perfect place I would suggest that the rest of us are facing a reality that screams that we are not there yet. And since we have failed to meet your level please forgive us. Or adopt me.

      • Plant Lady says:

        Ron: The family does adopt handy folks…what skills do you have?
        My reply really read badly, I was trying to gently scare folks into immediate action without terrifying them into catatonia, so I will try to clarify. Let me start by saying I think something real bad is coming our way…not a year or two hiccup…but something bad that may last generations, so that is the perspective I write from.
        What I was trying to get across was two points…
        1. I am in the country, in a pretty good place with a lot of advantages…but I am scared. Scared that even though we do already have 24 acres of land and water, it isn’t enough land to actually support us and those we care for. Scared that even with the all the progress we have made, it won’t be nearly enough, soon enough – and that makes me really worried for folks stuck in cities and suburbs. Scared that if those folks don’t get out now and get some land to support themselves it will be too late. I have only been seriously working toward self-sufficiency for 3 years and am not even close to being ready for the worst…but even so in far better shape than anyone in an urban/suburban area. It takes a lot of time to prepare enough ground for successful gardening/farming and figure out how to plan then to grow/preserve enough of everything to feed your family and livestock from year to year. Then it takes more time to get livestock and figure out how to house, raise and replace them. It takes 4-10 years before a planted orchard starts to bear, a couple years for most berries & grapes and 10-15 years for nuts. You need time to learn what you need then gather the tools and equipment, seed and nursery stock, fencing and all the other things you will need and build places to store all this stuff. Plus it takes years to get to know your neighbors and develop a good working relationship with them. And if you are like us, most of this is new to us, so we are learning as we go. It is a whole lot easier learning now, actually working on these projects with the internet (especially this site, thank you MD), libraries and friends to guide us and having the luxury of being able to run up to Tractor Supply or the Co-Op when we “discover” we need this or that to work on a project. Plus, our mistakes won’t kill us now…can still run to the grocery if the garden fails or the livestock die. If folks wait until the last minute to “bug out”, its too late. Too late to purchase everything you need and too late to safely practice the skills you will need…so you probably will be “forced” to steal to stay alive.

        Second, to those of us already living in the country, those who bug out to the country hoping to find a free home and land enough to support them will be considered looters and scavengers – since they are planning to take or use something that doesn’t belong to them. All the arable land is owned by someone, so I am pretty sure the best you could hope for would be to become some landowners’ sharecropper/serf…unless you are a doctor, nurse, blacksmith, gunsmith, musician/storyteller or trader with a stock of trade goods. At that time, everyone will be too busy trying to survive to help you learn and the equipment, seed and livestock at that time will be more precious than gold.
        We made the real hard choices 30 years ago…foregoing actual wonderful career opportunities in cities to live here in the country, in the second poorest county in our state. That choice cost us about 75% of what we could have been earning in a city. And to work in my chosen career for the past 15 years, I have been commuting 130+ miles one way to work. What money we could make went into paying off the land and improving it. And we are very lucky now that we made those hard choices, because that is what will allow us to survive – and maybe even thrive – when the bad times come.
        So the time to make those tough decisions is now…time is running out. I know it is hard and circumstances aren’t perfect…been there, done that, still living that. If we could get as far as we have with extremely limited funds, so can you…if you hurry!

        • Bingo!! “We made the real hard choices 30 years ago”! And you made a very good choice with all the options that you did have. Myself… with respect…
          30 Years ago I was stationed outside Del Rio, TX. Having just returned stateside after my third overseas tour in 10 years. 18 months later I was in Georgia for 2 years, Illinois for 18 months, 3 years in the UK, about a year in New Mexico before 6 months with the first Gulf War (my 2nd war) followed by another year in New Mexico.
          On August 14, 1990 I flew to the east coast via commercial airliner. Since I had a M-16 and 300 rounds of ammo the crew took a lot of interest in me. One stewredess asked where I was going. I told her it was classified, (at that time it still was) but to watch the news and the next time she filled her cars tank with gas she could say a little prayer for me.
          It is all about choices my dear friend and I am very gratifide, and have no regrets, that the ones I made contributesd in some small way to making yours possible.
          If I had it all to do over again? Knowing how my fellow citizens will vote in people, in exchange for a welfare check or protection for thier union, and screw this nation up to the point it is today?
          I’d pick up the weapon, climb tha rampart and make it possible for my fellow citizens to sleep in peace all over again.
          Next week, next month, next year… I will do what I have to do.
          However I will continue to know the difference between “stealing” and appropriating something from a previous owner who is long dead and gone.

  5. Hi Plant Lady,

    I don’t think anyone here is PLANNING (and certainly not wanting) to “steal to survive”…..what most (many) of the posts lead to is; what happens if you get to the point of having to use something that doesn’t belong to you or perishing. Then uncomfortable choices have to be made. Most of us struggle with that choice the more we think about it. My bottom line is that-the rules change in that situation and I’ll say it again…..surviving is not immoral!

    • Hawkryr, the original article was written as a response to posts where I read people putting away a years supply of shampoo and toilet paper.
      I ocurred to me that that after 3 months of TEOTWAWKI that kind of stuff would be sitting on the shelves as starving people are not interested in it.
      After two years and 2/3rds of the population has died off I will replace my boots at the the place that use to be known as the Tony Lama retailer. IF the owner is there I will give him a pre 67 silver nickel or some other agreed upon item. Or I can go down the road to the place where the owner and his family did not, as far as I can tell, survive.

    • The point Plant Lady was trying to make, and one that I raised earlier, was that scoping out or “reconning” our neighbors’ property and belongings is incredibly intrusive and an invasion of privacy. Especially when it’s done prior to any SHTF event. It’s like laying claim to someone else’s property even though that property does not belong to us. It reeks of the mind set that if I failed to get what I need then I’ll just come get yours. And this is a very common misconception among some self-proclaimed preppers and a real concern among the average prepper. This is NOT okay to do.

      • I understand Ms Lynda and I agree 100%. Please remember that there is a big difference betweem SHTF and TEOTWAWKI! From what I am reading I get the strong feeling that not everyone fully understands that.
        Having said that, I would never suggest that anyone spy on thier neighbors and covet their material possecions (sp?). However, if my good neighbors, Jack and Tina, bug out and leave thier grill behind, I will confiscate that propane tank and take very good care of it till they come back.

  6. Thank you Josh, but the truth is… I would use “I”. Oh wait…. I always do.

  7. AZ Rookie Prepper says:

    For an interesting read on how tough times can dictate just what people will put up with, live with, go through, read the book “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan. It is about the people who stayed on in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Many of those people lived in houses made of cut sod surrounding a hole dug in the ground. They lived with dust constantly blowing into mounds around anything that didnt move, scorpions and centipedes and other creepy crawlies living in the walls of their sod houses, eating one meal every 3 days, dealing with “dust” pneumonia, drinking mud water, years of drought, watching their children and livestock die from choking on dust, etc etc etc….but interestingly, I never read a word about looting or scavenging. It doesnt mean it didnt happen, but one thing I did glean from this is that most were too proud to ask for handouts….just an observation.

    • AZ ,
      I think your observation is correct . Im sure looting did occur but not on a regular basis as modern people will be doing . You must remember that people in the 1930s , #1 had more class ,#2 did not have a sense of entitlement #3 had more dignity and self respect . #4 societal conduct and peer pressure to do the right thing was very ingrained . Todays people , thanks to the decay of liberalism are lazy , entitled , with no morals or ethics if they think they can get away with it , have no self standards or accountability . The liberals agenda is to have one mongrel subservient people , with a socialist government to take care of them so they dont have to work , smoke legalized pot , play video games , and be acceptant of any deviancy as ” normal ” .

      • T.R.,

        “decay of liberalisim”? I think you meant to say “the spread of liberalisim”, didn’t you? It’s liberalisim and liberals “buying” votes that brought about the cult of dependency.

    • AZ,

      I am reading this book now–I conjecture that there was no looting back then because no one had anything left to loot. This book has been a real eye-opener. A significant difference between the 1930s and today is that back then folks knew how to live off the land. What really stands out is the degree to which these folks got hood-winked into buying crap land–sort of like derivatives and subprime mortgages in 2008.

      • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

        Gayle, Certainly there were major differences. People did have a different lifestyle. Many many people lived off the land. I also must admit a mea culpa, I did find a place where the people asked for help from the federal govt, but they didnt ask for handouts, they asked for jobs….quite a difference. And Gayle, yes, the sham of the land sales was a real tragedy. Sort of like what we see today perhaps?
        Hawkeye, I think T.R. meant that liberalism caused decay, not that liberalism decayed.
        Mostly I suggest reading this book because it shows just how much people can put up with, how much people can deal with, how much people can truly get by with (or without).

        • AZ,

          I am about half way through the book and I’ve had a bit of an insight. When conservatives decry regulation they mean the sort of regulations that kill trade (tariffs, fore instance). Conservatives are not seeking to limit the power of individuals and government to punish identify and punish fraud. I know the parallels are not exact, but I am still stunned by the parallels between now and then. As Egan explains, the folks who bought land in the dust bowl were victims of fraud. Now whether S & P’s decision to keep corporations like AIG at a AAA rating just weeks before AIG filed for bankruptcy can reasonably be called “fraud” will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

          • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

            Gayle, lots of parallels to what is happening today. How is it that S&P can downgrade our country’s credit rating when other countries have a worse situation yet their rating did not get downgraded? Why do some companies have better ratings then others, with a worse $ situation? Lots of good/bad situations out there, as in the Great Depression. As for what is happening within our govt, conservative/liberal….frankly I am of the frame of mind that most have been bought off by special interest groups and do not have our best interests in mind. That is another reason why I prep. Keep on prepping Gayle, I feel we’re all going to need it.

        • AZ , you make a good point on how much a person can go through . I was reading a few stories on line from former WW2 POWs , some in the Pacific and some in Europe , but both had similar comments on the will to survive . They mentioned a mentality of planning things they will do when they got out , the ones that only visualized what was around them didn’t make it . The prisoners liberated by the Soviets said that they were pretty much left to their own devices, and the former guards did not have a good time with the Russians . One account told of a group of japanese that were shot after they finished unloading a train . I guess as they say ” paybacks are a bitch “

  8. Ron G .,
    I do like your use of the descriptive word Goblins , a lot better than zombies . Goblins , Trolls or even Baboons seem more appropriate . Zombies typically move too slow 😉

  9. We could also use the term “Palmies” as they have made a lifestyle from always having thier palms out for government freebies and handouts.

    • I think the term “parasite” works well. The are parasites on hard-working, tax-paying Americans.

  10. I do believe that the “goblins” have been underestimated.

  11. wal scavanging is historicaly a time honered means of servival it is a thin line between it and looting we would have to quickly leran the differance between placeces that are truely abandoned and might have sgavanging opertunitys and places that are still ocupied but rundown,sgavangers are usualy not anny moore welcom than loters at such placese,if you come acrocse the dead and unbaried you obvously sgavange wepons ammo,food,water and clothing off them and leve any personal identifyers with them as to burying them only if doing so would not indanger you with othe potencal looters/sgavengers or relitives that may think you did them in. As to abandoned biuldings thesse must be examond with grate care as smased windows,colapesd roofes and a tone of cobwebs do not nessesaraly equal abandoned,also as sgavengers in a totaly collapesd everment we need to remeber how the scavengers of the past operated,thay never over looked the most mundane things laying around untill thay figured out how to use it a differant way to help them servive. ex. the north american indean was known to take captuerd wepons and usse butplate to scrape hides,barel bands to make arow haeds we will have to do the same if it gits that bad personaly i hope for rapture be fore desaster prep the body prep the sole

  12. Thanks for the carefully thought out advice. After TEOTWAWKI It is very plausable that someone may have “settled” in at a former store, home, apartment building, or other facility. They may be trying to improve their situation or even in transet to a location cross country where family may still be found. Either way, from their point of view, it may not be a good idea for them to make it obviouse that they are there. Which really brings us to the next subject we all need to be thinking about, First Contact with others.

  13. Dan Schneider says:

    Interesting and timely as I was just recently discussing the concept of looting/scavenging/bartering post TEOTWAWKI with a like minded friend and co-conspirator. The restaurant suggestion by Ron G was excellent. We had discussed the pros and cons of raiding a grocery store and though armed to the proverbial ‘teeth’, concluded that it was mostly con. Not worth the potential for injury or worse to us or even some over-excited desperate stranger.
    We hadn’t even considered restaurants. After reading the article I also realized that the local school cafeteria (probably largely untouched initially) might be a good source for institution sized cans and cartons of food. Canned fruits, tuna, BBQ beef, dried/dehydrated potato, powdered eggs, spices, etc. might be there for the……appropriating. Many businesses have internal cafeterias/canteens as well that might be initially overlooked. Such dining areas often have snack and drink vending machines (with glass/plexiglass fronts I might add).
    At any rate, nice article with good suggestions and a lot of TEOTWAWKI insights for the would be survivor.
    Thanks. SurvivorDan

  14. I have been reading through the threads of this discussion. There seems to be a presumption that the feds are going to impose martial law on a national level. I just don’t see this happening. I think it is very likely that national guard troops will be called in (at the request of various state governors) to support law enforcement with riot control in the major cities. That leaves that vast majority of America under local control. I suggest that local governments will blockade the routes into their areas, and these areas will be manned by recently deputized armed civilians–just as the founders of our country envisioned (only they called them “militia”). I think our main job will be to stop marauding buggers from entering our towns. I do not fear the feds because in a post SHTF scenario they will not have the organizing skill to pull off anything at the national level. And remember the National Guard is the only branch of the military that can assist with police function and the National Guard is under the authority of its state governor. What I fear is the masses of hungry people so desperate they will kill for clean water.

    • Gayle:

      If I’m not mistaken, the 82nd Airborne Division (Regular Army) was deployed to NO during Katrina? And they performed police/patrol duties in addition to delivering supplies. So It probably isn’t just the NG which can be deployed, as your post implies. Also, the National Guard is under the control of the Governor (State) until it isn’t!! The Feds supply, train, etc., the Guard and can federalize it by Executive Order (Presidential order) in any emergency which, in their opinion, warrants it. I wouldn’t count on being immune from the reach of the Federal Government and all it implies, in the situations we are discussing here. Just an opinion.

      I think a bigger question, that I haven’t seen discussed, is: Would the Guard or the Regular Army fire on unarmed American civilians, even if ordered? Kent State would be a vote for “YES”, I guess.

      • Hawkeye,

        My understanding was that only the National Guard could perform policing duties. Other branches of the military were deployed to assist with evacuations, especially the Navy and Coast Guard. But perhaps I am mistaken here.

        You raise an interesting question: would U.S. soldiers fire on unarmed civilians, if ordered to do so. I suspect the answer is “yes”. The key is the phrase “unarmed”. If a massive flash mob gathers and military personnel are threaten not at gunpoint but by being trampled over, would they fire? I suspect they would, if they had no other means of crowd control and their lives were at risk. In this case they would be ordered to fire but such an order would be found to be (by the higher ups) out of line with the rules of conduct, and the soldiers who followed orders to protect themselves from rioters would be brought up on charges of manslaughter or 2nd degree murder.

        • Gayle:

          I could be wrong…..happens more often than I like. But I’m dead certain I saw Red Berets (82nd Airborne) patroling New Orleans, during Katrina, and they were armed. Maybe they were authorized by Congress? When the National Guard is Federalized there is very little distinction between Regular Army and Federalized Guardsmen. Maybe when the State (Governor) calls them up (not Federalized) they are in a different catagory than when the President calls them up. The Posse Comitatus Act defines the limits of the Armies use as police. Navy and Marines are prohibited by Defense Department edict. Note that use of the Army is not strictly prohibited but does take special authorization. Check this link out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/posse_comitatus.act

          • Gayle:

            I’m thinking that shooting, in self defense, is always justified though that justification might have to be presented in a Courts Martial.

        • Ms Gayle,
          The law you are refering to is the Posse Comitatus Act. PCA.It prevents Active Duty (AD) from civilian Law Enforcement. It does not apply to National Guard (I am including Air National Guard) when on State Orders. However if they are under Federal Orders it would apply.
          2nd, A flash mob would avoid at all cost any sign of authority. LE or Military. Your supposed confrontation would never happen.
          3rd, Military members, NG or AD, do not surrender their right to self defense.
          4th, Illegal orders…. It would be illegal for a military member to follow an illegal order. Period. In fact, under the UCMJ they must refuse and they must report the unlawful order, up the chain of command, as soon as the tactical situation allows it.
          BTW: I noticed your “flash mob” morphed into “rioters” by the end of your post.

          • Ron,

            Thanks for the clarification. I understand that National Guard can take over policing functions. But can regular Army?

            Yes, I was thinking of “flash mobs” in terms of “rioters”. I think we are going to see riots in this country akin to what’s going on in England. And I think it’s a shame that folks in England expect their police officers to police the streets unarmed. If Navy and Coast Guard are assisting with evacuations, and they are fired upon by drugged-out rioters, will they have the hardware to respond?

            We know that in England the rioters fired on police. To say this cannot happen in the U.S. seems unrealistic, at least to me. (In the scenario I am envisioning, the food trucks have stopped delivering to the major cities, and people are going hungry. If they are told to stand in line, and wait until they are registered with FEMA, I can see things getting completely out of hand. If someone pulls a gun to jump line, things can turn ugly real quick. One thing is clear–the major cities do not have enough police to handle massive riots.)

            Hawkeye has raised a question and I am not sure how to answer it.

            • Ms Gayle.
              The AD Army could under Declared Martial Law takes over all LE functions and local LE would theoreticly be subserviant to the Military Commander.
              The NG under State Orders would be assisting local LE and normally not in charge.
              As far as AD Navy and CG dealing with snipers? They have only the means to leave. BTW: Texas NG, Parks n Wildlife, and Forest Service were engaged in rescue and evacuations in LA as well.
              Don’t confuse the US Flash Mobs with the riots in the UK. Other then the use of “social networking” technology The UK has allowed openly socialist and anarchist ideologies to run amok. Hell the schools and unions encourge it. For them direct confrontation is part of the agenda. And since the cops are unarmed, Safe. The US has a racial entitlement mentality to deal with. For them confrontation is to be avoided. So far anyway.
              The scenario you described… very plausible. Keep in mind that long before NG troops show up a lot of behind the scene things have to happen. Declarations made, orders given, recall phone calls made, bags packed and finally reporting for duty. 24 to 48 hours minimum. Then the unit must reach a certain acceptable level of manning before they can move out. Where they are going, how they will get there, communications, and chain of command, has to be clarified and another thousand logistical questions have to be answered.

            • Thanks, Ron. That makes a lot of sense. My stepson is an actor and had a (very) small part in a movie. He was invited to the premier in L.A. and the flash mob very nearly turned into a riot. He was safe inside, but still . . . these people are drugged-out nuts. I don’t think people like us (rational people) can say what the drugged-out flash mob folks will and will not do. These people loose any sense of moral control when they become an anonymous part of the crowd–everyone is doing it, so I can get away with it.

          • Ron…..

            Google “Posse Comitatus Act” if you haven’t already. It says that the Coast Guard isn’t covered by the act. The Marines and Navy are precluded by a Department of Defense directive from performing police duties. And the Regular (AD) Army and Airforce can perform police duties, but requires an act of Congress. The Guard’s status seems to vary with whether or not it is under State control or Federal control. And yes, the Guard of today is much more experienced and well trained than their counterparts of fifty years ago.

            • Dan,
              I had plenty of training and a better then average functional understanding on PCA from my AD days and the two years I spent as a Guard Technician. 15 years of which was spent in Emergency Planning and Response.
              Another larger source for information is Title 10 USC. You will also find there the legal definition of the word Militia. It is NOT the NG.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Just enjoying the back and forth but I have to say the 82nd was definitely in NO during Katrina because I was there with an AZ Sheriff’s Dept. And there was a lot of angst over whether it was violating the posse comitatus statutes. They were armed and did fire upon perpetrators.

          • Dan,

            Thanks for solving the riddle. And it gives me great reassurance that active duty personnel were given the green light to return fire and that there was some angst over whether the order to engage if fired upon was a violation of law. I am surprised we haven’t heard more about this.

          • Hunker-Down says:

            Is there any law our government will not violate?

          • Dan,
            can you provide specifics of where members of the 82nd “fire(d) upon perpetrators”.
            I just spent over an hour searching online and could not find anything. I also looked at close to 100 photos and with just a few exceptions only armed military members I saw were 82nd. Interesting none of them had a magazine inserted.

      • “Would the Guard or the Regular Army fire on unarmed American civilians, even if ordered? Kent State would be a vote for “YES”, I guess”.

        Hawkeye. You might want to think that stereotype thru. Both the AD and the Guard is not the same as it was in 1970.

        • Hawkeye,

          I agree that shooting in self defense is always justified. In the scenario I was envisioning ordinary soldiers would be justified IMO in defending themselves but would then be used as a scapegoat by politicians–just like FDR used Kimmel.

  15. Gayle….

    “used as a scapegoat by politicians”-

    I guess that’s a whole different issue, isn’t it? Politicians will be politicians regardless of the circumstances.