This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest Cliff C
I, like most of you, am big into situation awareness. Seems I have had a blind spot for quite a while. A few days ago, I posted about my friend that was selling his photography studio and that someone had tried to break in a prop door in the back and as we were standing outside talking I saw someone come sneaking out of the woods across the street and head off down the road pushing a Kroger shopping cart.
There is a large expanse of woods just across from him but the real kicker is that borders on the county court building (not so lovingly called the Taj Mahal because of its domed ceiling, expanse of white marble and exorbitant cost.).
As we chatted he told me there was a village of homeless people living back in the woods. Among there is a goodly number of sex offenders. I knew the sex offenders were living some where in tents but didn’t realize it was there.
I get an email every time a sex offender registers in my zip code or is added to the rolls and had wondered why they had addresses like “tent #3” or “tent #5” and it seems they have grouped together with the homeless and have erected small villages for mutual protection and community. Now I find that there are at least 3 of these homeless villages set up encircling the downtown area.
During the day they spread out, go to the food pantry, go to the free clinic, look for odd jobs, or do whatever they have to do to be able to get by. At night they disappear and seek only the company of their fellow tent dwellers.
Now, when the SHTF we have roving bands that are capable of doing what they have to or need to in order to get by on a daily basis. Will these bands begin to roam, take over foreclosed houses and set up larger villages where no “regular” person is welcome?
How large a threat are these folks, knowing that among their numbers, there are convicted felons, child molesters and various other criminal types along with the large group of people who have no work, no place to call their own, and really own nothing.
I have not seen the “shanty towns” per se. Regular people are not welcome, there are rumors of booby traps or barriers to keep the non-members out. Even the police do not visit these areas. So, effectively the homeless may become the real zombies during a SHTF situation. They can already survive outside, they can make do with what they find and they seem to have utter disdain for other people.
If they decide to fall upon a grocery store during a grid down situation there is nothing to stop them. If they decided to take over a neighborhood the police will be too busy trying to protect the banks to spend any time with them. Are they armed? I know there are homemade and hunting knives, I know there are some guns since out of season deer have been taken, possibly bow and arrows. The felons are not allowed to have guns but who is going in to search them?
Perhaps the homeless are one of the biggest threats we will face during a grid down. They have nothing to lose, everything to gain and do not, as these groups seem to show, have any respect for anyone or anything. The other homeless are family, the rest are outsiders.
I live west of Atlanta and in a fairly large but unincorporated area and I’m aware, just from general conversation, of the three camps. How many homeless are living in abandoned buildings or under the underpasses or even down in the infrastructure of the downtown area? I have no clue.
How do you size the problem? How do you best defend against a group? How do you find out where they are and how many are there? Trends of petty crimes might point out some concentrations of homeless people.
A study of google maps with satellite pictures might enable you to find the camps. Asking the local police might give a clue. I am unsure how to find them. I can’t do anything about them. I can’t help them anymore than I already am by giving to the food pantries and making donations to the churches that have ministries for them.
Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps when things get bad they will all die off. Maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps they have a better idea of how the town is set up and where the sweet spots are and where the weak points are.
As I was watching TV last night and thinking about how things are getting worse (you can’t go to the mall without being accosted by a pan handler looking for a hand out), thefts of bags of groceries out of people’s shopping carts at the store, as they are loading their cars, it’s almost a game of snatch a bag and run away, are steadily increasing.
I don’t believe that the youth gangs, even though they are well trained and have a mission, are as much of a threat. They are fairly easily identified by the way they dress, the way they talk and the way they walk, but the homeless, in many cases look like regular working people, who have been doing manual labor. The cleaner they are the easier they can blend in.
So, perhaps the real zombie threat is now the homeless. What do you think?
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
- First Prize) Winner will receive a gift certificate for $170 worth of Winchester Ammo donated by Lucky Gunner. A Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible 21″ Baton and a copy of my book Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.
- Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Food Storage meat bucket and 3 dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids donated by LPC Survival.
- Third Prize) Winner will receive a LifeStraw water filter system donated by Eartheasy and a copy of the Wolf Pack Cookbook.