Monday, February 11, 2013

Door Knockers and Strap Hangers

Teotwawki Blog brought up The Doorstep Problem and it is worth discussing. In fact it is probably on the quarterly fundamentals rehashing list. So here we go.

There are a few fundamental questions to consider:

1) Do I/ we want to help this person? If you have been wanting to yell at somebody and maybe point a gun at them for years then the decision is simple.

2) Can I/ we afford to help this person? This is a question of how much food (or whatever stuff) you have, how many people it needs to feed and the suspected length of the situation at hand. I could feed the whole neighborhood for a 3 day power outage and a bunch of folks for a month to ride out a natural disaster. On the other hand if we are talking about 6 months or a year or maybe more the division gets bad in a hurry.

3) Under what conditions am I/ we willing to help this person?

Now to some discussion.

I think it is reasonable to keep your preparations from acquaintances and casual office buddies. It's easy enough to avoid those discussions with these folks. Worst case for casual acquaintances who say "I'm coming to your house" the response of "No you are not, I have a gun and know how to use it" is probably sufficient.

However close friends and family will know to some degree that you are prepared and we tend to like them a lot more. Maybe it will be because keeping things from these folks is harder as we are closer to them or that they are around more and will eventually see a stash of canned essentials or a few boxes of freeze dried food. So we are going to focus primarily on more than casual acquaintances.

The old adage that you can get murdered alone or starve to death together bears some consideration. There is a balancing act here. On one hand any decent security setup is probably going to involve several or ideally more like a dozen plus healthy military age (broadly 16-60ish) adults which probably means at least 2 or more likely 3 times that number of people with kids, elders and the infirm. However at some point the math just doesn't work. Most folks have a hard enough time trying to make bills, save and get prepared for their immediate family, let alone a 40 person extended clan. If you do not have enough food in the short term and the space and stuff to produce food in the long term it's just not going to work.

I think conditions under which you might be willing to help a particular person are worth giving serious consideration. Are you willing to let them camp in the back 40, use whatever shelter they bring and eat their own food? Will you provide them with some food, tell them you cannot spare more later and send them home? Are they going to sleep in the den and basically be treated as family? Can they bring 4 poorly behaved pit bulls? What about granny?

[People often lack any sort of realistic shelter plan for those who are coming over to ride things out. Travel trailers are a fine idea. Slapping up a couple basic rooms with bunk beds in the basement is a fine idea. Turning an old shed into a bunk house is a fine idea. The point is to have a realistic plan of some sort.]

There are not really clean cut answers here but it is worth figuring out the answers for your situation. I think it's worth mentioning that the time to talk about this stuff is BEFORE something happens. That gives folks a legitimate opportunity to meet your conditions or find an alternative plan. Also it puts you on as solid ground as you can be when your cousin who was told he can camp in the back 40 and eat his own food shows up empty handed.

I think strap hanging family are probably the most underestimated problem for your Rawlesian type pre planned survivalist group. When the chips are down many folks realize that blood actually matters a lot. Most people simply will not turn away their parents or siblings. At least with a more natural group of some family and close friends there is a bit of overlap and you know each other. On the other hand if your 'group' is 6 random families all with their own relatives and close friends the numbers get out of control in a hurry. Depending on peoples family situation and proximity the issue may be pressing. Again the answer is thinking about these problems and coming up with a realistic plan before you need it.

I do not have all the answers. Close family and friends we would help as much as possible, more distant relatives and  casual buddies would probably get some help and other folks would get told to kick rocks. My answers might not be right for you but it's where I stand on the thing.



irontomflint said...

Otherwise good choices of people have been eliminated because one family has good siblings and derelicts.
The derelicts are drug addled waste of life that constantly preys on their siblings for money, food, a place to stay; the derelicts have no life skills, they only worry how to collect enough cash to get high, including stealing from their own family.
If the good were taken in, the derelicts would soon arrive, and as you stated, “When the chips are down blood gets real thick”.
So when choosing, look very carefully at the extended family and see what nightmares are waiting for you…

Aesop said...

Currently this is in my "two steps away" file, and current circumstances have left me to rely on hope that things don't go sideways next weekend, because I'm still working on acquiring Firebase Snoopy.
What family I have is scattered from hell to breakfast, so my considerations are largely along the lines of providing a place for myself, and possibly one brother (the closest, geographically) and a family of two more, because he's in the same suburban not-so-nice spot I am at the moment. The difference is that I have a portable job, and he's tied to one location.

So worrying about any other mouths to feed mainly becomes a question of how many and which really close friends/LMI I would either approach beforehand or welcome once things were almost or way past getting sporty.

I pity the people with multiple braindead waste of skin relatives and relations, but am thankful not to share their situation.

Anonymous said...

It goes against human nature. You cannot "help" someone one time. They are typically needy for a reason and after you help them they will become "needy" again and come back to you and why wouldn't they? You have the "free stuff" and have already shown you are willing to share with them. How do you then shut that off. Again it is human nature that if you tell them "no" or something stronger they will blame YOU for their woes. After all you have plenty and if you just gave them a small handout everything would be fine. You are selfish and greedy and deserve what happens to you. I can guarantee you all of their thinking beyond that will get worse not better. Don't help anyone at your door!!! In fact be ready to convince them; A) that you have nothing and were considering asking them or B) if you see them on your property again you will shoot them or C) you are considering canibalism and they look pretty plump and tasty.

TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...

Ryan -

Thanks for the plug! Glad you got something out of it.

Anon -

It surprises me how many people dismiss this problem, thinking only random, unknown and totally useless people will need their help in times of trouble.

Family? Close friends? Is everyone you care about a survivalist? If not, would you turn them away if they needed your help when the chips are down? Really?

Or do you just not care about anyone else?

Chris said...

It is a lot easier to lay in a few extra buckets of beans, a box of pool shock for water, a few Mosin-Nagants, and some steel rifle plates than to threaten to shoot your family.

Just saying.

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