(Note: This article is both a stand-alone piece as well as a response to the article “Who would you bug out with?” that appeared recently on this site.)
”If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if not now, when?” – Rabbi Hillel (Jewish scholar & theologian, 30 BCE – 9 AD)
History and anthropology prove that humans survive best in groups (or at least pairs) rather than individuals. Both physically and mentally people need people and usually survive better together than apart. Especially in tough times and dangerous environments. There are many articles and videos that discuss how to setup a survival group, some of the issues and factors to consider, how to organize etc. so I won’t go over the same ground here.
But keep in mind that every person in your group (whether you join a group or form your own or just have a couple of people you would informally seek out to band together with in an emergency) themselves most likely will have associations that will come into play if a SHTF or WROL event happens. Even single, unattached people may form associations after the group starts. You can’t tell people they must remain uninvolved forever as a requirement of group membership!
Even without attachments there are issues of family and relatives to contend with, particularly if these people live near a group member. Family and close friends will try to contact you and your group’s members in the event of an emergency even if they have no idea you are a prepper. Or simply show up at your door! (Especially if they know you have some preparations.)
(Update Note: I was about to dive into a long and detailed article about the often overlooked pitfalls of associating with others in a group when I found the following video from a prepper calling herself Carrie3570. In her video she accurately and concisely expresses all the problems and issues I was planning to discuss. So I will let Carrie3570 make the case for me.)
In addition, I will add it is important to know both the mental and social state of people you associate with for survival after an SHTF event where normal social order and structures are likely experiencing very wide spread disruption and will be a long time (if ever!) restored. That isn’t an easy thing to determine. It takes time. And time isn’t on your side after an SHTF event.
For example, a couple very close to us who would likely try to come over during an SHTF/WROL event I know has some series issues. The wife is on Paxil. If she misses more than a single dose or is off the medicine for any period of time she gets “loopy”. Not a pillar to rely on. In a post-SHTF or WROL situation Paxil (as well as other emotion control and anti-depressants) will likely be hard to get for a very long time.
Further, they have 3 teenage children, 2 sons and a daughter. The sons both have issues: One has very bad ADD and is completely unreliable for even the simplest requests (the qunit-essential “slacker”); The other has anger issues. Though both have always been good with me and my wife (which to me shows part of their issue is with their parents but more than just normal teenage rebelliousness) I don’t feel I can trust or rely on them in an emergency much less a possible life&death situation.
So what am I to do when they show up at my door with just the clothes on their back expecting me and my family to shelter, feed, and protect them?
I’ll toss one more issue out: The cost.
Prepping isn’t cheap. And isn’t getting cheaper. I have invested (it is an investment, though ironically one you hope you never have to use!) consider able amounts in time and effort as well as money to have the preps that I do.
In order to better achieve this goal I have cut waaaaay back on other personal activities such hobbies, interests, entertainments etc. I don’t own an iphone or ipad or a Xbox or PSP etc. We rarely go out to dinner and even then it’s usually to the corner diner for the Sunday/Yankee Pot Roast special or after 10pm to Apple Bees for the half priced appetizers. I could go on but you get the picture.
Meanwhile, the above mentioned family as well as many others I know do all have iphones and ipads, premium cable channels, frequent meals (not just dinner) out, jet here and there a couple times a year for vacation etc. I do not at all begrudge them their money nor how they spend it! They earned it honestly, they can spend it as they wish. That’s liberty. And they all have access to the same news and information sources I do. We do in fact frequently discuss current events, the economy, business, world events etc.
The point is they too can do at least something to make some level of preparation for a disaster but [apparently] choose not to, instead choosing more entertaining outlets for their efforts and resources.
It’s their choice.
But I don’t have to be their safety net. I too would like to do many of those things but instead choose to forgo some pleasures now for the potential of greater safety later. They can do if it means that much to them.
Watch the video and post your thoughts. There’s no wrong answer, just more food for thought.
PS – After writing this article the following video was posted as a reply to the one from Carrie3570. It’s a little crass and some will say it’s cold but I think it is the best response video on the subject I have yet found. Please watch it.