I'm a survivalist, a prepper if you want to be more politically correct but I prefer survivalist. I hear or see a lot of survival fantasy BS among the preppers online, like I hear and see a lot of self-defense fantasy BS among martial artists online as well. So what is my point? That criminals "train" to be criminals, that criminals associate with other criminals and that playing "bad ass" or trying to be a "hero" can get you killed. This is especially true in a Without Rule of Law environment.
Online Prepper Myth 1: Criminals are Stupid...
Criminals live a lifestyle of crime, sure their are stupid punk kids who wannabe tough guys and bad asses and lack brains. However, any experienced criminal, any criminal raised by other criminals and anyone criminal who really wants to succeed will think first. Smart criminals outnumber dumb criminals as part of a process called natural selection; dumb criminals are either dead or locked up. Don't expect a criminal threat to be stupid, police informant programs protect the dumb asses and in a WROL scenario snitches without police protection will be scared and hiding in the deepest hole.
What you can expect;
- Snipers: 100 yards might not seem worthy of Chris Kyle but I'm not talking military or police snipers & I'm not talking trained marksmen. I'm talking concealed shooters. You'll see this more then military style fire and maneuver actions because lets be honest most people are cowards. The sniper fantasy of many civilians is based on the idea of being able to shoot you from a concealed position and to far away for you to respond (i.e. a safe distance).
- Ambushers: The ambushers might use anything from an improvised knife (shank or shiv) to a firearm. They will attack from concealment & in you will begin the engagement on the receiving end, i.e. defending end of the attack. It is possible that you may not even survive the initial assault.
- Con-Men/Women: More likely then any armed group or individuals which in itself is sign of desperation as force is likely to be resisted with force, is cons and scams. People will try to appeal to your sense of sympathy, faith or charity to get you to give them something. People will use women and children as an excuse. The con game is more likely to be the most used and most common form of exploitation. Beware those we want to combine resources post SHTF, they often have less then you do and want a portion of your own supplies.
- Threats from Children: Child soldiers are common among warlords and child criminals are especially common among gangs and criminal families. It might seem inhumane or unmanly to harm a kid however, that won't stop them from harming you. This is a harsh reality that many people don't want to face but you'll have to face it in a WROL scenario.
- Organization: Don't expect criminals to be disorganized come SHTF. Organization might be a matter of the bully herding his followers into following him and doing as he says, it could be gang structure or mafia. During the fall of the Soviet Union, many police and military from former Soviet States sided with gangs and syndicates against Soviet forces & civilians so a paramilitary police structure could be adopted. In prison and jail an informal structure of organization among criminals occurs, in a WROL environment expect it occur as well. It is in fact likely criminals will organize faster then the authorities.
Online Prepper Myth 2: SHTF & WROL = Do whatever you want...
Just because it is SHTF and there is a without rule of law scenario now doesn't mean you get a free ride to do anything. I had a fellow soldier when I was in the Reserves who was a Virginia State Trooper & was sworn in as a New Orleans police office to help out after Katrina hit. He wasn't par of the gun confiscations and said he'd warn people to hide guns from the police because they were taking guns. I made a comment that if I were in New Orleans and police tried to disarm me, I'd have resisted and would either kill them or get killed by them.
Like was pointed out to me, if I followed that line of thought I'd have faced charges and police after the event was all over. In hind sight, it would have made better sense to stay in contact with people around me by CB or similar mechanism and hide my weapons. Thus the story behind why I suggest this level of thinking over top the grab an gun and defend yourself, You against the WROL world. Eventually some form of stability and government will exist, whether its a local warlord, county sheriff, the city council or FEMA and martial law.
For that matter, that thief you decide to hang in your front yard might have family who take offense to the act. You might have to deal with the friends and family of someone you shoot in self-defense during or after SHTF. You need to consider what your goals are before you tae an action and how to reach those goals with your actions. Sometimes taking the course of action you want to take doesn't produce the results you want.
With or without government to enforce the law, there will still be a reaction for every action and, an action to every reaction. Ideas like staking out looters with signs that read "You Loot we Shoot" might not be a good idea in the long run.
Online Prepping Myth 3: I Need to Be the Gray Man because People will Kill you for Your Gear...
I don't who came up with this but lets be honest here, who do you think is most likely to get robbed for their stuff?
A: This Homeless Guy
No weapons visible, maybe a knife, certainly a dog but he has a Bug-Out Bag.
B: Paramilitary Guy
He has an AK47,side arm and knife; all that tactical gear, even with a backpack/ruck sack (B.O.B.) he still looks like he can defend himself.
If your choice was A: You risk being bitten or maybe stabbed, B: You risk being shot or stabbed & C: You risk being shot or stabbed. Criminals chose weak targets for victimization while options B & C might draw attention from authorities but they certainly won't attract criminals. In fact most people period will avoid them, especially B.
But what about the authorities? This is an important question because whether gun grabs like Katina or like what is happening in the Ukraine right you will want to be able to switch from one appearance to another when it suits you. This means concealing you gear. Lets look at deferent WROL cases in the past...
LA Riots 1992:
Watts Riot 1965
Detriot 1967 Riots again more examples of the military used against civilians to quell civil unrest.
Ferguson Riots 2014
Ukraine War 2014-current
Syrian War 2015
After Hurricane Katrina
People Aming themselves for Self-Defense After Katrina
Hurricane Katrina: Secret Race War
Gun Confiscation & no Police Protection After Hurricane Katrina
In every case different situations projected different responses and different tactics. The police disarmed law abiding citizens who admitted to being armed for self-defense. In the Ukraine both rebels an the military would shoot the Paramilitary Guy and probably the hunter. In the Katrina aftermath a man defended his neighborhood with an old shot gun. In the case of the Secret Race War footage, people who harbored a secret racial fear projected that fear onto people who not a threat. Of course it only made news because it was white on black crime, there were also cases of black neighborhoods where violence was directed against whites. In the LA Riots footage the Koreans defended themselves & their businesses by being armed and presenting a Force Projection.
At night there were reports of gun fire in New Orleans, do you think the people shooting admitted to being armed to the police? You see people left dead in the street in New Orleans who had less then the homeless man pictured above. In each case, the Homeless, Paramilitary & Hunter have certain advantages as a tactic of camouflage and projecting a certain image. Certainly, your choices need to be able to adapt project force or blend in when needed. All of this is to hammer home a point, there is no one size fits all survival strategy. One thing must be accepted, criminals pre on the weak.
Following that logic in a WROL environment, even one with a police presence that only harassed law abiding citizens, you need to be willing to deal with a thinking threat. One which will seek easy prey and one for which you are easy prey. Being gray is effective in some cases and so is force projection.
Tactics are one stage solutions to problems such as ambush, flank or concealment. Strategies are a series of overlapping goals and a tentative plan to reach each goal. If you Prep I want you to consider how in your area, with your gear, you'd operate going from a post-Katrina environment, to a civil warzone environment (like the Ukraine or Yemen) and finally to Riot scenario and back again. Adapt & Overcome.