Country Living Series

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mercy and charity?

Dear readers, I would like your input.

As you may or may not know, I'm working on my next book. The subject (no surprise) is preparedness. The book will be about evenly divided between the "philosophy" of prepping, and the nuts and bolts of how to go about doing it.

I'm at the point in writing where I want to address the subject of mercy and charity. Throughout the book I make abundantly clear the distinction between those who cannot prepare, and those who will not prepare. Those who are unable to prepare might include the ill, the disabled, the elderly, children, those in truly dire financial circumstances, etc. I genuinely believe these people are deserving of every bit of assistance we can offer.

But that's not the category I'm addressing. Instead, I'm wondering how far our mercy and charity should extend toward those who were unwilling to prepare, even though they could. Clearly these types of people must be divided into numerous categories.

At one end of the spectrum are those who spend all their free time ridiculing your prepping efforts and calling you merry but rude names for your concerns about the future. If the bleep were to hit the fan and they came knocking at your door asking for help, what would you do?

At the other end of the spectrum are those who live a comfortable lifestyle and simply are unaware of any potential problems. They don't believe the economy could ever collapse or anything could ever happen to the power grid. If the bleep were to hit the fan and they came knocking at your door asking for help, what would you do?

And then there's everyone else across the whole rest of the spectrum, all of whom have reasons of their own for not preparing. If the bleep were to hit the fan and they came knocking at your door asking for help, what would you do?

There are endless variables among those who will not prepare, and endless variables that will dictate our actions. But a time may come when they will become supplicants for our charity. A lot will depend on the attitude of the supplicant, but the fact remains none of us will be able to run a soup kitchen. We should not compromise the safety of our own family to help others. Or should we?

Before anyone starts spouting off about meeting everyone at the door with a shotgun, please keep something in mind. The time may come when our circumstances change, and we're the supplicant. Anyone's circumstances can change in a heartbeat. Should that day come, I hope I can expect charity and mercy from others.

So here's where I'd love to get everyone's input. What are your thoughts about this aspect of prepping? It would be nice to hope all Preppers are putting aside a certain portion of their supplies for charitable aid, but not everyone can -- a lot of people are prepping by the skin of their teeth and can barely pull together suitable supplies to meet the needs of their own families. So what should we do?

I look forward to everyone's thoughts!


  1. While in a perfect world:
    a. everyone would prep and therefore there would be no need to set your hard earned work aside for others..

    b. anyone coming to your door would be someone who was truly needy and had had the misfortune to lose all of their preps....

    c. would be people of good character who would never dream of taking by force what you have put back for the survival of your friends and family...

    d. Each supplicant would be thankful for what you could spare and would use it as a springboard to find a way to help themselves and not just get by for another day..

    In reality there will be those who failed to prep because they couldn't, who chose not to
    because they never thought very far ahead, and those who plan on taking your stuff because they can and are more ruthless than you.

    My plan is to give, as long as I can, each person one meal with a warning: "come here again and I will shoot you...move along". I intend to treat each person as if they were a danger to me and mine, yet with respect...."Trust them not, but respectfully".

    If you allow them to stick around, they'll attract more and eventually either the crowd will attract a predator type group, or the crowd will become a mob and a predator themselves. meal and down the road, as long as I can, and as long as those stores I put aside for others last.

    But at some point you will have to think about you and yours only.

    Darwin is, after all, unmerciful. And the Lord has warned us all, not my fault you failed to listen, brother.

    Perhaps not the answer you were looking for, but that is indeed my plan.


  2. Well I will try to answer your question as best I can... I would always have a hard time turning away a hungry child,that would be hard to do,the child can't help what their parent chooses to do,so I would do whatever I could. As for those who could have prepared better,but refused to,well That's a hard one to call. You have to look out for your own always,even the bible say's charity begins at home ! And as you said things can change in an instant,and that is true...What if you did prepare,and a bad earthquake comes along and destroys it all... Then it is you and me who will need the help, so maybe we simply have to trust the lord to direct our hearts... pray about it, and then leave it in his hands to help us to make the right decision. These are my thoughts,I hope this helped. Blessings Jane

  3. We've been wondering the very same thing. What will we do?
    We've worked all along to do what we can to be ready with charity. We've planned and acquired extra hand tools such as scythes to distribute to or work with our rural community. We have extra kerosene lanterns and kerosene for our neighbors. We have extra food stocked that will help some for a bit. We are acquiring animals in sufficient numbers for supplying the community with breeding stock.

    I guess we have mainly decided to acquire and share things that help people help themselves.

    We will sacrifice ourselves for the truly helpless, but the others will only be helped to get on their own feet. We won't be in a position to support them also. I shudder to think what that could mean.

  4. I'm not certain that the decision to aid or not to aid a random person can be made in advance of the emergency because there are so many variables in any given situation. If you line up a bunch of people in front of me and I have enough resources to aid some of them, but not all of them, I will have to do something like triage, balancing who needs the most help against who has the best chance of surviving.

    And I can also tell you that personally, my family is going to come first, followed by my friends, followed by other Christians, followed by utter strangers. Also, the age of the supplicant will play a factor. I am going to help children before I help adults, until doing so risks the lives of everyone (eg I'm not going to feed the children everything, and leave nothing for the adults who are the only ones old enough (strong enough) to hunt/gather/raise/farm/otherwise procure more food).

    Also, some people who did nothing to prepare may have had their heads screwed on straight by their recent experiences. Goodness knows 25 years ago I was clueless about my need for the skills and tools necessary to defend myself. A cougar cured me of my shortsightedness and now I teach others what I learned. Helping a person who has likewise suddenly realized they must prepare themselves may improve the lot of the community more than helping some person who did a half-assed job prepping beforehand and now blames everything but him/herself for the inadequacy of his/her preps.

    It does benefit one to consider different scenarios, however, so that one may modify ones' preps to fit one's morals/ethics and known situations... eg I have a friend whose current circumstances preclude him/her having much "stuff", but whose life experiences and knowledge would greatly benefit any community in a prepper's scenario... so I will include preps for that person in my own planning.

    I will give this more thought and come back to it later...

    Xa Lynn

  5. Matthew 25 implies that there are limits to the foolishness that need be tolerated.


    1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

    3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
    It is hard to turn away the ones you truly love.

    It is a favored scenario of some post-apocalyptic writers to have the ravaging hordes arrive to eat up all your stockpiles. The most likely early arrival will be your neighbors 8 year old daughter.

  6. This is a subject that is constantly on my mind. My husband and I are a single income family with limited resources. I am taking yearly paycuts. My sister lives with my mother that is financial well off. Just this year they have bought my sister a house, 3 RVs (my sisiter and each of her adult children) several quads, a dodge ram 4x4 for my neice, paid off another truck, a backhoe and bought a used dump truck for my nephew. Everything was paid with cash from my mother.
    I keep talking and talking to my sister about putting away food and building up her pantry. Last Christmas we bought her a water filter and this year we added some longterm food storage items, not much just a few things. My sister's famous comment is "If everyone had someone (meaning me) like you in their family they would be ok."
    So, what will I do when the SHTF. We will take our one plus year of supplies for the three of us (my husband, daughter, and myself) and share with 5 adults and 2 small children that my sister will bring to our door. It might gets us through 3 months.
    I wish I could say no. They have 20xs the financies I do. But they are family. And yes, they call me "loving names and make fun of our prepping." What other choice does one have?

  7. The short answer? I don't know.

    The longer answer? Depending on the timing of you-know-what, we may very well be the supplicants, and are therefore doing everything we can to prep with friends who could provide us with lodging in return for food and skills.

    I have a large immediate family, and my husband and I frequently rehearse who we could/would help under given circumstances, and who might have to be turned away with a minimum of aid. It kills me to imagine it, but we have tried to talk about prepping... We even routinely give prep per gifts to help get them started.

    As for total strangers? Knowing my husband, we would give till we were hurting to help someone who genuinely needed help, but he would be quick to dismiss those who could have helped themselves.

  8. I don't think I would consider us preppers so what I have to add might not be what you are looking for. So here goes, we do have a very deep pantry and freezer for many reasons, job loss, adult children who may need help, keeps cost down on groceries,in case of storms etc. We would share with others and we do have enough put back to help. What we do have enough of to share others may not want, nor would they even know how to cook it, wheat berries, rice, oats, powder milk, eggs, butter and such. We have a really large garden that I preserve from, always have lots to share but again most people don't know how to cook fresh, frozen or dehydrated food. We have a frezzer full of meat, same thing, how many people know how to cook anything other than a chicken nugget or frozen pizza. Including our adult children and grands we are up to 12 and counting, I would have my hands full trying to keep our own family feed, no way could I cook much extra for others. We have lots of people who are not so kind in their comments on how and what I cook and store but I would hope I would continue to have a giving heart and share what we can, I wouldn't however let our family starve.

  9. I have thought of these very things often and have come to the conclusion I would help most. I have doubled my efforts in the last few months to cover *those that come knocking on the door*. I have added only those things that are very inexpensive or free. I grow a very large garden and we also farm so I am able to go over and above in my canning and dehydrating efforts. I raise more chickens than I need and dehydrate the eggs and can the culled roosters and old hens. I have collected over 100 5 gallon white buckets and have put in rice, beans, wheat, dehydrated soup mix and a bread and cornbread mix (I make these myself, I've included a map out of town and good campsites with water and pit toilets, also included matches and a homemade rocket stove. I will be storing these out in one of the barns and if needed I could hand a bucket to a person in need and send them on their way. If the person has a skill I feel could be used within our group they would be asked to one of several barns on the property. I have only one friend that just sits back and expects others to care for her...she's a nurse...a very good nurse...she can stay. All of my other friends and family are very skilled and very hard workers...also very good shots! We have a doctor, dentist, welder, plumber, solar expert and many farmers in the family.

  10. The fact is that all (the non willing to prepare) had the same chance to listen up. Many do not hear because they WILL NOT HEAR. Part of the world problem today is that we HELP those we should not. We interfere with way to much. Those that did not prep are NOT survivors. They are dead weight and the fact is that at some point in time all dead wood needs to be pruned. SOUND CRUEL? You don't get anywhere by being less than REAL. Bottom line is i would assess their skills. IF they had skills i NEEDED in my group i would CONSIDER allowing them in and letting them WORK for their keep. We are in the state we are today because we dole out ; not charity, but unwarranted support. God has a few things to say about that (The wise prepare and the fools suffer. Those that do not work do not eat). Perhaps it is time to reinstate the law of the wild. Harsh? Yes. But reality is not always easy.

  11. Well, for some of us, bleep has already hit the fan and decisions must be made. In my case, my son and his 4 year old daughter came to my house to live. This is the son whom I would often say to my (1) other prepper-friend "If B knew about this he'd swear his mom had gone nuts" Well, now he knows, and at first was sure I was nuts, Until he began to notice how much surplus $$ I had to spend on things like school clothes for my grandaughter etc, He began to pay attention, and began reusing things, saving things, and yes, buying in bulk. Meanwhile,,,,since my son has moved in I have had to let other family members know, I am as stretched as far as I can go, I don't have the room and cannot afford to have relatives vacationing at my home anymore, and I cannot afford Birthday gifts for everyone and their children anymore, Still, I do my best to educate them on prepping, and show my love in simpler ways, Most of the younger generation in my family scoff, because they just can't believe that war,revolution,tryanny or depression can come to them and their young families. They do not understand how fragile our civilization is. They are too preoccupied with diapers and skating lessons to think about an EMP event. Though my son remains optimistic about the future, he has learned the benefits of frugality , gardening and reassessing what things truly matter NOW...ipod or watching your daughter gather eggs? (In case anyone wonders, gathering eggs will expand her wonder of nature and fuel her knowledge of how it works.)
    Sooo...letting my son and grandaughter in has paid off in terms of their resetting the materialism button, and in showing me just how fast a #10 can go, or an attic full of toilet paper when you add bodies, and I have had some experience in saying "no,but you'll be ok" to my extended family, In a true and catastophic situation, I think I would have to pray alot, and consider each case individually. A driving factor for me would be "Can this person contribute?" In many cases, I think the knowledge a prepper has would be more helpful than a place to sleep, How to make an electrolite popsicle for a sick child for expample,
    My (1) other prepper friend BTW,,, her husband died and left her with half the income she enjoyed before, and needs now, She leans heavily on her preps now, She has had a few cash strapped relatives come around at times, and she has allowed them to "shop" from her stores, For the most part, they are now beginning preppers themselves,,,gardening, canning and buying in bulk. Soooo...another alternative to taking them in, is to give them some essentials to get by, and guide them out the door with a loving "You can do this too"

  12. The Bible does touch on this, though not as clearly as some would think to make it a valid assessment. It does place me in a position where the Lord requires me to place my family above others. If one does not take care of his own, ESPECIALLY those of his own family, he is worse than an infidel and non believer. Remember? God put them in higher priority of my helping, than any other person on the planet.

    That being said, if He were to say to take the food stores I have to a family across town and give it to them, I must obey. I would of course want to verify it was Him saying it, but if it were Him, I must do it. He is able to feed millions from a can of soup, so could make what was left last longer.

    One must take their cues from Him. But if He does not specify anything, then we fall back on what He has already said in the Bible.

    Just my 2 cents, probably about what its worth.

  13. First, we have to realize that we will never be completely prepared for everything. All we can hope for is that we have prepared enough for whatever that defining event may be. So with that in mind, I will help those who will contribute in some way. Perhaps they will contribute food, tools, skills, protection, comfort, or physical strength.

    Plus, I will help those who can contribute nothing IF they are truly needy and not merely lazy, such as the elderly or the very young. But even kids will have to earn their keep if they are physically able to do so.

    Mercy and charity have their places in TEOTWAWKI, but I refuse to be a part of a new welfare system. I won't be an enabler for those who take advantage of my generosity. Abuse my stuff or me, you will get nothing more except a swift boot out the door. Respect me and my stuff and you will find a home for as long as the arrangement suits both of us.

    I have already decided that I will not take in progressive commie liberal losers. May they all rot in the trash heap of history.

    Charity begins at home, so I will certainly do what I can for my skeptical relatives.

    However, I pray it never gets to the point where I have to actually make these types of decisions. If we can vote out the corrupt and crazy and vote in the upstanding and sane, we can still save America.

    Anonymous Patriot

  14. For me it would have alot to do with how comfortable we were and how much op-sec we needed to keep.
    I would hate to think of turning away a starving child but if things were very tight and my children were close to staving or would be endangered if I revealed the fact that we had food then I would probably not help that child.
    I'm actually hating myself for even writing that. It makes me feel sick that we might be at such a point and even now I think 'surely there would be a way around that'. But I know that in times of crisis your thinking and priority changes.
    If people come knocking for food I can only hope that we are in such a situation that I can let them work for food - have the manpower enough that we can defend the place if it's a trick. It need not be physical, sewing, cooking, helping with children or the sick and elderly (if I trust them enough).

    Also some of our surplus I was thinking to use as trade.

    It would be nice to think that I could help people but I would have to wait and see. I guess it's a broad spectrum of situations too.

    But if I DID have the luxury of being able to help at whim....
    All children would get fed and have a warm safe place to sleep.
    Those who openly laughed at me would still get the same chances as those who were clueless. If they can work or be of use then they can stay under my protection and laws and be fed communally until they know enough to be on their own (if they want to be). I get the satisfaction of saying 'I told you so'. Besides, those whom you usually warn are close family and friends - I would want to help them if I could even though they thought I was nuts. The problem with family though is they won't want to submit to all your rules. That could be very dangerous.
    The people who don't get help are those who are cruel to children or come with violence against us.

    I could go on for a long time but it's mostly just musings. We'll all find out when we get there. And yes, we may be the supplicant. Your house may burn down or get requisitioned by a higher force. Your children may be orphaned and be wandering and starving, at others mercy.
    Prepare, pray.
    Goodluck everyone!


  15. As an EMT, I look at this as a triage type of situation. When and if the SHTF, you WILL be forced to turn away people. There will be no way around this. Yes, we will be able to help some, but the sheer volume of the GH will necessitate that you perform triage. People will die and there will be no way around that.

    Triage is a system of deciding who gets what (in EMS, it's the level of help a patient, who is usually one of many, recieves.) In a SHTF scenario, it will be who recieves help, and in what form, and who doesn't. While it may be difficult to decide these kinds of things now, it is my opinion that it will become easier when there is a grid-down/economic collape/insert-your-favorite-disaster-here situation staring you in the face. While I cannot sit here either and tell you who to help and who not to help, I think it will be easier to tell the people who didn't prepare and insulted your efforts to take a hike. Note that I said easier; not easy. I do not make lite of this subject, but as believers in Christ, we have a herald to prepare and woe be to those who fail to acknowledge that.

  16. I started prepping for our immediate family, but have expanded our plans anticipating that all 10 kids with their spouses and grands will eventually show up. That's about as charitable as we can get right now.

    I doubt many will be out our way now that we don't live in town anymore, but those who come will probably get a hot meal and a "Godspeed" and that's about it. I can't feed the entire state.

  17. Mike in SE VirginiaJanuary 4, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Wow... this is really a tough question. As you said, it's too easy to just react with a "Go away, you grasshopper!" mentality instead of really thinking about the people you know and love and have lived nearby you perhaps over several decades.

    I've thought long and hard about this, especially because we've been through several hurricanes in this area of SE Virginia and I've seen how my various neighbors prepare (or don't prepare) and then how they deal with the aftermath of the storms.

    I've also thought about the lessons I'd be teaching my children through my own actions, which, of course, speak much louder than any words I could say to them. And I've come to the conclusion that the only course of action that is acceptable to me as a Christian is to decide on two scopes of action: one relationship related, and one geography related.

    First, I'm planning to help all family members and close friends, assuming they can get to me. Of course, I've been working on these folks for years now, and many of them are getting with "the program" so they shouldn't be that much of a burden anyway. And second, I'm planning to draw a mental boundary about halfway down my street (a cul-de-sac with less than 20 houses) and to help everyone that needs it within this area but not beyond.

    And yes, I'm working on building up supplies to make this possible. But what I won't do, what I CAN'T do, is help EVERYBODY. It's just not possible, so yes I will turn people away with nothing more than advice and prayer. I'll work with what I've got to help those around me and those I love, but I won't dilute my efforts by trying to help everyone because that would just end up helping nobody.

    Charity that isn't effective is worthless. It might make you feel good temporarily to pass out all your clean water, food, and fuel like Santa Claus, but then later you get to see the awful effects on those around you that you COULD have really helped if you'd been more prudent. And yes, by expanding my scope beyond my immediate family I'll be reducing the "longevity" of my stockpile, but I accept this because the alternative is, to me, unthinkable. I WILL, I MUST, help those near and dear to me.

    But I can't help everyone, and I have no intention of trying. And, of course, if anyone else ever thinks that THEY get to decide how my preparations ought to be disbursed... well, THAT'S when the shotgun comes out.

  18. I have thought about this a lot. We have my husband's brother and his wife and 4 children. They make more money than we do and waste most of what they make and then some. The four children have NO practical skills. I don't call sports or playing video games practical.
    I am afraid they would show up at our door. Right now, I do not have enough to feed us (6 people) and them (6 people). It would be hard to take them in. Not sure if I could do it. They have no idea how to work. I have to think of my four children here and they need to come first.
    My other issues are I know we would have to go get my husband's mother and take care of her. I would probably work something out with my parents (they only live 2 miles from here and are prepping some) and take care of them. I feel responsible for taking care of the older folks and children I am responsible for. The others, not so much. I would hate to turn them away, but I can't keep everyone. I also have my sister and her hubby, my brother and his wife & 4 children, and my other brother, wife and child. I can't turn them all away, as they have always been generous about helping my family through the years.
    God will have to be my adviser in this matter.

  19. It really depends on how much opportunity I am willing to give someone to hurt me. I know a few people that I will actively keep away from my family because I believe they will be poison in one form or another.

    After that I have to triage. I agree that you will have to turn people away. If we give to everyone we will be out of our extras very quickly. One way to triage is see who demands a handout and who is willing to work. Who will chop wood for a dinner for their family? What did The Savior say about those who will not work? If someone is unwilling to work to feed their family when they are hungry, be wary of them. If you are able to without compromising your security/ OPSEC, have something like chopping wood that you can have them trade for some food and direction.

    It would be wise to "teach a man to fish" in this situation. Have a plan to offer a few fish and a plan on where and how to fish. This will help them shift focus from how to get your food without getting shot to how to get their own without resorting to robbery, etc.

  20. I am interested in reading what everyone has to say and hope more people write in to comment. My partner's cousin has stayed with us this year and knows about our preps. He now has a job and apartment several hours away. When visiting at Christmas he made the comment that if TSHTF he hoped there was enough gas in his truck to make it here. What?!? I can see him saying to his female friend, "C,mon, I know a place we can go!" We're on a fixed income and are scraping preps together as it is. If two uninvited others show up that cuts our supplies in half.

    SO thank you for sharing your thoughts. Perhaps it will help me figure out how to handle relatives, friends, and strangers should the day ever come.

  21. For as long as possible, I give the unprepared 1hot meal, a ration of water, whatever medical care I can provide, then send them on down the road with my prayers and best wishes. Otherwise, I place my own family in jeopardy.

  22. While ill with pneumonia for 2 weeks in December, I took the time in bed (cough cough cough, get the idea) to read several books on the Great Depression.

    Did you know that nice families who gave food handouts had their address written in public places so that ALL the other hungry folks could show up at that door and ask for a meal as well? Gee, it could happen again and I just thought it was the government who wanted to know who has more than 7 days worth of food!

  23. Those who are willing to work will get fed.Hey, I live on a farm, there is always more that could be done. The children fed while adults work. Then the kids given a bucket and shown where to pick up acorns or clip grass for the pigs, chickens. Those with skills can stay.

  24. I actually prep with some of those people in mind. Mostly in trade value. Those that are better off then I may have silver in there home while I have seed packets. I do pick up small packages of beans, rice etc. with the thought of giving those out. People I would give to first are family, friends, people who live where I do that are willing to protect where we live, children, nursing mothers, old, etc. I work once a week at my churchs food bank and I see the people who truly need the help. One of our older gentlemen call them "soft" not quite mentally disabled but very close. I also see those that instead of saying "thank you" they poke thier head in and say "how about you give me some more of..." "I heard you got...why didn't I get some of that?" "I deserve..."My second example are the ones I will gladly openly show my shotgun to. Also there is an intesting tag line on this subject under under forum

  25. I just plain don't have a clue what I'd do.


    I'm usually surprised afterward at how I reacted in some earlier unusual situation.
    Sometimes I'm proud of myself. Other times, I learn something about myself.

    Just Me

  26. Since "prepping" is for kooks and fools, most of society will not have had the sense to prepare for anything but the Super Bowl or Dancing with the Stars. This will not be a give and take situation ,but rather a take situation and what you do not give up willingly look for a cluster of a mob willing to take from you. Food ,shelter, and your life. Does not matter to desperate fools. please prepare to be in a serious mindset.

    Had Enuff

  27. We have many homeless in our communities now, Many are homeless by choice, alcoholic and/or drug addicted. They are out there everyday, panhandling. I pass them by, knowing that I do in fact give generously to welfare/social/food/jobs programs. I think in a catastrophic situation I would try the same concept...give to the local church anonymously and send them there.

  28. My husband and I have already discussed this very circumstance in detail. Below is our plan but you know how it goes also "The best laid plans of mice and men...."

    For me I will use what I have learned and hopefully be able to pass on the information. Where we live there is quite a bit of edible goodies for the gathering and wildlife to trap or fish. I have made it a point that along with my prepping stores I have gained the knowledge of food and medicinal plants that grow wild in my region. Picking wild blackberries and wild plums are a yearly adventure for us to make jelly now. My decision would definately be based on whether or not this person was willing to learn and apply skills or if they were just wanting a handout. They would have to earn their meal and then with the knowledge I could pass on how to gather and forage what is edible and what is not. How to make a snare or how to fish. With this information they could feed themselves. If they are not willing to work for a hot meal of beans and learn how to feed themselves then they could be on their way. I would always make sure that all they ever got was beans so that no one would know what we actually had put back. Only my grown children know about my preps and a couple very close friends. They would be welcome. My oldest daughter does not have room and is on a limited budget as I am but she has always been willing to help with canning, drying etc. My son in law loves to hunt and fish. These are attributes that as a family we can survive. If someone was to just show up being disrespectful and demanding they would get shown the driveway from the end of a shotgun. If they show up being respectful and truly needy, willing to work, help and learn then I would not turn them away.

  29. Wow, 25 responses that I can see and probably a bunch more in comments moderation!!

    Anonymous/Just Me: "I'm usually surprised afterward at how I reacted in some earlier unusual situation. Sometimes I'm proud of myself. Other times, I learn something about myself."

    Indeed. Nobody knows how they'll react. I know I would be an absolute mess if my children were hungry and I could not feed them. I do not believe I would act rationally and kindly under those circumstances. I'd turn into a banshee.

  30. Chirst wanted us to help others that could not help themselves. Even HE took up in the den of thieves because those were the EXACT PEOPLE that needed him the most.
    From this I take only one thing: Help my family first....then help others with what is left....NO MATTER WHO IT IS!! Correct me if I am wrong, but Christ didn't judge the unfortunate and the unwise as to whether they deserved his help or not. He just helped them and loved them.
    Can you give and love all human beings unconditionally against all odds..even if they are not prepared? I have found when this seemingly impossible thing is only then that change(with love) actually occurs. It isn't your call to asess and choose...but to love unconditionally all forms of life.

  31. We eat and rotate our long term food storage. With that in mind....recently a co-worker of myDarlin' Mans came to him and explained he and his pregnant wife and 2 yr old child were in dire straits and need a loan. My fella wouldnot give a loan without consulting me. The couple cameover after work and we talked it out. The wife confided in me that they were "absolutely out of groceries" and couldn't even feed their child that night. I went to our pantry and got them pasta, canned pasta sauce, several cans of soup, rice, dried beans, some cookies and canned fruit. I also gave them somemeat outof our freezer and a few loaves of bread I had frozen.
    Enough food to last a family of three an entire week. (Payday was a week away)
    The woman was getting WIC for the child and because she was pregnant, so I was assured there was enough of other items (milk, etc) for them.
    Within 4 days, themom called and said she had just done her WIC shopping and had excess.(EXCESS!? What the heck is excess? I NEVER have "excess" as we put to use EVERYTHING!) Anyway, she came over and dropped off 3 huge boxes of cereal , 3 gallons of milk, 2 dozen eggs, fresh carrots, 3 containers of juice and dried beans....and told me "We'll never use all that, anyway. I usually end up throwing a lot of it out." I felt bad...and angry that we had loaned them the money so they could pay their rent and utilities. ESPECIALLY after we found out that the reason they blew through their money so fast was because they spent 1200 on vet bills for surgery for one of their dogs! (Their other dog attacked it!) We didn't know this before we loaned the money. :(
    Priorities. You have to have them.
    This family does not.
    I have offered to show her how to set up and shop for food storage, how to bake her own bread, cook from scratch, etc.Her response "With the kids, I don't have time for all that"
    That is an example of some of the people that will be scratching at the door.

    Will I help if TSHTF and someone shows upon my doorstep?
    I don't know.
    We do have some foods packaged for handouts...but still...I don't know.
    That's the most honest answer I can give.
    If this particular family showed up, I think my answer would be NO, considering what I know about them. If it were someone else, my answer might be different.
    It will be "family first", I know that.

  32. Patrice,
    If the people who show at my gate, are persons who I already know, then I know they are already prepared and something grave has occurred!
    Ascertain a code pass word for "safe passage".
    Another for when A gun is pointed at them and they are being used as hostage bait to get through my gate.

    We have devoted extensive time and effort to assisting those in our company of true friends to get to a comfortable state themselves, and with our assistance.

    Those I do not know, will be turned away.
    The hard fact is that unless you want looters returning, must do so!

    In fact, we firmly believe in mercy and charity and have predispositioned food far away from our location, to assist those that are needy, elder, have children at their side, and even for those who are infirmed and need medical assistance. The designated appointed charity has the map to get to the caches only if the dire need arises and their store reserves are depleted.

    They don't know us...anonymous giving, and I don't know them, don't ever accept a charitable donation receipt for tax deduction purposes, end result, successful anonymous charitable contributions and distributions.

    Hope this helps others who really want to help, but don't want looters.


  33. Depends on how bad it is. I plan on helping as many children as possible.

    Adults that chose not to prepare get help only when they have had a change of heart, are back to the same weight they were graduating highschool and I can afford to give it.

  34. Always love to read through the comments; motivates me to re-organize and see what I need to re-stock.I tend to give away too much! (Example: college students home for a visit-who DO work around the house while home, refusing any payment)
    The reality is something will always happen that necessitates having a supply on hand to get us thru some period of time-whether it be sickness, loss of work for a period,bad weather, national emergency, etc. and it is up to me (and husband) to plan ahead-not someone else.
    Now, that being said,the fact is that I often give away stuff I have in my pantry simply because I'm "mom". I realize how very little we actually have if looking at long-term needs and therefore need to be careful.
    Re: the comments about making containers/ mini packs of necessities to pass along to those in need without taking away from your main staple items. Good advice!
    I plan on adapting this for those college kids-with a purpose,not just randomly grabbing things off the shelves. I usually tell myself-I'm just rotaitng goods:) which is partly true, but not very wise!
    I think, since hurricane season has passed for us this year I have become somewhat complacent and needed a reminder that anything could happen any time and I'd better re-focus and re-stock!
    Love to think I'd share in an emergency but believe it will be pretty selective-not only my decision! One more thing, my husband's grandmother was known to many "train travelers" during the depression as they left markings on the poles near her home (next to the tracks:))so word will get around who has provisions in times of need! That being said,a few useful items and a word of encouragement might give hope and appease a possible ugly confrontaion. (definitely have to protect one's home and family but use common sense and good judgment) We totally believe we cannot "out-give God" and that He watches our every move and knows our every need
    Blessings to you and your family for a peaceful,healthy new year!
    Mary (ft laud)

  35. I read somewhere (can't remember where!), that when people make the comment, "When it hits the fan, I'm coming to your house!". This writer hands the person a card with 'admission' requirements - IF the commenter is somebody the prepper is willing to help. Admission requirements include so many pounds of grains, so many gallons of water, so many rounds of a specific ammo... you get the idea. It puts the responsibility back on the potential grasshopper. I really like that idea.
    As far as when strangers come to the door asking for help... a small amount of powdered chlorine (don't have the exact type in front of me) for water purification, and a .5 liter bottle of dry beans / rice is what we've decided on. We're not on a farm, so we probably wouldn't trade work for food very often. We won't welcome just anybody in for a meal; OPSEC no-no.

  36. My personal beliefs are that we should grant more leniency to those not aware of the need for preparation or did not have the resources to prepare much like God would not judge someone who had not heard the word as harshly as someone who heard the Gospel and turned away.

    It is also important to remember that God knows our heart and expects us to take care of his people. The need for true revival in this country is needed and the Church needs to be the central distribution point.

  37. I rarely speak to anyone about our preparations. I have mentioned to a couple friends that it might be a good idea to buy some bottled water and food items to have on hand in case of an emergency (hurricanes or snow in our area). I don't think it occurs to any of them that the electricity might be off for more than a day or two. Our 2 adult sons live close by, but we have no other family members in this area. I worry about my older sister who lives about 8 hours from us. I know she hasn't made any preparations. We and our sons have gardens, chickens, stored foodstuffs, etc., so we should be good a awhile. Call me selfish, but I don't plan to share with people who can't help themselves.

  38. I am so glad you asked! I agonizied over this for so long my husband had pity on me. He made it so that no one can come to our door or anywhere near our home (farm) unless invited. The horde walkng down the road will not see us, or the people on watch.Through the placement of trees, shrubs, heavy wildlife fencing and gates. I can tell you that I sleep like a baby now.
    I should explain that I have been teaching prepardness for 10 years. My family, friends, neighbors, some commmunity members know we prep. We have a co-op farm and teach small acreage farming and food preservation. I host school field trips, a girl scout day camp, and work days. Of course, to my husbands OPSEC sensibilities, we are a target. While, it is important to me to educate folks to prep for themselves.

    Of course, I have heard it a thousand times.."When SHTF, we are coming to your house!" ~Big sigh~ I politely tell everyone(even my own sister) that our retreat is full and I would be more than happy to help them plan their own. We have made it perfectly clear that charity is a one time event, only if we choose it. Triage will apply. We are all heavily armed and trained in self defense. Even my 8 yr old daughter can shoot,fight,and evade. Neighbors who do not prepare are welcome to barter for food or supplies.
    I know some have found me harsh. But, most nods their heads and hopefully go home and think about it. And my favorite.."God, will take care of me." Oh boy.
    I don't bother saying a word after that.

    You must prep for your family first. Then think of the extras as a business or charity.
    I can tell you with all honesty that MAYBE 3-4% of the people I teach have prepared in any way. You all know prepping is hard work, requires sacrifice and determination. To my teens despair we do not have boats, 4 wheelers or snowmobiles. They do have hunting, camping, hiking, firearm, self defense skills. They are native plant masters and gardeners, even if they hate it right now. If my husband and I were killed, our retreat over run, and the kids were on their own, they would be have the skills to survive. Therefore, hopefully not in need of charity. Their skills would be welcome elsewhere.
    Thank you Lewis family for taking the time to share your wisdom, lives, and writings with us. I look in as often as I can, and wish a very Happy Abundant New Year!

  39. I'm 66 years old and I've always felt I have a big, giving heart. However, that doesn't mean I'm a pushover or a fool. If people won't prepare, that's THEIR decision! We can't feed and house every person who might come knocking at our door, no matter how much we wish we could. My wife and I would have to stock up TONS and TONS of food and water! We can't possibly do that.

    It is sad that so many folks are content to just sit back and let government take care of them. They've bought into the lies and they will no doubt someday suffer for it. But we all must face the reality that we can't possibly feed every person who comes knocking. Sooner or later you'll have to turn people away. I say sooner is best. If not, you'll endanger the lives of your immediate family, not to mention your own.

    There are many who twist the Word of the Bible to mean whatever suits their situation. But I have no doubts that Jesus did not expect us to try to take care of healthy individuals who won't take care of themselves! That's a ridiculous and even impossible thing to do. Now is the time to help people. Ignore their lack of concern to prepare and their anger at you for reminding them, again and again. Besides, it's more important that we fill our lives with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, rather than our bellies with food. Preparation for eternity is far more important! --Fred in AZ

  40. People who open their doors in a TEOTWAWKI situation would be risking death. I live in a small town and know of a couple other preppers. One has no plans of sharing, one is planning on putting any extras at the small school and we would probably assess what we have AT THAT TIME and go in on that plan if we have extra seed or such. None of us want ANYONE coming to our houses, as it is too dangerous.

    Currently, I do not have enough set aside for my own family. We are a one income family and my preps are being set aside for, in order of direness and probability: inclement weather and inability to get to "shopping in town", financial difficulties (we have that right now, and are not able to put more aside until perhaps the middle of 2012), husband's job loss, economic recession, major depression, governmental collapse, TEOTWAWKI. Each has a higher level of prepping required, we are not where we need to be for even the job loss scenario. We are counting on our adult kids, any spouses and children, plus my elderly parents arriving here if they experience job loss, recession, depression, collapse, TEOTWAWKI. That is an additional 8 people, for which I am currently lacking even one year of food.

    This is kind of harsh to say, but the truth is many of the people in this small town are heavy. We are looked upon as strange for not having cable or satellite TV. So, we eat from scratch, while many others eat highly processed, boxed foods then watch TV. I think most of them will last quite a while before "starving". Many of the kids are heavy, too. All have enough reserves to hit the road and make it to the city that is one day's walk away, should their vehicles for some reason not work. As far as GH's coming from larger towns, well if I can't feed this small town, I certainly can't and won't even try to feed the GH.

    During the Great Depression, my grandmother fed the men who knocked on her door and needed a meal. As another poster stated, eventually the word got around. The pictures of my mother and her siblings (taken by better off relatives) says it all. My grandmother's Christian charity would in today's world have caused her children to be taken away for neglect, as to say they were malnourished would be an understatement. I won't do that to my kids and grandkids.

  41. I believe that everyone has both potential and gifts, and those not blessed with the gift of foresight or preparedness must rely then on using their potential... Perhaps I am simplifying a hypothetical situation, but as I see it, it would be charitable, merciful, and Christian to provide help for those who CANNOT help themselves (as you mentioned--the very young, the elderly, the disabled, etc.) and to provide opportunity to those who WOULD NOT help themselves. Even now, when we are not living in a down-and-dirty survival situation there is plenty of work to be done around the house; I cannot see why anyone able would protest the exchange of work for aid. If one's only obstacle is that he or she didn't set themselves up to make it through hardship, then that can be remedied by the willingness to WORK for it--at that point, not being afraid to bend your back or get your hands filthy goes a long way! At my job, which is not heavy labor but is very quickly-paced, the most consistently valued employees are those who know when it's time to put their heads down and get things done... and consequently, they receive more help when they truly need it! A good attitude and work ethic can take you as far with your neighbors as can a #10 can of honey can take you with your immediate family. I expect nothing less of myself, and that seems to be the most fair solution; if you don't have tangible resources, you still have yourself, and one way or another you will need to work to ensure your survival.

  42. Proverbs 25:21,22 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat;and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. (KJV). Also, repeated in Romans 12:20.
    So, bread and water or rice and beans and water and send them on their way. If they need an article of clothing to stay warm, and we have some extra, then maybe that, too. But I believe that it would be even worse than it was in the depression because most people have an entitlement mentality to go along with their sinful nature. What they would do to get what they feel they deserve would be far worse today. Just look at the swarm mobs and the ows people and what they have done. Or even look at the riots in other countries that occurred when they did not get what the were "entitled" to.

  43. There is an interesting movie in this regard: Defiance. It's about some jewish brothers hiding from the Nazis in the forest. Their group grew to 300+. Some food for thought. Dwlee3

  44. As someone who has been prepping for less than a year, I feel feel for the ignorant. I really do, but the thought of telling my son that I didn't have anything for him to eat is what propelled me into this new lifestyle. I am trying to put up extra for my family, but whatever charity is available will not be at his expense. My first job and instinct is to protect my child.

  45. "Wow", I thought to myself,"this is going to be a good one." It hasn't disappointed me and I appreciate all the views. I just keep thinking of my experience in Haiti-there was nothing, and I mean nothing left. The hospital gates would have had to be closed but they couldn't be open because they were crushed in. The immediate need was so overwhelming.The volunteers that who were actually in Haiti at the time of the earthquake will probably never recover from the fact that they had to turn away hurt and starving people. What would I do? I honestly don't know. I just pray that I would have the strength to make the right decisions and to do my very best. We can be wise and prepare but as someone has already said we can't possibly prepare for all possiblities and somehow I doubt that we will have time to all be tucked away in our own private facilities.Disaster can bring out the very best and the very worse in humanity. I would like to think that I will let rational thinking tempered by my values be my guide.

  46. Sorry, but I would only take care of my own family and maybe some close neighbors. My reason for thinking this way is that too many sit back and wait for someone else to help them. In todays society too many have relied on handouts from the government or charities.(while sometimes necessary) they fail then to learn or try to improve themselves.
    So, for the people who don't try, sorry, you are now on your own.
    To me (while this sounds cruel) It would be like taking in a stray dog. Good for laying around and waiting to be fed. But, not good for anything else.

  47. immediate family first. the aged, the sick, the very young second. the rest only if they work for it in labor or trade.. and yes, the aged, the very young and even those who are sick have some value they can share with others. the young can do simple chores like picking up trash, raking leaves, and walking the dog or keeping other children entertained. the aged still have value..they can still wash dishes, make beds, set the table, and teach the very young. the sick still have value, sitting in a wheelchair or using a walker, or having a disease such as cancer or any other illness is no excuse to not do what they can still do...i tend to think of noah and his ark..everyone laughed and scoffed at him and his family calling them fools..well when this boat sails a person other than immediate family is either "on board" or not.

  48. I have not read all the comments, but find myself a bit surprised that no one has stated the obvious: This question is exactly the reason you keep your mouth shut about prepping.
    It's fine to make an exploratory statement about the economy and price of food and how you're trying to buy up a FEW THINGS here and there as you find them on sale. But if the people don't respond with something about how they are interested in doing the same, MOVE ON (except family, with whom you have to get a little more plain-spoken). You've given them a chance to offer their input and they gave nothing. Don't give them too much information about what you're doing! If they don't know you're prepping, they will not come knocking. A friend of mine is from a very large family. They are NOT preparing because they don't want to spend the money or be bothered with it. They know where to go it SHTF, and have TOLD her so. Be careful with info about your stash.

  49. Wow Patrice!
    I have read all the comments so far and find this a topic of real concern. My husband and I have talked this over and don't really have a good answer. He knows that I am very soft and would help all we can. But if the SHIF and all are in desperate straits we will not be able to feed everyone.
    Because we don't know how long the SHIF will last, it will be hard to give to all. We will have to save for ourselves and family. I would hope that the small community I live in will be able to band together and set up some sort of releif for people that come thru and need help.
    Most people today don't have the skills to help themselves. They don't realize the grocery stores will close after a day or two. They can't cook for themselves because they don't have the skills. Their microwaves will not work any longer. There will no electric or phones.
    And after all this I guess we will have to make judgement calls at the time. I hope we will make the right calls. I do like the idea of having small packages ready to give out with rice and beans, etc.
    Good luck with your book!

  50. In truth there is no right answer (in my opinion) to this question. In one of the leadership classes for the military they asked us, what is more important achieving the mission or keeping your force (men) alive. In reality the question was just to show leadership what type of leader you are. The “right” answer was “achieve your mission while maintaining as much of your force as possible.” In other words both.

    This is similar. I have people I know, who refuse to prepare. There are some (my friend) who I am preparing for as much as possible i.e. some family and a close friend. I also have gifts, which I put aside to the best of my ability. In other words, approximately 5% of my preparations is for other people who I don’t know (I call them “trade goods”). When what I set aside is finished, then that is it.

    I decided now, when I have time for rational thought, “what can I afford to give away and preserve my force (family).” When the SHTF I will go with my plan (obviously understanding no plan survives contact with reality) and that is that.

  51. Mercy and Charity- unaffordable concepts in survival mode.

    I've thought about this a lot Patrice, and the outcome is never a good one. When the crap hits the wind generator in a big way the first thing is to be as far away from a big city as possible. The vast majority of city folk can't raise a blister, let alone grow their own food or forage or manage livestock. When they realize the empty store shelves aren't going to be restocked, that they are on their own with ZERO survival skills they will resort to the lowliest of human behaviors, to take from others by force what they need to survive. There will be SEVERAL MILLION of these types leaving the cities and wandering into the 'wilderness' looking for those who are weaker or unprepared that they can take advantage of. The takers and raiders WILL eventually find you so have more than ample supplies of munitions and weapons to protect you and yours, everyone learns to be proficient with every weapon. Don't forget blackpowder weapons and the ingredients to make your own powder, there won't be anyone making and selling cartridges. You'll have to establish a 24 hour watch, the bad people won't be on a 40 hour workweek. Take in family and friends to the extent that your supplies are sustainable and renewable. Trust is now a four letter word, you have NO extra food or water or anything else. Be prepared to kill to keep what's yours, they will most assuredly kill you to take it. Don't barter or trade, you give away knowledge of what you have and are willing to give. Be prepared to have to live like this for years.
    I used to think of this as mental exercise, that it was a worse case scenario that could never happen in this country. I don't think that way anymore...

  52. Interesting question and one that I have given a lot of thought to over the past several months.

    If you would have asked this same question a year ago, I would have had quite a different answer. Since then, however, our family has made quite a journey. Please allow me to explain:

    Last February, we sold and moved away from a survivalist's dream - with one exception. We didn't own it free and clear. We had a mortgage on the property. This seemed ridiculous to me. Why build up something with the goal of using it and living on it in case of disaster if it could be taken away? We had standing timber, running water, wood heat, great land for a garden, pond, stream that was dammed and produced electricity, livestock, underground shelter - you name it, we had it... except for a clean deed.

    So.. We decided to sell it and move closer to town where I could earn enough money to buy another place free-and-clear and rebuild. We now live in a subdivision on a lake. we have access to clean water and fish. We have a garden spot, but no livestock. Not exactly sustainable long-term.

    So, our bug-out plan since moving here was in the case of the unthinkable to go back "home" where our extended family still resides and survive there. My Mom still has the family farm and it can support us all if needed (it has in the past).

    But, things have changed since we got to our now home. We learned that there are some pretty wonderful people here and when things do get bad, they are going to need some help.

    Two doors down from us lives a widow that is our daughter's new adopted grandma. A couple of doors from her is a lady whose husband has dementia. All over I see people who have legitimate needs and issues.

    I became an EMT and joined our small town's volunteer fire and rescue department. People need all kinds of help and it must begin with us - those who can see it coming. Whether they listen or not.

    So, to the original question, "how much mercy and grace?" Easy. As much as you have been given.

    We can not truly follow Christ and not be willing to give it all.

    If we look through history, God has allowed disasters to happen. Not because He likes to see human suffering, but to bring the lost back to Him. When the SHTF, it will not be a time to gloat that we were prepared and you were not, but a time to extend Jesus' love and show exactly what it means to be a follower of the Way. If one truly has faith, the Lord will provide.

    Now, do we still have a cache of food and goods? Absolutely. Do I still think that rough times are coming? You bet. But, I guess what has changed in me is the realization that I can not afford to keep my two mites. If we starve in the process, the reward is in the next life. I pray I am strong enough to hold to these convictions through the tribulation. I ask that you all will pray the same for me.

    "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We can not expect to be blessed if we are not first a blessing. It starts with us.

  53. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)January 6, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    That is a question every one of us preppers has to ponder. First and foremost, my family will be taken care of. Then my neighbors. Strangers, no.
    Cruel, yes. My duty is to protect and provide for my family.

    Once while we were really stocking up on cans and dry goods, the person next in line wanted to know if we were one of those nutty people that think the end of the world was near. She said that if there was a disaster, she would just go to the store and buy what she needed until help came. I just smiled at her and said that we were just filling up the camper for a vacation trip.

    The world is filled with people who cannot think ahead to the next day. They are the ones who would do anything to take what you have.

    I hope and do pray daily that we never, ever have to face that reality.

    There are some excellent, generous replies posted. I truly wonder if TEOTWAWKI really, really happened, they would think differently.

    Ah, Patrice, you alway make me think...

  54. I am a big hearted sort. I would take the whole world in if I could, but in a situation like TEOTWAWKI it isn't possible. I'm going to approach it like I do everything. Make a smart and practical plan while the heat is off, and then stick to it when the time comes and it's hard to think as clearly or be rational.

    What about this and what about that is an endless discussion. All I can say is this: if you don't have a close relationship to God, I am sorry for you, because He alone can guide you through such times. The answer to a thousand questions is BE LED. If I couldn't rely on Him I don't think I could make it. He will show me and He will sustain me.

    On a different note, Noah knew the end was near. Noah was laughed to scorn. Noah tried to tell them all to get ready. In the end, he shut the door and sealed it.

    Do I think that is the way to handle it? I'm not sure, but I think so. You can not do everything for everyone forever. There is a cut-off point. Where that point is is the real question, I guess.

    For Fred in AZ: "... it's more important that we fill our lives with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, rather than our bellies with food. Preparation for eternity is far more important!"
    Amen. Preach it, Fred!

  55. We have several months of food storage, but are not 'real' preppers. In the case of folks needing food, we'd definitely ask for a substantial amount of work in exchange for food. We have a small acreage and a huge garden and there's always plenty to do. Folks who really wanted something for nothing would probably be put off by a substantial work investment. Folks willing to work (more rare) might be worth having around for awhile. However, it does seem wise to set out parameters up front with anyone who came asking. We could only feed other folks for a little while. This whole discussion definitely has me thinking about improving our garden and getting more chickens this year....

  56. A very common issue is our response to the unprepared in the wake of a collapse. The most common picture presented is that of a young woman with an infant, presenting at your door and asking for help.

    Unfortunately this usually boils down to what I’ll call either a ‘help them’ or ‘shoot them’ response. If we ‘shoot them’ the young woman is turned away and told not to come back. If we ‘help them’ the woman is given food and usually sent on her way and told not to come back, although some would see if they could protect her.

    I thought I had all my responses lined up — and it doesn’t matter what they were — until I started reading a recent publication, "Holding Your Ground", by the obviously OPSEC concious Joe Nobody (

    Joe presents this exact scenario, using a girl and baby who claim to be hungry and thirsty. The prepper occupant of the house is no dummy; he tells her to back well up from the door, and then moves to set out some water, and maybe some food.

    Joe responds: “Bang! You are dead and so is everyone else in your house. I was hiding two football fields away behind a tree with a rifle. She was bait. You are lying on your front porch bleeding out with the door unsecured behind you.”

    Joes goes on to note that while she was banging on his front door he would be checking the back to see if her friends were coming in that way. He also restated the idea that if she were helped and left she might either come back daily or might tell all her friends where she got help. When this happens you become a prime target.

    Does this surprise me? It doesn’t surprise anyone who served in the military in either Korea or Viet Nam. Both the North Korean military and Viet Cong hid behind women and children. I just needed the reminder that Joe provided. Thanks, Joe.

    But you sure did make my response to this much harder.

  57. There are two groups: people I know (friends and family) and people I don't know (everyone else). I have worked very hard to make sure the people I know, especially those in close enough proximity to show up on my doorstep, have received an education on this subject now, before the fact. That education consists of two parts: stressing the need to prepare for themselves. The better prepared you can get your friends, family, and neighbors to be, the less likely they'll be an unbearable burden to you. Many have been receptive.

    The second part of their education has consisted of making it crystal clear that that the responsibility is THEIRS, and if they choose not to do anything to prepare, to help themselves, that I will NOT be their safety net. Can barely help myself, don't have the space or the resources to help anyone else. Sorry. My greatest gift is showing you the need to prepare is real, if you hadn't seen it for yourself.

    I used to have a few people who used to joke, "If anything happens, we're coming to your house." I'd usually laugh and say, "Go ahead, try that, see how it works out for you." But there was a glint of cold steel in my eye. They all know it's not a joking matter.

    Though I often (no more than 6 or 7 times a day) wish for a much bigger house or property for all that it would do for preparedness, the current circumstance of a small house on a small city lot means there is (Lord forgive me) no room at the inn. Would-be boarders, and their incessant needs, are shut out by default.

    As for everyone's a tough call. While my nature is that I would like to be in the position to dole out charity, I doubt I'd get the opportunity even if I had the resources. I suspect the whole business of a SHTF scenario will be several orders of magnitude more ugly than many can fathom. And the more heavily populated the area you are in, the worse it will be. I suspect that in a real SHTF scenario, the initial waves of violence will be so severe that hunkering down and trying to avoid people entirely, with a hard-core shoot first mentality may prove a necessity. This obviously precludes standing on your doorstep handing out spare MREs. Try that and you will lose everything you have. Maybe even your life.

    I think that any of the sort of calm, reasonable barter, or sharing, or charity that some envision will only be possible well after the initial waves of complete chaos. For better or worse there will be a whole lot fewer people, and many of them will be anything but friendly enough to deal with. Such an opportunity may come, but it will be extremely difficult and fraught with danger.

    Not an easy thing to contemplate.