How do you decide that bad just went to worse?

Some of the incidents during and after major disasters like Hurricane Katrina have made me wonder about escalation decisions. How do you decide when an emergency situation becomes a survival situation? For instance, the incident involving a police officer from New Orleans who opened fire on refugees from another nearby small town during Katrina….not going to go into the political or racial discussions on those decisions, but do have to wonder when this and other officers decided the “rule of law” was no longer valid and it became every man for himself. At what point would you consider defending your shelter, family and supplies from “others” be they looters, refugees or just bystanders who happen to be passing near by? Thinking on the classic Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter”. Just food for thought.  MV5BNDIxY2M4YmQtMWZmYS00ZjZmLWIxZmYtYzBjYjkwY2QxMWJjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTgzOTAxMzA@._V1_ 


  • Comments (8)

    • 3

      I am always prepared to defend my property from others.  I’m far enough off the beaten track, living about a mile down a dead end lane, that outsiders won’t just be passing by.  

      But I do believe violence is the last option… not the first.  In a severe crisis, where there might be refugees, first option will be signs saying stay away at the risk of being shot.

      I happen to believe in a very severe crisis, where the population is fleeing major cities, that as with Katrina, suburban police will stop the flood of people leaving the cities.  These suburban communities will not want to be overrun, so I see them setting up checkpoints at natural barriers, such as streams & rivers.  There are several such communities between my property & Memphis, with lots of streams & a river to afford natural barriers.

      • 1

        Redneck knows. So do I.

        Only two ways in and out from where I live.

        After Katrina…. signs….. at those two points…. You Loot We Shoot.  Skull and crossbones spray-painted on plywood along with Looters Will Be Shot Dead.

        And plywood with skull and crossbones further in.

        We have Camp Villere nearby. They are a HUGE HELP after storms. Great people.

        The range where I shoot long guns:


        Immediately after Katrina there were gun confiscation attempts in New Orleans.

        That stopped after Lt. General Russel L. Honore came in. People I know in New Orleans coming in after Katrina, after he was there, passed vehicles with 50 caliber machine guns guarding at interstate/freeway exits into town, sending a message.

        Also, as Redneck and I both know……. the likely killers in such a scenario, where any would-be intruders from outside are discouraged, muted…. are neighbors who did not prepare… but stocked up on guns and ammo….

        Hence the validity and verification of that particular Twilight Zone episode….. in an allegorical sense…..

    • 1

      There is a city of a bit more than 100,000 people 25-30 miles away from me. If people are leaving there on foot, then a nuke went off, nothing else could disable so many vehicles. That nuke would affect my town, and many others too. It’s not going to be a surprise and that’s important; we won’t be surprised by refugees. Our police, fire, city council and just about everyone else will know what happened (more or less) and start discussing risk to our utilities, especially water. Crime, healthcare, water and shelter(heat or cooling) would be discussed foremost. If comms were down, and they probably would, we would communicate with nearby small towns via horseback and bicycle.

      The refugees and criminals would not walk 25-30-50 miles to the next town right away. Criminals would prey on everyone in that town first. We would know about that and have warning. After a while, they may branch out but I doubt they are going to think ‘Hey, let’s walk 35 miles to Mayberry RFD and and have our way with them, it’s just a bunch of multi-generational large families, all hunters and veterans. What could go wrong?’

      I think rising violent crime is a much greater risk to the USA. Rising violent crime could definitely lead families to rethink their security posture. I think the much more likely risk is gangs moving into areas while the ‘system’ is up but law enforcement has not caught on yet.

      Over 5 million have crossed the border in the last two years and almost none have been vetted. So it would not be a surprise for criminals to be among them and they will likely link up with organized criminal gangs in the US.

      Nota bene: I have many good neighbors from south of our border and I am very happy they are here; they contribute to our area and are good, strong families. But we would be naive to think criminals would let the current crisis go to waste. Once violent crime visits small town America, those towns will act quickly. Maybe not so much in the larger cities.

      The key to the risk Steve Martin raises is to know your neighbors and local officials. Talk to people in the gas station and were you shop for food. Look out for them and lend a hand. If refugees show up, lend a hand but always remember to ‘trust but verify’.

    • 3

      Steve, I will throw in my two cents. The “Rule of Law” is always a bit precarious and always being negotiated (as in the legal system and with respect to staffing levels and priorities of local agencies). I will take reasonable precautions to protect myself and my belongings (locks, lights, alarms, knowing my neighbors, having redundant ways to communicate, etc.).

      I have the attitude that I may have to “self rescue” instead of waiting for others to come to my aid in an emergency. However, I am also emotionally prepared to walk away from my belongings and start over, if that’s the way things go. Things are just things, even the things that I need.  We all have to die sometime. I have my final arrangements in order.

      If I had grown up hunting or had been in the military, I’d own a firearm. But I didn’t. Given my age and situation, I’m not going to start owning one now. I have enough other other things to learn how to do and how to practice and how to maintain in good working order. I suppose that makes me an easier target than some others, but that’s OK. I have situational awareness, de-escalation skills, and ability to improvise.

      I imagine that people seeking money or goods to sell for drugs may be a greater threat over my lifetime rather than other dangers. An even greater danger is lack of staffing and medical treatment options given the continuing pandemic. Oh, and adverse effects from prolonged electrical grid outages.

      I guess the line between the end of the “Rule of Law” and the beginning of “every person for themself” doesn’t seem like framing of choices that I can relate to. I’m not trying to be cute here. I think we should be “for” ourselves within the “Rule of Law,” and I think we should remember the “Rule of Law” when defending ourselves, our loved ones, and our belongings. 

      I liked that Twilight Zone episode, by the way. 

      • 1

        I love what you wrote: “We all have to die sometime. I have my final. arrangements in order.”

        Fully accepting THAT is the key to true “Prepperdom”.  Accepting that you ARE going to die, eventually, no matter what – it is so freeing. So freeing.  I don’t prep so I can outlive the other guy. I prep so that I can fully live myself. So that when an emergency happens it is an adventure and not a crisis.  

        I encourage others to prepare – including preparing for their own deaths – so that they, too, can fully live.  

        And sometimes I listen to this Will Shatner song, just for the sheer joy of it.