How to Deal With Looting When TSHTF

Quick note:  The winner of the firesteel contest is named at the end of the post.  Read on…


In order to deal with a threat, or perceived threat, it is easier to do so if you understand it.  During the research for this post I dug into the psychology of looting and decided that it would simply take up too much space to include it here.   But we can still learn a few things…

First of all what is looting?  According to wikipedia:

Looting (Hindi lūṭ, akin to Sanskrit luṭhati, [he] steals; also Latin latro, latronis “thief”)—also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe, such as during war,[1] natural disaster,[2] or rioting.[3] The term is also used in a broader sense, to describe egregious instances of theft and embezzlement, such as the “plundering” of private or public assets by corrupt or greedy authorities.[4] Looting is loosely distinguished from scavenging by the objects taken; scavenging implies taking of essential items such as food, water, shelter, or other material needed for survival while looting implies items of luxury or not necessary for survival such as art work, precious metals or other valuables. The proceeds of all these activities can be described as loot, plunder, or pillage.

This definition is important as it distinguishes between two acts:  looting, which is stealing items not needed for survival, and scavenging, which is taking things needed for survival such as food, water and items needed for shelter.

As is true with all things relating to the psychology of human beings there are no cut and dried patterns of behavior; however, by studying certain events in the past we can begin to form ideas of how things might happen during a crisis.  This knowledge may assist your decision making in times of an emergency.

Modern looting is most likely to occur during a riot (or war) of some kind.  The trigger event could be something like a sporting event fight such as the Stanley Cup game when Vancouver lost to the Boston Bruins in 2011, or it could be triggered by something like the LA Riots of 1992 when the cops who beat Rodney King were acquitted.  Another recent event was the student riots in England in 2010.  All of these were triggered by intense human emotion and the eventual outlet was through rioting, and to a lesser extent, looting.

When these kinds of events take place and there is looting the people involved aren’t going after food, water, and other staples; they are going after electronics, shoes, clothing and other items.  In other words the things they are stealing don’t have anything to do with their survival or the survival of their families.  They are taking things simply because they want it, others are doing it, and they are in the right place at the right time.

Another point to consider is that the media is likely to focus on looting and other crime after a disaster because it sells the news.  Don’t always believe what you’re seeing on TV until there is confirmation of it through other sources.

Natural Disaster

After natural disasters there tends to be less looting of the type seen in riots.  Not to say that it doesn’t happen, but when someone’s home is totally destroyed people are more inclined to be thinking about feeding themselves and their families than stealing a big screen television.  This is where scavenging comes into play.  A lot of people don’t have food at home to last them a week, much less a month and if there’s some kind of disaster they’re likely to go looking for food and other supplies for their families.

Has looting happened after a large natural disaster?  Yes indeed.  Hurricane Katrina is a good example and so is Hurricane Hugo when it destroyed St. Croix back in 1989.  As a matter of fact the US had to send federal forces in order to help get things under control in St. Croix.  Reports indicate that local police and guardsmen were involved in the looting as well.

The interesting thing about looting is that people who normally wouldn’t do such a thing can fall right into it with others.  Why is that?  Pack mentality?  Herd mentality?  “I’m doing it because everybody else is,” is a recurring theme when people are asked why they’re looting.


The victims of looting tend to be store and small business owners.  Often it’s not enough for looters to steal everything in the store.  They will also destroy what’s left of the store and sometimes even burn the property as well.

It should be noted that individual residences are rarely targeted during riots.  Looting of private residences usually happens after a large disaster when people are scavenging for food, water, and other necessities for survival.  Long term disasters like the Haiti earthquake are an example of people scavenging to stay alive.

Other victims during riots depend on the riot.  Those who are too weak to defend themselves.  Those that are in the minority such as Boston Bruins fans wearing their team’s shirts in a sea of Vancouver jerseys.  Sometimes being in the wrong crowd when law enforcement shows up and starts beating the crowd back.  They can’t tell if you’re a friendly face or not.  All they know is that you’re part of a violent crowd and you will be treated accordingly.

So What Have We Learned?

There are a couple of things that we can take away from this analysis.

First, if you’re anywhere near a riot it’s time to leave.  If you get caught in one of these events don’t fall victim to the herd mentality if people start looting.  In Vancouver and other places there were enough cameras around that most of the people involved in the looting and rioting were caught.  In today’s technological society there’s an excellent chance that you’re going to be on the news if you commit a crime.

Second, in a natural disaster people are more likely to come together, at least at first.  Back during the ice storm of 1998 here in Maine and Canada people helped each other out, but there were others who stole generators while they were still running!  If you’re prepared you shouldn’t have to resort to screwing your neighbor over so that you can remain alive.  Be smart and have at least a months worth of food and water on hand as well as a backup way to stay warm if you live in a cold weather climate.

Third, in a localized emergency your home is unlikely to be targeted for looting (at least no more than usual), but if the disaster drags on it would be wise not to draw attention to yourself.  Think OPSEC here.  For example, if every house on your road is dark due to a power outage, but someone drives by and sees your house lit up like a Christmas tree you’re drawing unwanted attention.  This may not be a big deal if the power is out due to a snow storm and it’s the second night without power, but if the electricity has been out for three weeks you might get some attention you could do without.

Defending What’s Yours

What if you are a small business owner or even a home owner that is being targeted by a mob?  Is it ok to defend your business with a firearm?  Is it ok to defend your home with a firearm?

During the LA riots one of the more popular scenes aired on TV was Korean merchants walking around with hand guns shooting at people who were attempting to rob their stores.  There have been other incidents where store owners protected what was theirs by using force.  To my knowledge none of the Korean merchants involved at this time were charged; however, the source for this is unverified and I could be wrong.  source

One thing to keep in mind though is that once the incident is over there is usually an accounting for what happened during the event.  If you, as a store owner, kill or injure someone protecting your store you are likely to face charges for it.

One last word to be said about those who are willing to take to the rooftops and streets to defend their livelihood:  if they are desperate and angry enough they are probably not worth messing with.  Chances are good that they’re better organized than the looters and chances are also good that there will be men and women with prior military service amongst them.  Even if they’re defending with bolt action deer rifles someone who is a good enough shot can kill out past 500 yards.

Police Protection

One of the Korean merchants interviewed after the riot voiced his displeasure with the LAPD.  He said as soon as the shooting started they bailed out and left them to their own devices.  Luckily, they were able to hold their own; however, depending on someone to help you out in that kind of situation might be setting yourself up for trouble.  Plan to be as independent as possible when making your defense plans.


As a homeowner it becomes a more dicey issue, but instead of giving advice I will tell you what I would do.  If someone is threatening the safety of my family I will use whatever means necessary to quell the threat.


There are always variables to consider in every situation.  Is this likely to be a short term (one day to a week or two) or is it likely to drag on for an extended period of time?

If it’s short term play it smart and safe.  Stay inside and don’t draw undue attention to yourself.  If someone does try to get at you ask yourself if it’s worth someone’s life to protect your property.  Abide by the law as much as possible because there will likely be a reckoning when the dust settles.

If it’s a true TEOTWAWKI Zombie apocalypse then all bets are off and you do what you have to do to stay alive.

This is a book sized topic and this post is growing out of control, so I’m going to wrap it up here.  I’ve left a lot out, but feel free to bring up your points in the comments below.

How about it?  Would you stay and fight to protect what’s yours?

-Jarhead Survivor


Bustedknuckles is the winner of the Jarhead firesteel contest!  Please contact me at

Thanks for all the great ideas.

89 comments… add one
  • The Duck December 30, 2011, 9:00 am

    In regard to: How about it? Would you stay and fight to protect what’s yours?
    That depends on the number, an equal to slightly superior force yes stand your ground, but if there is an overwelming number, and it appears you will be overrun and die anyway, staying might not be the best idea. Plans of any kind should always include bailing out of the AO, it would also be a good idea to cache some of your supplies away from your primary, in case you are driven out.

  • SLHaynes December 30, 2011, 9:10 am

    One of my main concerns is that some nut will try to short circuit our election process by taking out the GOP’s main concern. The Occupy idiots may also try to disrupt GOP functions along with commerce throughout the year so their main benefactor will get re-elected by default. Lastly, a crafty administration could actually use the pretense of quashing any nationwide occupy protests by going to martial law nationwide. That would prove quite interesting.

  • Spook45 December 30, 2011, 9:12 am

    Tightly tide NOOSE accompanied by a short drop and a sudden stop and then leave them hanging there until the head rots off and the body drops by its own weight. This will discourage any further interloping into your private property and send a meassage that people of that ilk will not be tollerated

    • T.R. December 30, 2011, 1:45 pm

      I had an uncle that served during the Korean war , he told me that every once in awhile he and a buddy would go visit the foreign camps to visit and trade stuff . He said one day he saw heads on pikes near the Turkish camp ………. the other camps had theft problems at times from the locals , but NOBODY stole from the Turks after that .

  • Odd Questioner December 30, 2011, 11:56 am

    “This is a book sized topic and this post is growing out of control, so I’m going to wrap it up here.”

    Yes, it is… I happen to be writing something along those lines right now (at pp. 220 and climbing).

    Strange thing is, a lot of your reaction depends on state law. In Utah or Arkansas, you can kill anyone who trespasses and threatens persons *or* property. In California, I think you’re required to offer the interloper a hot beverage upon noticing his arrival.

    • Chef Bear58 December 30, 2011, 10:46 pm

      Pretty sure the “Freak-Show-State” added something about handing them your fiream (which if a handgun is limited to 10rd of certain ammo) THEN asking them if they want a beverage!

      Couldn’t pay me to go there, and I think the nation might be better-off if the old idea of “the big one” sinkin’ the whole mess into the pacific! Wonder if that would be considered pollution?!

      • Jason December 31, 2011, 11:27 am

        Just love to hate that with which you have, at best, minimal  knowledge of – such a fool.   

        … and you once claimed that some of your friends say you are smarter than the average bear. It may be time to look into getting new friends with some measure of honesty or raise the intelligence bar off of the ground.

        That was a pretty stupid statement Chef. 

        You probably won’t fully get this, but I will give it a go – 

        “Even a fool, when he remains silent is counted as wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of intelligence & understanding.”

        Proverbs 17:28

        There is no hyphen between better & off.  

        • Odd Questioner January 1, 2012, 1:05 pm

          Oh, come on… it is possible that Chef was being facetious (I know I was about that last crack, though AR and UT laws are quite specific about defending self, family, and/or property).

          Besides, it’s the season to be merry, and to forgive a little.

          So… as a citizen of the People’s Republic Of California, are you required to serve cocoa, tea, coffee, or does the criminal get to choose? ;)

          • Jason January 1, 2012, 4:16 pm

            Facetious? The second paragraph nullified that for me besides, he is quite often subject to not so well thought out emotional responses. Also, he didn’t bother to respond to my pointedness.

            To answer your question about criminal appropriateness in PRC, I’ll answer with a question –

            As a member of the only state in the US which remains the last bastion of the hippy & commune generation, marijuana farmers, tree huggers & lumberjacks, are you required to sit with an intruder in Earth Shoes & a flannel shirt & smoke a bong load while discussing why Mars rising interrupted their ki energy?

          • Odd Questioner January 1, 2012, 5:48 pm

            Ah, but you missed out on so much… c’mon, I live in Granola County (err, Multnomah County), FFS!

            Everyone knows we’re required to give the interloper a complimentary joint and sing a pirate shanty with ’em. You’re only allowed to shoot if you live east of the river, and post notice of intent to do so at least 30 days in advance of any burglary. Don’t you ever watch Portlandia?

            PS: It’s “Chi”, not “Ki” – we gots the real Asian influence up in this piece, not that faux Sedona-borne bullcrap.

          • Jason January 1, 2012, 7:24 pm

            OQ, I stand corrected with Chi … Chi Tea Latte that is!

            Oh, I’m so Californian – dude.

          • Odd Questioner January 2, 2012, 12:51 pm

            Oh, no no… that’s “Chai” tea.


          • Jason January 2, 2012, 3:26 pm

            Shows you how often I get that!

      • T.R. December 31, 2011, 3:11 pm

        There are absolute differences between the states and regions of this country , which is why I firmly believe the nation would be better off in the long run if there was a break up . Having Confederate roots , the idea is no doubt appealing . Because of the work I do I have traveled to many many states for on site installation . Have to say there are several states I just dont like . Primarily because of the laws , way of doing things , or simply I just generally dont like the people . Among the top 10 states I wouldn’t pee on if they were on fire is California , Utah , Nevada ,Pennsylvania , Texas , Louisiana . If you live in one of those states and like it ……… thats great ! its not for everybody . California to my tastes is too legislated , liberal , and too heavily populated , surprised they haven’t taxed the air yet . Texas is too full of liars and assholes , Generally speaking , the people From both those states seem to have a desperate need for attention , Utah hasn’t gotten the concept of separation of church and state yet , Lousyanna reminds me of Nogales , could catch a disease through the souls of your shoes . Pensil dick vania , is another weird place , heavily legislated , etc. , Nevada is ok if you like glorification of vices , heavy crime and a generally seedy atmosphere . No place is perfect , depends on your attitudes , likes and dislikes . For me , the SE seems to fit . AZ if fine to be left alone , not to hot on the desert ( no pun intended ) but can appreciate some parts . States I do like in the top 10 are Alaska , NC , SC , Tennessee , Maine , Colorado .

        • T.R. December 31, 2011, 7:13 pm

          BTW , HAPPY NEW YEAR ! even though these are unstable times and we are all prepping for the worst . I hope each and every one of you is able to find happiness , prosperity , and joy for 2012 . If not all we would wish for , at least be in a better situation than we are in , whatever that may be .
          Stars & Bars !

        • Jason December 31, 2011, 7:33 pm

          I don’t necessarily defend California, it irks me when people flap negatively about it especially, without any experience of it – hence the comment to Chef Bare Fiddy Cent.

          I hate politics with a passion & do not involve myself in it anymore. I have been around some very, very influential sorts & had grown to despise their sellout attitudes or positions.

          I developed a model along with analytics for banks to help mitigate loss during this crisis. The beta tests were near perfect as well – many times better than the existing solutions. I had a one on one with a Cabinet member who was in with Geo Bush along with some decision makers of some of the biggest banks in the US & when the viability was clearly acknowledged while the in between the lines discussions revolved around financial incentives to push it through, I flushed it and that cost me dearly …. so what, it’s only money & that’s easy to make.

          I am a bit of a purist & love the Constitution, Bill of Rights & the Declaration of Independence & how well thought out it was, giving us a virtual paradise here in the US.

          When people complain about whatever & do nothing to better things, I take a stand. Publishing petty thoughts from mindless children only exacerbates those perceived negative conditions – it is so easy to jump on that bandwagon to nowhere like a lemming & shake a fist because others do. The only thing missing in that picture, is the rattle in the hand & a big “wah, I want my bottle” coming out of those sparsely toothed mouths.

          I can totally respect your position because it is based upon valid experiences & a southern man’s inbred mentality – ha, ha, gotta a close friend from Alabama & tease him often about the hillbilly lifestyle.

          I could make a case about about how crappy Arizona is because they never found the Lost Dutchman’s mine or Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s strange tactics or some other nonsense but is that a valid reason to hate that state? Heck no, there is considerable beauty in that state. I am a bit biased because my dad has gotten Arizona Highways magazine since the 60’s & has every one of them & enjoyed thumbing through them as a kid.

          I happen to enjoy California because of the weather, I surf, I like the people & my business opportunities & pretty much shut out the rest primarily because I do not enjoy the grumbling. I do enjoy my life & make it a point to lift up others when I can because it make me and them happy.

          I am 57 & I will help old people load their groceries in their car, return carts to the store, pick up items dropped on the floor & put them back on the shelf, let people with fewer items go in front of me, give a prime parking space for someone else, hold the door open for whomever, change someone’s tire & on and on.

          You see, how I spend time is very important & I do not waste it – especially on self-serving & it really doesn’t matter where I am, I can get value of the place because that’s what I’ll bring to the table. And the rest of the boo birds can keep on sucking that bitter pill & may learn someday that attitude is simply & only a personal choice ~

          • T.R. January 1, 2012, 1:27 am

            We are both comfortable in our own skin , neither of us will change , nor should we ;)

          • T.R January 1, 2012, 1:46 pm

            BTW Jason ,
            I also do many of the things you mentioned , its called common curtesy . Glad to see others still teach it as it isn’t common enough .

  • sput December 30, 2011, 12:27 pm

    just a little off message, but it needs to be repeated. The Cops did not beat Rodney King without cause!!! The MSM took the most inflammitory 17 seconds and played it ad nauseum to inflame people. Watch the whole 1 minute plus of the tape and you see RK charging the police after taking 2 taser hits, shaking 4 cops off his back like water off a dog, and other behavior that SHOULD have got him shot. His two passengers surrendered quietly, were put safely and gently in the back of a crusier, and later released. RK would have just gotten a slew of traffic violations if he had just cooperated. He is a major reason you can’t trust the MSM.

    • Chef Bear58 December 30, 2011, 10:48 pm

      Another thing most folks selectively forget/ommit, King was a FELON, he had several charges before that night, and if I am not mistaken a couple of those were violent crimes (assault, etc)

      • Jason December 31, 2011, 11:57 am

        If you don’t think that was excessive force, heaven help your state when you graduate from the police academy. Don’t forget your jackboots & pocket size copy of Mein Kampf while on patrol.

        The FIFTEEN police on the scene clearly had many opportunities to cuff & tie him down but instead chose viciously attack the lone zebra. Sorry, but they do not have the right to carry it as far as they did.

        Sput – please show me where Rodney charged the police – this is the full video:

        Maybe you can both comment on the statements made by the chief of police:

        • Jason January 1, 2012, 11:16 am

          Don’t think he charged at the police – notice the 2nd cop to the right was not alarmed & the other one that was supposedly charged at was able to give him a shot to the ribs from a side angle:

          Rodney’s explanation seems to be consistent with that action:

          In any case it was overwhelming evidence of police brutality & for them to get what seems to be a slap on the wrist (no jail time) is a travesty – I was pissed at the verdict as well. Besides, why would the LAPD pay out a 3.8 million dollar settlement to Rodney King if they were justified to do what they did?

        • Odd Questioner January 1, 2012, 1:07 pm

          Err, wasn’t King hopped up on PCP at the time?

          • Jason January 1, 2012, 4:19 pm

            Watch the video & tell me if that was really a factor.

      • Jason December 31, 2011, 9:42 pm

        Chef, if you don’t think that was excessive force, heaven help Virginia when you graduate from the police academy. Don’t forget your jackboots & pocket size copy of Mein Kampf while on patrol.

        The FIFTEEN police on the scene clearly had many opportunities to cuff & tie him down but instead chose viciously attack the lone zebra. 

        I guess tasing him 3-4 times wasn’t enough as they obviously still felt outnumbered. Sorry, but they do not have the right to carry it as far as they did.

        Sput – please show me where Rodney “charged” the police – this is the full video:

        My previous comment was stuck in moderation due to the added link was stuck, so type in “Rodney King beating” in the Youtube search line & select the top one, roughly 1:13 

        Next –

        Maybe you can both comment on the statements made by the chief of police for Los Angeles:

        Type in the same as above but select the one that is roughly 1:33

        Oops – open mouth, insert foot. 

  • Michael December 30, 2011, 1:16 pm

    I live on a quiet dead end street, in a quiet corner of a quiet town. I’m not too worried about this sort of thing.

    I’m sure that as things progress we’ll have some folks come though and someone’s going to rummage though my carport. When it gets to that point it’s either time to frame in the carport or move anything of value out of there. But, what I’m not going to do is confront a burglar over and risk getting shot over a lawn mower, ladder, or shovel. It’s just not worth it.

    If I ever move I’ll be looking for another quiet little corner to move into, with a little bit of looking, you can find places like this in most cities.

    • Jeeper December 31, 2011, 4:52 pm

      Beware, it’s this sort of complacency that could get you overrun.

  • T.R. December 30, 2011, 1:35 pm

    If they are in your house or on your property , shoot to kill . They are not there for anything good and remorse is the luxury of the living . Make every effort to finish them off instead of allowing a wounded to escape , they will come back with friends if you do .

    • OklahomaBob December 31, 2011, 9:41 am

      Good point, I mentioned the junkies are the worst but the gang types and mental cases are a close second.

    • Anonymous December 31, 2011, 10:02 pm

      Hey Rambo, killing someone isn’t as easy as you think & once you do it is a hard thing to live with especially in non-combat situations.

      BTW, you’ll need a good lawyer so start saving your pennies.

      • T.R. January 1, 2012, 1:20 am

        Soooooooo your saying I should allow a group of thugs to enter my home , ransack my car ( they go for the house soon after ) ,allow them to do what they wish to me and my girl , stand back in a corner and hope they dont notice us ? I’ll pay my respects to your grave . No ! I stand on my previous statement .

        • Anonymous January 1, 2012, 11:58 am

          Obviously that’s not what I said, I merely stated a fact that choosing to cross that line is irreversible, comes at a heavy price & is something I would avoid as best as possible.

          There may come a point where fantasy meets reality & the 2 are vastly different. Sometimes fantasy needs to stay in the recesses of the imagination.

          Ranger spoke recently of his .38 he got for Christmas & how he would take down an armed robber at the local inconvenience store & I had to laugh at the naïvety of that thought. And to carry it around like a toy or to elevate some sense of manhood is a mark of questionable maturity and certainly common sense. Less than 1/100 of 1% of the areas most people travel in is truly dangerous however, some want to pretend to be in that fantasy.

          Try this little experiment – create the robbery scene and give each other a good quality paintball gun shooting over 300′ per second, stand about 15-20 from each other, obstacles & the nervous store clerk, add the sensory obstacles & NO protective gear at all.

          Yell out “stop MF” or other Hollywood stupidity and truly play it out. Then check your shot accuracy – you’ve got only one really good chance & that’s from being from an offensive position. There inlays the problem.

          Point 2 is you have no idea who you are dealing with & you have no practical training or experience in that situation. There inlays problem #2.

          Point 3 – real bullets travel real fast, go right through lots of protective cover, burn & tear flesh, shatter bones when they hit you. All of this comes to play when you enter the dark side & there ain’t no turning back, you’re in for the duration & better hope you have a few back up reloads.

          So to be so cavalier as to simple say – just blow them away is either foolish or lacking a grip of reality. That being said, some lessons aren’t learned but by the hard way. Unfortunately, there are no “do overs” in that situation.

          Best of luck ~

          • T.R. January 1, 2012, 1:06 pm

            OK , first of all , I have shot somebody after they broke into my home , Not going into the entire story but we had a two story house at the time . I went to investigate a noise we both heard and long story short came almost face to face with the guy ……………I didnt hesitate , I shot him . Do I feel good about it ? NO! would I do it again ? YES ! I wasn’t worried about myself , I was worried about my girl ………I did what I had to do and it happened too fast to say I thought about it at all other than this was an intruder in my home that isnt supposed to be there . Later the police told me that the dirtbag could have put me in prison had he been able to leave the premises in one piece . Im pissed off at the system and the scumbag that made me do it to protect me and mine because he felt ENTITLED to rob me , break into my house , etc , etc . Dont lecture me about shit I know all too well there Lib . I bet you dont have any first hand experience other than the theory , that and the fact that you join this forum as an anonymous troll . Let me guess , your an expert in firearms …….oh ! wait ! I forgot your an ex green baret or navy seal , or were you a ranger on another site ? it doesn’t matter . Im a real life guy that protected his family from very real danger and will do it again . You dont have to like doing it but you DO have to make up your mind if the situation were to happen you will do it . One thing we do agree on is the fact that we dont wish the aftermath on anybody . Go screw yourself ! But I would guess your more into vacuum hoses and rodents .

          • Anonymous January 1, 2012, 3:47 pm

            Logic & reason makes one a troll? What difference does it make whether I am anonymous or use a a fabricated name, the point remains the same.

            I will leave you with your assumptions & emotionally charged response.

          • T.R. January 1, 2012, 4:19 pm

            And I stand on my point . There are talkers and their are doers in this world . Most of the talkers and bleeding hearts have never been there . Not their fault , they just dont have certain experiences to draw on . Logic and reason ? If you shoot somebody their will be consequences ……NO SHIT !
            things will happen fast and are permanent……again , NO SHIT ! Calling a man who defends his home Rambo shows your stupidity. So many times I hear people saying ” you dont have a right to take a life ” , those are the people who have never had theirs in danger from another person who does not care about their life in the slightest degree . I’m emotional ? Damn right ! you see ………. your lecturing me assuming I know nothing of what I speak . Thats one of the problems with the no right to take a life crowd . They are more concerned about the criminal than the victim or near victim . What about the dirtbags have no right to take a life , much less even be there in the first place . Most people are untrained ……… Thats the way it is …… I would still rather see them try and fail than just roll over and be a guaranteed casualty while the scum of the earth get away again scott free .

          • T.R. January 1, 2012, 4:27 pm

            BTW , we are talking about a SHTF situation in this article . Make no mistake , it will be them or you . If they come into your home or property , you know they dont belong there , more importantly , THEY know they dont belong there . I stand by shoot now and deal with it later .

          • Anonymous January 1, 2012, 5:03 pm

            You make a good point about it being a SHTF situation – one good fantasy deserves another.

          • T.R. January 1, 2012, 8:02 pm

            Lets hope it just stays fantasy because the realities are not fun . Been there , done that .

          • Odd Questioner January 2, 2012, 1:05 pm

            Bit of a strawman there, Anon…

            Personally, *every* situation is different.

            If someone were invading my home, you’re damned right I would defend it by any means necessary. The alternative is to be beaten/shot/killed in the majority of cases, even if you cooperate fully. I prefer to go down fighting.

            If someone were robbing a store, that’s a radically different situation. Most clerks and cashiers are trained to fork over the money and call it good if the guy runs away after getting what he wants. In those cases, the majority of robbers just want the money, and that money belongs to the corporation/store owner… not the cashier. Insurance picks up the losses in many cases anyway. It makes a lot more sense to hang back with your weapon close at hand, let the robber do whatever, and only interfere if the robber gets stupid. It gives you time to assess the situation, and the situation may be such that doing nothing will lead to a more peaceful situation. It may also mean doing something about it, but those extra few seconds gives you time to appear like a peaceful bystander and thus ignored as the robber goes for the money (which in turn gives you an advantage). Hell, you may not even be noticed.

            Long story short, it has nothing to do with some bullcrap Hollywood fantasy. It has everything to do with using your brain, since without it, any weapon you may have is useless.

          • Anonymous January 2, 2012, 3:25 pm

            That was my point of differentiation – it is not Hollywood but many seem to have that mindset with the offhand “blow them away if they darken my doorstep” type comments. Those are not constructive whatsoever and people seem to think that it is simple to point and shoot.

            However, there is a massive leap of human emotion that has to be bridged between the point and the shoot unless of course it is a surprise face to face like TR said. It seems easy in theory or fantasy but it is not. Most do not run through the scenarios and the ramifications well before hand which adds to the pressure, inappropriate response(s) and bad aiming.

            My point which I guess I need to clarify is people need comprehensive training so as to reduce stress and poor judgement if they are going to own a firearm and stop beating the chest about killing someone like it was a paper target. I guess the term “be responsible” is the bottom line point.

  • T.R. December 30, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Also , a DIY flamethrower is devastating against a group . The US WW2 flamethrower was so simple and rudimentary that it could be easily made as a DIY project if you can weld .

  • Charles December 30, 2011, 6:52 pm

    What a plethorea of scenario’s, oddly so that a “person” has to consider twice whether to take lethal force against a tresspasser, anyone coming to a property should be open and approach the front door with their quirey, if not they are illegally approaching at questionable corners, with todays mentality that all is owed, if you have it then so should I, each town should have a big vat of acid for such disposal’s, when required !

  • Mike December 30, 2011, 9:00 pm

    Being from the suburbs of NY (but working in NYC close to protestors) i must say; this occupy group…. for the most part, is organized and run by a bunch of over priveledged, self loathing liberal college kids providing sustance and shelter for the druids of cosmopolitan society. Mean while protesting beneath the businesses that their own parents made their fortunes in.

    However, one can make a fatal flaw by underestimating their opponent. There are strengh in numbers (on both sides) and that’s why it’s imperative that you mount a strong group defensive (within perameters of the law). Involving both family, friends, and neighbors. In the event that you and yours are threatened….

  • Michael December 30, 2011, 11:21 pm

    To me a lot of this is about choosing where and how you live well in advance of the event. S. Central LA was a bad and violence plagued place both before and after the riots. Maybe the mistake was living there in the first place? The riot in Vancouver BC was a small thing and easy enough to get away from. Or maybe you should just stay away from places where those sorts of things are prone to happen.

    People should look at real data. More and more cities are putting GIS data online. Checkout Spokane WA’s crime map.
    Or Springfield MO’s GIS data on brownfields
    Real data shows what you really need to be worried about and that’s probably going to vary from person to person and place to place.

    I know that in my area, other than a little petty theft, some fights a bar down the street from my house, and the occasional domestic violence call, crime’s not much of an issue. I’ve got good sturdy locking doors and windows, I keep the yard picked up and my tools put away, I don’t go to the bar and I’m single, so crime wise I’ve got it taken care of.

    But, thanks to the internet and listings of possible toxic hot spots I found out that I should probably get my garden tested for toxic goo. It would really suck to turn your house into Fort Knox and then poison yourself with food from your own garden. It turned out that I was in the clear.

    I mention the above because now if we do get into an extended SHTF situation, I’ve got no worries on the garden front and in my area any looters are probably going to be locals and locals will going to be going to where they think know can get stuff first. My house wont be on their list.

    And um… As someone that had a few, lets say, misspent years in his late teens, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the local hoodlums have a list of who’s got what in their hood. I really doubt I’m on their list. Seeing how when I’m outside and see a car I don’t recognize drive down our dead end street I stop and make I contact with the driver and give a friendly hello and eye contact to anyone walking down my street, I’m probably on their don’t mess with list.

    I’ve also already decided that if low value stuff gets targeted, I’m not going to get worked up or fight about it. Go ahead and take the shovel, there’s no guarantee I’ll win a fight for it, and I’ve got several of them. It’s just not worth it.

  • Chef Bear58 December 30, 2011, 11:27 pm

    First off, no matter what the situation if my family (which includes a SELECT group of close friends that are considered kin) is threatened by anyone/anything… Then god have mercy on said creature, because I sure as hell won’t! If my fists don’t cut-it, one of my knives or my M1911 will!

    Now if you are in a crowd, and they start to act stupid (as most crowds tend to do, it’s like the more people there are in a group the lower the average IQ gets!); I have been in several situations where everything seems fine, then suddenly somebody does something stupid and everyone around them suddenly “feels froggy”! Most of my experiences have been in drunken bar brawls, or at heavy metal concerts where the crowd gets out of control. What I find makes folks think twice about coming in the direction of you or those behind you (as several friends can attest to), is to tense every muscle in your upper body, get a good footing, put on the meanest, nastiest expression you can possibly manage (a naturaly intimidating appearance helps a lot!), and let out the deepest gutteral scream you can manage. Then,once everyone is wondering what the hell is going on, in a loud commanding voice yell something that sounds, pardon the expression, “bat-shit crazy”! My personal favorite is along the lines of “If you got balls enough to come here you won’t for long!” In my experience putting up a strong show of force works wonders if you are stuck in a crowd. Those were my younger days, I can still manage to unleash some of that if needed, but I would prefer to be the guy in the dark corner nobody notices these days, I would much rather slip out an obscure door than fight, unless I have to, what can I say I am getting old…

    Another part of your prep for this situation should be physical fitness. Jarhead has posted many articles discussing getting your body ready to perform for survival. Personally, I have been lifting since I was a kid, it’s how I learned to control my agression and temper, it also helped me get out of the extremely dark place I was when my family moved back to the States from Panama. You don’t need to strive to be like Magnus Von Magnusson (one of my favorite athletes, Competed and won the Worlds Strongest Man competitions a few times over the years), being prepared to physically defend yourself and your family doesn’t mean you need to dedicate every waking moment to the “Iron Mistress” (weights), even just cardio can help you be ready, perhaps more so than sheer brute strength. If you haven’t been in a fight before, it gets VERY tiring VERY quickly! If you are facing a group, it’s even harder… You need to identify the highest potential IMMEDIATE threat and neutralize it quickly and efficiently, using as little energy as possible. Learn some easy pressure points, my personal favorites are the solo-plexus, the nose, the temple, and the throat. If you hit any of these with enough force you can drop an opponent with no more effort than a punch, and they tend to crumple quick. The problem is if you don’t know how to hit some of these spots correctly then you can break your hand, or KILL who you hit, even bare hands can be deadly, don’t fight unless you have to.

    A good imagination is also essential for somebody trying to get themself or a group out of a bad situation. Can’t carry a firearm in a bar here in VA, and the same goes for most concert venues. If you can get your hands on an improvised weapon, you may give yourself an edge. Better yet, is if you can carry something seemingly innocuous, that can double as a weapon… My favorite is either the mini-Maglight -OR- a heavy steel pen, both can be lethal if used wrong, but in the right hands they can be used to manipulate pressure points, or concentrate force in an extremely small area (without going as drastic as a bladed weapon), and make the impact of your blows more effective, especially if you cannot exert massive force (SOME Women, children, elderly, sick, wounded, etc)

    Hope yall have a safe and happy new year! Sorry for the long post, I love these kinds of topics, and it gives me something to do instead of attend my birthday party, don’t understand the big deal with that… just another day!

  • leo December 31, 2011, 1:50 am

    It is interesting that you mention Hugo and Katrina I was stationed in Charleston during Hugo and was living in Mississippi for Katrina. My advice is get a shotgun and during the day make sure you have it handy and visible during cleanup. At night i fired it in the air during both events when people came in my yard. The cops are simply overwhelmed during these types of events and soft targets get robbed period. Yes the best in people can often be seen during these events but so can the worst.In a more regional or national event rule of law will be non exisitant look at the behavior of the officers in New Orleans. Katrina was awefull but it was very localized Imagine a grid failure or a Nuclear event or a Pandemic If you arent willing and able to defend yourself then God Bless because you will be a casualty

  • Synfidie December 31, 2011, 5:21 am

    I’m curious about situations if you are a renter and there is mass rioting/disaster. Would the complex management do anything to protect itself? Perhaps just abandon all ye who live in one and hope that it is still standing afterwards.

    • Odd Questioner December 31, 2011, 9:55 am

      “Would the complex management do anything to protect itself?”

      The answer is probably “no”, unless the management lives onsite.

      I currently rent an apartment, and I figure that if anything went ugly here, the management would bolt. They’re nice folks, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t quite seem capable of dealing with any such situation.

      We’ve covered some of this ground before awhile back… personally, I prepare to be able to pay the rent right up until the point where I bug out, or until the rightful owners (in this case a corporation) cease to exist. Seems only right to do so, and I’m certain they expect it.

  • cane December 31, 2011, 8:57 am

    As human populations explode in number, civility and order tend to be left by the wayside. Add economic and social upheaval and you have a witches brew that is deadly. Examples of this is easy to see. Burger joint riots, the recent mall riots over tennis shoes , flash mobs hitting convenient stores, and of course the occupy demonstrations where now the focus is turning toward violent demonstrations. Us Americans are facing a new reality that does not include law and order to protect our interests. You have to ask yourself why on earth even the small police and sheriff forces are now being armed by the feds with tactical weapons. Andy and Barney are relics of a once civil past. Law enforcement is quickly turning from civil protection to political expediency. Citizens are being left to our own actions. If you do not get into a somber and realistic mindset to protect you and yours you will quickly become a statistic. Trying to protect a house with only family members will prove to be futile . It is time for people to make connections with like minded neighbors, family and others for defensive preparations. Something so easily said than done as most fixate on distractions rather than face reality. Will you be prepared or will you sit on your posterior for the next installment of American idol?

  • OklahomaBob December 31, 2011, 9:36 am

    My unit was deploted to Puerto Rico for Hugo in 1989, and unless you have seen the worst of people you have no idea what they will do. A small group went up to Charlseton and it was the same. Some people were desperate and some were just fiendish. You need to make a decision now on what your willing to do, because it’s probably gonna happen fast and at your doorstep. The junkies are the worst so keep that in mind. If you think your going to just point a gun at desperate individual and they’ll run off think again, now is the time to plan. I’ve done all I can to keep those folks way from my house…but you never know.

    • Odd Questioner December 31, 2011, 9:59 am

      When it comes to using a firearm *in those circumstances*, it goes like this:

      If you point it, you fire it. The act of seeing you raise the firearm is all the warning they require, and you do not have the luxury of a stand-off while waiting for the cops to arrive.

      • OklahomaBob December 31, 2011, 10:30 am

        My point exactly…

      • Chef Bear58 December 31, 2011, 5:03 pm

        Another point that should be mentioned… If this is a temporary situation, where the law WILL be restored -OR- if you find yourself with an intruder tonight, where the police are a few minutes out (after the call is placed… on a good day)… I know for a fact this is the case here in VA, and that there are similar laws in several other states; Pulling a firearm and not using it can land you in more “hot water” than actually shooting someone (if it is in defense of your life or the life of another), it’s called “Brandishing a firearm” and around here is a felony that will make it so you can no longer LEGALLY own a firearm for the rest of your life, or unless you miraculously are able to get a waiver from the state.

        • T.R. January 1, 2012, 1:31 am

          I hear ya man , I dont think anybody here is going to enjoy it as some of the hecklers are accusing .

          • Odd Questioner January 4, 2012, 9:47 am

            Agreed. The concept of killing another human being is not a trivial thing. Some folks will vapor-lock before they do it, and others will feel it after the threat is passed. Only sociopaths can face it without getting the shakes.

  • john December 31, 2011, 1:20 pm

    > The junkies are the worst so keep that in mind.

    That is pretty much the advice I give people along these lines.

    When the economy fails and the dollar collapses, three days afterwards don’t even think about going out or to work, Because this will be the point at which addicts and drunks will become unhinged because they can’t get their fix and will do anything for it.

    No one will sell them alcohol or dope for useless dollars (or government welfare vouchers) and they are not the types to have silver, gold, or assets worth anything, because they already peed through it long ago.

    Worse, these are the people most likely not to have literally anything in the cupboards or freezer and live day to day.

    Plus, they are the most likely ones to be demon possessed and you will have to flat out kill them on the spot without hesitation if you met them. It is better not to venture out and let them die on their own while protecting your family and assets through a wall or door at home.

    • OklahomaBob January 1, 2012, 8:14 am

      John, you said it. These folks will not be trying to get food for their families, they need to feed an addiction. When the dust settles there will be a reckoning and I have no intention of doing anything I’ll be ashamed for my family to see or tell some detective. These folks are still human beings and I will only use the force neccessary, it is up to them what that is.

      • T.R. January 1, 2012, 1:23 pm

        The aftermath sucks and yes you are going to be haunted by it . Thing the trolls dont get is that it really is as base as you or them . Im sorry , but I would rather be haunted because I did do something than be haunted because I didn’t do something and a loved one got killed , or worse in the case of a woman , knowing I could have prevented it .

        • Anonymous January 1, 2012, 4:28 pm

          You speak as if the troll has no experience in such matters. This is the problem with assumptions & separates the rational from the emotional.

          • T.R. January 1, 2012, 8:05 pm

            Yes and your assumptions were incorrect as well were they not ? ” Rambo “

          • Anonymous January 2, 2012, 10:52 am

            Come on, you are smart enough to understand that the modern term of “Rambo” applies to a generic attitude or mindset of one who expresses machismo. Wow, some people can be so literal these days.

          • T.R. January 3, 2012, 2:08 am

            depends on the generation .

  • sput January 1, 2012, 10:12 am

    Jason, eat feces and die, please —
    you seen to have an attitude, which if TSHTF, you had better moderate, because it will earn you a 230 grain triple tap response.
    The whole RK tape seems to have vanished, they keep looping the last few seconds of the beating.
    I work in health care, and a few months ago had a miniature version of it in our ER waiting room, starring a white kid on “bath salts”, who was about 70 lbs less than RK. He required 2 TAZER hits and multiple baton strikes and a dog pile of security and other code 12 personnel. He still disabled two people, broke through half inch tempered security glass trying to get at the registrar. Our security tape put him behind bars, but then, he was just a white guy.
    So jason, your New Year resolution should be STFU —

    • Jason January 1, 2012, 4:45 pm

      Wow nice, well thought & intelligent response. Are you now going to stick your tongue out & take your ball & go home?

      I was only discussing the excessive force use by the LAPD – it is incredibly obvious & even the chief of police acknowledged it was as well. Your story of the ER episode has zero relevance to Rodney King, he was well subdued while the henchmen continued to beat him & beat on him & beat on him as others watched. Whether he was high on PCP, a convicted felon, mass murderer – face it, it went way to far in this case.

      So if you think they were totally justified in their action, irrespective to what the chief, the FBI & a jury said while awarding Rodney King millions, maybe your New Years resolution should be to develop some perspective instead of being in the stadium ready to put your thumb or down to vote.

      • Anonymous January 1, 2012, 5:19 pm


        • Jason January 1, 2012, 5:31 pm

          I understand, it is difficult to change your point of view with which you so deeply entrenched yourself – that may require some measure of grace & self confidence.

        • Jason January 1, 2012, 5:40 pm

          BTW, you never commented on the bits of evidence provided, why?

          You see, I considered your point of view about Rodney King charging at the officer so I decided to see if it had merit & found differently. Sometimes people start believing in something THEN they see it.

      • sput January 1, 2012, 6:05 pm

        Jason, I deplore law enforcement excess, (Ruby Ridge, Waco), but Rodney King was a shining example of restraint. How about the high speed chase through miles of city streets, endangering innocent people? How did 15 + cops show up at a traffic stop? He was out of control, refused to submit to arrest. How about the ten or more minutes before the tape started rolling, when they tried to get him to peacefully submit? I saw the WHOLE tape, and before it was half done, I was saying, “why doesn’t someone just shoot this asshole”.
        My dad was a cop, and he considered it more dangerous than flying fighters of a carrier deck in WW2 and Korea, and he was an ultimate survivor. Cops want to just come home to their families after their shift is over. I have known too many cops that did not, including a LA cop who was stabbed to death getting too close to a perp.
        Jason, in your egotistical resume, you forgot to mention all the drugs you abused in the 60’s &70’s, all the peace rallies you attended, and how you used to go to the airport to spit on returning service members. And now, in between surfing and helping people with their groceries, you are the Grand Marshall of the Rainbow parade. Now you go to the Stonewall and tell all the “fellas” how you verbally beat up on us slow-witted knuckle draggers.

  • Jason January 1, 2012, 6:46 pm

    You seem to know a bit about the “fellas” – guess being an ER nurse has it’s benefits … and rewards -wink, wink, your secret is safe here. Why not take your little pink poodle for a walk.

    Once again, you skip my challenge about the abuse levied on Rodney King. He was down & contuinually beaten by the cops. You speak of others experiences as if they were your own but can’t keep on point.

    Those childish digs actually made me laugh out loud.

    • sput January 2, 2012, 10:12 pm

      Jason, sorry, but I am not a nurse, ER or other, but I know a bunch who could do a Rodney King on you, and they are just the ladies. Half of our ER nurses have done tours as combat medics, corpsmen, or flight nurses. My licensed professional duties take me to all patient areas of the hospital. Call a Code Blue and you will see me.
      No poodle, (Wife had a Bichon), I prefer a brace of Korthals in the field.
      Again, that is the edited version of the event, they have cut the part where he charges the cops after being tazered, and where he shakes off the cops trying to cuff him, BEFORE the nightsticks came out. Stupid should hurt, and he earned it.
      I wore a uniform until my Honorable Discharge in March of 1971, and of my 5 sons, the oldest was one of Uncle Sams Misguided Children, two Army; all have, or are completing post grad degrees, all are gainfully employed, none was at an Occupy site.
      This is more information than I usually share due to opsec. I have no egotistical need to tell everyone here how pretty, smart and wonderful I am.
      And you have earned my contempt for your attacks on Chef Bear, who is a respected contributor to this forum. You cannot even follow your own advice, – Proverbs -, so you have repeatedly proven yourself a fool.

  • Ranger Man January 1, 2012, 9:19 pm

    Yo Jason, haven’t had to tell you to ease up in a while. I am telling you now. Ease up with the over-the-top commentary.


    • Jason January 1, 2012, 9:57 pm

      Aren’t you having fun reading this amusing interchange? I sure am.

      Someone tells me to eat SHTF & die, calls me the leader of the gay parade & that is acceptable? I know you want to defend the weak but sometimes they need a little spanking don’t you think? No need to answer …

      I sure enjoy this blog & respect you all for the space you create & will happily honor your request …. now maybe they can get in some final shots & I will say nothing.

      This is really great, I love it – let me have it!!

      • Odd Questioner January 2, 2012, 1:26 pm

        Dude. I don’t think it’s so much your defense of the opinion that RK was beaten.

        You have the same bad habit I do: you not only defend your opinion, but you’re going to chase down and obliterate anything saying otherwise. I’m just as guilty of it at times. You just have to let it go and leave it as a ‘okay, so your opinion differs from mine – I can live with that’ attitude.

        That’s why I didn’t carry the argument any further than bringing up the one wee fact of King being jacked on PCP (which turns any person temporarily into some sort of kill-em-all superdude incapable of feeling pain. Just the way it is).

        I think you and I (and everyone else) can agree on one point: Whether the LAPD responded appropriately to that or not is subjective opinion, but IMHO shouldn’t be any sort of justification for the LA Riots.

        The point of the original article is that you may well be stuck in a bad situation, and now you’ve got to defend your family from the results. Honestly? It doesn’t matter at all who was right and who was wrong… in the case of widespread civil unrest and riots, you’re going to have way bigger priorities than sitting around debating over who is right and who is wrong. There is the small matter of looters potentially scoping your home, or even beating at your door, after all. They won’t give a damn what your opinion is on the matter, and they certainly won’t stop to ask.

        Don’t believe me? Ask Reginald Denny if he was given the chance to state his opinion on the matter.

        • Jason January 2, 2012, 4:21 pm

          Let me put the Rodney King to rest. That 1-2 minute beating he took while he was down was highly inappropriate & acknowledged by everybody. The fact that the cops got away with it is what spurred the emotion that started that riot.

          Sadly, Reginald Denny was a subsequent victim to the bad decisions of dealing with the LAPD cops but he did come on TV & publicly forgave the guy – in person, who nailed him.

          Back in the early 70’s, I was once caught in a flash riot in L.A. & some lamebrain threw a bottle at a cop & hit him. It was mayhem that involved about 500 people after a 4th of July beach party.

          Two LAPD squad cars came peeling around the corner & threw me and 3 of my friends against the car because they thought we threw the bottle even though it came from the opposite direction. They decided to baton each of us because they could get away with it. We were left laying, bleeding & hold our ribs from the clubbing while they screeched away.

          Had they known I was a peace loving, drug abusing, Vietnam vet hater & the Grand Marshall of the Rainbow Parade, they would have probably shot me first then beat me. Ha, ha – a little Sputnik humor.

  • Walt January 1, 2012, 9:57 pm

    Am I the only one that has a problem with the premise of this article that:

    “Looting is loosely distinguished from scavenging by the objects taken; scavenging implies taking of essential items such as food, water, shelter, or other material needed for survival while looting implies items of luxury or not necessary for survival such as art work, precious metals or other valuables. ”


    “This definition is important as it distinguishes between two acts: looting, which is stealing items not needed for survival, and scavenging, which is taking things needed for survival such as food, water and items needed for shelter.”

    I disagree with this completely. Just because a wiki states it as an opinion of the wiki’s author doesn’t make it true. Look up the definitions of “loot” and “scavenge”, or “looter” and “scavenger”.

    Scavenging is not “taking things needed for survival”, it’s searching through and taking items that others have already discarded or thrown away. Dumpster diving or waste picking, basically. Looting is opportunistic stealing during a disaster, riot, or war. Looting or scavenging are not subjectively defined based on the perceived needs of the individual or their choice of items, but strictly whether it involves theft of property. Debating whether a particular theft is morally justified or not is one thing, but the owner/author’s article seems to suggest that theft somehow isn’t theft if the items taken were “essential”, and that’s where I disagree.

    • Odd Questioner January 2, 2012, 1:40 pm

      The definition is rather subjective, so defining it is going to be problematic to anyone except the guy making the definition.

      Like you, I consider looting an act of theft. It is, in my opinion, the act of taking something –anything– from a living, breathing, present owner (“present” as in – in the neighborhood).

      Scavenging on the other hand, I consider to be the act of taking that which is needed for survival – but not from a living, present person or entity. Foraging edible greens is certainly not looting, and IMHO neither is taking cans of food from an abandoned grocery store, or blankets from an abandoned home. Now here’s where the finer differences come in… if the owner returns, you reimburse that person or entity as best you can, and if possible do it with interest to pay for any time and trouble.

      In a true TEOTWAWKI situation, there’s going to be a whole lot of stuff laying around both unclaimed and unclaimable. As an individual or as a community, you can either put it to use, or let it rot and suffer from the loss of it not being used. Scavenging is a necessary event, even if the necessity is insurance against potential shortfalls, or if it is to avoid wasting perfectly usable supplies to sustain life.

      • Walt January 2, 2012, 7:03 pm

        Thanks for responding, but I disagree. Stealing from a “living, breathing, present owner” is robbery, not looting.

        So, you consider taking goods from any home or business you don’t personally consider currently, or recently, occupied is “scavenging”? Is their a time limit? Would scavenging include climbing/destroying fences, breaking windows, or forcing open locked doors to look for scavengable goods, too? Is there some threshold everyone has agreed on that qualifies it as a “TEOTWAWKI situation”, or is that subjective to the looter/scavenger as well? Really curious. walt

        • Odd Questioner January 2, 2012, 9:03 pm

          Actually, it depends on who the owner of the item is, the circumstances surrounding the crisis, and the need you have for that item.

          “So, you consider taking goods from any home or business you don’t personally consider currently, or recently, occupied is “scavenging”? ”

          You added something there that didn’t exist earlier. Personal consideration doesn’t come into account. It either has to be known, or left alone.

          Also, if the alternative is starvation, dehydration, or exposure? Oh hell yes I’ll use it.

          • Walt January 2, 2012, 11:06 pm

            Not to argue semantics, but I don’t believe I added anything new – my statement, that you quoted, was in response to you citing “abandoned grocery store” and “abandoned home”. Who decides they’ve been abandoned?, and when?, was my point.

            Not sure I understand, or that I want to, on your reference to “depends on who the owner of the item is”? That could be taken many different ways, and seems subjective again, but not going to go there.

            “Also, if the alternative is starvation, dehydration, or exposure? Oh hell yes I’ll use it.”.

            That’s really the heart of what I was getting to. Noble survival scavengers stealing only the necessities of life, while the evil looters steal TV’s and jewelry. Objectively, anyone stealing someone else’s property in a war or disaster is a looter. If they get caught, they should expect to be treated as such. I’m not saying I wouldn’t loot/steal either given the right (wrong?) conditions, just that I wouldn’t try to fool myself into believing it’s anything other than what it is. I’d also expect the owner to stop me using any means he had available, perhaps without any warning first.

          • Odd Questioner January 4, 2012, 9:50 am

            I can definitely agree that there is nothing noble about it.

            OTOH, I think the crux of it, as others have stated, is the difference between doing what you have to, and doing what you want to.

    • Jarhead Survivor January 3, 2012, 9:01 am

      Walt – thanks for commenting and using your head.

      Ok, part of the problem with this post is the sheer size of the topic. I didn’t intend to imply that it’s either ok or not ok to loot after some kind of SHTF incident. If you were properly prepared (as we all should be) and the disaster didn’t touch your preps, then you would have no reason to be looting or scavenging using the wiki definition above; however, we all know that not everybody is properly prepared for every disaster and that “scavenging” – using the definition here – is going to happen.

      Is it right? I suppose it depends on your definition of right and wrong. Legally or morally? The answer is probably no because you’re stealing and trespassing. But if it comes down to my family surviving I’m going to do it.

      If I find someone in my garage with a gun trying steal my generator we’re going to have some strong words, but if they’re out there foraging for food I’d be a lot more inclined to help them out if they ask nice.

      Do you think the police would lock people up in the middle of a Katrina-sized disaster if they were in an abandoned grocery store getting food and potable water? Or would they be more inclined to head down the street where people are breaking into the department store stealing electronics, guns and ammo, and other nonessential survival items?

      It’s not always a matter of black and white in these situations and you have to use your head before committing the crime.

      • Walt January 3, 2012, 1:19 pm

        I don’t see stealing as ever being “right”, morally justifiable maybe, but never right. Looting food to feed your starving family is still looting, but we’d all do it even knowing somebody else’s family may starve because of it.

        Everyone is and will be in a different situation post-SHTF. Some are going to be in a better situation overall, others less so. Some might be just laying low and practicing good OPSEC, which makes their property appear abandoned/deserted. A business owner may decide to close his store and keep his goods for him and his family. Others may have a rural retreat and have taken measures to protect it when they aren’t there to do it themselves. Personally, we have more property and shelters than we’d be able to occupy or adequately secure initially in a sudden SHTF event. They’re close by, but not in direct sight. A looter could easily believe them to be deserted/abandoned – and easy pickings. But, I’ll know if they’re broken into, and the looters likely won’t know that I know. We won’t know their numbers or strength, or any moral justifications they might have, if we even care at that point. It’s likely to be dark, and I’ll have to assume they’ve planned their raid out carefully (they could be survivalists, after all), that they’re armed, and that we’re outnumbered. Surprise and home field advantage will be about the only things going for us personally for the first few days after the SHTF.

        While I plan to try to treat looters on a case-by-case basis if I can safely gauge their intentions from afar, I also know that there are survival blogs on the internet with commenters that are prepared, armed, smart, and possibly combat trained – and some have said (in no uncertain terms) that if they feel they really need something, they have no problem with “scavenging” it from somebody else. If I can’t positively determine it’s safe to confront them (doubtful, at best), then it’s just a choice between letting them steal everything, or not.

        Hey, maybe I should author a guest post on how prepare and plan a post-SHTF scavenger hunt – including how to appear harmless and hungry beforehand to fool anyone that might be watching, setting up a security perimeter in case the owner returns, escape and evasion of persuers, and maybe a scorched earth policy of burning the place down afterward so there’s no chance leaving evidence that might get us caught. I suppose if we think we may have to do this, then we might as well prepare now to be successful at it later if necessary, right? Being facetious, mostly. Happy New Year all.

  • anonymous January 1, 2012, 11:32 pm

    i live off of a busy road next to a school. i have maybe 2 neighbors are potentially helpful. with two little ones, bugging out is a really dicey thing, so i’ve concentrated on sheltering in.

    i think in an active riot, you have to restrict access to the neighborhood. set up an armed checkpoint, etc. with your neighbors. muster up a means to put out a fire. knowing your neighbors is going to be important. put family in the basement.

  • izzy January 2, 2012, 4:26 am

    Thanks, Jarhead, for discussing motivation.

    If/when the SHTF, as happens eventually in most areas, I pray that I can stay put wherever I am – woods/urban/wherever – until crazy guys have wasted all their ammo/gotten drunk/died from cholera. Whether those crazy guys are “outsiders” or my next-door neighbor makes no difference to me – every side will be well-armed. Until then my lights are out, my shades are drawn, and I’m holed up on the top floor.

    But if the SHTF event is exactly that – an event so big, that it takes out the electric grid, nullifies the U.S. gov’t/defenses, wipes out the economy, and social behavior goes back to the Stone Age – with something that huge, odds are that a lot of good people will have had their homes & families destroyed. No amount of prep will save our home when it’s targeted by a bomb or Mother Nature. In that case I pray that when I’m wandering next to the road, surviving by my wits & what I can carry, some kind soul holed up in his dark house remembers the parable of the good Samaritan when I look in his yard to see if food was left behind.

    And my answer is yes, I would defend my home from attack – and I would try to decide their intentions first. My dad was in that position during the Great Depression. That is why he did NOT shoot a looter forty years later, who came over our fence to steal from our shed. (To kill a nine-year-old boy, looking for a bicycle on a dare, would have been a tragedy.) T.R. is right – it stays with you. My dad only mentioned it once. He didn’t brag about it. Ever.

  • Suburban Survivalist January 3, 2012, 8:37 pm

    The legal definition of looting is more broad and is the one I will use when I shoot those doing the taking. The legal definitions I’ve seen don’t differentiate between items like food or TVs, but some might:

    Definition – Transitive Verb
    1 : to rob esp. during or following a catastrophe (as war, riot, or natural disaster)
    2 : to rob esp. on a large scale and usu. by violence or corruption
    : to engage in robbing esp. after a catastrophe

    • Jason January 6, 2012, 8:31 pm

      I think I agree with you – looting is stealing, pure and simple. If it is your place that is being looted, I say take the appropriate but swift corrective measures.

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