*Charity After aCOMS*
As a recent Rubicon Message Board discussion shows, there are MANY thoughts about Charity after a Collapse Of Modern Society ("aCOMS")... We have probably all struggled with the question of "Charity". If a person comes to your Home/Retreat after a collapse, asking for food for their starving children, what do you do? If you send them away you may have just contributed to the starvation of children, but if you feed them chances are that they'll keep coming back... worse, they'll probably tell others that you have food/supplies and are charitable.. can you feed everyone that comes to your door? And what about those people with evil intentions that don't come to your door, but instead simply wait for you to step out of your front door so they can put a bullet in you and simply take all of your supplies for themselves??
It's one of the hardest, and most controversial, subjects you can discuss. Some say "Give until it hurts", and others say "don't give anything or you'll end up giving everything".
Decades ago I began preparing for aCOMS for one simple reason... I could not stand the thought of one of my young daughters looking up at me with tears of pain in her eyes while saying, "Daddy, I am SO hungry... don't we have anything to eat"?
My daughters are now grown women with children of their own, and they are accomplished Preparedness Experts in their own rights... but just like any father, I still worry about them, and now I have Grandchildren to think about also! It just never seems to get easier, so I just keep preparing. However, for every one of us that prepares for the long term, there are a great many people who don't prepare for their families at all due to some form of "Normalcy Bias" (Google It).
And as one Rubicon Member posted in a recent thread on the subject of Charity, "What do you do about the family that shows up at your door asking for food for their Six teenage boys?" A large family like that is a nightmare scenario, because if they have the intention of taking what you have, you're suddenly outnumbered by this "one family"... you know it, they know it. If you've ever sold a home you've probably noticed that when the Real Estate Agent shows your house, one potential Buyer distracts the agent at one end of your house, while the other members of the party snoop through your closets and dresser drawers at the other end of your house. When I sold my home last year my Security Cameras Videoed FIVE separate potential buyers doing this in my home during a single 'Open House'! I QUICKLY put my foot down with the Agent!
If just a few people can easily do this in good times, then a bunch of people working together can surely do it to you after aCOMS! One family member can distract you while the other 5 begin systematically cleaning you out, or get the drop on you. There are MANY such stories that came out of NOLA during/after Katrina.
Luckily, when you've been in the Preparedness game for as long as I have, you've already solved these typical problems long ago. My Home is powered by Solar Power, and when grid power goes out around here, it doesn't affect me at all really. I'm sitting here in my office right now typing this on a very modern computer system that is running on Sunlight that was stored in Battery Banks earlier today. Having power means my Security System will keep on running just as it has for years, there's no need to put anyone at risk after aCOMS by sending them out to "Patrol my property", I can simply look up from my desk here and see my property on any of 16 full-color cameras across 4 Flat-Screen Monitors (with amazingly clear Night Vision also, which is a "must have"). Seismic Sensors and Motion Detectors alert me to anyone coming on to my property, from any direction, WAY before they get anywhere near my house... once detected, the Security System tracks the person with a bracketed reticule on each Security Camera near them, day or night. This system works "Right now" when thefts are increasing due to the troubled economy (It's a classic case of "Hard times are coming, but it's still too early to 'Get the team together'"), and it works during Ice Storms when the power is out for 25 miles in all directions, and it'll work when family/friends arrive after a collapse.
Look, Here in the Real World we can't afford for even one single person to get hurt while "Patrolling The Property", or "Going out to look for trespassers", or "going out to confront the people trying to quietly get up close to the house". One bad cut, One Compound Fracture, One Gun-Shot Wound... Let any of those happen and even the most liberally stocked Medical Supplies are GONE! In the Mid 1980's I was shot through the hand in the line of duty... It was a clean "Straight Through" shot with no complications, yet the Hospital floor around where I sat soaking my hand in a bowl of ice-cold Betadine was LITTERED with Gauze, bandages, plastic bottles, paper wrappers, shrink wrap, etc, etc! When the 3 letter Agency people told the Hospital Staff that I had to leave to attend a debrief, the Doctor and Nurse attending me loaded me down with an INSANE amount of supplies, with written instructions, and FIVE bottles of various pills (Antibiotics, Pain Meds, etc), just to last me the 3 days I'd be out of pocket!
ALL other considerations like "losing loved ones", or "Bad for morale at the retreat", etc, aside, your medical supplies alone can't handle very many serious incidents from "Going Out To (Patrol/Confront/etc)"! The Security System is MUCH better. Also, it doesn't eat, it doesn't sleep, it doesn't go to the bathroom, it doesn't fall alseep on watch, it doesn't care if it's cold, or raining, or hot.. It doesn't get scared, it doesn't get distracted... it just sits there working, in multiple overlapping layers, 24/7/365.242127!
(It's BLACK DARK here at night outside. There is NO visible light anywhere outside. The Light you see is either Infrared [invisible to the human eye] or simply very low lux cameras that can see with only Star-Light. An intruder can't see anything out there, whereas *I* can see everything out there)
Point being, my life meshes perfectly with my Preparedness Plans, and I live my Preparedness Plans every day while I go about my normal life. I love my modern conveniences, but after a collapse I'll still have my computers, Security System, Power tools, etc, just as I do right now, because most of my home and Workshops run from Alternate Power right now (and have for many years).
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Since we have horses and other Livestock, our Mountain Top Ranch is surrounded in the Valleys around us with 6 foot tall High Quality Metal Field Fencing, Backed up by 3-Inch Wide Electric Hot Tape, Powered by a 10 Joule Fence Charger... keep in mind, in Africa, they use 4 Joule Fence Chargers to keep ELEPHANTS out of their Gardens! A properly functioning Electric Fence WILL NOT KILL, not Animals, not even very small children, they just HURT. This Fence Charger is powered via Battery that recharges via Solar Panels each day, and it will happily run at full power for over a month with NO Sun to Recharge the System... After the Field Fencing and Hot-Tape, are Over-Lapping Seismic Ground Sensors, and Motion Sensors that do not give "False Alarms". All of this is backed up by Vandal Resistant, High Definition Night Vision Cameras, and Capacitive Sensors. If you approach a Camera to try to damage it, you are already being recorded by another camera, but seriously, the Cameras we use are designed to be hit by a baseball bat, and still function with NO loss in quality (And,YES! We've tested this with a "Ball Turret Camera, and a baseball bat! One of our friend hit a "Home Run" with the Camera Ball, and it still worked FINE!). Once past that, you are facing "Cliff Sides". We live at the very top of our Mountain (It's actually a "Plateau") with about 10 Acres of Flat Land at the top up here where we live, and it's also where our Main Pastures, Barns, Outbuildings, Home, etc, are located. At the top of the Cliffs is another layer of 6 Foot Tall Field Fencing, along with the usual Hot-Tape, Security Systems, etc... About the only way up here our very long, very steep Driveway, and you'll be stopped well before you get to the top of the mountain by our Automatic Driveway Gates. This may all SOUND "extensive", but it's just typical when you visit a working ranch. We DO NOT want our large Animals being able to "Wander down to busier Roads" and possibly endanger motorists. Honestly, Most people never even know there's anything up here at all. You can't see our house, etc, from any place that you can get to, unless you travel by air (Which we do, using Several Types of Drones)
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Having that stuff at my disposal means that I'll be alerted way before a hungry family gets anywhere near my house. By the time the family gets to a place on my property of *my* choosing, I can meet them there, safely, and hand them Color Printed Sheets Showing/Describing "Eatable Plants of Upstate South Carolina", along with a small disposable butane lighter (which will last a LONG time), and SMALL fishing kits containing the very basics needed for them to fish..."Hook, Line, Sinker, Bobber, etc"... and on the "Food Sheet Handout" it tells them they can ALWAYS find fishing material along the edges of ANY lake, caught up in trees, and just below the water line.. (Heck, some of my best fishing lures I got by purposefully doing regular scouting trips to look for them up in the trees at the edge of local lakes)...
When you give someone that type of thing instead of actual food, it negates the problems associated with being Charitable (or not)... additionally, the "Motivation to move along quickly" is built into my Food-Finding Hand-Out; namely, "The faster you get to fishing, the faster you get to eating!" The Hand-Out also shows on Page One the eatable and filling foods you'll find to eat on the ground on your way off the property, just follow the simple map printed there on page two and you'll quickly find a spot that has ALL of the Plants/Nuts/Berries/etc shown in the pictures on page one.
They've also learned that your KNOWLEDGE just fed them.. if they put a bullet in your chest when you step out of your front door in the future, that knowledge is gone, and THEY suffer too... They have good reasons to make sure you stay alive!
Oh c'mon, be real, if they have small children that are obviously hungry, give 'em a few packs of Ramen Noodles, a 2-liter bottle of clean water, and a fuel tab. Toss in a large Aluminum cup too! Don't be a miser, you're giving away 3 dollars worth of stuff, tops, one time. But make it clear that you're taking food away from YOUR children to feed theirs!
Take your camera outside and photograph eatable plants in your area, including mushrooms and a short blurb on proper identification, and put together a hand-out for YOUR area. Make it as simple or detailed as you wish! Include tips on Water Purification and filtration, Basic First Aid, and whatever else may help people in the immediate future. Give each person SEVERAL copies with instructions to hand them out to people THEY meet so that THEIR chances of being robbed are reduced! Make it known that if they come back for more Survival tips, that they MUST bring food with them to pay for it. But seriously, Paper is cheap, and I have a LOT of it stocked... as well as having the Alt Power and working computers to print and copy the Handouts. "Power" is a Force Multiplier in SO many ways!
That's enough to get anyone started, no matter how hungry they are. Besides, at that point you probably just saved their lives, because as the saying goes, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for life". With one simple document, just a few pages long, printed out by your computer on printer paper and stored in a Ziploc bag, you just taught a starving family that they never have to be that hungry again. You've also saved yourself a LOT of potential trouble, and stayed true to your morales.
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