Modern Survival In Suburbia: The Intangible Prep

by Eric E. Borton:

INTRODUCTION

Most of my friends and family live in subdivisions in suburban neighborhoods stretching from North Atlanta to Athens, Georgia. As turbulent times surround us, some of them are taking their preparedness more seriously. They’re beginning to understand that their absolute dependency on the grid, city utilities and services, and modern conveniences can be challenged at any time.

With my background in the military, helicopter rescue, and extensive travel to third world countries where being prepared is a way of life, they’re looking to me more and more for advice and guidance. As I direct them to great online resources such as Modern Survival Blog, I wanted to create a series of articles tailored for folks living as I do in suburbia.


 
MODERN SURVIVAL IN SUBURBIA: THE INTANGIBLE PREP

I was raised a Navy brat. I recently challenged my sister who has a much better memory to count the number of times we moved during my father’s career. The answer was 17 while we were their dependents. My parents moved a few more times prior to his retirement.

During my childhood, the one constant was my grandparents’ home in Norfolk, Virginia. The borders of the property never moved, but the socioeconomics surrounding it did. It transformed from a rural, to a suburban, and finally to an urban neighborhood as the city grew. The one constant about my grandparents’ home was their neighbors.

Everybody knew everybody. Most bought their homes during the same decade and stayed until their death, or the home was passed down to their children. Both of my grandparents are gone, but there are still a few who mow the same patch of grass they’ve been tending for over 50 years. Those types of neighborhoods are relics of a by-gone era, but the lessons are more relevant today than they ever were.

My sister and I couldn’t pick our noses without word getting back to my grandparents. Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic, but you get the point. Everybody knew everybody – and in turn everybody looked out for everybody – including their kids and grandkids. During extended stays when my parents would drop us off like dirty laundry for a little peace and quiet, my grandparents never worried about what we were doing or where we were going. They knew we would be safe because we had eyes on us wherever we went.

In my opinion, survival for many suburban preppers is measured heavily in tangibles. Regardless if someone is prepping for a three-day power outage or for social anarchy, they believe their success will be solely attributed to what they can eat, drink, or shoot. My grandparent’s neighborhood taught me about the importance of some of the intangibles. In this first of a series of articles, I’m going to focus on the most underrated prep in that category. Relationships.

I’ll be purchasing a new home in the coming months. When I find that perfect piece of land, more than likely it will be nestled within another suburban environment. (When the school district is no longer a restriction, I’ll be moving to another home where I can’t hit my neighbor’s house with a rock. But even then, this article will still apply.)

My tangibles will be there for me on the first day in the new house. Food/water prep, gear, weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, and so on. I’ll be starting over with the intangible prep of building relationships with my neighbors. I’ll start working on that immediately.

Do you know your neighbors? I mean, do you really know them? Do you know their names? Would they look out for your kids as they played in the yard? Would they offer you a hand carrying a heavy load into the garage? Would they take action if a stranger was looking into your basement window? Would they offer you help in a time of need if you were injured? Would you do any of those things for them? If you can’t answer those questions, you’re missing an opportunity to exponentially raise your level of preparedness without spending a single penny.

After the truck is unloaded, I’m going to be busy. But I won’t be too busy to give a wave or a smile when I see my new neighbors. If it leads to an instant conversation, great. As with any relationship, I’ll take small steps. I won’t wax poetic about my prepping philosophy during initial contact. I’ll get to know them before I show any of those cards. (As most of us know, the label of prepper or survivalist comes with a certain stigma.)

But more importantly, I know that people who aren’t prepared will seek out those who are. If a neighbor knows I have a stockpile of food, water, and weapons, they’ll eventually come knocking on my door during a crisis. When they become desperate, they’ll kick it in. The best way to avoid that situation is to encourage them to prepare as well. If I’ve established a good relationship with them, it won’t be as hard, or strange, to ease into that conversation.

“Yeah, I remember that storm,” said Rick, opening a beer as I flipped the burgers. “We were stuck in the house with the kids for three days. I thought I was going to lose my mind.”

“I hear ya, buddy,” I said, closing the grill. “When I lived in Virginia, we got hit with a freak ice storm. We were socked in for six days without electricity or water.”

“Damn,” said Rick. “We were running out of everything after two.”

“Same here,” I lied. “But it taught me a few valuable lessons.”

“Like what?” asked Rick.

It’s that simple. You don’t need to start the process by telling a neighbor that you’re a prepper and he needs to be one as well because you can’t take care of two families. You also don’t have to take him into that locked basement room with no windows and shelves full of supplies. But if you can convince them it’s a good idea to have a plan, help them make that plan.

If initial contact doesn’t come that easy, I may introduce myself through a letter or at the next home owners association (HOA) meeting. (And yes, I’m not a fan of HOAs at all, but it’s hard to avoid these days in suburbia.)

It takes time and effort to build trust, but trust is the key component in any relationship. If I see my neighbor clearing land, I’m going to offer my help. If I see my neighbor struggling to start their mower, I’m going to show up with my tools. If the power goes out for more than a day, I’m going to walk next door and make sure they’re okay. When their kids get off the bus or are playing in the yard, I’ll keep an eye out for anyone or anything looking to cause them harm.

At best, I’ll have people I can rely on in a crisis. I’ll know their strengths and weaknesses in a SHTF scenario, as well as how they’ll react in a lesser event. I’ll know if they’re an asset or a liability. My threat circle will change and I’ll have a higher level of confidence my neighbors will stand beside me during an event that challenges the safety of our families. Just as my grandfather knew he could count on his neighbors to preserve the stability of his home, I want to count on mine.

At worst, my new neighbors become one of the many reasons why I prepare.

Because I live in a suburban environment at this point in my life, I’m surrounded by other people. It’s not the ideal location or situation if a catastrophic event does take place, but your environment dictates how you prepare. I believe to be better prepared in my environment, I need to build relationships with people who are in it with me.

Every prepper/survivalist’s situation is unique and needs to be tailored like a new suit. Homestead or rural preppers will have a completely different philosophy, lifestyle, and set-up than I do in suburbia. I can’t paint my house a different color without approval from the HOA. Imagine how far my request would get if I asked permission to put solar panels on my roof, dig a bomb shelter, or install a 500-gallon propane tank in my backyard. The answer is not far at all.

Intangible prepping is as important as the gear and the guns. Knowing who not to trust is as critical as knowing who you can. For me, I want to know everything I can about the people who might be with me in the same boat.

Stay aware. Stay prepared.

 

About Eric E. Borton:
Served six years with Naval Intelligence in North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East. As a civilian, he served thirteen years with a rescue helicopter service in Atlanta, Georgia, where he currently resides. He is the author of the Post-Apocalyptic series WITHOUT. Learn more about the author and his other titles on his website at http://www.eeborton.com/.

 
‘WITHOUT’ series by E.E.Borton:
WITHOUT
WITHOUT II

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114 Comments

  1. If I lived in suburban Atlanta the most important thing I would emphasize is a plan to get out. Same goes for any major metro area. Population vs resources ratio is way out of balance. Have a place (preferably several) to go to should something really bad happen. Grandma’s place in the country, or a hunting camp. etc…
    For minor events, like short term power failures, or normal natural disasters, know who your neighbors are who you can count on. We all need someone else, and we all do better when we work together.
    Articles like this one are great for generating thought and getting people to prepare for ‘what if’ events. If you make it fun others may participate who might not if left alone. Kudos to this writer.

  2. Seriously??? Come on!

    “articles tailored for folks living as I do in suburbia.”

    “My grandparent’s neighborhood taught me about the importance of some of the intangibles. In this first of a series of articles, I’m going to focus on the most underrated prep in that category. Relationships.”

    “I’ll be purchasing a new home in the coming months. When I find that perfect piece of land, more than likely it will be nestled within another suburban environment. ”

    “I’m not a fan of HOAs at all, but it’s hard to avoid these days in suburbia.”

    “If a neighbor knows I have a stockpile of food, water, and weapons, they’ll eventually come knocking on my door during a crisis. When they become desperate, they’ll kick it in. The best way to avoid that situation is to encourage them to prepare as well. If I’ve established a good relationship with them, it won’t be as hard, or strange, to ease into that conversation.”

    Good luck with all that wishful thinking. You will never, ever get 100% compliance from any neighborhood, outside of the Utopia that people dream about. And what about sustainability and renewable resources? Water sources outside of contained water won’t be easy in a suburban area.

    This article, while nicely written, is so full of holes I don’t really know where to begin. Anyone living in the burbs who claims to be a professional ‘prepper’ type, and actually hops from one HOA-suburb to another in the Atlanta just invalidated any claims of sensible preparedness. Ugh.

    1. @Modern Throwback, That was seriously harsh. I do not hastily judge other people (I try not), knowing that each and every one of us have our own circumstances, priorities, commitments, life outlooks, potential fallback/bugout plans, etc.., ad nauseam.

      Additionally, there is a wide range of ‘what’ someone may be preparing for, and each of those ‘what’s’ inherit their own ideal preparedness actions. While not everyone is preparing for the end of the world, it’s great that there are those who take action regarding preparedness for for ‘normal’ (and more frequent) disaster scenarios – those which are primarily temporary.

      Regardless of where one lives, I believe that it’s a good idea to prepare as best one can within one’s own life circumstances. And I also believe that it’s a good idea to get to know your neighbors where possible/applicable/practical/prudent while establishing some sort of bond/community/ties with those that ‘fit’.

      Certainly, living in a city suburb (as most of America) will be disastrous come ‘Armageddon’ or true deep SHTF — if it were me living there – I would at least have a good bug-out plan and destination all ready to go… Who’s to say this author does not have that plan?

      You or I do not know the author, his circumstances and/or commitments in life, and it is not for us to trash someone just because they live in the burbs or pay a monthly HOA fee.

      1. That 80-90% of the population that live in urban environments do it for many reasons – forced to, prefer to, family ties, … but I believe that many get the false sense of a cocoon or safety being tucked into dense neighborhoods. We go on our own path and that is what freedom is about – I will not criticize others for their choice but must say we can not save everyone if disaster strikes (even if we wish to as good people.)

      2. He did say that this will change when he is no longer restricted by school district considerations.

      3. “@Modern Throwback, That was seriously harsh. I do not hastily judge other people (I try not), knowing that each and every one of us have our own circumstances, priorities, commitments, life outlooks, potential fallback/bugout plans, etc.., ad nauseam.”

        What I wrote was accurate and based on logical analysis and years of my own knowledge and past professional experiences. We don’t live in our grandparent’s world anymore. We will NEVER go back to full-on trust in our population now — we are not only too diverse, we have strayed from being a moral society and criminals walk among us.

        While I acknowledge this is your blog and you’re free to criticize me for what I think and write, I also have to take into account that you obtained permission for this author’s article to be here. I understand that what I wrote puts you in an uncomfortable position….Still, the article was presented to us, with commenting available. I speak the truth, share opinions based on my knowledge and experiences.

        The reality, however, is that there are much more important factors to survival than ‘relationships’ and this article was a squeeky-clean version of a suburbanite’s way to rationalize suburban life. Living in the burbs aren’t for everyone, but despite that, living in the burbs (and even CONDONING IT!) while trying to sustain one household while a local/regional/national area is dealing with a major SHTF event doesn’t have a great outcome. There are many factors that can be enumerated to prove the likely probabilities. Even you, Ken, support ‘getting out’ — and there are many reasons to do so. and few reasons to stay.

        Ken wrote, “Additionally, there is a wide range of ‘what’ someone may be preparing for, and each of those ‘what’s’ inherit their own ideal preparedness actions. While not everyone is preparing for the end of the world, it’s great that there are those who take action regarding preparedness for for ‘normal’ (and more frequent) disaster scenarios – those which are primarily temporary.”

        Yep, people prepare for all sorts of things — reminds me of why that crazy show, Doomsday Preppers was laughed at by the real preparedness community. To be honest, the article has statements like this one which leads readers to believe this guy has plans for TEOTWAWKI: “Food/water prep, gear, weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, and so on.”

        You wrote, “You or I do not know the author, his circumstances and/or commitments in life, and it is not for us to trash someone just because they live in the burbs or pay a monthly HOA fee.”

        You shared the article. If you don’t want rational feedback, then don’t allow comments for personal opinions. I did not ‘trash’ someone — believe me, many more bullet points could have been made. I merely poked the holes in someone’s Utopia because he is only fooling himself about relationships being more important than all preparedness/survival items. Articles like this gloss over reality, and those who are naive enough to fall for the ‘kumbaya’ just may do that instead of buckling down and planning for their REAL future.

        Let me ask this of you — if relationships are the most important factor in survival, where are all the articles about relationship-building? Want to know where? The majority of ‘community building’ is generally found mostly in the Progressive world. Those who are involved in the Green movement, Slow Food, etc. push that meme. I can’t say that those are the important factors in preparedness or survival. But then, to each his own….

        1. @ModernThrowback, I am always open to “rationale” feedback on my articles.

          I believe that you are misconstruing what the author said. He did not say that ‘relationships’ are the most important survival factor. You said, “…if relationships are the most important factor in survival, where are all the articles about relationship-building? “

          The author said, “I’m going to focus on the most underrated prep in that category. Relationships.”

          Reads to me that he is of the opinion that relationships are underrated with comparison to other attributes of preparedness that we so often talk about.

          So I fail to see how you drew this conclusion that he thinks that it is the “most important factor in survival”.

      4. Ken, I did not ‘trash’ this author — I have pointed out flaws in the article’s reasoning to place relationship-building in a paramount position. Evidently, the author is a suburbanite with a suburban/’modern’ POV who is living in a highly populated area near Atlanta. I’ve also gathered that his family’s needs are most important and majority rules in their household, thus the decision to be a suburbanite. (This info wasn’t revealed in the article but in the comments.) I still stand by my opinion that building relationships with neighbors isn’t the best or smartest idea.

        I have lived in suburban areas for 4 years as a kid, then for about 10 years as a young adult. I remember enough to say that those neighborhood ‘relationships’ were of little consequence due to the rat-race mindset. During times of bad weather (snowfall), neighbors would pitch in and we would all shovel. Is that a relationship or good citizenship?

        Now, speaking as someone living in a true rural area, relationships are handled differently. You don’t just make ‘relationships’ happen quickly out in the sticks. I have lived at the same property for 30 years this month. Of all my ‘neighbors’ (we’ll use a one square mile zone because it’s rural), I have been in the homes of exactly TWO households. I know everyone who has lived here for 15 years or more. I’m on speaking terms with them, but we are not friends — we are ‘neighbors.’ Do I trust them? I don’t know them to trust them. I can only assess my ‘neighbors’ through the very limited activities that I see….which isn’t much. There is DISTANCE between us — physical distance. I am limited by the distance between properties and the forested areas. It’s called SECLUDED. This is not uncommon in the rural lifestyle.

        Most people in rural areas tend to be somewhat isolated at their own property unless they leave or connect via some form of analog/digital means. I have friends across the USA, and almost every friend lives in a rural area. We have shared homes, talks, and ideas that center around the rural lifestyle (or politics). We operate differently than those living in the ‘burbs and urban areas. We are more independent and are isolated by choice. We aren’t involved in the population-network/grid (for a reason).

        For me to wave at a neighbor, as has been suggested, I might wait for a month or two, maybe more, especially during the Winter season. I would need to be in the front of my property and would have to see a neighbor’s vehicle going by or a person riding their horse for me to wave at them. No one really walks around here, from home to home — there are no sidewalks, there is no roadway shoulder, and no one walks such a distance to visit another neighbor. Most people who are on their property scouting or checking things out are on a 4-wheeler — they are too lazy to walk their property.

        Neighbors around here don’t ‘visit’ unless it is impromptu and someone passing by sees their neighbor outside, at their property edge, or on their porch. This isn’t a phenomenon here, it’s typical of many rural regions. And I am talking about RURAL, not the edge-of-town 1-acre lot that people call ‘rural.’ Sometimes there’s a bigger community gathering at a church social, school sporting event, or at an event at the Moose Lodge or other similar location. Of course, there is always volunteer work but then this opens up a different network of people, not ‘neighbors.’ By and large, neighbor folks from older, established rural areas stick to themselves and those they trust.

        And trust is earned, it’s not extended to newcomers — it’s the country way. The trusted circle of most rural folks are generally composed of family or of the established folks, the ‘old timers’, those who’ve lived in the area for decades. Anyone new to the area is kept at a distance — it’s intentional and for good reason. For example, all of the newcomers (aka ‘transplants’) here, and probably in many other places, bring with them an idea of what their new community is like and they are usually not correct. They move in with a set of unrealistic expectations thinking their new ‘neighbors’ are going to be laid back country folks who will be their new best friend, willing to share everything. Nothing could be further than the truth in many rural circles.

        Newcomers (aka ‘transplants’) who have no ties to this area are generally not accepted because they have no roots and no connection to the area. Unless they join a church or other organization, the chance of a random meet-up is very slim. They’re known as ‘outsiders.’ (This is also a phenomenon known in MANY rural areas and has been discussed so that those who believe they’ll survive by bugging out to the country and ‘get accepted’ won’t try something really stupid. We take “no trespassing” seriously.) I have seen this ‘outsider’ behavior first-hand here: when a very large property was subdivided to cut four 5-acre building lots (per zoning requirements for wells/septic) about 15 years ago. Each home was custom built by families coming from the big DC suburban area. Each had their own idea of how life should be around here. They felt that their contribution to this area, their version of the McMansion, was good for all of us. None of us were impressed, we all saw the home as a money-brag and nothing more, yet made the assessment that they were suburban transplants and would likely not fit in. They didn’t: None bothered to research zoning requirements or laws and it turned out they didn’t like the established country life they bought into. The cow manure from farms and the pig smells down the road made them gag. The gunfire freaked them out. None of those people ever bothered to research the zoning laws (Agricultural)– they are liberals, anti-2nd amendment ‘transplants’, believing no one should discharge firearms or have businesses or working farms that smelled (yet the country life was what brought them here). They essentially wanted the HOA covenant protections of the ‘burbs but got a lesson in rural reality. Consequently, none of those ‘transplants’ have fit in and are still not really welcome in this rural area. There is no extended outreach to any of them by any family I know of around here.

        Those who have been established in our ‘neighborhood’ fend for themselves. We’re independent and wary of strangers and those who don’t-fit-in. We are all on wells with our own septic fields and most homes have the means to heat with wood (not those McMansions, though). We all also own firearms, hunt, and shoot in the woods on our own properties. Occasionally, a neighbor has asked to come shoot at our range and that’s not a problem. Occasionally, a few who ride horses will go from one property to the next (under agreement). That’s where it all ends. Do we discuss preparedness? NO. Even after 30 years, I’d not risk the chance of opening up that discussion because these people would connect the dots (we have large gardens, livestock, and a greenhouse). I go about my own business — I have seeds to share, knowledge to share, and more that I won’t delve into — these things are in place, just in case a few of our neighbors need a bit of a hand when the S hits. They’ll maybe need a hand, but not a handout. That’s been my plan. But ‘relationship building’ for preparedness — that’s never even been on the radar.

        1. Modern Throwback
          If you did not live east of the big muddy I would swear you were in our neighborhood.

          Our neighbors all stick to their private world around here. The recent influx is the house across from us sold. The guy is putting his 20 something daughter into the home(so he says)so she can attend college-Yah(snarkey). Hope they love the smell of horse POO, in the spring & summer. I have got to put up that large sign about critter smells from a ranch..

    2. You gotta start somewhere. Truth is, for most, “suburbia” or worse is reality. It’s not a perfect scenario, but we all must do what we can with what we have. Notice how the author said that if he got his neighbor to start prepping, that neighbor would be less likely to kick in the front door looking for what he needed. That’s ONE LESS THREAT. More importantly, that’s potentially ONE MORE ALLY.

      Even the best laid plans are “full of holes.” All we can do is work around them.

    3. I agree, he is an all too typical kid of Government employees. And that is not harsh. He doesn’t have a clue and it was a wasted article. And if that makes me harsh, then I gladly wear the title too. Who gives a crap how many times he moved at taxpayer’s expense or if he ever finds his perfect corner of paradise to build his dream home. The only intangible here is to find prepper sense in his writings. thanks

  3. What happened to good neighbors?

    Since political correctness, frivolous litigation, loss of morals, loss of ethics, entitlements, a divided community (rich/poor, black/brown/white, male/female, gay/straight, urban/rural,…) it seems that everyone hates or mistrusts everyone else.

    There was a day when growing up that if I misbehaved in the area, a neighbor would bring me home by the ear. Then the neighbor would be thanked and the real punishment would be dealt to my rear by my parents. There are no longer consequences for our bad behavior and there has been a loss of respect for others and the law.

    People in our neighborhoods no longer know what the rules are and are now just reluctant to get involve with anyone else. A very pessimistic view but that has been my experience.

    1. Even I grew up as a baby boomer in brand new homes in suburbia of the 50’s and 60’s where crime hit home. Neighbors closed their eyes to it. Nowhere was safe, so I have no idea where “safe” is. I just know where “safer” is and it is not in the suburbs.

  4. I wish it was as simple as steering a conversation to get people to think and prep, unfortunately it usually isn’t, in the liberal lalaland I live in most likely I will have people from our neighborhood demanding that I divvy up my supplies for the good of the neighborhood, there will be lots of blood and some very large flames because I believe in a scorched earth policy.

  5. He never stated that he doesn’t have a BOL or a sensible plan to get there. His life choices and current situation has landed him in suburbia, and this article is about relationships and intangibles.

    Since I live “in town”, even though it is a small, rural town, I found this article to be inspiring. I am currently working on exactly this. I have very good relationships with my neighbors, and have been cultivating that since we moved in 8 years ago. I really like the idea of community building. Neighbors coming together to help with all of the little things in life are more likely to come together when disaster strikes.

    When my neighbor’s car got stuck, I helped dig it out. If we get more than an inch or two of snow, I shovel for the elderly man next door. He receives lots of non-perishables from the county senior center. He recently told me that he doesn’t go through it fast enough and is running out of room in his pantry. It was a jumbled mess. I helped him organize, and now there is plenty of room. He had been thinking about getting rid of it, but I convinced him that it would be better to keep it in case of a blizzard or if for some reason the deliveries stopped coming for a few weeks. Helping him also helps me.

    I look forward to more articles like this.

    1. IT makes me feel good to help others who are needy. Most are strangers who need medical care, a jump start on their vehicles, a ride down the street, and helping with other things… There can be a problem in some cases that makes people depend on you and they don’t give anything in return, especially friendship. Must be aware of them. I knew plenty who rewarded me with gunfire, assault, criminal behavior, and not helping me out when I desperately needed it. They were neighbors I helped frequently.

  6. @Ken,
    My assessment of your life’s experience in the domain of first hand knowledge of preparing for a SHTF event has really changed. When I read your article I came to the realization that the article was either a joke or written by a novice who just knows how to talk the talk.. I am presently educating a friend on the very subject that “prepping to live/survive in suburbia” during a SHTF event is a self-imposed death sentence. What a disappointment to see such a misleading article. Now, I wonder if my article will be posted. Be well.

    1. @Texas boy, First of all, the article is a guest post and not written by me (not sure if that was your assumption). Second of all, the thrust of the article was not about how to survive ‘Armageddon’, rather, it is the apparent opinion of the author that it may be a good thing to establish community relationships where applicable – which would (in theory) help a group of neighbors come together during a time of ‘more-likely’ disaster type scenarios…

      Additionally, getting to know who your neighbors are will help to asses…

      Quote from the author, “I’ll know their strengths and weaknesses in a SHTF scenario, as well as how they’ll react in a lesser event. I’ll know if they’re an asset or a liability.”

  7. If people want to survive. I think moving to rural areas or very small towns is a good idea. Bigger towns and even “suburbia” will not be safe. I personally would never live in a HOA. The rules in some of those places is outrageous and ridiculous. I personally can’t understand why someone would pay dues to live in a cramped little neighborhood and then have to ask permission to paint their house. To each his own. I am sure there are pros to it, but I can’t think of any for myself anyway. People just are as friendly as they were 20-30 years ago.

    If you are already there, I would try to get out now. That many people in a SHTF scenario, doesn’t sound too pleasant. When people get hungry they get desperate.

    If you are in a position to buy a new home, why would you put yourself in the middle of suburbia? If you are aware of what is going on, why not research and find an area better suited for prepping and safer for when TSHF? SMH, just not understanding the reasoning.

    1. While I don’t now nor have I ever lived in an HOA neighborhood I did work for one for a time and there are some advantages. Yep you have to paint your home in some specific colors but then that does stop the guy across the street from painting his florescent green now doesn’t it LOL. It also guarantee’s that you are not going to live in ” white trash ” village with broken down cars and old appliances on the front lawn of your neighbor. The one I worked for had a community pool you could let you children go to in the summer that had a paid lifeguard ( me ) so they had some adult supervision and a large building that could be used for thing like meetings,xmas party’s ect that could bring the neighborhood together. These plus’s would not be enough for me to buy there as I am not good at being told what I can or can’t do but I can see where some folks would like this.

      1. Yeah. Don’t fly the US flag, don’t have lawn decorations that are “out of character” (as defined by some crackpot with yard design magazines on their coffee table), don’t plant anything that’s outside their list, don’t…don’t…don’t…Bunch of power-hungry politicians who couldn’t make it in politics.

        One family I know got sued by the HOA because their daughter painted her room the wrong color. It was visible from the street but no one cared until a friend (teenage friend of the daughter) mentioned it to someone on the HOA board. Really? Idiots.

        1. Yeppers all those things are true Lauren but some people like to be controlled. if this were not true we would not have our country in the state that it is in.

  8. We live in a apartment complex where people are ALWAYS moving in and out so getting to REALLY know someone is not easy. That and I’m an older dude that over the tears has found out the hard way that you can really trust very few people that I have trusted with my very LIFE have turned around and screwed me. So needless to say I trust NOBODY not until they show me that they wont screw me when things go down the toilet.

  9. Everybody needs to chill out and lay off of each other including our guest author Eric… At least he puts himself out there…
    During a true shtf event like an EMP there will probably be only a 10-20% survival rate… That includes everybody who posts here.

    If you think your hot stuff right now you are probably going to be one of the first to die including getting your family killed.

    There is nothing wrong with making friends with your neighbors. Even out in a rural setting your neighbors are 3 missed dinners away from becoming a lethal threat to you and your families.

  10. One of my “curses” is I like to absorb information, my primary method is reading; to me this article is information from a different perspective. Is it my perspective-I don’t care, it’s information.

    I then try to think about the information absorbed; compare and contrast to my current life position/lifestyle/scenario.

    Are there things I can use, or not?

    Are there points I will or won’t do, or do now or decided not to do: I won’t know unless I think about it.

    I don’t really care if my lifestyle and the author’s lifestyle match or parallel, it’s information and a view with opinions.

    Information to me is just that-I either learn something, use pieces to add to my knowledge, or discard if I think it doesn’t apply. But that’s just me and my approach; others have their own approach; go for it.

    When I say I really don’t care; I really don’t have the time anymore to get wound up about something I read. What I read either helps me, doesn’t apply or forces me to adapt and do preventative actions attempting to, well, prevent or avoid my life getting impacted.

    I lose too much mental and physical energy and time getting fired up over something I can’t control, should probably not care about; and I can’t control how people choose or are relegated to a certain lifestyle. As long as it does not negatively impact my lifestyle; I don’t worry about it and move on to the next thing.

  11. At least by taking the action recommended, in the manner recommended, you afford yourself an opertunity to acquire necessary Intel about those around you. Just to get an idea whose there. With some you’ll find a like minded, gung-ho ally, with the same outlook and values. Others will be indifferent, while still others will be outright hostile. If you’re not comfortable with the idea, that’s understandable. Although I believe that most people living in suburbia are just struggling to get by, any do the best that they can, and would help you if they could, there are others that will take advantage of you. Eric ‘s idea is like a buffet, take some of it if you like, or if you prefer, don’t take any at all. It’s up to the one holding the plate.

  12. Additionally, getting to know who your neighbors are will help….

    Not so damn fast there cowboy. I am at this moment looking for a small house in the country because my ‘neighbors’ know about my huge stockpile of food and supplies.

    These ‘neighbors’ will NEVER help one soul and only stand at your door for the first time ever with their hands out!!!

    How do I know?? TWICE an EMT sat with lights on in my driveway for over 20 minutes and not ONE of these ‘neighbors’ enquired about my husband then or ever.

    Have a reality check—and I will NEVER let anyone know what I have when I move–OPSEC is important.

    This ain’t the 60’s folks.

    1. @JayJay, I don’t believe that the author is suggesting that you let people know the supplies you have (that’s pretty much common-sense). I believe his message was more to do with discovering whether your neighbor or neighbors might be an asset or a liability.

  13. Quote from the author, “I’ll know their strengths and weaknesses in a SHTF scenario, as well as how they’ll react in a lesser event. I’ll know if they’re an asset or a liability.”

    Trust me when I say after 9 years living here, these ‘neighbors’ are a liability.
    Neighbor: one who lives near you.
    THAT is the ONLY connection we have.

  14. The one thing I have learned is people will surprise you. Some people I thought would be very strong during a crisis were the first to fall apart. The other types who I thought would have been weak were the emotionally strongest and the most dependable. A person will never really know how a neighbor, friend or family member will act until they are in a hard situation. It can be a roll of the dice. This is where trust and experience has to be earned.

  15. Has everyone forgotten the last article posted by E.E. Borton just one month ago about surviving Haiti? Everyone was singing his praises, then. Personally, I am very much looking forward to more articles from him, reflecting upon his wide range of life experiences and how those different situations affect his preparedness mindset.

    1. Actually Skibum not everyone was singing his praises. Several posters, myself included, stated he was acting more like a thrill seeker ( IMHO ) and putting himself in situations that were not good to be in. If he chooses to do that fine,if he chooses to live in a HOA area that is also his choice but not all were singing his praises on either article. of course this is why I like this site as we seem to be able to have discussions without the meanness and name calling that other sites have. I attribute this to Ken and the seemingly maturity of the posters.

      1. “This is why I like this site as we seem to be able to have discussions without the meanness and name calling that other sites have. I attribute this to Ken and the seemingly maturity of the posters.”

        Thanks ‘poorman’. The only way to keep a site’s comments from draining into the swamp is diligence by the site owner / webmaster (me) – which takes a lot of time (which is why so many others don’t do it). However I feel that it has been worth it – as we have a good crowd here who mostly can agree to disagree when necessary ;)

        1. You’re quite welcome Ken. I do cruise other sites but this is far and away my favorite for this reason. I just hate the stupid name calling and attitudes that come out on some of the other sites.

          1. @ poorman

            I agree; when I do visit the “other” cough cough cough sites that at times have good articles to read, AND if I find the inkling to leave a comment, I always leave this as my last lines of the comment….

            ((( “I know I’m going to get trashed and bashed for my own opinion, but I honestly don’t care if you do, for I won’t be back to this article to check what you think or the negativity normally found by some here”
            Have a nice day, and thank you XYZ (owner) for the article.
            NRP )))

            I guess that’s sort of anti-productive, but most of those “other” sites don’t seem to care about the bashing and cussing on them… it’s always a negative/nasty feeling ya get over there, NOT from the owners, but from some of the lurkers/trolls. All you need to do is read the comments and you can tell……. And the owners do NOT take the time to monitor their own sites.

            We are very lucky indeed to have Mr. Ken J.
            Y-all probably have no idea the work it takes.

            NRP

  16. My daughter lives in a HOA also in the suburbs of Atlanta. When down there, we drove around and it is nearly impossible to get a house that is not in a HOA development. I see both sides of the coin. First they know everyone in the development (around 24 houses I believe). As this is a slightly upscale area they are in, this could make them a target. There is one way in and out, with no gate. Any group could block the one entrance and just go raid from house to house. Then the other side is that the group could also block the one entrance to the division and defend their division. The area surrounding this particular division is heavily wooded and very rough terrain, making it impassable to all but foot traffic.

    The down side that I can see is that because the people who live there are not at all prepared from what I could see. Most in the neighborhood tend to eat out very often. So in short order, they could start turning on each other. I honestly don’t believe that my daughter, her husband and son will survive if things go south.

    As far as the writer stating that the most under rated prep is relationships, I couldn’t agree more. My lay-off from almost 2 years ago has afforded me the chance to get out and talk to my neighbors and get to know them. Also to get a feel for their preparedness. Learn their strengths and weaknesses.

    Whether or not you choose to live in a HOA, build relationships with the neighbors, it could save your bacon some day. Of course do not let OPSEC slip and tell them of your preps.

  17. Agree or disagree with his various comments, the author’s bottom line is:

    “Knowing who not to trust is as critical as knowing who you can.”

    Living in suburbia (thankfully not an HOA community), we do try to be friendly to our neighbors. Like many neighborhoods (in any type of community) we have a loud-mouth blowhard, a lady who drinks too much, a couple of guys who appear to be pretty handy, one family who seems to do nothing but host parties, a few families with young kids (or teenagers) and a few retired folks.

    I do not talk about what we do or don’t have with any of these folks. In a local emergency (not a devastating major crisis) I have a couple of people in mind who may be helpful – maybe. I assume most will not. So, my takeaway from this article is to NOT live in a neighborhood of strangers. That it is better to at least have an idea of who people are, and who may or may not be of value in an emergency before it comes to that. But, it’s just a general idea – you never know who will crumble and who will help until an emergency actually happens.

  18. Thanks to Mr. Borton for bringing up this topic. I also believe in staying on positive speaking terms with people within my suburban neighborhood. I also thank Ken for trying to moderate the resulting discussion. It sounds as if this topic was quite divisive.

    When Mr Borton returns from an overseas assignment, I am pretty sure he wants to just get some uninterrupted sleep, burn some meat on the grill and do his laundry. I am pretty sure he does not want to go back home and hear about how his un-neutered dog went and impregnated the pure bred poodle up the street (owner VERY upset) daughter is very popular with the boys in high school or son that is experimenting with chemistry set in the basement (What happened to your eyebrows son?) I will not go into drinking or drugs here. We have ALL gone through that.

    I am with Mr Borton on this topic. I am the former cop that now works in medicine at the local hospital. It is in my nature to talk to people and explore my neighborhood and “gather intelligence”. This is not done for my own gain. I like meeting and talking to people most of the time. My wife is more of an introvert and is shy. I offer help and information to people moving in. (cable provider, best grocery for vegetables, custom butcher shop, bargain store or nearest dollar store. Location of local dump, how much they charge etc. )

    If you do not get out to meet the neighbors, you become a shut in. I have stated before that many of my hobbies that lead to part time jobs and other connections came about through my contacts I made within my community. ( helping round up cattle for permission to hunt on their land during deer season, fixing rifles for farmers and ranchers for beef from their freezer, mending fences, stacking hay bales. If you show up when they need you and stay to help until the job gets done, You will be granted permission to hunt private land, access to private fishing holes etc.)

    I am getting old. Too old to be stacking hay without bathing in Ben Gay the following day. Motrin is my friend as well. I still walk my neutered dog on a leash within my suburban neighborhood at present time. Neighborhoods do change and if you are shut in, you will be blind to those changes taking place around you. My job is to read the people around me and I’ve been doing this for decades. Practice makes for perfection.

  19. To: Mr Borton,

    Good luck on your search for your home in the ‘burbs. We are living in our second home having relocated 8 years ago during the low point in the recession. I’m the asian guy walking a cute dog (on a leash) so just watch out when I get behind the wheel of my truck. (my wife says I drive like Mr Magoo.)

    Is this your first home purchase?

  20. @Ken J

    You do not have to look far to see the hate in society today. Look at town hall meetings, violence at protests, violence against a lecturer that some may not agree with,… It is not just the individuals around you that you must asses but how easy they are swept up in radical or violent groups. Mr. Jones next door may be the nicest guy until he joins the lynch mob. I have been burned too many times by people I have helped only to be stabbed in the back – extreme vigilance and caution must be used when opening up to people around you.

  21. I understand the author’s point. Unfortunately, of the five closest neighbors that bordered my previous residence in the suburbs[ town pop. 65,000 ] the only one that I would come close to trusting [ not really ] was a retired military officer who liked to imbibe regularly. The other houses were occupied by varying degrees of self centered ass hats and transient renters. OPSEC was a priority over sociability. Even taking a gun in and out to the range was done as surreptitiously as possible in a nondescript case. My situation has changed dramatically after moving to the country but after four years I don’t really expect too much of my new acquaintances despite slowly evolving into a local in the minds of some.

  22. I think there is some difference in communities where people have lived all their lives, growing up with the neighbors, going through school together, in sports, and perhaps being in the service together. This is a case where you get to know or answer the questions brought up in this discussion.

    The argument against the author’s premise surfaces when you consider a more transient group of people in urban areas. You may not have the benefit of time to really know these people or you may not have been in a crisis situation to assess their attributes.

    1. @homebody,

      I agree with your assessment of the difficulties of a transient neighborhood. Living in suburbia already has enough challenges to overcome. Add in a changing dynamic every few months and it makes it even more difficult to maintain situational awareness.

      I believe that environment dictates preparedness. In a transient neighborhood, building lasting relationships is taken off the table. It becomes more important to build your island and increase the level of vigilance. Again, the environment dictates that action and philosophy. For me personally, researching a prospective neighborhood includes gathering information pertaining to whether or not it’s well-established or transient. Just a drive through the suburb may answer that question for me.

      At this point, I don’t have the luxury of pulling the kids out of the school district and heading for the hills. (They would lose their teenage minds!) With that understanding, I have to do my best to find the lesser of the evils in suburbia. When the kids are out of the nest, I won’t be far behind.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your insight.

  23. I think the authors advice was sound, and applies no matter where. The reason I think that is that I have – so I gather – similar life experiences and lessons to the guest author. To shoot holes at his article tells me more about the person commenting than about the author himself. Besides, as one commenter observed, its just one person’s perspective based upon their experiences. Learn from it if you can, your mileage may vary.

    1. @Bogan,

      Differences of opinions comes with the territory. As long as criticism doesn’t come in the form of a personal attack or threat, I’m fine with people expressing their disapproval. I enjoy a good debate and lively discussion about topics that are important to me. It’s how perspective is expanded and lessons are learned. I’m not here to piss anyone off or force my opinions down their throats. If I tried, I would deserve a personal attack.

      MSB is one of the best resources I’ve come across because of the willingness of the community to interact with each other. Unlike many other sites, it’s done with a higher level of respect and sincerity.

      I appreciate your comments as well and look forward to creating more content for MSB for as long as they’ll have me.

  24. Many of the posts in response to the article tend to give credence to the author’s point that “those types of neighborhoods are relics of a by-gone era”. Perhaps if you were to move into one of the older type of neighborhoods, you may still find, at least in some cases, that the neighbor ethic still exists. Perhaps more so in an area known to be more friendly/neighborly. Google : Friendliest cities/suburbs in which to live. Cali, with this response, he probably went back to Haiti!

    1. Shame if he did.

      I’ve lived in the same neighborhood all my life in a city that has over 700,000 people. The neighborhood has over 800 homes. Neighborhood has gone thru lots of changes–people moving out & in. We do not have an HOA. & with new people in, it could happen.

      The people in each block are close & help each other out. Even new young couples offer help to us single older people. Very much appreciated.

      When the power goes out we call & check on each other on cell phones.
      If power is out a long time, the neighbors across the street offer their refrigerators for our food or for us to come over to visit awhile.
      Transformers on each side of street for that side.

      It is like a small community–I’m just tired of living in city with neighbors homes so close you can hit it with a rock.

      Only person that knows I prep is my sister.
      I know we need to learn to watch people carefully, but still need to be nice.
      The phrase Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—still applies in any type of situation.

      1. @Sandismom,

        It sounds like your neighbors are good people. I agree that it doesn’t matter if they are, they’re still too close for comfort. I too am looking forward to the day I can’t hit their houses with a rock. Nothing wrong with that position. It’s just personal preference for more personal space.

        I’m glad to hear the younger neighbors seem willing to build good relationships. It gives me hope that at least some of the new generation has respect for the older.

    2. @CR,

      I’m still here…well, at least for now. I’m working on my next novel, so I’m sticking close to home for a while.

      I believe those neighborhoods still exist, but in fewer numbers. I currently live in an older, well-established subdivision where most of the residents are retired or close to it. I consider it an oasis from metro Atlanta. I have better relationships with some more than others, but haven’t had anything close to a conflict with any of them.

      My preparedness philosophy and execution has changed over the years. How I prepared as a single man has changed drastically now that I’m a family man. When I traveled years ago, I just locked my door and headed out. Now, I’m leaving them behind.

      It was important for me to build at least one or two strong relationships with my neighbors because I had to ask them for a very important favor. Check in on the people I care most about in this world, and help them if they ever needed it. For me to even contemplate asking for those favors, I had to trust them.

      My family has the tools, knowledge, and training to defend our home. What if it burned to the ground? What if that tree decided it was time to crash through our kitchen during a storm? I wanted to know that wherever I was in the world, there would be someone I could count on to be there for them.

      Bottom line, if I want to live in a neighborhood like my grandparent’s, I may have to be the one to build it.

  25. For over a year I have been out getting to know and help neighbors in the surrounding areas.i barter with quite a few now I know where the thugs live too. I listened more than I talked and gathered intel. People talk and give out useful information.

    I never talked about being a prepper. I’m just the retired guy that will help my neighbors in a jam.

    I throw out suggestions and ideas. People respect my opinion.

    If/when real problems surface in your areas leadership will be needed. It’s better to be in on the decision making rather than them being made for you in my opinion…

    1. @Bill Jenkins Horse,

      Thank you for taking the time to add your insight. I’m glad you used the phrase “gathering intel”. That’s the essence of the article. It’s less about making new friends and more about situational awareness pertaining to those who live in close proximity. Asset or liability. Friend or foe. Both will be a factor when decisions need to be made. I want to know as much as I can about my environment and who’s in it before I make those decisions.

      1. “It’s less about making new friends and more about situational awareness pertaining to those who live in close”

        I agree on this rather that building relationships in the neighborhood. I tried that many times and it got me into problems. By the time I got to know them, I was a target without disclosing much about me at all. I am not paranoid, but when neighbors get friendly with me this far out in the country, I do a background check on them. Neighbors in my area are within a few miles as I live remote, but it will help with this tool if you live in any area.

        I found out a former neighbor was a pedifle and committed assult on people. His arrest record was 4 accounts of arrest and 2 undisclosed due to mental illness. I found another neighbor had an affair with a woman which resulted in a sucicide of her husband after trying to kill his wife. I found another was a thief and so was her family and another close neighbor were embedded with achohol problems (DUI’s), one which died of it’s abuse last fall…

        I don’t need relationships to find out many of whom these people are. This is how I get to “know” them these days. Background checks is a tool I use if I’d be acting neighborly or avoiding them all together, locking my doors and arming myself.

          1. I have used Intelius
            https://www.intelius.com/

            I used google search for “arrests of ____________ {in my} county and state, and local news paper articles in archives.

            and off-line I went to the county seat courthouse where they have a special computer to search for name and address of said person of court cases, dates, and their fines/jail term. They usually seal cases where the person has a mental ill history and under the care of a doctor. It covers many regular crimes but does not reveal them.

  26. Well this stirred the emotions, and it seems to reveal some underlying opinions.

    I have to agree that knowing who your neighbors are and what side of the fence they stand. Can only be a good thing.

    I currently live in a neighborhood where I know the people all around me. And even if they think they know me, somethings they don’t.

    My soon to be new location, I know just about everyone for miles around.

    1. Yes, this has certainly stirred the emotions and has brought out some differences of opinion. Makes for good conversation and thought!

      I have written articles in the past that have suggested that it may be a good thing to know your neighbors (as best as one can), and have similarly received comments from some who disagree. I do believe that this subject is one of many ‘pressure points’ where some are very much in disagreement with the notion. Interesting…

      I have a feeling that when someone mentions the notion of ‘community’ or ‘neighborhood’ that it conjures up ‘liberal’ in the minds of some. Unfortunately (in my opinion) this could not be further from the truth. For example, none of you ‘know’ me. Known of you ‘know’ the author of this article. I can tell you that ‘I’ am not a member of ‘the left’. And I can tell you that ‘I’ am probably further ‘right’ than you may think (I ‘hate’ labels!). That said, I do have the opinion that the general notion within the article above is a good one. That is, know who your friends are. Know who you enemies are. And know all in-between, as best that you can.

      By being a hermit, you yourself may stand out and be ‘highlighted’ by your neighbors (which could make you a target). Most people are generally cordial and conversant with others. It’s a great opportunity to discover who is around you and to discover ‘who’ they might be. And whether or not they will be an asset or a liability during a time of preparedness…

  27. Uggghhhhhh, pulling my hair out again, still, once more.

    Although, I’m extremely happy to see that I’m not the only one that can get the people here FIRED UP over an article.

    But seriously, come on everyone, how many times do we ALL say “each to their own opinions” even the knot-head like me that writes an article. If you or I have a difference of opinion, let’s try to do so like grownups and not a bunch of Snowflake Liberals….. Y-all know what I mean.

    Now for my 2¢ worth; if y-all don’t mind, and if ya do, ohhhhh well, live with it…. HAHAHAHA

    Eric; good job on your article, I do appreciate your view points on “neighbors”. I personally don’t like people, Please let me reiterate that, I DO NOT LIKE PEOPLE, and most neighbors around me I could give a Rat’s Azz about, and I know exactly what they will be thinking/doing when TSHTF, even if the power goes for more than 3 hours. Seriously had a fist fight over the use of a generator for an hour……. FYI, my closest neighbor is well over 1/4 mile away.

    BUT there is one or two I would slightly trust, but ya had better keep an eye open when you go to sleep.

    As Mr. Borton suggested, get to know your neighbors, those that WILL cut your throat to feed their starving kids, AND those that ask for help and will help you find food for them.

    Although I will chastise Mr. Borton for living in the “Human Animal” infested Burbs, STILL; Ya do know us country bumpkins do have good schools also, right? Of course I also give So Cal Gal crapo for the same thing…. HAHAHAH

    Anyways, that’s about all I have to say besides…. LIGHTEN UP, it’s HIS article, if ya don’t like it; write your own, PERIOD!!!

    NRP

    1. @NRP,

      I don’t like most people either, but I live in the land of women. 4 to be exact that are under my roof and they do like people. Why? I don’t know, but they do. (Especially boys… who are learning to fear me.) They’ve been in the same school district with their friends since first grade. If I tried to yank them out of high school and head for the hills, I’d be creating a real-world SHTF scenario inside the walls of my home…which I wouldn’t survive. I’d be dead within 24 hours…tops.

      I don’t like to use the term “stuck”, but let’s call a spade a spade. I’m stuck trying to balance the happiness of 3 teenage girls, and my desire to punch most people in the face. The struggle is real. As soon as the last bird leaves the nest, I’m outta here like a fart in the wind.

      Until then, I’m going to recommend MSB to a few friends who need a little direction and help when it comes to preparing their families for trouble…in any form. And I’ll keep writing articles that may or may not get people fired up. I can wax poetic all day about the advantages of .308 over .223, but where’s the fun in that?

      As always I appreciate your input, opinion, and knowledge, NRP. You’re one of the reasons why I’ll keep coming back to MSB and bring others with me.

      And you’re welcome for me taking a little heat off of you…for now.

      Cheers, sir!

      1. Bahahahahahahah! Not gonna lie…that reply was hilarious. I’m stuck as well. I live in a great Neighborhood with really nice people that I will be a huge liability during a disaster. My husband travels a lot so i fear as a working mom i could be in serious crapola if things go south
        So I will go in the direction that God leads, keep my powder dry and my kids safe.

        1. I’m also stuck in a very small town USA.

          Have plans to eventually move to the hills or hollows of southern middle TN if DH passes first. It will be a very sad move w/o him, but he won’t go now.

          SIGH :(

          I just keep prepping and plan to take it with me when I move OR have here to get us through.

          Really good article. I sent it to both daughters. One is in a condo !ugh! and one is in the city !more ugh! Has lots of good start up info for them.

          thanks for the good article.

      2. @ E.E.Borton

        Ok now I understand why you were taking “vacations” in Haiti, Sir, you’re the bravest man I know.

        “but I live in the land of women. 4 to be exact that are under my roof and they do like people”

        FYI, I feel extremely sorry for that first young man knocking on your door, just remember, 308 at low-ready works wonders… HAHAHA

        Lastly, I will agree Ken does a hell of a job with this site, writing/supplying an article 6 times a week is a feat in upon itself. Keeping this place under control also is a job, hackers, NSA, trolls, you name it. I worked computers systems professionally for 5 years, and I’’ tell ya right now, glad I’m out.
        Thanks for sending others his way, makes for a good and derives community for sure, FYI I did notice the recognition in your Without II, nice.

        FYI comparing 7.62 to a 5.56 is like comparing Trump to Obama, both absolutely worthless, unless ya know what to expect and prepare accordingly.

        Good morning NSA/CIA/FBI/.gov, how’s the day going up there in Utah? :-)
        NRP

        1. @NRP, So, my 5.56 is compared to Obama?! Ughhh… I knew I should have chosen that .308 instead… ;)

          Guess I’ll have to rely on my big-bore 45-70 for ‘the big stuff’ :)

  28. Eric, I do and I don’t agree. But thank you for getting things buzzing.

    I agree about getting to know folks around you now but when things get hard people change. As far as living in the burbs so the kids have a good school I think that’s a mistake that you will pay for later with kids that turn in to animals or snowflakes, have you thought about home school??

    Been where you have been and have paid the price with family and most of all the kids. Have a daughter tell me you were always gone and never had time to talk or be a dad so why do you want to talk or be a dad now? The kids, the wife and I home schooled are close but to two older ones are distant, hope my life lessons will help save you some heart ache, wish you the best.

    Tea and chocolate time

    1. @oldhomesteader,

      Thank you for your comment and hopes of saving me some heartache. For a variety of reasons – some good, some more complicated – home schooling isn’t a viable option for me. Two of the girls are in high school and another is a freshmen in college. As soon as everyone is in college, my plan is to move to a more rural location. Until I do, my preparedness will be influenced by my suburban location. Again, I agree it’s not the ideal situation, but it’s mine at the moment and I have to own it.

      Always good to hear from you and I look forward to stirring the pot again with my next article…maybe I’ll write about how to stir the pot. I seem to be pretty good with that subject. Wishing you well!

      1. When the time comes to move I would welcome you as a neighbor. Till then will look forward to seeing more from you on the sight.

  29. I enjoy reading a variety of articles with different views on preparedness.

    I also agree that relationships are very important and underrated.

    Like someone else said only 10-20% survival rate expected for a serious event, we don’t know WHO will survive(rural or suburbia). For some rural people to be so sure that they are living the only survivable scenario is quite narrow-minded IMHO.

    I don’t comment very often, we live on 1/2 acre on the outskirts of a city(70K) in northern Canada. North of us is just bush, not many people. Does that mean I’m rural or suburban, not sure. But what I do know is everyone should be able to see, and sort of understand, another opinion that is different from your own.

    1. @anonymous,

      I’m glad the subject motivated you to comment and I appreciate your input. I don’t want to create articles that cover the same ground. I do want to create articles that stimulate interaction with members of the community. I don’t profess that I’m an expert or know all the answers to all the questions. So when I write, it’s not about what I know, but more about what I can learn.

    2. Fact of the matter is it could be isolated and regional, plus nobody really knows anything, until it happens its all just guessing.
      Prep for the worst pray for and hope for the best.

  30. I live in a moderate sized city(50,000), in north Idaho.

    I know most of the people on the block, and are friendly with them, and help them out when I can, and they help me when they can. The bad news is what used to be a beautiful 10 acre field across the street has now been turned into a 175 unit apartment complex. The people living there now seem friendly, but I have a bad feeling if something goes wrong and it becomes a survival situation, how do you become friendly with that many people?

    I believe I am as prepared as possible for living in such a place. I pretend I am not prepared for more than a week or two, and no one pays much attention to me. In the mean time, I grow a nice garden and share with the neighbors, I have put up a 6 foot high chain link fence, built a rock garden around a 350 gallon pond(for extra water)that you can’t see from the front, and planted fruit trees, berrybushes and edibles around the house. Still no one has really noticed.

    I’m sure some one will if things go bad, and I am prepared for that also. I keep a 1/4 mile roll of barbed wire, a roll of wire for trip wires, several bundles of bamboo for you know what surprise, plus a few other things, and if all else fails, there will be a lead hail storm when I go down. OR, when my wife and I retire soon, we could move out a little to the edge of town. I really don’t care to live in a bunch of people. We only have because of necessity.

    All in all, it does help to know and stay friendly with those around you,until you can get out.

    1. @BigBadCat,

      It must have sucked for you to watch that complex being constructed. As you stated, that’s a lot more people that will be looking for help in a survival situation or catastrophic event. Undoubtedly, it’s going to change how you prepare and how you protect.

    2. Big Bad Cat

      The people here are very nice compared to other sites that I visit. So I keep myself from going nuclear. As you read between the lines, there are some that are timid and others that want to rip your nose off. Still there is calm which is rare for today.

      That being said and you should take it with a grain of salt as it is only to be considered info I hope will help others.

      Mentioning Barbed wire and other items I can add that you try to hide in plain sight. I have done many landscape projects and that material can be used for protection if need be. Some items I keep under cover. Remember if you have items like these is that once you repurpose them in a different manner that others can notice. The cat’s out of the bag.
      My neighbor’s will freak out!

    1. @americuh,

      I can only imagine! We all have “those” neighbors. Sounds like a good topic for another article.

  31. Mr. Burton,

    Thank you for taking the time to post the article. It has prompted me to get to know our neighbors more.

    I say I because my wife is more of a recluse.

    Being in suburbia I have already weighed and measured several of our neighbors some are decent others not so much. But I think I need to expand that a bit further after reading your article. Most of my conclusions are based on observations, first expressions(which carry much weight) and what I see out my window about them. I guess I need to find out more about who can be more of an asset and verify those that I already feel are a threat.

    Adapt and Overcome.

    1. @11HE9,

      Thank you for your comment. Knowing my article may have helped someone evaluate their preparedness with a different perspective makes it worth writing.

      The overall sentiment of the article was to make people think about preparedness beyond the supplies, gear, and guns.

      Wishing you and yours well!

  32. I have read Mr. Burton’s article and could identify with it. I live in a city of 360,000 in an urban area. I would love to move but I am semi-retired and work one day a week. To travel 50 to 100 miles one way with road conditions in the winter, I feel would be too dangerous.

    Next, the VA clinic/hospital is just a half hour drive for me verses 2 or more hours. As for his getting to know the neighbors I have identified possible 3 neighbors who might be preppers from the clucking and crowing coming from their back yard as I walk the neighborhood. I have talked to one neighbor who thinks it would be a good idea to have a neighborhood block party once the snow melts sometime this summer. This will give me a chance to size up some of the other neighbors in a none threatening venue.

    This all said I already identified 3 neighbors that I would have to keep an eye on if things go south.

    My #1 son has bought a set of keys off of e-bay that are supposed to start over 90% of the heavy construction equipment and there is a “CAT” dealer just 3 blocks from where I live. A few dozers and backhoes could make a formidable blockade to the two streets into our neighborhood and yes, I do know how to operate them.

    So I would say without giving any OPSEC on you a neighborhood party may give you some necessary OPSEC on your neighbors.

    As a side note the Wife & I are thinking of moving south to warmer weather like maybe Idaho but not too far south since 65 degrees is now a HOT day for us and the winters are seeming to get longer here and I would like to be able to grow sweet corn and tomatoes without a greenhouse and yes I do know the password.

    1. @OldAlaskan,

      Not a bad idea about planning a neighborhood gathering. It’s something that would be expected around the holidays without seeming like an intelligence probe. As you stated, the key is identifying friend or foe in your immediate surroundings.

      Good luck with your attempts at finding slightly warmer weather. I live near Atlanta. I can’t wait to find cooler weather when the girls are out on their own. I’m guessing you wouldn’t be interested in trading homes;)

  33. The Mailman, Garbage man and the Fed Ex guy knows more about your neighborhood than you know. How hard can this be? Look at your neighbors yard. Does he have a trash can or does he lay out bags. Who lets their animals like dogs and cats run loose. How many broke down cars and trucks on the residential property. Google map and send the yellow man to take a look for you. After you look down on his property. Do your neighbors party like there is no tomorrow. Gun shots in the night? The last couple of years my area has gone to the dogs. Me? I’m not moving but they should give me a wide berth.

    If you live in a very nice area the chances are better for you. If you don’t then you go hard core.

    1. @Slingshot,

      Good advice on gathering intelligence covertly. It’s not as hard as most people think to categorize their neighbors as assets or liabilities. If I discover one of them may be of use in a crisis, I’m going to focus more time and energy on building a better relationship.

      Thank you for commenting!

    2. We are somewhat surrounded by TBI, local PD, Mayor, state park ranger, Natl Guard Reserves. They all have the food preps, b/yd birds, goats and gardens on our street.

      But also have the renters, partiers, wkend sports watchers whose contribution to an emergency will be the water in their swimming pools.

  34. I think we take too much for granted about ourselves or how important we are relative to others needs or wants. It’s nice to get to know your neighbors but it doesn’t really matter.

    I know a lot of my neighbors and they know me. I’ve been a preparedness type person and growing a sustainable garden for most of my life. Only a couple other old people besides me have a garden. Most of them live from payday to payday and eat at McDonalds and I don’t. I share my produce with some of them but not all (most of them would rather eat at McDonalds than cook something from scratch.) A couple of them share their stuff with me occasionally, most don’t. I have guns… they have guns… A lot of them hunt and fish, a lot of them don’t and I don’t anymore. In the 25 years I’ve been living here I’ve only been invited to the home of four of them and likewise only those four have been inside my home. We get along.

    We all have our own lives to live and generally keep to ourselves. But what difference does all of this make? None at all. When the chips are down, they’ll take care of themselves and I will take care of myself and will help them if they need it and I’m sure a couple of them would help me if I asked for it. Most of them have large extended families, I don’t. We’ve all been through major catastrophe’s with four to six week power outages and I don’t remember anyone running amok taking other people’s stuff and we all dug out from under the damage with minimal to no assistance from others. None of them asked for my help to dig out and I didn’t ask for theirs… we just fixed our stuff and moved on with our lives. Whether any of them are more or less prepared than me is none of my concern. Most of them probably think the same about me.

    It doesn’t matter whether I know my neighbors or not… All of them have gotten along quite well all of their lives without me and my prepping BS and I’ve gotten along all of my life without their help or having them involved in my life. It’s probably the same in many other places. So… what’s all the fuss?

    1. @CrabbeNebulae,

      The fact that you know they will be a non-factor during a crisis is good intelligence. Even if we only have one or two people in our circle that we can rely on, it’s better than having no one.

      If it were just me on my own, I doubt I would’ve written the article. I have a family and I worry that if anything happened to me, they would be at a disadvantage. I try to make them aware and prepared, but they’re teenage girls. Their interests or understanding about this world looks nothing like mine.

      Thank you for your input and wishing you the best!

  35. To: Mr Borton,

    3 daughters…God help you! Don’t do anything to their boyfriends that will land you in jail. If you plead insanity in court, we may end up meeting on my locked psych unit where I work.

    1. @CaliRefugee,

      I won’t have to plead insanity. It’ll be understood. As far as their boyfriends, I have a very particular set of skills that make me a nightmare for people like them;)

      1. Ahh one of my favorite movie lines.

        I have a very particular set of skills that make me a nightmare for people like them ;)

        I will look for you. I WILL find you and I will kill you.

  36. This article is awesome because no matter where anyone lives, we all have neighbors.

    My prepping plan INCLUDES my neighbors. 2 families have skills that I do not and I truly believe they would be assets in any disaster. I am the poor single mom in the neighborhood, no one would think of asking me for something because they know I don’t have much. No one knows anything about what resources I have in my tiny house.

    If it hits the fan, I’m bringing those 2 neighbors to the last trip to the grocery store with me. (Really hoping we get that last trip.) So it seems like we all have the same resources to start with. Then I go home, board up the house, hide out the worst of it, and hope the good neighbors are there when I need them.

  37. I liked the emphasis on intelligence gathering,at least that is the emphasis I took from this article. In my neighborhood, we know whom we can trust and whom we do. Not trust. We walk our dogs, one at a time, and few know we have different colors of the same breed. Yeah, people are that oblivious.

    Eric, the “visitors” to your young ladies,sooner or later, are going to include one or more lads that are also interested in, or will share your enthusiasm for the debate between 5.56 vs. 308, etc.
    As the father of two young women, ask me how I know…

  38. Yes, thanks for this article. It has me thinking a little more about my neighbors that I mostly dismiss. I live in a cul-de-sac and don’t know of any of my neighbors that I would trust.
    Being a single mom (of young adults) I’m mostly ignored, especially by the couples. Which is fine with me because they haven’t a clue to my life. They probably think I have little and I hope they do as I don’t show off. Strangely enough, my ex is the one person who thinks like I do and we’ve both had conversations about bugging out to his family’s remote cabin. We both have hidden guns & prefer self reliance and live close enough to walk to our houses if necessary.

  39. To Mr Borton, TPSnodgrass and NRP:

    I LOVE the 5.56 for hunting prairie dogs and ground squirrels each spring. I still use one each Spring on the Western Plains.

    I’ve only used the 308 one time against a get away car with a fleeing bad guy. It worked good and did the job that day. he did not make it more than 30 yards beyond the roadblock I was manning.

    I associate the 308 with work and prior careers so I will stick with my old fashioned 223 bolt rifle firing 223 reloads to pop prairie dogs and the occasional coyote.

    The closest thing to philosophical waxing I can think of is: “Happiness is a fine red mist.” as hit confirmation.

    1. @ CaliRefugee

      Here in the valley we have a slightly different view point on Prairie Dogs, nothing less than a 338 allowed, and no closer than 50 yards… HAHAHA Ya don’t actually have to hit em, just close (within 3 feet) works every time.

      I do enjoy the 5.56 and the 7.62 in the AR style, a fun shoot and it pisses off the Liberals.

      Like you I really enjoy the CZ 223 Bolt, and let me tell y-all, you CAN pull down a nice Elk with it. Taste Like Chicken… HAHAHA

      Fortunately I live in a place where ya can walk to the back porch and pop off a few rounds without the SWAT team showing up. Or walk 300 yards and drop a Lure in the river and putt an 18” Rainbow…..

      “Happiness is a fine red mist.” Ya know you’re going to hear about that one…. LOLOL

      Wonder if this constitutes as “Modern Survival In Suburbia”??? :-) :-) :-)

      NRP

  40. Just letting everyone know that when I find something good I stay with it.
    THIS is the ONLY site I go to.

    When I constantly learn I stay with the good teacher that taught me.
    Thank you Ken & everyone else that has taught me here.

    1. You are most welcome ;)

      Yes, we are relatively diversified group here of many backgrounds, experiences, opinions, and willingness to share…

    2. @ Sandismom

      Yeah, just watch out for that “NRP” dude, he’s got a lot of oddball ideas at times…. LOL

      NRP

        1. @ poorman

          Thats not a “fetish” that’s a necessity, being so full of manure ya know…. HAHAHAH

          NRP

  41. To NRP:

    Sorry about the philosophical waxing. My creativity was limited by my elevated blood alcohol at the time (1 shot of scotch…I’m a lightweight)

    “Only accurate rifles are interesting” -Col. Townsend Whelen

    1. @ CaliRefugee

      Ohhhh I totally agree with the “philosophical waxing” and for those that don’t think that’s appropriate and discussing, remember where that pretty plastic wrapped hunk of cow came from…. OR the Vegetarian’s fish…. OR the Vegans plant goo. Not only that PD’s are very VERY destructive and carry an array of diseases/parasites.

      One shot of Scotch????? You would NEVER make it around my circle of crazies. And please remember “I’m a drunk, NOT an alcoholic, alcoholics go to meetings” … HAHAHA I did try the 12 steps road to recovery once, but it took me 14 steps to get in the bar door, so I failed miserable on that phase of life…. LOL

      I agree with Col. Townsend Whelen, 45-70 Sharp Shiloh Black Powder, open ladder sights, 560G bullet, 60g Swiss f-1.5 at 800 yards….. 18” circle. Some people just don’t know what fun really is…. Although you will NEVER find 800 yards of open space in the burbs…….

      NRP

  42. I don’t know my neighbors where I currently live. No, I could not count on them in an emergency. I have lived in a condo apartment and liked having a live in superintendent. I spoke to several people on a daily basis and when I retire I will move back to a well managed one. I am already packing and decluttering so that I can move in five years.

  43. To NRP and Mr Borton:

    I live in the suburbs and most of the trapping “jobs” were done in the suburbs. I posted articles last spring about nuisance skunk removal and ,within suburbs, I was the guy sent to houses to trap and remove skunks, raccoons and possums from beneath woodpiles or underneath wood decks.

    If any firearm was discharged within the burbs, odds are it was me firing 22 shorts out of my ruger pistol. 90+% of the time, animals were removed and no shots were fired. Suburbs are within city limits or they have their own police department so I cannot discharge guns within the ‘burbs.

    I was one of several people contacted by the County Trapper who did jobs in areas of the county where I knew the local police, residents and neighborhoods. In late spring and summer, the County Trapper will get overwhelmed with nuisance animal calls. This was on top of my day job at a hospital and my truck smelled of angry skunk for months on end.

    We took my wife’s car out when we went to dinner in town. If you run a side business like this, you NEED to reach out to at least meet your neighbors.

    1. @ CaliRefugee

      HAHAHA, Sorry you got me going on this one…

      “the County Trapper will get overwhelmed with nuisance animal calls”

      I’m envisioning some of my previous neighbors and their kids in CA being called on… LOL

      NRP

      PS; yes it’s been one of those days…

  44. Eric nailed it again in this article. Relationships with your neighbors–knowing who you can and cannot trust is vital, whether you experience an emergency or not.

    I’m fortunate in that my neighborhood in a rural AZ town is full of people who mostly think as I do. We talk when we see each other. Wave hello when we see each other and in short behave in a friendly fashion. When we retired here we made it a point to not buy in a neighborhood that had an HOA. Past experience with those mini-Nazi was enough to put me off them forever.

    We share the fruits of our orchard and garden with them when we have a surplus and in exchange receive the fruits of theirs. One neighbor has mature fig trees and another has a very consistent producer of excellent apples for baking. This is mutual assistance that builds friendships. If a neighbor calls on me to help I do so willingly and if I need help I know I can get it from one or more of them.

    What this means to my family is that if, or when, TSHTF we will have a mutual assistance group that will stand together to face the difficulties. If you don’t think that’s important you should adjust your thinking.

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