How To Determine When It’s REALLY SHTF instead of a ‘blow over’

When to pull up the drawbridge?

A MSB reader recently said,

“Where I live Semi Rural there is enough currently reported lawlessness, illegal drugs and people living paycheck to paycheck unable to replace a flat tire IN THE MIDDLE of Winter driving on a donut spare… to give me reason to be concerned.”

Most “Well Off” I see are living by the Credit Cards and minimum payments. When the SNAP Cards and such stop it will NOT BE PRETTY.

For MYSELF the big concern is deciding when to raise the drawbridge. To know enough to act decisively to the level of committed defensive actions.

– from ‘NH Michael’

Ken adds:

He brings up a very good topic for discussion. And one that is as serious as a heart attack. Many preppers may be avoiding this issue or have false notions about it. However regarding defensive security of one’s ‘castle’, you better think about this:

– When to ‘raise the drawbridge’
– How to KNOW when it’s ‘REALLY SHTF’ (without rule of law)
– To plan specific levels of defense depending on SHTF timeline


He goes on to say, “If you start shooting folks for stealing and it’s not as far along the SHTF timeline as you think, getting arrested and jailed is a POOR place to be in when the rest of the SHTF situation occurs.”

More thoughts:

– Strong defenses and varied responses to threats like zone control.

– Bear Spray instead of instant decisive LIFE CHANGING Behavior response to allow us TIME to KNOW if it’s a local issue or FULL ON SHTF without rule of law event.

– How to determine when to bump up our violence levels.

– Almost everybody makes the assumption that We Will KNOW when it IS SHTF.

– Going to Jail before full on SHTF (WROL) will be very hard on your family.

Ken’s thoughts on “How to Determine if it’s REALLY SHTF (WROL)

It is (perhaps) too presumptuous to imagine being transformed into a mindset of tactical / lethal force to ‘deal’ with perceived threats following what is believed to be major SHTF.

To avoid making horrible and life changing decisions in this regard, a responsible prepper better heed very serious due-diligence to determine the real level of SHTF. And then adjust one’s security responses accordingly.

My general advice is this…

Intel, intel, intel! Intelligence. Get some.

The key to what we’re talking about here is really this: “Without Rule Of Law” WROL.

You will need to determine if SHTF has broken down to the extent of WROL. Not only that, but how wide spread is WROL and will ROL return?

If there’s no longer any rule of law (no police / law enforcement / system of justice) in your town, locality, or area, but there’s still rule of law in the rest of the region, state, or country, then you’re still dealing with the rule of law! Take actions accordingly. Because you will likely (eventually) be held accountable.

If SHTF has devolved into complete widespread (temporary) breakdown, but eventually somehow returns to something of it’s former self regarding rule of law, then chances are you will be held accountable under that rule of law.

On the other hand, if the worst happens and societal chaos has uprooted the tree to the extent of no return, this may be another situation altogether.

HAM Radio, Shortwave Radio, Any Radio.

Tune in. Scan the dials. Listen. Hear and discover what’s going on elsewhere. Since we’re talking about hypothetical ‘REAL SHTF’, what you will be hearing (if anything) on the airwaves will have to do with what’s going on. Others with HAM radios reporting their news and discovering for themselves what’s happening elsewhere.

Tecsun PL880 Portable AM/FM, Longwave & Shortwave Radio w/ SSB (Single Side Band)

Discover if the event is widespread. Discover what others are reporting and doing.

You will need to decide and use your best judgement as to the extent of breakdown. Is it going to be temporary? Permanent? In between? What’s the severity? What’s being done about it? Is .gov or law enforcement taking action or non existent? Where is it the worst?

And adjust accordingly.

When is lethal force justified?

Does Your State Have A Castle Doctrine?

Under current law, which varies state by state, YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW AND UNDERSTAND when lethal force is justified where you live.

During ‘SHTF’, if the situation that presents itself is not justified under normal rule of law, will you be crossing that line? Why?

Are there other actions that you might take instead?

I’m just suggesting that you think about this.

Anybody else have any CONCERNS on how to determine when it is REALLY SHTF instead of a blow over situation??

Related: Social Collapse: Your Only Rights Are Those You Can Defend
Related: People Are Going To LOSE IT When Times Get Tough For Real
Related: Transporting Firearms Across State Lines


  1. Like the deep under currents of a river or rip tides of the ocean. What usually takes you down is what can’t be seen or heard. SHTF is here, now. The impulses we feel for the need to prep are the whispers of our inner being and angels. Be Prepared……………

  2. Ken as I am not yet a Ham Operator I do not know if Ham’s can listen in to Police and Emergency Services frequency’s? I know my scanner can and even if they are scrambling you can get some useful intelligence by the volume of the transmissions.

    As far a EMP attack I need to buy a second CB and Scanner for the Faraday Cage as I expect the operational ones when EMP occurs will be toast. BTW cool picture but my place doesn’t quite look that formal :-)

    1. I’m not a licensed HAM either, however it’s free to listen, AND to transmit if during an emergency.

      Regarding police scanners, today’s modern police transmissions though are often scrambled, depending on the town or city. Many are digital transmissions too – need a special scanner (more bucks).

      For SHTF discovery though, a shortwave radio (with HAM bands), like the one I linked in the article, will enable you to hear from around the country (and world) especially during the evening / at night when conditions are more favorable (the ionosphere).

    2. NH Michael & Ken;

      Honestly if even a slight shtf and the world is fine, who will give a flying fig if ya have a “Ham License”? Especially if something major is going on, They want to toss me in jail for keying a mic for asking if the Nukes hit the US, than go for it FCC.

      BUT as Ken said, listening is kinda fun even now to hear all the other crazies out there. Just keep the finger of the button, for now.

  3. Local, Regional, National, World Wide SHTF ???? Hard to know when communication is down. Ken is right but not always definitive – radios, shortwave included, are difficult in some mountainous areas.

    When a neighbor’s wife is raiding your garden for food as the husband stands guard with a gun? When someone is draining the fuel from your vehicles? If there are no LEO’s to call or if the response time is long, what do you do -shoot ??? Where is that red line?

    1. Neighbor raiding my garden with a guard?
      Thats a red line period, depending on range the one with the gun will get a 100g muzzy broadhead through his chest, and the one doing the raiding will get zip tied and burried alive right next to the other one

    2. hermit,

      SW doesn’t work for me anymore. Even with a long wire, there is just too much RF soup. I can’t even pull in WWV or VoA. I’d probably be poking around in the MW band hoping to find a distant super station off an ionospheric skip to get news.

      Raiding anything on my property with an armed guard standing by will be perceived by me as a direct threat to my life. If possible I would take up a defensive position, draw a bead, and bark out one very firm order to leave immediately. Inhale, Relax, Exhale, … Squeeze? Your call, armed trespassers. I have sufficient video coverage for my legal defense.

      1. McGyver,
        SW reception is poor on the shorter bands (like 2M) right now due to the solar cycle and lack of sunspots. (No sunspots= no atmospheric ionization, poor signal). Try the 80 meter band (3.5-4.0 Mhz) and you will find the band is ‘open’ the majority of the time, more traffic.

        1. The 40 and 80 meter bands seem pretty regularly open up here in the evenings.

        2. Sunspots have little to no effect on anything over 30 mhz.

          Most comms 50 mhz and up are very local. There may be some effect from temperature inversions , but they usually occur in the summer and are rare.

      2. McGyver and others how about an offer to trade labor for food? If they are not full on scumbags you maybe starting a relationship to the benefit of both of you.

        I know if my family was hungry and I needed food I would get some. Better to establish your not to be trifled with and employ them than worry they will find others to force you out of that food patch.

        1. NH Michael,

          If they weren’t full on scumbags, I would expect them to knock on my door and ask permission. So we’d be starting off on the wrong foot I think.
          Plus this is just an average <10,000 s/f lot with soil that is hostile to gardening. I've got my fruit trees, but everything else is LTS. Not that I'd be opposed to forming a mutually beneficial alliance… but my overall planning doesn't anticipate it.

        2. McGyver not all that wander are lost. Your tactical situation as described is about as urban as I fear. My first though is why have you not moved yet? Your efforts to garden while admirable are not defendable. You do not have space for my Zone Defense nor the ability to funnel people to areas you Want them to be. Oy Vayyyy

          I can almost “Hear” the discussion between the Husband and Wife just prior to the Garden Event. The kids need food what do we do? He’s got lots of food (non gardeners know nothing of the effort to reward ratio) should we ask? He’d say no and maybe shoot us? Or at least he would KNOW we were the thieves next time. Maybe we can sneak some, he’d never notice…

          Yeah Even normally decent people can be quite that ignorant. Well McGyver your live with in that area and from your postings you are quite aware of the potential troubles you face. For the price of a 150 round box of AR ammo you can have a garbage can filled with a cheap grain grinder and a few bags of Horse Feed Corn, maybe some pinto beans cleverly treated with DE to keep bugs from eating it and have an awesome amount of potential food to share. If it was a short term blow over situation you would be looked at as a friend as opposed to as that crazy who killed little bobby and got burned out.

          Remember to use a little CLEAN White wood ash when you cook that corn to prevent the “Southern Disease” known a Pegreilla (Spelling?) as it frees up a lot of nutrition from the corn. Works well for Mexicans and others south of the boarder. I like Mexican Food :-)

    3. Goodness friends am I the only one that has a Tear Gas Catapult? I have gotten pretty good lobbing various pay loads accurately. If I get serious about area denial you will not enjoy a poison oak smudge pot. Yes you can wash the residue off food stuffs, I tested that idea personally as the Tribe was a tad worried about that.

      With a person raiding my garden they got past my zone defenses AND I will have a talk with my security team about that later. AGAIN is it REALLY as far along that WROL as you think?

      1. Mike,
        You most likely are, but i got a paintball gun that will go full auto and 4 big boxes of pepper balls, can have some fun with that, a friend of mine sent me a couple boxes of rubber balls that go in it,, those are fun,,,

        1. YEAH, Nailbanger I have been looking at that toy but my toy is good for 150 yards with an filled liter wine bottle. I am SO Generous I want them to have some Wine with my food. :-)

        2. NHM
          Woh thats some range,,,, think my paint ball gun is only good at 40-50 yds ish or so and even less on the rubber balls, those damn things sting by the way,,, dont ask

        1. Nailbanger if you want a Trebuchet so Build it! My “Little Friend” started out life as a long steel leaf spring from the junk yard. Technically it’s more a Ballista than a catapult as it can throw black iron spears through both sides of an old junk yard Buick but with a leather and wicker basket throw other items pretty well :-)

        2. NHM
          You ever watch Punkin Chunkin
          I like the industrial size stuff

        3. Nailbanger the Pumpkin Chunkin is Inspiring! I try to go every few years to meet and greet friends of the Great Pumpkin :-)

          Most of their gear can really out range my “Little Friend”.

        4. Freeze the paint balls, prior to immediate “deployment”, increases range 10-30 yards depending upon pressure. Yeah, they hurt, leave welts, etc. Pepper balls can be purchased by civilians, btw.

    4. Where’s your “red-line” right now, in what we call normal times? Why would that line change in less stable times? Tactics, yes. Justification, no.

      If you caught someone raiding your garden today, with their spouse (or any other companion) standing watch with a gun, would you shoot them w/o at least a verbal challenge from cover first? If the verbal challenge is met with hostility, would it be better to “stand your ground” or risk losing a few vegetables, while you gather reinforcement before engaging?

      Understand this, just because you can doesn’t mean you should in deadly force encounters, especially in an environment where norms of behavior have gone out the window. That man/wife garden thief team may well have a couple more hidden security units you don’t see.

      Me personally, in the scenario described, would dispose of the bravado, challenge from cover and concealment, and observe their reaction, and adjust my tactics accordingly. Avoiding deadly force should be paramount if at all possible. Killing someone is a terrible experience, even when “justified”. It’s final, no do-overs. Make it a last resort, not a first response. I’ll leave this comment saying this……. there is no rule that says the guy who is right wins the gun fight.

      1. Dennis,

        In my experience anyone who would be so bold as in hermit’s scenario will not be satisfied with one garden haul. If they get away with that, now I’m a soft target, they will be back, probably wanting to know what’s inside the house.

        But to your scenario, if it happened right now? One call to our local PD would handle it; they truly are outstanding. But if the police aren’t answering the phone, and the thin veneer of civil society has already fractured… such activity must be stopped in it’s tracks.

        No, I wouldn’t use deadly force unless it was a return fire situation. And I would never harm anyone just pilfering some vegetables. But if they show up with an armed escort, sorry, the volume knob just went to 11.

        1. McGyver,
          The comments I make are usually either founded in my experience in LE or based on personal experience. Contrary to what many seem to believe, I know of no jurisdiction where the act of trespassing and/or theft is justifiable homicide without exigent circumstances (not inferring that you believe that it is). I am pointing out that sometimes things are not what they appear to be.

          Case in point. Some twenty+ years ago, my wife and I returned from a shopping trip to town and observed two men traversing one of our pastures, both carrying shotguns. I dropped my wife off at the house, placed my pistol in my lap and drove across the pasture to confront the trespassers. I quartered my pick-up across their path and addressed them through the window by asking why they had not asked permission to hunt on my property. The one closest to me responded belligerently, “You don’t own this land, my cousin does!”. Knowing I was in the right, I informed him that I wouldn’t have built my house and put up a couple of miles of barbed wire fencing on land I didn’t own and my patience was wearing thin with him, that he needed to leave. He responded forcefully that he wasn’t going anywhere. As I reached to open the pick-up door, gripping my pistol (which I had yet to expose), the talkers’s companion quickly asked “Dennis, don’t you recognize me?” I turned my attention to him, scrutinizing him closer, finally recognizing him as another police officer I had formerly worked with, who had transferred to undercover duty and had grown a beard, and I had not seen in a couple of years. Long story short, he had accepted a neighbor’s invitation to go hunting on his “cousin’s land” that just happened to be the adjoining farm to mine. My work friend had no idea where I lived. His recognizing me in time, prevented what could have been a bad confrontation between two people who were both sure they were in the right. We went to my house, had a cold beer and they continued their hunt, on my land and with my permission.

          I understand and recognize the changes in awareness and tactics if things go south, but when folks start shooting other folks just due to first impressions, I feel they likely will find themselves targets themselves. I’m just advising restraint to the extent possible. And no, that doesn’t mean standing down and doing nothing.

          Discussions like this are good as they cause folks to form viable response plans.

        2. Wow Dennis, I think your UC friend let that situation develop too far. If he recognized you, obviously he knew you didn’t recognize him. That was pretty reckless of him to let motor mouth keep going like that. Your restraint, prior training and experience prevented a potentially ugly situation.

          I agree with you that these mental exercises are good practice. In thinking over hermit’s original scenario, I’ve realized that my back stops are potentially quite horrible, pretty much 360 degrees. I can only hope and pray to God that I’m never faced with a life or death challenge at home. Or anywhere else for that matter.

          Your input, as always, is well-reasoned, thought provoking, very intelligent and clearly the product of raw experience that few of us will ever know.

        3. McGyver,
          You’re right, he did wait too long. Later, he explained that he was enjoying the fact that I had failed to recognize him. That was, as he described it, “that look in your eyes said I better say something quick”.
          As a side note, he was carrying an original Rossi coach gun, the old 18″ barrels double with exposed hammers, which I noted immediately and considered out of place and suspect for a hunter. I wish I had bought a dozen of them for the price you could get them for back then.

        4. McGiver
          Real good point, right now it would definitely het a call to the cops/911 with the note that theres someone with a gun and im prepared to defend against that.
          The guy with gun would be arrested on about a dozen nonos and his partner on a few as well,
          But like you said, IF its a WORL thats a different story, my assumption was that the scenario was the latter, its them or me, dont plan on bein easy

      2. I’m a part timer either the Local PD, one call and a mass text and only one dirt road in…

      3. Dennis-we had a nasty situation with the previous owner of our house (person decided after closing they didn’t want to actually move out). We found ourselves dealing with someone with legitimate mental health issues (bi-polar/schizophrenia), who made multiple threats to us and came onto the property several times illegally, including a time of deliberate vandalism while we watched. That experience has taught us that a level head is crucial and to NEVER escalate the situation. It’s always better to play defense, than to engage and make a tense situation volatile.

        Yes, it sucked to watch the person throw our belongings into a burning fire pit, but not engaging and instead staying inside behind locked doors until the sheriffs dept. arrived was the smart thing to do, since we had no idea what weapons the person may have had on them.

        If the person had decided to leave the yard/garage and break into the house, then it would have been a different scenario (we had the kids go to an upstairs bedroom and lock themselves in, so we knew where they were in case we had to use firearms to defend ourselves). But the authorities were there within 10 minutes and dealt with the situation (4 separate times, before the person finally left us alone).

        So if someone came onto our property now and started stealing/causing mischief we’d stay inside and let our security cameras record everything while we waited for the sheriff. If they moved on to inside then they would be stopped, but only after it had gotten to that point. In a SHTF situation the rules will change, but it would take a lot for us to alter how we handle this kind of situation.

        1. Svzee,

          Thankfully, the situation you described is fairly uncommon. When something like that does occur it’s a hard pill to swallow to watch the loss of your property, especially when you are a type-A personality like myself. The sad truth is, in today’s reality, intervening can, and probably will, bring even more monetary loss to you personally, if you try to stop the perpetrator and they incur an injury as a result of your actions. There is no semblance of common sense to it, but it’s a fact.
          My personal red line today is when an unavoidable, direct threat to myself or another innocent, of bodily harm occurs. I’ll not take a life to prevent loss of replaceable property. The key word here is “replaceable”. I can foresee a time when a cow, gasoline, or an operable tractor is not “replaceable”. Hope I never have to defend that new red line. If that time comes, I’ll afford them every opportunity to retreat as is tactically practical, even after wrol.

      4. You are 100 percent right Dennis. Killing someone even if in the right is something that will be with you for the rest of your life. I’m not sure a lot of people understand that.

    5. Hermit
      Ya got me thinking here at work.
      Does it really have to be the S hitting the Fan to be any different than now? Someone is in my yard with a gun (regardless if there is another in my garden.
      I felt threatened. I life was in danger.
      Stealing gas? Find some cover. Rack a shotgun. If lead comes flying your way… life was in danger.
      Someone kicking in your door at anytime day or.night? 12 guage buck. My /my family’s life was in danger.
      So it might be different reasons in SHTF……he held.a knife, axe, shovel in an aggressive manner to get my can of.beans. -21 foot rule- my life danger.
      ROL without the W.
      Just my take. Back ta work.

    6. hermit us – Your comment about the husband standing guard with a gun gave me a giggle. You realize, of course, that the gun could just be a prop to flush you out towards the husband, while the wife deploys her concealed carry and blasts you while your attention is on him. Concealed guns are all around us these days. I consider everyone armed everywhere (even many gun-free zones).

      CD in Oklahoma

      1. CD in Oklahoma;
        Ahhhhh what’s a “gun-free zone”?
        If you’re carrying correctly, nobody will know……

        1. NRP – Yea, and if you carry two of them, one on each hip, they can be cleverly disguised as extra large love handles on an old fat boy!

          CD in Oklahoma

        2. CD in Oklahoma;
          Hence boom boom on one side, extra mags on the other.
          FYI, the AR sits comfortably under a coat (in winter) in the center of the back……

          NOT that I would know of course.

        3. Speaking of love handles, I got some good news today in an email from the NRA:

          “Yesterday, the Oklahoma House approved Senate Bill 1212 with a pro-gun amendment by a 59-28 vote. Senate Bill 1212 will now be sent back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. Senate Bill 1212, as amended, would recognize the rights of law-abiding Oklahoma residents to carry a firearm for self-defense without having to first obtain a government mandated license to do so.” (Constitutional Carry)

          CD in Oklahoma

        4. NRP
          Like in my fruity little leather fanny pack that nicely hides my 1911 commander and 2 extra mags

        5. Nailbanger, we call those “fruity little leather fanny packs”, a Murse. (Man purse) Yes, my masculinity is secure, and I have a Camelback Murse, that totes water(nice amount) as well as a BHP and extra 15 round mags. It’s blue, masculine color, and no one has tumbled to the fact, that it is a gun bag. “Oh, when did Camelback make one of “those?”….

      2. CD

        In a situation like is bein discussed, carryin a gun for a “prop” would be beggin to eliminated from the gene pool.

        1. Wood56gas – Yeah, you might be right. The intent of my “prop” comment was to point out that just because you don’t see other firearms, doesn’t meant that there aren’t any. Just showing the gun made him a target.

          This kind of “what-iffn” can get complicated because there are so many variables. While it’s a good exercise to think about things, I don’t plan too far out and just try to be prepared for anything from “Oops, wrong garden” to “We’re taking your garden and your treadle sewing machines by force”. I think cautious confrontation before annihilation is still going to be the best approach regardless.

          CD in Oklahoma

      3. Well it looks like you all beat me to it, but it looks like we are all saying.the same.

        Remember when CCW was coming about and states where starting to relax their previous laws of CCW?
        “It’s gonna be like.the wild west again…..”
        From Breitbart
        ‘On April 20, 2018, Reason magazine quoted Kleck’s reaction to the unpublished CDC findings; he explained that a figure of 2.46 million DGUs a year “[implies] that guns were used defensively by victims about 3.6 times as often as they were used offensively by criminals.” ‘
        DGU. Defensive Gun Use

    7. In the garden situation, I think that I would probably let them take what they got, and let them leave. If no gun were involved, however, then I would confront them the first time. I don’t think that getting shot over a few veggies is an even trade.
      However, after them having left, I would immediately put up adequate signage indicating the a successive visit would have the potential to yield results unlike the first.

  4. We have often talked about this possibility. If there is no communication, no tv, no internet we will assume the worst until we know otherwise. The doors will be secured with more than deadbolts, and likely a watch will be instituted.
    A few years ago, a storm not only knocked out electricity but cable and phones. The only news we had was from a portable radio. It just happened that our local radio was announcing which streets were closed because of downed trees, which gas stations had power, which stations were out of gas, so we had news of the current events. Of course without the radio we would not have known how wide spread the damage was or even if it was safe to go out.
    Gathering intel should be your first priority.

  5. In days of old one would see the invading armies coming to their castle, or look outs would warn the villagers time to pack your bags flee to the castle.

    In todays modern climate of thinking an ‘lifestyle’, it will be hard to determine when it is time to batten the hatches, pull up the draw bridge & prepare for the siege. Each area that we all reside in has it pluses & minus. As stated my NHM, we all have areas surrounding where our homes are located that resemble his description from squalor to fairly nice homes but all who are living on the edge.

    Example in 1995, the steel power girders where blown down by hurricane force winds knocking out power to major portions of the state of Kommifornia. Power was then rerouted taking it away from the north to feed the middle/southern part of the state.
    We were without power(all electric home)for 10 days, using two generators we were able to keep necessities going(no water from the well). the lifesaver for this disaster was a short wave radio and land line phones. At that time we had three groups of undesirables who slummed their backsides in this private community area. Dh had told the head of these sleaze bags, if anything came up missing on our place he would be the first one dh would looking at on this matter.

    1. AC,

      We get power outages about 12 times a year, due to SCE’s crumbling infrastructure. The next one is scheduled for next weekend, all night and into the next day. I’m always concerned about criminal activity when the power is out. We can’t run a genny in the middle of the night. So hopefully between half a dozen blade UPS’s, batteries, propane and the 2kw inverter on my truck, I can make it look like we are the only ones who have electricity. It’s worked in the past. Neighbors are always curious why we still have power.

  6. While I agree with the need for outside information/news (it’s such a natural part of our non-shtf lifestyle), I believe that intimate first hand knowledge of the natural ebb and flow of human activity in your own neck of the woods. Just like an experienced woodsman knows instantly when something is not right because of the changes in sounds/activities of the small critters/birds/insects, it is wise to pay attention to the increase/decrease/ of human activity on the roads and trails surrounding your home. (I’m speaking of those who live remote/secluded like myself).

    Hypothetical: In my area, human activity, especially unfamiliar vehicle traffic on our unpaved road system, increases dramatically the closer it comes to deer season. Opening day brings a large influx of such unfamiliar vehicles. This activity dwindles as the season progresses. If an influx takes place when no game season coincides, I look for the reason. If an influx takes place, without an out-flux fairly quickly, I will up my vigilance and begin a lowering of tolerance for acts of disrespect/violating my personal space (yeh, I’ll become a snowflake, albeit, a snowflake that will burn you if you get too close).

    One problem I expect with broad cast information in a true shtf scenario will be intentional dissemination of misinformation.

  7. The best way to determine that an event is short-term or long-term is by how long it’s been going on without improvement. Otherwise, it’s just a guess. If it’s only been a short time since the beginning of the event, it’s still just a short-term event even though conditions may be dire. If it’s been a long time without relief, then it’s becoming a long-term event. It won’t really make much difference. Everyone will need to start relying on their preps the day of the event, and continue that daily, for as long as needed or for as long as possible.

    If an interruption of required services occurs, an unprepared person in a large urban area won’t have it any worse than an unprepared person in a rural unpopulated area. If you’re not prepared, you’re not prepared. Most people realize that it’s easier to be more prepared in a rural setting, simply because living is less dependent on services being provided by others versus providing them themselves or doing without them. Rural settings also tend to provide community cooperation by default. When something happens in a small community, it’s normal for the people in the community to band together to work toward a solution. I don’t see any change in that being the case during a nation-wide event, or even a world-wide event.

    WRL (Without Rule of Law) is a myth IMHO, and certainly isn’t relative to short-term or long-term SHTF duration. There’s always going to be rule of law. It just depends on whose laws you need to go by at any given time. An armed home invasion is a very short-term event that may require lethal defense. Whether or not a killing might be justified by others later will most likely not even be considered by the person whose life is being threatened by the invader. As for long-term events, war criminals are tried, found guilty, and executed decades after the end of the war for following laws made by anyone other than the victors. The best rule of thumb for any situation is to not kill anyone unless you have to, no matter the situation. Just be prepared to do so if needed.

    CD in Oklahoma

  8. Being able to gather intelligence, whether via HAM radio, internet (not all SHTF scenarios involved immediate and total grid down), telephone, etc., will be of great value in getting a better idea of just what you may or may not “be in for”. Is it likely that Rule of Law will be returning? How soon? To what extent? I honestly believe that it would take a disaster of massive proportion to render WROL.

    Ken is right, being in jail is a very poor position to find yourself in when the S is starting to HTF! However, it’s worse for your loved ones who now have to not only worry about you and the pending legal actions, but are also without a key member of their family, their household, or their group.

    Depending on where you live, your immediate situation will be the determining factor in whether or not you will have to deal with LEOs. Know your Rights, know which ones the state has infringed upon where you live (some places STILL require you to flee your home if it is invaded instead of defending it!), even trivial things such as if the person you are defending yourself or others against is some LEOs relative could be THE determining factor in what happens next. Know the general stance of your local LEA. Are they fairly pro or anti???

    Even without a SHTF scenario, you may find yourself in a situation that requires you to take action, up to and including the use of deadly force. Home invasion, car jacking, robbery, encountering vandals/burglars on your property, etc.

    In ANY place, the use of deadly force has some qualifiers that must be met in order for it to be justified, the most common being that you must show that you (meaning a generally intelligent, average citizen) had sufficient reason to be in fear for your life or the life of another and were defending it from the immediate threat of death or grievous bodily harm. Witnesses help; or at least the ones on YOUR side should. People are all too willing to place their hand on the Holy Bible and lie their a$$es off to justify their actions, or defend the actions of a friend or family member, so if there are witnesses on the “other” side it could get dicey.

    Honestly, unless there is open rioting/looting/warfare of some sort in the roads and fields, those qualifiers should still be foremost in your mind. If THE big balloon ever goes up and we do descend into widespread WROL, then obviously you should take whatever measures you feel are necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones. Whether in civilized society or total anarchy, a threat isn’t a threat until it’s a threat. I recommend treating all potential WROL situations as temporary unless/until OVERWHELMING evidence to the contrary is known.

    Stay calm, use your instincts. Be aware of your surroundings and take extra precautions such as fortifying the home, staying in groups (no one goes out alone), keeping a watchful eye, etc.

    And, believe it or not… take notes. Yep, write down the details of all encounters (whether any level of force is deployed or not) while those details are still fresh in your mind. Date, time, weather, specifics of the scenario, what was said, who said it, who did what, etc. Then, when ROL returns (and it does have a way of doing that even after horrible disasters) you will be better prepared to defend yourself should someone start making claims against you and yours. If their information is less precise than yours, they will be less believable.

  9. I think the belief in the, “day after scenario” is way over used by the prepping community. Every day could be a potential SHTF if trouble comes your way. The white South African farmers are going through hell as I write this, but little is being mentioned about it in our PC world. They have some very good survivalist groups supporting each other’s backs from a corrupt, indifferent government, while being surrounded by millions of communist who wish to only murder, rape and steal what has been in their family’s for generations. Zimbabwe destroyed their own country by murdering and destroying the productive farmers as they are now doing in South Africa. I doubt the whites in South Africa or in former Rhodesia could have ever imagined their nations could have become the dangerous cesspools they are today. There is a large, anti Christian, anti gun, anti white and anti Constitutional movement growing all across the world and in the US right now. Use your imagination and look at South Africa to understand how bad it could become in the US. Gaining and giving support by trusted friends and neighbors is vital to one’s survival. Having your home invaded, being shot during a car jacking, family members being raped and murdered is just as lethal as any EMP scenario. Having your children, income, property, firearms, etc “stolen by an out of control government” leaving you destitute and helpless is a very real scenario. These times they are a changing and so does the perception and idea of what preparing and survival is all about. I have already lifted my draw bridge, but I still have to lower it daily to function and live in this increasingly confusing, dangerous world. The ability to have a foolish, lackadaisical indifference to the life we live is a long ago dream. This is not being paranoid but observant of our reality today.

    1. Wolfgar,

      You touched on a hot potato there. SA farmers have been in grave danger for a long time. It sickens me to see the send off that Winnie “necklace” Mandela received. Rhodesia/Zim… few in this country are familiar with it. Very politically incorrect to discuss these dynamics in America. That’s going to have to change. There is little difference these days between Soweto, Chicago, Harare, Atlanta, Ballmer, etc.

    2. Wolfgar,
      You wrote; “I have already lifted my draw bridge, but I still have to lower it daily to function and live…”.and, “The ability to have a foolish, lackadaisical indifference to the life we live is a long ago dream. This is not being paranoid but observant of our reality today.”

      Agree with that, have pulled back from the society we have; observing it crumbling. Still driving forward trying everyday to improve the current personal living environment.

  10. One important factor that we have been forced to consider in our area is the migration of people from larger areas. These people have no ‘roots’ here and consequently have no respect for the tried and true lifestyle and morals of country life. We have people in this region who actually drive into DC for the extra money! Others will commute 50-60 miles to the outskirts — they live here but it’s nothing but a house-investment and bedroom for some. These people contribute nothing because they’re not really HERE.

    The other factor we have been watching is the moral fabric of our region — it has gone downhill in the past 10 years or so. Thefts are up. Illegals are in this region. Road rage, at times, is horrible.

    So we are not kidding ourselves in thinking we are ‘safe’ here. Quite the contrary! Twenty years ago, we didn’t have this problem at all. Fortunately, the problems aren’t really in our neighborhood or our community, but ‘threats’ can quickly travel into this area — as long as there are the means to do so.

    Strangers, and even acquaintances, see things — they may even be looking specifically for certain items or signs where they might become thieves in the night. Acquaintances, neighbors, quasi-friends, and friends-of-friends (even readers on a social media platform) may have gathered information somehow (people talk too damn much!!) and then decide to take advantage of you if you have gone away for a weekend or a long trip. Happens all the time. So the less people learn or ‘know’, the better.

    A home invasion is something we have been preparing for. We have a number of deterrents set up outside and indoors, and every room in our home has a personal protection device. Or two.
    Having fences w/ locked driveway gates is a big deterrent, so anyone who crosses onto our property, or is inside our home is trespassing (unless they have been invited), has breached our perimeters.

  11. We are one of those where calling the police is a 1-2 hour wait. And we don’t get very good radio reception here. We have a CCcrane radio with a double ferrite Core. And we sitll get don’t get radio at night and it is a bit staticy during the day. We used to listen to shortwave when we lived in Tucson and are going to try it here tonight.
    Our power can be iffy and was once off for 2 days when we were on vacation. My neighbor was watering my plants with water I had stored in plastic juice bottles. She was over at my house collecting the bottles for herself and husband and told us it was for other neighbors. As you might guess she no longer waters our plants when we are gone.
    But this is a good discussion, I never thought about what could happen when SHTF is short term.

  12. Could it be possible that a major indicator of collapse (wrol) would possibly be the conspicuous implacement of blue helmets throughout the country?
    The need to maintain control in time of economic and societal collapse? Would something such as that seem to indicate that circumstances could possibly be nearing an undesirable phase?

  13. Well see I believe you ALL have it wrong, being the true American and Patriot that I am, I believe 1000% in our current system of FEMA aka Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FCC Emergency Alert Systems, Our infamous MSM News Broadcasters, and a multitude of many MANY other well ran and oiled systems to protect and inform the People of this United States of America.

    I truly believe OUR .gov will be there to protect us fully in ANY emergency or SHTF scenario. I would even go so far as to say the outstanding agencies will go literally door to door to inform us that “Hi I’m from the government, I’m here to help”.

    I just don’t understand the need for anyone in their right mind-set to believe they need to personally find alternate forms of communications whereas the government has the Emergency Broadcasting System and most certainly knows what is best for the Masses of people. Additionally please remember they have well stocked warehouses/distribution-centers full of supplies to distribute in case of need by the People, and an extremely superb means of distributing these need supplies fairly and evenly due to the need of the People.

    So please forgive me if I see the criticism being displayed in this Article and Comments as not being forthright and helpful to those that read such. We all need to understand the GREATNESS of our government/leaders and how understand and generous they are to those in need.

    In times of SHTF I sincerely know in my heart we all will be taken care of with the generosity of those in power aka TPTB.

    Thank you all for reading my post and following my logical insight to the possibility of any tragic occurrence.

    Now forgive me I need to go relieve my Intestinal Track into the nearest Porcelain Throne and have another 5-6 shots of Gin.

    PS; What’s really sad is I know some people that actually think that way……

      1. NH Michael;
        Ahhhh hell dude, you should hear the stuff I don’t put to ‘paper’ HAHAHAHA

    1. NRP,
      I know I’m responding to an old post… What you wrote is EXACTLY what .gov wants the snowflake sheeple to believe. What I don’t understand is WHY people don’t/won’t take care of themselves. Maybe my short comings are that I was raised in the Mtns. by farmers. Ya, we had short growing seasons but we never went hungry and never froze.
      Maybe its just the hillbilly in me.

  14. Washington State RCW 9A.16.110
    Defending against violent crime
    (1) No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or for coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping, arson, burglary, rape, murder, or any other violent crime as defined in RCW 9.94A.030

    Enough said.!!!

  15. So, a wide range of opinions about someone raiding your garden, maybe at night, with a guard against bears, wolves, people – without knowing if it is a local or wide ranging SHTF event.

    How many Officers have been killed lately just responding to a domestic complaint or just serving some papers? Dennis confronting two men with shotguns on his property is a gamble these days, in my opinion.

    If you allow people to just take your stuff, you know it will continue until you have nothing left. I think the majority consensus is to confront the raiders from concealment and respond with only justified violence. I’m sorry to say that it has come down to us needing to hide on our own property to survive thieves and possible government retribution.

    1. If you are speaking figuratively – I will never lay down with the hogs or fall in with the corrupt system.

      1. I happen to know of a few hog farms nearby. Hog farmers with drinking problems were known to vanish with out a trace and the rumor is he became Pig *hit.

        BTW that doesn’t change the flavor of the bacon a few weeks later.

  16. I don’t ever foresee a time when the US will be WROL. What I DO foresee is the Rule of Law changing from the present system to a martial law/dictatorship system. Atrocities and violation of natural rights will be committed on a wholesale basis by the minions of ZOG but it all will be done legally (“I vas only followink orders, Mein Herr!”). Given the level of police overreach and non-accountability that we see now on a daily basis, does anyone realistically think that it will get any better in the future – especially when (not if) civilization goes into full-collapse?

    The cops and similar government functionaries will be protected while the PFCs (poor f-ing civilians…that’s us) will legally be prohibited from defending ourselves against the collapse – and it will be sanctioned BY LAW. The ZOGgies will be allowed to do almost anything to a PFC but a PFC will be crucified if he tries to do anything ZOG doesn’t like. We’re rapidly approaching that now.

    For example, the gun confiscation scenario. People like to honk and blow about “Well, I’m a law-abidin’ citizen! I ain’t got nothin’ to fear from ZOG.” Sure. And, when ZOG passes blatantly unconstitutional laws mandating gun confiscation, are you still going to be a “law-abidin’ citizen” and voluntarily turn all of yours in? Do you really think that ZOG functionaries will be “oathkeepers” and refuse to enforce unconstitutional laws? You’re a damn fool if you believe that and you’ll probably wind up being a DEAD fool.

    It all come down to four simple rules:

    1) Stay under ZOG’s radar as much as possible;
    2) Prep like hell but don’t be obvious about it.
    3) Learn to stash/hide certain items that ZOG wants to or will want to deprive you of
    4) Most importantly – KEEP YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT!

    1. Frank,

      Sounds like you got it figured out ;)
      I definitely agree with the ‘gray man’ approach.

      Your scenario of ‘law-abidin’ PFC’s vs. an empowered LE (backed by martial law/dictatorship system) might be something that plays out.

      It is a good exercise to ‘think’ about such things. Plan accordingly.

      1. Franks scenario sounds a LOT like current Venezuela. And is the worst case scenario I plan for. An EMP would be ugly but my tribe could deal with it after the Go Dark period of 4-6 months Gimme Dats/Gangs situation.

        Venezuela keeps on going and going getting worse every day as LEO/Military get used to being Armed Thugs and become even more efficient.

        Have a Plan B Olive Barrel? Can give you a chance to rebuild after your left beaten and stripped of foodstuffs and valuables.

        1. Sorry tired. Go Dark period 4-6 WEEKS before EMP driven disease, starvation and general people killing off people.

        2. As I have read, all the while here on this subject,
          I will not take it lying down, whimpering, and be all submissive to what ever comes.our way.
          I used to be a nice guy. (No really)
          and got trampled on by everyone, no matter how close…..I thought.
          My life experience has tought me a tired, bitter
          I will fight, til.death, for what I (this country) believes in.

    2. Frank,
      I want to publicly denounce your comment. Anyone who may be monitoring these pages should understand that I just hang out here to learn how to grow a garden and sew my own clothes. I trust my government and know they are looking out for my welfare.

        1. Joe c
          Well, I’m a HARD learner, still trying to figure that SOFT tissue out.

      1. Okay I’l admit that I really like government hogs. :) Why is that drone overhead?

        1. Hermit
          Ok don’t panic!
          Just because that drone is in your face.., don’t mean ya need to smack it with a baseball bat!!
          I’m sure it’s just for ur well be-ing

        2. Joe
          Ya, it must be a cash delivery just like the gift to Iran. Ha

    3. OldHomsteader,
      Sounds like you know theirs ways… All the better educated to hide well. You know what, how and where they will look.

  17. When you think it is time to lock down— lock down.
    If you misjudged, you can reopen.
    No harm
    If you are right, you are right!

    1. Tango
      So true
      I even lock my vehicles in the driveway, always lock the house doors, sheds.
      Heck, even GF locks me outta the house on occasion! She hasn’t locked me in the shed , YET
      (Hence I carry a cell phone)

  18. I really don’t want to kill anyone but understand in a worse case scenario it might be necessary. As it is now if someone breaks into my house he will be met by myself and my 12 gauge. He will be ordered to stop and get on the floor. I will not rack the weapon, the round is already chambered. If I’m forced into firing he will take a hit with rubber buckshot. If that isn’t enough the next one is lead. I don’t really know about the ballistics of rubber shot and maybe those more knowledgeable could enlighten me.

    I think it shows intent was to stop the threat without killing if possible.

    Should round number 2 be bird shot in the leg? Or buckshot? Birdshot is less lethal than buckshot but in a breakdown most any wound that enters a body cavity would probably be lethal without definitive medical care. Some just more slowly than others. Even a flesh wound could be lethal when you consider MRSA’s prevalence in society. Not a good way to die. I hope it never comes to that.

    1. Me the Rubber Buckshot is Less than Lethal ammo. A couple of pellets in the throat can crush the trachea and kill someone. At in the house ranges Very Effective even Vs. A Level 3A vest like a club to the chest. Basically an Ounce of Rubber at around 1200 feet per second hit’s pretty well like an Ounce of Lead but less penetration.

      An ounce or ounce and a quarter of #6 Birdshot at in the house ranges will shred any flesh not covered by Kevlar. Seen the results in the Operating Room more than once. Happily it will not punch through more than one sheet rock wall. I know this because I built 2 x 4 stud walls sheathed by 1/2″ sheet rock both sides and fired at it from 10 feet. Thus #6 is my Go To for First Round then Number 4 Buckshot.

      So for your question Rubber for first shot inside house not a bad idea. Second #6 or #4 birdshot (lead please) in leg will drop anybody. Even a full on crack head cannot run on a shattered leg bone. After that then it’s #4 Buckshot all the way as your really in trouble.

    2. me ,

      Like NH Michael says, bird shot at normal in the house ranges is devastating. Less than 7 yds the damage is indistinguishable from buckshot. At longer ranges, say 25-35 yds, it can still be very lethal. I almost lost a partner to a single #6 shot pellet fired from 40 yds away. He didn’t even realize he had been hit in the initial engagement. After the shooter had been neutralized, he said he was having a hard time catching his breath, then collapsed to the ground, unconscious. We laid him in the backseat of a squad car, not waiting for an ambulance, and sped to the hospital. A single pellet had penetrated his left lung, leading to it’s collapse. The only outward evidence he had been hit was two pellets lodged in his metal name plate above his left pocket. We had not seen that until we were in the brightly lit hospital emergency room. He wore that slightly bent name plate with the two pellets welded to it, for the next five years, when he left to accept the Chief of Police position at his alma mater.

      1. Guys, thanks for the input. I kind of figured that the birdshot would be more than adequate at close range.

  19. EMP question here, instead of a faraday cage how deep would you have to bury an item to protect it?

    1. Kenny,
      Better consider some sort of faraday cage. I don’t have a complete answer to you, but I know from work that I have done that you can get ground currents very deep underground. You might be okay from a nuclear EMP, but from a CME from the sun, you could be screwed. Hey, even a metal trash can sealed with metal HVAC tape is better than nothing.

  20. Prudence dictates that it always really is SHTF until it has blown over..
    Watch and pray.

  21. Great article, so many considerations when determining what type of response is called for.

    One prep I often see overlooked is a good pair of handcuffs. Leg restraints and chain restraint belts are a must if you plan to hold someone for extended amount of time. What if it takes the police several days to reach you? Rope may work but trust me, when someone is fighting and uncooperative your going to want to keep it simple.

    Mental health in SHTF will be bad and options are your friends. My bite proof Kevlar gloves have proven valuable to me before. You might need them for a friend or family member who has a severe mental breakdown. This WILL happen once the medications run out. It happens even now, when people go off their medications. These types of situations are dangerous and they should not be taken lightly.

      1. That seems like a good idea, but it is not. You will never get them on. Retraining someone actively fighting you is not easy. If you have overwhelming numbers than it would work, but that is a best case scenario.

        Zip ties can be cut and weakened. They are not a long term restraints. A good pair of handcuffs is less than $20. If you really like zip ties then get some zip tie disposable handcuffs. Safariland makes some and others companies too.

  22. If I wouldn’t kill someone before WROL I wouldn’t kill them after WROL.
    If I’d kill someone after WROL then I’d kill them before WROL.
    The point is, I’m not too all-fired anxious to kill anybody.

  23. There is a national database, with live audio feeds, for online public safety scanners. I use it religiously, to find out which areas in our county to avoid at all costs. Also, use it for areas, we visit, to gain intel on locations and neighborhood areas to avoid.

    If Ken approves, I can post the website, NO, I’m NOT connected in any way, and neither are any family (close, extended or estranged) members either. It’s free, and available in all fifty states, and in Canada. I like it since aim a former cop, and I like to AVOID the great unwashed thug demographic, because shooting them attracts far too much attention, better to let themselves thin their own herd, then us doing show up.

    As for cops actually deciding to disarm decent people in a WROL, grid down scenario or other event, I know it happened in Katrina by out of state idiots brought in by Mayor Nagin’s lack of response, to his “chocolate city” (his words, NOT mine), getting th flush, but I was cop far too long, and saw a huge majority of the officers and agents in the agencies I was employed by (in the western states), be glad citizens armed themselves. I don’t want to believe that most of the law enforcement officers would support a regional seizure of weapons, without an “understanding” that their attempts at confiscation (regardless of the reason), would be met with full scale intense armed resistance. I certainly support any citizen’s right to resist confiscation of our rights by despots in alleged authority. I just don’t see huge numbers being able to be mobilized prior to the citizenry mobilizing themselves. And no, I don’t see most of the National Guards in most of the states, being pressed into that kind of service either. I know it’s my own subjective belief, but, that is, how I see it at present.

  24. Shooting somebody? The aftermath? Even as a uniform cop that does this act, you join a small group of people in society that is blackballed and shunned by many of your former friends and associates. As a result, those who have shot others in the USA are quiet about it afterwards because:

    1. You do not want the lawyer for the other side to use your quotes to paint you as being blood thirsty or evil.

    2. Your children will be harassed in the local schools. Your wife may face difficult circumstances at work.

    3. Many times the people you shoot will have friends and associates in gangs so you have one family and a large group of people who may place a bounty on you. ( you will not find out about this via HAM radio either.)

    4. The aftermath of shooting a person in a lawful and justified shoot has been referred to as the $10,000 rule in that it usually costs about that much money to relocate to a new geographic area to start over where people do not know you. $10,000 is cheap because I usually spent more to try to disappear. ( I had to do this several times in my life. No fun.)

    The loneliest I have ever been in my life is the 10 days on the beach after my first on-the-job shoot. Sitting in my place eating dinner with a bottle of booze keeping an eye on the driveway. I got in the habit of bringing my pistol into the bathroom with me in those days.

    Years later, my wife and my father in law heard my story when I was dating her. I figured she would either run away or she would stick with me. She stuck with me and understands why we live a quiet lifestyle in a good neighborhood and I still keep my eyes peeled for every car that approaches my home and I still answer the door with a high capacity handgun. I’ve got relatives that will not talk to me anymore.

    I’ve been in several gunfights. I have survived but life changed for me in many ways. Not all of them pleasant.

    1. Good insight, nobody sane would take any of it lightly either. All joking aside

  25. Many excellent comments here—I like it.

    I’ve learned after 38 years in the military that it all depends…..your location, your health (age), ability to fend off hostiles and so forth. We have lived (and survived thus far) using logic and common sense. Ex: Chicago is already at a hi9h level of SHTF and the local gov done it to themselves.

    Risk assessment: constantly analyzing the situation and “adjust fire” accordingly

    Sun Tzu (the Art of War): following these principles will dramatically improve your chances

    (intel, focusing your efforts, to name a few….)

    Prep level: continuously improving your personal preparations for SHTF to include organizing your local like-minded folk and massing your resources if needed (churches, Cnty Sheriff)

    (commo, medical, food-water, security, bullets, and the list goes on…)

  26. Great article and great comments! My wife and I are lucky to be able to retire young enough to be able to work on our 15 acres. We doubled our garden this spring and raise and butcher our own livestock. We are setting good this year. If things do become out of hand we have a backhoe and. Armalite Rifles. Not assault rifles

  27. To Yosef:

    Your posting is the first one I read this time that mentions Sun Tzu’s – The Art of War.

    I took the time to read it, re-read it and take notes and really try to understand it during my first 2 years of re-entry into working in a large hospital. It has proven to be a good survival manual for surviving in the corporate world, healthcare, just about any career where you are one of thousands of employees. I would urge young workers within a large company to read this book.

    After Japan lost in WW-2, the Japanese rebuilt Japan and their companies on the philosophy that Business is war.

    1. Does make one tend to wonder how we would have fared in ‘nam if we’d fought according to Sun’s rules.

      1. CR as I understand Sun Tzu we would have NEVER went into Vietnam.

        Victory by not being the worlds policeman, what a concept.

  28. As noted above, my first career choice. ( Law Enforcement ) showed me that life is about surviving conflict. The concepts mentioned in The Art of War are several thousand years old. Although Sun Tzu is attributed to be the author, he is most likely to be the person that assembled and compiled the teachings into one book.

    These days, I choose to pass on the Parable of the Little Brown Bird that flew south for the winter in November to new government workers after several weeks of orientation.

    I will post the parable of The Little Brown Bird on the weekend post.

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