“If things get bad, I’m coming to your place!”
Guest post by Mr. and Mrs. restoringBrad
– How many of us have heard people say that, or something similar to it? Even if they were laughing when they said it, they might mean it.
Sure, some folks would say that jokingly, but others were either nervously testing your reaction to see if it was okay or inviting themselves to show up at your location in the least confrontational way they could… by passing it off as a joke.
Hearing those words will usually cause one of a few reactions:
1. A positive feeling because they were spoken by someone whom you would welcome into your home during a time of crisis.
2. A negative feeling because they were spoken by someone whom you do not want showing up at your home.
3. A feeling of unease, because the jury is still out on the person who said it. You’re not sure if they would be an asset or a liability, or what the people they intend to bring with them would be.
Either way, now the onus is upon you to deal with that statement. Be glad it was made! Whether or not you want that person or people showing up, be thankful that they warned you of their intentions.
Deal with it right then and there!
It will be easier to deal with this issue when the statement is made than when they simply show up at your door. It’s better for everyone concerned.
If you think someone else might want to evacuate to your location, then you should have given this possibility some thought already. Have your response prepared.
If you haven’t, now’s the time and you’re going to have to think on your feet.
The easiest way to deal with this is to prevent someone from judging your home to be the safe refuge that they should head to in the first place.
What motivated them to plan on coming to your location?
Before we look at the problem of uninvited guests showing up, let’s look at what would make someone decide that if there were a disaster they would want to come to your home.
You have control over some of this and may be unintentionally making your home an attractive choice in their eyes.
We are not referring to a disaster that would render their home uninhabitable while yours remains habitable.
We are referring to disasters such as societal collapse, infrastructure collapse, widespread or prolonged rioting, increased governmental restrictions such as martial law, etc. that do not destroy or render dwellings uninhabitable but effect both their home and yours.
Something caused them to compare their own location to yours and decide that in the event of a disaster, your location was the better place to be. So much better in fact that they predetermined they would abandon their home and head to yours.
What caused this decision on their part?
It could be any number of factors, so we’re only going to cover a few of the more common ones.
1. Your location is rural and theirs isn’t.
Generally More Suited
It is generally understood that in a time of civil strife, societal collapse, martial law, medium to long term infrastructure collapse (no electricity/water), etc., that rural locations are much more suited to surviving than urban and suburban ones.
The lifestyles of rural people vs. urban and suburban people are starkly different at many levels, and evidence has shown that people in sparsely populated areas tend to fare much better than in densely populated ones.
“Live off the Land”
Look on any prepper or survival forum and you can find urban and suburban people who think that in the event of a large scale disaster, they will simply load up some camping gear and head out to the country to “live off the land”.
Sadly, that isn’t going to work for most of them. However, it is a general attitude so when they see that a family member or friend already lives out in the country, many will simply head to their house.
An Attractive Option
There isn’t much you can do to conceal that you live out in a rural area. Your location makes your home an attractive option to family and friends in a time of crisis.
Low Population Density
Add in the documented threat posed by high population density in urban areas during a prolonged crisis and compare that to the relative safety of the low population density of the countryside and fleeing becomes their prudent choice.
Because a rural location is frequently referred to as the most desirable location to bug out to, most of this article is from the viewpoint of someone living in the countryside. It still applies however to anyone living in any location who has reason to believe that others will seek refuge from them in a time of crisis.
2. Your home isn’t rural, but they see it as somehow safer than theirs.
Safer part of town
Perhaps you live in a more affluent neighborhood, or a safer part of town.
Maybe you’re a current or former first responder, or military. You posses skills that are seen as beneficial in a time of crisis.
Firearms & Freezers & Food
Maybe you have firearms and know how to use them, or have a freezer (or two), or tend to keep more nonperishable food on hand than average.
What You’ve Built
Maybe they know deep down inside that their lifestyle is more frivolous than yours and in the event of a disaster, what you and your family have built will be much more conducive to survival than what they have chosen to spend their money and time on.
These and more can be noticed by folks and may cause them to decide to show up on your doorstep seeking refuge from the crisis at hand.
3. Your lifestyle, abilities, mindset, and attitude are obvious.
Many of those stark differences in the lifestyles of rural vs. urban favor the rural setting for survival.
Better Odds of Survival
People who grew up in the country as well as people who have lived there for a while are generally believed to posses skill-sets that would significantly increase the odds of surviving a crisis. These also apply to current/former military, take charge/do it myself types, etc.
These kinds of people tend more towards being handy, knowing how to effectively garden, hunt, fish, preserve food, build better relationships with their neighbors, help one another, etc.
They tend more towards independence and doing it themselves than waiting for someone else to step in and do it for them. If you have this general mindset, it will probably be noticed.
The Attraction of the Countryside
Yes there are people in urban and suburban areas that hunt and fish, but guess where they have to go to do it- the countryside. Their gardens, if local ordinances and HOA rules allow them to have one in the first place, tend to be much smaller and consist of only a few different crops in smaller quantities.
Foregoing the Luxuries
If you and yours are doing without some of the shiny toys and vacations that others covet and instead are investing in the supplies, tools, and knowledge that will enable you to fare better in a crisis, it might be noticed.
Discourage Coming To Your House – How & Why
It’s not only the ability to hunt and fish in your own backyard that is attractive. It’s not only the preconceived notion that rural folks are like MacGyver in their ability to overcome obstacles, repair things, and survive.
It may not even be the myth that food is so plentiful in the countryside that it’s almost natures supermarket where one can simply wander around gathering up some of the bounty almost as easily as picking up food from a grocery store shelf.
All of those are definitely factors, but one of the biggest factors is You. More specifically, your attitude and personality.
As we deal with others, we are constantly adjusting our opinion of them on a subconscious level. The way you and your family interact with others who don’t live in your house sets the foundation for their decision.
I’m not saying that you should be rude, not at all.
Be who you are, but be clear about things
Chief among the things you should be clear about is:
1. Whether or not your household will be accepting them as refugees in a time of crisis.
2. And if so, what the requirements for showing up will be, as well as the requirements for staying. Yep, two different sets of requirements.
If you agree with someone before a disaster that they can seek refuge at your house, then you all need to agree on two sets of requirements:
1. What they will be required to bring and whom is allowed to come with them.
2. What their responsibilities will be once they arrive, and the rules.
If possible, they should start prepositioning supplies at your house so that nothing is forgotten in the stress of evacuation.
There is information that can and probably should be treated as private, for household family members only. This is called Operational Security or OPSEC, and not only does it work, it is vital.
If you allow others to be aware of this information, you are increasing the odds that they will decide your house is their bug out location.
Here are some examples of information that should be kept “close to the vest” as it may create the problem of uninvited guests by making your home and situation more attractive.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Presence/quantity of Firearms and ammunition in the home.
Long term food/water storage or well above average quantity of food in the home.
Off grid survival supplies such as portable generators, hand pumps for water wells, etc.
Presence of off grid tools and equipment.
Abundance of local game/livestock and natural crops.
Existence of nearby private ponds or creeks for fishing and water sources.
Well stocked first aid or medical supplies.
Any and all preparedness plans such as taking in other family members or friends, coordination with neighbors for defense, food procurement, site security, etc.
Even with good OPSEC, a few folks are going to figure it out to some degree.
Some of your friends and family who come to your home, your kids friends, boyfriend/girlfriend are going to see that your place is the better one to be if things go sideways. And obviously, he or she is going to want to bring their family because well… who wouldn’t want to get their family to a safer place?
Serious Consideration Before That Day Arrives
Before that day arrives, you and if needed, your family, should have already sat down and given this serious consideration.
You are going to have to perform a sort of triage, where you take an honest look at the people who may want to show up at your home in a time of crisis and make that difficult decision as to whom you can accommodate and whom you must turn away.
There are many factors to consider
Here are some of the more serious ones:
How much do you love them?
Just because you’re related doesn’t mean they’re family. I have close relatives that are most definitely not welcome on my property, much less in my home. The law states they are family. I say otherwise.
I have friends I have known for years. We’ve bled together. I say we’re family. The law disagrees. They are welcome… those relatives are not.
Elderly or Infirm?
Is this someone who realistically could not prepare for themselves? Is he/she/they elderly? Infirm? Is this someone who is not going to be able to withstand the increased rigors of surviving without help?
How much do you have?
How much room do you have and how long will your supplies last? Can you realistically house and feed them? How long will your food hold out for that many people?
Will they Assimilate?
How likely are they to assimilate to your household, your security requirements, and your rules?
If they are going to be disruptive, it is a bad idea to take them in. They need to conform to you and yours, not the other way around.
At this point your home becomes a benevolent dictatorship with you as the head dictator. Nothing else will work for long. They can offer advice, but your word is law. No appeals, no negotiations, no votes.
Willing to pitch in?
Are they going to be willing to pitch in and help, or are they expecting to sit around while you and yours do all the work?
You’re not running a resort hotel. Your family will already be under vastly increased stress without adding entitlement personalities into the mix. Everyone needs to pitch in and do what they can, and in some cases- what they’re told.
How long will it last?
Is there a way to estimate how long the disaster in question will last? If this is short term in nature, more leeway can be granted. If it’s long term, less. A few people sleeping in the living room will work in the short term much better than it will in the long term!
What can they bring?
What can they bring of benefit? This may sound rather mercenary in nature but it is something that should be considered.
Let’s suppose that you can only take in a family of four. There are two families who have expressed interest in bugging out to your location in the event of a crisis.
One family has a former SOG member and a Trauma Nurse as the parents, along with two well behaved kids. They are of good moral character and their beliefs strongly align with yours. They intend to bring supplies with them and are happy to help you prepare your own home.
The other family has a Community Organizer and a Receptionist as the parents. Their kids are poorly behaved. They are of questionable moral character and their beliefs don’t usually line up with yours. They don’t mention that they intend to bring anything other than themselves and scoff at the idea of helping you improve your home to better accommodate them and increase survivability.
That’s an extreme example but it gets the point across.
The triage happens once you have made those decisions.
Now, you have to put them in order of importance. Who’s at the top of the list of people welcome to join you? Who’s after that? Who must be turned away even if nobody else shows up?
Not an Easy Subject
This is not an easy subject for many people to address because it forces them to take stock of not only the people who intend to come to their place, but also of themselves.
They are having to decide, ahead of time, whether or not they are willing to welcome the people in question into their home for an extended and probably stress filled stay. They have to face up to the stark realities about them, without excuses or sugar coating.
People will be offended
We’ve offended a few people over the years after they’ve told us they intend to come to our house during a disaster by advising them that in fact they weren’t.
Some were quite shocked at finding out that we’re not their emergency backup plan as they fritter away their money on toys and vacations while we endeavor to create a more sustainable household.
Were we being mean? No, and here’s why- We already knew that the person or people in question simply would not assimilate into our household. There are a variety of reasons but the result is that their presence would be far too disruptive and in some cases, risky.
Adding more stress
During a crisis, life will be stressful enough without adding more stress into your home in the form of people who are not going to conform to your family’s way of life and the lifestyle changes that would be required to survive.
By telling them politely but clearly that they cannot consider your home to be their bug out location you are not only protecting your own family, but theirs as well. This should cause them to take stock of their situation and hopefully start preparing on their own.
Deal with it now, rather than later
It’s easier and much safer to deal with someone who’s feelings are hurt (because you’re telling them that they cannot come to your house) BEFORE a disaster ever happens. To turn them away AFTER disaster has struck will be more difficult to deal with.
Telling them beforehand allows you to explain “why” in a calm setting, and to soften the blow. True, there will probably be some hurt feelings involved and you may even damage the relationship, but this is the best option. You need to prevent them from showing up on that awful day.
Showing up unexpectedly
They never told you they would come or they ignored you and came anyway.
Again, you hopefully gave this serious consideration before something happened and a car load or more of scared, desperate, and soon to be hungry people were suddenly standing at your doorstep hoping or expecting to be taken in.
If you wait until they are standing on your doorstep to advise them that they cannot stay, it’s going to be much more emotionally stressful for everyone.
It is also potentially dangerous. Even level headed people may not think logically when they are desperate. If they’re on your doorstep, there is already a level of desperation involved. How desperate are they? Enough to abandon their home and show up at yours.
Too Late, They’re Here
Now they’re here, asking for refuge. If you haven’t triaged this, you will have to do so on the fly, in an instant, under enormous stress.
If you decide to grant them refuge in your home, then the problem is solved.
What if you know that bringing them into your home is not going to work out and you have to refuse them?
Now in their eyes, you are standing between their family and safety. That is not a good place to be. They are not going to understand or accept your reasons for denying asylum.
You say, “There’s no more room at my place.”
They say, “We won’t get in the way.”
“We don’t have enough food.”
– “We won’t eat much.”
“There’s nowhere to sleep.”
– “The floor is fine.”
Whatever reason you offer, they will have a counter to neutralize it.
You Have it – They Want it
It may not occur to them that the safe haven they desire does not belong to them but in fact is your home. They may not think about how much of your resources that you have set aside to care for your family they will consume.
It may not matter to them if they do realize it. At this point their only goal is to secure that safe haven for their family. They may feel entitled to it, regardless that they did nothing to create it or contribute to it. You have it, and they not only want it, they NEED it. You are now the obstacle.
Depending on their emotional state they may try every conceivable type of leverage to gain entry, ranging from emotional manipulation to violence. They look terrified, children are crying, mothers are pleading, promises and bargains are being offered. How are you going to react to that?
What about those in your household? If they don’t already know who is and who isn’t going to be allowed to stay, they may start caving in, pleading on behalf of the people you have decided cannot stay in your home. Now maybe you’re the bad guy in everyone’s eyes.
You’ve already triaged this. You’ve already reached the decision that for whatever reason, these people cannot stay. You did so before the disaster hit, when everything was calm and you could use logic to game it out.
Now, you’re faced with almost pure emotion. How are you going to stick to your guns and turn them away. What’s going to happen when you declare your final refusal?
Emotional pleas aren’t working? Promises and bargains not producing their desired results? Violence is the next item on their menu if they don’t give up and leave. It can happen in the blink of an eye.
Desperate People do Desperate Things
They are desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. Even if you think nobody is coming to your home, if there is a disaster you should be armed. The appropriate members of your household should be armed.
Everyone should already know the plan if violence or the threat of violence is introduced. Everyone should already be practiced in their responsibilities and accept them.
Twilight Zone Analogy
Back in the 1960’s, there was an episode of the Twilight Zone that covered this very scenario. The title of the episode is The Shelter.
A guy had built a bomb shelter in his basement for his family. This was back in the days when imminent nuclear doom was on everyone’s mind.
They showed him having a party at his house and showed how well he got along with his neighbors. Then some news bulletin advised that unknown objects had been detected heading for the US and everyone assumed the nukes had started flying.
The guy takes his wife and kid and retreats to the bomb shelter he had built in his basement. It doesn’t take long for his friends, who apparently didn’t have bomb shelters, to seek admittance to his.
He explains that there is only enough room or supplies for his family of three and thus, sorry, nobody else can come in.
By the end of the episode, his “friends” had attacked his shelter, breaking down the door and rendering it useless to protect the guy and his family.
I don’t remember if it ended with nukes going off or not. The point was how the people seeking refuge acted against the man who had it.
Be Prepared for Anything
If you have to turn people away, be prepared for anything.
You don’t know what someone may do to protect themselves or their families.
Thus, the best way to deal with uninvited guests is to do so before they show up.
– by Mr. and Mrs. restoringBrad