Sunday, May 12, 2019

Are You Prepared to Share?

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
"Do I share my preps with the unprepared or do I keep them for myself?" is an age-old prepper question with, unfortunately, no good answers.

On the one hand, it makes cold-blooded sense not to share with other people in an emergency or after a disaster; after all, anything you give to them now is a resource you won't have later when you might need it. If you have a family, the stakes become higher: why should you risk their health and well-being by taking away from them to give to a stranger? And what if others hear about it and come begging -- or worse, demanding, that demand backed up by force of arms?

On the other hand, will your conscience allow you to send away the sickly, the starving and the cold empty-handed? What if they have children with them? There's not much point in having a lifetime's worth of food if you can't live with yourself, and if you lose your essential humanity in the name of protecting your family then you risk alienating them as you become emotionally hardened.

Fortunately, there are options between "Give" and "Don't Give".

"Security through Obscurity" is a classic because it works well and requires the least effort. If no one knows you are there, then they won't show up asking for handouts. As a bonus, if you do decide to help someone, a sufficiently hidden location can make it hard for others to follow in their footsteps; moreso if you're able to camouflage the trail or alter the appearance of your base after they leave. 

Direct Them to a Cache
Many preppers keep caches of supplies buried or otherwise hidden within a few miles of their bug-out locations in case their BOL is lost to disaster or enemy action and they need to evacuate quickly. If the cache is large enough or the group small enough (and of course if you feel you can afford to give it up), you can give them directions to a cache along with instructions of "Don't come back." A cache far enough away, combined with a suitable threat ("If you return we'll regard you as invaders and shoot") can be a good compromise. 

Set Them a Task
Bartering services for goods is a time-honored practice. Is there a task that you can't spare the manpower to do, or is highly unpleasant or even dangerous? Give them the opportunity to earn supplies by doing a task for you, and you both come out ahead. What's more, if you like the quality of their work and they pass whatever "sniff tests" you have, you might just decide they'd be an asset to your group and invite them to stay full time. 

These are just three examples, but there are certainly more. As much as it may make practical sense to say "My supplies are for me and mine; the rest of you aren't my problem," many people will have a severe ethical opposition to that position. Think of ways you can help those in need during or after a disaster, so that you can still be a decent person without putting yourself or those who depend on you at risk. 

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