Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Handling Visitors When The Grid Goes Down

By George Thompson

Many Americans would identify themselves as survivalists, and there are numerous online communities where they share advice on the topic. It frightens us to imagine life without the comforts of electric lights and central air. People have capitalized on this and created an industry based on food stockpiles, survival gardening, and self defense when the grid goes down.

Unfortunately, many people become militant in their thinking when it comes to what they regard as an apocalypse. Television shows have convinced us that there will be zombies to kill, or bands of unscrupulous individuals bent on death and destruction. Gun owners create stockpiles of weapons based on the assumption that trespassers will come, and they must kill or be killed.

In any emergency situation, there will be some people who panic. Being unprepared can open the door for terrible things to happen to them. There is no reason why one in a more comfortable circumstance should become that terrible thing to someone who has had to flee their home in the face of apocalyptic scenarios.

Survivalists go on the assumption that they must be prepared to care for themselves and their loved ones in a crisis. There is nothing wrong with this notion of independent existence so long as they do not allow themselves to view every stranger as a danger. History has shown that people generally help one-another in a crisis, and this should continue to be the case.

Anyone owning firearms should maintain a personal understanding that no round should ever be fired unless they can clearly see who they are shooting at, and clearly know why they are firing the shot. An overzealous gun owner may wind up firing a shot that they will regret for the rest of their lives. Most people wandering the countryside in this scenario are probably traveling in family groups, and they simply seek food and shelter.

A group of hungry people becomes much less dangerous to one another once everyone has been fed. The chances of a collapse lasting so long that one family feeding another results in their starvation is extremely slim. Wars and natural disasters always have the potential to create refugees, but being homeless does not automatically make someone an enemy.

It would be foolish not to assume that a traveling group is totally unarmed. What could have become a helpful friend all too easily becomes a deadly foe once the shooting begins. Without cool heads prevailing, opportunity to help those in need can become an even worse tragedy, and nobody wins when bullets are wasted on defensive measures rather than hunting.

The fact is, a small group of refugees may have members who have knowledge of gardening, medicine, and maintenance of machines or farm equipment. As family groups come together in the spirit of cooperation, they become a community that helps house, feed, and protect one another. Human beings have survived by their kindness towards others and not because they had a million bullets to fly at a stranger.

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