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Need to develop a vetting process for face to face meetings

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by fortunateson, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    I put a post on the "meeting others" forum that Rawles links to and I'm getting some replies.

    I find myself getting suspicious of some of these people and I'm not sure if I'm being a bit paranoid.

    First of all, I'm not sure why I should even be suspicious. It's not like I'm advertising "Hey I've got a bunch of silver buried in my yard under the apple tree and I'm hardly ever home!!!"
    I really don't buy the idea that some people prep by deciding who they will rob when TSHTF. I think most people are either oblivious or prepping (or making a feeble attempt).

    Government? I think that the ABC soups can look at their list of various license holders and have more to work with than fishing around for guys like me. I have nothing to hide anyway. Not interested in starting a coup.

    Assuming there's a reason to be suspicious, what should I do to check these folks out before a FTF?
    The absurd thought of asking for a name and address before giving out mine did cross my mind... nah!

    What would you do?
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  3. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I think you need to talk to dragonfly before you start any face to face!
  4. pcc

    pcc Monkey+

    Need more info, why you are looking, what you are looking for?
  5. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member


    Also, before any Face-2-Face chat on-line with them (either via "disposable" email address or Instant Messaging). Ask questions, engage in casual discussions, then, if you are comfortable with the person ask for a phone conversation. Ask more questions, listen to their voice.

    If at any point "the hairs on the back of your neck" stand up, stop and move on to someone else. You might have to politely or impolitely discontinue further conversations. (which is where a "disposable" email address comes in handy, you don't like the person, get rid of that address, they are the only ones that have it).

    Oh, yeah, and as RH said, search the forum for the username DragonFly. Read his stories and learn.

    Best of Luck.
  6. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    Yeah read the thread that dragonfly started about his experience talking to and meeting with people looking for preppers online. Don't completely write off the notion that there aren't people out there that are looking for easy targets. Whether to sponge off of or outright take their stuff by force; either is unacceptable. Focusing too narrowly on anything can lead to bad juju. Don't over do it either. As has already been suggested, talk to them for awhile via the phone or online. Discuss things you might have in common or other common interests outside of just prepping. You might make a friend that will be there for you or vice versa. This forum is a part of that. Putting out feelers.

    You'll most likely meet some real characters. Some will pique your interest and others will scare the bejesus out of you. Listen to your gut. Hell, just chattin' with some of the people here scares the daylights out of me some days. But in general I'd be inclined to help pretty much any of the active members here if they required some assistance and I was in a position to offer it.

  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    OPSEC rules.

    Fort, I would do what I'm doing, prepping to go it alone as the ultimate solution. If some sort of reliable cooperative venture turns up before need, so much the better. That said, the chances of success finding a tribe that will take you in after SHTF is vanishingly small since you will be totally untested. In exactly the same way, when someone knocks on the door of your hide, just how much trust are you going to extend?

    As for cooperative tribal ventures, study carefully allegiances, either existing or as they develop, that might come into play. It is possible that one or another of the tribe could be banished, and it might be you. Regardless of tribal preps, one must be prepared to leave. Think cache, and at a distance. If you do a search on SM for "tribe" there are some discussions on the subject from years back when the monkey was an infant simian. The concept is excellent, but the execution is fraught with difficulties. Tribal governance is not the least of the problems.
  8. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    My purpose for doing this is just to make a few contacts that could offer mutual support when TSHTF.
    We can live a while off of supplies, but sustainability is another issue and I think it would help immensely to have people to work with when it comes time to grow ones own food. That kind of relationship takes years to develop, but it has to start somewhere.
    How will you all do that? Who will hold the perimeter while you're plowing the field?

    I did read some of Dragonfly's stuff and the ragtag collection of losers he's happened upon and unless something new happened recently, I'm up to speed.
    I didn't see anything overtly dangerous. Just frustrating. Did I miss something?

    As far as the hair on the back of my neck: It's beginning to stand up in some of the feedback I'm getting. Some of it comes across as insincere. Some of the email from the same person seem to be written in different "voices". One guy keeps suggesting things that will conveniently ID me.
    Question is; WHY? You'd find a better mark walking out of a bank or a gun store. Maybe I just don't understand the criminal mind.
  9. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    The toughest part of trying to prepare - for me- has been finding like minded people to help out. Whether that's for helping with daily tasks or defense. I haven't had much luck at all but I realize that my wife and I will need to sleep sometime.

    I still think the best bet is to establish yourself in a small community and be known as one of upstanding character who constantly steps up to help others out.

    As far as a vetting process: I'd go the email or chat route first, follow that with a few phone conversations, and finally meet up for coffee.

    I am currently interviewing for a position and rather than bring 10 candidates across the country for a face to face, decided to do phone interviews first. I dropped 3 from my list whose resumes looked outstanding by talking to them for 5 minutes.

    You can use gmail for first contact and a trac-phone or other disposable phone for the conversations if you are concerned about giving your number out. I would stay away from specifics until after they passed the first or second face to face.

    I am not really concerned about the .gov but rather those who might just be trying to pinpoint places in the area where things are stored.
  10. pcc

    pcc Monkey+

    Visit some of the pick your own vegetable/fruit farms in your area. Those people are generally very open to educating the public on growing whatever. Take your kids too, I haven't met a farmer yet that didn't go out of his way to try and teach my kids a thing or two when we've gone to different gardens around here.

    Maybe they're trying to impress you with their mad google search skills.
  11. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    I don't know. I'm not a fan of the online social thing. I understand we aren't surrounded by people that are like minded. I think that is the push towards online social sites. I think the solution may be to identify those friends that you already have made that could potentially be a good preparedness support network. People change. In Dragonfly's similar thread, I think I mentioned that I had a friend who's idea of prep was more in line with gun collecting. Recently, I started talking to him more and he's been stocking food as well. His wife was raised Mormon and takes to it like a fish to water. Trust was already there and now through experience and learning we are headed in a similar direction.

    I guess, friendships should start as friendships with trust. The online social thing starts at common thinking, not trust. I don't know if it's easy to build this thing in reverse. It may work??

    Now that my useless rambling is over, I probably haven't helped you one bit. :)
  12. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Exactly the direction I'm heading.
  13. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Yeah, and the "saga" continues, I'm afraid!
    Recently I had a phone call at 11:47 am and the person that called me was in Tucson, some 2 hours+ away. He was on his way home (to Washington) from San Antonio.
    What I expected and what happened, were 2 VERY different things altogether!
    The person that is a supposed 'mil intel' ("spook") for all intents and purposes ( see Ft. Huachuca, Az.) and attended the same classes as Mr. Rawles...as a Captain. Well, he was something less than to be desired. He shows up ( we had been in contact for well over 2 years) at my doorstep, unannounced, save the one phone call.
    Then it got plain weird! Now I'm paranoid about a lot of things, and people are number one on the list.....Now, I know why. This person, whatever/whoever they are, as it's not too easy to ferret out a 'mil intel' person....left me dry in the mouth.
    We were supposed to have 24+ hours notice before his arrival in Phoenix....then he shows up out of the blue, and practically threw all OPSEC out the window. For a 'mil intel' person, something did NOT ring quite KOSHER here! The peron was what FREUD would call: INTERESTING! He was and I am sure remains to be, paraniod, with a touch of schizophrenia.
    OK so far?, It gets worse! He is freaking out about my neighbors sitting on their front porch in the summer....trying to beat the heat. He says they are watching him! Yeah, well their house is across the street and it does face mine directly! What else can they do? A car goes by and he's dancing like SNOOPY, in circles! I have the guy back in and park in the drive that is 4 steps from the front door....and he's worried about his truck....I assure him WE have it all under control. I show him the 6 out of 8 cameras live feeds, that sit in the living room atop the TV (complete with sound) but he's still antsy!
    I go out to see what he wants to show off.....his small pickup has a fiberglass topper shell on it, and it's packed to the hilt. So is the passengers seat in the cab. I warn him he can be pulled over for not having rear view ( mirror obstructed) and unable to view from the passenger side mirror. ( obstructed also). I also warn him about those license plate covers that are illegal here! (anti-camera types)
    He unloads several large padded rifle cases and brings them into the house....He shows me a .45 Glock and a 9mm Glock. The .45 is screwed up. The loaded chamber indicator always is up! He had several weapons "duracoated" and they are not pleasant looking. The Glocks are already peeling, despite the fact he says he has yet to fire them.....
    He had the magazines "duracoated" as well, and the .45 mags won't seat correctly and keeps dropping on the ground! His "shoulder holster" straps is held together with duct tape! ( seriously!)
    His pride and joy: an British Enfield .303, with a 'zytel' type stock, and scope, has also been "duracoated". It's not pretty. In fact it looks like a third grader got loose with a tan crayon! He then proceeds to show me, my son and my roommate just how "fast" he can cycle the 'short' action and claims he's as fast as anyone else. After his 4th attempt to cycle the bolt action, my son leaves!
    ( That BRAT!.....It was MY turn!)
    Then he proceeds to play show and tell......except 1 rifle which he says he cannot show to anyone else but me, as he has run me thru the "security computer" to verify that I am who I say I am.. ( oh Boy, makes me have a warm feeling about that!), anyway he was satisified.....He opens up a case, and lo and behold there is a rifle that is pure mil issue. Several generations removed from the old starlight systems I had back in the day......A case of 'don't ask don't tell' now comes out of his mouth....It's a heavy caiber....( probably, more than likely, it has been "misappropriated") Nice word huh? I can tell from the diameter and length of the suppressor!
    So I had to query a bit about his "dealings" as I was aware he was always buying and selling....He has NO FFL, NO C&R, nada, zip, nothing, as far as licensure. He buys, trades, and sells, across a number of state lines.......
    Now, I'm getting paranoid! I'm NOT buying 'anything' from this guy!
    He is transporting a number of weapons from Texas, to Washington, with stops in Az, Ca, and Or. Some of those he is transorting are definitely on a list in a couple of states. Some are not "legal" shall we say? He has more stuff and now begins the " sales pitcharoo"! All in all the "experience" was like being in a carnival, with a "hustler". He says he wanted me to be a "distributor" for him, but after seeing what the guy was doing, I chose NOT to even bring it up. He was busy trying to "hawk" myself and my roommate into buying backpacks from him for $80, that I can buy anywhere online for $39. He was even trying to "push" us to buy these mini led keychain lights, I can get locally for .99 cents at the dollar store or the same at wallyworlds. His price was $2.99. He tried to sell US ammo for more than what I can buy and have it shipped to me from J&G in Prescott, Az.!
    He's a hustler, and a huckster. He was trying to sell me .50 ammo cans for $19 each and I can get them for a lot less, anywhere else! He has dinner with us, all the while drinking beer from a cooler he had, and sipping from an OD German canteen that as "warm" We figured it was either Vodka or Gin.
    My impression was that of a traveling salesman, complete with a air bed in the back of his pickup.....
    He wrote me an email some days after his visit, and I was "informed" that due to my age and my broken arm, I should go get a studio apartment and just wait for death to claim me. I am TOOOOO old to be of any use in the survival movement. Now he was really down on US for NOT having any 'defintive plans' or any resources, and a lack of preps. ( that was the NICE part of his email!)What he did NOT see was OUR thousands of dollars of materials and supplies, and he was confounded, that I had nothing to show and tell!
    I love it.
    Never show the other guy your hand, especially when you are playing poker!
    As I said before the guy was weird...and I cannot to this day confirm his identity as who he says he is! I did see his military ID, but, it's a reservists ID card, NOT active duty. ( you can fool some of the people some of the time...)
    He claims my place was located in a 'meat market' area, and I had to leave post haste. In his email, that story changed significantly!
    So,...is this person really a "spook" or not?
    I did some checking...He spent his 20 years on active duty working in a controlled climate building, on night vision/electronics. The "military" offerred him a reservists job, IF he got his Bachelor's degree, ( which he has yet to fulfill), sent him to school to become an intel specialist, and he was assigned to Lackland AFB, in Texas. He works with AF personnel in a "sterile" environment, with electronic surveillance ( aka: predator, etc.)
    Either this guy has been in a room isolated for way too long, or is just a complete machination of the military's imagination.
    "IF" this is the "TYPE" of person we are counting on for our "protection", GOD help us all!
    Before he left us, he pulled out a wad of cash ( not a "roll" like some have, with a $100 bill on top, and the rest being $1's either!) He had some $15k in cash in his pocket. ( I watched him count it out...) For those "casual encounters/expenditures" he says. Yeah, I'd be wary of anyone doing that! He's out to impress anyone he can, and to sell his wares. ( ...and himself!)
    He claims he gave us a "freebie" for our hospitality!
    He normally charges $240 for 4 hours of his time, or the minimum of $800 for a weekend.
    I feel Soooooo priveleged!
    You never know what will come to your door these days!
    My simple advice: don't advertise anything, for any reason. Shy away from those that claim to be "survival Guru's"!
    Bill ( aka: dragonfly)
  14. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Thanks Bill. I appreciate all the info. You're a standup guy for sharing.

    After reading that, I've officially given up looking for other preppers.

    It is just soooo much easier (and safer) to make a good friend into a prepper than to vet a total stranger for inclusion into the tribe.

    Right now I have a few prospects. Will report back if I have any luck.
  15. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Thanks Bill.

    Why did this guy have your address prior to you ever meeting him?
  16. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I have met and made some really good friends on-line, many here at the Monkey. Some, I met through mutual interest, such as the Knob Creek Machine gun shoot. Melbo has actually been to one of my salvage projects. Sniper has dropped by and hung out for a few days to shoot some clays and pistols. Monkeyman needed a job and I was able to help him out there a bit. Minuteman and I first met at the Wannamacher Gun Show, in Tulsa. E.L. was a great host for a cookout during a road-trip to a Texas Pistol competition and invited Magnus and Minuteman as well. There are many other here that I have come to view as friends and it surprises me to realize that we have never actually met. CRC, Righthand, and Ghrit come to mind first. We have chatted and talked on the phone I couldn't pick them out in a crowd but they have interacted and been a part of my circle of friends for so many years now that I feel like we are almost related. I guess there lies a big difference between a common interest and need. We shared so many stories and parts of our lives that it is academic that we've never actually met.
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Along the same lines, I've met only three members face to face. Others I count among my closest friends. Other than on this site, I count only three others at or above the level of "close." My tribe is scattered, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. We all have a place to go if we need it. You gotta know, this did not happen overnight, it took quite a while for us to vet each other, and none done deliberately, it just happened. That's the way of it, and trying to hurry the process will do nothing but disappoint.
  18. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Actually, a perfect 'vetting' process is to invite them to join this forum and then observe their posts, opinions, humor and interest in various topics over a period of a few months.

    I've met around 10-12 of the members here over the years.
  19. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I agree with ghrit, Sea and melbo. The friendships we have formed at the monkey have taken years to develop but are as authentic as if we spoke on the phone daily and met for beers on a hot summer day. If I were in trouble, I know I could pick up the phone and there would be a monkey member ready to help. And, as Sea said, we might not be able to pick one another out of a crowd, we would recognize their writing style in a New York minute.

    As melbo said, invite the prospects to join us here - you'll have a vetting team behind you!
  20. BRONZ

    BRONZ Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I have had good luck finding like minded people in the.........Fire Service.

    Who would have thought they are into guns, hunting, preping, and talking about it while sitting around the station. I'm new so I just kinda keep my mouth shut and listen.

    Inside im like sweet.
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